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Upgrade to Sandy Bridge or wait for Ivy Bridge?

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May 22, 2011 1:20:41 AM

My current system is about 5-6 yrs old and has several bottlenecks.

MB: NForce 680i SLI
CPU: e6600 Dual Core
GPU: GTX 460 768MB (already bottlenecked by CPU)
RAM: 4 MB DDR2-1066 PC2-8500
HD: 600GB Western Digital (forget the rest of specs)
Monitor: Syncmaster 2053BW, resolution 1680:1050

I wanted to take my first foray into building my own rig, but now unsure if I should just make the leap now into Sandy Bridge or wait until Ivy Bridge (fall 2011, Q2 2012?)

Here is my proposed rig if I make the leap now:

MB: ASRock Z68 Extreme4
CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K
GPU: Radeon HD 6970 2MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCi Express 2.1
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 16GB (4 x GB) DDR3 1333 (PC 10666)
HD: Samsung spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0GB/s
SSD: Corsair Force F40 40GB SATA II MLC SSD (Cache)
Monitor: ASUS VH238H 23" HD HDMI LCD Monitor, resolution 1920:1080

Could use some help on a couple fronts: 1) Should I make the leap at all or wait? 2) If I make the leap now, could I please get some feedback on my rig build? I have never built one myself before so would love to get feedback on areas where I should improve/pull back.

Thanks!
May 22, 2011 2:02:44 AM

1) Your call, but waiting is a "slippery slope"
2) You may want to see the build advice form, but here's some suggestions

Consider a 6950, its a better value and will be fine at 1080p
Drop down to 8GB (especially if this is a gaming build)
Maybe a Vertex 2 in that price range instead?
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May 22, 2011 2:13:29 AM

Thanks jabakerlent.

I will definitely do what you suggest. Just for my edification, why is 16GB overkill for a gaming rig? This isn't the first time I've heard this so just curious. I initially had 16GB in there for longevity of the build, but I suppose I could always add more later.

One other question for you if you don't mind...

I initially had a sound card in here but took it out based on feedback. I am curious though whether I should invest in a better speaker system or will it not matter at all coming from the onboard sound card?

I currently have a Klipsch Promedia 2.1 so not sure if that is still a good speaker set. Just use if for gaming and listening to iTunes so certainly not an audiophile.

Thanks again! So far help from this board has dropped my cost from $1950 to around $1650 so I like that direction, but don't want to sacrifice a quality build... this one needs to last me a good 5-6 years.
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May 22, 2011 2:25:50 AM

For the RAM, 8GB really is sufficiently "future proof" for any gaming build. It's similar to how hexa-core processors aren't beneficial for gaming (or a lot of other things for that matter). For one, software developers have to make their games utilize the extra cores/RAM - this requires extra work but more importantly they won't do it until it's really necessary. Games simply do not demand more than, I would say 6GB at absolute max. Sure, future games will need more, but that's a long ways off, and as you said the RAM will still be available for purchase then (and will be much cheaper).
Yes, those speakers are still nice, but I support whoever suggested dropping the sound card. This is one issue where opinions vary, but most people don't notice any difference (certainly not for standard iTunes, etc.)
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May 22, 2011 2:37:48 AM

Unless you can gain anything from the Z68's enhanced video encoding/decoding features and the like, I would suggest just sticking with P67. You'll end up spending more on a board than is necessary for your system.

Personally, I wouldn't wait for Ivy Bridge. The i5-2500K is already the best CPU for gaming at the moment, and while future processors will get better benchmark scores and FPS, once you get above 60fps, you can't physically see a difference ;) 

The 6950 2GB is a sweet spot, but I would say spring for the 6970 if you can afford it. It will most likely be able to handle the new games better than the 6950.

I agree about only getting 8GB RAM. I do a lot of computational math on my rig, and never run above 8GB. You could actually get away with 4GB for gaming, but there's no reason to only get 4GB.

I would get a newer SSD like the new Intel 320 or 510, or OCZ Vertex 3. The SSD you selected is a much older model, and 40GB isn't quite enough for an OS (W7 Pro x64 takes up about 30GB after updates).

I would only get a sound card if you have a high-quality set up that you're using for games. The sound cards make a difference in the better setups because they amplify better than the onboard chipset. I have the HT Omega Striker (~$90; mid range) which I'm using with the Roccat Kave 5.1 headphones, and it does make a huge difference. However, any standard headphones sound the same as they would onboard.
If you decide to upgrade your audio, you can always get a card later and uninstall the onboard drivers.
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May 22, 2011 2:56:26 AM

My going in assumption with the SSD was to use if strictly for caching, which I thought only the Z68 MB allowed you to do. I thought that if only used for caching, I didn't need an SSD much bigger than 40GB because I would still be saving my OS to the magnetic drive and cache using the SSD.

I think you convinced me to pull the trigger, I am a bit tired of my PC screeching to a halt several times a day with Windows 7 and FPSs getting laggy if more than 6 people are near me.

Thanks!
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May 22, 2011 3:02:56 AM

Caching won't improve your general use and gaming experiences. Only if you're dealing with a lot of heavy programs that are moving large files around will you notice a difference. I'd say go for a SSD boot drive if you can afford it. It is one of the most noticeable changes from an older computer.
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May 22, 2011 3:09:22 AM

So if I was to set up a boot drive, I assume I would need something like at least 60-80GB where I would set up solely my Windows 7 install. I would still leave the rest of my files and game installs on the magnetic drive, correct?
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May 22, 2011 3:10:02 AM

boiler1990 said:
Caching won't improve your general use and gaming experiences. Only if you're dealing with a lot of heavy programs that are moving large files around will you notice a difference. I'd say go for a SSD boot drive if you can afford it. It is one of the most noticeable changes from an older computer.


It's just the opposite, it skips large sequential reads/writes. If you're budget is only around $100, I would prefer a caching setup versus a 40GB or so boot drive, if it's higher a separate drive letter setup is best. This drive will outperform the Corsair though (and it's cheaper).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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