Budget upgrade to a PC

My brother is wanting a new PC for this years games (RIFT, Star Wars, GW2) I know what to build for that, though with all the graphics cards around I am not sure which I will go for. I have about £500-£600 for the build (no need for monitor or Windows and mouse/keyboard/speakers will just be cheap). It will likely be Intel. Which card is currently the new favorite around the Radeon 5850/Nvidia 4XX range? In fact, if anyone wants to advise on a build I am always open to more suggestions, it's been a few months since I kept an eye on things and everything changes quickly!

But the real reason for this thread is for the other computer, you see his wife plays some games (such as Left 4 Dead 2 and is interested in Rift: Planes of Telara). The current specs are:
E4400
2gb DDR2 RAM
Gigabyte motherboard
7800 GTX

They were hoping for a cheap upgrade on the current machine. Particularly the CPU and of course the GPU. The initial thought was to upgrade the CPU to the E8400, but I am not a fan of draining money into a dead end, especially a dual core instead of quad. In the UK the E8400 is about £135, so I thought I would be better off going AMD with the build and getting a Rana 450, a mob and 4gb DDR3 for a similar price

Rana 450 x3 - £60
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/238326

Gigabyte GA-770T-D3L AMD 770 - £52.35
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/238971

G Skill Ripjaws 4gb DDR3 CL9 1600mhz - £51.05
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/240501

Total: £163.40

So, it is £30 more expensive than just upgrading the CPU, but they get 4gb DDR3 instead of 2gb DDR2, a mobo that can upgrade to better CPU's when they can afford it.
They then have a decent platform for adding a better GPU. Though I could get an E8400 from ebay for £80 but still end up with dead end tech

What do you guys think? Is there a better option out there? I am very unfamiliar with AMD mobos so pretty much grabbed one I saw.

There is no brand or shop loyalty involved, it's all about the best value/performance, so I am up for any suggestions. About the only thing I am fussy about is having an ATX boards rather than mATX

Thanks for your time and help
14 answers Last reply
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  1. You didnt mention anything about PSU,Case,HDD, why are you fussy with an ATX mobo? Do you have an ATX case or not? You can always leave a request for advice if you want something else....here is what I came up with :

    Gigabyte GA-770T-D3L AMD 770 Socket AM3 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/238971

    AMD Athlon II X3 450 3.2GHz Socket AM3 95w 1.5MB L2 Cache Retail Boxed Processor
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/238326

    OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz Gold AMD Memory Kit CL9 1.65V
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/192341

    Gigabyte GTX 460 Super OverClock Edition 1GB Dual DVI HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card With H.A.W.X. 2 Game Voucher
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/245520

    Antec TruePower New 650W Modular PSU - 80plus Bronze and SLI Certified 3x SATA
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/159920

    Cart total inc vat: £407.64
  2. I probably should have been more clear, I did not mention anything else for the PC upgrade because I have all the parts I need - the PSU, case, HDD, DVD drive are all perfectly good, the PSU will easily cope with upgrades as it is a Corsair 650W I believe.
    I should really have set the thread out properly I guess, but I was in a rush before getting to bed and as it is not an entire build I am after I just mentioned the items I am mainly considering. When I get to work I will try clean the thread up a bit.

    I prefer ATX simply because I do not need to save space, or carry the PC around and prefer a normal ATX mobo to keep all features

    As for the PC being built, it is of lesser focus as I am far more familiar building a PC for gaming with a budget of £500-£600, so aside from which GPU is best I believe I know what parts I will be getting (likely along the lines of a typical i5 760 build)
  3. Ok, just to tidy up the post into a format all are more comfortable with:

    Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next couple weeks


    Budget Range: ~£250

    System Usage from Most to Least Important: Primarily gaming (Left 4 Dead 2, Guild Wars 2, Rift Planes Of Telara)

    Parts Not Required: keyboard/mouse/monitor/Windows, case, PSU, HDD, DVD Drive

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: None. I usually use ebuyer and scan for ease.

    Country of Origin: UK

    Parts Preferences: None


    Overclocking: Unlikely

    SLI or Crossfire: No

    Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080


    Additional Comments:
    This is an upgrade to the current PC which is showing its signs of age. As shown in the first post the main items I am looking to replace are:
    7800 GT GPU
    E4400 CPU
    2gb RAM 800mhz CL9

    As mentioned earlier, the original thought was to improve the CPU, but at £135 for an E8400 I would sooner replace the RAM mobo and CPU with AMD Rana 450, Gigabyte 770 and 4gb DDR3 for £165. That does not leave much for the GPU, but they do have some time to spare so with the core upgraded they can wait to gain a bit more cash to buy the GPU (likely talking roughly the GTX460, 5850 price range).
    I am mainly posting to see if anyone has alternative recommendations or if what I propose would be the best way to go. Also, advice on GPU is appreciated, with the 6xxx series I am out of the loop on best bang for bucks now.
  4. Just so you know there will be no more new processors for AM3. Bulldozer will require AM3+ so AMD is also a dead end.
  5. As Snipergod87 just stated, when Bulldozer arrives to the stores it is likely to use another socket. However, AMD is known for launching new chips that are compatible with the later socket, like AM2/AM2+ and AM2+/AM3, and there are pretty good chances of Bulldozer to be AM3 compatible. But, nothing has ever been confirmed by AMD.
    If you want to buy something that you may upgrade in the future you may try the new Intel CPUs and a LGA1155 socket mobo, but be aware that maybe in the nex 2 years new chips will be launched along with another socket, and a new mobo will be needed. If you go now for the AMD path you can buy an AM3 mobo along with a cheap 4-core CPU that will serve you well for at the least the nex 2 years and when you feel the need buy a bulldozer if they turn out to be AM3 compatible.

    If I were to upgrade my rig, i would choose an AMD system. AstroTC shared a pretty nice system up there. i would just change the CPU to a more powerful one if i had a little more money to spend, but as it is your budget, it is you who have to make that call :p
  6. While AMD is likely dead too, my issue was that in the UK an E8400 costs almost the same as it would to buy 4gb DDR3 RAM, a new mobo and a Rana 450 which then allows for a Phenom in the future if needed. By dead end I mean the E8400 (or a Quad on that socket) is as good as it gets and is not that good, whereas going AMD Rana 450 for one upgrade means the machine can become a 955 Black Edition to buy a few more years.

    It's not my budget, it's my brothers :) If it were me I would be wanting the 955, but the difficulty is they are buying a whole new computer and upgrading the old one too, which puts some restriction on funds
  7. I think i got your point now :) allow me to explain myself a little better :)

    As for the upgrade i would go with the Rana 450, the 4GB DDR3 and a new mobo. I would pick a Asus M4A87TD instead the Gigabyte one, it is more expensive, but has a much more recent chipset. Depending on how much time will your brother take until choose to upgrade again, he can always choose to upgrade to a Thuban if he so desires in a 1-2 years interval, as i don't believe that these new chips will be out of the shelves so soon as the Denebs will.

    A graphics card for your new rig, if my search was done correctly a HD5850 is priced at about 170-175 pounds, try the new HD6870.

    I found the following:
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/247611
  8. I will take the mobo into consideration - AMD boards I am unfamiliar with as I am an Intel man so my own knowledge is limited :)

    I am actually leaning towards a 6850 now, this is because
    a) Budget
    b) With this old PC being upgraded and a new one being built, if I put an XFire board in the new computer it means when the cards start struggling, the new PC can XFire the two 6850s which means only one new card will need to be bought. The other option would be for the new PC to get a 6870 but I think its lifespan won't be significantly greater than the 6850 which means I may need to upgrade 2 GPUs at the same time which is expensive. Or am I wrong?
  9. The best mobos are the ones with better chipsets i believe. I tested 2 M4A87TD-EVO and a M4A88TD/USB3 and i liked both of them pretty much. currently the best AMD chipset is the 890FX in combination with the SB850, but to have this you would have to spend some extra 30-40 pounds on the mobo. they are great chips in general, but for the use you will give to the machine i don't think that you'll need such a chip. Please anyone correct me if i am mistaken.
    The Asus M4A87TD Evo is a great board that allows you to have a Xfire setup with a x16/x4 combination. This one from Gigabyte seems pretty good to, but as i never used one i can't talk about it much, but i bet it should perform very close to the Asus one.


    If i understood it right, you are buying 2 new GPUs for both systems, and are thinking of Xfiring on the new system later on. Why don't you buy a Xfiring capable mobo to the upgraded system and Xfire 2 HD6850 later on in that system and buy a GPU to the newest? that would level up the the money invested now in the older system, but it may save you a few pounds when you need to upgrade the graphics in the new system...


    I haven't found the Asus M4A87TD Evo on ebuyer so i linked it to Asus Global site...
  10. I went to dig a little on ebuyer and i wanted to put this in your consideration :p


    Athlon II X3 445 - 56.94
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/235421

    Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3 - 82
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/218937

    Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz HyperX Blu Memory Kit CL9 1.65V - 37.25
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/234975

    Sapphire HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 - 142.94
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/244431
    or
    PALIT GTX 460 SONIC 1024MB GDDR5 - 147.05
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/227182


    Total - 319.13 - 323.24 to upgrade the oldest system.


    If you buy and identical graphics card for the new system you can put it to work on the upgraded one in 2-3 years from now, buy only one graphics card and get 2 powerful gaming rigs for the next 2 years maybe. In 2 years from now you may not found HD6850 or GTX460 new on the shelves for you to buy also..
  11. I am liking that. It looks like they are also going to be getting a good discount due to them having contacts, so it looks like I may even be able to give them a 955 in the upgrade machine too.

    The problem with that mobo though is aside from a modern chip, XFire is limited to x4 instead of x8 so not ideal for it especially at £30 more than the 770. But, depending on the discount I may be able to get a proper x8 XFire board
  12. Xfiring at x16/x4 looks like a chip limitation of some kind. every board i saw with the AMD 870/SB850 with 2 PCI-e graphics slots could only deliver x4 at the second one. As they are both PCI-e 2.0 you won't notice a very significant performance drop, as it is shown in an article here at Tom's. If i cand find it again i'll post the link.
    I think thar for a x16/x16 link you'll need a 790FX or 890FX, wich can be found in boards priced higher than 100 pounds. For x8/x8 i found the following on ebuyer:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/172846

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/197546

    The first with 790X shipset and the second with the 890GX. If you don't plan to have Sata 6Gb/s or native support for USB 3.0 i think you'll be fine with the 790X, although a more recent chipset is always the better choice :p
  13. here's the link to the comparison

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pcie-geforce-gtx-480-x16-x8-x4,2696-3.html

    They haven't test a x16/x4 SLI/Xfire configuration though, only x16/x16 and x8/x8...but there is a power loss..
  14. Yes, 8/8 tends to be negligible unless using real power, 4/4 I seem to remember reading somewhere was more significant.

    I am not overly worried about 6gb/s or USB 3 - they rarely ever use USB and they won't be having an SSD drive anytime in the near future - unlikely with thse next computers at least
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