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Laptop upgrade or budget build?

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July 29, 2010 12:38:52 AM

Hey All,

Posted up here awhile ago about what PC to build on a budget. I had narrowed down my search at the time (before Christmas) but when I was sent a new laptop for work, I decided to hold off on building a new personal PC.

Well now that my all time favorite game has returned for a sequel (Starcraft II), I'm forced (not really but really :D  ) to build a pc again so that I may continue the saga.

First question: can I take my laptop in somewhere and have it outfitted with a graphics card to handle this game? Some say your stuck with the graphics capability a laptop comes with, some say its feasible. I have an HP 6530b work horse.

If not, I need to build a solid machine for general use and of course, some SC II action.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: next month or so

BUDGET RANGE: would like to stay around 500 - 600 but could do a bit more if the gain is that much more

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: One game - StarCraft II, surfing the internet, Office, light programming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com or whatever

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: Quality

OVERCLOCKING: Not sure, probably not

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not sure

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Back in late Fall we were debating an AMD vs. Intel option, had the AMD build down to around $450 if I recall, the new I5 build was around $900. Can anyone run me through the gauntlet real quick again on options, drawbacks, this vs. that, new technology about to break vs. whats a good price point these days?

I know technology is constantly evolving so I'm here again to get edumacated. :whistle: 

My needs are:

Personal use - internet surfing, standard office use, maybe some high level software development, (i.e. Java, C#), and starcraft II :D  . <---notice a trend here :whistle: 

I have a laptop that I use for work so mobility isn't a concern.

Just need a solid system to perform normal functions and of course ... Starcraft II.

Thanks ya'll!

~Josh
July 29, 2010 6:52:48 AM

I dont think it is possible to upgrade the graphics of a Laptop machine...Better build a PC if you want to game...
Here is a build...

X3 440 + Rosewill Challenger
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Gigabyte 870A + GSKillz 4GB DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GTX 460 768MB + OCZ 550W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Or the 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

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

Total - ~$563 - This will be able to play SC2 at that resolution without any issues...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/starcraft-ii-wings-of-lib...
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July 29, 2010 1:51:53 PM

I also don't think it is possible to upgrade the GPU on your laptop.
BTW : try to unlock the fourth core of that X3...perhaps you are lucky and will get X4 instead...hehehehe
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July 29, 2010 5:23:16 PM

gkay09 said:
I dont think it is possible to upgrade the graphics of a Laptop machine...Better build a PC if you want to game...
Here is a build...

X3 440 + Rosewill Challenger
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Gigabyte 870A + GSKillz 4GB DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GTX 460 768MB + OCZ 550W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Or the 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

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

Total - ~$563 - This will be able to play SC2 at that resolution without any issues...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/starcraft-ii-wings-of-lib...


For a bit more should I go quad core http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ?

If so, whats the best bang for the buck and will all the other parts you mentioned still be compatable?

What am I missing out on going with this build vs. a $1k build?
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July 29, 2010 5:24:56 PM

Another concern I have is, I've never built my own PC before. Is it simple for a newb to do? What other pieces and parts am I missing? i.e. cords that connect everything together, that glue stuff for the chip?
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July 30, 2010 3:59:22 AM

^ The CPU that you linked is a Dual-Core, but many have been successful in unlocking it into a Quad though...but again its a hit or a miss...
If the PC will mainly be used for gaming, then I dont see the need of a Quad...
But if you still want one, then this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
But like I said it wont matter much for a gaming PC...

As for building a PC, apart from DOA parts issue, I dont think you would face any major issue...
This would help...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274745-31-step-step-g...
Also you get so many walkthroughs in the web...
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July 30, 2010 5:32:52 AM

gkay09 said:
^ The CPU that you linked is a Dual-Core, but many have been successful in unlocking it into a Quad though...but again its a hit or a miss...
If the PC will mainly be used for gaming, then I dont see the need of a Quad...
But if you still want one, then this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
But like I said it wont matter much for a gaming PC...

As for building a PC, apart from DOA parts issue, I dont think you would face any major issue...
This would help...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274745-31-step-step-g...
Also you get so many walkthroughs in the web...

Thanks Gkay,

So when does one benefit from building something with more juice for a lack of a better term? The $500 build you put together for me seems great, what does one gain in spending twice that? just curious.
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July 30, 2010 5:39:50 AM

^ Spending twice as much would get you better framerates @ higher resolutions, components with premium features,...
But the performance increase wont be proportional to the amount you will be spending...
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July 30, 2010 5:50:43 AM

gkay09 said:
^ Spending twice as much would get you better framerates @ higher resolutions, components with premium features,...
But the performance increase wont be proportional to the amount you will be spending...

So if I just use this pc for typical home use stuff; surfing the net, MS Applications, SCII, maybe some high level programming in C#/Java, I'm not going to see a performance increase by spending more?

Where do you notice the SSD vs an HD performance, the extra RAM, the i7 quad's vs. the AMD performance gains, etc? In what type of application / setting?

Sorry, when it comes to hardware I'm a total newb, mainly because I only upgrade every 2-3 years so by then, we are talking 4-5 generations + later...

I use my work laptop for work related stuff so this is probably just for basic use and a bit of gaming.
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July 30, 2010 5:56:19 AM

^ I doubt you would...
Maybe a SSD would be a good way of spending money as that would speed up the booting process and reduces the app load time...

And any hardware that you buy now will be outdated in a year or 2...
But you o have the option of upgrading the CPU later on to say a Quad or the 6-Core, so then the apps will take real advantage of the additional cores...
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July 30, 2010 5:58:21 AM

i7 vs AMD gains would be noticed mainly in Video encoding/ rendering and other 3D stuffs...
But if you programming would involve multi-threading to a great extent, then you would notice gains with a faster CPU...
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July 30, 2010 6:19:08 AM

gkay09 said:
i7 vs AMD gains would be noticed mainly in Video encoding/ rendering and other 3D stuffs...
But if you programming would involve multi-threading to a great extent, then you would notice gains with a faster CPU...

Whats your thoughts on this kit http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...
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July 30, 2010 6:23:06 AM

gkay09 said:
^ I doubt you would...
Maybe a SSD would be a good way of spending money as that would speed up the booting process and reduces the app load time...

And any hardware that you buy now will be outdated in a year or 2...
But you o have the option of upgrading the CPU later on to say a Quad or the 6-Core, so then the apps will take real advantage of the additional cores...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I... $428?
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July 30, 2010 6:50:33 AM

About the $600 one,
1. The mobo doesnt have SATA 6GB/s or USB3.0 if that matters...
2. No graphics card ??
3. 700W PSU is not required for a single card setup.
4. Seagate HDDs of late are pretty unreliable.

About the $400 one,
1. Not a good idea to go with AM2+ board
2. DDR2 ??
3. 2 GB in 2 sticks would limit upgrade.
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July 30, 2010 6:55:55 AM

gkay09 said:
About the $600 one,
1. The mobo doesnt have SATA 6GB/s or USB3.0 if that matters...
2. No graphics card ??
3. 700W PSU is not required for a single card setup.
4. Seagate HDDs of late are pretty unreliable.

About the $400 one,
1. Not a good idea to go with AM2+ board
2. DDR2 ??
3. 2 GB in 2 sticks would limit upgrade.


Yeah... need to go to bed, not paying much attention and was just skimming. USB 3.0, DDR3, Sata III, these are nice to have if possible, did your initial build have these?
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July 30, 2010 6:58:43 AM

^ No I did not, but will be needing those in future though...
These are the latest tech, which are catching up fast...
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August 2, 2010 11:02:05 PM
August 2, 2010 11:33:13 PM

yes but quadcores are much more future proof and some games benifit from quads
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August 3, 2010 12:01:18 AM

Slow quads are more futureproof? That doesnt make any sense. No one is going to make a game client that runs better on a quad that is 15% slower than triple core. You are spending more on a CPU that will perform slower now based on some potential future? I dont see any potential gaming usage upside for 2.6GHz x4 over a 3GHz x3 that is cheaper. Id like to see GTA4 performance rating on a 2.6 quad and a 3GHz x3, Im not sure that the quad would even win that with the speed difference.

Future-proof means you can drop a newer, faster CPU in the same motherboard. Since they use the same motherboard it makes sense to get the cheaper, higher performing CPU now. It is also possible to unlock the 4th core on the X3 and you might just get a 3GHz quad for cheap.
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August 3, 2010 10:20:06 AM

i ment to say that that quad can be easily oced to 3.2ghz which will outpreform that x3 anytime.
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August 3, 2010 4:50:13 PM

mrhoshos96 said:
i ment to say that that quad can be easily oced to 3.2ghz which will outpreform that x3 anytime.
THat x3 can easily be clocked to 3.4, and with good RAM probably 3.6. OC doesnt count as they both benefit the same from it.
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!