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Upgrading Gaming Rig, Need Advice on Parts

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February 12, 2011 4:04:42 PM

Ok so I am upgrading my gaming rig that I built a little over 2.5 years ago. I did a recent Case/GFX Card/PSU upgrade about 6 months ago, which now gives me;

CASE: HAF 922

PSU: Antec BP 550 Plus
(I realize this PSU may look small, however I checked the Extreme PSU Calc and it only recommended 370W so I think I am good, but if I am wrong please let me know. I DO know that the AMPS on these rails are VERY high)

GFX Card: Radeon HD 5850

(Below are my old parts still in use, and directly under them in bold italics will be the parts I am considering upgrading to.)

MOTHERBOARD: GIGAYBYTE P31-S3G
GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H SOCKET AM3

CPU: INTEL CORE 2 DUO E6750 CONROE (HOME OVERCLOCKED TO 3.4Ghz)
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 (WILL JUST UP THE MULTIPLIER TO GIVE ME AN EFFECTIVE 970 CHIP)

AFTERMARKET CPU COOLER:
COOLER MASTER Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 92mm Sleeve

RAM: CORSAIR XMS2 866 (2X2, 2GB STICKS)
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

OS: WINDOWS XP 32 BIT
WINDOWS 7 HOME PREMIUM 64BIT


Now I pretty much ONLY use this computer as a gaming rig, and nothing else. I game on a 19' Monitor at 1440x900, and I do not see upgrading that any time soon, maybe within the next year. That is ALL I am interested in doing with it. The other guiding factor of my choices is I am trying to spend less then $500 if at all possible while still getting great, long lasting performance. My question to all the experts here is, is this a good upgrade? Will I get great performance for the next 2-3 years at least? Are there any better items I could get while still spending less?

I VERY much appreciate any and all answers that you guys can give me, and any advice you can provide.
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February 12, 2011 5:33:54 PM

The N520 isn't such a good cooler. Take the CM Hyper 212+ - better value. IMO you don't need a cooler since you're barely OC'ing. If you're really keen, just mount another fan on the Hyper 212+. That'll give you 2x120mm fans vs. 2x92mm fans on the N520.

Which G.Skill RAM are you going to buy? Look for one with a CAS latency of 7 (timings: 7-7-7-21 or similar) like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There should be a noticeable difference in performance vs. CAS latency 9 sticks.

Also, if you're going to have a discrete graphics card, there's no need for a 880g chipset-based motherboard. The 870 would be better - it doesn't have integrated graphics which the 880g offers (that you won't need). I suggest this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Here's a review: http://www.techspot.com/review/295-amd-socket-am3-mothe...

I wouldn't take the ASRock, unless you want to Crossfire somewhere down the line, because of it's 1 year warranty vs. 3 years for Asus / Gigabyte / MSI.

Let's see:

> Processor: AMD Phenom II 955BE -- $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

> Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 -- $108
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

> CPU Cooler: CM Hyper 212+ -- $34
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

> RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 1333MHz 8GB (4x2GB) -- $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

> OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM -- $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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TOTAL: $492 [shipped]
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February 12, 2011 7:05:12 PM

Ok so I decided against the cooler since I don't think I need it, and I can always get it later so I can use the extra 35$. I will definitely use the board you suggested. As far as the RAM goes, is there a "Noticeable" difference in gaming between the two? Are we talking like maybe 1-3 frames difference on average? Because if we are I'm not that anal about it, as long as it runs strong.
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February 12, 2011 9:11:21 PM

Anyone?
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a c 103 B Homebuilt system
a c 278 4 Gaming
February 12, 2011 9:21:48 PM

The memory has much less impact on speed than CPU clock, although the speed difference is measurable in benchmarks you would not notice in day to day operation unless the difference in ram speed and latency is large.
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February 12, 2011 10:38:38 PM

Hmm...looks like I was misinformed. Sorry about that. :( 
Take the CAS 9 sticks then, they seem to be cheaper.
You can always try to set the RAM timings yourself in the BIOS, if you feel like it. How about 2x4GB sticks? That would lower power consumption a little and free up two slots in the unlikely event you should need more. Costs about the same too, I think.
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February 23, 2011 2:47:19 AM

Best answer selected by Sheresh.
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