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Need Advice for System Upgrade

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May 19, 2013 10:30:42 AM

Hello all,


I need some advice on a possible upgrade.

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Either next couple of months or this winter

Budget Range: $1000-1200 (like to stay closer to $1000 though)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Normal MS Office use, gaming and some media (music and movies)

Are you buying a monitor: Yes. Currently have an old Dell at 1280x1024, looking to join the 1920x1080 crowd

Parts to Upgrade: CPU, MB, RAM, GPU, PSU, possibly case?, and monitor. Will re-use my current HDD's and DVD-ROM.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg and Microcenter

Location: Chicago, IL

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Don't have a preference but normally use Intel and Nvidia

Overclocking: Yes, moderately

SLI or Crossfire: Would rather not

Your Monitor Resolution: Want to upgrade to 1920x1080 or 1920x1200

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading:

Here is why. My current build dates from the winter of 2008. Here are the specs:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 @ 3.16
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model
EVGA 896-P3-1267-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Edition 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
Western Digital WD Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
Western Digital WD Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
PC Power and Cooling S75QB 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active
Antec Nine Hundred (original version, no USB 3.0 upgrade)
Dell 1280x1024 monitor

I am a graduate student so I like to keep my builds relatively spaced out to save money, but I am feeling like five years old might be a good time for an upgrade. I would also like to be able to play some of the newer games at 1920x1080 at high detail for a while, so a bit of future-proofing (I know, I know....no such thing) would be nice.

Here is what I have been looking at for a new build:

Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor http://www.microcenter.com/product/388577/Core_i5_3570K_34GHz_LGA_1155_Processor

Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H LGA 1155 Z77 ATX Intel Motherboard http://www.microcenter.com/product/388327/GA-Z77-DS3H_LGA_1155_Z77_ATX_Intel_Motherboard

(CPU + MB bundle = $254.98)

MSI N660TI PE 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 660 Ti 2GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127696 ($299 after rebate)

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314 ($64.99)

SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147188 $99.99

ASUS VS Series VS247H-P Black 23.6" 2ms LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 50000000:1 (ASCR) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236174 ($159.99 after rebate)

Microsoft 7 or 8 OEM - $99 from Newegg

The parts that I am the least sure of are the power supply (what brand and how many watts do I need), a new case (is my Antec too out-dated?), and the OS (have read mixed feelings on whether new builds now should use Windows 7 or 8).

And my main questions:

1. Should I pursue a new build now or wait until winter? I don't worry much about being "top of the line" and would like something that could reasonably meet my needs (office work, gaming reasonably well or better at 1920x1080 for a few years). I feel like 5 years is a nice life for my build and there is no major benefit to waiting.

2. How does my proposed build look as a fit for my needs? Anywhere I can improve? That the right GPU that will allow me to do what I want?

Really sorry for the long post but I just wanted to get it all out there. Look forward to any and all advice.

Cory

More about : advice system upgrade

a b 4 Gaming
May 19, 2013 10:38:52 AM

Yeah, wait til the end of the year. Haswell will be fully released, along with Nvidia's 7xx series and probably AMD's HD 9xxx series. At the very least, wait for the GTX 760Ti (equal to the GTX 670 for about $300).
May 19, 2013 1:51:58 PM

jessterman21 said:
Yeah, wait til the end of the year. Haswell will be fully released, along with Nvidia's 7xx series and probably AMD's HD 9xxx series. At the very least, wait for the GTX 760Ti (equal to the GTX 670 for about $300).



When are the 700s meant to come out?
Related resources
May 20, 2013 6:31:31 AM

As far as Haswell, is it likely I will be able to put together a CPU and MB combo as good as the 3570K + MB combo that Microcenter is offering now for a similar price?
a b 4 Gaming
May 20, 2013 7:02:18 AM

Both are coming out next month - wait and see. MC will definitely have the best deals on a CPU-mobo combo.
May 23, 2013 6:34:23 PM

Thanks for the replies jessterman21.

I am starting to move toward the position of building sooner rather than later. I will be very busy this fall/winter and don't want a new build hanging over my head, and I would also like to be able to enjoy the benefits of a new system earlier as well.

At this point I will likely wait until Haswell and the 700 series are fully revealed, but my concern is that I won't be able to get a similarly good deal on a Haswell as the current i5-3570K bundle at Microcenter unless I wait, and then I have to worry about part-hunting late in the year when my attention and energy will be occupied. Also, the only new card that will likely be in my range will be the 760 Ti which no one seems to know much about or if it will even be better than a 670.

After some researching, here is the at-the-moment build that I would consider going for if my mind is not changed by Haswell or the 700 series cards:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($21.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($134.98 @ Outlet PC)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($379.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($82.00 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($161.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1340.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-23 21:29 EDT-0400)

(Note: Motherboard is actually $94.99 due to Microcenter discount)

This build would, I think, give me a high level of gaming performance for at least a year or two and then good performance after that. I do not have the funds, nor the desire, to be at the bleeding-edge of performance constantly, nor do I plan to go above 1920x1080.

So how does it look? Any ways I can nibble away at the price tag?
May 24, 2013 6:21:16 AM

No thoughts? Would there be any reason to hold off buying some of these parts regardless of which direction I go?
a b 4 Gaming
May 24, 2013 7:45:37 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
My suggestion for a PSU - no reason to spend that much, unless you want to SLI in the future. Your build will not draw more than 320w at load.

Everything else looks great, but I would advise waiting 2 weeks to order the video card to see what they're going to price the 760Ti at. You could end up saving $90+ for essentially the same card. This build will give you bleeding edge performance at 1080p, and yes, I bet you will be golden for 2 more years.
May 24, 2013 8:05:52 AM

jessterman21 said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
My suggestion for a PSU - no reason to spend that much, unless you want to SLI in the future. Your build will not draw more than 320w at load.

Everything else looks great, but I would advise waiting 2 weeks to order the video card to see what they're going to price the 760Ti at. You could end up saving $90+ for essentially the same card. This build will give you bleeding edge performance at 1080p, and yes, I bet you will be golden for 2 more years.



That all sounds great. I figured the PSU was overkill but was just unsure of how low I could go safely - I plan on overclocking both the CPU and GPU but not to an extreme degree.

I will be waiting on the GPU until they announce what the 770 and 760 Ti will be priced at and some benchmarks come out, otherwise I think it is a 670 for me. I have read good things about both the MSI 670 PE and the EVGA 670 FTW - at present there is a negligible price difference between the two based on where I can get them from (Newegg and Microcenter). I currently have an EVGA card and have had positive experiences with them but I have also heard good things about the low temps and overclocking ability of MSI cards. Any opinion?
a b 4 Gaming
May 24, 2013 9:15:21 AM

Either one would be great - the MSI has blue LEDs I believe. The main difference is the open-air design on the MSI, versus the fully-exhausting blower on the EVGA, unless you're talking about the FTW Signature2 edition which is an open air design. Open air cards will always be quieter, but they expel some heat inside your case. Not a problem if you have decent airflow.
May 28, 2013 12:21:35 PM

Another update: I swapped out the Samsung 840 250 GB for a Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB as I found a great deal on it, $187.99 and free shipping.
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2013 12:28:40 PM

hopfrog said:
Another update: I swapped out the Samsung 840 250 GB for a Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB as I found a great deal on it, $187.99 and free shipping.


AMAZING deal - go for it!
May 28, 2013 4:07:11 PM

In terms of some of the cheaper motherboards that are available with the $40 off with the 3570K bundle (if I do go that route), which is preferable - the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 or the Asus P8Z77-V LK? There is a $10 difference in cost between the two. Are they both solid? Is it just down to personal preference then?
a b 4 Gaming
May 28, 2013 5:52:59 PM

hopfrog said:
In terms of some of the cheaper motherboards that are available with the $40 off with the 3570K bundle (if I do go that route), which is preferable - the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 or the Asus P8Z77-V LK? There is a $10 difference in cost between the two. Are they both solid? Is it just down to personal preference then?


They are both solid, you'll have a great board in either one, but the reliability/dependability award goes to ASUS.
May 30, 2013 7:32:46 AM

Now is when the temptation starts. I was all set to get a GTX 670 or wait and see about the 760 Ti, but now with the GTX 770 coming in at around $400 should I just go ahead and get one of those?

The MSI Lightning edition is at $450 which might be a bit of a steep increase from what I was planning to spend (for reference the MSI 670 I was looking at was for $369.99 after rebate) but the regular MSI 770 is listed on Newegg at $399. Is the extra $30-40 worth it for what is looking like a card that outperforms the 680?

Links for reference:

MSI 770 Lightning http://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127742&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&cm_sp=&AID=10440897&PID=3332167&SID=u00000687

MSI 770 http://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127741&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&cm_sp=&AID=10440897&PID=3332167&SID=u00000687
a b 4 Gaming
May 30, 2013 8:45:26 AM

hopfrog said:
Now is when the temptation starts. I was all set to get a GTX 670 or wait and see about the 760 Ti, but now with the GTX 770 coming in at around $400 should I just go ahead and get one of those?

The MSI Lightning edition is at $450 which might be a bit of a steep increase from what I was planning to spend (for reference the MSI 670 I was looking at was for $369.99 after rebate) but the regular MSI 770 is listed on Newegg at $399. Is the extra $30-40 worth it for what is looking like a card that outperforms the 680?

Links for reference:

MSI 770 Lightning http://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127742&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&cm_sp=&AID=10440897&PID=3332167&SID=u00000687

MSI 770 http://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127741&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&cm_sp=&AID=10440897&PID=3332167&SID=u00000687


Looks like the same cooler on both. The $400 one is even overclocked a bit, and you can easily overclock to or past the Lightning version with Afterburner. I say go for it - 15% more performance for free.
June 1, 2013 8:41:10 AM

Okay, I think this is the final build. Here is what I am thinking:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($219.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($399.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($144.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $1279.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 11:37 EDT-0400)

You can ignore some of the prices, they are just placeholders. The CPU and MB I am getting through the Microcenter deal, probably tomorrow. it is already a good deal and I am hopeful maybe of even a bit of a drop with Haswell coming out (one of the guys I talked to at Microcenter a week ago said it was a possibility). Even so, it is a great deal. The GPU, RAM, and HS I am close to pulling the trigger on, the monitor, SSD, PSU, and OS are already bought.

So how does it look? Should I go ahead and buy the rest of the components and put this baby together?

Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2013 9:02:49 AM
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hopfrog said:
So how does it look? Should I go ahead and buy the rest of the components and put this baby together?


A better $1200 build couldn't be had. Go for it - let us know how it runs when you've gotten a chance to play some games!
June 10, 2013 12:20:05 PM

Just an update:

I have all of the parts together and was planning to put it together and post some benchmarks tomorrow, but now I am really reluctant to build because of this issue with the 320.18 drive release that is all over various websites today. Apparently some people are claiming that it is killing their cards, and many have been rolling their drivers back - but this is not an option for the 770 that I have due to it being a brand new card and not being supported by previous drivers.

What should I do? Is it worth the risk to build it or should I just wait until Nvidia comes up with an explanation and/or a solution? How long might that be?
June 11, 2013 7:40:11 AM

I have modified an .inf file for the 314.22 driver to provide support for my 770 and I am thinking I can go ahead and run on that until this gets sorted and I will be safe. Is this a good idea or should I hold off?
June 20, 2013 9:24:29 AM

Okay, all built. Here are the final specs:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($58.50 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($219.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card ($399.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($84.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($66.50 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Asus VS239H-P 23.0" Monitor ($159.99 @ NCIX US)
Keyboard: Logitech K120 Wired Standard Keyboard ($10.56 @ Amazon)
Mouse: Gigabyte GM-M6800 Wired Optical Mouse ($14.98 @ Outlet PC)
Speakers: Cyber Acoustics CA-3602 30W 2.1ch Speakers ($42.84 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1336.31
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-20 12:19 EDT-0400)

I have not run benchmarks yet but it runs like a dream so far. I was worried about using the current Nvidia drivers after the problems I have been reading about but so far no problems - a couple of instances of artifacting in BF3 but both went away after a simple restart. I have been checking GPU-Z to make sure all of my temps were normal as well and have seen nothing so far to give me any reason to worry. Can run some benchmarks soon.

And thanks a bunch to jessterman21 - great advice all the way through.
!