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Computer Upgrade

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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2010 9:47:34 AM

Hey guys, I've been looking to upgrade my computer so that it can handle the new games coming out (mostly FFXIV). I'm not quite sure which of my hardware is the limiting factor at the moment. Currently running:

Intel Core2Duo E7200 @2.53ghz
ASUS P5Q Pro Mobo socket LGA775
Nvidia Geforce 9600GT
2gb DDR2 1200mhz
Earthwatts 500W PSU

Possible upgrades I've been looking at are:

Phenom II X4 965 3.4ghz
Radeon 5770 1gb or GTX460 768mb
4gb DDR3 1600mhz g.skill ripjaws

I run 64bit windows 7 at 1680x1050 resolution. Nothing is overclocked and everything has stock cooling. Which of these upgrades do you think would give the biggest boost in performance? If I upgrade the CPU would my performance be severely capped by the old GPU and vice versa? Would simply overclocking a bit and buying 2 more gb of my current RAM be good enough for the newer games?

Also, if I do end up upgrading, I'm not quite sure of the differences between all of the choices in motherboards.
I've been looking at these two boards:

ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

MSI 870-G45 ATX AMD Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

I have no idea which one is better or more compatible with my upgrade choices. The MSI board is 50 bucks cheaper than the ASUS one. Are there any other motherboards that you guys would recommend?

Any input is appreciated. (:

More about : computer upgrade

a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2010 10:15:22 AM

ATI will come up soon with a new series so I would wait for a few weeks, the prices for the current video cards will go down.

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a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2010 11:46:24 AM

Quote:
Those are AMD motherboards. You have a Intel cpu........LOL
He wants to get a 965. Please read before posting.

@BlazinAzn

Please state your budget & resolution. If you're not playing on 1920 X 1080, you wont need anything more than a 5770. If however you are on 1080p, you should get a GTX 460 1GB, seeing as the price difference is only 20-30 dollars.

In any case, I think you don't really need to upgrade right now. You can do that next year maybe when prices fall on account of all the new stuff that's about to come out. Zipzoom is right in so far as adding 2Gb RAM extra & adding the new card a few weeks later, when the prices will fall further, because of AMD'S (not ATI anymore) upcoming 6xxx series cards. Till then, the e7200 should be good enough.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2010 12:07:18 PM

E7200? I think just get a new GPU. E7200 can still serve you well for another year.
After a year, let say in summer, just replace the proc, mobo and RAM (I assume a better RAM will be there next year, and perhaps also the PSU) all together.
I plan also to do it that way.
I will have to live with my Q6600, and DDR2 system untill summer next year.
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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2010 8:04:22 PM

Thanks for all the quick responses guys.

Right now my max resolution is 1680x1050 without HD, which is why I was thinking about the 5770. Newegg has them on sale atm for $115, and I think the GTX460 1gb is ~220. I figured one 5770 could handle pretty much anything at my res and if I ever upgrade my monitor I can just crossfire a 2nd one since they're so cheap. I think I'll wait to see how low the 5850/70 gets when the 6 series comes out though.

Regarding the mobos: one of the main reasons I was considering upgrading my CPU and mobo was for the DDR3 support. I assume DDR3 is much faster than DDR2 seeing as it's almost twice as expensive, but I really have no clue what the performance difference will be between 4gb DDR2 1200 and 4gb DDR3 1600. Is the difference not all that big? If not, I'd much rather spend 50 bucks on some more RAM and overclock rather than completely overhaul my computer.

If I do overclock the CPU what do you think would be a safe speed/temp? Is it worth picking up a coolermaster hyper 212+ for 30 bucks to assist in this? (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) Is OCing the GPU an option? I think my card's drivers came with some type of OC program but I doubt it's compatible with 64bit w7 considering it's like 4 years old.

Also, which of my current hardware is the bottleneck without OCing?

Thanks again for all the help.
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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 17, 2010 8:39:54 PM

Almost forgot, important question: Is my dinky little 500W PSU gonna be able to safely handle overclocking? I think the 9600gt eats up quite a bit of power as it is.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2010 10:04:06 AM

Quote:
I did read before posting, he edited his post. Please pay attention before posting.
His final edit to his OP is at 6:25 - Much before your first post at 7:45.

Anyways, @ Blazinazn

The 5770 will be plenty good at your resolution. I'm using one myself (Sapphire Vapor-X). I should know. Also I asked you to get a 460 1GB over the 460 768 MB if you're indeed going the more expensive route. Those 2 460's have a 20-30 dollar price diff - not the 460 & the 5770.

Where did you find that DDR2 is twice as expensive than DDR3? They cost almost exactly the same (Minor $2-5 price difference per GB, that too with DDR2 800 & DDR3 1600). DDR2 is slowly becoming dead & the only reason for buying them now is to upgrade an existing system IMO. Not to build a new one from scratch. There's no price advantage whatsoever.

As I think we've all said already - OC your CPU - the Hyper 212+ should be plenty good - Anything upto 3.5+ should be more than achievable on air. The Thermal design power of that chip is 74.1°C. CPUZ temps should not exceed 60 under Prime95 blend. Set an alarm at 70 odd if your board allows you to. What Board are you using?

Intel Website - "The Intel E7200 Spec for Thermal variance is 0.85V – 1.3625V". Somewhere within that voltage range is your chip's VID. That is the 'stock' voltage if you will, for your particular CPU. It's what the CPU will program the power regulator on your motherboard to provide. The lower that voltage is, the better it'll be.

OC'ing the GPU is definitely an option, but to OC the CPU and run the 5770 at higher than stock clocks you need to ideally invest in a better PSU - one that should be good enough IMO for you to be able to keep it for your next build.

Get the $80 CORSAIR 650TX or the $100 XFX 650W if you want a modular one.

Or you can just get another 9600 for an SLI set-up for now. Those things are available for not much more than 70-80 odd these days, I think. (not sure though)
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September 18, 2010 1:26:10 PM

cpu is fine just overclock it to like 3ghz dont worry about a fan
get another 2gigs of ram same type
460 1gb graphic card dont get anything less
spend money saved on new screen at least 22" for 1920x 1080
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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 8:50:06 AM

So I overclocked the CPU up to 3.2ghz. Realtemp is showing idle temps of 30-40C for both cores, tjmax ~65 with the stock cooler, not too bad. Prime95 blend was getting temps up to 70+ fairly quickly, but I'm guessing it'll be ok once i get a new fan and thermal paste.

Considering I'm able to OC the CPU fairly high with the stock HSF, I think I'm going to get another 2gigs of RAM and a more powerful PSU and wait to upgrade the rest. I was also thinking about SLi but my mobo is Xfire. :( 

I've narrowed it down to two PSU choices:

Corsair 750TX - $99 after rebate

Thermaltake Black Widow 850W - $79 after rebate and 10% off

The Thermaltake has 100W more, is modular, and is cheaper, but everybody seems to buy the Corsair models. Is there a specific reason for this? Better customer service and reliability? Both have 5yr limited warranties. Also, is 750/850W complete overkill if I plan on upgrading the rest of my system? Will 650W support SLi/Xfire + upgrades?

I'm not sure what to do about the RAM upgrade either. My mobo (ASUS P5Q PRO) is supposed to support up to DDR2 1200 memory, but I can only get it to boot successfully at 1066mhz 5-5-5-15. I don't know if this is due to a problem with the motherboard or insufficient voltage. My RAM is Patriot Extreme Performance PC9600 DDR2 1200 5-5-5-12 2.3v. I still have all the voltages set to auto in bios as I'm pretty new to OCing and don't want to burn out my rig. Not sure what voltage my RAM is running at now. Is it shown in CPU-Z?

I think they discontinued my RAM and I'm not sure what is compatible. Should I be buying DDR2 1066 since my current RAM can't run at 1200 anyways? Do I absolutely NEED to get Patriot Extreme Performance DDR2 1066, or will a different brand with the same speed, capacity, and timings be just as compatible? My mobo supports dual channel, does that mean the RAM needs to be the same exact make or will something like this work? Will new RAM with voltage lower than 2.3v work with my current RAM since it's running at 1066mhz?

Thanks again for all the help. I'd be lost without it. (:
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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 9:10:33 AM

calguyhunk said:
Where did you find that DDR2 is twice as expensive than DDR3? They cost almost exactly the same (Minor $2-5 price difference per GB, that too with DDR2 800 & DDR3 1600).


Yeah that's my bad. I was reading some article talking about prices and posted before realizing it was a few years old. Should've just consulted the egg.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 3:07:27 PM

Quote:
So I overclocked the CPU up to 3.2ghz. Realtemp is showing idle temps of 30-40C for both cores, tjmax ~65 with the stock cooler, not too bad. Prime95 blend was getting temps up to 70+ fairly quickly, but I'm guessing it'll be ok once i get a new fan and thermal paste.
You should get an aftermarket HSF before you increase your clock any more. The Hyper 212 Plus should be good enough.

Quote:
I've narrowed it down to two PSU choices:

Corsair 750TX - $99 after rebate

Thermaltake Black Widow 850W - $79 after rebate and 10% off

The Thermaltake has 100W more, is modular, and is cheaper, but everybody seems to buy the Corsair models. Is there a specific reason for this? Better customer service and reliability? Both have 5yr limited warranties. Also, is 750/850W complete overkill if I plan on upgrading the rest of my system? Will 650W support SLi/Xfire + upgrades?
A good 80+ rated 650 Watt unit is good enough for a 5770 Xfire/9600 Sli (The 5770 has a TDP of 170 odd on peak load) on a regular system (Meaning single everything - HDD, ODD, GPU, Monitor etc.). A single 5770 can easily be run on a good 80+ rated 550 Watt unit with a fully OC'ed regular system). But keeping in mind future upgrades, I won't mind a little bit more power. It really depends on what kind of Gfx cards you wanna use in the future.

Corsair is by far the best PSU maker, along with Seasonic maybe & closely followed by Antec & XFX IMO. Their products will always be at a premium to the rest. I'll go with Cooler Master ahead of Thermaltake though, if I have to look at a more cost effective option, even though Thermaltake is actually not too bad. It's just that personally, I've got gr8 experiences with CM (Both cases & PSU's).

Quote:
I'm not sure what to do about the RAM upgrade either. My mobo (ASUS P5Q PRO) is supposed to support up to DDR2 1200 memory, but I can only get it to boot successfully at 1066mhz 5-5-5-15. I don't know if this is due to a problem with the motherboard or insufficient voltage. My RAM is Patriot Extreme Performance PC9600 DDR2 1200 5-5-5-12 2.3v. I still have all the voltages set to auto in bios as I'm pretty new to OCing and don't want to burn out my rig. Not sure what voltage my RAM is running at now. Is it shown in CPU-Z?
Just click on the 'Memory' tab & you'll find the current Over/under-clocked timings there (DRAM X 2). The 'SPD' tab will give you the stock timings on the last column. Try to get the FSB/DRAM ratio down to 1:1 if your board allows for that. Otherwise without increasing your RAM Voltages, you might have stability issues. Go into BIOS, and look for the advanced settings. Look around until you find something that says VDIMM, or something similar. This is the RAM Voltage control. Increase it by 0.005 or the lowest pre-set option. Or find the divider settings and drop the ram speed lower.

Quote:
I think they discontinued my RAM and I'm not sure what is compatible. Should I be buying DDR2 1066 since my current RAM can't run at 1200 anyways? Do I absolutely NEED to get Patriot Extreme Performance DDR2 1066, or will a different brand with the same speed, capacity, and timings be just as compatible? My mobo supports dual channel, does that mean the RAM needs to be the same exact make or will something like this work? Will new RAM with voltage lower than 2.3v work with my current RAM since it's running at 1066mhz?

Thanks again for all the help. I'd be lost without it. (:
Brands dont really matter. Specs do. However some RAM run differently than others. If you already have 2GB ram in a single sick config, you can get another 2GB stick. Just make sure the stock voltage is the same. Try to get the timings same. Any RAM from a good manufacturer like G.Skill, Corsair, Kingston will always let you play around a little bit. If however you do have dual channel RAM you need to get new 2X2GB RAM
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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 8:53:27 PM

Alright cool, so it sounds like I won't be needing 750W+ unless I plan on using SLi gtx480's or something extreme.

The EPP column shows 602 DRAM, 5-5-5-13 2.3v, memory tab shows 534 DRAM 5-5-5-15. I'm running 2x1gb dual channel sticks, so would I need to get another 2x1gb of the exact same RAM for it to keep working? Should I just grab a new 2x2gb set of something else or will dual channel still work with 2x1gb Patriot PC8500 DDR21066 since that's basically what I'm clocked to?

A 1:1 ratio means FSB = DRAM yeah? My CPU multiplier is 9.5 so if I'm running 1066mhz RAM and want 1:1 I would need to OC my CPU to ~5ghz. Not sure if I'm doing the calculation right, but I think a stable 5ghz is impossible for E7200. If I do end up getting a new 2x2gb memory set should I just go with DDR2800? 400x9.5 is 3.8ghz. Still pretty high, but it's doable and would give 1:1. Is 1:1 super important? What does a better ratio do for your system? I'm running at 5:8 after overclocking and I think I've been running at non 1:1 for the past few years. Would 4gb DDR2 800 RAM + 3.8ghz @ 1:1 ratio be better than 4gb DDR2 1066 RAM + 3.8ghz @ 3:4 ratio?
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 19, 2010 9:44:00 PM

You can only use dual channel RAM. If you're already using dual channel for 2GB, you need to get a fresh set of 4GB (2X2GB) - This is what you need - CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) - Low voltage RAM. Perfect for OC'ing.

No, You need to underclock the RAM. There's no way that chip can do 3.8 on air I don't think. That means, running the FSB at 369 (keeping the 9.5 multi - say) will get the RAM down to 369 X2 = 738 Mhz. And the CPU operating at 3.5 Ghz. For that you'll need to raise your Vcore to 1.25 or thereabout. You can increase your Voltage to about 1.36 safely.

If you don't change the FSB : DRAM to 1:1, the RAM will be overclocked every time you increase the FSB, for which, you'll need to increase the RAM voltage. If your RAM doesn't allow that, you'll end up with an unstable system. And 5:8 will just limit your OC'ing potential.

The rule of the thumb is, to keep the multi as low as possible and the FSB high so (say) a 9.5 X 369 = 3500 is faster than 12 X 292 = 3500.

VDIMM/VDDR should be set as rated by your memory manufacturer.

Do not count on any setting to optimize very well in auto. They are easy to set and check, read up on some basics. This is a very good guide - Intel Overclocking Guide

Vfsb usually need not go up if you are not using a very high fsb (400+) and Vmch may need a little bump if you have 4GB memory or more or run them OC.

That's normally the only voltages you'll need to play around with, so do some reading and after only a few brain cramps will any of this start making sense :p 

But before you go above that, get a nice cooler - the hyper 212+ should be good enough. And download HWMonitor Pro and Everest Ultimate to get started.
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