I've been reading a lot the last couple of weeks and I'm trying to figure out my next PC refresh and I'd like to ask for all the experts here for some advice.
I'll tell you what I have here now, my experience in the past and my budget. I'd like some advice to make the best selection out there.
I'll start with my computer experience and setup back in 2006, at that time here’s what I had and what I have now.
AMD Athlon 3500+ (original cooler, stock speed)
MB Abit Fatality AN8
HD Maxtor 300 GB SATA 150
2 x 512 MB (dual channel) Corsair Pro Series DDR400 (TWINX1024-3200C2PRO)
BFG Geforce 6800 GT OC 256MB PCIe with Arctic Cooler NV Silencer 5
PSU Akasa PaxPower 460W
17” Hyundai Imagequest L72D – 1280x1024 – 8 ms
This config played Counter Strike 1.5, 1.6 and Condition Zero very well and it was just fine to play CS Source at that time, then I started playing Battlefield 2 and the BFG GPU started to give me problems, screen blackouts during the game, etc. I thought it was the high temperatures but with the Arctic Cooler running on it I thought it was not the issue, but I decided to upgrade anyway as it was not coping with BF2 as I wanted.
This is the 2006 config (to be able to play BF2 with high res):
AMD Athlon X2 4800 (original cooler, stock speed)
Same - MB Abit Fatality AN8
HD WD Raptor 150 GB SATA 150
Same - HD Maxtor 300 GB SATA 150
Adde 2 sticks - 4 x 512 MB (dual channel) Corsair Pro Series DDR400 (TWINX1024-3200C2PRO)
Inno3D Geforce 7900 GTX 512MB PCIe
PSU Hiper TypeR 580w
Same - 17” Hyundai Imagequest L72D – 1280x1024 – 8 ms
This config was Ok but back in 2008 my Geforce died, it seems that the GPU stopped working and I was not in Europe to send it back under the warranty, also I saw the new GPU cards on the market and I’ve managed to buy an Asus HD 4850 and luckily the store sent me the 1 GB version instead of the 512 version I’ve paid for.
This is my actual 2010 config, it’s the same as my 2006 config but I’ve added the following:
Asus (ATI) HD 4850 1GB PCIe
HD WD 500 GB SATA 300
As you guys can see my config is quite old and I haven’t had the chance $$ to refresh my PC until now. I have a huge bottleneck with this outdated mobo, processor and memory.
My case is an old Cooler Master ATCs with 4 fans, loud and heavy case. I had trouble to fit the PSU but it works fine, anyway I’ll change it.
My PSU I’ve managed to use a different power cord and it had a short circuit that did blow up some component, I’ve sent it for repair but since it got fixed it’s not the same and I don’t trust it anymore, so I’ll go for a new one.
I’m not the guy that sticks with one brand or type of product, so on the GPU maker I’ll not say I prefer the ATI but I had a bad experience with NVIDIA, my last 2 NVIDIA cards died but if it’s a bang for the buck I’ll go with any of them. This is the same for the processor, either AMD or Intel. I never had an Intel since PII 300 (lol), so I already figured out that I want a new build with Intel.
I must point out that the game I play the most is Battlefield 2, so an old game and maybe I’ll play the new Battlefield 3 in the near future (will be released in 2011).
I want to make an upgrade that will last for the next 2/3 years with minor changes (maybe a new GPU, SSD drive or add memory).
Here’s what I have in mind but I still did not decide what to do yet.
Intel Core i7 860 Retail Boxed Processor - £204.08
MB ASUS P7P55D-E LX P55 Socket 1156 - £108.63
G-Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz Ripjaw CL7 - £100.00
2 x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB (Raid 0) instead of a 80 GB $$D drive - £96.97 (both)
PSU Coolermaster GX 750W - £73.04
Case NZXT BETA EVO Black Mid Tower - £35.96
4 x Xilence Red Wing 120mm Quiet Fan - £19.93 (all 4)
A £ 130 Monitor, anything over 17” that gives me 2 ms response time.
This set me up to £ 768.62
I can go max £ 800 on components.
The latest day I have to buy everything is 25th of August because I’ll be in the UK until the end of August only.
I was thinking if by the time I buy this it would be worth buying an Asus Socket 1366 (£169) and i7 920 (£220) instead, but I’ll need to spend £55 more for 2 GB to add a CL8 3 channel DDR that costs about £ 155.
Right now it will set me up to £ 900 but maybe by then it will bring it down to around £ 850 and I can spare the extra £50.
I was also thinking about a GTX460 1 GB (£190) to replace my HD 4850 but I won’t have the money now and it seems that the prices will go down soon on the ATI cards.
Your advice is greatly appreciated. As I said, I’ll be mainly playing Battlefield 2 and sometime next year I may play BF3 when it comes out.
I like the build, myself. Since you already have a bit of a bottleneck with your current setup, I would definitely stick with your current 4850 and upgrade later. I still have a radeon 3870 that I got for $40 and I was thinking about upgrading, but anything worthwhile was over $200. I'd go with a more reputable power supply manufacturer like antec, ocz or corsair, but then again, for all I know, the manufacturer of your PSU could be the same as the one for one of those other brands. So my recommendation is kinda baseless.
Thanks for your feedback Enzo, I'll look a bit further on the PSU but I think that a 650W will suffice as I don't plan going SLI/Crossfire so soon.
I'll also make sure I get a modular PSU as this one isn't.
Thanks for moving it to the right spot Mousemonkey!
I've been looking for a different PSU and I found the XFX 650W XXX PSU at around $100. I've read a nice review about it and its based on the Seasonic OEM platform.
I'll stick with it thought, it's about 10 pounds more than the Coolermaster 650W I was looking for and this is a modular one.
I've done a lot of research and I will not be using the 2 HD 1TB in raid0, I'll replace it with 2 HD 500 GB same Spinpoint F3 version but in raid1 instead, unless I can strip them and make it raid10, I've read that nowadays we don't need 4 HDs to create a raid10 array. That's really good news.
I've seen some reviews and I'll spend the extra buck for a $$D drive, the chosen one was OCZ 60GB Vertex 2E SSD. I'll have the OS and a couple of softwares and games installed in this drive, everything else will go to the raid array.
Any input here guys and gals? I appreciate any input you may have.