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$500 - $750 upgrade advice?

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Last response: in Systems
July 12, 2009 1:23:56 AM

Approximate purchase date: (ASAP, or when i make sure everything is compatiple) Budget Range: (US$500-750)

System used mainly for gaming, surfing the net, other home usage, watching movies from time to time.

I plan on gutting my older system and using as many parts from it as i can, even though its around 6 yrs old.

My old System: (ordered from alienware)
Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.00 GHz
Asus P4C800-E Deluxe Motherboard
ATI Radeon 9800 pro
4x 512MB DDR memory
2x 160g Barracuda 7200.7 (hard drives, on raid) (may have 1 going bad but not sure)
Plextor DVDR PX-504A (dvd burner)
Lite-on-JLMS-XJ-HD166S (dvd player)
HPC-420-102 DF Power Supply
Creative sound blaster Audigy 2
Networking card = Intel Pro/1000 MT
Alienware Tower Case
Moniter = Multisync FE2111sb (22" big monster, may try to replace in the future for LCD same size)

*If possible i plan on re-using the dvd drive, dvd writer, Floppy drive (yes i know outdated but still have a few games from them), power supply (unless i need to update for the newer components) networking card, and sound card (unless like i've been researching, the motherboard's on-board sound will prob. be just as good). Also the alieanware case and monitor(i usually run the resolution at: 1024x768)

Possible hardware to upgrade with:

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz
AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz
*I may try to overclock but still new at that.

XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler
Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2
one of these Arctic Cooling

ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
*I haven't really researched on memory yet, so there may be others that i haven't found yet...

Video Card:
Still to be determined depending on my budget. I have had problems with radeon cards on my computer, had 2 go bad before the warranty with alienware was up... and the latest one just died which is why I'm upgrading.
I'd like to try Invida but I'm not sure if it would cause problems with the asus motherboard.
I also just plan on one card for now but possible a 2nd for crossfire in the future, if this setup allows it.

Thx for the help, I'll post a followup later. :hello: 

More about : 500 750 upgrade advice

a b B Homebuilt system
July 12, 2009 2:17:50 AM

Don't have too much time to dig into this tonight but a couple quick pionts

CPU: All are good, get what you can afford
HSF: I have the core contact and its great. Comes with good goo so nothing else to buy.
Mobo: If you're going to OC possibly, get a 790 chipset and not the 770.
Memory: The OCZ you have listed is triple channel. If it does work, it run in single channel and be really slow. The Gskill might also be a little tall depending on the mobo layout and the size of the HSF. Don't know if you need vertical heat spreaders on the ram.
GPU: If you want a second card down the line, you'll have to go ATI. If you want a single card and replace it instead of adding a second in the future, you can pick either. With as low of a resolution as you are using now, a 4850 should be more than enough but will struggle if you upgrade your monitor to anything larger than 1650x1050 for high settings. So then you would have to add a second one or start with a 4870 1gb. They are going for $140 now after rebate.
July 13, 2009 3:30:03 AM

OK, after talking to a co-worker and reading many more reviews, I've decided to go the way of the ddr2 memory boards and memory. let me know what you think and if everything looks compatible.

AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition 2.8GHz
AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz

*I'm not sure if the onboard graphics card will cause any problems with going crossfire on this thing? This is still my first choice i guess, even though the other board is cheaper.

*I'm kinda hesitant about this board even though it gets good reviews and the possible unlocking of the 4 cores on the possessors i listed, I've also never had a gigabyte board.


mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel

Video Card:
XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
*I've only started looking at the cards but this one looks good for the money. I plan on getting another one later but for now I should only need 1, I usually play city of heroes, wow, or warhammer.

*Let me know if i'm way off the mark with the memory, new egg kinda sucks for finding the right ones, and if anyone knows any good ones for my board please let me know.

Even after reading many review and stuff about memory I'm still lost in the dark about it. thought i read somewhere to go lower voltage on them? but I'm currently brain fried and will continue looking tomorrow.

Thx for responding :hello: 
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 13, 2009 12:36:42 PM

System specs will give the best of us headaches.

I'd definately steer you towards the x3 720. Some current games already benefit from the extra core and you'll see more and more in the next year or two.

Either board is fine. But take a look at the article today about the difference from the 790FX board and the 790X. If you are for sure going crossfire, might be worth the coin for a 790FX. If you do go with a 790GX, the on board graphics will have no impact on the rest of the system. They will be shut off from the bios. But Gigabyte makes an excellent board and Asus does too. I'm always cautious of those who want a quad core and put hope in the unlock bug from the tri core. If you want a quad, buy a quad. They dissabled one core for a reason.

1066 memory is usually overclocked 800 and needs a little more voltage to get there. That's a decent kit, but someone else might be able to show you another that is $15-$20 cheaper.
July 14, 2009 9:37:10 PM

I was leaning for that processor anyway, and i'm not really getting it for the possible unlock of the 4th core.

I'm now looking into aftermarket cooling fans for the processor. for those 2 boards. and i'm looking at this ram.
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066
But i'm not sure if the coolers will cause problems with the memory slots.
Also the coolers don't really say if they support the socket really.

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler
Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2

and if there are any that you would recommend would be great.
thx for the replies
a b B Homebuilt system
July 14, 2009 11:38:26 PM

That's why hunter is da man. If you take the ram he's suggesting, I'd say avoid the arctic pro. Its a good cooler, but older tech. So go for either the dark knight or the Sunbeam. Here's a review I posted for the Sunbeam. If you can deal with the cons I pointed out, it is a great cooler.
July 17, 2009 3:33:18 AM

hunter315 said:
I would suggest

The difference in price is negilible but the future expandability is very different. The OCZ also has very tight timings.

Thats a really nice combo and I think that is what I'm gonna go with. Is there any other ram that is supported by that board, I was looking at the manual for it online and I didn't really see these sticks, or a lot of sticks in the manual on new-egg?
(i'm not really looking to overclock the memory, I just want to something that is stable, seems like a lot of people are still
haveing problems with the ddr3 memory.)
was looking at this maybe?:

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

let me know what you guys think?
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2009 3:41:21 AM

Thats actually the ram kit i bought last week, works straight out of the box and sets its timings via SPD. However, the OCZ platinum's come with tighter timings, granted they cost alot more, but the tighter timings give a performance boost. The board technically only supports 1333MHz memory but if you intend to overclock you want some memory rated for a higher speed so you will be able to use it stably. You will be fine with either kit it just depends if you are willing to pay more for an easier overclock.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2009 3:48:41 AM

Before picking that GSkilll set at Cas 8, I'd go for this Cas 7. Timing are really tight on this.

I wouldn't worry about the model of Gskill or OCZ being on the Qualified vendor list or not. Its good ram and conforms to standards. Your mobo will work flawlessly with either.