Hi, about a year ago, I began a rather long term process of bootstrapping my PC into a high end gaming rig in a piecemeal manner. At this point, I am ready to finish the project and needed some help since it is technically still my first build. The parts vary between already upgraded (*) and stock from the original Dell
As of now, I have
PSU*: Corsair TX850W
CPU: AMD Phenom 9750 Quad 2.4 GHz
RAM: 6GB DDR2 (how do I check the Hz of this?) CPU-z lists 1800MHz & 400MHz I'm guessing the second is clock rate?
GPU*: Radeon 5850 1 GB GDDR5
HDD: 2 stock 750 GB HDDs in raid 1
Optical: 2 DVD Drives
Mobo: Dell 0F896N
Case*: Antec 902
Display: 1 Dell stock optiquest q7 & 1 Samsung P2450*
My original plan was to upgrade as funding was available with the end goal being all parts replaced and the 5850's cross-fired with 2 or 3 of the p2450's. Unfortunately, due to other obligations, this has taken longer than expected.
As it stands, these are my upgrade goals and questions for now:
PSU: This is sufficient, correct?
CPU: Is this worth upgrading/ will I need to with a new mobo
RAM: Same as above
GPU: See Below(1)
HDD: I was looking at 2 1.5TB caviar blacks - do they ever go on sale or get rebates?
Optical: Fine as is
Mobo: See Below (2)
Case: Great as is
Display: See Below (3)
1: My understanding of crossfire is limited. Can this be crossfired with any other 58xx or just a 5850. Also, what is the current cost of a 5850?
2: Obviously, I would like a crossfire mobo. Are there any available that support my current CPU or should I upgrade the CPU also? I would like to comfortably have room for both GPUs & a USB 3.0 expansion card, though budget rules. What can I get for (preferably less than) roughly $200? Also, what improvement would I see at a price range past that?
3: I see the p2450 is no longer available. What is its closest equivalent now?
Also, since this is a evicting all of the original parts, will I have to do anything with windows, or will it still be PnP?
I avoided these upgrades previously due to limited knowledge & time, but this is likely my last opportunity for a while, so I would like to get things perfect.
Thanks for all of the help and sorry for the wall of text.
To answer your questions:
1. Crossfire can be achevied with any card in the same family, so a 5850 can CF with any 58X0 (and 5970 in this case). Performance scales with the slowest card however. Currently, you should be able to find 5850s for $130, but stocks come and go so hunt around.
2. Your CPU *needs* to be upgraded (like desperately), but you're in a bit of a dilemma here. You're going to need a Ram+CPU+Mobo combo, and it can get pretty costly. One option is SB, which runs around ~$350++$40 for RAM. For cheaper you can go for a PhII 955 which is ~$250+$40 for RAM, plus a BD down the road (if you can).
Thanks for the help. I may have overstated my budget concerns. I meant for one part, stay around $200.
As it stands, I am entering college this fall (hence time concerns) & have several outstanding "tell me what you want for graduation" gifts, a birthday coming up, and a bit of cash. So, the main budget concern lies in convincing my parents, not affording it. As such, $800-$900 is probably my top it - it will be easier to justify a greater cost with more parts as they are not the most tech savvy people...
As for the windows id's - the original PC was a gift, so I do not have the original materials, but I can get the keys from the registry can't I?
So, overall recommend whatever you feel will give me the best performance to price ratio.
Edit: I was looking around and the Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition seems to be highly recommended and at the top end of my single item budget. What type of performance upgrade would I see (compared to your recommendation) & what would you estimate the parts longevity to be? Also, what type of increase in price would I see in finding other compatible parts of similar performance? http://www.amazon.com/Phenom-1100T-3-3G-512KB-Turbo/dp/...
Edit 2: Could you also point out a good 5850 to buy - all of the ones I can find are overpriced or discontinued with the exception of one sapphire card on amazon with no return to stock date. I don'y like the option, but would I be better of crossing 6850s - what is the actual difference between the 6850 & 5850? (If so, where could I sell my 5850?) I notice the first has a much cheaper release price. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004W75ATI/ref=s9_simh...
Edit 3: Since I am entering college, this will be my last upgrade for 2-3 years most likely. Will this end system handle that pretty well for gaming? (at this point it is probably more efficient to double post than add "edit 2: part 1: section a"...