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Upgradiing a 5 yr old system for $400 or less

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February 14, 2011 4:17:39 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Most likely, this month

Budget Range: $400 or less, Break the piggy bank and search the couch cushions=$500


System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming(Vindictus, Sims 3, some word processing, Netflix)


Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, HD, PSU(maybe, probably not) Corsair 450w, GPU(Sapphire Radeon HD5670)


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: lowest price wins

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I am loyal to quality more than brand


Overclocking: Not likely


SLI or Crossfire: Not likely


Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024

______________________________________________________________________________

MOBO
Asus M4A78LT = $75
http://www.alvio.com/xABK_PID99292 [...] er=froogle
or
Asus M4A79XTD 790x = $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131402

CPU
AMD Phenom II x4 955 = $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103808

RAM
4GB kit (2GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 =$50
http://www.crucial.com/store/mpart [...] 07A5CA7304

PSU (cause I'll probably need one)
Corsair 650tx 650w = $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817139005


Is there a better MOBO for about the same price?
Do I need a HSF or is the one that comes w. the CPU sufficient?
Is this a decent upgrade, or am I wasting my money?

I plan on putting this all into a Dell XPS 400 case or an Antec 1650B. I realize this statement will probably induce a few facepalms, but I am trying to save $$ where ever I can. However, if it won't work, that's fine, it won't work, and I would appreciate any cost effective suggestions anyone may have.

I am a novice, so all constructive criticism is appreciated. Flaming is not. :sol: 

Thanks in advance,
Gunnersfan

More about : upgradiing system 400

February 14, 2011 4:46:45 PM

Any chance you live near a Microcenter? You can pick up a better cpu for the same price along with a free mobo if you happen to.

I live near the Boston micocenter in Cambridge, and the amd cpu prices with mobo just can't be beat.


Yes, the stock heatsink for the cpu will be fine when you're not overclocking (assuming you're not picking up a oem part that doesn't come with a heatsink). As to if it is a good upgrade, that depends on what you're upgrading from. If you're coming from a decent dual core with around the same amount of ram, then no, it probably won't be a big difference. A single core or early dual core, then sure, it will be a great upgrade.
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February 14, 2011 8:55:01 PM

Max, thx for the reply. If I'm not completely sure what a microcenter is, that means I probably don't live near one. I live in upstate SC, but I'm new here, so I'm not completely familiar w. the area. I don't plan on OC'ing any time soon, and I am coming from an Intel Pentium D 2.8 dual core in the lga 775 mobo. The set turned 5 yrs old last mo., has served us well, and I plan on putting the replaced parts into a machine our kids can use.
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Related resources
February 14, 2011 8:56:09 PM

Upgrading your CPU / Mobo in a combo deal saves you 25.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Memory: saves you 20.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Don't really need a 650w to run ur system 500 or 550 is plenty if your are looking for budget. imo. saves you 20.00

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

That 65.00 in saving with Quality parts from great Brand names if you care for that. Take that 65.00 extra and buy an after market CPU cooler and some fans.
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February 14, 2011 9:42:45 PM

gunnersfan13 said:
Max, thx for the reply. If I'm not completely sure what a microcenter is, that means I probably don't live near one. I live in upstate SC, but I'm new here, so I'm not completely familiar w. the area. I don't plan on OC'ing any time soon, and I am coming from an Intel Pentium D 2.8 dual core in the lga 775 mobo. The set turned 5 yrs old last mo., has served us well, and I plan on putting the replaced parts into a machine our kids can use.



It would appear that you don't live close to one. Which is unfortunate as their x4 965 mobo combo comes in around $150

http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl...

Ah well.


It should certainly provide a nice upgrade for you. Perhaps my only advice would be to wait for the reboot of the Sandy Bridge line in a month or two. If nothing else, there should be some price drops along with it. Of course, if you can't wait, then an AMD quad core is a solid choice.
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February 14, 2011 10:12:17 PM

Indy, on what is the reliability of the PSU? All of my borrowed knowledge tells me to stick to a seasonic or corsair. The last thing I want is to spend money on something that is going to give me problems later. Also, do I not need 4 GB of ram? If not, that's some money saved, but I thought 4 GB was fairly standard. Thx for the combo idea as it saves money and makes more sense.

Max, thx for the link. Any idea when the Sandy Bridges are coming? Last I heard, they had issues that needed to be resolved.
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February 14, 2011 10:29:11 PM

gunnersfan13 said:
Indy, on what is the reliability of the PSU? All of my borrowed knowledge tells me to stick to a seasonic or corsair. The last thing I want is to spend money on something that is going to give me problems later. Also, do I not need 4 GB of ram? If not, that's some money saved, but I thought 4 GB was fairly standard. Thx for the combo idea as it saves money and makes more sense.

Max, thx for the link. Any idea when the Sandy Bridges are coming? Last I heard, they had issues that needed to be resolved.



The sandy bridge cpus are still available at many retailers, but the replacement motherboards are not likely to be widely available for a month or two. Although if you can wait a couple months, it's probably a good idea.

On PSUs, Antec, Seasonic and Corsair tend to be the 'gold standard' for most people. I've used an OCZ and Ultra, both have been fine for me. It certainly doesn't hurt to stick with a corsair, but you'd probably be fine with any 4 or 5 star rated psu on newegg.

4gb is good, and since you're going ddr3, there's not much point on going less than that (usually averages around $50 for 4gb right now). I do some heavy photoshop work and take advantage of an 8gb system, but there's probably not too much point in going above 4gb right now for the average user.
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February 14, 2011 11:02:32 PM

Quote:
Indy, on what is the reliability of the PSU? All of my borrowed knowledge tells me to stick to a seasonic or corsair. The last thing I want is to spend money on something that is going to give me problems later.


I was just trying to save you some greenbacks on quality parts for less then what you were spending and upgrading if possible better then what you had. Corsair makes a nice stick of RAM, nice Chassis as well, not to keen on the PWS tho, think they need to take that one back to the drawing board for a re-map. However they do offer a 7 year warranty on most of their PWS units, which is nice. I just wouldn't hassle with it myself.

Just my opinion.

Sandy Bridge won't be getting the ball rolling till April or so.

You may find this article interesting:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Sandy-Bridge-E-Series-...
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February 15, 2011 12:06:27 AM

Indy, I appreciate the effort and the input. Like I said, I hear corsair and seasonic mentioned a lot, and I have a corsair 450w so I tend veer in that direction. However, if the PSU supplies the needed power and won't die in 1-2 yrs or less, then I may consider it. As I reread my quote, it sounds a bit harsh, so my apologies if you took it that way. Again, I appreciate your input and the link was a good read. Thanks.
On the ram, its the same as the PSU. I hear 4 Gig a lot, and I plan to upgr. from XP to Win7 sometime after this upgrade, so I want to have the ram for it already.
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February 15, 2011 12:15:55 AM

I'm fairly certain your 450W Corsair will suffice until you need to upgrade your graphics card.
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February 15, 2011 12:34:28 PM

black, I wish I could do that, but according to the PSU calculator I used, it would be too close for comfort. The PSU is not a corner I want to cut.
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February 15, 2011 1:27:34 PM

gunnersfan13 said:
black, I wish I could do that, but according to the PSU calculator I used, it would be too close for comfort. The PSU is not a corner I want to cut.


I am unsure of where we are getting a discrepancy, but when I plug in the parts you've listed into this power supply calculator, I come out requiring only around 250w,

http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine
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February 15, 2011 3:00:49 PM

Well I guess that's what I get for using a random google searched calculator. I tried to find the one I used and can't locate it anymore. I used the link you gave me max, plugged in my targeted upgrade items and arrived at 292w. It would appear that my upgrade just got a fair bit cheaper. Thanks a lot for the help folks. It has been most appreciated.
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February 21, 2011 7:47:58 PM

Gents,
Rather than start a new post - I thought I would just add to this one.
I am doing the same excericse as gunnersfan13 - except I am going to put the upgrade into a Dell B110

The old system was an Intel Celeron with 512 MB Ram


Planned upgrade is:

ASUS M4A78LT-M AM3 AMD 760G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard Item #: N82E16813131672


Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel
Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT12864BA1339
Item #: N82E16820148194


AMD Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition Callisto 3.3GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core
Desktop Processor HDZ560WFGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103887


Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822148395


Any opinions on these choices as - as well as suggested improvements to my choices (this is the first self-upgrade I have undertaken)

Also - Newegg lists the mobo for sale as M4A78LT-M, buth their memory configurator lists the board as M4A78LT-M LE
I am wondering what the 'LE' designation means - and whether I need to investiage if there are actually 2 variants on this mobo

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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February 21, 2011 7:56:51 PM

My suggestions are the same as before. If you have a Microcenter nearby, go there for your cpu/mobo and the savings will be substantial. Also consider waiting for the Sandy Bridge line to roll back out to see if prices drop in response.

Other than that, I'd consider going for 4gb of ram rather than 2gb since the price is quite close and the difference can be quite noticeable if you happen to open a lot of internet tabs or run a few programs at once,

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

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February 21, 2011 8:24:44 PM

max40watt said:
My suggestions are the same as before. If you have a Microcenter nearby, go there for your cpu/mobo and the savings will be substantial. Also consider waiting for the Sandy Bridge line to roll back out to see if prices drop in response.

Other than that, I'd consider going for 4gb of ram rather than 2gb since the price is quite close and the difference can be quite noticeable if you happen to open a lot of internet tabs or run a few programs at once,

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



Thanks Max
I actually thought that was 2x2 memory -My mistake
I live in NC - so no microcenters nearby
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February 21, 2011 8:27:34 PM

Correct memory is:
Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel
Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT12864BA1339

:pt1cable: 
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 21, 2011 10:06:00 PM

mikey: 1) Get a 4 GB kit. $40 for DDR3-1333 CAS 9, 1.5v is fine

2) Don't get the Phenom II X2 560 for *anything*. get a Athlon II X4 640 for $10 less. the extra cores are better than the L3 Cache. Odds are slim (around 10%) you'll unlock the 560 into a quad.
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February 21, 2011 11:06:48 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
mikey: 1) Get a 4 GB kit. $40 for DDR3-1333 CAS 9, 1.5v is fine

2) Don't get the Phenom II X2 560 for *anything*. get a Athlon II X4 640 for $10 less. the extra cores are better than the L3 Cache. Odds are slim (around 10%) you'll unlock the 560 into a quad.



Squirly - thanks for the feedback!
Some follow up questions:

1) This will not be a gaming machine - it will be a 'number cruncher' for stock price scenarios using 'NinjaTrader'
I was thinkning I would not be able to use more than 2 cores under Win xp 32.
With this in mind, would you still recommend the athlon over the Phenom?


2) is the Phenom 11 X2 560 a 'crappy' processor in general - ie - not stable, or not living up to its specs etc

Thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 22, 2011 2:38:32 AM

mostly, its a dual core in an era where 3 or 4 core is becoming necessary. XP will use all the cores it can, but 32 bit cant see more than 3.25 GB of RAM. If you're still using XP, grab Win 7. You won't regret it

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February 22, 2011 2:51:14 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
mostly, its a dual core in an era where 3 or 4 core is becoming necessary. XP will use all the cores it can, but 32 bit cant see more than 3.25 GB of RAM. If you're still using XP, grab Win 7. You won't regret it



Sqrl --- thanks very much!
I will take your advice
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