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GPU & SSD upgrade for my old Q6600 system

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October 20, 2013 9:36:39 AM

I'm thinking about trying to get back into some pc gaming and I'm hoping that rather than dropping £800+ on a completely new set up that I can breathe some life in to my ageing Q6600 setup. It would also be nice to have overall smoother performance for web/video/photoshop etc. My current setup is as follows:

Coolermaster Elite 330 Black / silver midi tower case micro ATX NO PSU (CASCOORC330)
Asus motherboard P5N-D nForce 750i SLI LGA775 2 x PCIe x16 DDR2 ATX (MOTASUP5ND)
XpertVision GeForce 9600 GT 512MB Sonic DDR3, PCI-E
Seagate 250GB Barracuda SATA II 300 7200rpm 16MB cache
OCZ 4GB Kit (2x2048) Vista Performance Gold DDR2 PC2-6400 Dual Channel Memory
OCZ 700GXS Sli -UK nVidia Sli Ready 700W Power Whisper Technology Active PFC
Intel CPU Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 95W Energy Efficient 2.4GHz SLACR G0 Stepping

I'm thinking of spending around £100 on a GPU - something like a 650Ti & also an SSD as I'm thinking that the reason for my system taking forever too boot up and showing slowish overall performance is hard drive related.

My mobo is SLI so I was thinking that one of the pci bays could be used for the ssd? My main concern is that any modern GPU will be bottlenecked by my long-in-the-tooth CPU...

As I've got pretty limited knowledge in pc tech I was hoping you guys could give me some pointers as to whether this is the right approach and if all of the parts would be compatible.

Any advice appreciated

October 20, 2013 9:55:58 AM

i think you made a good choice 5 years ago when you got the system and it's also very reasonable to upgrade your existing setup instead of spending big bucks to start basically from scratch.

the 650ti is a nice midrange card, so if you don't want to spend more on a gpu and aren't gaming on anything higher than 1080p this will get you rolling again. don't expect to max out the settings on all games though and you're good.

an ssd is a great investment too and is often regarded as the easiest and most efficient way to make a system fell fast and snappy. there are many great ssds out there, but going with a samsung ssd 840 evo probably is the safest bet regarding performance and reliability.

regarding the installation of the ssd: normal ssds are connected via sata, not pci, so there's that. also, i'm too lazy right now to look up what sata revision your mainboard supports, but even if it's just sata II, which limits max throughput on modern ssds somewhat, you'll still see a big difference compared to the old hdd.

have fun!
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October 20, 2013 10:05:02 AM

Awesome, thanks for that, think I'll go ahead and order the 650ti and a decent sata sad!
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October 20, 2013 10:06:11 AM

You will do well with a SSD upgrade.
If you buy a 240gb ssd, you should be able to clone your hard drive to the ssd for an easy conversion.
A ssd is a sata connection, and can usually fit anywhere.
You can buy a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive/ssd adapter and fit it in your normal hard drive bay.
If push comes to shove, just duct tape it to the bottom of your case.
If the ssd will not hold the contents of your hard drive, you are facing a reinstall of windows and your apps.

If you are not playing fast action games, then your need for a discrete graphics is minimal.
Your 9600gt should be fine.
I would upgrade to a ssd first, and see how you do.

If you do need a graphics card, likely for HD movie playback, then 50# should be sufficient.
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October 20, 2013 10:12:49 AM

ok, thanks guys, will have a think...
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Best solution

October 20, 2013 10:23:20 AM

sm21071982 said:
Awesome, thanks for that, think I'll go ahead and order the 650ti and a decent sata sad!


sm21071982 said:
ok, thanks guys, will have a think...


your CPU and Mobo are decent still. If you overclock your CPU to 3.2-3.4 you will have enough grunt to run a more powerful GPU, anything like a 660ti, or even a GTX760. I'm not knocking the 650ti, but at least get the boost version. My old 560ti trumps a 650ti in everything. A 650ti Boost is the min Id recommend, and will most definitely get you med-high gaming at 1080p. The 650ti boost is a bit more powerful than my 560ti, and currently I have the same CPU as you. I play BF3 multi on 1680 x 1050 high settings at about 40-60 fps. If you want to try OC your CPU, the GO version is a beast, and is renowned as being one of the most easily OC'able CPU's of all time.

edit. I have almost the same mobo too! Oc'ing your CPU is a synch. If you need help with it PM me, I have loads of guides, and can assist :) 
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October 20, 2013 10:56:18 AM

Thanks keith12, I did OC during the first couple of months to around 2.8 - 3Ghz if memory serves (was around 5 years ago), but ended up reverting to stock as didn't feel I was utilising the extra oomph. Should still have the profiles saved in the bios so can have another go! If I run into any issues will give you a shout!
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October 20, 2013 11:27:33 AM

sm21071982 said:
Thanks keith12, I did OC during the first couple of months to around 2.8 - 3Ghz if memory serves (was around 5 years ago), but ended up reverting to stock as didn't feel I was utilising the extra oomph. Should still have the profiles saved in the bios so can have another go! If I run into any issues will give you a shout!


no problem :) 

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October 21, 2013 4:50:51 AM

Was just reading the 280X review, seems that if I am willing to double my budget from £100 to £200 I would have a very powerful card (that seems by far the bast value at this price point) that would more than do the job if I was to upgrade my CPU/mobo/RAM in the next year or 2.

Would it work ok with my Q6600 (maybe OC'd to 3Ghz)?

Also would it work with my P5N-D as it is an Nvidia chipset?
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October 21, 2013 7:51:27 AM

sm21071982 said:
Was just reading the 280X review, seems that if I am willing to double my budget from £100 to £200 I would have a very powerful card (that seems by far the bast value at this price point) that would more than do the job if I was to upgrade my CPU/mobo/RAM in the next year or 2.

Would it work ok with my Q6600 (maybe OC'd to 3Ghz)?

Also would it work with my P5N-D as it is an Nvidia chipset?


it's a good deal. but your proc will hold back that high end GPU. you'd need a really big OC like 3.4.3.6 to alleviate the bottleneck somewhat and even then it prob still will be on certain games.

The biggest card I'd recommend would be a GTX760 with a high overclock of about 3.4 + on your CPU or an AMD7870 or the new equivalent. But you made a good point, if your upgrading your system soon enough, your high end 280x would still be a decent GPU then.
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October 21, 2013 8:06:31 AM

OK, think the 280X may be a little over the top so going to go with the 2GB Gainward GTX650Ti Boost Golden Sample for £132 form Scan, according to:

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/5383/gainward-geforce-...

a second card scales very well in SLI so my options are open in the future if I want to upgrade.
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October 21, 2013 8:48:59 AM

sm21071982 said:
OK, think the 280X may be a little over the top so going to go with the 2GB Gainward GTX650Ti Boost Golden Sample for £132 form Scan, according to:

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/5383/gainward-geforce-...

a second card scales very well in SLI so my options are open in the future if I want to upgrade.


it's a decent card. good choice.
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October 22, 2013 6:39:22 AM

At the last minute I changed my mind to the MSI GeForce GTX 660 TwinFrozr III, was pretty much the same price and comes with Batman Arkham Origins :) 

Thanks for your help keith12!
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October 23, 2013 9:55:55 AM

sm21071982 said:
At the last minute I changed my mind to the MSI GeForce GTX 660 TwinFrozr III, was pretty much the same price and comes with Batman Arkham Origins :) 

Thanks for your help keith12!


nice choice, and a good balanced fit with your system. A mid OC to 3 ghz, (just switch the fsb to unlinked mode and put your ram at 666mhz, and your fsb at 1333 for a 1:1 ratio) and your good to go. You shouldn't even need a vcore raise, it should be stable. happy gaming :) 
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