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How often do you guys upgrade?

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February 25, 2011 1:51:23 AM

I've been building computers for myself since the early 90's and wow, has it gotten much easier over the years before plug n play. My last build was February 2009 and it has served me well. Using an i7 920 2.66, EVGA GTX 260 896MB x 2, velociraptor drives. So more to the point, how often do people typically upgrade their rig? I realize there is a segment that upgrades all the time and I still have my watercooled rig and had a lot of fun with OC'ing but anymore, for me it's about stable gaming performance with a reliable OC. I don't need cutting edge but I do like to get the best I can afford when I build one. So my rig is about 2 years old now. What kind of % increase can I expect in performance and with the incredible advances in CPU and video tech, is it necessary to upgrade as often? Are the upgrades that noticeable?

Thanks for the read.

More about : guys upgrade

a b Ý World of Warcraft
February 25, 2011 2:17:34 AM

Well you picked the right time if you want to upgrade. Here is a comparison of the 920 vs. a current day 32nm i7 2500K. It is 230$, as opposed to the 920, which was 290 at the time.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=47
As you can see the 2500K kills the 920.

However, upgrades are based on the user and where you are coming from. Obviously if your running a 255 Regor Athlon II X2 from 3 years ago and your going to the 2500K. You'll see huge increases in graphical performance (since some games like BC2 are CPU intensive), you'd have increase in MP4 conversion (assuming you have an iPod like I do of course), editing in Photoshop, blah blah blah.

It all depends on the users. Some like my dad, he doesn't need to upgrade. I can stick my 300$ build in my siggy and it'll run him for a long time. All he needs it for is to browse the web. In the end, it is just depending on the user.

So conclusion.
Gamer/Enthusiast: Probably every 2-3 years an upgrade or two. Maybe even an entire new build may be needed. That depends on how far games come in the few years. I feel this 2-3yr process isn't needed anymore because even now we don't utilize the full potential of a PCI 2.0 slot or because the 32nm is so good, how much more CPU power is needed really?

Average Joe: The pass few years it went from Socket 478 or the pentium Ds to now the 32nm 2500K. Lets just say, if we were talking 2006. You'd probably still be good enough running that computer to browse the web, flash games even. But you'd probably want an upgrade in 2009 or 10. But these are MINOR upgrades as opposed to Enthusiast CPU's and GPU's.

Someone who makes money off Video editing or just something like Maya etc. etc. Big projects: Same as a gamer. Cept different cards.
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February 25, 2011 2:28:51 AM

I'm still on a Socket 478 3.2ghz P4 Prescot. that's circa 2003, 2004 maybe..? Its time to upgrade, before that I was building one every 2-3 years, but OS and multimedia were changing much more frequently then too.

I think that the cycle of upgrades more has to do with how you plan and build your system initially. I chose components and built with brands I trusted and had proven themselves. I burned out two VM's on two different gigabyte boards trying to be cheap before I went with an Asus board that's been running even since. Those choices and realistic goals for your system play into how often you upgrade, and being able to afford your choices.
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
February 25, 2011 3:44:05 AM

Probably 3 years. 4 years at most. Or when parts fail.

My Q9450 is still serving me well, I when I start encoding Blu-Rays to MKV format, then I will definitely upgrade to the most powerful CPU that I can afford. Will I go with 6 cores? Don't know, I need to think if the cost going from 4 to 6 cores is worth it purely for video encoding purposes.
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
February 25, 2011 3:56:01 AM

I'm the sort who builds a moderate gamer every 2-3 years (~$600-800) then releats the old build to a unix box and hands off the older build to a relative, who runs it into the ground.
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
February 25, 2011 4:07:39 AM

I just noticed that I had the "Addict" tag, I miss the Veteran tag.... Trade me ScrewySqrl!
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
February 25, 2011 4:15:13 AM

heh. I'll be there myself in couple weeks, I suspect
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February 25, 2011 4:38:06 AM

I add something once a year at least, even if it's just case fans and a better overclock. I replaced my two 3850s with a 5870 early last year and went from Vista and XP 32-bit, to XP 64 and Win 7 x64 in the summer. I upgraded the PSU to add another 5870 in November so I didn't manage to hold that off till this year :p . I have to do an RMA on some Mushkin modules, so hopefully they'll be able to send me the same ones so I can run 8GB. I'll probably wait till next year before moving to bulldozer unless I get some game my CPU starts to choke on this year.
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February 25, 2011 4:47:20 AM

What time is is it? Time for an upgrade LOL! Well, as soon as I can actually buy a P67 mobo for my 2600k that is...
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February 25, 2011 4:49:03 AM

The last upgrade I made was turning my sig rig's 8800 GT to GTX 285 for cheap on ebay

In terms of CPU and/or mobo upgrades I do that around Christmas time. I didn't do it this past one because my holiday build still serves me well, but i did those upgrades in 2008 and 09

2008 - Upgraded single gore of A8N SLI Deluxe to x2 4800
2009 - Upgraded that to my holiday build
2010 - none

When I do in December 2011, or 12 or later, it'll be a LGA 1366 due to them having 6 cores Core I7 and still having PATA I'm resistant to certain technology changes on cpu's

I still use PATA hard drives and PS2 keyboards and mice. Hell I was resistant to widescreen LCD's until last November
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February 25, 2011 5:30:15 AM

I am still running Core2 systems:
GA-EP45-UD3P | Q9550 OC'd to 3.6 GHz (425 MHz X 8.5) C3 stepping :(  - gaming system, still more than adequate.
GA-EP45-UD3L | Q6600 OC'd to 3.6 GHz (400 MHz X 9) - speed now dropped to 3.3 GHz, dedicated torrent box
GA-EP35-DS3P | E7500 OC'd to 4.1 GHz (373 MHz X 11) - general workhorse machine

The latter two machines hardly ever drop out of SpeedStep.

aznshinobi said:
I just noticed that I had the "Addict" tag, I miss the Veteran tag....

Patience, Grasshopper, only 34,000 points to Expert. But I do know what you mean.
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February 25, 2011 5:35:31 AM

PC im currently on is Celeron 2.0 ghz 1gb ram and 128 mb video card , had it since like 2002 or so , was pretty decent at that time now its just aaaw.... |:
getting upgraded next week or so :) 
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
February 25, 2011 5:45:47 AM

Haha JSC I actually like your gaming rig. I've always been a fan of the Q9550. The only thing, they were really expensive! So were the i7's at the time. Can't wait till I get my hands on a current gen Intel chip. (2500K) I've been dying to have one, the last time I had one was my good ol' socket 478 Pentium D back in '06. That obviously didn't OC far on a locked bios HP computer... -_-

Still, I love AMD products. Really the only ones I like are the 1055T and 955. Got my 955 running 3.6 cool and quiet on stock voltage. Got it to 4ghz but a little to hot for my taste. Man.... That IC7 giveaway we had was sweet though dropped my temps like 6*C's

Haha yeah, I reckon about 2 more years and I'll reach the Expert mark. It only took me 2 years to get to Addict XD
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
February 25, 2011 2:54:02 PM

Depending upon when the box is built with respect to platform life cycles, a minor upgrade (GFX card, CPU and / or RAM) can often extend the life of a system 12-24 months. OTOH, if you built a 1156 box for XMas, you options down the road will be somewhat more limited. 4 years is about the upper limit that most can stay satisfied with a system's performance.....at that point "starting from scratch" is the only way to go.

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February 25, 2011 7:22:00 PM

Jack

How is a CPU upgrade considered "minor"? To me it's not minor when the motherboard has to be removed from the case especially if a plate has to be removed. GPU's and RAM don't need the mobo to be removed

As for me. LGA 1366 6 core Core I7 for my next upgrade either December 2011 or a later December as their the last Intel Socket to have PATA for my 500 GB hard drive
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February 25, 2011 7:30:34 PM

Great info guys. Thanks. Particularly the link to the side-by-side comparison of the the two CPU's. How much actual performance boost it will provide will probably depend on what I'm actually doing on the computer. I think someone else pointed that out as well. I do some photoshop and dreamweaver stuff but nothing to intensive. Most of the video editing I do on my Mac. This is basically just a glorified gaming computer along with some light, work related stuff.

I have the two video cards but often I am too lazy to configure it for sli so I just play on the single card. Some day I see that there will be a way to set up which applications you want to use sli and it will automatically configure and then go back to single card when done.

I was looking at the fact that I paid around $300 for my existing CPU and the newer one you mentioned is also in that price range so that's a good thing. I remember paying for 1k for CPU's in the past and that was just wrong...lol. Would much rather put it into video cards.

I guess lastly, before I start shopping, is the battle still sli vs crossfire? Anything new in that battle and is there any one way that is currently dominating?

Thanks and peace.

John
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February 25, 2011 8:54:28 PM

3 to 4 years.
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February 25, 2011 10:56:40 PM

I say upgrade when your pc starts not being able to do what you want. My pc is about 3 years old, an Athlon x2 5600+, 3 gb of ram, and a 9600gt, still plugs along for now.

What's fun is to mess with really old stuff. Example, a friend of mine gave me an old 650 mhz pentium 3 rig with 128 mb of ram. Not usable to most people, but it does have a Windows XP COA sticker. And we have a decent color laser printer that's network capable, but my wife wants it upstairs so she can wire in and hook to it. Since I rent, drilling in the floor to run network cables is out of the question, lol. All my network is housed downstairs.

Solution, found 3 old sticks of 256 mb that this computer takes, so now it runs xp with a 650 mhz p3 and 768 mb of ram. Suprising it runs well too. So the solution will be grab a 10 dollar pci wifi card, pop that in the pc, put the pc under the table that holds the printer, hook pc to wireless, and to printer via usb, share printer. Put tablecloth to hide pc, and voila, old pc has new purpose that would have otherwise been thrown out. Save your old stuff, never know what you will use it for. Also kinda fun to think back. I remember when I had my AMD K-6 2 processor that was 450 mhz, you had that and say 128 mb of ram or better and it would run. But I remember my cousin's family got a p3 933 mhz and it was fast then. Talk about way back.......
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February 25, 2011 11:24:09 PM

I upgrade every 6 months to a year. Whenever new stuff tat comes out and beats my current systems.
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February 25, 2011 11:40:14 PM

I upgrade when I have the money, which is rare. I'm 14, can anyone link me to a way of getting money other than a job because that just doesn't work in the UK.
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a b Ý World of Warcraft
February 25, 2011 11:43:36 PM

Well if you have Craigslist, Odd jobs and such are good ways to make money. If you know how to Photoshop or just like photography in my area. It's really easy to get a buck or two.
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February 26, 2011 12:03:09 AM

I upgrade every 3 months, not huge upgrades mainly little things eg. psu extender cable, fan big upgrades every 1-3 yrs. I am also extremely tight on money, but I'm pretty frugal and am eventually gonna start doing some odd jobs to get more money for my next upgrade
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February 26, 2011 12:25:52 AM

aznshinobi said:
Well if you have Craigslist, Odd jobs and such are good ways to make money. If you know how to Photoshop or just like photography in my area. It's really easy to get a buck or two.


What is Craigslist?
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