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Best upgrade for 300-400 bucks for my gaming PC

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June 6, 2013 8:18:33 AM

Hey guys-

You were a huge help to me when I put this guy together back in February of 2011. Would love to get some advice on how to upgrade with a little extra money I have lying around.

Here is my current PC. I added the SSD and extra RAM after the fact, which is why it is kind of randomly slapped together.

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/evanmayo/saved/1Itd

I think I have it overclocked to 3.5 or so.

I mainly play League of Legends, DOTA 2, battlefield 3, mess around with some MMO's, and whatever other FPS graphics porn titles I can download. So, here are the options I'm considering.

1. Upgrade to catleap monitor - this one seems like the most future-proof. The monitor I have now is OK, but I bought it without really investigating all my options and I've never been blown away by it. A nice 21.5 inch monitor, but not in a gaming class, I think.

2. Upgrade mobo and CPU - Could I get into a Haswell configuration with this much cash? I know it wouldn't have much of an effect on my gaming, but the quality of life in other tasks might make up for it.

3. Either go crossfire with another videocard or sell my 5870 and buy something else, maybe an Nvidia since I couldn't go premium on my first time through. I would think that this is the highest increase I would gain from a gaming perspective.

4. Storage solution - Least sexy, but maybe necessary. Grab a 256gb SSD and a 2tb drive. I'm running out of space a bit, although part of that is because I didn't clone my OS very efficiently from the platter drive to the ssd when I made that switch about 9 months ago. Any suggestions on utilities to do this? I think I may just use a fresh install b/c my files are spread everywhere.

I know this is a pretty subjective question, but what would you do? I've never even seen a catleap monitor in person. Are they that amazing?

Thanks for looking. Awesome resource and awesome forum.

Evan
June 6, 2013 8:29:32 AM

I think a new GPU and SSD combo might work out best.

Are you able to put a fresh install of Windows 7?
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a b 4 Gaming
June 6, 2013 8:31:30 AM

Based on what you do, I would go with replacing your existing GPU - with that budget, a 670 would fit. This should tackle BF3 on ultra @1080p with some stability: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would say get a 770 but just above your price range. At that point, your CPU will become the bottleneck but I think it will handle most tasks pretty easily. If you did go that route, here's the option to choose:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Until AMD and mobo manufacturers release one with a PCI-E 3.0 slot, you won't get full utilization but it will still scream.
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June 6, 2013 8:31:35 AM

Your CPU is fine. Any upgrade right now would be a side-grade. For example: The i5 2500k is only around 25% faster than the 965 (You have the 955; slightly slower but nothing noticeable), yet costs more than 200% of the price.

For the monitor, I say go on gumtree (Or whatever they use in the US) and look for a few used TVs/Monitors. Over 'ere in Scotland, you can get a decent 50" TV for £100 without much effort.

For ze graphics card, the 5870 is still able to keep up; it's as powerful as the 6950/7850. Uses a helluva lot more power though.
I wouldn't recommend getting a second 5870; the 6000/7000 series yield better results when in crossifre. I say hold onto it when the 8000/9000 (AMD hasn't confirmed which numbering scheme the next series will use) series comes out, sell the 5870 and then buy a card from the new series.

For the storage? I say just buy a 2TB Segate Barracuda. Some say put the OS on the SSD drive, but I'd put it on the WDCaviar. SSD drives have a much, MUCH shorter lifespan than an HDD, so I'd only use 'em for large games (Skyrim, Fallout New Vegas, Witcher II, etc.) and important programs. Shove everything else on the Seagate.

I'd spend more dosh on a dedicated sound card; I recommend the Creative Soundblaster Titanium X-FI Fatal1ty. I have one, and it's fantastic. The sound is much clearer than what integrated SPUs punt out and the Crystalizer setting alone makes it worth the £80 (I'm from Scotland; dinnae ken 'Murican prices).

But that's just me.
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June 6, 2013 12:44:34 PM

In response to the first poster: Yes, I can reinstall Windows 7. I like the idea of an SSD and GPU, but frankly league of legends runs like butter on my PC and it's my most used game. I'm not opposed to buying another GPU, but I think I would need a better monitor to run my MOBAs at a higher resolution b/c I can play at 1080p (my monitor's max) fine on superhigh settings.

Second poster: Will my current PSU support a card like that? Any point in buying a xfire capable equivalent and adding it alongside mine?

Third poster: Makes sense on the CPU thing. What would be the point of buying a huge tv for my PC? Wouldn't that necessarily limit me to 1080p? My understanding of the advantage of the computer monitor is that they are made to support resolutions that almost all TV's do not.

I hear you on the 2TB Seagate. I will likely do that.

I'm interested in the sound card idea. The one you suggested is no longer sold and its updated version has many negative reviews. What should I look for in shopping around for these? Is the headset I use going to bottleneck the upgraded output? It's nice but not studio quality headphones or anything like that.
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June 6, 2013 1:11:42 PM

evanmayo said:
In response to the first poster: Yes, I can reinstall Windows 7. I like the idea of an SSD and GPU, but frankly league of legends runs like butter on my PC and it's my most used game. I'm not opposed to buying another GPU, but I think I would need a better monitor to run my MOBAs at a higher resolution b/c I can play at 1080p (my monitor's max) fine on superhigh settings.

Second poster: Will my current PSU support a card like that? Any point in buying a xfire capable equivalent and adding it alongside mine?

Third poster: Makes sense on the CPU thing. What would be the point of buying a huge tv for my PC? Wouldn't that necessarily limit me to 1080p? My understanding of the advantage of the computer monitor is that they are made to support resolutions that almost all TV's do not.

The advantage of monitors is that they lack all the un-needed guff that's in a TV; it allows for the possibility of a cheaper display.


I hear you on the 2TB Seagate. I will likely do that.

I'm interested in the sound card idea. The one you suggested is no longer sold and its updated version has many negative reviews. What should I look for in shopping around for these? Is the headset I use going to bottleneck the upgraded output? It's nice but not studio quality headphones or anything like that.

The headphones will most likely degrade the output somewhat. It will still sound better than if it was to be used with your integrated SPU.
I urge you to keep looking for the soundcard I suggested. Might be able to get one still.
If you're looking for soundcards, the number one feature you should be concerned with, is that it has a dedicated (I.E, on-the-card) processor. Otherwise, it hogs even more CPU spins than an integrated one. From then on, it's reading reviews 'n' doing your homework on the card you're looking at.



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a b 4 Gaming
June 6, 2013 1:42:05 PM

XFire on an 870 board is uncertain. I think teh Xtreme 3 has an X16 and X4 Pci-e slots, meaning the crossfire will be of little benefit. Stick with single cards.

you already have a small SSD, so I'd suggest a replacement GPU.

any modern single card will be handled just fine by an XFX 750W PSU (modern GPUs have concentrated on reduced power consumption and have largely succeeded. a GTX 680, 780 or a HD 7970 will run just fine on a 550W PSU nowadays.
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June 6, 2013 4:44:43 PM

If your PC runs smooth playing LoL already, then why don't you just leave it be, and buy a 1080P monitor and possibly a second SSD
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