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Performance Optimization - Upgrade Suggestions Needed

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April 27, 2011 2:20:46 PM

Good morning/afternoon/evening. I'm trying to optimize my home built system for performance and the graphics card and boot drive are 2 of the items that I am looking at upgrading in the near future. Here is what my system is comprised of:

APC BX1500G Green UPS with AVC
Antec Performance Series II SOHO File Server Tower ATX (2003 Model)
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8 G - Retail (2 kits = 12GB)
SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Western Digital Caviar SE 16 (Blue) WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (Internal 1/4)
Western Digital Caviar SE 16 (Blue) WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (Internal 2/4)
Western Digital Caviar SE 16 (Blue) WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (Internal 3/4)
Western Digital Caviar SE 16 (Blue) WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (Internal 4/4)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (eSATA 1/5)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (eSATA 2/5)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (eSATA 3/5)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD2001FASS 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (eSATA 4/5)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD2001FASS 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive (eSATA 5/5)
Rosewill RX-358-S BLK (Black) 3.5" SATA to USB & eSATA Ext. Enclosure w/Int.80mm fan - Retail (Qty 5)
IOGear 2-Port Serial ATA PCI Dual Profile Card
Rocketfish Internal USB 2.0 All-In-One Media Reader
LG - 10x Internal Blu-ray Disc Double-Layer DVD±RW/CD-RW Drive
BYTECC Black 1.44/1.25 MB 3.5" External USB Floppy Drive Mac OS 8.6/9.0/9.0.2/9.0.4/9.1 Win 95/98/2000/ME/XP
Samsung 19" Wide Screen LCD (1440x900 Native Resolution)
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate Edition

That is my home system. The games I've been playing recently include Modern Warfare 2, NFS Hot Pursuit, Crysis 2 and Portal 2. I run the games exclusively off of my second 640GB drive. Although I've read the April Graphics Charts Update and the heirarchy chart, I still want to get your opinions as to what might be the best bang for the buck to improve the graphics performance of my system. I'm not an overclocker, and I don't particularly need a multi-card solution. Also, suggestions for a solid, large but fast hard drive to replace my boot drive. I am aware of SSD's being fast, but having read/write cycle limitations and high cost, and I'm aware of the WD Black and WD VelociRaptors as well but am not sure what the best bang for the buck option would be.

Aside from gaming, I do heavy file management. I am always working with very large files such as 1080p bluray mkv's (anywhere from 8GB to 24GB each), renaming, deleting, copying, extracting from archives, running quickpar, etc. I am also a heavy usenet user, so i'm always using newsbin and having to process hundreds of thousands, if not millions of headers and binaries when browsing and downloading from usenet. I also ocassionally will do encodes, a/v conversions, though that is somewhat infrequent. This should give you an idea of what I use my system for, and what might make the most sense for an upgrade.

I'm not exactly hoarding money trees these days, but I am not one to go cheap on my system either. I almost always prefer the major players/components when doing an upgrade, but try to stay 1 or 2 levels below the top to save cash, but still get a solid deal, and component. Please advise. Thanks!

-- MaSoP

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a b B Homebuilt system
April 27, 2011 3:48:26 PM

At your monitor's resolution, a 560 Ti seems most appropriate. The Gigabyte SOC version of the card will be fastest out of the box, so no overclocking necessary.

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

If you plan to upgrade your monitor to 1080p, check out this great deal on an EVGA GTX 570 SC. It's $50 off of $355 if you buy by 4/29.

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

Performance comparisons with your current card:

gtx 560 Ti (stock clock) vs. 4870
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=304

gtx 570 (stock clock) vs. 4870
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/306?vs=304

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April 27, 2011 6:01:32 PM

mortonww said:
At your monitor's resolution, a 560 Ti seems most appropriate. The Gigabyte SOC version of the card will be fastest out of the box, so no overclocking necessary.

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

If you plan to upgrade your monitor to 1080p, check out this great deal on an EVGA GTX 570 SC. It's $50 off of $355 if you buy by 4/29.

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

Performance comparisons with your current card:

gtx 560 Ti (stock clock) vs. 4870
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/330?vs=304

gtx 570 (stock clock) vs. 4870
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/306?vs=304


Ok, so I'm looking at $250 if I go with a solid graphics card. How about for my boot drive? Thoughts? As far as my monitor, I'd love a bigger model, but am going to wait until the end of the year or 2012 to get a larger model. Thanks for the reply!

-- MaSoP
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 27, 2011 8:31:19 PM

Well, a 560 Ti would carry you for quite a while at 1440 x 900.

What's your budget for a boot drive? The OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB is the ideal solution at $300. Reads at 550 MB/s and writes at 500 MB/s.

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that once your SSD is "used up", that only refers to writes and you'll still be able to read from it. It's got a mean time before failure of more than 2 million hours of operation. It's probably nothing to worry about.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 27, 2011 9:29:04 PM

The 6850 gives very similar performance, but at $50 less cost....
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April 28, 2011 1:35:56 AM

mortonww said:
Well, a 560 Ti would carry you for quite a while at 1440 x 900.

What's your budget for a boot drive? The OCZ Vertex 3 120 GB is the ideal solution at $300. Reads at 550 MB/s and writes at 500 MB/s.

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that once your SSD is "used up", that only refers to writes and you'll still be able to read from it. It's got a mean time before failure of more than 2 million hours of operation. It's probably nothing to worry about.


Budget? I'm not sure. For a hard drive, probably under $200, though I might flex for a Raptor 600GB at some point, over an SSD. It depends.

What I forgot to mention is my boot drive currently is using close to 200GB, so if I got an SSD, it would have to be a 256GB model. Those are in the $450-$550 range currently. The VelociRaptor 600GB w/32MB is going for $250 at the Egg vs the 300GB w/16MB for $150. I used to eye those models, but just never made a move on them. My boot drive is the first of 2 partitions on my first 640GB drive. I'd like for my boot drive to be dedicated for the O/S and Apps only.

-- MaSoP

NOTE: I corrected the Cache reference for the 600GB model from 64MB to 32MB.
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May 8, 2011 4:59:31 AM

Best answer selected by masop.
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