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Upgrade Advice

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July 16, 2010 7:02:20 PM

I'm looking for some advice on upgrading my Alienware Area 51 Desktop. I don't know a ton about computers and am a little intimidated about going through with this process, not to mention I'm not really sure on all the bells and whistles available on different upgrades.

The point of these upgrades is really for gaming (specifically Final Fantasy IV, once it comes out at the end of September). My current PC has served me well (a 7 year old A-51), but it just isn't going to hack it for much longer.

I have done a lot of online research and looked at a ton of reviews, but thought some more advice would be good. I would like to keep my budget around $500 (give or take) if possible, so we aren't talking top of the line parts here.

I have a nice ACER monitor, Creative Soundblaster Audio, Mouse, Keyboard, and figured I would simply use my A-51 Case (I hope it's compatible) as well as my power supply, and an extra video card fan I bought a year ago in the new rig. I have searched Newegg exhaustively and have come to the conclusion that this looks like the best I can do as far as coming up with upgrades goes. Are these compatible? Are there better options for what I'm trying to do at a better price line? Am I WAY in over my head?


CPU: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor BX80605I5750 ($194.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB: ASUS Maximus III GENE LGA 1156 Intel P55 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard ($149.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100297L Radeon HD 5830 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ ATI Eyefinity ($199.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1600C9 ($99.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I obviously went a bit over my budget, however a couple of the items combo at the moment to drop the price a little bit more, as well as some mail-in rebates. HELP!?

More about : upgrade advice

a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 7:15:21 PM

I dont think a new mb cpu ram and video card is called a upgrade... You are building a new system. but after 7 years it's time. Good Luck
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July 16, 2010 7:16:21 PM

Heh. Well, good point. It is a new system, but in an old package I guess. I can post my current PC's stats if it would matter as well.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 8:03:59 PM

lets have a look see @ your innards and the specs :) 
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July 16, 2010 8:10:31 PM

Are you sure? You might not like what you see. Here ya go:

Intel Pentium 4 540 @ 3.20 GHz
Intel 925XE-ICH6R PCI-e x16
Micron Tech DDR2 Dual Channel RAM 2x 512 MB
Radeon X850 XT 256 MB GPU

Ugh.
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July 16, 2010 8:13:39 PM

Also, let me stress that this is the very tip top of my price point (if not over, my wife may very well kill me). If I can get slightly less potent parts without sacrificing much quality while dropping the price significantly I would seriously consider it.
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July 16, 2010 8:15:53 PM

Here are the currently announced system requirements for FFXIV as well. I would prefer that whatever I build would handle these requirements with relative ease.

Windows XP/Vista/7
Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz or AMD Athlon X2 2GHz
2GB of RAM
15GB HDD space
NVIDIA GeForce 9600 512MB or ATI Radeon HD 2900 512MB
DirectX 9
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 8:29:40 PM

I actually think this is an interesting overhaul...and how'd you run this rig for sooo long?

Firstly - your getting the same specs as i am for my lil bro, except i'm going for the Formula and a pair of OCZ's XMP modules.

Your specs cost nearly $650 - thas close enuf for your wife to strangle you :p 

heres the brighter side - ditch the 5830 and pick up a 5770...you'll be better off with that card than get a 5830 (price point wise) but not sacrifice that much quality.

choice 1 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

choice 2 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

*but a part of me wants to keep the 5830 :p ,
ques - how come your choosing a ROG board? You can get a cheaper board like this - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... but you sacrifice the lanes in your PCI slots when you crossfire

as for your game req's - you can get a 4 series card from ati and pull it off. I managed to snag a good deal on a 4850 @ my microcenter :D 

sorry for the wall of text :p 

can you post a pic of your case innards? I;m finding it hard to find your OLD :p  rig on the net
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 8:48:14 PM

I forgot to mention !!!!! WELCOME TO THE FORUMS , NEWCOMER!!!!!!
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July 16, 2010 9:05:33 PM

Yes, I would be strangled I suppose. You know how it is. Kid in the candy shop effect. Anyway.

It's really funny, I originally had the 5770 board you picked out originally(the second one...btw, what is the difference between the 2? I know one is 2.0 and one is 2.1...but is that a big deal?)

As far as the ROG board is concerned...well, I don't know what that is actually. The board I picked got good ratings and I thought it was compatible, but if that's useless to me, then I don't want it. The PCI slots I'm not too worried about. I don't intend to add much down the road, expect maybe just to crossfire if it's a good idea.

I'll work on the pic of my innards. My wife has the cam with her atm at her work. However, here is a link with a guy who's case looks very similar to mine. His is one year newer, but they may be near identical.

http://www.originniche.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4467

And thanks for the welcome!
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July 16, 2010 9:12:28 PM

Just stumbled across this:

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

The price is awesome...but why is it so much cheaper than the 2 you suggested and is it a huge leap down in quality? I don't want to simply get by on the system reqs for the game if I can stand it. I hope this is something that is easily upgradeable and lasts me for a while.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 9:19:23 PM

the vaporX version is clocked higher than the reference/original card and in this case has a slight edge over the 5770 in option 2.

PCI-E 2.0 and 2.1 are the same in essence but differ as the latter is the headway for PCI-E 3.0. PCI-E 2.1 are backwards compatible with PCI-E 2.0 slots. Read this.

ROG stand for Republic of Gamers :D  i own one and they are the cream of the crop as far as hardware are concerned! Bragging rights, if you will. That board (and all their boards in that matter) will look awesome in a clear window case. In your case, you cant be a hardcore gaming dad :D  or can you?

I own an Asus Rampage Extreme x48, its old but i loved everything in it! For your board, you can check the specs out here

Your welcome for the welcome!

AH!!!Your case is ATX. You can get a ATX board instead of a mATX board.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 9:23:57 PM

utktrumpet22 said:
Just stumbled across this:

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

The price is awesome...but why is it so much cheaper than the 2 you suggested and is it a huge leap down in quality? I don't want to simply get by on the system reqs for the game if I can stand it. I hope this is something that is easily upgradeable and lasts me for a while.


THAT,my friend, is the exact same card as my bro's but his is by XFX HD-485X-YDFC. Its cheaper cos Ati have announced that the 4 series are out of production. And to put in perspective, a 5830 is a die shrunk 4850 512MB w/ 512MB of more ram :D . Get my drift ?

2 thumbs up for the find! I missed out on buying the same card for my bro and ended up with the xfx :( 

unless you PLAY every title that comes out, your 4850 will last you a while :)  on lower settings ofcourse (for future games)
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 9:33:29 PM

You know, i overlooked one important factor! What is your Acer's monitor size? and what wattage,Power supply you have right now ?
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July 16, 2010 9:38:57 PM

I really don't play every title that comes out, but I am a huge Final Fantasy fanboy. This game will (as FFXI has been) be my spare time...and some of my not spare time. My wife and I will play it together virtually every night that we can. I would call myself a hardcore gamer, but I really play more PS3 than PC games. However, I want to get FFXIV for the PC, plus it needed an update anyway, so I figured 'what the hey.'

If i get a PCI-e 2.0 card I'm just blocking myself from 3.0 later down the road then? Other than that we aren't talking huge differences in performance?

If it were you in my position, what would you go for taking into consideration everything we have discussed thus far?
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July 16, 2010 9:39:43 PM

My monitor is 21" if I recall correctly...as far as PSU wattage....uh...um...idk.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 9:48:01 PM

:)  i'd go for all the above and the 4850 you found. Get the Gene and you find yourself a $100 lighter than before.

Everyone of my pals own a console - Wii - PS3 - Xbox360(i have the controller on my bro's PC :D ) so PC's are um...idk, kinda looking ominous...cos you get the whole deal with a console. Moral of this - your new parts will last you quite a while.

The 4850 can handle a 21"LCD with med/high AA settings :) 

now PSU is a crucial factor...you'll need at least um...here you do the math :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 9:55:08 PM

Quote:
If i get a PCI-e 2.0 card I'm just blocking myself from 3.0 later down the road then? Other than that we aren't talking huge differences in performance?



a few years down the road you wont be interested in them, as you'll probably own a console...maybe. but the parts should last you a few more years *lol* you made an alienware desktop last for 7 years :p 
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:03:10 PM

oh wait, the other mobo is also a good route :p  i lost track :S

now your budget is $510...you can get a good quality PSU with the extra cash
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July 16, 2010 10:04:18 PM

Oh, and, (heheh) crossfiring the 4850 down the road...a good idea? Would be comparable to...? 5770? Better perhaps? You like-a da sauce?
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:09:05 PM

lol...yeah crossfiring the 5770 is a good route but i doubt yo'll find any ati 4 series card to crossfire after you've purchased the 1 above.

final list

CPU - http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-3463938-10521304?URL=http%...

Mobo - http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-3463938-10521304?URL=http%...

Ram - http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-3463938-10521304?URL=http%...

Grafix Card - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or this, http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-3463938-10521304?URL=http%...

all you ned is a PSU calculation
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:11:41 PM

crossfiring 2 x 4850 are like a 487o... for now you need to understand if you can squeeze the cash for the 5770 and a PSU as well as i'm sure the old PSU cant handle the wattage needed.

A 600-650W PSU will be good for you(in case you want to crossfire)

yeaaaaaaaaaaaaas - i like-a da meat-a ball-a too!
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July 16, 2010 10:14:29 PM

So i have to decide between the video cards effectively...hmm...IDK!!!

Apparently VRAM is going to be a must for this game. Is there a difference in the two? I can't find one.

PSU calculations with this setup in my current case would is appx. 350 apparently. I wonder if my PSU would work? Guess I'm gonna have to crack the case...
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:16:52 PM

Read this
Quote:
And to put in perspective, a 5830 is a die shrunk 4850 512MB w/ 512MB of more ram :D . Get my drift ?


& the 4850 is a direct x10.1 card while the 5770 is direct x11

with your budget in mind, this is as far as you can mash up. get the 5770 for future proofing :p  if your wallet holds..
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:28:39 PM

get this
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:34:14 PM

oops sorry!!!!!!

try this
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July 16, 2010 10:35:14 PM

I think again that is the wrong link. Hehehe.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:37:04 PM

lol, idk whats wrong... find this Item#:N82E16817341017
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:40:05 PM

Finally!
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July 16, 2010 10:40:56 PM

So all of these items are compatible and will work efficiently with one another I assume?

You have been a huge help, by the way. Thank you.
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July 16, 2010 10:41:58 PM

Problem is with that PSU and the 5770 we are back to $650 LOL.
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July 16, 2010 10:44:22 PM

Best answer selected by utktrumpet22.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:45:24 PM

hmmm yeah, you need to understand if you want to crossfire or not. If your going to CF in the near fututre its best to stick with whats new. If you get a 5770 now, prices will fall once the 6 series come out. then you can buy it off cheap and crossfire them :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:47:20 PM

And thank You for the vote! SO we're all set?
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July 16, 2010 10:47:53 PM

I'd certainly be interested in it, but it won't be an option for a while.
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July 16, 2010 10:50:01 PM

I believe we are. Again, thank you so much. You were a huge help!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:50:34 PM

so your sticking with the 4850?
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July 16, 2010 10:51:09 PM

For future reference with this setup...splurge on more RAM, or a second 5770 for the crossfire first?
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July 16, 2010 10:52:11 PM

I'm gonna leave it to my wife. If she is in a good mood I'll end up with the 5770...if not it will be the 4850, and if she is pissed, we just wasted a lot of time and effort and I apologize to you, kind sir.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 10:53:39 PM

4GB is MORE than enough for gaming/crossfiring let alone everyday use. Get the second 5770!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 11:06:37 PM

Post back here & lemme know how your build goes, cheers!

Quote:
You have been a huge help, by the way. Thank you.


We're here to help!
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2010 11:10:39 PM

utktrumpet22 said:
I'm gonna leave it to my wife. If she is in a good mood I'll end up with the 5770...if not it will be the 4850, and if she is pissed, we just wasted a lot of time and effort and I apologize to you, kind sir.



c'est la vie!
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July 17, 2010 12:17:52 AM

I'll get back to you, but it will prolly be a few days at least before I make the buy. I'm trying not to be impulsive so I am going to let it roll around in the noggin for a few days first.
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