Upgrading for StarCraft 2

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
9 answers Last reply
More about upgrading starcraft
  1. 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: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371015&cm_re=antec_650-_-17-371-015-_-Product

    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.
  2. 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
  3. Sorry to burst your bubble -- but SC2 is a processor-driven game. Upgrading your GPU will only give you a minimal performance upgrade.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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...
  9. 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.
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/the-ssd-failure-debate/1342
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