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Upgrading XPS 420 to play BF3 and Arma 3 at 1680x1050

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June 25, 2011 12:06:28 PM

Hello. I'm not really sure what section to post this in, but I'll just go here.

I bought a dell XPS 420 about 3 years ago, here are the specs:

  • MOBO = Intel X38
  • CPU = Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @2.4 GHZ per core
  • RAM = 3072 MB at 333 MHZ (Although it's PC2-5300 so shouldn't it be 666 MHZ?)
  • GPU = NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 1GB VRAM
  • PSU = Stock Dell PSU at 375W
  • HDD = 2X Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB WD3200AAKS-00B3A0 in RAID For Total 640 GB (Broken, see below)
  • OS = Vista Home Premium 32 Bit

    Okay, now this plays Bad Company 2 and Arma 2 perfectly at 1680 x 1050.

    However, Battlefield 3 and Arma 3 are on their way- and I know I'll need to upgrade

    Here are a few points about upgrading:

  • My HDD is broken (keeps screeching and freezing), and nearly out of space. My GF wants 1TB of space, and I'd like it to be fast.
  • I don't have very much money. I can only afford to spend about £400 on upgrading :/  This means I really cannot afford a new CPU or MOBO
  • As I am getting a new harddrive, I will be installing Windows 7 from scratch and transferring some files over via an external harddrive

    So here is my proposed list of upgrades. As you can see there are things which I don't know what model to get and things I am unsure about.

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (£112)
  • Take out my old HDDs and get a decently fast 1TB HDD for under £80 (Please Recommend)
  • Take out ALL my old RAM and put in a 4GB kit (2GBx2) Crucial BallistiX DDR2 at 1066 MHZ (£62) (Will my system be able to support 1066 MHZ???)
  • Take out old PSU and put in a decent 750W PSU compatible with the XPS 420, for under £50 (Please recommend)
  • Remove 9800 GT and get NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 1280 MB VRAM (£236) (Is this unnecessary due to the Q6600 bottlenecking it? :??:  )

    A friend is getting me Windows 7, so excluding that this comes to around £432.

    Your thoughts? I'm officially clueless, so ANY advice would be welcome!

    EDIT: IS any of this even compatible with my motherboard? xD
    a b B Homebuilt system
    June 25, 2011 12:51:00 PM

    Having a Dell limits your options, its BTX so compatible coolers are scant. PSUs a;so have issues fitting also. Since you're essentially upgrading the whole thing, building a new rig would actually be the better choice.

    Heres an idea:
    i5 2300 $135
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-2300-s1155...

    MSI H61 $45
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/msi-h61m-p23-(b3)-intel-h61-ddr3-pci-e-20-(x16)-m-atx

    4GB Corsair DDR3 1600 $29
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-%282x2gb%29-corsair-...

    Win 7 OEM $70
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/microsoft-windows-7-home...

    1TB Hitachi $39 (you have Samsung or WD available also, but with the WD you're taking the risk of potentially getting a 3-platter drive)
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-hitachi-0f10383-desk...

    ( Samsung $40
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-samsung-hd103sj-spin...
    WD $41
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-western-digital-wd10... )

    Cheap Asus case $23
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-tm-b11-black-matx-t...

    430W Corsair $35
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/430w-corsair-cmpsu-430cx...

    XFX HD 6870 $139
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-xfx-hd-6870-black-ed...

    Total $455 (w/o windows)

    You get better overall performance than the 570+Q6600, especially for CPU taxing games like the BF series. Plus you get a spare machine, one drive might be salvageable off the RAID setup.

    However, how urgent is this? waiting a month or two could lead to newer parts and potentially lower prices. You can buy the HDD now, just everything else later. Besides, if you ever gather up more cash, an better CPU+GPU would be good also.
    a b B Homebuilt system
    June 25, 2011 12:53:57 PM

    *$=£ in the above post. Got lazy so didn't C&P it over :>
    Related resources
    June 25, 2011 1:04:20 PM

    Hmmm.

    If I have to build a new rig from scratch, I can go to £650.

    So can you compile me the best gaming performance rig for that price, not £450?

    Thanks :) 

    A few points though:

  • I'd like an NVIDIA card, I really don't like ATI...
  • What does OEM mean on Win7?
  • HDD wise: How much would I benefit from SATA III, and how much would I benefit from 10,000 RPM ? Still only 1TB I need.
  • I've never built a rig before: aren't you excluding things like USB ports or does that come with the case?
  • I'd like to have a 600W PSU at least, to be on the safe side.

    Also, isn't it hard to build a rig? All I know how to do is replace GPUs and RAM :p 
    June 25, 2011 1:22:48 PM

    Heaney said:
    Hmmm.

    If I have to build a new rig from scratch, I can go to £650.

    So can you compile me the best gaming performance rig for that price, not £450?

    Thanks :) 

    A few points though:

  • I'd like an NVIDIA card, I really don't like ATI...
  • What does OEM mean on Win7?
  • HDD wise: How much would I benefit from SATA III, and how much would I benefit from 10,000 RPM ? Still only 1TB I need.
  • I've never built a rig before: aren't you excluding things like USB ports or does that come with the case?
  • I'd like to have a 600W PSU at least, to be on the safe side.

    Also, isn't it hard to build a rig? All I know how to do is replace GPUs and RAM :p 


  • http://www.aria.co.uk/Systems/Gaming+Range/Gladiator/Gl...

    something like that


    June 25, 2011 1:23:49 PM

    Sorry, I want Intel + NVIDIA

    Not AMD + ATI.
    a b B Homebuilt system
    June 25, 2011 1:31:54 PM

    To answer your questions:
    1. OEM is for "system builders", so limited to one PC. Feature wise its pretty much the same but you don't get a fancy box, just a CD in a paper sleeve and a key.

    2. HDDs aren't close to even using the bandwidth SATA II offers, so SATA III HDDs are mostly marketing. While the raptors do go a bit faster than the normal 7200RPMs, you can get better performance by setting up a SSD caching setup or get a actual SSD.

    3. Building a PC is easy look for a guide on the stickies, and the USB ports come with the case (with the power button :>), you can get fancy a card reader/eSATA/USB3 faceplate that sits in a 3.25 bay, but that up to you and can be done anytime. I am missing an Disk-drive, but you should be able to use the old one.

    Heres the £650 build:
    i5 2500K £162
    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP...

    Asus Z68 £132
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8z68-v-intel-z68-s...

    4GB Corsair DDR3 1600 £29
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-%282x2gb%29-corsair-...

    Win 7 OEM £70
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/microsoft-windows-7-home...

    1TB Hitachi £39 (See above.)
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-hitachi-0f10383-desk...

    Zalman Z9 Mid-tower £45
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/zalman-z9-plus-black-mid...

    XFX 850W £75
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/430w-corsair-cmpsu-430cx...

    Asus GTX 560Ti £173
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-asus-gtx-560-ti-dire...

    Total:£655(w/o OS)

    Add a HSF if you want to OC, or a caching SSD if you have spare cash.
    June 25, 2011 1:37:37 PM

    Thank you for all your help.

    However, on second thought- I am going to wait until Christmas, when I will get a new PC + Arma 3 + BF3, since those games don't come out until around then anyways.
    a b B Homebuilt system
    June 25, 2011 1:44:30 PM

    Heaney said:

  • CPU = Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @2.4 GHZ per core

  • GPU = NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT 1GB VRAM

    Okay, now this plays Bad Company 2 perfectly at 1680 x 1050.

  • If that's the case a BSEL mod, psu upgrade and a GTX460 or 560 would blow your mind.

    Replaced a Dell 9800 GT with a GTX460 last month, client couldn't believe what he was missing in BC2.
    June 25, 2011 1:49:22 PM

    Yes, I know it probably would.

    The problem is, I need this new PC to be future proof for 3 years.

    I need it to be able to max out Battlefield 3 at 1680 x 1050 , so I'll wait until Christmas.
    a b B Homebuilt system
    June 25, 2011 2:03:17 PM

    You might want to look out for Bulldozer then, though you can pick up said part if its on sale, nothing interesting/new is coming out before next year from the looks of it.
    June 25, 2011 2:04:57 PM

    Yes, but prices will be going down in 5 months, won't they?

    So maybe I can get a GTX 570 instead of a GTX 560, because I might also have more money by then.
    !