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Upgrading for StarCraft 2

Last response: in Systems
October 22, 2010 9:13:11 PM

hello! i'm thinking of upgrading my current computer and then swapping some of the components into a new machine that i plan on obtaining in spring and swapping the old components back into the old machine, thus having 2 fully functional computers later on. my current goal is to get decent performance in starcraft 2. i realize that my cpu is a bottleneck, that's why i want to get components that i can swap into a new machine later.

this is what I have right now (+ means that i want to swap it into a new machine later):

"Dell Inspiron 531"
-Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4400+ 2.31GHz (socket AM2, not compatible with AM2+ since this Dell doesn't support it)
-2 gigs ram DDR2 667 (PC-5300) (2x1gig, 2 slots empty, 4gig max capacity)
-GeForce 8600 GT 256mb DDR3 (PCI-E 16x)
+Creative SB Audigy 4 sound card
-Built-in sound card
-some generic 300watt PSU (i'm guessing, since it's a Dell)

I'm thinking of adding an extra 2 gigs of ram, GeForce 460 GTX, and a new PSU to handle a possible future SLI setup (2x 460 GTX).

this is what i'm thinking about getting right now:

-RAM: Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT12864AA667
+GPU: ASUS ENGTX460 DirectCU/2DI/1GD5 GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
+PSU: hec ZEPHYR ZEPHYR650 650W Continuous @ 40°C ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified Active PFC Power Supply

please let me know if this is a good idea and if you have any suggestions! thanks! :D 

More about : upgrading starcraft

a b B Homebuilt system
October 22, 2010 10:04:41 PM

I have 2 GTX 460s running on an older Antec Earthwatts 650W PSU, so the new ones would be able to support them as well:

I would recommend not getting the HEC PSU, because their quality is far lower than Antec, Corsair or Seasonic. You'll get longer life from these brands than the cheaper ones.
October 23, 2010 12:26:25 AM

I had almost the exact same setup a while ago.
i had the dell inspiron 531
with a 8800gt
4 gig of 800mhz ddr2 ram
and the same processor as you.

my problem occured when i purchased a gtx 460, Sc2 SEVERELY bottlenecked and it actually ran a bit slower then the 8800gt i had previously.
I just built a whole new comp., because the cpu couldn't be upgraded because of old am2 tech on the mobo.
Soo, i would suggest building a whole new comp.

sorry to bring the bad news
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 23, 2010 3:53:34 AM

Sorry to burst your bubble -- but SC2 is a processor-driven game. Upgrading your GPU will only give you a minimal performance upgrade.
October 23, 2010 5:03:31 AM

thanks for letting me know! new machine it is, this is exciting :D 

so is something like quad-core + 6gig triple channel + 2x 460gtx 1gig in SLI a good idea? should i get a solid state drive for my OS? which games will take advantage of SLI?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 23, 2010 5:59:00 PM

A lot of the newer games will take advantage of SLI, but not so many of the older ones. With a good quad core, you'll be able to handle SC2.

If you plan on upgrading an AMD system, take note they will not support triple channel RAM. Only Intel's i7-900 series will.

An SSD for your OS is somewhat of a luxury; if you can afford it, it'll be nice, but not necessary.
October 23, 2010 7:18:42 PM

yea i'm still undecided on SSD... is it worth it? how much better is it than a fast 10k rpm hard drive like this one? what does it change exactly, is it only boot and loading times? i would like my games to load faster (especially sc2, it takes soo long!), but isn't that mostly ram? i don't need more than 300gigs internal because i have a lot of external storage for music and video.

btw, probably gonna go with intel then, those i7 cpu's look pretty sweet. i'll make a new thread when i'm ready to buy anyway.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 23, 2010 7:42:49 PM

I've never used the 10k RPM hard drives, bu with a good SSD like the OCZ Vertex series and Crucial C300s, you'll get better read rates than a hard drive, which will decrease loading times for your OS (the most noticeable), other programs like Office and Photoshop, and maybe games (can't speak from experience there; I just have my OS and Office suite on my SSD).

300GB is still going to be really expensive for a SSD. If you end up getting one, I would go with a 32-64GB model to put the OS and programs you use a lot, and then have another HDD store documents, downloads, etc. SSDs have a "lifespan," so to speak. Eventually the controller will sort of wear out (from repeated writes) and you won't be able to write to the drive, but you can read from it.
October 23, 2010 9:08:12 PM

sorry, i meant that i'm planning on getting a 300gig 10k rpm/16mb buffer drive for OS, and games, the other option being getting a 64gig ssd (for the OS) in addition to the 300gig drive.

are you serious about the SSD having a limited lifespan? wtf, i thought that they were supposed to last much longer than HDDs! if that's not the case, i'm definitely passing on the SSD for now...
a b B Homebuilt system
October 24, 2010 6:17:09 PM

I didn't mean it's going to die within a year or two; some people just believe they're invincible. They'll last for 100,000-ish WRITES to each cell, but even this is virtually impossible in a SSD (and will outlast a HDD; unless you write data all the time). You'll still be able to read data that has been written to it though (installed programs and such).

Here's a link to some more info about it.