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Upgrade some or all major components? opinions appreciated

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October 31, 2010 8:28:02 PM

Hello everybody!

Within the next month or so I will be upgrading my gaming pc (I want to take advantage of black friday/Christmas sales). First I will start with what I currently have:

Asus Rampage Formula LGA 775 Intel X48 Motherboard
Intel Q6600 Processor
G.SKILL DDR2 1066 (total of 8GB) Ram
Antec True Power Quattro 850w Power Supply
HD4850 Video Card
Coolermaster Cosmos Case
Sony Bluray Player
*currently using onboard audio.

So what I need help is deciding if I should upgrade my motherboard, processor, ram etc to something like:

Asus P7P55d-E Pro LGA1156 Motherboard
Intel i7-860 Processor
Corsair XMS3 6GB DDR3
Gigabyte HD5870 Video Card
*also upgrade from 7200rpm HD to SSD
Asus Xonar Sound Card

By doing this I would keep my Case, Power Supply, DVD/Bluray Drives, etc.
Also, price seems to be around $1300 for these upgrades.

Or, should I keep most of my components and just upgrade processor to something such as Q9650 (Newegg price $329.99) :cry: 
And to a better Video card still considering HD5870 if compatible with my system. This will be about $700 still, I would want to upgrade to SSD and Asus Xonar Sound Card.

I am using a 24" monitor and want to have a better experience with graphics in gaming, and with DX11, I want to enjoy that too.

What should I do? Anything else I need to consider?

I would appreciate all your help.

Thanks
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 8:55:31 PM

Just upgrade your entire build, it's not worth getting a 329$ processor, that's just unreasonable especially since a 200$ 760 can practically beat it.

I think you should wait, don't decide on the 5870 just yet since the 69xx is coming out next month. And if it does follow the pricing of the 58xx series the 69xx should be around 400$ to combat the 480 GTX and it'll probably have a lower TDP with a 20% performance increase, so look for the 69xx not the 5870.

Another thing, the 870 is the same price practically as the 860. So get the 870, it won't be a huge improvement but you'll be able to OC it a bit further. Also as for the Mobo you could stick with that one its preference but I just perfer MSI, so the MSI Fuzion P55A would be my choice.

Anyway, your RAM choice is good. But.... LGA 1156 doesn't support triple channel so I suggest getting 4GBs of ram, that is the general amount of RAM you need, you really don't need any more than 4gigs. I suggest getting Mushkin Blackline Enhanced that or Mushkin Ridgebacks.

Now This is not really a upgrade it's more like an actual new build. I suggest just picking out a case and drive and psu and just keep this as a back-up computer.
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October 31, 2010 9:09:31 PM

So you are suggesting not upgrading my current system at all, rather, build new system complete? I suppose that is an option, but would like to stay as close to $1000. Even with a budget of $1300, keeping my large Cosmos case and optical drives will save some cash.

Perhaps when 69xx cards arrive they will be priced good.

So say with a budget of with my budget that I expect to be $1000 to $1300 what should I get? I will lookup price for mushkin memory and your suggested Processor.

Thanks
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:26:43 PM

Actually, your CPU is fine. Get a nice cooler and OC it. It should keep up with the Q9X00s.

Heres a nice upgrade list for pure gaming:
Xigmatek S1283 $35
Asus EAH6850 $180
Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 60GB $117AR

Total: $340 shipped

You should see a major performance bump, then when SB/BD comes out, update your platform, and maybe grab another 6850.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:30:27 PM

I don't know about that Mushkin Callisto, I do like it but for the same cost the S599 keeps up with the Vertex 2 but the Mushkin Calisto doesn't.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:32:32 PM

aznshinobi said:
I don't know about that Mushkin Callisto, I do like it but for the same cost the S599 keeps up with the Vertex 2 but the Mushkin Calisto doesn't.

How? Are you sure youre looking at the Callisto Deluxe?
All 3 uses Sandforce-12XX controllers so the performance difference should be under 10%.
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October 31, 2010 9:35:38 PM

Timop: If I do that, then my current ram or processor will not be bottleneck? If I spend on that, then I have plenty of room for Asus Xonar Sound Card.

Also, pardon my ignorance, I'm uncertain what you mean by SB/BD.

Thanks
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:41:28 PM

Well, i referred to the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe review from Techpowerup, and the Adata S599 from Guru3D, they are pretty much on par. But in 4KB read, which is what matters in OS booting, the S599 beats out the Mushkin by far.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:41:46 PM

rookiepc said:
Timop: If I do that, then my current ram or processor will not be bottleneck? If I spend on that, then I have plenty of room for Asus Xonar Sound Card.

Also, pardon my ignorance, I'm uncertain what you mean by SB/BD.

Thanks

The cooler is for you to OC the Q6600 to 3Ghz+, in which it would be not much different from a Q9650.
The RAM is even less of a worry, DDR3 isnt much faster than DDR2 contrary to what you think, and the speed of RAM rarely matters for gaming.

On SB/BD, SB is the new series of CPUs from Intel, due in the next quarter, it will use a new socket. BD is the new series from AMD, and should come a little later, around mid 2011.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:44:28 PM

Well, that's just expected, doesn't mean SB is actually going to be released in Q1, buyers just predict that.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:52:27 PM

aznshinobi said:
Well, i referred to the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe review from Techpowerup, and the Adata S599 from Guru3D, they are pretty much on par. But in 4KB read, which is what matters in OS booting, the S599 beats out the Mushkin by far.

Well, you are using the review for a 100GB model and test systems are different.
Also, it is noted in the reviews that HD-tune is very inconsistent with SF controllers.

Heres the OCC review, its on par with the Corsair F100, which is another SF-12XX SSD thats almost identical with the Vertex 2.
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/mushkin_callist...
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:54:07 PM

rookiepc said:
Timop: If I do that, then my current ram or processor will not be bottleneck? If I spend on that, then I have plenty of room for Asus Xonar Sound Card.

Also, pardon my ignorance, I'm uncertain what you mean by SB/BD.

Thanks

SB = sandy bridge, Intel's new architecture 32nm processors due out early January. I would defer a cpu upgrade until then.
BD=Bulldozer, the AMD next gen. Launch date is uncertain. I happen to think sandy bridge will be a blockbuster, and those buying a cpu now will feel buyer's remorse in two months.

In the short run, there is no harm in upgrading the most critical component for gaming, namely the graphics card now, and the cpu later.

At 1920 x 1200, something like a 5970 or GTX480 would be good.
It looks like the GTX 580 will launch early around November 9, and the 6970 near November 20. I would wait to see what is announced.
We already see price pressure on the GTX480, and it might be really good later.

Modern motherboards have very good onboard HD sound. I would not start out with a discrete sound card. Long ago, they helped with reducing cpu load, but with today's multi cores and faster cpu's that savings is negligible. Try onboard first. You can always add one later.

The cosmos is a good looking case, but not noted as a good cooling one. I think I would replace that also, unless you happen to love it. Your parts are fairly good and recent. You should be able to market thse you don't reuse on e-bay to defray your costs.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:55:52 PM

aznshinobi said:
Well, that's just expected, doesn't mean SB is actually going to be released in Q1, buyers just predict that.

With Mobos being leaked all over the place and samples already being sent to OEMs at least in August (Anand's preview), Its pretty much set IMO.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 9:56:33 PM

Well... It may be inconsistent, but the S599 beats out the Deluxe very clearly in 4kb read. Also the cost of a 64 S599 is less than that of the 60 Deluxe.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 10:03:10 PM

aznshinobi said:
Well... It may be inconsistent, but the S599 beats out the Deluxe very clearly in 4kb read. Also the cost of a 64 S599 is less than that of the 60 Deluxe.

I dont think its logical to conclude ones faster than another when the data is labeled as inconsistent; But $13 cheaper for a pretty much identical (its really only 60GB, 64 is marketing BS) drive isnt a bad deal. Its his choice really.
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October 31, 2010 10:05:58 PM

Ok so I can upgrade my Video Card (most critical for gaming) with either hd6850/6870 or upcoming 69xx with keeping my current motherboard? That would be great! Then when new processors are released, go ahead and upgrade processor, mobo, ram then.

Also, I currently have Zalman CNPS9700LED cooler. I had overclocked with little success so I currently have Q6600 running at stock speeds.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 10:07:47 PM

True,

Anyway, If you CAN wait, a good decision is getting the SB i5, it's what I'm waiting for at least. However prices aren't confirmed yet, so don't expect SB to be cheap. But if they do follow the current pricing of the i5 750 then the i5 2400 S should be 200$.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 10:10:57 PM

rookiepc said:
Ok so I can upgrade my Video Card (most critical for gaming) with either hd6850/6870 or upcoming 69xx with keeping my current motherboard? That would be great! Then when new processors are released, go ahead and upgrade processor, mobo, ram then.

Also, I currently have Zalman CNPS9700LED cooler. I had overclocked with little success so I currently have Q6600 running at stock speeds.

Yup, your board is actually quite nice. With your system right now, you can literally drop any card in it and it would be compatible.

OCing a Q6600 on a Rampage, especially with that cooler, should be simple. Try this guide http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/259899-29-core-overcl... .

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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2010 10:13:19 PM

rookiepc said:
Ok so I can upgrade my Video Card (most critical for gaming) with either hd6850/6870 or upcoming 69xx with keeping my current motherboard? That would be great! Then when new processors are released, go ahead and upgrade processor, mobo, ram then.

Also, I currently have Zalman CNPS9700LED cooler. I had overclocked with little success so I currently have Q6600 running at stock speeds.

Exactly, it looks like a good plan to me.

In the interim, run these two tests to help assess the value of each upgrade:

1) Run your games, but reduce the resolution and eye candy to a minimum. This will simulate what will happen if you upgrade to a stronger graphics card. If your FPS improves, it indicates that your cpu is capable of driving a stronger graphics card to higher levels of FPS.

2) Keeping your graphics resolution and settings the same, reduce your cpu power. Do this by removing the overclock, or by using windows power management to set a maximum cpu% of perhaps 70%. If your FPS drops significantly, it indicates that your current cpu is a limiting factor, and that a faster cpu would help.

Tell us what you see.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 1, 2010 1:08:06 AM

I agree with your conclusion that upgrading just your video card makes the most sense. You'll always be able to move it to your next build, whenever that comes.
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November 1, 2010 1:57:01 AM

geofelt, I don't know what is best way to benchmark graphics, other than what I already have for benchmark (unigine heaven).

At stock cpu settings, I accomplished 18.6 FPS with Shaders set to high. When I set shaders to low, FPS moved to 22.3.

I will continue to test this way unless you can suggest a better tool I can use to benchmark FPS.

Thanks so much guys!
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
November 1, 2010 2:25:28 AM

rookiepc said:
geofelt, I don't know what is best way to benchmark graphics, other than what I already have for benchmark (unigine heaven).

At stock cpu settings, I accomplished 18.6 FPS with Shaders set to high. When I set shaders to low, FPS moved to 22.3.

I will continue to test this way unless you can suggest a better tool I can use to benchmark FPS.

Thanks so much guys!

The best benchmarks are those done on YOUR games or applications.
The test you just did tells me that there is still some capability in your cpu, and that doing the graphics upgrade now will benefit you at least some in your game.

When gaming, can you monitor your cpu usage? How many cores are in use? And, how highly utilized do the cores seem to be?
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November 1, 2010 4:15:06 AM

I will try to find software to do exactly what you suggest. The 2 games I have which demand most of Video Card are Crysis and Battlefield Bad Company 2.

I think I remember downloading Crysis Benchmark tool at some point, perhaps that's my ticket.
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!