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Looking for some upgrade advice please...

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August 17, 2006 6:13:13 PM

Ok, I'm about ready to spend a fair bit of money on a computer upgrade. But I say a fair bit - not a limitless fortune.

I've basicly got everything picked out, but for one question.

Within the price range I want, I can either go for:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (Each core running at 2.66GHz), and 2 1-gig sticks of Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 ram...

OR

Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 (Each core running at 2.93GHz), and 2 1-gig sticks of Corsair's regular DDR2-800 ram, non-XMS2 flavor.

OR

Intel Core2 Duo E6700, the cheaper Corsair non-XMS2 ram, and a video card upgrade (Jumping from what I currently have penciled in, a 7900GTX-512, to a 7950GT2-1024).

For the purposes of this discussion, please try to limit your suggestions to these choices. If you absolutely MUST give another choice, do so, but if you say "Go Athalon, Intel sux!" or "Go Radeon!" or something along those lines, I'm probably going to ignore you. I have a fairly good idea what I want, I'm just trying to narrow down the best way, within that framework, to spend the money I have allocated to this.

For evaluation purposes, I'm going for a single (IE, no SLI) 7900GTX-512 video card, unless I pick option three, and I'm not going with a RAID setup, just a single SATA drive with 16mb cache, and yes, my mobo and powersupply is up to snuff for any of the above choices. Also for reference, I'm mostly upgrading for gaming reasons, although I do a lot of multitasking between Photoshop and SecondLife and iTunes and Poser all at once, things like that.

At this point, I'm leaning towards the X6800 and the cheaper ram... Because, A, I don't intend to overclock (I'm too cautious, and not enough of a techie that I'd risk it on my own), and the XMS2 hardly makes any secret that it's geared for overclockers, and B) The cost of later upgrading my ram is a lot cheaper than later upgrading the next step of the processor. But I'm willing to hear alternate theories.

More about : upgrade advice

August 17, 2006 6:28:13 PM

Well I can help give you two options but first, gaming these days isn't as much reliant on CPU power as it is GPU power. Also important to factor in is: are going to want to switch to a DX10 card in a year or so? The top end of today will easily last you years though, so you pretty much have to chose between getting the awesome processor or the awesome Video card. I dont think I could notice a difference between XMS and regular corsair memory, although I'm sure people can.

So if you plan on upgrading your Video card, stick with the x6800, cheaper ram and the 7900

If you dont plan on it, i'd go with the e6700, it'll still tear everything apart and you can get the XMS.

My personal thoughts, even if you're not in to overclocking, get an e6600, its the best bang for your buck out of all the conroes and it would allow you to get the XMS ram and the 9750. 1-2 years is a long time to wait for a new graphics solution to become stable and affordable (not that affordability seems to an issue when you're considering an 7950 :p , but first gen DX10 cards will probably have many bugs)
August 17, 2006 6:35:57 PM

OK OK I know you're not gonna like my suggestion much but in my opinion its better than the above so here goes.

1) Buy a Core Duo E6600, the higher quality RAM, and a 7950GX2 = KILLER SYSTEM

Overclock the E6600 to E6700 speeds.

I understand that you're wary about overclocking, but people are getting seriously huge oc's right now using just the standard Conroe stock cooler. Trust me, the E6600 will take such a small overclock in it's stride, and the money you save can be put towards the other components.

Also, if you aren't sure how to do it, THIS IS THE BEST PLACE ON THE WHOLE NET TO ASK. Probably. Its actually really, really easy - with good RAM and such a small overclock it will probably be just one setting in the BIOS. No voltage adjustments, no changing coolers, nothing.

Or you could just buy an Athlon X2 5000+ and 2x X1900XT crossfire :twisted:

Just kidding...runs...
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August 17, 2006 6:43:56 PM

All nice choices but since your upgrading- I would say from a Pentium D (or older) non-PECI motherboard- to the new C2D cpu, they aren't compatible.


Quote:
While there have been many solutions that allow the user to influence or automatically set fan speeds, you never really knew if your fan speed settings prodive sufficient air flow to keep your components cool enough. It is different with PECI: After assembling our buying your new PC, the manager will adjust all fans to comply with the temperature presets.

But PECI has one downside: You need a PECI-compatible motherboard, which means that it either has the a manager component or simulates it by sending a dummy signal to the processor (this will be the case for low-cost motherboards). If the signal isn't there, systems with a Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Extreme will not boot! This is also the reason why it turned out that you will need to replace even a 975X motherboard, although technically it could have supported Core 2 Duo.


http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/07/14/core2_duo_knocks...

Looks like you might also need a new MB.
August 17, 2006 6:48:42 PM

Thanks for the suggestions so far guys (But anyone else reading this, please chime in - more is better as always!). Much better response here than a couple other places I've thrown this same topic out.

I read the bit-tech rundown on the new C2D, and I am aware of the price/performance sweetspot on the 6600. My initial thought was to intentionaly disreguard this as a matter of long-term efficiency - My past history with computers has been, every time I pick a processor and a motherboard combination with some slack between my choice and the top choices, by the time I really feel like I should be upgrading, the standards have changed and my upgrade costs shoot through the roof (That's sort of the situation I'm in now, to a large extent) :( 

As to overclocking - I guess I'm something of a wuss. I'll admit that I'm not a computer wiz - I fit in that gap between "average user" and "techie", I can build computers and replace parts, and I'm damn good on the software side of things, but my hardware knowledge is mostly at a practical level. I had always sort of been under the impression overclocking was the sport of wild men who could afford to replace a fried processor - which I catagoricly cannot right now. Now, if overclocking is safer than I thought, I might listen - but I absolutely can't afford to replace a processor because I fry it trying to pull a few extra cycles out of it.

I *do* intend to upgrade to a DX10 video card, but not right away. Not until the second batch of them hits the market, and the prices on them drops a tad. But that said, I want to be able to play the upcomming generation of games well before I have to upgrade, and on t'other forms I asked, people kept tearing me down about my choice of a 7900GTX, which is why I cooked up option 3 - the reviews I had read of the 7950 didn't really blow my skirt up, even though it was nice, and I am *not* spending the money on a true SLI setup that I'm going to have to pitch in 12-18 months just 'cuz DX10 is starting to become widespread... I just don't have it to spend at the moment.
August 17, 2006 6:50:27 PM

I am replacing the mobo - replacing mb, processor, ram, video card, and the main HD - keeping the case, my optical drives, etc. When I said my MB would handle what I was throwing at it, I meant that the MB I had selected would handle any of those options.
August 17, 2006 6:51:18 PM

Quote:
1) Buy a Core Duo E6600, the higher quality RAM, and a 7950GX2 = KILLER SYSTEM

Overclock the E6600 to E6700 speeds.

I understand that you're wary about overclocking, but people are getting seriously huge oc's right now using just the standard Conroe stock cooler. Trust me, the E6600 will take such a small overclock in it's stride, and the money you save can be put towards the other components.

Also, if you aren't sure how to do it, THIS IS THE BEST PLACE ON THE WHOLE NET TO ASK. Probably. Its actually really, really easy - with good RAM and such a small overclock it will probably be just one setting in the BIOS. No voltage adjustments, no changing coolers, nothing.


Pretty much what I wrote at the end, but it doesn't matter, it's agreed upon. Even if you dont want to play with OCing at all it's the best you can get for a killer gaming system. It'll handle all that multitasking stuff you want as well with out a problem, and if you ever want to start learning about overclocking, the e6600 is a great starter to learn on, i learned how to on a D805, it's alot of fun.
August 17, 2006 7:01:45 PM

Okay sorry for the mis-interpretation. I would go for option 2:

Quote:
Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 (Each core running at 2.93GHz), and 2 1-gig sticks of Corsair's regular DDR2-800 ram, non-XMS2 flavor.


since your not overclocking, and Corsair ram usually runs at it's rated timings. Option 3 also looks good but your current graphics card holds it's own in todays games and DX10 is just around the corner.

If you really want to get the 7950GTX, I would look into the EVGA card. EVGA offers the 'step-up' program for 3 months after you purchase a graphics card. I bought a 7800--- 7900GTX was released a month later, went through the step-up process (you pay the difference of the cards), and now I have a 7900GTX in my case.
!