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Upgrading an Alienware Q9450- or new build?

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a b B Homebuilt system
November 26, 2010 11:53:05 PM

Christmas is coming and my husband is looking to upgrade his Alienware to one of my homebuilt machines. He's been underwhelmed with it since he got it. It is a gaming rig. Currently 1 card and he prefers to keep a 1 card config.

Budget is < $1,000. I'm not sure if for that price point I can build a whole new machine that will provide the necessary :o  improvement he'd expect from a whole new machine.

Current innards:

- Q9450 2.33
- 6GG / 1033
- EVGA NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI
- 1000 watt power supply
- 9800 card
- 2 5000rpm spindle drives, non-RAID
- Air cooled
- PhysX card (just mentioning it for the laughs)

Any "best bang for the buck" suggestions? Budget ceiling isn't absolute.

I would *prefer* "stock" solutions as my husband has zero tolerance for instability and I won't get much opportunity to test any upgrades to the current machine before Xmas.

A new machine I could hide in my office and use as my daily driver to test before putting a bow on it. :lol: 

For a new machine I am currently looking at an i7950 + Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R (I am currently using a 920 in this board), 12GB of 1333, a 460 and a small (60GB?) SSD boot drive. Harvest the PSU, case and 2 mechanical drives. I'm just concerned this really won't provide enough improvement. :pfff: 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 27, 2010 12:47:24 AM

I do not think upgrading from 775 at this point would be wise. The next generation of intel CPUs is coming soon and 775 is still going strong.

What does he do? Is it just gaming?

If its just gaming that current config is perfect and all you need is a new graphics card. Or does he need more CPU performance for something special?

If you want to buy a graphics card then I would suggest a HD 5870. This one here is an amazing deal:
http://www.logicbuy.com/deals/sapphire-radeon-hd-5870-1...

Though the 69XX cards are coming out in a few weeks so you might want to wait for them.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 27, 2010 9:23:20 AM

^+1 on adding a GPU, also consider an SSD or at least new HDD such as a spinpoint F3 or a Caviar Black, if the drives really are 5000 (or 5400) RPM.

Related resources
November 27, 2010 12:21:12 PM

A gpu upgrade will be worthy, but the cpu is good enough to handle all games..
Therefore, just upgrade the gpu, a gtx 460 would be an option, also currently ati cards are new, 6850, 6870. Its depends on the budget, and the resolution been played at-
So what res ?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 27, 2010 1:11:18 PM

If you want to spend about $1000, Sandy Bridge is due out January 5
a b B Homebuilt system
November 27, 2010 7:13:09 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

@malmental- about the RAM. Excuse me while I :pfff:  He bought it with 6GB in triple, and shipped it with 32bit Vista. :heink:  So technically it has 4GB in dual because I removed the 3rd stick. We HAVE 6GB for it. Is there a headdesk icon? .............

The machine is running stock and always has.

I'm thinking at this point a 460 or 470, and getting a nice SSD. I can also ninja in a 64 bit OS with the new SSD. Could you explain why that board is optimized for dual vs triple?


@Sqrl- I realized that last night, LOL. I think I'll be building one for myself. I ah... need... a new computer. :whistle: 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 27, 2010 7:19:46 PM

if you get the 64bit OS, I'd get the $129 family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. It lets you put win 7 on up to 3 computers at once, and its full retail, meaning you can reactivate as you replace computers. Its only $30 more than an OEM copy, so Very worth it if you have at least 2 computers.

BTW. I think the green worm icon is cute.

And Welcome aboard :hello: 

the board ia probably optimized for dual, triple really came about with the x58 chipset for the i7-9xx series.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 27, 2010 7:25:44 PM

Thanks for the welcome, Sqrl. :) 

I have a few unused 64bit Home Premiums, so don't need to buy those.

So I guess I'm looking at a SSD + GPU. I'm a little bummed husband gets the new SSD before me. :lol:  But his boot times are deplorable. If nothing else now I finally have the excuse to go digging around and find out why. :kaola: 
!