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Upgrading Core Components

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July 9, 2010 10:56:41 PM

I'm looking into doing an upgrade of my current system and I'd like to know what you guys think about this.

Here are the parts from the current system which I'd like to keep operational:

Antec TX1050B Case
OCZ GXS700 Power Supply
Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Sound Card
XFX 7950GT Video Card
Windows XP

Here's the core upgrade parts from Intel and AMD that I'm considering.

Intel:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3L Motherboard
G. Skill 2GB DDR2 RAM

AMD:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 CPU
Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 Motherboard
G. Skill 2GB DDR3 RAM


To sum this all up, I'm looking at upgrading my motherboard, CPU, and RAM, but keeping just about everything else. I do plan on upgrading to Windows 7 and to upgrade the video card eventually, but until then I'll be running XP and the 7950GT, so let me know which option you guys think I should go with. Also, if you have any suggestions for different parts please post em' up.




a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
July 9, 2010 11:07:38 PM

I'd go with the AMD build, it's more balanced and upgradable. However instead of that board I would go for the ASRock 870 Extreme 3 motherboard. Try to get 4GB of RAM if possible.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 234 V Motherboard
July 10, 2010 12:37:08 AM

^+1... Also, I would drop down to the X4 955. The X4 965 is basically an overclocked version of the X4 955.
Related resources
July 10, 2010 1:33:50 AM

Thanks for the tips, guys.

Lmeow, what makes the ASRock 870 motherboard the better option? Is this the board you are talking about?:

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

Tecmo34, how difficult do you think it would be to overclock an X4 955 to match the speed of an X4 965?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
July 10, 2010 1:54:45 AM

Actually depending on what u intend to use rig for: if gaming i would hit an AthlonII X3 440 and hit a better GPU a.s.a.p
July 10, 2010 2:18:34 AM

Batuchka, what would the advantage be in the X3 440 over the X4 955 or 965 for gaming?

Also, do you have any suggestions for an affordable GPU that's capable of running recent games in higher-end settings?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
July 10, 2010 2:32:45 AM

There is no advantage performance wise but the intention is to free up funds to hit the hardware that matters most in games : the GPU :p  Depending on resolutions you'd be looking at anywhere from GTS 250/HD 4850 to HD 5850? Even the 1st 2 are vastly superior than your 7950GT
July 10, 2010 2:58:15 AM

Would the triple core X3 440 perform about as well as a quad core X4 in current games?
July 10, 2010 3:00:13 AM

what are the things you will do on your computer(Gaming, Work, Multitasking, Video Encoding, Movies, Music)?

arrange them from top to low (1-10)

will you overclock?

looking at the stuff you listed, it seems you spend to much on things that will not benefit you more(USB 3, SATA 6, QUAD Core processor)




just to let you know for almost the same price you could get a much-much-much better performance out of these parts

for: $74.99 Free Shipping
AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX440WFGIBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

for: $59.99 + $2.99 Shipping*
ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard (AMD 770, AOD ACC support, 4x DDR3 1600, EuP Ready)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

for: $81.99 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

for: $129.99 -$20 after mail in rebate = $109.99 Free Shipping
MSI R5750-MD1G Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Total: $354.95 including shipping -$20 after mail in rebate = $334.95



here is a very interesting article comparing a Core i7 920 vs Athlon II X3 440
(note: anything above 30FPS is considered smooth and playable
anything above 60FPS, you will not notice the extra FPS unless you play first person shooter and have a 120hz/3D Monitor)

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3-440-ga...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3-440-ga...


if you are gaming, you could benefit more from a faster graphics card rather than a fast processor


EDIT:

4GB of system memory is a must have these days especially if you will upgrade to Windows 7

the Radeon HD 5750 will eat your 7950GT for breakfast :D 

also with the motherboard i linked, you could try if your lucky and unlock the 4th Core(if so be sure to run PRIME 95 to see if it is stable)


neat said:
Batuchka, what would the advantage be in the X3 440 over the X4 955 or 965 for gaming?


lower power consumption, cooler and you can save your spare money for a better graphics card


neat said:
Also, do you have any suggestions for an affordable GPU that's capable of running recent games in higher-end settings?


Radeon HD 5750 is a very capable card and can run even the most demanding game maxed out @1920x1200 with decent frame rates as we can see here

















hmm everything looking good but can it play crysis :sarcastic: 




also look at the power consumption


one word: IMPRESSIVE
July 10, 2010 4:06:43 AM

Thanks for the info, Raclimja. That was a great post.

I'll basically be using the upgraded computer to play games. The games that are motivation for the upgrade are ArmA 2 and Stalker: Call of Pripyat.

I also do not intend to overclock but I might do so if it seems like a worthwhile procedure.

The reason I was looking at those Gigabyte motherboards is because they have high end capacitors. That's the main reason I'm upgrading, because some of my current motherboard's capacitors blew and I want to avoid having that happen again.

As for resolutions, I'll probably be using my 1024x768 CRT monitor with this upgrade until I can find a good LCD monitor. That being said, if anyone has any recommendations for a good LCD monitor that would fit in with this upgrade please let me know.
July 10, 2010 4:08:20 AM

can u give us your total budget?
July 10, 2010 4:10:49 AM

also on monitor, do you prefer glossy(reflective) or matte(non reflective)

also how much are you willing to spend on a monitor?
July 10, 2010 4:19:41 AM

neat said:

The reason I was looking at those Gigabyte motherboards is because they have high end capacitors. That's the main reason I'm upgrading, because some of my current motherboard's capacitors blew and I want to avoid having that happen again.


for my personal experience, the main cause of motherboard breakup's is mediocre PSU, poor voltage regulation can lead your system components to blew up especially if overloaded and there is a spike on electricity

also make sure your case has good ventilation, a case that has very bad ventilation can cause your PSU to under perform

when your computer is still working do you observe any abnormally high temps?

when your motherboard blew up did you test your PSU, Graphics Card, Ram, Hard Drive, etc to see if it is still working?

also can u tell the name: brand and model # of your mobo?
July 10, 2010 5:53:08 PM

The budget is around $500 for the internal parts.

As for monitors, I prefer matte screens but glossy screens are decent as well. When it comes to the price of monitors I'd like to keep it around $100-$200.

Last time I checked the temperatures and voltages they seemed to check out fine. It's been a while but I'm pretty sure the voltages were all basically holding correctly, and the tempuratures for the CPU and GPU were actually pretty low. The case is fairly large and does have good ventilation as well.

The computer actually still works even though the capacitors are blown, and it seems to be running fine. Of course, I don't have it running all the time due to the blown capacitors but yeah, it appears to run well in most regards, nothing abnormal in terms of performance.

As for the PSU, my old PSU could have been part of the cause of the current issue. I was using the computer one day and it just shut down, so I tested the PSU and it was definitely dead. I then RMA'd it and was sent a new one which I've been using since, and it seems to be working like it should.

The brand and model of the current motherboard is: MSI K8N NEO4F
July 11, 2010 2:55:04 PM

im 100% sure the blown capacitor is caused by your faulty PSU

in fact you are very lucky that the other components of your computer(video card, ram, hard drive, etc) is still working

i have seen blown up PSU with fried 24pin, 8pin and broken RAM and hard drive


your budget is pretty good, you could get quality and performance parts out of your budget


here is my recommendation for your build



AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core for $74.99 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4N68T-M AM3 NVIDIA Geforce 7025/nForce 630a for $44.99 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit for $81.99 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Palit NE5X460SF1102 GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) Sonic 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card for $219.99 $6.98 Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total: $428.94 including shipping


for the monitor i recommend this one

ViewSonic VX2250wm-LED Black 21.5" 5ms Full HD LED Backlight LCD monitor Slim Design 250 cd/m2 1000:1w/Speakers for $179.99 $8.99 Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Grand Total: $428.94(internal parts) + $179.99 + $8.99(monitor) = $617.92


i picked the amd processor because it is good enough for gaming and can easily overclock to 3.3ghz and up with a simple tour with bios

i also picked the asus motherboard because it is cheap, has 100% All High-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors, has Anti-Surge Protection and have a very good bios that can easily let you overclock and control each settings. Also the Asus motherboard has nvidia chipset so in theory it will better support the Nvidia GTX 460 and not to mention Asus is a very reputable company that has very good community(forums) that give support/help to their product and sometimes even modding :D 

i picked a cheap memory because there is very little point to buy a more expensive one, it has fairly low voltage(1.5) and according to some people this ram can overclock to DDR3 1800

according to early benchmarks, GTX 460 is faster than 5830 and has a huge overclocking headroom, i picked this card with performance in mind. Nvidia tends to have a better driver support and game support games like (Mafia 2, GTA IV, NFS Shift). this card will last you long. also this card will fit inside your case :D 


and last but not the least according to people who bought the monitor i picked, it has a very very very good display with VIVID colors and almost have a color accuracy like an IPS monitor, some people even compare this monitor to a CRT because of very good response time and virtually no ghosting and being a LED monitor, it consumes considerably less power consumption vs the traditional LCD, also LED screen has better blacks and whites and color reproduction is as real as it gets. also there is a bonus, the monitor has build in speakers and according to the reviews it is pretty good one

a video comparing a traditional LCD monitor vs a LED monitor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQHcpF7wY8c
July 11, 2010 9:58:41 PM

Raclimja, thanks again for all of the great information and suggestions!

Do you have any recommendations for a good power supply?
July 12, 2010 4:36:20 AM

neat said:
Raclimja, thanks again for all of the great information and suggestions!

Do you have any recommendations for a good power supply?


SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC for $69.99 $9.65 Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


for $79.64(including shipping), your not gonna find a better power supply than this one in terms of efficiency and quality

this power supply has
-virtually non existing ripple and noise,
-has a real-world efficiency of 82.4% and 86.5%
-can sustain an 588W overload and still achieve an efficiency of 81.7%

review
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Seasonic-S12II-B...

realworld test
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2162&p...


note: you don't need a beefy power supply, according to this very interesting article, a fairly high end computer(Core i7 920 + GTX 260) under stress(PRIME 95 + Furmark) has a maximum load of 371w
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cases/display/system-w...


in real life usage, you wont get near close to that number even if you plan to do some overclocking unless you start to bump the voltages pretty high



also the Athlon II X3 440 and GTX 460 is a very power efficient processor and video card coupled with a very efficient power supply = FTW :D 


edit: after further research, GTX 460 requires 2x PCI-E 6 pin power connector. The Seasonic S12II only have one PCI-E 6pin, the GTX 460 has included Molex to PCI-E 6pin converter cable, you can use that cable to power the GTX 460

don't worry there wont be any performance degradation or whatever by using the included cable

your still good to go
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
July 12, 2010 7:25:17 AM

raclimja said:

ASUS M4N68T-M AM3 NVIDIA Geforce 7025/nForce 630a for $44.99 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Also the Asus motherboard has nvidia chipset so in theory it will better support the Nvidia GTX 460 and not to mention Asus is a very reputable company that has very good community(forums) that give support/help to their product and sometimes even modding :D 


Negative on the above mobo

1. Hypertransport Limitation (True AM2+/AM3 = 5200MT/s)
http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=wUHApFnERsTHwwHF
Quote:
System Bus Up to 2000/1600 MT/s


2. Essentially an AM2 tech board just with DDR3 DIMM slot for memory
a. PCIex16 gen 1.0/1.1 vs PCIex16 gen 2.0 for true AM2+/AM3 mobos
b. Extremely outdated IGP (irrelevant when a discrete is used though)

3. In practice as long as u have a expansion slot for GPU and relevant drivers it's all good
July 12, 2010 8:43:03 AM

batuchka said:
Negative on the above mobo

1. Hypertransport Limitation (True AM2+/AM3 = 5200MT/s)
http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=wUHApFnERsTHwwHF
Quote:
System Bus Up to 2000/1600 MT/s



1. lets do a price comparison

the motherboard i picked costs
ASUS M4N68T-M AM3 NVIDIA Geforce 7025/nForce 630a $44.99 Free Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


the cheapest am3 motherboard that has HT 5200 costs
ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 $59.99 $2.99 Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


price difference: $17.99


with that added extra cost, i would rather spend a little more and get a faster processor that has L3 cache and unlocked multiplier rather spend that money on motherboard that has no real benefits


AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core $74.99 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition Heka 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W $104.00 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


price difference: $29.01



also having a HT 2600(5200) system bus on a HT 2000(4000) processor is a waste of money considering the price difference

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


Quote:

2. Essentially an AM2 tech board just with DDR3 DIMM slot for memory


can you please say the specific realworld benefits of "true am3" based on the op's build

Quote:

a. PCIex16 gen 1.0/1.1 vs PCIex16 gen 2.0 for true AM2+/AM3 mobos


whether or not a PCI-E X16 1.1(250MB/s) vs PCI-E X16 2.0(500MB/s) has performance hit is debatable

just to emulate a comparison of PCI-E X16 1.1(250MB/s) vs PCI-E X16 2.0(500MB/s)
a PCI-E 8X 2.0((250MB/s) has half the bandwidth of PCI-E 16x 2.0(500MB/s)

this is a very interesting article to see the PCI-E scaling of modern graphics card





























as you can see there is so little difference that it wont affect the performance


Quote:
b. Extremely outdated IGP (irrelevant when a discrete is used though)


just to let you know, the onboard nvidia grapchics can be used as dedicated physx processor for some games like (Mirror's Edge, NFS Shift, Rise Of Nations: Rise Of Legends, Sacred 2, Mafia 2) although it is not recommended to be used on the recent released games, it is nice to have the capability of doing so, also the onboard gpu can be used for cuda applications like badaboom(video converter) so you can multitask while you can still play games and at the sime time convert videos without hurting performance because the convertion is offloaded from the cpu and loaded on the onboard graphics
a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
July 12, 2010 9:09:05 AM

In summary my $0.02 to TS for mobo selection is:

1. Dun just look at branding and study features/$$ and if looking cheap not too cheap till you get a dud/poor mobo ^^

2. Hit a proper AM3 board with SB 710 at least I would look at GF8100 for Nvidia chipsets but these are phased out after AM2+ True AM2+/AM3 mobos by definition have dual plane regulators/power design

3. Consider HD 5830 + ATI IGP (after 690G onwards) chipset with ATI Surround View feature which comes in handy for multi display set ups down the road (if useful) Had tried, tested and built with this feature for clients with much sucess hehe

4. You can also browse here and other respectable h/w forums on the number of old hands/regulars actually recommending cheaping out and hitting a GF7xxx "AM3" mobo :p  I would keep a distance of a 10 foot pole from these personally hehe

July 12, 2010 9:29:31 AM

batuchka said:
In summary my $0.02 to TS for mobo selection is:

1. Dun just look at branding and study features/$$ and if looking cheap not too cheap till you get a dud/poor mobo ^^



what are you trying to say? that i recommend cheap and junk?


Quote:
2. Hit a proper AM3 board with SB 710 at least I would look at GF8100 for Nvidia chipsets but these are phased out after AM2+ True AM2+/AM3 mobos by definition have dual plane regulators/power design



are you saying that the board i posted is improper because the digits nforce 630a/7025 is too low and outdated for your standards?


also can you explain/state the realworld benefits dual plane regulators/power design?



Quote:
3. Consider HD 5830 + ATI IGP (after 690G onwards) chipset with ATI Surround View feature which comes in handy for multi display set ups down the road (if useful) Had tried, tested and built with this feature for clients with much sucess hehe



the op stated he has a crt monitor not eyefinity setup.


so why are you saying irrelevant and unnecessary things? just because you liked it?



Quote:
4. You can also browse here and other respectable h/w forums on the number of old hands/regulars actually recommending cheaping out and hitting a GF7xxx "AM3" mobo :p  I would keep a distance of a 10 foot pole from these personally hehe



you sound like a sales agent encouraging to buy "his high end product" for no particular good reasons/benefits just to meet his quota
July 13, 2010 4:48:03 PM

Do Micro ATX motherboards generally work and fit well inside standard ATX cases?
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 234 V Motherboard
July 13, 2010 4:50:25 PM

Yes to both questions...
!