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Upgrading Gaming Rig to HTPC help

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June 29, 2009 11:44:53 PM

Hello, I have a US $1000 budge with which to upgrade my gaming rig into a machine that will also serve as a media PC. I have come up with a few options and want some opinions:

Current Set-Up:
E5200 Core Duo (stock)
4 GB OCZ DDR2800 RAM (stock)
ATI 4830 (stock)
150GB HD 7200rpm
Audigy 2 ZS
17" ViewSonic LCD
Vista Ultimate 32-Bit

Option 1: (leaves me $50 under budget) This option provides me with a large high quality screen, but leaves me running games at 1920x1080 on the ATI 4830 which I'm not confident can handle it.
32" 1080p LCD HDTV
AverMedia TV Tuner
LG Blu-Ray Player
WD Caviar Black HD 640GB


Option 2: (leaves me $50 under budget) This option provides me with a slightly smaller screen, but provides me with a new much faster processor and motherboard capable of crossfire which will allow me to upgrade this winter when new chips come out. Still left running the 4830, though.
Hanns G 28" 1080p monitor
AverMedia TV Tuner
LG Blu-Ray Player
WD Caviar Black 640GB
AMD Phenom II X4 940
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P Motherboard (crossfire)


Option 3: (puts me 20-50 bucks over budget) This option provides me with a much faster processor and video card but maxes out the capability of my motherboard leaving me with no crossfire option and since the LGA775 socket is going to go out of style because of the i7, is not very upgrade-able.
Hanns G 28" 1080p monitor
AverMedia TV Tuner
LG Blu-Ray Player
WD Caviar Black 640GB
Intel E8400
ATI 4870 1GB (or 4890??)


Please let me know what you guys think. Thanks
June 30, 2009 1:36:53 AM

I'd go with option 2. You stay under budget, 28" monitor is more than enough, and a 4830 can handle that resolution easily.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 30, 2009 2:03:48 AM

I'm not a fan of a 28" monitor thats only running 19x12. That's like taking a 23" monitor and stretching it out another 5 inches. It will look a little grainy compared to the smaller size with the same resolution.

No overclocking at all? The E5200 is a champ. Even the current revision should hit 3.0 ghz. My first revision is stable at 3.6 with moderate voltage. Just get an aftermarket cooler.

You'd be able to play games on the 4830, but there will be a setting sacrifice at 19x12.

Few questions too:

What mobo are u currently running on?

Are you planning on the blu-ray to be a stand alone player or a drive in the HTPC? Do you need it to be a blu-ray burner?

What case are you using?

What power supply do you have?
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 30, 2009 9:37:56 AM

I have the 27.5" Hanns-G monitor and it's huge. Way too big to be sitting just a couple of feet from (IMO). If this is your case, then I'd recommend going with option three and drop down to a 23"-24" 1920x1080 monitor at around half the price; which gets you back under budget.

-Wolf sends
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 30, 2009 3:49:30 PM

None of the above.

Even though I like option 2, it seems to me that you already have a capable motherboard if you have the 45nm E5200 in there. I say upgrade to a better Intel CPU, like a Q9000 series quad core or E8400/E8500 dual core, and go with a 4870. You may also want to consider overclocking your E5200 for now so that you can put more money towards the other components.
June 30, 2009 4:47:49 PM

skora said:
I'm not a fan of a 28" monitor thats only running 19x12. That's like taking a 23" monitor and stretching it out another 5 inches. It will look a little grainy compared to the smaller size with the same resolution.

No overclocking at all? The E5200 is a champ. Even the current revision should hit 3.0 ghz. My first revision is stable at 3.6 with moderate voltage. Just get an aftermarket cooler.

You'd be able to play games on the 4830, but there will be a setting sacrifice at 19x12.

Few questions too:

What mobo are u currently running on?

Are you planning on the blu-ray to be a stand alone player or a drive in the HTPC? Do you need it to be a blu-ray burner?

What case are you using?

What power supply do you have?


I don't know the mobo, but it doesn't support crossfire and I have no idea its overclocking capacity...it was a system built by a local custom pc shop for a budget price so probably not great.

ill be using a blu-ray drive, i don't really need to burn blu-rays but the capability would be nice

i believe my power supply is a 350W so it could need an upgrade as well
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 30, 2009 6:09:51 PM

Use CPU-Z to figure out the motherboard make and model, and then check it's CPU compatibility chart.
June 30, 2009 6:40:07 PM

megamanx00 said:
Use CPU-Z to figure out the motherboard make and model, and then check it's CPU compatibility chart.



It's an ASUS P5K SE/EPU, so it can handle the e8400 but I don't want to get the e8400 when a Phenom 2 X4 940 is about the same price and will allow me to get a new mobo with crossfire thats AM3 compatible for the next generation of AMD processors. I don't know how well my mobo overclocks though
!