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Build New Computer or Upgrade?

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November 24, 2009 12:32:33 PM

Hey all,


So this is my scenario: I want to get better gaming performance for the new games that are out or coming out, AND I want to put a computer in my living room to function as an HTPC (mostly storing movies, tv shows, pictures, maybe playing multiplayer games on medium settings, not using it as a DVR though). My question is if I should just put my current computer in my living room and start from scratch with a new computer or do I replace certain parts and put those towards the HTPC?

This is what I have (relevant to the discussion):

Processor: Q6600 GO stepping (I was unlucky and got a poor overclocker. I can't get it past 3 GHz without crazy voltage, temps are fine)
Motherboard: Maximus Extreme X38 (LGA 775)
Graphics Card: HD 3870
RAM: 4GB OCZT31600XMGK
Hard Drives: x1 WD6400AAkS, x2 WD1000FALS
Case: Thermaltake Armor
Power Supply: ABS Tagan BZ 1100W
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64

(Don't ask me why I went overkill on the power supply and motherboard; it was my first build and I was dumb :kaola:  )

What I am thinking of doing:

1) Replacing the Q6600 with a Q9650
2) Replacing the HD 3870 with HD 5750s or HD 5770s in crossfire
3) Ordering a case, psu, motherboard, small hard drive for OS and using my left over parts (Q6600, HD 3870) from my current computer plus my two 1 TB hard drives and 4 GB of RAM I have laying around to build an HTPC.

Does this make sense? I am looking for price/performance here. Thoughts/opinions would be awesome. Thanks if you made it through all my rambling!




More about : build computer upgrade

a b B Homebuilt system
November 24, 2009 1:02:22 PM

If I were you, I'd probably go with an entire new system for gaming. Buy an HTPC case/power supply and transfer the guts of your current system to it. Use your current case/power supply for your new system.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 24, 2009 3:36:14 PM

^ +1

It looks like you're going to be ordering all the components for a new system anyway. So might as well just build a new gaming machine and leave the old one alone. Less trouble that way, plus you get current-generation parts for your new PC instead of ones that are a half-step behind.

Also, if you're thinking of crossfiring two lower-powered DX11 cards, you might as well get a 5850 for $300. That'll give you plenty of performance for anything out there now (at the same price, even a few bucks lower, actually), and then in a year or two you can crossfire it and be much better off than if you'd bought a pair of 5770s (in which case you'd essentially have to throw away both cards for any increase in performance)
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November 24, 2009 4:26:19 PM

I was thinking about the HD 5850, but in the benchmarks I've seen the HD 5750 in crossfire beats the HD 5850 and even trades blows with the HD 5870, and currently are cheaper than the HD 5850 by about $10. The HD 5770 in crossfire might even be overkill for my needs (1680 x 1050).

http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5750-review-cro...

Your right, I am pretty much ordering new components, but getting an i7 motherboard and RAM makes my upgrades cost about $300 (as opposed to me ordering a decent LGA 775 motherboard for around $100 and using my unused RAM) and from what I've read the processor doesn't matter as much for gaming, especially compared to something like a q9650 that will be overclocked to (hopefully) around 4 GHz.

I guess I will have to think about it. Who knows maybe the i7 prices will dip and push me over.

Thanks for the suggestions guys!
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 24, 2009 5:00:00 PM

actually the i5 matches the q9650 at $120 cheaper then the q9650

the q9650 is actually $320!!!
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 24, 2009 5:32:48 PM

At 1680x1050 a single 5770 is pretty solid. I am able to play MMORPGs at ultra high with some AA turned on.
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November 24, 2009 5:33:20 PM

Ahh I forgot about the i5! Thank you obsidian86! I see on Tom's charts that it outperforms the q9650 at stock....and not too shabby of an overclocker either.

So can anyone recommend a decent motherboard to overclock the i5? i7 compatibility would be nice, and I believe they all have crossfire support? A board for around $150 or lower would be nice...I see some of these boards cost around $300. I bought the maximus extreme for around that amount, but I got caught up in the ddr3 and crossfire support, but now all of these boards have it. Is there any point to buying the expensive boards?

Thanks again


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a b B Homebuilt system
November 24, 2009 7:31:24 PM

njalterio said:
I was thinking about the HD 5850, but in the benchmarks I've seen the HD 5750 in crossfire beats the HD 5850 and even trades blows with the HD 5870, and currently are cheaper than the HD 5850 by about $10. The HD 5770 in crossfire might even be overkill for my needs (1680 x 1050).


Well, yes, crossfired 57xx's are going to outperform a single 5850, but either setup is going to be more than enough for what you need.

I was thinking more in terms of, if you buy two 57xx's, you're slightly better off than you'd be with a single 5850, but you've also maxed out your expansion possibilities unless you throw away both cards. If you buy a single 5850, you're still going to kill any game on the market today, and someday you can crossfire THAT and keep the machine top-of-the-line for a lot longer and for less money.

If money is an object, your choice is basically a) spend $300 on a pair of 57xx's now, and spend $300+ on a replacement card(s) later, or b) spend $300 on a 5850 now and probably $150-$200 on a second 5850 later. Plus eliminating the trouble of crossfiring in the short term. Really, the $10 you'd save now with the 5750s is not a huge deal in the context of the bigger picture.
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November 24, 2009 7:52:24 PM

capt_taco said:
Well, yes, crossfired 57xx's are going to outperform a single 5850, but either setup is going to be more than enough for what you need.

I was thinking more in terms of, if you buy two 57xx's, you're slightly better off than you'd be with a single 5850, but you've also maxed out your expansion possibilities unless you throw away both cards. If you buy a single 5850, you're still going to kill any game on the market today, and someday you can crossfire THAT and keep the machine top-of-the-line for a lot longer and for less money.

If money is an object, your choice is basically a) spend $300 on a pair of 57xx's now, and spend $300+ on a replacement card(s) later, or b) spend $300 on a 5850 now and probably $150-$200 on a second 5850 later. Plus eliminating the trouble of crossfiring in the short term. Really, the $10 you'd save now with the 5750s is not a huge deal in the context of the bigger picture.



Well, technically no one needs graphics cards, but I can definitely use HD 5750s in crossfire to their capacity, especially when I get monitors that support 1920 x 1200. They perform well, but they aren't blowing games out of the water.

The $10 isn't whats important. Even if HD 5750s in crossfire were $50 more than HD 5850 I would probably still go with the crossfire setup since it does perform that much greater than a single HD 5850. I'm not on a budget or anything I'm just incredibly anal about value, hence why I started this thread.

When I got my HD 3870 I planned on doing exactly what you suggested, but then the HD 4xxx series came out (5 months later) and there was no way I could justify spending $100 on another HD 3870 when I could buy an HD 4850 for $150, and then prices dropped even more after that. IMO expansion possibilities aren't worth much when you can buy something that trumps your expansion for not much more. So yes, I could spend $150 to get another HD 5850 down the road, but I will probably be able to get something even better than HD 5850s in crossfire for $200.

I learned my lesson with the HD 3870 and maximus extreme motherboard: future proofing is a kid chasing a ball.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 25, 2009 3:24:48 PM

njalterio said:
I learned my lesson with the HD 3870 and maximus extreme motherboard: future proofing is a kid chasing a ball.


Well, there's certainly a lot of truth to that. You know, you're probably going to be pretty happy with the new system either way. So I guess I should stop barking at you. :) 
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