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Please Help Me Upgrade My Gaming PC

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April 5, 2009 2:08:28 AM

Hello all! This is my first post, though I have been reading posts on this website for about a year. Around May of last year I built my first PC ever. I love the machine and it has given me relatively few problems. However, I would like to upgrade some pieces of this Gaming PC to keep it up to date and to gain some performance. I have about $700 to blow, give or take a couple dollars. I basically use this computer for iTunes, internet, and gaming. By gaming, I mean I play games such as Bioshock, Mass Effect, COD4, The Witcher, and WoW. WoW is my main game choice and is what I would like maximize the most. I know it is not terribly graphics intensive but I can always improve my frame rate in major cities, I'm sure! Below is my current build....

CASE - APEVIA (I added another fan to front of case for better air flow)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MOBO - ASRock 650i Mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU - Gigabyte 8800GT 512MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - Rosewill 550watts
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU - Q6600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Memory - 4GB Crucial DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard Drive - 250GB Seagate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Monitor - 20" Acer LCD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Vista 64 Bit Home Premium

I would like help with what I should upgrade with my $700? I am leaning towards a better GPU (GTX 285?) and a better PSU (750watt?) to make this system even better. I think the 750watts would allow me to later upgrade the MOBO/CPU/RAM and add another GPU in SLI...hopefully. However, maybe you all would recommend different components to upgrade or even upgrading the components I suggested but with different parts. I want to basically maximize my gaming.

I don't see a need in upgrading Hard Drive or Speakers seeing as how my speakers are great (although I didn't list above) and my Hard Drive is not close to full yet. I am thinking about getting a better keyboard but lets assume the $700 does not include keyboard cost.

So please, any help would be much appreciated. Also, I don't know how to Overclock and don't have the money laying around to mess up my components so please give me upgrades that do not require overclocking.

Thanks in advance for any help given!!!! :) 

More about : upgrade gaming

April 5, 2009 2:18:58 AM

Ok, that Rosewill PSU isn't very good for your sweet rig. Definately consider getting a new psu since Rosewill psu's are usually on the crappy side as far as I've heard.

Other than that, you could get a new graphics card but if what you have works perfectly for you, then there isn't a need to upgrade it soon.

Really that computer is still a beast.

Your cpu is still decently fast. if you wanted, you could always get your rig setup to overclock. I don't know how good Asrock boards are for overclocking. Hopefully someone else can touch on that.
April 5, 2009 5:11:50 PM

Hey thank you all for your replies!

Well, I guess overclocking it would be okay, however, I've never done it and on another forum someone posted that my mobo would not be a good bet overclocking.

So what I've gathered so far:

-Upgrade to 750-800 Watt PSU that is by a good company
-Upgrade graphics card: recommended a GTX260....if I have the money is GTX285 a waste or worth it? I thought this would be good upgrade so later on I could upgrade the rest of system and put 2 GTX in SLI

Thanks again for any responses!
Related resources
April 5, 2009 7:09:03 PM

I have a GTX 295 I love it so worth it and much better than my 2 hd3870's
April 5, 2009 10:15:33 PM

Bump...anyone else have suggestions?
April 5, 2009 11:39:40 PM

1. Overclock the CPU, getting this to cool it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2. New PSU, something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3. Better GPU, like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <===supposed to OC pretty well
For a 20" screen, you don't need any more GPU than that. So put the rest of the money into something else, you can always add a better GPU later when you decide you want a better monitor
4. Better motherboard would be best for OC'ing, This is the forum favorite:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <==allows xfire, but not SLI so stick with ATI GPU's.
5. Ram that won't bake a cake in your box:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <==just as fast as the ram you have now, but much lower voltage which means much less heat and strain on the motherboard. You will need better ram if you want to OC, those crucial sticks are at their limit at 2.2v.
April 6, 2009 12:11:52 AM

I agree with most of what xthekidx mentioned for parts, except the bit about changing out the ram. For all intents and purposes you won't notice a difference in performance between your ram and g.skill.

You're going to be overclocking a q6600, not a dual core, so you really shouldn't worry about overclocking the ram to compensate for the front side bus. Also, for the price, the Dark Knight cooler is great bang for the buck-even comes with a fan to boot.

I'd say your money would better spent on a quality cooler for the video card. The 4890 in combination with a nice heatsink, something like the Accelero Extreme or VF1000, will reach 1ghz clock speeds. If you can, go for an XFX brand 4890, their warranty coverage is pretty much unbeatable.
April 6, 2009 4:48:38 AM

Ok, so the 4890 is a good card? Like compared to a 4870X2 or GTX285?

I wary to overclock because I've been told I'll kill my machine and I have no experience...is it time consuming? I really can't afford to blow up my machine.

I like the suggestions though and I love the 750watt PSU that was recommended. I am probably getting that.

The graphics card and whether to overclock or not seems my biggest questions still.
April 6, 2009 5:06:58 AM

semanthe, overclocking has become extremely new user friendly. Software tools are now available that make it a matter of changing a few sliders, reading online forums for safe speeds, watching temperatures and running a few stability tests. I had my 8800GT overclocked from 600 to 700mhz core clock within seconds-I tested it, watched the temps, and have it had it stable for over a year without any graphical issues since.

With the Gigabyte UD3P, it has a utility called Easy Tune 6. You can select the 1600FSB button for the processor, and it will ask you to reboot your computer. After which, it will auto-set the voltages necessary to maintain the new overclock. With any luck, it will be stable. I know I manually adjust things in the BIOS for my e6400, but just for kicks, I tested the utility on my UD3R, and it set all the appropriate voltages to maintain the clock speed. It passed stability tests without hitches. Manually doing these things usually just involves slightly lower voltages. For your purposes, Easy Tune 6 will probably clock up the q6600 easily in combination with the Xigmatek Dark Knight without headaches. Processors usually outlive their usefulness and despite running a large OC on the q6600, it will easily last over 5 years.

For the 4890, you're going to want an aftermarket cooler. I'm fairly sure with a good cooler, overclocking the beast shouldn't be too hazardous if you do a little research. I can't remember which benchmark I read earlier today that made mention of a 950mhz(core) 4.4ghz (mem) clocked 4890 matching the performance of a stock speed 285, but it doesn't sound out of the realm of possibility. People are actually taking that card up to 1ghz core clock stably.
a b 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 6, 2009 5:22:33 AM

The 8800GT is a fine card, but I suspect that it is the weak point in your system.
You could upgrade to to a GTS250 or GTX275. for about $150 or $260 respectively. I suggest these two nvidia products so you can just drop them in without any driver issues. Changing from Nvidia drivers to ati can sometimes cause problems. The ati equivalents cards are about the same price/performers.

The two cards use 55nm manufacturing, and should run with your roseswill psu. Since the psu has been running ok, I would not change it out. It is not reputed to be a high quality unit though.

Save the rest for your next build. If you want, spend it on a second or better monitor.
a b 4 Gaming
April 6, 2009 1:55:36 PM

Your quad at 2.4ghz and you video card together are your 2 weak points.
It won't do well to buy a new fast video card like a GTX275, or 4890 and put it with your Quad at 2.4ghz. The processor will hold the new video cards back quite a bit.
It is easy to jump your Quad to 3.0ghz, then it would be a perfect match for those GPU's, and you are going to be quite happy with the performance results.
Just upgrading the GPU alone is going to leave a little disappointed. You'll see an improvement, but not much for the money if you leave your CPU at stock speed.

Your PSU has got to go. Do not buy another Rosewill.
April 6, 2009 7:26:45 PM

Okay, I'm definitely getting the 750watt PSU listed above. I'm buying a video card of either HD4870 or HD4890. I will try to overclock my CPU since I have gathered it is safer than it used to be and easier than it used to be. I will end up buying the Gigabyte board. If I get the new MOBO should I be upgrading the RAM to 1066 from 800 or even higher?

Lastly, should I worry about OCing the video card I decide on? And what do I need to cool the card? I have 3 fans in my case right now and stock cooler for CPU. I'm getting a cooler for the CPU but I would probably have to go with a 4870 if I have to have a cooler for the graphics card too. The GPU cooler is like 50 dollars :( 

Thanks so much guys for the great input. I love working on this stuff.....when I have money that is :) 
April 6, 2009 9:12:44 PM

Oh yea and one more quick thought...

I saw mention that the Gigabyte board listed will allow Crossfire. I looked on Newegg but saw no mention of this. Can someone confirm this? The reason I ask is because if I go with the 4870 or 4890 I can later get better monitor and add another card to make it even better :) 
a b 4 Gaming
a b Ý World of Warcraft
April 6, 2009 9:23:32 PM

xthekidx said:
GA-EP45-UD3P supports xfire, I promise.

+1
April 6, 2009 9:42:33 PM

Haha okay. I believed you but wanted to make sure that I had the right board in my shopping cart on Newegg. Didn't see crossfire mentioned.

What about my other one or two questions?
April 6, 2009 9:44:20 PM

Well I just want to point out that an aftermarket cooler for the 4890 isn't necessary to overclock, and you easily take the reference card to a bit over 900mhz core, it's just, the reference cooler doesn't cool the card very well, and it gets insanely loud-I'm not kidding, it sounds like a vacuum cleaner.
April 6, 2009 10:50:47 PM

Just stay with the stock cooler right now, it will be fine. I doubt you will need any more GPU power unless you get a larger monitor. A stock 4890 is plenty for a 20" monitor.
April 6, 2009 11:03:02 PM

okay. I really appreciate your alls help! Hopefully this will all go well and I can post on here how much you all have done for my system :) 
April 7, 2009 4:54:05 PM

Without thinking: 4890 or GTX 275

Games: Sims 3, DC Heroes online
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