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Updating Computer

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May 13, 2010 3:56:08 AM

I'm updating a computer I built a little more than 2 years ago. I plan on keeping the Intel QX6850 CPU with non-stock cooler, and the 700W OCZ PSU, and replace everything else. I didn't bother OCing the system at the time, I had always planned on OC it as time progressed to keep up with the times as it were.

My general idea would be to OC the QX6850 FSB to 400MHz, giving the final FSB as 1600, and the final clock speed as 3.6GHz. I was figuring since I'm getting a new motherboard, might as well do DDR3, and either naturally or OC the RAM to 1600. However, would the performance be noticeably different than a DDR2-1066 OCed to 1600? I'd assume so, by a decent margin. I want a near top of the line GPU as well, in specific for SC2, Ultra settings. This website has a handy performance guide so far on it, but it unfortunately leaves out the new 470/480.

I was thinking of a as the motherboard or something very similar. I've heard that the P45 is the board to get for LGA775 socket types, that P43 is less able to handle OCing.

RAM: I've always used Corsair, they seem to work well. I currently have 4 x 1 GB DDR2-1066 Corsair Dominators.

GPU: God knows. I'm thinking something around either ATI 5850/5870 or a GeForce 470, leaning towards an aftermarket 5870 at the moment. If I went 470, I'd get an eVGA aftermarket. I'm currently looking at Sapphire if I go the ATI route. ATI just released updated versions of their 5000 series, the EyeFinity, but I haven't seen much benchmarking on the performance of the new and improved.

PSU Calcs say I'm all clear as far as wattage, and cooling shouldn't be an issue, even with a 470.

Any comments, pointers, things I overlooked? Thanks.

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a b B Homebuilt system
May 13, 2010 4:17:33 AM

Have you got a HSF in mind? I suggest the cooler master hyper 212+.

Why are you getting a new motherboard? If it's just to get DDR3, keep in mind that if you are successful in overclocking and hold off upgrading for 2-3 years then we may be on to something else anyway.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 13, 2010 4:57:28 AM

Don't bother with the motherboard and RAM. I do not think you will see any significant improvement from replacing them. Certainly not enough to justify the cost. For most regular applications and gaming, the difference between DDR2 and DDR3 is barely noticeable in practice. And aside from that, there's no reason at all to go from one LGA775 board to another LGA775 board -- there's limited room for improvement; it's a dead end.

I'm not an expert on overclocking by any means, but I also have heard many times that LGA775 was designed with DDR2 in mind first, and you'll have a lot better luck getting a stable overclock with DDR2 than DDR3.

Basically, just get the best video card you can afford, overclock the CPU, and you can ignore everything else because you won't get your money's worth.
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May 13, 2010 5:03:13 AM

I'm updating for the video card basically. I unfortunately bought a motherboard months before PCI Express 2.0 came out. I had originally planned, those 2 years ago, to just update the video card one more time, then basically do a complete rebuild, but I overlooked the PCI Express issue and it came back to bite me. When I update again a few years from now it'll be a complete update most likely, keep the case, replace everything else.

With the new motherboard, bought for PCI Express 2.0,my only question for DDR3 vs DDR2 is reusing my old RAM. It'd be nice to save $100 or so, but I'm assuming DDR3 is a noticeable improvement over DDR2, and would handle, naturally or OC, 1600 MHz better than OCing my current DDR2-1066.

I currently have a HSF, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... with Artic Cooling Compound, which seems to be doing a good job of things, but if I notice with the OC the CPU core temps too high I'll give that one a look.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 13, 2010 5:20:14 AM

Uh PCI Express is 100% backwards and forwards compatible. As long as you are just doing a single card solution there will more or less be literally no difference. Regular graphics card slots are x16 link and speed either way. Why is it that you think it's an important issue?

PS: That's why PCI Express 3 isn't out yet. They're still making sure EVERYTHING is backwards and forwards compatible with version 2 and 1. I guess they're trying to copy what regular PCI has going for it and possibly try to EoL the old PCI or something.
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May 13, 2010 5:58:08 AM

I wasn't sure, I knew they were backwards compatible but 2.0 is more than double the bandwidth is it not? Do single card solutions not approach the max bandwidth either way? I got the impression that a 2.0/2.1 card in a 1.0 slot will work, it'll just reduce the bandwidth.

If it makes no matter either way I guess I'd refine my question down to opinions on GPUs:

Any opinions on the ATI 5870, and all the aftermarket companies (Sapphire, HIS, XFX) against the 470/480 and those aftermarket companies (MSI, EVGA). Leaning towards 5870, but I'm having trouble comparing apples to apples. I wouldn't buy a stock, I'd be buying from one of the aftermarket, but all the reviews, the benchmarks are for stock. Does anyone have any ideas on aftermarket products, and gains over stock, if any.

I'm less comfortable, less experienced with video cards than the rest of a computer build. So if I'm being oblivious, please feel free to point it out.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 13, 2010 7:58:05 AM

From wikipedia: "The PCIe 2.0 standard doubles the per-lane throughput from the PCIe 1.0 standard's 250 MB/s to 500 MB/s. This means a 32-lane PCI connector (x32) can support throughput up to 16 GB/s aggregate. The PCIe 2.0 standard uses a base clock speed of 5.0 GHz, while the first version operates at 2.5 GHz.

PCIe 2.0 motherboard slots are fully backward compatible with PCIe v1.x cards. PCIe 2.0 cards are also generally backward compatible with PCIe 1.x motherboards, using the available bandwidth of PCI Express 1.1. Overall, graphic cards or motherboards designed for v 2.0 will be able to work with the other being v 1.1 or v 1.0."

So yeah there is a bandwidth thing, but there are lots of people (mostly on intel 1156 mobos) who run crossfire at x8 link speed per card instead of the standard x16 simply because the chipset doesn't have enough PCI-E lanes. This should be similar to a regular single card running the full x16 but on pci-e 1.0 assuming these theoretical "double" type phrases hold up in the real world.

So I'm gonna go with - not important enough to change motherboards over.

As far as graphics cards go, I'm a price/performance kinda guy. I've got a OC edition MSI HD 4850. But that's just because it was on sale + rebate when I got it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 14, 2010 4:52:24 AM

Nociceptive said:
I'm updating for the video card basically. I unfortunately bought a motherboard months before PCI Express 2.0 came out. I had originally planned, those 2 years ago, to just update the video card one more time, then basically do a complete rebuild, but I overlooked the PCI Express issue and it came back to bite me. When I update again a few years from now it'll be a complete update most likely, keep the case, replace everything else.

With the new motherboard, bought for PCI Express 2.0,my only question for DDR3 vs DDR2 is reusing my old RAM. It'd be nice to save $100 or so, but I'm assuming DDR3 is a noticeable improvement over DDR2, and would handle, naturally or OC, 1600 MHz better than OCing my current DDR2-1066.

I currently have a HSF, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... with Artic Cooling Compound, which seems to be doing a good job of things, but if I notice with the OC the CPU core temps too high I'll give that one a look.


Yes, PCIe 1.x has less bandwidth than 2.0/2.1, but you should still be OK. A PCIe 1.0 x16 slot is basically the same thing as a PCIe 2.0 x8 slot -- and no single-GPU card can even saturate an x8 slot yet. Dual-GPU cards like the 5970 can, but with a 5870 you're not going to be losing a hell of a lot of performance.

Now, the newer slots do tend to have other things like updated protocols that help speed data transfer along, so PCIe 1.0 and PCIe 2.0 x8 are not exactly the same thing. But I think it's been shown the 5870 loses something like 1-2% performance in a PCIe 2.0 x8 slot, and it shouldn't be too much more than than in a 1.0 slot. Basically, unless you're playing on a monitor with really really high resolution, or you're gunning for incredibly fast frame rates or have the AA turned way up ... you're not going to notice much difference in practical usage.

If you must buy a new motherboard, and the choice is between recycling the old RAM and buying new DDR3 ... save your $100. The difference is not worth the money.

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