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Upgrade, overclock or new build?

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February 23, 2011 12:09:16 PM

Hope this is the right forum, I'm looking for a little advice on what to do with my homebuilt system.

My current specs are:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Q9550
GPU: Ati HD 4870 1GB
RAM: 4GB DDR2
PSU: 550W OCZ Stealth
Monitor: Viewsonic 22" TFT Monitor 1920x1080
Mobo: Budget (Fried my premium mobo, so got a cheap replacement)

I built this system about 18/20 months ago, and it's starting to show it's age. Saying that there aren't many games that I haven't been able to max on it, without much antialiasing at least. I am looking lustfully though at things like the new sandy bridge processors, and the GTX 560 TI.

I can't decide whether to:
A) Upgrade with a Gigabyte GTX 560 TI SOC (and PSU?)
B) Try to overclock my Q9550 (Budget mobo, but stupidly cool @ about 2 degrees idle) or 4870. I've also never done this before.
C) Or just say screw it and build a new one.

For a new system I’d probably get something like:
CPU: i5 2500k + Arctic Cooling
GPU: Gigabyte GTX 560 TI SOC
RAM: Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz
Mobo:Asus P8P67
= £566, and a new PSU if necessary?

So what does everyone think? Stick and OC, upgrade or just start fresh?

Oh and I use my PC for Flash (and limited indesign, illustrator and photoshop) as well as gaming. I’m buying the new batman, Elder Scrolls, witcher, dragon age, mass effect and Total war games this year, plus whatever else takes my fancy.

Cheers for the help!!
February 23, 2011 12:38:39 PM

My Old system was almost like yours. I've decide to upgrade after building a I5 750 system for my friend. The system was nothing really fancy, and after the built I did some benchmarking, and stability test..I was so amaze of the speed difference that I decide to built mine right after.
SO my 2 cents...built a new if you can afford it :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
February 23, 2011 1:12:50 PM

That upgrade you have planned would provide a very significant boost to your performance. Sandy Bridge CPUs can easily outpace the i7-900s simply because of their newer design and greater OCing capability.

Your PSU will probably be able to handle the GTX 560 and the i5, but if you intend on overclocking one/both, consider a bigger PSU like a good 750W Seasonic or Corsair.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 23, 2011 2:09:41 PM

Upgrade your GPU only. See how you like the results. You won't have wasted your money; you can move your new GPU if you decide to rebuild. Look at some benchmarks, but I don't think the difference between a Q9550 and an i5-2500 in games justifies the cost.
February 23, 2011 3:13:47 PM

Decisions decisions... I don't know, how much can I expect the price of the componants to drop in, say, 6 months? I'm thinking there might not even be a game I care about the difference in quality on until Batman - Arkham City in Q3. I expect Dragon Age 2 and ME3 to have quite mediocre graphics (might be wrong, ME1, ME2 & DA1 weren't amazing though)

If I can save a decent amount on a new system by waiting 6 months, I'll do that.

On a slight tangent, if I do decide to wait 6 months, are there any componants I can keep an eye on in the meantime and buy if they become cheap. I'm thinking specifically about the case (obviously) but also DDR3 Ram, and the PSU. They don't seem to have changed much in price or specs since I last built a PC, so should I just price watch, buy when cheap, then stick in a drawer for 6 months, or is that a bad idea?

Cheers!
a b B Homebuilt system
February 23, 2011 4:08:33 PM

That's a tough call, especially since you aren't in the US (where I'm expecting an economic meltdown, probably within the next 12-18 months). Our elected parasites keep spending OPM they have no hope of ever confiscating, basically selling the entire country into eternal tax slavery to foreign creditors. This is highly speculative, but even before the US dollar finishes circling the bowl and flushes, it will likely lose its status as the world's reserve currency. There are several ways the pooh could really hit the fan, and we could easily face another significant depression until people regain some sense of value. AFAIK, the UK also has a fiat currency now, so I don't know how the British Pound will be affected, although I'm sure not to the good.
You might see a few more drops, but when prices start to rise, be quick to buy before they go through the roof.
!