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Upgrade? Athlon 64 3500+ and GeForce 8600GT rig.

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January 27, 2009 7:17:13 PM

Hello there!

My first post on this board and allready a tricky question!
Being an avid gamer, and with the Fallout 3 DLC coming up, I want to be able to enjoy my games in some good quality. I think I’d be safe to start off with my current system specs. It might be a very dated pc, but it can still run Crysis and Fallout 3 at a decent rate.

Old Betty
Mobo: MS-7168 ‘Orion’
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3500+, MMX, 3DNow, ~2.2GHz
Memory: 2560MB RAM (DDR PC3200 I believe)
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT Fatal1ty Ed. (overclocked out of box) 256.0 MB
Sound: Realtek AC97 Audio
HDD: ST3200826A 200Gig (IDE)
DVD1: Model: HL-DT-ST DVD-ROM GDR8163B
DVD2: Model: PHILIPS DVDR1628P1 (DVD-R9)
RAM: 2
Basically I want to transfer as much of the hardware as possible (and as advisable, I mean if I can net a spiffy new DVD drive with better speed etc. at 30 euro’s, I’m all ears). Maybe the 8600GT could be used as a PhysX card?
I used this rig for 4+ years or so, and the fact that it plays the current-gen games acceptably sure adds to its value, but after all those years I think it’s time for an upgrade.

Now my budget is about 1500 euro’s, and with gaming in mind. I reckon that would get me a Quad Core with that 2-on-a-stick Radeon HD4-something. Now I also own a PS3 without an HDTV.

Theoretically I could spend that money for this PC on a new HDTV, buy a new HDD and put YDL on the PS3. Bearing just games in mind, and the fact that I will be keeping old Betty here… What would be the best way to go? Invest in a new PC and risk it becoming outdated cos of no 8 cores, or spend it on an HDTV and play multi-core games on the PS3? (so to speak).

I’m curious for your reactions.

Thanks in advance!

Vincent aka Merugear



a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 28, 2009 7:30:04 AM

How about getting a system for less that has the best bang for the buck? Put the euros in the bank or sock drawer or whatever, get a new HDTV later.... or get a good hi-def monitor that you can use with the PS3 :) 

Your continued satisfaction with the old Athlon makes me think you don't need a quad core or a huge GPU. The 8600GT was never top of the line, or even close.

Get:
A P45 motherboard
An E8500 CPU
4GB DDR2 800mhz 1.8V RAM
A 4870 1GB video card
A high quality PSU (always ask us if it's good or not)
A 24" (or however you measure it over there) monitor.

You can find a lot more info in my guide, and a list of quality parts linked as well, in my signature.

just do a little research, and post your links to your parts here.
January 28, 2009 8:40:49 AM

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0-stepping (S775, 4x 2.4GHz, 8MB, 1066MHz FSB, Boxed) € 164.90 (believe it could be OC'd to 4Ghz stable?)

Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro € 14,85
Club3D HD 4870 X2 2048MB GDDR5 Dual GPU € 399,-
Cooler Master Real Power M620 € 75,50
Creative X-Fi Titanium € 65,78
Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3R € 104,-
Gigabyte iSolo 210 Grijs € 81,-
Kingston ValueRAM KVR800D2N5K2/4G € 34,46
Samsung SH-S223F € 16,81
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS, 640GB € 121,-

Total: €912,40 with a top of the line GPU.

This any good? It's been posted in a topic that I've started at the new sys forum.
Basic premise is to play Fallout 3 and Oblivion with hi-res textures.
Related resources
January 28, 2009 12:03:21 PM

Did some more strolling...

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (S775, 4x 2.4GHz, 8MB, 1066MHz FSB, Boxed) € 148.00
(believe it could be OC'd to 4Ghz stable?) [edit] found a discounted version!

OR:

Intel E8500 775 Core 2 Duo 3.166 Ghz, Boxed for €171,-

My gut says go for the E8500... But if the Q6600 can be OC'd to around 4GHz... that'd be schweet!
It's even cheaper than the E8500 atm.


So really need some expert's advice on that one.

MoBo:

Asus P5Q-E at € 130,95

I think this one's good for both CPU's right? If not, shower me with your wisdom peeps!

RAM:

Kingston 4GB DDR2-800, CL5 (KIT OF 2) at €39.90

Which brings the total down to: €341,85 for the Dual and €318,85 for Quad... so far.

Now that's rather cheap, not? So... A good 1 (or 2) gig 4870 card would do I reckon.
Don't need the top of the line (I guess), as the display won't be too high...

So any tips about that?

I also read up on the velociraptor system drive (or maybe a SSD) and a 1TB data storage combo. It sounds very interesting, and with me storing ISO's and movies on my main drive most of the time, a very safely kept 1TB should do the trick just fine. External HDD's just tend to die on me (darned gravity-small desk combo), so an internal solution would be best. Having made some savings by really comparing prices and all (not buying from one single store), I think I could afford some more budget on the HDD front.

Again, the basic premise is to play Fallout 3 and Oblivion with hi-res textures (on extremefrigginlutely high if possible). And, also... I want the rig to last for about 4 to 5 years or so. Even if it can't really cope with new games on high settings, I settled with 800x600 now, so why not 4 years ahead in time?

I hope this helps you all to give me some judgement on the matter.

Thanks in advance!

Vincent aka Merugear
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 28, 2009 1:11:48 PM

Neither processor is going to be fast in 4 years.

Neither game you list is coded for 4 cores, as far as I know.

It's possible to get a 6600 to 4Ghz I suppose, but you would want the best air cooler you can find, not the middle-of -the-road AC7. It's much easier to get an E8500 there, but again better air cooler.

The P5Q-E is a really great board, but you might find the Gigabyte UD3P for less, and it's a better overclocker.

You could get the 4870X2 now, or get one 4870 1GB now and add a second later when you feel the need.

Cooler Master or Thermaltake PSUs are best avoided. They tend to be a mixed bag for quality, with many models being poor. Corsair prices in Europe are good I think.
January 28, 2009 1:27:43 PM

Good tips! You do this for a living? Thanks for the support! Will look into it ;) .
January 28, 2009 5:07:03 PM

Proximon said:
You could get the 4870X2 now, or get one 4870 1GB now and add a second later when you feel the need.

This would require the affore mentioned DS3P motherboard, as the DS3R you listed before only has one PCIe 16x slot.
January 28, 2009 5:49:46 PM

So if I went with the Gigabyte UD3P, it's the same? Still the DS3P?
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 28, 2009 5:54:51 PM

Yes the UD3P is a crossfire board, as is the P5Q-E. It's just the DS3R that is not... the one you listed in the first list. :) 
January 28, 2009 6:25:13 PM

Soo that means, with crossfire I can't do the 2x HD ones?
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
January 28, 2009 6:52:50 PM

Crossfire boards will support two ATI cards. They will also support any single cards, such as the 4870X2 or the GTX 280.
January 28, 2009 7:00:06 PM

Well I saw the Xe ones going for E100 cheaper than the single cards, so I think I'll go with the X2 ones. Will post up a full system soon.
February 1, 2009 8:49:20 PM

Back again!

Current situation:

Case: Gigabyte iSolo 210 Gray
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
RAM: Mushkin 996558 - 4GB Kit (2 x 2GB) 800MHz PC6400, Heatspreader 4GB (2x 2GB) DDR2
CPU cooling: Tuniq Tower 120 (Socket 478/775/754/939/940) <- great reviews

As said earlier, I've been quite comfortable with my PC so far Fun fact: I used to have a nVidia GeForce 6200 SE/TC PCI-E 128 MB VGA + S-Video
in Old Betty.
, so I guess dualcore is the way to go. Especially with gaming in mind. Heck, I think everything available right now is an improvement on what I've got now. All I ever do is download stuff and game. And sometimes extract RAR-files.

As far as my monitor is concerned, I allready got a nice 17" flatscreen that's not going any further than a 1280 x 1024 resolution... Now i think 2 HD4850's or whatever should be overkill for that resolution, but I am planning to buy a new TV/monitor next month or so (yay for bonuses) to double it as TV and PC (need coax-input and HDMI/DVI). A good GPU would be nice then.

I do have doubts about what case to get with overclocking this beauty to 4GHz (I hope the cooling cuts it), so if you think the current case won't help, please reply :) .

Also, I am wondering on what GPU card to get. I saw 1G HD4xxx's going for 100 euro's cheaper than a 2x version with 2G etc. etc. I'm not really on a budget, but just want the most bang for my buck in the long run. If the differences are minimal (or if a bit less means a lot less power consumption) I'm game.

Well, hope some of you can help me out. Thanks in advance!




February 1, 2009 8:58:19 PM

Checked again:

Found a Sapphire HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E for about 180E
If the prices drop, I can put in an extra and have the same result but cheaper.
Good thinking Proximon! And it lets me fit in the budget as well!

Now to find a good case and monitor and I believe I'm all set!
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
February 2, 2009 12:34:01 AM

Antec 900 and Cooler Master 690 are good cases for the cost, as is the more expensive Cooler Master HAF and Antec 1200.
February 2, 2009 7:01:15 PM

Ok, got the case! It's a CM 690.

Now I need to find some good RAM and a good PSU to support it all. Also, some advice on HDD's is welcome. Prefer a small but fast system disk and a big but (relatively) cheap 1TB HDD for storage.

Thanks in advance!
February 2, 2009 7:47:28 PM

ram - Corsair, OCZ
PSU - Corsair, Antec, Seasonic, PC P&C
OS HDD - 6400AAKS (based on your budget, a SSD or VR is probably not worth it)
storage HDD - WD 1TB GP (steer clear of Seagate, right now they are a mess)
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
February 3, 2009 6:08:51 AM

This is very good memory, recommended a lot here... hard to find in Europe I think.
G.Skill PI Black 800Mhz 4GB
But I'm confused... don't you already have DDR2 Mushkin? There is no good reason to change that.

From the same store:
Corsair 750TX Enough for two 4870s.

I really have no idea where to shop in Europe for parts, but that store is easy to shop in, well organized, lot's of high quality parts... so I'm linking them for Europeans until I find a better one.
February 3, 2009 8:09:26 AM

Thanks for the info!

Well here in the Netherlands there's this site called Tweakers.net and it has a pricewatch with best buy guides and a regularly updated list of stores that sells those parts.

Basically you enter a part name or number, and you're given a list of dutch stores that sell the part, and shipping/taxes gets calculated as well. That way you can get each part the cheapest price at different stores.

Those stores and products get reviewed and rated for others to see. Don't really know about any other good european sellers though.

So basically when I say: I got a ...XXX... I meant it's in my shopping basket, ready to be purchased when I get all the parts and funds together.

So for any dutch-speaking european people, try http://tweakers.net/pricewatch some stores in their list might have international shipping.

Thanks again!
February 9, 2009 10:38:10 PM

Yep another try at a good PC. I am still considering every option.
Since the new Phenoms are quite good (and cheaper), I decided to incorporate it in a build.
I believe it's a Dragon/Fusion Platform now?


AMD Phenom II X4 940 € 212,15
Arctic Silver 5 (3.5gr) € 8,40
Asus M3A78-T € 127,45
Kingston ValueRAM KVR800D2N5K2/4G € 43,41
Samsung SH-S223F € 21,87
Sapphire HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E € 194,90
Scythe Mugen 2 - SCMG-2000 € 43,35
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS, 640GB € 68,16

I allready upgraded my monitor/TV. It got:

• 20.000:1 Digital Fine Contrast
Response time: 5ms
• 1680x1050 Resolution

So if the 4870 is overkill, any suggestions would be nice.
!