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Component Upgrade Review

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August 6, 2009 9:02:28 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a few weeks

BUDGET RANGE: $300-500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
Gaming. World of Warcraft, soon to be SWTOR.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, os, case, optical drives

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE:
No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Could careless about aesthetics only performance on a reasonable budget.

I'm looking for feedback on a budget gaming system I'm trying to build. I can salvage the OS, Case, and Optical Drives, so they are subtracted from this list.


CPU
Intel E6300 Wolfdale
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Video
Radeon HD 4850 512MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


HD
SATA 7200 RPM 320 GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Memory
2 x 2BG DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Motherboard
G31
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


PSU
Corsair 400w
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...





Any feedback would be incredibly appreciated.
August 6, 2009 9:15:07 PM

You'll get much more meaningful advice if you follow the format in the "How to ask for new build advice" sticky at the top of the forum. There's some basic information in there that will help us a lot.

The parts look OK, but we may be able to optimize the build with more information.
August 6, 2009 9:22:46 PM

As shortstuff says. Also let us know what case you have specifically.
Related resources
August 6, 2009 9:25:34 PM

Quote:
You'll get much more meaningful advice if you follow the format in the "How to ask for new build advice" sticky at the top of the forum. There's some basic information in there that will help us a lot.


Edited with the correct format.

Quote:
As shortstuff says. Also let us know what case you have specifically.


I'm not near my computer now, so I'm unsure of the model number. But it's a systemax, ATX Mid Tower.
August 6, 2009 10:18:20 PM

If you don't mind using your whole budget, this is my suggestion.

Combo:
OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P10664GK - Retail
SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ StealthXStream OCZ500SXS 500W ATX12V / EPS12V Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Right at $500 depending on shipping charges to wherever you live. Was $501.01 to ship to Texas minus any mail in rebates. Someone may be able to tweak it a bit, but its a solid system.
August 6, 2009 10:23:20 PM

Its funny, what you just suggested was my second, more expensive build.

But I was thinking to take advantage of the LGA 775 prices, while their cheap. Would their discontinuation really effect the future upgradability of my system compared to AM3?
August 6, 2009 10:27:57 PM

LGA 775 is EOL. No upgrade path at all.
August 6, 2009 11:05:25 PM

AM3 currently makes a lot more sense than LGA 775. The AM3 socket and DDR3 will be easily upgradeable for quite a while. LGA 775 and DDR2 will both be phased out in the near future.
August 7, 2009 4:24:43 AM

Would the system detailed in my first post, as is, take care of my gaming needs for the next few years? It seems everything that caters to 775 right now is dirty cheap, and I'd like to take advantage of it.

Note: I have no plans to play Crysis at max quality settings and 10,000 x 1,000,000 resolution. The only games I currently play are World of Warcraft, and down the road Star Wars - The Old Republic. But having said this I want to run with the smoothest frames possible, while still looking good enough to merit a purchase.

Note 2: The monitor I use is an old CRT, nearly 6 years old, 19" maybe? That I've been just fine with at 1280x1024 or 1600x1200.
August 7, 2009 6:19:50 AM

You should consider AMDThunder's build. The extra core will help out in WoW and possibly SWTOR. MMOs can be fairly taxing on CPUs when there are lots of players in the same area at one time.
August 7, 2009 2:14:39 PM

challengepower5287 said:
Would the system detailed in my first post, as is, take care of my gaming needs for the next few years? It seems everything that caters to 775 right now is dirty cheap, and I'd like to take advantage of it.

Note: I have no plans to play Crysis at max quality settings and 10,000 x 1,000,000 resolution. The only games I currently play are World of Warcraft, and down the road Star Wars - The Old Republic. But having said this I want to run with the smoothest frames possible, while still looking good enough to merit a purchase.

Note 2: The monitor I use is an old CRT, nearly 6 years old, 19" maybe? That I've been just fine with at 1280x1024 or 1600x1200.


I noticed there's quite a few more combos out this morning. I think many would agree in not recommending the LGA775 path. With the monitor and resolution you have check out this combo to save $50.

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P10664GK - Retail
SAPPHIRE 100253HDMI Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Low Profile Video ... - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Anf this PSU.
Antec earthwatts EA380 380W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Under $440 shipped, and still a very solid build.
August 7, 2009 4:00:34 PM

I'm leaning towards the cost advantage of 775, instead of the prospect of future upgrades with an AM3. I'm not sure if I trust purchasing a motherboard to last more than one CPU upgrade -- by the time I choose to upgrade in the future (which will not be often) the socket may become obsolete from a price/performance standpoint. It very well may become cheaper to just purchase the 'soup du jour' setup from the bottom up later on.

Also I don't intend to upgrade every year, but I do want it to run well now, and reasonably enough in the future to even merit a purchase.

I have zero intent on playing Crysis, maxed out, with a resolution that could rival an IMAX.


I did see a post on the WoW Tech Support forums earlier from another player with similar questions. A forum mod responded suggesting any DC 2.66/2.8 GHZ or higher would be just fine.

I'm trying to find out though, and I'm on the WoW forums as well, if MMO's in general are more CPU than GPU intensive.
August 7, 2009 4:58:22 PM

Ok, bro. Lets break this down. I took both builds and added everything to the shopping cart on newegg.

Your build on newegg = $415 shipped.
My build on newegg = $437 shipped.

That $22 is worth spending. At the resolution you're gaming at, you may even be able to save a few more dollars on a 4670. Not trying to argue with you here, just trying to help. No offense, but you're really not making sense. You might find a combo deal on the 6300 and a similar mobo and shave another $10 off your price, but still, a $30 savings is not worth going with the LGA 775, even if it did have an upgrade path.

EDIT* I'm a moron. Already included the 4650 in the $440 build. Still will be plenty for you with that monitor and resolution. Plus that's a Crossfire mobo. Can add another 4650 later if you need more oomph. :pt1cable: 
August 7, 2009 5:14:38 PM

I agree with AMDThunder. There really isn't a "cost advantage" to going with the LGA 775 socket. It's not like they're in the bargain bin. All the low-end to mid-range CPU's offer about the same price/preformance right now regardless of manufacturer.
August 7, 2009 5:39:25 PM

Same. The high end is i7; AMD can't touch the performance. For everything else, to me LGA775 has lost its appeal, which means AM3 or even AM2+. Recent articles have made it pretty clear also that more than two cores is the way to go now.
For a box that will never be upgraded beyond video card(s) and maybe RAM, LGA775 with aQ9xx may be ok IF you can get it cheaply, but for anything else, new, the socket is dead.
August 7, 2009 5:45:17 PM

The only thing I don't care for in AMDThunder's build is the non-80+ certified PSU. I'd go with an Antec Earthwatts at the low end, or an Antec TruePower New or Corsair for 650W or more at the high end.
August 7, 2009 6:00:04 PM

My list may be a bit confusing. The $440 build includes items listed in a seperate response. The response includes the Antec Earthwatts. :) 

The OCZ StealthXtreme is still a decent PSU tho. Especially when on a tight budget.
August 7, 2009 6:13:04 PM

AMDThunder said:
Ok, bro. Lets break this down. I took both builds and added everything to the shopping cart on newegg.

Your build on newegg = $415 shipped.
My build on newegg = $437 shipped.

That $22 is worth spending. At the resolution you're gaming at, you may even be able to save a few more dollars on a 4670. Not trying to argue with you here, just trying to help. No offense, but you're really not making sense. You might find a combo deal on the 6300 and a similar mobo and shave another $10 off your price, but still, a $30 savings is not worth going with the LGA 775, even if it did have an upgrade path.

EDIT* I'm a moron. Already included the 4650 in the $440 build. Still will be plenty for you with that monitor and resolution. Plus that's a Crossfire mobo. Can add another 4650 later if you need more oomph. :pt1cable: 


No need at all to explain you're not trying to argue. If anything, I appreciate your feedback immensely, and everyone elses for that matter. Thank you, should have said this several posts earlier.

The biggest factor for why I was leaning towards the 775 build in the first place was because the GPU I could afford (4850) seemed to have significantly greater benchmarks, and had a better passmark score than the 4650.

I thought having a lesser CPU, in this case the e6300, while having a greater video card, the 4850, would be more beneficial than the reverse -- knowing I have no intentions to play Crysis full boar / no intentions to upgrade every season.


I know the AMD3 has future promise, but would the Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz / 4650 outperform the E6300 2.8GHz / 4850 ?
August 7, 2009 6:24:05 PM

In games, no; you need the stronger GPU for most games. A 550BE/4850 would probably at least equal an e6300/4850. Even if you chose a Regor 250/4850 you would have the option to later upgrade that CPU to a X4 955, or whatever was current when you did the upgrade.
August 7, 2009 6:51:41 PM

That's a good question. From what I understand, MMOs like WoW are more cpu dependant, and would benefit more from the 3 cores on the X3. What you need to consider when choosing a video card is the resolution you're gaming at. IMO, a 4850 is not needed for gaming at 1280X1024. It does provide a bit of future proofing if you were to upgrade your monitor at some point. I have no idea what the break point is for needing a better card. ie. at what resolution you would need a better card.

Its $53 more to get the combo I originally listed with the 4850 and RAM, or as I mentioned, with the Crossfire mobo, you have the option of picking up another 4650 along the way if you did at some point upgrade the monitor. Obviously, its your money, so its up to you. You originally listed your budget as up to $500 and asked our opinions. IMO, your best bang for the buck is the first list I gave you. If you have no plans to upgrade your monitor in the near future, go with the changes I listed in the seperate response. Some new combos came out today. Will see if I can tweak the original list.
August 7, 2009 7:20:41 PM

Ok, got a list that comes to $479.29 vs. your build at $415. I'll list it if you're interested. Includes the 4850.
August 7, 2009 7:34:26 PM

I have a friend who has run WoW for several years on an Nvidia IGP. (I think a 7100) Not that I would recommend that, but it's not that demanding.

One thing we don't discuss much is the MINIMUM frame rate. We always talk about the AVERAGE, which is not really what you notice when playing. I think processor strength can impact the minimum FPS more.

Last year I was on Ventrillo with some clan mates and we were in a large PVP battle (Warhammer Online). Three of us had 8800GTs, but I had the stronger processor. There were perhaps 300 people in this battle. I was getting playable frame rates in the heart of the battle while the others were not. They had to stay more on the fringes.

The X3 720 is by far the best bang for the buck of any processor sold currently. The increase in price is minor compared to the increase in performance.
August 7, 2009 7:39:38 PM

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock A790GMH/128M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P10664GK - Retail
SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

The only other thing can think of would be to switch to this CPU:
AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Still dual core, and will OC very well if you were ever so inclined, and save you $30.
August 7, 2009 7:58:34 PM

Quote:
One thing we don't discuss much is the MINIMUM frame rate. We always talk about the AVERAGE, which is not really what you notice when playing. I think processor strength can impact the minimum FPS more.


awesome, this is something I wanted to address in my build as I can't stand sudden dips in fps.

Thanks AMD for the suggestions, it's very similar to the alternative AMD build I was thinking of, except with the dual core you listed. I'm sold on third core after discussing this around quite a few rounds here, and elsewhere. My only concern is the motherboard, I dont have experience owning either of those brands. I have a comfort buffer in Gigabyte, MSI, and Asus. (I'd hate to have something thats less reliable, go faulty, and effect other components.)
August 7, 2009 8:27:18 PM

Good find Proximon. Not sure how I missed that one. Foxconn isn't terrible either, but its tough to get top quality on a tight budget.

Would be good to know what case it is, or at least the size somehow. You may need a microATX board. The Asrock board I listed is micro, but don't think any of the others were. IMO, Gigabyte and Asus are both top tier boards.
August 7, 2009 8:36:49 PM

Its a Systemax, unsure of the model number. It is an ATX case, but I dont think it'll have problems fitting a M-ATX board.
August 7, 2009 8:39:00 PM

As long as its ATX, you'll be fine with either board.
August 7, 2009 8:46:37 PM

Awesome, you're help has been incredible.


I'm not sure how to read this, under the Asus mobo specs it states:

* Due to AMD CPU limitation, DDR2 1066 is supported by AM2+/AM3 CPU for one DIMM per channel only."
August 7, 2009 8:50:38 PM

It means you can't run 4 sticks at 1066. That's a CPU limitation because it's the CPU that has the memory controller, not the board. If you added more memory, it would all have to run at 800Mhz.
August 7, 2009 8:59:23 PM

Ok, so the 2x2gb sticks shouldn't pose a problem.

I just realized my optical drives are IDE, not SATA...and it doesn't look like this Asus has any IDE slots. May have to switch to SATA?
August 7, 2009 9:06:17 PM

The Asus board has one connection for a ribbon cable which gives you two devices. One IDE HDD and one optical drive. Or, since you're getting a sata HDD, 2 optical drives.
August 7, 2009 9:12:17 PM

Total Price: $474.81


Glad I was convinced on the AM3. Nothing that I wanted badly was compromised, while improving other aspects all within reasonable cost.

Thanks guys
August 7, 2009 9:30:45 PM

You bet. Let us know how it goes when you get it all put together.
August 7, 2009 11:01:12 PM

Very nice.
August 17, 2009 2:41:09 PM

update: Assembled it all this weekend, and it run's great. Extreme upgrade from my laptop.

In wow terms, I can flawlessly run through Dalaran on ultra settings at 1600x1200.


Titan panel shows an average of 58ish FPS on ultra settings, since the new hardware has been installed.

August 17, 2009 3:23:06 PM

All's well that ends well...
August 17, 2009 4:06:41 PM

Congrats man. Glad to hear it went well. Enjoy! :) 
!