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Max 500 upgrade advice needed

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December 17, 2010 1:55:20 PM

My kid's poor ole system has seen better days.

Still using:
socket 939 amd 3000+
Nvidia 8800gt
and w/e memory we used at the time.

I need help in deciding the best bang for the buck sub 500 US. Things we need to upgrade:

CPU- (sort of Intel biased)
Mobo-(Asus biased)
Memory-
Video-(Went from liking Nvidia all my life to using an ATI now in mine. I guess either company here would be fine).

Now, I've heard a little bit about this new technology coming out around January 11, 2011 called Sandy Bridge. Would people recommend waiting for that or to conitinue and get the upgrades for Christmas (is the current plan)? Regardless, the amount to spend will be the same. So, I would imagine we may not have enough to even do the latter and wait.

Oh yeah... he likes to play alot of video games. From the oldest to the newest he actively plays. He also likes to mess around with House designing software.
December 17, 2010 2:19:09 PM

Best bang for your buck will probably come from an AMD processor. You are in luck that the GPU is still pretty good. I'd go....

AMD Athlon II X4 630 ($89)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Asus M4N75TD ($99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2gb 1333mhz ($50)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA GeForce GTX 460 1gb ($160 w/ rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Apevia PSU ($30 w/ rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That's $428. Leaves you room for a case, CD/DVD, extra fans, cooler, etc. Might go a touch ove

You should get some pretty good performance out of this. It may not being an elite gaming machine, but with some OC'ing, it should run pretty darn good.

You can always get this cooler for some OC'ing...
212+ Cooler ($30)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 17, 2010 2:29:50 PM

Will the above play the newest games out, including not being jipped in online competion stuff, like Black Ops multi-player for example? How would you compare that to speculating a price on the new technology coming out?
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December 17, 2010 4:52:14 PM

The build above is very very very very similar to the one I just completed. Only big difference, I went with a Phenom II X4 955 BE. That's another $60.

I also went with the EVO verson of the motherboard I listed, which gives you TRUE 16x PCIe. That's $50 more.

I am running Black Ops at 1280x1024, highest graphics detail, 8x AA, 8x AF.... And it runs fantastic.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 17, 2010 5:11:54 PM

look at today's $500 system builders marathon computr. It's a VERY solid gaming computer.

the minor changes I'd make to it: RAM is down in price, I'd stick with the same ram, now $42, -$18

I'd get a 500 GB HDD for $49.99, only +$7

You can get a MSI version of the 768 GB GTX460 for $149.99 now. ($-20)
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 17, 2010 9:51:40 PM

With the cost of socket 1366/1156 mainboards, and the near irrelevance of the cpu at/in high res gaming, I'd concur with the AMD X3/X4 recommendation, and dump the money saved solely into the video card....
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 17, 2010 10:29:46 PM

Apevia makes some of the WORST PSUs you can buy; I've never known one to pass Jonnyguru's testing as being capable of anywhere near what's on its label, and some didn't survive at all.
Take a look at this month's $500 SBM article, and the discussion following it. Depending on what usable parts you already have, that may free up a little more money.
I would not attempt SLI with an AMD CPU. A recent Tom's article was not able to explore why (CPU? Chipset? Mobo?), but found significant bottlenecking with that configuration. It looked like the CPU, but I found that a little hard to swallow; then this month's $2K SBM build turned up some unexpected RAM anomalies that also bear investigation for relevance.
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December 19, 2010 1:33:41 PM

Thanks for the info guys. It's making it quite a bit easier. Chances are I will go with one of the above mentioned upgrades.

The case is just a general mid range with a clear side to it. I'm not sure of the brand name.

The powersupply is:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You don't see the chips going away soon? We kind of got stuck sooner than expected when the socket 939's stopped being manufactured. Both our systems required almost everything new to upgrade now.

Jan 11th is the date I heard about this SandyBridge coming out. Not sure if we'll be able to get it for the price range needed though.

Again, thanks !!
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 19, 2010 1:51:23 PM

The 650W Antec Earthwatts is a good PSU; it will be fine.
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December 27, 2010 5:16:16 PM

Well I thought we had made a decision to wait for the sandy bridge. However apparently these processors have a gpu with them. I don't believe these will suffice for gaming....seems like a waste of extra money really.

I am understanding this wrong?


*the cpu mentioned above is no longer in stock and may or may not be replaced.
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December 28, 2010 2:37:54 PM

Yes that is available..not 4 cores though. Read somewhere 4 should be the min...I dunno.

But that x3 one has a combo offer with http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Reading through the board spec, it looks pretty good for what I know. I kind of like the idea of the core unlocker type of things. It was mentioned to look at a "true" PCI-e. I'm not sure how to tell on that.

"PCI Express 2.0 x16 3 (dual @x16, triple @x16 x8 x8)
1 (@x4)
PCI Slots 2"

The video card in my system is the ATI 5770, I believe. I would like his to seriously out perform mine.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 28, 2010 2:48:27 PM

that board is overkill. You don't need 3, 4, 5 PCIe slots.

the AS Rock 870 Extreme 3 is a much cheaper board ($89.99 right now) with 16x solo or 8x/8x dual-card in crossfire..

At the VERY, VERY top end (GTX 580, HD5970 crossfired 69xx cards), you lose 2% of top end performance compared to 16x/16x. why double your cost of the motherboard for 1-2 FPS? (49/50 FPS or 98/100 FPS)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get this, a HD 6850, a Athlon II X3 450, 4 GB of DDR3, and a decent PSU (top tier: Antec, Sea Sonic, Corsair) or second tier (Xigmatek, Coolermaster, OCZ)

and you should be good to go.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 28, 2010 3:53:57 PM

I agree on the mobo; that's probably the one I would have chosen if an ASRock 870 iCafe (a lesser board) hadn't turned up for $35; I've been really lucky snagging Hardware Secrets' review units off eBay when they're done with them.
I'd add Enermax and XFX to any list of decent PSUs, and except for a few recent models, knock Coolermaster off.
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December 28, 2010 4:21:01 PM


With all of the above advice:

Although Asus is my pref..and I don't know about AsRock. Taking your advice on this one.

ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard - 89.99

Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound - 9.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - 49.99

AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX450WFGMBOX - 79.99 Four core versions are not that much more. Should I go four?

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ... - 29.99 Although the CPU listed comes with a fan/heat sink we may use this for overclocking or use it on my i5-750 for overclocking (if it fits it).

total - 267.28

You mention HD 6850. There are a plethora of choices on this. By sorting with "Best Rating" selected the first on the list is:

HIS H685F1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

Or this black edition:

XFX HD-685X-ZNBC Radeon HD 6850 Black Edition 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
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December 28, 2010 4:21:38 PM

Blah...none of my links work right.


*Fixed
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
December 28, 2010 6:04:47 PM

ok, that looks pretty good.

AS Rock was spun off from ASUS as an OEM manufacturer around 2000. They since moved into the low-mid end components market and have thrived, all the quality youu'd expect of ASUS at a lower price.

as for a quad fore, you can spend an extra $20 and get an Athlon II X4 640 in the same motherboard just fine, if you want.

For the HD6850, I'd get this model at $189:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

its $10 more than the HIS, but comes with a double lifetime warranty (meaning it covers you as long as you own it...then you can sell it to someone else and they get full coverage as long as they own it as well) that covers overclocking the card. its $20 cheaper than the other card because its reference clocked rather than factory overclocked. Why pay $20 more for what you can do yourself and still be in warranty?
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December 28, 2010 8:52:22 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
ok, that looks pretty good.

AS Rock was spun off from ASUS as an OEM manufacturer around 2000. They since moved into the low-mid end components market and have thrived, all the quality youu'd expect of ASUS at a lower price.

as for a quad fore, you can spend an extra $20 and get an Athlon II X4 640 in the same motherboard just fine, if you want.

For the HD6850, I'd get this model at $189:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

its $10 more than the HIS, but comes with a double lifetime warranty (meaning it covers you as long as you own it...then you can sell it to someone else and they get full coverage as long as they own it as well) that covers overclocking the card. its $20 cheaper than the other card because its reference clocked rather than factory overclocked. Why pay $20 more for what you can do yourself and still be in warranty?



The Ram we decided on isn't in stock now.
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December 28, 2010 9:20:30 PM

OK. Thanks to everyone on here...especially ScrewySqrl and jtt283 who hung around. :) 

ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157198
-$20.00 Instant
$109.99
$89.99

XFX HD-685X-ZNDC Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #: N82E16814150516
$189.99

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
Item #: N82E16835100007
$9.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK
Item #: N82E16820231180
$49.99

AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX640WFGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103871
$99.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754
$99.99
Subtotal: $539.94
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December 28, 2010 9:20:54 PM

Best answer selected by airtaz.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 3:04:58 AM

good luck and happy building!

edit --
I noticed the build listed doesn't have a hard drive or DVD drive. will you be cannibalizing that from the old computer?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 8:48:52 AM

Yes, it does look decent. From the OP, the drives weren't listed, but I don't see a PSU in our final list. Did you go with the 650W Earthwatts?
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December 29, 2010 4:10:22 PM

Yeah. The PS was listed above...we already have it from his old system. We are keeping that along with all of the drives.
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