Seeking advice for 'best' upgrade option

Hello all,

I am going to upgrade my system and have about $500.00 - $650.00 at my disposal. The build I am upgrading is one that I put together last March, here are the specs.

AMD Phenom II x4 955 on a Gigabyte 790XTA UD4. Antec Earth watts 650 PSU. 8gb Gskill ripjaws DDR3 1600. ATI Radeon (PowerColor) 5770 OC'd @ 930/1300. Seagate Barracuda 7200 SATA 3gb/s 500gb HDD.

I realize that this is still a pretty good system, but I have the money to upgrade, and I am bored, so that is what I am going to do. Mostly I use my pc to do my work (I work from home), and it requires multi-tasking between spreadsheets and Firefox and .pdf documents, I do some gaming (total war series while I work :lol:) and css and dods, and my girlfriend and I watch movies and TV series with it.

What I have been considering is of course a GPU upgrade (I may wait until the 13th for the 69xx series, or I may get a 6870 or Fermi 470 now and xfire/SLI in the future). If I were to get the 6870/470 now, I would probably want to upgrade my storage, meaning an SSD and perhaps another HDD. But I don't know yet. I've also considered a GPU/CPU upgrade as well.

I just wanted to get some opinions on what some people that are not quite as n00b as me might choose as an upgrade path. Everything is an option for me and I am eager to consider all sorts of different options, I just want to increase the performance of my machine overall. Any ideas/thoughts would be appreciated vuuurrrrry much!

Thanks
15 answers Last reply
More about seeking advice best upgrade option
  1. willmalcom said:
    Hello all,

    I am going to upgrade my system and have about $500.00 - $650.00 at my disposal. The build I am upgrading is one that I put together last March, here are the specs.

    AMD Phenom II x4 955 on a Gigabyte 790XTA UD4. Antec Earth watts 650 PSU. 8gb Gskill ripjaws DDR3 1600. ATI Radeon (PowerColor) 5770 OC'd @ 930/1300. Seagate Barracuda 7200 SATA 3gb/s 500gb HDD.

    I realize that this is still a pretty good system, but I have the money to upgrade, and I am bored, so that is what I am going to do. Mostly I use my pc to do my work (I work from home), and it requires multi-tasking between spreadsheets and Firefox and .pdf documents, I do some gaming (total war series while I work :lol:) and css and dods, and my girlfriend and I watch movies and TV series with it.

    What I have been considering is of course a GPU upgrade (I may wait until the 13th for the 69xx series, or I may get a 6870 or Fermi 470 now and xfire/SLI in the future). If I were to get the 6870/470 now, I would probably want to upgrade my storage, meaning an SSD and perhaps another HDD. But I don't know yet. I've also considered a GPU/CPU upgrade as well.

    I just wanted to get some opinions on what some people that are not quite as n00b as me might choose as an upgrade path. Everything is an option for me and I am eager to consider all sorts of different options, I just want to increase the performance of my machine overall. Any ideas/thoughts would be appreciated vuuurrrrry much!

    Thanks


    I'd say if you got some money to spend like that (lucky you ;-P), how about another monitor? Or..better yet..get an HDTV for this thing? I must say, after hooking my desktop to a 32" television, I would not settle for anything less anymore. Also, haven't heard much about speakers, maybe invest in a good sound system? Couple that with a decent sound card? I'm just saying theres better routes than simply upgrading the already good parts inside. Turn it into a home theater system if the room allows for it, I swear you will not regret it. If your not wanting to go to that extreme though, I would say invest it all in a better graphics card. Or...write a check to me ;-).
  2. cpatel1987 said:
    I'd say if you got some money to spend like that (lucky you ;-P), how about another monitor? Or..better yet..get an HDTV for this thing? I must say, after hooking my desktop to a 32" television, I would not settle for anything less anymore. Also, haven't heard much about speakers, maybe invest in a good sound system? Couple that with a decent sound card? I'm just saying theres better routes than simply upgrading the already good parts inside. Turn it into a home theater system if the room allows for it, I swear you will not regret it. If your not wanting to go to that extreme though, I would say invest it all in a better graphics card. Or...write a check to me ;-).



    Well I was considering going with something like a 'home theater' upgrade path, but I don't know yet. I don't have a very good sound system that is true, but 90% of my time at the PC is spent with a headset on, and I always play my games with a headset, and I have a great headset. MY GF has a HDTV that I will be connecting this March when she moves in with me, and I don't even own a traditional TV because we watch everything on my monitor from my bed because we prefer that to sitting on a couch, and we rarely host get togethers. Currently I have 2 ASUS VH242 monitors that are 23.6', one stays on my desk for my work, the other at the foot of my bed and I simply switch the connection when we watch something. So, while this is something I will certainly consider, I am just not sure it is what I want yet. Hopefully others will ring in to let me know their opinions as well!

    Oh yes, I am also more concerned with future proofing and staying as ahead of the curve as I can. But, I appreciate your response and will definitely browse the HTPC forum a little more thoroughly before I decide anything!
  3. willmalcom said:
    Well I was considering going with something like a 'home theater' upgrade path, but I don't know yet. I don't have a very good sound system that is true, but 90% of my time at the PC is spent with a headset on, and I always play my games with a headset, and I have a great headset. MY GF has a HDTV that I will be connecting this March when she moves in with me, and I don't even own a traditional TV because we watch everything on my monitor from my bed because we prefer that to sitting on a couch, and we rarely host get togethers. Currently I have 2 ASUS VH242 monitors that are 23.6', one stays on my desk for my work, the other at the foot of my bed and I simply switch the connection when we watch something. So, while this is something I will certainly consider, I am just not sure it is what I want yet. Hopefully others will ring in to let me know their opinions as well!

    Oh yes, I am also more concerned with future proofing and staying as ahead of the curve as I can. But, I appreciate your response and will definitely browse the HTPC forum a little more thoroughly before I decide anything!


    Is the headset USB or analog? If analog, a sound card upgrade would certainly improve the already awesome sound quality: http://about.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=27863765/search=70SB073A00000/st=product/sv=title. I wouldn't recommend the fatality sound card just because it might be a little overkill, plus you can use the spare to upgrade that card. $96.75

    As for what to do with the rest of the money, Fermi 470 is the best bang for the buck right now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125321 $254.99

    Hows the case?: http://www.amazon.com/AZZA-Solano-CSAZ-1000-Tower-Black/dp/B002KCNYV8%3FSubscriptionId%3D14H876SFAKFS0EHBYQ02%26tag%3Dukhotr-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB002KCNYV8 $94.99

    Totaling to roughly $446.73 (may or may not accounted for shipping).
  4. In your place, these are the upgrades I would consider:

    1. A quality UPS (if you don't already have one). Your PSU may be sensitive to the input waveform and might just shut off on something cheap, but the new Cyberpower PFC-series or an APC Smartpower unit will produce waveforms that will keep your PSU happy.
    2. Definitely get a SSD. 120GB models are now around $200. The responsiveness of your system will be amazing.
    3. If you don't have them, a wireless controller, mouse, and/or keyboard may be nice for your recumbent movie-watching.
    4. An additional video cable for the HDTV, most likely HDMI or DisplayPort. You shouldn't have to switch a cable around. Set your drivers to mirror your display rather than extend your desktop. The ATi cards can run three displays concurrently. Get one of those office cable-runners so you or your GF don't risk tripping over monitor or power cables.
    5. If your work would benefit from CUDA / PhysX, consider a nVidia card. If you are mostly satisfied with your current card's performance, a GTX460 will be sufficient, but note that you lose 3-display capability with nVidia cards. If that is a problem, add an A-B switch for one of your displays.
  5. Thanks for the responses!

    @cpatel1987: I like this suggestion more than the HTPC path, but I think an ssd is more of priority than a new case, though azza is 1337 ... so that may come next month :)

    @jtt283: I have a quality Belkin PSU, but I am not sure about the model. I think the SSD is something I am going to definitely order, though not sure what model yet. Any tips on specific manufacturer to avoid? I do currently have a wireless set up, but that is definitely a solid tip for someone lacking those. I do have a couple of extra HDMI cables lying around ... IDK why I hadn't done mirrored my display yet, but I did after reading this :). My work won't benefit from CUDA or Physx. Work that my brother does with genetic coding does benefit from CUDA, but mine isn't as intensive, but nonetheless, a solid tip as well. I am thinking of crossfiring two 6850s at this point and adding an SSD, but I am not sure if that is my final answer, though the SSD is definite!

    Anyone know about this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131383&cm_re=6870_radeon-_-14-131-383-_-Product 6870? My 5770 is a powercolor, but I never really liked it. I can't explain it, but it just seemed sort of 'cheap' compared to other 5770s. I suspect that this model doesn't have much ability in terms of being able to be OC'd, which is one reason I am leaning towards the gigabyte 6850 instead.

    Thanks!
  6. FWIW, I have learned that putting "Belkin" and "quality" in the same sentence only makes sense if the word "absence" is also present, e.g. "the absence of quality in any Belkin product I bought from the mid-1980s on has earned them a place on my personal 'do not buy' list."
    When looking for a SSD, anything with a Sandforce controller should be good. JMicron controllers will be at the bottom of the heap.
  7. Onus said:
    FWIW, I have learned that putting "Belkin" and "quality" in the same sentence only makes sense if the word "absence" is also present, e.g. "the absence of quality in any Belkin product I bought from the mid-1980s on has earned them a place on my personal 'do not buy' list."
    When looking for a SSD, anything with a Sandforce controller should be good. JMicron controllers will be at the bottom of the heap.


    Sorry! The router I have is actually belkin, the UPS is actually a lower tier APC UPS. I remember when I first did my build someone advised to stay away from OZC products at all cost. And the SSD I was looking into was from the Agility series. Any thoughts?
  8. Oooh, I had two brand new Belkin routers crap out within hours of being powered on.
  9. I appreciate all of the responses, since I have yet to decide on a final course of action, it isn't fair for me to choose a best answer :( Thanks for the thoughts though, and I will update as I make my move!!! Currently, I have a 6850 and a SSD on the way, I fell into some more $$ so IDK what I am going to do yet for sure!
  10. While quicker than a magnetic drive, the Kingston SSDs are probably the slowest of SSDs. That doesn't make it a bad move (boot and app startup times will be much improved), but as a budget drive, it offers budget performance compared to other SSDs.
    Comparative benchmarks: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-470-sandforce-best-ssd,2783.html
  11. Well, that's what I was going for as far as getting a budget drive! :) Tax refund time is coming soon!!!

    The amount of knowledge I have learned from these forums since I did my first build is AMAZING. Example, it took me the better part of a day to do my first build, and then when I did one for my parents, I had it built and installing the OS in about 45 minutes. Like cornflakes, Tom's is gggggggggrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeat! And it is thanks to all of the informed members who have helped me along the way!
  12. when we were coming over on the boat, we got the L beat out of us! Or at least that's what I was told ;)
  13. lol what part of the country are you in? most of my family is from GA (where the name is more common), but I was born and raised in VA, and didn't grow up with anyone with the same last name
  14. Best answer selected by willmalcom.
Ask a new question

Read More

Homebuilt Systems Product