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Need to upgrade a 3 1/2 yr old system

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August 6, 2010 2:26:13 AM

My old system that I built about 3 1/2 years ago is becoming somewhat unstable and I would like to update it.

The old build had

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 CPU
FSP 450W PSU
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
COOLER MASTER Centurion 532 ATX case
GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 LGA 775 Intel Motherboard
BFG Tech GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI E x16 Video Card
Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
COOLER MASTER SAF-S12-E1 120mm Case Fan
SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With LightScribe
Sony Optiarc Black IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model

I am thinking that I should be able to keep pretty much everything from the old build and just replace the CPU, MB, GPU and RAM. I am not a gamer, just use the PC for home office type stuff and some Photoshop work.

I was looking at the i3-540 or i5-750 CPU, the Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 MB and the G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory. I haven't decided on a GPU yet, but was wondering if using something like the Gigabyte GA-H55-USB3 would be a better way to go. Could I get away with no GPU with the H55 MB? I don't plan to OC.

Seems to me that the case, PSU, HD, DVDs can be reused. I would think the only other component that might be good to replace would be the HD, though I don't have any problem with what I have. I really don't need a bigger drive.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Thank you.

More about : upgrade system

a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 8:28:03 AM

A few things u should know about SATA/USB 3.0 tech and mobos as shown by our very own forums here
USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Motherboards, And Overcoming Bottlenecks
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3.0-sata-6gb,25...
Also note that LGA 1156 shall be usurped by LGA 1155 as soon as end of this year/possible Q1 next year if u intending to sink a wee bit on chip + board FYI...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/04/21/intel-...
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 1:48:12 PM

dcerny said:
Could I get away with no GPU with the H55 MB? I don't plan to OC.

Why would you throw your card away? Keep your PCIe card. There's nothing wrong with it.

And please give your primary usage / requirements & budget.
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Related resources
August 6, 2010 6:30:25 PM

Calguyhunk, are you saying that my old BFG card would still be good? That's good news. I thought that perhaps with a new MB, it may not support it.

I mentioned that my primary usage is home office stuff with some Photoshop work. My budget is low to reasonable :-) I don't want to spend extra money for what I don't need.

Thanks for the response.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 6:41:32 AM

You GPU (gfx card) will work on any mobo that has a PCIe X16 slot. Just make sure your's has at least 1.

Since you want an i5 quad, you should look at these options ---

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option5

Option 6

Keep your Gskill RAM.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 10:32:49 AM

If you're going to upgrade the mobo, CPU, GPU and RAM, you're basically building a new system anyway. You'll probably end up buying a new PSU out of that too, so all you'll end up keeping is the case and maybe hard drive.

Honestly, in your position, I would 1) get a new video card, and 2) overclock the CPU as far as I could get it. I think the HD 5770 is about right for the max capabilities of your overclocked CPU. I would get a new PSU to support that -- 550-600W or so. Total cost comes to around $200 and you'll get another year to 18 moths out of your machine. As opposed to $700+ for what you're talking about, if you do it right.
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August 7, 2010 5:46:29 PM

capt_taco said:
Honestly, in your position, I would 1) get a new video card, and 2) overclock the CPU as far as I could get it. I think the HD 5770 is about right for the max capabilities of your overclocked CPU. I would get a new PSU to support that -- 550-600W or so. Total cost comes to around $200 and you'll get another year to 18 moths out of your machine. As opposed to $700+ for what you're talking about, if you do it right.

I am not quite sure I understand your recommendation. There is nothing wrong with my video card. For my purposes, home office and Photoshop, what's the point of overclocking the CPU and buying a new video card? My fear is that the mobo is becoming unstable, so I need to buy that. With that, I have to get the new CPU and RAM anyway. I appreciate you taking your time to make your suggestion. I am not sure if that would do for me what I need.

Calguyhunk, thank you for your recommendations. I need a full ATX mobo, so I'll look at the options you provided for those.

I am not yet decided between the I3-540 vs I5-760. I guess I need to decide that first. I guess for my purposes the i3-540 would be sufficient. Then I need to figure out whether P55 or H55 is what I should be looking for.

Thank you both for your replies.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 7:12:15 PM

dcerny said:
I am not quite sure I understand your recommendation. There is nothing wrong with my video card. For my purposes, home office and Photoshop, what's the point of overclocking the CPU and buying a new video card? My fear is that the mobo is becoming unstable, so I need to buy that. With that, I have to get the new CPU and RAM anyway. I appreciate you taking your time to make your suggestion. I am not sure if that would do for me what I need.


Sorry, I completely missed that's what you were using it for ... you don't need to do any of that if office and photoshop are what you're using it for.

What are your symptoms that the motherboard is becoming unstable? It could be a lot of other things -- and if it's because someone else told you to replace it, I would throw that advice right out the window. In my experience, most of the time when someone advises you, "you need a new motherboard," it's code for "I really have no idea what's wrong with your system, so I'll just guess that and hope I'm right."

In a 3 1/2 year old system, I'd think it's much more likely that and slowness or instability is simply a result of your operating system getting overrun with crud. I'd try backing up your data and reinstalling Windows before replacing any components -- since you have to reinstall the OS anyway if you replace the motherboard.

A Core 2 CPU also ought to be fine for your purposes ... overclocking it could be a way to get a little bit more speed out of it for free, but I agree, for what you're doing, a new graphics card isn't necessary and I was giving you bum advice on that.
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August 7, 2010 10:06:46 PM

capt_taco said:
What are your symptoms that the motherboard is becoming unstable? It could be a lot of other things -- and if it's because someone else told you to replace it, I would throw that advice right out the window. In my experience, most of the time when someone advises you, "you need a new motherboard," it's code for "I really have no idea what's wrong with your system, so I'll just guess that and hope I'm right."

I had a problem with the system last January where everything on the machine would turn on, but the machine wouldn't post and I couldn't get it to boot. I let it sit there for several months trying to figure out what to do. Someone in this forum suggested to "breadboard". I was about to do that, but before I yanked everything out of the case, I fiddled with the wires connecting the HDD and lo and behold, everything came up. The machine ran for a couple of months and all of a sudden, the same thing happened. No post, all peripheral and case fans were on, but no boot. Again, I was about to breadboard, pulled out the HDD, tugged on some wires in the case and it came up again. I now don't trust the machine and that's why I want to upgrade it.

Appreciate the response.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2010 2:56:46 AM

Photoshop is one application that'll benefit from a quad, though the $80 price difference is pretty telling. Please goto Anandtech to find out. Also check out Extreme Tech.

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August 8, 2010 3:27:02 AM

calguyhunk said:
Photoshop is one application that'll benefit from a quad, though the $80 price difference is pretty telling. Please goto Anandtech to find out. Also check out Extreme Tech.

Thanks for this info.

What do you think of any of these MBs with the i5-760? BTW, I think these should go with the i3-540 should I go that route as well.

ASUS P7P55D-E LX final price $109.99

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3P final price $144.99 +7.87 shipping

ASUS P7P55D-E Pro final price $179.99

GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 final price $119.99

I know there is quite a price difference between them, especially the Asus Pro, which I am quite sure would be an overkill for me.

For RAM, I know that the lower latency is better, but for my purposes, do I need CL7 vs CL9?

Thanks again for all your help.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2010 3:59:02 AM

Both use socket 1156. So yeah, the same mobo will do.

Now which particular mobo, should depend on your RAM specs as well, not just the CPU.

If you choose to go with this RAM then you need to find something that suppots DDR3 1600 without OC, otherwise your expensive RAM will just get downgraded. (This is CL7, btw).

On the other hand, if you want a more inexpensive option & go with this RAM - (1600 Mhz is a bit of an overkill anyways, most programs don't use more than 1333) - then motherboards that support DDR2 1066 will work.

Also you don't really need to pay for USB 3.0 right now if you don't want to. It might become tomorrow's tech, but then again, it might not. The decision is yours.

P.S : If all these sounds like jargon, trust me, once you start getting the hang of it, you'll not really be intimidated anymore :) 
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August 8, 2010 5:24:36 PM

calguyhunk said:
Both use socket 1156. So yeah, the same mobo will do.

Now which particular mobo, should depend on your RAM specs as well, not just the CPU.




Thanks calguyhunk. I am getting used to the jargon :) 

I am pretty set on the G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1333 2x2GB. Is it worth $11 to get CL7 vs CL9?

How about the ASUS P7P55D-E LX mobo? Is that a decent one? The price is right. How would it compare to the GA-P55-USB3?

Thanks.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2010 8:53:57 PM

1. CL9 will suit you just fine (you said you were a non-gamer).

2. Really there's very little to choose between the two. The Giga has a few more expansion slots (not that you'll be needing 'em) & obscenely high-speed memory support without OC'ing.

Really, I've been trying to find something wrong with the Asus board and I have'nt been able to come up with anything.

Neither board has video though. You'll be needing a card of course.
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August 9, 2010 3:02:46 AM

calguyhunk said:
Really, I've been trying to find something wrong with the Asus board and I have'nt been able to come up with anything.

Neither board has video though. You'll be needing a card of course.


Thanks again for the info.

This brings up one more question about the ASUS board. The board has the following expansion slots:

PCI Express 2.0 x16 1
PCI Express x1 4 x PCI Express 2.0 x 1
PCI Slots 2

I saw this in a Newegg review of this board: "Enabling USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB switches PCIe 2x16 to 2x8." Does that mean that if I have a GPU that needs a PCIe x.16 it will not work on this board? I have an old BFG Tech
GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI E x16 Video Card. I don't want to buy another GPU if I don't have to. In that case, I'd either forgo the USB3.0 or SATA 6GB/s or go for a H55 with video onboard.

Other than that, I think I am ready to go for it.

Appreciate all your help.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2010 6:31:09 AM

Could you give me a link to that review?

The reviewer is in all probability talking 'bout a SLI / Xfire set-up. Don't worry.

PCIe / 1.1 / 2.0 / are all backward & forward compatible meaning old cards work in new mobos & new ones in old mobos.

If your's was a home built one then you don't need to worry at all.
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August 9, 2010 1:55:45 PM

calguyhunk said:
Could you give me a link to that review?


If your's was a home built one then you don't need to worry at all.


The link is http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131634. Look at the review by Joekr5 on 7/24/10 - second review on the page. It should come up as one of the reviews under the Overview tab or definitely in the Customer Reviews.

My PC is a homebuilt one from Jan 2007.

The issue that I have is if I use my old GPU, will this render the USB3.0 and SATA 6GB/s useless if and when I might want to add such devices? I was looking at this ASUS board because it does have both and is cheaper than the Gigabyte board w/o SATA 6GB/s.

Thank you.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2010 2:19:35 PM

dcerny said:
The issue that I have is if I use my old GPU, will this render the USB3.0 and SATA 6GB/s useless if and when I might want to add such devices?

1. No, it would'nt.

2. You can always add a new gfx card any time you want. Nobody's gonna stop you from doing that.

3. Trust me, in all probability, you wont need 6GB/s anyways for the better part of the next decade.

4. JUST STOP WORRYING & USE THE 7600 GT ALREADY. It's obviously not the most powerful one, but then again you're not looking to play Crysis now, are you?

If you don't like it, just chuck it away & get yourself the Radeon 5770 for around 150 or something.
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August 9, 2010 2:23:53 PM

calguyhunk said:
1. No, it would'nt.

2. You can always add a new gfx card any time you want. Nobody's gonna stop you from doing that.

3. Trust me, in all probability, you wont need 6GB/s anyways for the better part of the next decade.

4. JUST STOP WORRYING & USE THE 7600 GT ALREADY. It's obviously not the most powerful one, but then again you're not looking to play Crysis now, are you?

If you don't like it, just chuck it away & get yourself the Radeon 5770 for around 150 or something.


Yessir!!! :)  Thank you very much for all your help. I think I now have enough info to make an informed decision and I appreciate all your time and guidance.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2010 2:30:17 PM

Well, actually, for a non / light gamer, the first review is more telling. You can't use both SATA 6GB as well as USB 2.0 together. It's one or the other.

Anyways, as I said earlier you probably won't be using both of those together anyways.

BTW, the second reviewer also says "Also, there's a firmware update for the USB controller that needs to be applied for much about USB to work properly".

I dunno, maybe after the firmware update, that USB 3.0 + sata 6 gb/s thing might work?

He also says "I wouldn't recommend it at all for a novice builder"...umm...
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August 9, 2010 3:55:54 PM

calguyhunk said:
Well, actually, for a non / light gamer, the first review is more telling. You can't use both SATA 6GB as well as USB 2.0 together. It's one or the other.

Anyways, as I said earlier you probably won't be using both of those together anyways.

BTW, the second reviewer also says "Also, there's a firmware update for the USB controller that needs to be applied for much about USB to work properly".

I dunno, maybe after the firmware update, that USB 3.0 + sata 6 gb/s thing might work?

He also says "I wouldn't recommend it at all for a novice builder"...umm...


It sorta makes me lean to the Gigabyte. Its reviews are more stellar than the ASUS. However, the mobo I have now is Gigabyte and that seems to be the unstable part after about 3 years.

Further look into the mobos makes me think that I need to replace my PSU as well. It's only 450W and the Gigabyte mobos ask for 500W or better. Do you have a suggestion on a good, reasonably priced PSU?

As always, thanks for the help.
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August 10, 2010 12:40:03 AM

I reviewed what I need and came up with the following list:

http://i977.photobucket.com/albums/ae254/dlcerny/Newegg%20Wish%20List/NeweggWishList.jpg

Can't decide between the two PSUs, but seems to me that either one will work just fine. Any thoughts on that?

That will leave me with my original case, GPU, 2 DVD drives and HDD. Everything else will be new. I'll basically end up with almost a new PC for about $400 plus change, not including Win 7 64bit, which I will get as well.

Anyone sees any glaring errors in my picks?

Thank you.

P.S. How do I get the .jpg in stream so it shows up in the message without having to click on it?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 10, 2010 3:07:39 AM

The Corsair is SLI/Xfire compatible, though if you're not thinking 'bout that, it should'nt really matter. Also if you don't put in the IDE CD ROM drive, that PSU should be just about enough.

If you do choose to use that though, make sure your mobo comes with an IDE connector.

Btw, I thought you were going with a 760 !

Look, here's the deal. If youre not looking to use your mobo 10 years from now, (in any case socket 1156 is gonna be usurped by the non backward compatible 1155) it's better to go with a cheaper mobo & much faster processor.

There's no point in supposedly future proofing an about to be dead socket, with features that may or may not become tomorrow's tech! (IMO)

Save 70 bucks on the mobo & spend it on the CPU & you're gonna love the speed of one of the best quads in business right now.

Use that system for 3/4/5 years, chuck it away & get yourself a new one. That's the route I'll take anyways.

If you still wanna go the expensive (supposedly future ready) route with a comparatively inexpensive processor, THIS is the one for you. Just 10 bucks extra. (especially since you're not happy with your Giga).
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August 10, 2010 3:52:37 AM

calguyhunk said:
Also if you don't put in the IDE CD ROM drive, that PSU should be just about enough.

If you do choose to use that though, make sure your mobo comes with an IDE connector.

Btw, I thought you were going with a 760 !

Save 70 bucks on the mobo & spend it on the CPU & you're gonna love the speed of one of the best quads in business right now.

If you still wanna go the expensive (supposedly future ready) route with a comparatively inexpensive processor, THIS is the one for you. Just 10 bucks extra. (especially since you're not happy with your Giga).


This brings up a few more questions :) 

You're saying "Save 70 bucks on the mobo". What mobo is $70 cheaper that would allow me to spend the extra $70 on the 760? Are you saying the Corsair PSU will not handle IDE DVD drives? I do have 2 of them and every mobo I saw has a PATA connector.

Re: 760, I kept thinking about it and I really don't see the need for 760. I agree it's a great processor, but seems an overkill for my needs. I don't do Photoshop all day long and when I do, I did OK with the E6400 I had before, so i3-540 would do the job quite well. Like you said, even the processor is not future proof. I should be able to use the i3 for 3 - 5 years and then on to the latest and greatest.

If I go with i3, which mobo are you suggesting? I tend to agree with you on the unknown technology. USB3.0 is already here and I see that as useful. SATA 6GB/s I am not that worried about. The GA-P55-UD3 was one of the cheapest, albeit most feature rich that I found. It is very highly rated. I wasn't going for it because of future proofing for technology.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 10, 2010 4:18:49 AM

First things first, I meant your old existing PSU. Keep it. If you only wanna use one GPU, that 'old one' should be enough.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 10, 2010 4:49:49 AM

$ 195 core i3 530+Mobo combo deal.

DDR3 1800 memory w/o OC. No SLI/Xfire. No IGP.

USB 2.0. SATA 3GB/s

Should really be good enough.

$60 Biostar uATX mobo for core i3& i5.

Combo deal with same Mobo : $165 Core i3+Mobo.

DDR3 1333 w/o OC. No SLI/Xfire. No IGP.

USB 2.0 X 6. 1 X PATA, 6 X SATA 3GB/s.

That I think should answer it. Really, if you're looking for value, it makes no sense to go for a 140 dollar mobo.

I checked your requirements and either of these two should suffice.

EDIT : An uATX is all that you'll need IMO. A std. ATX is prolly gonna be a waste of money, ---

A. If you're not looking for SLI/Xfire

B. If you're not looking to use this board a decade from now.
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August 10, 2010 3:52:13 PM

Thanks again. Couple more (I hope - final) questions:

1 - the GA-H55M MB manual says PSU should be at least 500W. Am I really OK with my old PSU (450W)? Do I need to be running w/o my GPU and using integrated graphics on the CPU or should I still use my GPU and assume that the PSU would be fine?

2 - I am assuming that uATX board fits into an ATX case, right?

3 - Other than i3-530 being 2.93 GHz and i3-540 being 3.06 GHz, is there any other difference between them?

Your help and suggestions/recommendations are very much appreciated. Sometimes I wish there weren't as many choices. It would make life a lot easier :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 11, 2010 2:46:26 AM

1. IMO you should be fine. Manufacturers almost always inflate power requirement figures. Better safe than sorry. But if you're worried 'bout that, buy something that you can save for your next - even more power hungry - system. Seasonic / Corsair / Antec / or at least Cooler Master.

2. Yes but not the other way 'round.

3. No they're based on the same chip. The only diff being that the 540 is 100 mhz faster.
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August 11, 2010 2:56:07 AM

calguyhunk said:
.....if you're worried 'bout that, buy something that you can save for your next - even more power hungry - system. Seasonic / Corsair / Antec / or at least Cooler Master.

.
Would the Corsair or Seasonic 550W be sufficient or would I need to go higher?

You've been extremely helpful and I truly appreciate that.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 11, 2010 3:33:46 AM

The Corsair 650TX is actually cheaper than the 550 watt one. Both are ATX spec, so you need not worry.
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August 11, 2010 3:42:06 AM

calguyhunk said:
The Corsair 650TX is actually cheaper than the 550 watt one. Both are ATX spec, so you need not worry.


I actually just saw that as well. I think I got all the info I need. Now all I have to do is figure out what I want, what I need and what I can afford.

This forum is absolutely great with so many folks sharing their knowledge and helping us newbies. Calguyhunk, you've been enormously helpful and as I said before, I REALLY appreciate that.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 11, 2010 10:06:58 AM

You are most welcome.

Btw, because you're keeping some of your old hardware, install windows 32 bit (& not 64), otherwise there might be driver compatibility issues.

Of course, if your component manufacturers have released 64 bit drivers, just download them & you should be alright with the 64 bit version as well.
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August 11, 2010 1:44:08 PM

calguyhunk said:
You are most welcome.

Btw, because you're keeping some of your old hardware, install windows 32 bit (& not 64), otherwise there might be driver compatibility issues.

Of course, if your component manufacturers have released 64 bit drivers, just download them & you should be alright with the 64 bit version as well.


Thanks again.
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