I'm currently looking for advice on a new system to play the new WoW xpac at high/ultra settings(without shadows) at smooth framerates even with a lot of stuff going on(like 10/25-man raids.) Right now I still have a Core 2 E6600/7900GS build that is showing its age. I know WoW relies more on a good CPU and it appears to perform better on Intel chips.
Approximate Purchase Date: Next 2 weeks
Budget Range: $850 after rebates, a bit more before if needed
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Light gaming, watching movies, light video editing, surfing the internet, office stuff, etc. Mainly WoW gaming wise, any parts suited to MMO performance.
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, microcenter.com, staples.com
Country of Origin: United States
Parts Preferences: Intel processor, DX11 video card, mid-tower case with low stock cooling noise if possible.
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: Quiet PC if possible, with a decent and even simple looking case.
OK, here is a novel approach: don't buy a new machine, upgrade the one you have now. I suggest this because sandybridge is on recall, and won't be available until maybe April. If you can buy yourself a few months, then you can have the latest technology. Otherwise you will be stuck with last year's i5-760.
If you take your current machine, add a heatsink and overclock it, that should alleviate the CPU issue. Next, purchase a new Graphics card and that should take care of the rest.
What's the worst that can happen? If it does not solve your performance issues, then you can always buy the rest of the components and build out a brand new i5-760 machine. The key is getting what you would buy anyway, and swapping it to the new rig later.
Check this our for a GPU: Galaxy 60XGH6HS3HML GeForce GTX 460 1GB for $152 AR. Do not know what case you have: it has to be able to accept full hieght cards, and have 8.5 inch clearance in the back to handle the length (usually not a problem in Mid-tower cases)
One more caveat: check your power supply to make sure it is adequate - you may have to upgrade that too.
I have done this exact same thing and have yet to replace the machine.
Unfortunately the system I have is pretty much restricted to stock settings(outside of the GPU.) I have a crap Intel board I got as part of the retail edge thing back in late 2006 that doesn't support overclocking, and my PSU is a generic 450w. The case is an Antec Sonata II, which runs quite hot. All in all, it would appear a complete new build from scratch would probably be the best route. Even my HD is 320GB, and is SATA 1.5. To make things worse, I have Vista on it ATM but it doesn't have drivers fully supporting Windows 7 32 or 64 bit.
What type of cheap i3 builds would you all recommend? I suppose if I could pick it up cheap I can change the mobo/cpu and give the old parts to my dad's web surfing/office PC once AMD and Intel's new offerings are back/sorted out later this year or even early next year. I know Microcenter offers great processor prices, but unforunately for advice the Fairfax VA location is beyond atrocious. Feels like Best Buy, but with better product.
EDIT: Oh yeah, I also suggested Staples as an option because I work there as a technician and get a whopping 10% off(...sigh) everything in store and have a total of $68 store credit I can use too.
hmm, Staples is overpriced even with the 10% off, and doesn't really have a good variety of parts. And $850 budget could get you an excellent build from AMD (off the top of my head:
a 1075/1090t, 880 or 870 motherboard, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, a HD 6870 or GTX 560ti, 450-550W PSU, and a decent case and cheap dvd player. might even have room for an SSD to load your OS and Warcraft on, for faster load times.
A Sandy Bridge 2500 build would run about the same, maybe a little more because of the more expensive motherboard