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Need advice on major upgrade for old system...

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February 13, 2009 2:10:18 AM

Hey guys,

I am a very novice and uninformed user. I had a friend who built my computer for me 2-3 years ago(E6600 and MSI 8800GTS/G92 on EVGA 680i, 4GB Corsair 800, 650W power supply). Obviously, I upgraded VGU some time ago. I don't (and do not know how to) overclock. I use this computer mainly for gaming, FPS such as Crysis, COD series, FEAR, etc. I wanted to go through a major overhaul or upgrade for my system, and I was wondering what some of you experts think on this-upgrading the CPU, VGU, and Rams. I am thinking about going E8500 or E8600, and GTX 285 with somewhat faster ram. Here are some questions I have:

1. My plan is to upgrade this system without changing motherboard, and using/stretching it as long as possible. With E8600 and GTX 285, how long will it be likely for me to use the system for games? I play all my games at 1600X1200 resolution. I know this upgrade will be probably the "last stretch" for my system, as my motherboard won't be able to support anything more improved.

2. How much improvement will this upgrade bring to my system? Is it worth the money, or should I just stretch this current system longer and get a whole new one later when price drops further? I wish I could go quad core with things like new Yorkfield or i7, but my motherboard doesn't support it. In fact, I think I need to update my bios to be able to use any wolfdale.

3. Is there anything I should be cautious about updating my system on this old EVGA 680i? Last time I tried to SLI my VGU with an extra 8800GTS, my motherboard default soundcard gave a huge issue on my computer for some reason because of SLI. Is any parts I mentioned above (E8600, GTX 285, ram memory faster than 800, etc) potentially incompatible or "buggy" with my system?

I guess this is a bit too many questions at once. I am just a bit confused, so any guide or tips would be helpful. Thanks in advance.
February 13, 2009 2:41:35 AM

Well there are supposedly no issues wit the upgrade that u want to do...but dont waste much money on the E8600 instead go for the E8500....its more than sufficient...and as for the GFX card....the GTX285 is very gud...but again it depends on wat resolution u are gaming...I feel going for the GTX260 is better...as it will be more than enuf for a 22" monitor....jus a thought...
February 13, 2009 2:43:37 AM

And don change ur RAM to a faster RAM ...there wil nt be much of a difference...
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February 13, 2009 2:44:03 AM



I suspect you'd be better off overclocking the e6600 rather than spending $$$ on a new processor , but before you decide you need to know what is possible

check the evga website for a cpu support list .

Unlikely faster RAM will help . The MB specs will tell you if it supports faster RAM , but gains are small .

Also the GTX 285 might be limited by the motherboard . Todays mb's have pci-e 2.0 x 16 slots that have twice the bandwidth the pci-e x 16 slot your motherboard has .

It is probably false economy to keep the motherboard and update everything else . Either replace everything OR overclock the cpu and upgrade the graphics card to something like a 4870 1 gig or a gtx 260
February 13, 2009 2:53:44 AM

to start new with the same mobo is very smart in my opinion. the entire core 2 series, DDR2, LGA775 compatible heatsinks are starting to be 'fazed' out by new stuff. this makes the listed stuff cheeper. getting an e8500 and new RAM then compenstating a little bit by OCing is what i did. i dont know about the e8600, but i got the e8500 to 4GHz with no trouble and got it to boot stablish at 4.22GHz. you can also get a quad because it is a lot cheaper now that i7 has come out. you can expect such an upgrage to last a couple years.
February 13, 2009 3:01:03 AM

Too bad you had problems with SLI, as those two cards should generally provide similar performance to a single 285. I would have just gotten a dedicated sound card myself. As already mentioned you need to check the evga website for BIOS updates to support newer CPUs. While overclocking an E8400/8500 CPU seems like a pretty good idea, 680i motherboards usually aren't the best overclockers. Of course your board can't use an i7 because that's a completely different socket. Still you should double check to see if it can support a Q9550.

Before you upgrade your GPU to a 285, check to see what kind of PSU you have. Look up PSU tiers and if it falls into the lowest tier, like a logisys, I-Star, In Win, JPAC or Rosewill, you should replace it with a better PSU or you risk frying the whole system.
February 13, 2009 3:08:34 AM

If you are willing to spend the $620 on the E8600 and the gtx 285, you could scale them back a little and also get a better board. The E8600 isn't worth the price. I would recommend this:
E8500 - 188
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
saphire 4870 - 215
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
board - 115
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM - 55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard drive - 80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could upgrade all of these to respectable by today's standards for $653, which is about the price that you were going to pay for the cpu and video card. Going with this board and the 4870 leaves the option for adding a second 4870 down the road for crossfire.
February 13, 2009 9:02:34 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions. So for 1600X1200 gaming, do you think GTX 260 is enough? And is the GPU also compatible with my system (for that matter, how do I check)? For the last reply, I now realize the difference between E8600 and 8500 is not that big (though price difference is large). I guess I should look around to see if someone can OC my CPU or replace it with 8500, and perhaps get a GTX 260. I would love to get a new motherboard and overhaul everything, but as I said, I am completely novice and I do not know how to build the PC myself. This means that if I get a new motherboard, it is likely I will have to get a paid service (additional 100-200 dollars) for the new assembly.

So I guess my thought here is to just replace (with E8500) or OC the CPU, and put GTX 260 in the system. Does this still seem like "false economy"? I really appreciate everything I heard so far, and more tips would be helpful. Another point I was curious about was this: I use currently XP for my OS. I do have 4 GB Ram which is not completely used for that reason...but would going to Vista help for gaming? So how economic would that be? If I upgraded or OCed my cpu and just put the GTX in this system right now and upgrade to Vista (I already have a copy of vista), how much improvement will I see and how long could this system last? As I said, my goal was to stretch this system as reasonably as possible, and when it becomes obsolete, just build a new one with much more budget.

Thanks again guys.
February 13, 2009 9:05:45 PM

Oh and by the way, could anyone also tell me what it means to check my tier of power supply? I use Zeus-Silverstone (I think...) 650W. Is this enough for the upgrade I am thinking of?
February 13, 2009 10:22:39 PM

FadeAway_85 said:
Thanks for all the suggestions. So for 1600X1200 gaming, do you think GTX 260 is enough? And is the GPU also compatible with my system (for that matter, how do I check)? For the last reply, I now realize the difference between E8600 and 8500 is not that big (though price difference is large). I guess I should look around to see if someone can OC my CPU or replace it with 8500, and perhaps get a GTX 260. I would love to get a new motherboard and overhaul everything, but as I said, I am completely novice and I do not know how to build the PC myself. This means that if I get a new motherboard, it is likely I will have to get a paid service (additional 100-200 dollars) for the new assembly.

So I guess my thought here is to just replace (with E8500) or OC the CPU, and put GTX 260 in the system. Does this still seem like "false economy"? I really appreciate everything I heard so far, and more tips would be helpful. Another point I was curious about was this: I use currently XP for my OS. I do have 4 GB Ram which is not completely used for that reason...but would going to Vista help for gaming? So how economic would that be? If I upgraded or OCed my cpu and just put the GTX in this system right now and upgrade to Vista (I already have a copy of vista), how much improvement will I see and how long could this system last? As I said, my goal was to stretch this system as reasonably as possible, and when it becomes obsolete, just build a new one with much more budget.

Thanks again guys.


Have you bought anything? I didn't think you had any parts yet. Everything I listed above is compatible, and would do what you want it to do. Upgrading to a 64bit OS will give some boost as it will utilize all of your RAM. If you want to make your system last, you will eventually need to upgrade to a 64bit OS. Windows7 will be a good option when it comes out.
February 13, 2009 10:40:40 PM

Thanks for the feedback again. I haven't bought anything, and I am still thinking about whether I should hold on to this 680i for another year or two and go with just GPU upgrade with GTX 260 (if GTX 260 and 680i are compatible), or whether it is a time for overhaul. Argh...I don't know enough, so this is frustrating.
February 14, 2009 12:09:16 AM

Yes, your board has a pcie slot, the video card will be compatible. You had mentioned that you were looking at buying the E8600 and the gtx 285 which would cost some dollars. For about the same price, you could upgrade your whole system. But if you just wanted a card for now, it would work in your system. It's a quality card and if you decided to upgrade later, you could still use that card in the near future for a decent SLI setup.
February 14, 2009 1:01:33 AM

aford10 said:
Yes, your board has a pcie slot, the video card will be compatible. You had mentioned that you were looking at buying the E8600 and the gtx 285 which would cost some dollars. For about the same price, you could upgrade your whole system. But if you just wanted a card for now, it would work in your system. It's a quality card and if you decided to upgrade later, you could still use that card in the near future for a decent SLI setup.


I see. So would CPU (E8500) be a bit unnecessary along the GPU? I guess the question is what will ultimately be the bottleneck. My current CPu (E6600) runs at stock speed of 2.4 GHZ, and if I don't upgrade that while replacing the video card, would that do any good? And for that matter, would the GTX 260 be any good, if the mother board is a bottleneck? And how realistic would it be for me to expect that with the upgrade, my desktop will last another year and half or two years with just a new CPU and GPU (E8500 + GTX 260) before I actually get a whole new mother board and the system?

I really appreciate the answer. You have no idea how much help it is for me.
February 14, 2009 1:11:43 AM

That's what I'm trying to tell you. For the price of the E8600 and the gtx 285 that you were originally looking at, you could get a new board, E8500, gtx 260, and RAM. With all of that, there wouldn't be a bottleneck. You would have a system good for the next 4-5 years, specially if you added a second gtx 260.
February 14, 2009 1:51:45 AM

I suppose so. I was looking at this old post:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/254265-30-680i-upgrad...

Aford10, you are convincing; maybe I should wait a bit more, and just overhaul the whole thing (I will have to save a bit more since I will need to pay for assemly service, as I can't do it myself). This is the fun and the ugly part of "upgrading." Sigh...
February 14, 2009 2:36:26 AM

=) It's your build, I was just trying to propose an option. This process isn't meant to be frustrating, it should be fun. You can go in which ever direction you want to.

The E6600 is a bit weak. If you wanted to OC up to around 3Ghz it should be practical for the next few years. Though the board is not the best for OC'ing.

You could get the gtx 260 and see how it performs in your system now. If you don't like the performance increase, then you could go from there.
February 14, 2009 2:44:04 PM

As said, don't get a GTX 260!

Get a 4870 for less as it is just as powerful if not more powerful. as for a cpu, get a Q6600 as they seem to be less than the e8500 and the 4 core's will help with future games. Also look up on guides to overclock, maybe get a water cooling system and you're pretty much there.
February 14, 2009 7:45:27 PM

Helloworld_98 said:
As said, don't get a GTX 260!

Get a 4870 for less as it is just as powerful if not more powerful. as for a cpu, get a Q6600 as they seem to be less than the e8500 and the 4 core's will help with future games. Also look up on guides to overclock, maybe get a water cooling system and you're pretty much there.



I suggested the gtx 260 b/c his board supports SLI, not crossfire. If he had 2 gtx 260 in SLI, it would blow away the 4850.

Q600 - 195
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
E8500 - 188
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think I would take the e8500 over the q6600 b/c it's got a faster bus, and MOST applications don't use or need 4 cores. There will be games coming out that will utilize all 4 cores, there are a couple now. That's down the road though, and then maybe an i7 would be a good upgrade. For most everyday tasks and MOST games, the E8500 will perform better.
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