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Moderate Budget Gaming Build Upgrade

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February 5, 2010 12:32:48 AM

Hi there, I am looking for some feedback regarding some updates I am looking to make to my current PC. To start things off, here's my current specs. If I recall correctly, I spent around ~1200$ when I first built this (a year and a half ago or something like that?).

Window Vista Ultimate x86 (32-bit)
[link] Intel Q6600 @ 3.0GHz (OC - stock 2.4GHz) 1333 MHz FSB (OC - stock 1066 MHz) 1.23 V
[link] Gigabyte EP45C-UD3R
[link] Zalman CNPS9700
[link] 4GB mushkin DDR2 1066MHz @ 5-5-5-15
[link] EVGA nVidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB GDDR3
[link] OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W PSU
[link] Seagate Barracuda (ST3250410AS) 250GB
[link] Seagate Barracuda (ST3500410AS) 500GB

I am looking to make some upgrades; get a little more kick out of it. I was specifically looking into updating my hard drives and my video card. But I am open to other suggests if you feel I could be doing something better. I will be purchasing Windows 7 64bit as soon as soon as I purchase an additional HDD. I was going to pick up the WD6401AALS unfortunately I can no longer find a retailer here in Canada who sells them. What are your thoughts on the [WD5001AALS] -vs- [WD7501AALS]? Currently I have my OS installed on the ST3250410AS and my applications installed on my ST3500410AS (which is partitioned). My intention is to to install Windows 7 on the new drive, remove the previous partition on the 500GB HD then use that as storage and install my applications on the 250GB drive. Thoughts?

As for the video card, I find it a little difficult to upgrade. I've read that there are no real performance boosts going from the 8 series to a 9 series card so I would like to avoid that. However, I do not wish to spend 300 on one either. I was thinking something along the lines of the [01G-P3-1158-TR], [GS250XYDFC] or the [GS250XZDFU] (ATI is and forever shall be out of the question). I've always been a fan of EVGA products. What are thoughts?

Other then that, as I've said, I am open to any type of suggestion or opinion on getting a little more out of this system while keeping the cost down. I don't really have a set budget but I don't want to go too high either.

Edit: Just to give you an idea, I use this machine to play WoW, Mass Effect (Mass Effect 2 when it's released), Borderlands and some others. I also use it as a media server for my PS3 (movies, music etc etc).

Thanks!

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February 5, 2010 2:17:16 AM

I have the 500GB WD Black and it seems like an excellent drive. You'll want your OS and programs on your biggest and newest drive (as it will be fastest).

The cards you listed are 9800s (and 8800s). That core got renamed twice (with some minor improvements). If ATI really is out of the question, your best bet is the GTX260 or higher if you want any noticeable improvement.
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February 5, 2010 2:18:08 AM

Oh, one other note. The Samsung Spinpoint F3s are excellent as well. I have a 1TB in my main gaming computer.
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February 5, 2010 2:24:04 AM

I have a feeling most of the new NVidias will be a bit out of his price range.
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February 5, 2010 2:28:40 AM

EXT64 said:
I have a feeling most of the new NVidias will be a bit out of his price range.


Yeah maybe :)  I voted the GTX260 you mentioned I had one Grate card it was a EVGA also, sold it with my old E8400 system

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February 5, 2010 8:56:59 AM

@ niklas_13
My current monitor resolution is 1680 x 1050. As for the Samsung drives, I've have had nothing but problems with Samsung support in the past. Who's to say it would be any different with their HDD's. While they look alright, Samsung is just not on my list of okay companies.

@ EXT64
Really? So nVidida just renamed old architecture and sold it off for higher prices? Quite the bad habit to get into if I do say. I didn't know that. Thanks for the information. I mean, frankly I have no interest in purchasing a video which is only marginally better then my current 8800GT. I want something that would make an immediate difference and something that would last me at least another year.

These are some ones I've been looking at (the v at the end is just the vendor so I don't forget the links). I've been eyeing that EVGA GTX280.

$249.97 - BFG GeForce GTX 275 (BFGEGTX275896OCE) [v]
$242.99 - BFG GeForce GTX 260 (BFGEGTX260MC896OCDE) [v]
$288.49 - EVGA GeForce GTX 280 (01G-P3-1282-TR)
$239.97 - EVGA GeForce GTX 260 (896-P3-1257-AR) [v]

What are your thoughts?



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February 5, 2010 11:22:03 AM

Most improvements in gaming will come from an upgrade to your GPU. Take a look at the chart here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,... and try to go three tiers up. It's a shame you won't consider ATi, because a HD4870 or HD5770 would be excellent choices, and won't break the bank.
For anything else (including load times but not FPS), having just got one recently myself, I can tell you that getting a SSD for your new boot drive will make a phenomenal difference. Windows will load in a fraction of the time, and applications will snap open. Use your 500GB 7200.12 drive (also pretty fast) for data and those apps and games that won't fit on the SSD. Put the 250GB drive in an external enclosure and use it to back up your system.

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February 5, 2010 11:23:05 AM

Well, those will show some significant improvement. Unfortunately, those cards are getting rarer and more expensive (as although NVidia doesn't have their new line out yet, they don't seem overly interested in selling their old).

Can you actually get those 260's somewhere (in both the links they are deactivated).

That GTX280 looks like a pretty nice deal. Its replacement (the 285) is a lot more expensive. And while it will be cooler running, it won't a a ton more performance.
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February 6, 2010 1:13:04 PM

EXT64 said:
Well, those will show some significant improvement. Unfortunately, those cards are getting rarer and more expensive (as although NVidia doesn't have their new line out yet, they don't seem overly interested in selling their old).

Can you actually get those 260's somewhere (in both the links they are deactivated).

That GTX280 looks like a pretty nice deal. Its replacement (the 285) is a lot more expensive. And while it will be cooler running, it won't a a ton more performance.


Yes, I can still purchase those 260's and the 275. That 280 though has jumped up to 370$ since I posted that link. Bummer. I'm pretty sure i'm going to grab the GTA 275. For an extra ~10 it seems to be the better buy.
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February 6, 2010 1:21:31 PM

Yeah, the 280 certainly isn't worth $370, but that sounds like a decent price for a 275.
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February 6, 2010 1:31:51 PM

I would go with the GTX275 it should last a few years
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February 6, 2010 2:24:07 PM

Aye, I have =) I purchased it about 45 minutes ago and the shipping was free to boot. Thanks for your help guys! I really appreciate it.
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February 6, 2010 2:49:53 PM

Nice. Enjoy your "new" system (with those great upgrades it will feel like it is).
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February 16, 2010 8:09:07 PM

Best answer selected by Nvee.
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