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Upgrading my Computer -- CPU, Graphics Card, and Monitor

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December 11, 2010 2:32:04 PM

Hi, I'm relatively new to upgrading computers so bear with me please, but I have played WoW for four or five years now. I am currently running on a nvidia GTX 9800 and an AMD quad core black edition processor, and I am looking for an upgrade. I have 6 GB RAM, and im not too sure the specs of my motherboard but it is an Asus. I was planning on upgrading my processor and graphics card and i was thinking for graphics card

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003VWZEBY/ref=asc_df_B003VWZE...

and for Processors

http://www.amazon.com/Intel-i5-655K-LGA1156-Processor-B...

or

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VANRAQ?ie=UTF8&tag...

I will be playing with a resolution of 1920x1080 on either

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001LYWBOM?ie=UTF8&tag...

or

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003QTKV9W?ie=UTF8&tag...

Any advice would be Greatly appreciated

ps i will probably not be overclocking anything cause I'm not sure how.

Thanks,

Max
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December 11, 2010 6:33:54 PM

Well, what type of processor do you have at the moment, specifically? If it's something like a Phenom ii 965 BE then spending the money on an i5 and its motherboard may not be worth it.

Otherwise, I'd suggest that i5 760 definitely. Give it a bit of nudge in OC with a good motherboard, which is quite easy with that chip, and you'll be in very good shape.

For graphics, I might actually suggest the MSI 460 GTX Cyclone or Talon Attack, or Gigabyte 460 GTX SOC, if simply because they have such nice third-party cooling set-ups and are great for overclocking further.

Monitor wise, that ASUS monitor appears to have better all-around stats than the Dell and comes at a good price.
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December 11, 2010 9:10:57 PM

I believe my current processor is worse than the phenom ii 965 BE, based on the fact that the current price on newegg and tiger direct (where I originally bought it) is around the price I paid three years ago. I bought it in a combo with the Asus Motherboard, but I think a nicer processor is the way to go.

As for Graphics cards, the gigabyte card looks great, and I think i'll go with that. The Asus monitor also looks great, and the i5-760 intel processor also seems great. Should I take out my other graphics card and replace it with the new one or just put in the new one as well?

Thanks for your help,

Max

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December 11, 2010 9:25:08 PM

Ok, first of all, others will tell you about the cpu you should choose, even though it's obvious i5 760 is better. As for gpu, i'd go for an Asus en gtx460, it's got better and quieter cooler. And monitor, the thing you shouldn't buy is Dell, it doesn't produce their own monitors. Dell buys no name monitors and just stick it's name on them. Asus has not bad monitors, the same goes with BenQ, but what I suggest is Samsung, they make their own screen and thus, should be the best, simply because they are the first one to choose the best screens from the ones they produced and just after them they sell those 'worse' screens to other companies. Hope I helped you, good luck with your rig!
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a c 105 U Graphics card
December 11, 2010 9:41:53 PM

Buy a GTX470 and save the rest of your money until a real upgrade can be made. The graphics card you have is the only thing holding you back right now.
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December 11, 2010 11:48:59 PM

Based on the limited info given to us, I can assume you mainly play WoW.........and the Model of that Asus board will give us an idea of what you can pop in there for a CPU.Until i get more info is given I will say grab a 460 or 470 for sure, and learn how to OC that black edition quad.
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December 12, 2010 3:22:10 AM

mbennett12 said:
I believe my current processor is worse than the phenom ii 965 BE, based on the fact that the current price on newegg and tiger direct (where I originally bought it) is around the price I paid three years ago. I bought it in a combo with the Asus Motherboard, but I think a nicer processor is the way to go.

As for Graphics cards, the gigabyte card looks great, and I think i'll go with that. The Asus monitor also looks great, and the i5-760 intel processor also seems great. Should I take out my other graphics card and replace it with the new one or just put in the new one as well?

Thanks for your help,

Max


It would help everyone greatly to know what specifically your ASUS AMD motherboard is right now, what processor it is specifically paired with, and what you're looking at for a motherboard for the i5 if you ultimately decide on upgrading procs.
What's confusing me is you almost sound like you want to just slap the i5 right into your current motherboard, which simply isn't possible. They're completely different sockets and architectures.

If you can't seem to scrounge up the information, try using a utility like CPU-Z.

With more detailed info, we can help decide what needs upgrading. Because, as mentioned, your CPU may be perfectly fine, only the graphics card may need upgrading. And with motherboard info, we can see if your 'dual card' setup idea is at all viable. You won't be able to SLI the two no matter what though as they're totally different cards, you'll end up with a card sitting there just doing things like running PhysX.
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December 12, 2010 4:39:10 PM

Sorry about all of the confusion, I will start this over again.

My computer's current specs are:

ASUS M3N78 PRO AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 8300 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Phemon ii x4 940 (CPU speed 3000MHz, Cache RAM(l2) 512K x4, Cache Ram(L3) 6144k) not sure what all of that means...
Nvidia 9800 GTX+
8GB RAM
500 GB Hard Drive
650W ATX Power Supply

I understand now that replacing a processor is more than just a replacement, So I would likely need to replace my motherboard as well. Sorry for all these problems, and to reiterate, I am primarily going to be playing WoW, and Starcraft II on this computer, on a 24 inch monitor 1920x1080.

Thank you for all your help,

Max
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December 12, 2010 5:43:29 PM

You actually seem to be in good shape as is.

You'll probably want to save yourself the money on a new proc and put it towards a good graphics card (Like a GTX 470), and a good after-market cooling solution for the CPU. Something like the CM Hyper 212+ will give great performance for its price tag. If you want to spend the money, you could go real high end like the Corsair H50 or H70. (Both of these are quite large, make sure you have room in the case) and of course good quality TIM/Thermal Compund to go with it (like AS or TX). Always follow the Manufacturers application instructions. Though some things like the direct-contact-heat-pipe of the Hyper 212+ require special application methods.

I wouldn't really recommend putting both cards in there, because you won't get much of any mileage out of a second one in those kinds of games, it would just be sucking up power, and it doesn't look like your motherboard could support 2 even if you wanted to.

I assume that power supply is a good namebrand? Because with a highish-end graphics card like a GTX 470 and the overclocking I'm about to talk about, that's important.

Anyways, with good aftermarket CPU cooling, you get to dive into the realm of overclocking. Overclocking that CPU of yours is actually quite easy, as it has an unlocked multiplier. You can squeeze a fair performance boost out of that CPU with just a little BIOS tweaking.
In your bios, there should be an Advanced menu. To access the BIOS, press the key it mentions for 'Setup' or 'BIOS', this is usually something like the Delete key, right when the computer starts.
The information you should look for are
CPU multiplier/ratio: This is a number that modifies the CPU's frequency directly.
FSB/Base/Reference: This is a number that modifies the speeds of a lot of things on your system, including the CPU and the ram. This uses a system known as 'derived system clocks' where by this number is multiplied or divided by a certain number to get the frequency of the device in question.

So, for example. FSB: 200Mhz * CPU multi: x15 = 3000Mhz.
Try fiddling with both of these in small increments to squeeze out maximum performance (I'd say you'll probably cap at about 4Ghz on stock voltages). If you find the system has become unstable, really hot, or just plain won't boot, you've gotten too courageous and need to reset your config. This is saved to the CMOS, which is sustained by a small battery on your board. To reset this CMOS, either take out the battery for about 5 minutes, or use the 'clear CMOS' jumper on your motherboard (the jumper can be hard to reach in some cases, you may need a tool like good tweezers). If you want more extensive advice, which you probably will, head over to the overclocking section of the forums.
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December 12, 2010 6:05:54 PM

mbennett12 said:
Sorry about all of the confusion, I will start this over again.

My computer's current specs are:

AMD Phemon ii x4 940 (CPU speed 3000MHz, Cache RAM(l2) 512K x4, Cache Ram(L3) 6144k) not sure what all of that means...

Thank you for all your help,

Max


Those CPU specs are applying to the memory and clock of the CPU. Clock, obviously, is dictating how fast it runs. Memory is somewhat more abstract. The CPU has layers of memory it uses as temporary storage known as 'cache'. This is small capacity but ludicrously high speed static ram used to store instructions and application data. It actually makes quite a difference in performance, as the more cache a processor has, the more data it can have readily available for processing right then-and-there. There are typically 2-3 different 'levels' (Hence the term L2, L3, etc) of cache each with their own uses on the processor.
That's the gist of it. I could go deeper, but that would be an unnecessary wall of text.
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December 12, 2010 9:43:01 PM

Thanks ZergeSYS, my processor came with a heatsink so that is all set up already with the cooling stuff as well. As for my power supply, it is a LSP Ultra not sure if thats a good name brand, and as for fans in my system, my NZXT case has two that I use, both 120mm fans, and that is all I use (Apollo case).

I just overclocked my CPU to 240MHz from 200 and I changed the multiplier from auto to 15x.

thanks for your help
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December 13, 2010 12:36:55 AM

That's a solid PSU and should work fine.

Anyways, with that OC, you're running at 3.6 Ghz. I'd be interested to know what kind of heat and voltage your system is reporting, as it seems like you're running on stock cooling. That chip shouldn't be going into the 60c territory under load, and it should be about 1.30 volts (or lower with active Cool'n'Quiet). That kind of information should be under a hardware monitor or system health type section in your BIOS.
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December 14, 2010 1:11:11 AM

Under Power > HardWare Monitor it says the following:

Vcore Voltage 1.42V
3.3v Voltage 3.31V
5V Voltage 4.91V
12V Voltage 12.03V
And for each of these i have the option to leave it as is or "Ignore" it, I'm not sure if these are what you're referring to. Also, I turned the AMD Cool'n'Quiet Function to Auto from disabled.

Thanks for all your help ZergeSYS, and I guess the summary of the post is to leave my AMD processor overclocked as is and replace graphics card to something like GTX 470 or something of the like with the asus monitor.

Thanks for your help everyone

max
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December 14, 2010 2:32:08 AM

Thanks for the info, that's what I was talking about.

That voltage seems high to me, it should be good at around 1.35 - 1.375v with those speeds. That will keep heat down and life expectancy up. Its max rating is 1.5v though so you're technically 'safe'.

There should be a setting in the bios for CPU voltage that you can manually tune voltage down a bit, the lower you can get it while stable, the better. It helps with heat and longevity. I have my 955 BE running at the same speed with 1.32v and it's fine (of course, it's a different chip). Of course, this is different for everyone, so you may be better at a different voltage than what I mentioned.

There are several good programs out there like CoreTemp and SpeedFan that can help you monitor your system status from within the OS. These are good to have on while you test stability with some kind of program. There are lots of these out there, and it may be worth googling for guides.

And no problem. This is valuable experience for me :) 
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December 27, 2010 1:33:15 PM

Best answer selected by mbennett12.
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