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Opinion needed on some upgrades

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 2, 2010 6:57:12 PM

Hello all,

I just got a Dell Inspiron 545 about a month ago for my birthday. Would have loved to build a PC with that money, but I can't complain because I'm lovin' this computer. I stuck a GeForce 8400 GS in it http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... just because I didn't have a lot of money on hand and I needed something that would run the games I have. Now that I have a little more money I'm lookin at a GeForce 9800 GTx+ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., a new 700W PSU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., and a new Intel Core2 Quad http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., running me a total of around $400. The specs of this computer are widely varied depending on where you buy it so I'll list what I know; CPU: Intel Pentium Dual-Core 2.7 GHz 2MB L2 Cache, RAM: 6GB DDR2, HD: 640GB SATA, OS: Windows 7 Home Premium, Drive: 16x CD/DVD reader/writer, PSU: 300W (all SATA connections), MoBo: Unknown, Expansion Slots: PCI-Express x16 (1), PCI-Express x1 (1), PCI (2). Obviously, my PCI-E x16 slot is taken by the GPU, and one of my PCI slots is taken by a Wireless adapter, but it should not interfere with the planned new video card. A friend of mine said the Quad Core was overkill for this kind of video card, but reviews say that there is a measurable difference between a Core2 Duo and it. I've also heard that PCI-E 2.0 cards are backwards compatible with 1.0 slots with little noticeable difference. I was hoping for some feedback about these upgrades and I'm open for suggestions.

Chris
a c 189 U Graphics card
May 3, 2010 6:36:40 AM

What is your current monitor?
Your choice of PSU is good but not the best, okay it's alright.
What flag do you prefer? Nvidia or ATI?
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a b U Graphics card
May 3, 2010 6:42:47 AM

I would choose this power supply from Antec personally, as I just this it's going to last you longer.

But definately add the monitor connection and resolution you play at.
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May 3, 2010 10:08:35 PM

Thanks for the suggestions on the PSU, I'll look into it. I have a Samsung SyncMaster LCD Monitor 20" 16:9 Widescreen with a max resolution of 1600x900 and a dynamic contrast ratio of 50,000:1. I would really want a monitor with at least a 1080p resolution, but this one suits me just fine. Best link I could find was here http://www.pcrush.com/product/LCD-Flat-Panel-Displays/3.... And oh ya, I like Nvidia over ATI. They don't have as many compatibility/installing issues and if nothing else, between two similar cards Nvidia's usually cheaper.

Chris
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May 3, 2010 10:14:43 PM

And another thing, modular PSU or no? I've heard some people wanting to stay away from modular, but I would think it might keep your computer more neat and even cooler. What's the issue?
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 3, 2010 10:32:00 PM

You don't want a 9800GTX+. The GTS 250 is the same card with a slightly newer design and is usually cheaper. You are incorrect about both your reasons for avoiding ATI. As far as price goes it's actually the other way around, often to a large degree. If you can afford it($150-160) I would recommend an HD5770 for that monitor. It's significantly better than the card you are looking at, uses less power, is DX11 compatible, supports 3 monitors and has the latest features for video/sound playback.
FYI just pasting the links will work, by putting the brackets around them you are preventing them from being automatically converted to links.
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May 3, 2010 10:52:32 PM

Looked at the GTS 250. For the same price ($130) The onboard memory is booted up to 1GB, but the core clock and the effective memory clocks are depleted by a few hundred MHz. There's also a difference between DDR3 and GDDR3, which is a difference I'm unfamiliar with. For $160 I can get a 2GB model, which is awesome, that's definitely one to look at. Looked a little at the 5770, and the price is a downfall, minimum pay for one of those is $150, but DX11 is a plus. I would have no need for 3 monitor support, don't want to add another $300-400 on top of what I'm already looking at, but it's always a possibility. Thanks for the suggestion.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 12:43:12 AM

All cards use GDDR memory, some just shorten it to DDR so there's no difference there. I think the GTS 250s with the lower clock rate are ones with one power connector instead of 2. You can easily put the speeds back up to normal(and higher) with software like rivatuner. 2GB is useless so don't bother with that and if you were going to spend that much the HD5770 would be a much better choice. It's 25ish % faster, the Nvidia equivalent would be the GTX 260 which is much more expensive(and dx10/power hungry.)
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Best solution

a c 376 U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 10:23:03 AM

Nah, that card will do you well. The only more expensive cards that really make sense are the HD5850 or the GTX 470 but those are $300 and $350 respectively. If you want to save a bit of money I would go for this processor instead;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
They are the exact same core at the exact same speed, the only difference at all is 4 vs 6 mb of L2 cache. A 750w PSU is also very overpowered for that computer. A 500w PSU of a quality brand like Antec or Corsair can easily handle that system with a lot of room to spare.
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 4, 2010 12:54:24 PM

The $50 one would be fine. It is a bit stingy with the SATA connectors though(only 2.)
Looking around on newegg this is a pretty nice deal;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Good brand, modular, nice variety of connectors. The promo code covers the shipping and there's a $25 rebate.
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May 4, 2010 8:44:53 PM

Ya that one looks like a good one. 6x SATA and 2x PCI 6Pin Connectors. Like the $25 rebate, puts the price down to $40 which is great over $75. And I like the modular over all the cords. I've got a stock mid-tower case, which will hold the wires, but I prefer that they were out of the computer all together
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May 6, 2010 11:43:42 PM

Best answer selected by cmkiernan2.
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May 6, 2010 11:58:46 PM

So, I decided, with the generous help of jyjjy, that I'm going to upgrade my previous video card choice to the ATI Radeon HD 5770 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , at at slight expense to the power supply and processor; the PSU going to 500W, which will still easily support my system, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , and a 4MB L2 cache in the processor instead of 6MB, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . I don't mind the processor downgrade so much: any Core2 Quad beats my Pentium Dual-Core (well, maybe not any Core2 Quad, but most, including this one). I would still prefer the 700W (or at least 600-650), but at the cost, $40 (w/ rebate), you can't beat it (and it's still modular!). Fortunately, all this still runs me around $400, which is right where I wanted to be. Thanks for all the suggestions. Thanks especially to you, jyjjy. I don't have all of the money yet, and I may not have it for a while because I don't currently have a job. When I get a job this summer and I'm able to order it all, I will definitely be sure to let everyone know how it goes.

Chris
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 7, 2010 12:36:08 AM

Well the prices on various parts will certainly change over the next few months so sticking with the parts you've picked out now is a bad idea. If you are on a tight budget picking out specific parts is something to really be done right when you have the money and are ready to order so that you can find the best deals at that particular moment. Now you should have a better idea of what to look for however.
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May 7, 2010 8:55:24 PM

You make a good point, especially seeing that the video card has already gone up $5 in price since the start of this thread. I may not have mentioned it, but I do plan on monitoring the prices and buying the items when they are cheaper. As for the specifications and models, I will most likely keep a majority of them, such as a 500-600W PSU, ATI Radeon 5770, and the Core2 Quad (most likely at least 2.66GHz, because the way the prices haven't changed for those processors insinuates that they may only go down).
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a c 376 U Graphics card
May 7, 2010 9:50:37 PM

Yeah, just know in general what you are looking for. You can actually keep an eye out for nice deal if you have some of the money but not enough for all the components. If you look for the best deal on certain components like a PSU or video card over the course of a few months you'll usually find a rather nice deal. For example about a month back there was a promo code for an HD5770 that got the price down to $132 with free shipping, but for now they are all up at $160.
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May 8, 2010 1:07:42 AM

Alright, well thanks for all your help, jyjjy. Trust me, your opinion is greatly appreciated.
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