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Upgrade to gaming PC - spec me up!

  • Homebuilt
  • Gaming
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
June 21, 2011 11:21:58 AM

Hello folks,

I'm looking to upgrade my current system to keep up with modern gaming, and to try and get rid of a minor annoyance - an intermittent freeze that requires a held-down power button to restart. The fault occurs when gaming or idle, is not related to any component temps I can measure, sometimes doesn't occur for days, sometimes happens five times in a night. GPU has been replaced, RAM passes a few hours of memtest, PSU has been replaced (and upgraded), hard drive has been replaced (old one ran out of room, so I replaced it and upgraded to Win 7, all drivers have been replaced, updated, backdated, anything I can think of all to no avail, so I think it's probably Mobo or CPU. (or case... if that's even vaguely possible in some weird, short-related way).

Basically, having been unable to diagnose the problem, I'm taking the etch-a-sketch option of Aaaaaaargh start again.

Approximate Purchase Date: (e.g.: this week (the closer the better))
Within a month, unless there are amazingle strong recommendations to wait for (e.g.) bulldozer (always something new to wait for etc.)

Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-800) Before / After Rebates
Well below £500 should be readily doable, I would hope.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (e.g.: Folding@Home, gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies)
Gaming. Also web surfing etc but gaming is what matters (FPS and RPG).

Parts Not Required:
Case (coolermaster centurion 5, I think)
PSU (recently purchased decent-brand 650W, can't remember exact model)
Monitor (1920x1080)
Keyboard and mouse (though mouse cord is fraying badly, but I can pick this up separately without too much issue)
I have a copy of Win7 home premium which I should be able to use again (unless this level of upgrade will invalidate the license, of course).
Possibly other components, depending on recommendations here (see below).

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Novatech, ebuyer, Overclockers, anywhere else that gives a good deal to UK shoppers. I'll order from Novatech if the price difference isn't huge, as they've always served me well in the past and I'd like to continue giving them my cash.

Country of Origin:

Parts Preferences: by brand or type
No strong preference intel/AMD/nvidia

Maybe - Possibly now if really required (I doubt it given my single-monitor 1920x1080 setup) but having it as a future option is always acceptable.

SLI or Crossfire:
Prefer to avoid unless compelling arguments for it.

Monitor Resolution:
No plans to change, expand, go 3D or anything else in the next.... long time.

Additional Comments:
Quieter is better (well, low-vibration, so noise that doesn't carry much beyond the room is fine)

Current system is:
P5Q-E mobo
4Gb DDR2
500Gb hard drive (can't remember brand)
HIS ATI 5850 (overclocked)

I therefore want to replace:
Mobo, CPU and RAM. (Obvious choice would seem to be 2500(K?); Z68 and 6-8Gb of DDR3?)
GPU if you think the 5850 is going to hold me back at all at 1920x1080 for the foreseeable future. (No clue about this, but would like sufficient grunt to comfortably play BF3 when it's out)
CPU cooler (I want to install a corsair H70, but not for any reason other than because it looks fun, so feel free to give me better options, including stock cooling if you like)

I'm not adverse to replacing the GPU, as the current one will go to a friend/relative/ebay so won't be wasted.

More about : upgrade gaming spec

June 21, 2011 11:36:21 AM

Apparently I can't edit my post, but I completely forgot:

I'd love to include an SSD as a system drive (with some commonly-run apps too, if possible).

Will this fit in the build as budgeted, and what would be recommended?
a c 104 B Homebuilt system
a c 294 4 Gaming
June 21, 2011 11:36:25 AM

I would go with your obvious choices, that is I5 2500K, Z68 board and 2x4GB DDR3 1600MHz ram. Your current HD5850 is still a powerful card and has life left in it.
Related resources
June 21, 2011 12:38:35 PM

Good to know, thanks.

Any Z68 boards currently standing out from the flock as a good balance of quality, features and price?

Also, what size/make of SSD would you suggest for a boot drive? Would 60Gb be too small for a Win7 system?
June 21, 2011 5:25:19 PM

I'll check the link, thanks.

any other bids for choice of either SSD or Motherboard?
Anyone want to persuade me to stick with a cheaper chipset/CPU based on my needs?

Anyone see through this transparent bump for the after-work crowd's attention?