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Can I have some help upgrading?

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May 5, 2009 8:16:22 PM

I wasn't quite sure where to put this, so please move it if it needs to be moved. I have been trying to upgrade my PC, and honestly, I am not doing a good job, so could I have a bit of help?

Case: Antec 300 (keeps it cool, not terribly exciting)
Motherboard: Brand new XFX 750i SLi
CPU: Brand New Intel C2Q 8200 (very proud of it, btw)
Graphics: 2x Chaintech GeForce 9500 GTs SLi'd (not that great, I know)
RAM: 2x Dual Channel OCZ 667 MHz 2GB each, 2x Dual Channel COrsair Value Select 2GB each
PSU: 450W 1 12V Rail RaidMax PSU

Can someone tell me what upgrade would help the most performance wise? I am a gamer, and please reccomend me a replacement.

More about : upgrading

May 5, 2009 8:26:44 PM

First of all you need to tell us how much you can spend on upgrading, and where you will buy parts from (especially if not in the USA).

How brand new is that XFX MB? Is it brand new-enough to return for a refund? If that is the case, then do it and get an intel chipset instead, Nvidia chipsets are not very good and will usually cause issues for you. Also with your processor choice, you should probably overclock the CPU to get better gaming performance, and the 750i chipsets aren't that great for overclocking. Get the Gigaybe GA-EP45-UD3P motherboard.

For gaming, the best upgrade is always a better graphics card, but in order to run a better graphics card you will need a much better PSU as well. The PSU you need will be determined by the Graphics card you want, which will in turn be determined by the resolution of your monitor that you want to game at (as well as which games you play). So what size of monitor do you have and what games do you play?
May 5, 2009 8:33:20 PM

I mentioned overclocking in my previous post. The Q8200 is a fairly slow CPU by gaming standards, at only 2.33ghz and 4mb of cache. Its really not a gaming CPU, but will do alright if you overclock it. It also has a FSB of 333, which means a multiplier of 7. In order to get the best gaming experience, you should overclock the processor to at least 2.8 ghz or so, preferably more like 3.2ghz. In order to achieve this you will need two things, in addition to the PSU upgrade I mentioned above: You will need an aftermarket CPU cooler to handle the extra heat that will be generated, and you will need faster ram that can run at speeds up to 900mhz or so stably.
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May 5, 2009 8:38:50 PM

Returning the mobo is not really an option, spent too much time and money getting this to work, and overclocking is actually pretty easy, just not planning to keep it going until I get a better heatsink and cooler, I haven't ever had problems with Nvidia chipsets, and I don't care for Intel, because then I lose the option of SLi, and I like to keep my options open.

For budget and location, I live in the US, so either CompUSA, or Newegg, budget, not a terribly large sum, this is more of a gradual upgrade, I am 15, I get 20 dollars a week, so yeah.

As for resolution, my monitor is a 19 inch with a maximum resolution of 1440 x 900, with an aspect ratio of 9:1.

I was considering a GeForce 9800 GTX, which I have seen at my local CompUSA for 140 dollars or so, what would be a good PSU for it? Or do you have any better recommendations as far as graphics go?
May 5, 2009 8:41:12 PM

yea, dump the gpu's, if you already have the 750i sli, then for now you can get a single gtx 275 or 260 core 216.

I don't like the cpu either, even though you're proud of it. Its a quad, but a weak one, and games don't go past 3 cores, most still use 2. With the Q8200, the 4 cores wouldn't help, it would be like having a dual core cpu with the same weak specs. If i was going quad, the lowest i would go for is the q9450 or q9550. If i had the money, however, i would get the q9550s, as it is more efficient in every way.

That ram might hold you back if you intend to overclock, which would be a must with that Q8200. Upgrading the ram wouldn't offer any huge performance jump though.

I would get a better power supply as well, something like a 500/600W, depending on your video card setup. For something like 2 gtx 275's, i would recommend at least a 600W psu, i like the modxstream series from OCZ, quite efficient.

Yea, so in order of performance gains, definitely dump the gpu's and upgrade there, next up would be the cpu, and you may have to bump up the psu as well.

May 5, 2009 8:44:43 PM

Any recommendations for a good cheap cpu heatsink? Preferably not with bolts and screws like my old one, I got extremely tired of having to take my motherboard out all the time, I like the heatsink it came with, which I can take out without taking my motherboard out, which is an extreme pain, because my case has no motherboard tray, it screws right on.
May 5, 2009 8:46:08 PM

thedarkddangerousshade said:
I don't care for Intel, because then I lose the option of SLi, and I like to keep my options open.

Nvidia chipsets do not support crossfire, which is the ATI equivalent to SLI, but intel chipsets will support it. You don't have more options with an Nvidia chipset.
May 5, 2009 8:47:16 PM

CPU is not going anywhere, I will overclock it, but I had to pretty much sell my soul to my dad to get it. For RAM, any decent brands you can reccomend?
May 5, 2009 8:49:14 PM

Not really a fan of ATi/AMD, I couldn't give you a real reason why, I just don't really like it, always had intel cpus and nvidia graphics cards, I like to stick with what I know.
May 5, 2009 8:49:38 PM

thedarkddangerousshade said:
Any recommendations for a good cheap cpu heatsink? Preferably not with bolts and screws like my old one, I got extremely tired of having to take my motherboard out all the time, I like the heatsink it came with, which I can take out without taking my motherboard out, which is an extreme pain, because my case has no motherboard tray, it screws right on.

Well unfortunately all the best heatsinks come with backplates, so if you don't want a backplate then you are limiting yourself to a second-rate cooler that will put more strain on your motherboard than a cooler with a backplate would. The Intel pushpin installation method sucks. If you are dead set on not getting a cooler with a backplate, then get an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro.
May 5, 2009 8:50:13 PM

As for PSU, 500/600W with a GTX, but how many 12V rails should I be looking for?
May 5, 2009 8:50:15 PM

Ok, if you're keeping the cpu and mobo, just try to get that clock speed up.

Take a look at this video card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With your current setup and budget, i would be getting that, its essentially a 9800gtx, a bit better i think, but cheaper.

Your psu choice would depend on whether or not you ever intend to double up that video card.

I would still go with a 600W psu for 2 video cards, 500W for one, assuming it will always be one, once its a decent brand. Look for the 80plus certified.

May 5, 2009 8:51:06 PM

xthekidx said:
Well unfortunately all the best heatsinks come with backplates, so if you don't want a backplate then you are limiting yourself to a second-rate cooler that will put more strain on your motherboard than a cooler with a backplate would. The Intel pushpin installation method sucks. If you are dead set on not getting a cooler with a backplate, then get an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro.


Yes, I am deadset on a push pin setup, I don't ever want to take this motherboard out of my computer again.
May 5, 2009 8:51:36 PM

Are all these parts new or just the board?

*The 450W PSU is not the greatest these days...but i will still hold the Q8200 easily.
*The case is just fine, although i like the ones that light up. My little nephews enjoy the lights ^_^
*The graphics is fine in SLI, unless you really want to upgrade those for better graphic performance. Like thekid said, you need a budget on what you can spend...
*RAM - I try to stress this as much as i can to everyone. Its important when it comes to gaming and overclocking your PC. You will definately need PC2 8500 (1066) or PC2 9600 (1200)
*You need a good CPU cooler. I would recommend a Zalman 9700 CNPS or better.
May 5, 2009 8:52:20 PM

thedarkddangerousshade said:
Not really a fan of ATi/AMD, I couldn't give you a real reason why, I just don't really like it, always had intel cpus and nvidia graphics cards, I like to stick with what I know.

:pfff:  Ok well seeing as how you are on a $20/week budget, being picky isn't exactly something that is going to help your cause. ATI GPU's offer much more bang for the buck in the midrange prices, which is what you are looking at. A 4770 or 4850 would be my recommendation. If you are totally opposed to ATI, then get a GTS 250.
May 5, 2009 8:59:52 PM

Heh, yes, I am a very stubborn guy, who said beggars can't be choosers? It may not work, but I can try. I have had one ATi video card in my life, just didn't care for the Catalyst Control Center, etc. I like the price of that GeForce, and I am not a total graphics nut, I play mainly Source based games, but I plan to get some newer games soon, eventually, of course, I have to try out Crysis, ;D

@ Kill@dor, not sure what you are asking, basically, the motherboard/cpu is new, thats pretty much it, but not new enough to return, nor do I really want to.

Thanks to the both of you for putting up with my stubbornness, btw, I know I'm not helping the stereotype of the teenager that thinks he knows everything.
May 5, 2009 9:05:24 PM

Took a look at that card, Why are there two SLi goldfingers? I can think of a couple of reasons, but I am not sure which, so you can use 2 sli bridges for more bandwidth? or to chain together 3 or 4 cards in SLi?
May 5, 2009 9:17:06 PM

Up to 3 way sli, doesn't matter on that 750i sli mobo, 2 cards tops there.
May 5, 2009 9:20:23 PM

@kevin, I know that, just wondering what the second finger is for.
May 5, 2009 10:23:48 PM

That would be a good kit of ram, but you don't need more than 4gb, that is plenty for gaming. Really the only thing that requires more than that is video editing or something like that. You will see no increase in game framerates by getting 8gb of ram instead of 4, and in fact getting more ram can sometimes limit your overclock, since it is harder on your MB to manage that much ram.

The two fingers are for 3 way SLI, the second card in the array has to be linked to the first and third card, which takes two bridges usually, some MB come with a special bridge that has all three connections in one.
May 5, 2009 10:54:53 PM

Oh, did my math wrong, XD, thought that was a set of 1 GB sticks
May 6, 2009 8:07:53 AM

Don't get the 9800 GTX for $140. That price is too much. A GTS 250 is better and for a cheaper price.

You won't need to run SLI on a 19" monitor. A GTS 250 for $99 is suitable for your C2Q 8200.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Until you can upgrade your CPU to at least an e8500 or faster, you won't notice the difference between a GTX 260 or GTS 250 because your CPU will bottleneck a GTX 260. And even if had the e8500 and GTX 260, you won't see the difference on a 19" monitor because the full potential of that combo only becomes apparent on larger monitors and higher rez.



May 6, 2009 8:22:53 AM

hundredislandsboy said:
Until you can upgrade your CPU to at least an e8500 or faster, you won't notice the difference between a GTX 260 or GTS 250 because your CPU will bottleneck a GTX 260. And even if had the e8500 and GTX 260, you won't see the difference on a 19" monitor because the full potential of that combo only becomes apparent on larger monitors and higher rez.

It depends on the games you play. You would see the difference in Crysis on that monitor. And If he overclocks the Q8200 to ~3ghz, it will not be a major bottleneck in his system, the GTX 260 and GTS 250 would definitely be distinguishable. The largest bottleneck is always the GPU, except in a few CPU bound games like GTA IV. I am of the opinion that for 1440x900 res. the GTX 260 is a perfect match since it will play all games except Crysis smoothly at highest settings, Crysis does get a little choppy at times in my system, but its still playable at Enthusiast settings.
May 6, 2009 5:05:28 PM

The first thing you need to do is replace that Raidmax POS PSU. It may safely power a few lightbulbs, but not a computer. Someone identified the PSUs in this video as Raidmax: http://www.corsairmemory.com/cinema/movie.aspx?id=62274...
Choose a quality brand like Antec, Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic, or Enermax. I like the Antec Earthwatts models. The 500W version is $70 on Newegg right now.
If you go to CompUSA (you still have one??), they may offer Coolermaster PSUs. They aren't atrocious, but they are also overrated. Best Buy brands include Dynex and Rocketfish/Huntkey; they are also extremely overrated, and quite possibly as bad as Raidmax, according to the technical reviews I've read. Just get the Earthwatts and have done with it. At least choose one that is 80+ certified (confirm it truly is by checking at http://80plus.org). At least it will have been tested to 100% of capacity.
May 6, 2009 5:13:38 PM

I like Enermax PSU's...well built.

Sux the Core i7 system you have still can't play crysis that high @xthekidx. I'm sure an SLI can cure that...but still :( 
May 6, 2009 6:53:24 PM

Kill@dor said:
I like Enermax PSU's...well built.

Sux the Core i7 system you have still can't play crysis that high @xthekidx. I'm sure an SLI can cure that...but still :( 

O I can play it. That is at 4x AA and all enthusiast settings, and it only slows down occasionally, but I am picky and I notice it ;)  Most people wouldn't gripe about it.
May 6, 2009 7:59:50 PM

Don't fret about removing the motherboard to put a backplate on... get it done and get it overwith. You should not need to remove the motherboard ever again after that... by the time you need a new CPU, you'll want to replace the Motherboard, RAM, GPU and PSU as well and, what the heck, you may as well build a new machine from scratch.
May 6, 2009 8:03:39 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
Don't get the 9800 GTX for $140. That price is too much. A GTS 250 is better and for a cheaper price.

You won't need to run SLI on a 19" monitor. A GTS 250 for $99 is suitable for your C2Q 8200.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Until you can upgrade your CPU to at least an e8500 or faster, you won't notice the difference between a GTX 260 or GTS 250 because your CPU will bottleneck a GTX 260. And even if had the e8500 and GTX 260, you won't see the difference on a 19" monitor because the full potential of that combo only becomes apparent on larger monitors and higher rez.


Hah, seems like I managed to screw up everything.

This is all long term, so I don't need specific links right now, first I need to save up for a case for the HTPC/Home Server I'm building, which will take the next 3 weeks of allowance, so yeah, long window of time here, First thing I'll go for is RAM, that's holding a lot of things up on its own, and I could use my current ram in the HTPC. Then I will start saving for the GTS, unless there's something better by then. And so on and so forth. When the summer is here (May 27th is the last day of school) I will try and get myself a job to speed this up. Just a quick question, which would be better, gaming wise, my current SLi'd 9500 GTs, or a single 7900 GT?
May 6, 2009 8:30:54 PM

Your current configuration would probably be better, but not by much.

You shouldn't be buying this one peice at a time. Buy it all at once. PC components will keep dropping in price so if you want to ensure you get the most for your money just wait until you are ready with all the money and buy it then.
May 7, 2009 9:26:54 PM

I don't mean in my current configuration, I just mean in general, cuz one of the two is going in the HTPC.
May 7, 2009 9:34:05 PM

Yes, in general, your current configuration with the 2x 9500GT's would be slightly better than the single 7900GT
May 8, 2009 10:59:53 AM

Alright, thanks, because I will be using that for some gaming as well. As for the HTPC, I found that the case had some ridiculous hidden fees, so I decided to find another, I have always been a fan of squarish cases, but I didn't know they had any in atx, until I saw this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Does anyone know any better cases like this? That one looks great to me, but if anyone has any suggestions for styles of cases like that, or this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... in full atx size, I would really appreciate it, I have already searched on newegg, I'll be looking around.
May 8, 2009 5:03:43 PM

No on the apevia, I have heard bad things about build quality. I would suspect shoddy build quality on the Broadway case as well, but haven't heard anything about it so cannot really say. My first impression of it though is actually pretty good, its got spots to mount 2 extra fans and looks to have plenty of ventilation, and you could fit a large GPU in there too by the way the drive cages are configured.
May 8, 2009 9:25:49 PM

Couldn't get the Apevia, nor do i want to, the system I'm talking about is just plain ATX, I just linked that as a reference design. The broadway has good reviews, I've looked around, and yeah, the broadway looks nice too, my only concern is the front mounted PSU, that might present cable length isssues, but heck, CompUSA sells extension cables for everything.
May 9, 2009 3:25:59 PM

I may end up selling a few things on eBay to get some stuff now, so if anyone has any more recommendations, please share.
May 9, 2009 10:26:08 PM

Alright, I am ordering that case, but I have a small issue, I cannot for the life of me find the molex to pci-e six pin adapter for the geforce 7900 GT (Using that in the HTPC until I upgrade my main pcs graphics card) can I run the card without one?
May 9, 2009 10:38:07 PM

PCIE 6 pin connectors are pretty standard on all PSU's. What PSU are you going to use?
May 9, 2009 10:57:23 PM

the only one I have free, it dosen't have the 6 pin connector, I can get an adapter if I need to, but will it work at all without one?
May 9, 2009 11:07:11 PM

Is it a 6+2 pin connector? What PSU do you have and what kind of connectors does it have?
May 10, 2009 1:36:37 AM

no, the graphics card is only 6 pin, the PSU is an antec basiq 350W, with two 12V rails, it is sufficient for that setup, but it dosen't have a 6 pin connector.
May 10, 2009 12:09:32 PM

The PSU could handle the system before with the adapter, at full load, I just need to know if this will work without the adapter. I am trying to avoid having to spend much more money on the htpc, I need it for upgrading my computer, and that would be 3 weeks allowance right there. I have a friend that I see every sunday at church, he builds his own as well and has a lot of spare parts, I will ask and see if he has a psu or an adapter, but otherwise, I am gonna use this PSU, if the card will work with the adapter and this PSU, thats great, it would be nice to play games on it on our 37 inch flatscreen, otherwise, I can just use the po$ GeForce 6200LE I have laying around.
May 10, 2009 9:38:06 PM

You still haven't answered my question, yes, I know what kind of adapter to use, but will the card work without it?
May 11, 2009 3:16:00 AM

No the card will not work without it.
May 12, 2009 11:50:31 PM

Alright, thanks, I tried it before you said that, so I already know, it worked for a little bit, but shut down pretty quick after that, so until I get the PCI-E adapter, just gonna use that crappy 6200, I ordered the case for it today, after that and the adapter, gonna start saving for the upgrades.
May 16, 2009 12:06:16 AM

I don't want to skimp, if it will make a decent difference in gaming, I'll pay the extra 9 dollars.
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