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Looking for the best overall upgrade opinions before purchasing

Last response: in Systems
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September 15, 2009 9:00:49 PM

Well i usually dont post much on any forum when it comes to pc related parts as i usually do a lot of homework before buying anything. I've been building pc's & oc'ing for years now but i'm well behind the times when it comes to having a pc remotely close to what a real gamers pc is. I'm also unemployed with a cracked bone in my ankle & find myself wanting to play more games online but with my pc giving me very low fps i find myself using the ps3 more than ever. I guess since its been years since i played console gaming on a consistent basis i find myself wishing games like killzone, cod, etc. that i have for the ps3 were on my pc running perfect so i could enjoy them more there.

anyhow enough rambling about my suckyness on console systems & sluggish pc that i'm currently running. I'll list my current system, obvious goals & most of all i'm looking for advice on what direction i should go within a limited budget. Since i'm not working & wont be for sometime due to my leg injury i'm looking to spend at least as possible while achieving my goals to have a decent gaming rig.

The following list is my complete pc:

Amd Athlon X2 3800
OCZ Platinum PC3200 Ram (1gbx2)
BFG 8800 GTS
WD Raptor 36GB X2 (striped)
WD Sata 500GB HD
Asus DVDRW 24x Lightscribe
Lanparty NF4
Corsair 750w PS
Lian-li PC-V2000B
Creative 7.1 surround sound speakers
Dell 2407WFP
Win XP Pro
Danger Den Dual Rad
Danger Den RBX WaterBlock
1/2 inch tubing all the bells & whistles needed for proper WC

A Few things i'd like to throw in here i'm not looking to change cases considering i havent out grown this one & dont see the need to change it as i really like the case. Also i've been using amd cpu's as far back as i can remember & they havent failed/let me down unlike their competitor. I'd also like to stay with nvidia if possible since i've had some bad luck in the past with ati.

My goals are pretty obvious i'd like to upgrade my mb cpu ram hd space (raptors are small) achieve a good to almost great gaming pc without killing my pockets. As far as budget i'd say 500 to 600 max is what i'm willing to spend if its worth it. Obviously the cheaper the better i've already priced out a minor upgrade below my goal but curious to see your opinions on what direction i should take. I like to play a mix of games (cs, cod, aiononline, wow, tf2, etc.) just to give an idea of what games i'm trying to get a better playing experience out of.

Thanks in advanced for reading my post & giving your input on my new system.
September 15, 2009 9:09:36 PM

£500-£600 or $500-$600 ?
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September 15, 2009 9:16:10 PM

how fast is that wd 500 gb?
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September 15, 2009 9:23:08 PM

1.5 sata 7200 rpm. 500-600 USD.
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September 15, 2009 9:43:51 PM

Here is what I put together for you...
  • SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM ... Fastest Non-SSD on the market, which is faster than your Raptors
  • EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
  • AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail & GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail Combo
    Total Cost: $513.96

    Everything else you should be able to reuse. The only item that might need to be added is the DVD, since I'm not sure if it is IDE or SATA you currently have. I would recommend SATA to be added if not (extra $30).
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    September 15, 2009 9:44:54 PM

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (fastest non ssd drive currently out)

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

    ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    Xtreme Design w/ CrossfireX support, DDR3 1800 OC

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

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail

    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

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

    seems all the sub $230 gtx 275's are sold out :( 

    but if you wanna try ati

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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    September 15, 2009 9:53:04 PM

    any reason why you picked AMD Phenom II X3 720 Over the AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition? I see the price difference & i'm working within a certain budget. I just want to get the best possible since this will be my last upgrade for sometime. Yes my dvd's are sata i'm not running anything ide on my system. I've been a nvidia fan forever now & i havent used an ATI card in years mainly due to their warranty on a card i bought years ago & they didnt honor for whatever reason. i like everything else pretty much just curious on your take with the two cpu's does the black edition give me more head room in the future to spend the extra money now? or should i just rolll with what you recommended. Also what your take on gigabyte boards? along time ago i had one go bad on me pretty fast & i've been a huge asus fans for years since i have yet to ever get a doa board or one just die out of no where. after owning my lanparty for years now ive grown to have a love hate relationship. its randomly given me issues & i probably wont buy another.
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    September 15, 2009 10:11:48 PM

    I went with the x3 720 to provide the lowest cost and still get good performance. Here is a good combo for the AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition and still keeps you under $600. It uses an ATI card but which is equal or at higher level than the GTX 260 Core 216. I would not be afraid of using ATI now-a-days.. they are very good cards.
  • AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HDZ955FBGIBOX - Retail, ASUS EAH4870 DK/HTDI/1GD5 Radeon HD 4870 Dark Knight 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported ... - Retail & ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH - Retail
  • SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
    Total Cost: $575.96
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    September 15, 2009 10:35:18 PM

    man i think your last listing looks great & I cant believe the price on that video card. makes me want to get two as ill probably never find a deal like that again. I can probably spend a few more bucks as my wife said she would give me an extra few dollars since she knows ive been home bored out my mind lately with my injury & no job. got to love women sometimes =) I couldnt help but notice you're running an intel machine, sli & 6gb ram i've never come across a pc with 6gb ram hows that in comparison to 4gb? I'm almost certain i'm going to roll with your last list but i saw the same HD just 750 for additional $20 i think its worth it for the price.
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    September 16, 2009 12:01:18 AM

    Thanks for the comments on the suggested build... :D 

    Can you post a link to the HDD? I have only seen 500 & 1TB versions of the Samsung F3. Each is based on 500GB platters, which why they are so fast.

    As for my system, It is pretty standard for a Core i7 920 buid to have 6GB. The socket utilizes triple channel memory and most users want more than 3GB of RAM, so 6GB is the next level. In comparison to 4GB of the RAM I listed, you will see very little difference (if at all) in gaming. It will benefit more in processes like video encoding but the processor difference will play a part as well.
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    September 16, 2009 12:30:17 AM

    you were right it wasnt the same exact hd so i went with the 500gb for now since i already have my 500 wd i can use to store pics vids invoices etc. i pretty much picked up everything you listed but also picked up some artic silver 5 & my final question is how well is the heat sink that comes with the cpu? should i pick up another? i havent used a heat sink in years since ive been running water & dont plan on buying a water block for now unless i end up needing to next summer due to the heat in my office. other then that i'm ready to order tonight & hopefully putting it together this week =)
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    September 16, 2009 12:45:49 AM

    What gpu did you end up getting? I was curious as you said you liked AMD, but didn't like ATI. You do remember that they are one in the same now, AMD did aquire ATI a few years back. Their GPU's are also rock solid, and actually better performance for the money than most nVidia offerings, right now. I have an BFG 8800GTS 512 myself, but if I bought new today.....well first I would have waited another week for the newest ATI cards to be released, and then either bought a hopefully reduced price 4870 1 gig, or a new 5850-5870!
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    September 16, 2009 12:57:09 AM

    think0rz said:
    my final question is how well is the heat sink that comes with the cpu? should i pick up another? i havent used a heat sink in years since ive been running water & dont plan on buying a water block for now unless i end up needing to next summer due to the heat in my office. other then that i'm ready to order tonight & hopefully putting it together this week =)

    The stock HSF will be okay if you don't plan on OCing. If you want to OC, you will need an aftermarket HSF. I would recommend this one for a good priced HSF... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or you could pick up the Xigmetak Dark Knight S1283V for another good priced HSF.
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    September 16, 2009 4:45:42 AM

    jitpublisher said:
    What gpu did you end up getting? I was curious as you said you liked AMD, but didn't like ATI. You do remember that they are one in the same now, AMD did aquire ATI a few years back. Their GPU's are also rock solid, and actually better performance for the money than most nVidia offerings, right now. I have an BFG 8800GTS 512 myself, but if I bought new today.....well first I would have waited another week for the newest ATI cards to be released, and then either bought a hopefully reduced price 4870 1 gig, or a new 5850-5870!


    i was going to place my order tonight but got caught up with a few things & just came back to the pc. I read your response & now you have me worried about ordering my system tonight since you said ati is going to release new cards next week? are you certain about this? i can deal with my current pc another week if it will save me a few bucks or maybe be able to get a better card within my budget
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    September 16, 2009 4:55:52 AM

    All info I have seen says the ATI 5870 will be released Sept 24 th for about $250, which will drop the current prices a little when released. If you can wait... Wait, specially if you think that cost will fit into your budget... If not, go ahead and buy now since prices won't drop $100's of dollars... It just might make an easier sell to the wife for the 2nd card.
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    September 16, 2009 3:17:07 PM

    you can use your water block with the 955 ,am2,am2+ and am3 all use the same socket bracket
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    September 16, 2009 9:55:51 PM

    obsidian86 said:
    you can use your water block with the 955 ,am2,am2+ and am3 all use the same socket bracket


    Really? i was looking at danger dens site earlier today & it showed a newer tdx water block for the am2+ socket looks a lot different from tdx i'm currently running. are you personally running a 939 tdx lock on your am2+ mb?
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    September 16, 2009 10:10:14 PM

    nope tried liquid cooling few yrs ago find air cooling easier, but if am2 heatsinks can fit on an am3 board there should be no reason why a water block shouldn also fit
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    September 20, 2009 7:09:40 AM

    obsidian86 said:
    nope tried liquid cooling few yrs ago find air cooling easier, but if am2 heatsinks can fit on an am3 board there should be no reason why a water block shouldn also fit


    well the waterblock definitely didnt fit the new mb so i had to stick with air cooling. no big deal its been pretty cold out here & temps are very low considering im using the factory heat sink. i would like to thank everyone who helped with the system, especially tecmo i got all the parts listed on thursday put it all together the same night installed vista 64 bit home & couldnt be happier! =)
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    September 20, 2009 11:51:12 AM

    You are welcome!!! :D 

    I'm glad to hear the build went smoothly & you are happy with your system...
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    !