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WoW @ High Specs, New Sys or Upgrade?

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August 23, 2009 1:50:10 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next Week

BUDGET RANGE: $300-600

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Watching Movies, Surfing Internet

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg

PARTS PREFERENCES: I tend to lean towards AMD and Radeon, but am up to suggestions

OVERCLOCKING: Yes if it's a good bang-for-buck. She doesn't like heat/noise, though.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900 I'm pretty sure.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My GF is looking to renew her WoW addiction with prospects of the new expansion, and as a part of that upgrade her system to handle it better while streaming music in the background, being able to alt+tab easily without long delays. Her current system is a Core 2 Duo E6300 at 1.86Ghz, 1GB Ram, Radeon x1050, No-name MB, 300watt PS. (It's a Gateway GT5238E Media center with a video card slapped in).

On the very cheap route we can slap in another 1-2GB of ram for 15-30 bucks. That doesn't do much for the video card or processor. We can swap out the x1050 for something better, get a bigger PS, upgrade the CPU, etc., but at this point it seems like it might be better/less aggravating to upgrade the whole system vs. running into bottlenecks.

I'd love to find a way to creatively upgrade her current system to save money, but yeah, it has some limitations.

Something I threw together based on some other threads is

AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDX545WFGIBOX - Retail
and
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail Combo for $139.98

OCZ NVIDIA SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2N800SRC44GK - Retail for 46.99

Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail for 49.99

SAPPHIRE 100277L Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail 109.99

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM 69.99

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail 49.99

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 LightScribe Support - OEM 29.99

Totals 496.92 before tax and shipping which raise it to 557.92

I don't think I missed anything critical in the build. Any ideas and feedback on it? I'd love to chop it down to the $300 range. I'm just not sure on how much processor and video card she'll really need for what she wants to do.

Thanks
August 23, 2009 2:19:12 AM

You have a pretty decent "bargain" build and it would be hard press to get a "better system" for less that is upgradable down the road. If you want to get down to the $300 range, your best bet would be to upgrade her current system. You are on the right path with the upgrade...
  • Increase to 3GB of RAM
  • Add in your listed PSU: Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail for 49.99
  • Your listed GPU (Radeon X1050 256MB) will not work. You need a AGP video card for her system. Here is a good one: ASUS AH4650/DI/1GD2 Radeon HD 4650 1GB 128-bit DDR2 AGP 8X HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail, which these three items gets you under $300.

    Being her PC looks to be an HP PC, you won't most likely be able to OC her CPU, so you can't add more power. IMO... your best bet is to build new with what you have listed.
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    August 23, 2009 2:41:02 AM

    if you're going to build the new system, don't forget to factor in OS costs.
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    Related resources
    August 23, 2009 3:06:31 AM

    psch OS cost, WoW actually is one of the games that works well under WINE in ubuntu 9.04
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    Best solution

    August 23, 2009 3:09:42 AM

    Your system (Gateway 5238E media center) uses the G965 Intel motherboard. You can upgrade the CPU with a Core2 Duo fsb 1066, such as the E6700 or E6600. You could also remove the current RAM and replace it with 2x1 GB of DDR2 800 RAM, or match what you have and add another 2GB. Add in the 430w Antec power supply and a PCIex16 graphic card.
    http://support.gateway.com/s/MOTHERBD/Intel2/4006153R/4...

    The biggest problem with this route is the CPUs are out of production and pretty costly now. You may look around for a deal on Ebay (i'm not a fan of Ebay) and if you can get one cheap enough, it may be worthwhile. Personally if there's anyway to afford it, go with a new build. Here's some graphic card benchmarks of WoW to help pick which card might be the best for her.

    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,689378/WoW-Wrath-of-...
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/mainstre...

    *EDIT* super bargain would be to replace the RAM with the DDR2 800 1.8v RAM, install the HD4670 and see how the game runs. About $100
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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    August 23, 2009 3:48:42 AM

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    August 23, 2009 3:48:43 AM

    dirtmountain said:
    Your system (Gateway 5238E media center) uses the G965 Intel motherboard. You can upgrade the CPU with a Core2 Duo fsb 1066, such as the E6700 or E6600. You could also remove the current RAM and replace it with 2x1 GB of DDR2 800 RAM, or match what you have and add another 2GB. Add in the 430w Antec power supply and a PCIex16 graphic card.
    http://support.gateway.com/s/MOTHERBD/Intel2/4006153R/4...

    Dirtmoutain... I stand corrected on the OP needing a AGP card.

    I reviewed the listed graphics card by the OP and it came up as an AGP, so I thought the board required a AGP. I reviewed the motherboard listed for the Gateway 5283E (G965 Intel motherboard) and it does support a PCIe-16.
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    August 23, 2009 5:41:36 AM

    Wow! Thanks for all the responses folks.

    It looks like we're leaning towards putting in 2x1 GB of Ram to help things along. In addition, getting a new PS and Video card that can later be transplanted into a new system. Would a Radeon 4770 with a PS that can later crossfire it be a good idea? Or would that video card have some trouble on this motherboard with such a slow processor? I'm not too sure on these sort of things, beyond "it fits the slot." Also was wondering if it would be possible to crossfire the 4670 later on, and maybe get that for the "low noise" factor. I'm not sure.
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    August 23, 2009 6:00:25 AM

    dirtmountain said:
    Your system (Gateway 5238E media center) uses the G965 Intel motherboard. You can upgrade the CPU with a Core2 Duo fsb 1066, such as the E6700 or E6600. You could also remove the current RAM and replace it with 2x1 GB of DDR2 800 RAM, or match what you have and add another 2GB. Add in the 430w Antec power supply and a PCIex16 graphic card.
    http://support.gateway.com/s/MOTHERBD/Intel2/4006153R/4...

    The biggest problem with this route is the CPUs are out of production and pretty costly now. You may look around for a deal on Ebay (i'm not a fan of Ebay) and if you can get one cheap enough, it may be worthwhile. Personally if there's anyway to afford it, go with a new build. Here's some graphic card benchmarks of WoW to help pick which card might be the best for her.

    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,689378/WoW-Wrath-of-...
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/mainstre...

    *EDIT* super bargain would be to replace the RAM with the DDR2 800 1.8v RAM, install the HD4670 and see how the game runs. About $100
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



    Ummm the E6300 already runs FSB1066, and is not a bad processor, also dont expect new cpus to work in OEM branded motherboards, nor expect overclocking options.

    Perhaps a fresh install, and definitly upgrade that video card to the 46xx series
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    August 23, 2009 6:28:51 AM

    I think that getting the RAM (the G965 chipset can take DDR2 800 1.8v RAM with 5-5-5 timings or 6-6-6 timings) the one i listed earlier is fine along with the Antec 430w Earthwatts or the OCZ 500w listed by Batchuka and either the HD4770 or a GTS250 1GB would be a great upgrade and could be moved into another build at a later date. Check out the benchmarks for WoW i posted earlier, the GTS250 1GB performs very well in WoW.

    *edit for clarification* The G965 chipset can only handle FSB 1066 or FSB 800, none of the E series wolfdales are compatible.
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    August 23, 2009 7:00:54 AM

    WoW is mostly CPU based not GPU. A better GPU will help some but not as much as a quad core.

    You can get a $50 mobo 4G ram and a 4670, and a $150 quad for under $300 and use the hdd and optical form her currnent PC.
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    August 23, 2009 11:02:14 AM

    For the technical aspect of using a quadcore in WoW WotLK, this thread with numerous blue posts about affinity mask which starts in 2007, but pretty quickly moves into 2009 and the recent patches would help.
    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=1...

    The best CPU that works on the G965 is the Q6700,
    http://www.smksuperstore.com/products/viewproduct.ashx?...
    but i can't pin down if the Intel® (Love Valley G) G965 Viiv supports it without a BIOS update or if Gateway or Intel provides that BIOS update to users.
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    August 23, 2009 12:26:13 PM

    dirtmountain - it all comes down to bios support, pin out, chipset AND vrm design - OEM's and system manafacturers like dell etc like to cut corners and not make things future proof etc (eg using cheaper regulation/vrm designs that cant haldle higher end or future processors etc) - i doubt it would work.
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    August 23, 2009 5:54:55 PM

    Thank you all for the replies. I'm reading through that WoW thread now on multiple cores.

    It looks like we're leaning more towards a new system at this point, since the criterion has moved more towards "something that will last for a long time" vs. fixing stuff up. There are a lot of good threads on that topic, vs. just upgrading an old one.

    For a "newer" gaming computer for low noise, it seems like one or two hd4770's still seem to be the way to go unless I'm missing something. That and one of the faster AMD quads or even a 2.66 i7 if the budget goes up.

    Thank you all again for your replies and help as we try to figure this out.
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    August 23, 2009 6:01:21 PM

    I know it gets pretty confusing with so many options available, it's like the old days with homework/homework/homework. Good luck in your research and always post again when you decide on a build.
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