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Need opinions on an Upgrade (CPU + GPU)

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February 6, 2011 3:18:18 AM

Hey guys,

I currently have the following items:

ASUS P5QL-EPU Socket LGA775
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6300 2.8GHz
4GB DDR2-800 RAM (restricted to 3.2GHz by x86 OS)
Nvidea GeForce 9600GT 1GB

The rest is not important.
I want to make an upgrade in the next 3-9 months to this computer, to make it more of the "gaming grade" performance computer it was intended to be when I built it 18 months ago. Here are the upgrades I was/am planning to do:

ATI Radeon HD 6870 1GB $259
+
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 2.66GHz $192
or
Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3 Motherboard $120
AMD AM3 Phenom II x4 955BE 3.4GHz $148
4GB PQI 1333MHz RAM $49
(Subtotal $317)

Which one of these CPU options is more worth my money? Which one will last me the longest?
Also, is this graphics card a good choice or is it overkill; will be bottlenecked by my CPU choice?

Thanks,
-Klosteral

More about : opinions upgrade cpu gpu

a b B Homebuilt system
February 6, 2011 3:28:41 AM

The Intel option will provide better frame rates. While it might seem "not important" to you, we do need to know your PSU and resolution. Your PSU might not support a 6870, or it might be overkill for your monitor.
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February 6, 2011 3:38:37 AM

Ok then. My primary monitor is a 22" AOC monitor with a FHD 1920x1080 LCD screen. My secondary is an 18.5" AOC monitor with a FHD 1920x1080 LED screen. My PSU is probably about 500-550W (I will check when I put some fans in tomorrow) but I am fine doing an upgrade of that if I need to.

If you think I need a better PSU or would like to make recommendations, the two places I would most like to buy parts from are:
www.msy.com.au
www.netplus.com.au

Thanks,
-Klosteral
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 6, 2011 4:20:08 AM

There are many 500-550W CPUs. Not all of them are equal. If you have an Athena power or Diablotek type PSU, I'd replace it before getting anything more powerful.
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February 6, 2011 4:25:25 AM

As far as I know it is a Coolermaster unit, though I will check that too.

Assuming I do not have an adequate CPU, what would you recommend from my above stores? Also, what opinions have you drawn based on the physical upgrades I have specified?

Thanks,
-Klosteral
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 6, 2011 5:46:45 AM

Adequate CPU or PSU?

As for the upgrade, I already said the Intel one will provide better frame rates. I don't know enough about AU currency and other stores to know if those are good deals or not.
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February 6, 2011 5:50:15 AM

Adequate PSU*

Do not bother asking about AU currency; I have searched around for months and I know these are the best deals around. It is not because I work at one of those shops, I just know from experience they are the cheapest.

So you think that $192 for a new LGA 775 Quad is my best option for now and will last me until I can do a full and proper new build? (Maybe with Windows 8)?

Thanks,
-Klosteral
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 6, 2011 7:51:27 AM

What I meant by not knowing about the AU currenancy is that I don't know if thats a good deal or not. It seems reasonable to me. Spend some $$$ and get a quad core with a good GPU. This is good for gaming. if your budget allows you should get a new board, ram, CPU, GPU, etc, but you're probably looking to do this on the cheap. $200 seems a bit high to me for a Q8400, but then I'm in the USA...
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February 6, 2011 8:07:41 AM

Do you know if I can find a place in the USA or elsewhere that would sell me an equivilent or faster Core 2 Quad with shipping to Australia for under $200?

Also, do you think the ATI 6870 is worth it or would it be overkill on my current setup? In the long run, I could always use it in SLI with a board that supports it...

Thanks,
-Klosteral
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 6, 2011 8:34:00 AM

The 6870 is around the minimum card I would get for 1080. Its not overkill and might even struggle with newer games on max details with high levels of AA.

Again, I've never paid much attention to Australia (sorry) so I don't know who ships there. The only company I know of that ships outside the USA is Amazon, I think. Considering the duties, taxes, tariffs, etc, your sites are probably cheaper. Those might be good price, I simply don't know.
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February 6, 2011 9:02:42 AM

The 6870 is $260ish over here and the 6970 is around $400. The 6850 is about $200 also.

The USD is almost on-par with the AUD so the only concern is shipping cost. What are your local prices?
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 6, 2011 11:08:43 AM

If your PSU is Coolermaster, subtract 20% of what's on the label. Reviews of them (e.g. at HardwareSecrets) often find them to have liar-labels. Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, XFX, and Enermax are among the better brands.
Check the benchmarks of the games you play before accepting at face value that your resolution requires a HD6870. I play at that resolution, but mostly older games, so even my HD5770 does fine, with all settings maxed.
If this upgrade won't be for 3-9 months, the Sandy Bridge chipsets should be fixed by then, and Bulldozer may be out; either of which makes your current CPU choices obsolete. You could safely replace your GPU, but hold off on deciding about the CPU and/or mobo & RAM.
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February 6, 2011 11:13:22 AM

Klosteral said:
Hey guys,

I currently have the following items:

ASUS P5QL-EPU Socket LGA775
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6300 2.8GHz
4GB DDR2-800 RAM (restricted to 3.2GHz by x86 OS)
Nvidea GeForce 9600GT 1GB

The rest is not important.
I want to make an upgrade in the next 3-9 months to this computer, to make it more of the "gaming grade" performance computer it was intended to be when I built it 18 months ago. Here are the upgrades I was/am planning to do:

ATI Radeon HD 6870 1GB $259
+
Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 2.66GHz $192
or
Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3 Motherboard $120
AMD AM3 Phenom II x4 955BE 3.4GHz $148
4GB PQI 1333MHz RAM $49
(Subtotal $317)

Which one of these CPU options is more worth my money? Which one will last me the longest?
Also, is this graphics card a good choice or is it overkill; will be bottlenecked by my CPU choice?

Thanks,
-Klosteral


Benchmarks show that the Q8400 is just i lil bit under the x4 955 so its a very capable CPU however I do suggest you get an aftermarket cooler like a Cool Master 212+ and try some overclocking. If you can locate this card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... the review speaks for itself http://www.guru3d.com/article/gigabyte-gtx-560-ti-soc-r...
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February 7, 2011 5:22:08 AM

I think I will just stick with the GPU upgrade for now. I hear what you are saying about the Sandy Bridge problems being fixed and I hear they are releasing AM3+ in about 6 months time, too.

The nVidea GTX 560 is here: http://www.msy.com.au/product.jsp?productId=7305
And it is not cheap; $30 more than your US version at this store. At other local stores, it can cost $340, $350 even $370AUD!

Currently my best bet still seems to be the ATI 6870. I do not really know much about overclocking and I would rather put additional fans in my case and try with my current E6300 before I try with something new.

Thanks,
-Klosteral
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 7, 2011 12:15:01 PM

That makes sense. You may wish to also replace your PSU at this time. A quality modern PSU has full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and 80+ certification. Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, XFX, and Enermax are among the better brands.
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February 8, 2011 6:06:58 AM

Ok then, I will keep an eye out. I will report back when I have got the items.
-K
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August 27, 2011 10:10:14 PM

well i have a lightly overclocked Q8200 with 8GB ram DDR2 with windows 7 ultimate with 720GB HD and radeon 4850 512MG (i guess the gpu ram has become a bottleneck these days) most games i can play and get over 60fps at ultra or max settings @1600x900 but newer games like starcraft and homefront i have to drop to low setting to play @1600x900 and hope i can keep over 30fps avg. Homefront i even tweaked out and it still stutters crazy bad. I usually play games of the hard drive using disk emulation like daemon tools to cut my load times down could this pull away from my fps? well in starcraft 2 i don't use emulation anyway and i'm almost bustivie they said screw the pc version of homefront and never fixed a resource issue.

I would not recommend the intel upgrade to be core 2 it's a dead techno pathway.

Definitly get at least a core i5 if you go intel and overclock they can be had for very reasonable prices and enough people have gotten a full ghz per core overclock on just air so why not?

Plus you should get at least 8gb ram and go with a 64-bit system it's almost 2012, i must say having the extra 4 gigs of ram will be very noticable when you multitask.... i've had some programs pull a full gig or more of ram to run(doom 3)
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August 27, 2011 10:17:41 PM

and yes i did get the weakest of the quad cores , but i bought a refurbished ASUS Essentio for $350 +$50 shipping from best buy.. my actually cost ended up being only $50 read below on how to get a free computer.

They sent me the RIGHT model and everthing but wrong cpu. It came with a E5600 or E5800 dual core which i could have stayed with but i was already upgrading from P4 D dual core 2.6ghz overclocked to 3.6ghz on water so i wanted to test 64-bit windows 7 and quad core power which i fell in love with.

so called up best buy and they sent me the right computer and asked me ship the old one back... I never did(new one didn't even have the free windows 7 upgrade option), borrowed 2 gigs of mathcing ram from it to boost me to 8GB of ram and then sold it for $50 dollars less then i bought it . So basically i got a free computer and paid $50 for shipping HAHA these giant companies never check anything. AND computer did max out my best buy credit card so i knew they couldn't charge me even if they wanted.

hacked the bios by replacing the Essentio flavor with the retail ASUS verision to allow in bios overclocking. I had to invent the hack my self and I wrote guide on here at Tom's incase you happen to pick up one. costing about $279 at new egg now a days i did upgrade the PSU to a BFG black widow or something 450 real watts carried over from my water-cooled rig and the ASUS 4850 carried over as well.

and remember a refurbished pc could just mean needs a fresh install and your all set! Most companies throw away perfectly good stuff like a/c's and computers because they are customer returns and they get credit either way...or the customer does not have the ability to understand that a 5,000BTU a/c will not cool a house or maybe the DVD drive cover was scratched so they took it back either way your safe if they give you a 90 day warranty on it you can test for computation errors and hardware errors and just send it back .
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