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Updating my 6-year old pc.

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June 27, 2011 12:54:05 AM

Ok so time has come to update this PC that some 6 years ago was a beast and back then completely ripped my wallet into pieces.

The pc today is however massively outdated, and that's probably an understatement as it's sporting an AMD Athlon64 3400+, GA-K8NF-9 nForce4 Mobo, 2GB of Corsair XMS DDR400 RAM and a Sapphire Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition GPU. It has done it's job very very well for all this time but it's about time I start upgrading.

Why upgrading you ask? Well, I don't need a new harddisk(updated regularly), don't need new drives(same story), don't need a new PSU (550W PSU is installed, albeit 6 years old), don't need a new case since I'm still very happy with this one (Thermaltake Tsunami Dream), except for some fan replacement and a solution to fitting the hard drives without the HDD-Cage to accomodate for the new GPU, and I also don't need a new screen.

Looking at the state of things, I mainly use my pc for sim racing. rFactor 2 is coming out and I want to be ready for a super-smooth experience. F1 2010 and the new F1 2011 should be playable on max settings, as well as Dirt3. I have some other games I want to play and overall I just need good (not perfect) graphics performance.

Since I haven't got much time for gaming anymore, I don't need a super-high end gaming PC again, but I want to make this one last a few years again before upgrading.

So, the budget is about 400-500 Euro's, let me know what you think. All hardware needs to be available on www.alternate.nl.

I was personally thinking of this setup:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965; € 109,90

Having read up a bit, I really don't see why I need to spend more money for 2 additional cores that I am probably not going to see the benifit of, in the form of the X6 1090T(€142,90). Correct me if I'm wrong!

MOBO: ASRock 870 Extreme3; € 73,90

I'm a bit at a loss here. 870, 880G, 890FX, I haven't yet found a concise description saying look, this is the one you need. I heard good stories about this motherboard, but is it essentially the right choice for this CPU? I am not going to overclock. I do however want a good board and if that means paying more money, then let me know. I do want to have Crossfire possibility, but that seems pretty standard these days.

GPU: SAPPHIRE RADEON HD6870 (11179-09-20G); € 142,90

Having had this Sapphire X850XT PE for that many years I am leaning towards buying from the same brand again. Having read the latest article on the 6000 Radeon Series, I definitely want to go with the 6870, the 69 series being too expensive and the 67 series a bit too low-end for my taste. This seems the perfect compromise between the two. This one is clocked to normal specs.

Other options are:

- MSI R6870 Hawk; € 149,90; "Military Class II components"? I can hardly believe this is of any benifit and will discard it as pure marketing. Again, clocked to normal specs.

- XFX HD6870 (HD-687A-ZNFC); € 139,90; again, clocked to normal specs

- XFX HD6870 Dual Fan (HD-687A-ZDFC) € 149,90; clocked to normal specs but with a dual fan.

- XFX HD6870 Black Edition (HD-687A-ZDBC); € 159,90; slightly overclocked to 940/4600 VS 900/4000.

Other brands are currently not in stock at alternate.nl for this particular card.

MEMORY: GeIL 4 GB DDR3-1333 Kit (GB34GB1333C7DC, Black Dragon); € 45,99

From what I know, premium memory with low timings still is essential to gaming experience. Again, correct me if I'm wrong. I've been out of reading up on PC stuff for many years :) .

4GB should be enough, at least from what I have read. I will always have the option to go to 8 if necessary. OS is going to be Windows 7 Ultimate x64, if that is of any use. Again, correct me if I'm wrong.

CPU Cooling: Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B; € 34,99

Having read the stories about the stock AMD cooler on the 965 is quite noisy and bad cooling-wise, I opted for this CPU cooler. It was included in some builds I've seen here and I like the fact that I can switch the fan around the cooling block to my own preference for optimal airflow.

Case Cooling: Tell me; € ?

I need new case coolers. The ones I have are old, noisy, and impossible to clean. The case has 1 120mm intake fan, 1 120mm exhaust fan, and 1 side fan at 80 mm. 6 years ago noise didn't matter to me. Now it does. I want to have relatively quiet fans, but NOT at the expense of good air displacement. I'm trying to find the 50/50 or 60/40 solution to it, the latter being displacement/noise. Since the case is transparent I wouldn't mind a LED fan. I also need a nice fancontroller for even more control on wether or not I want to have good airflow vs more silence.

This config totals out at € 414,68.

Any more additions, advices, or anything else for that matter will be appreciated!

More about : updating year

June 27, 2011 1:52:34 AM

can't edit, so here's some additions asked for in the FAQ.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week.


Budget Range: 400-500 Euro's all-in.


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, the rest.


Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Screen, PSU (Thermaltake Purepower Butterfly 480w. Mentioned in the post is 550w, it is 480w after closer inspection), Harddisks, Drives, Case.


Preferred Website for Parts: www.alternate.nl


Country of Origin: Netherlands


Parts Preferences: AMD CPU, AMD/ATI GPU.


Overclocking: No.


SLI or Crossfire: Like to keep that open with future upgrading in mind.


Monitor Resolution: 1600x1200, classic Dell CRT monitor.

Links to the products mentioned:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 (BE); € 109,90
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/CPUs_Socket_AM3/AM...

- More AMD AM3 CPU's:
http://www.alternate.nl/html/categoryListing.html?cat1=...


MOBO: ASRock 870 Extreme3; € 73,90
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/Moederborden_Socke...

- More AMD3 Motherboards
http://www.alternate.nl/html/categoryListing.html?cat1=...

GPU: SAPPHIRE RADEON HD6870 (11179-09-20G); € 142,90
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/Grafische_kaarten_...(11179-09-20G)/534072/?tn=HARDWARE&l1=Grafische+kaarten&l2=PCIe+kaarten+ATI%2FAMD&l3=Radeon+HD6000

- MSI R6870 Hawk; € 149,90;
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/Grafische_kaarten_...

- XFX HD6870 (HD-687A-ZNFC); € 139,90; again, clocked to normal specs
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/Grafische_kaarten_...(HD-687A-ZNFC)/482022/?tn=HARDWARE&l1=Grafische+kaarten&l2=PCIe+kaarten+ATI%2FAMD&l3=Radeon+HD6000

- XFX HD6870 Dual Fan (HD-687A-ZDFC) € 149,90; clocked to normal specs but with a dual fan.
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/Grafische_kaarten_...(HD-687A-ZDFC)/567240/?tn=HARDWARE&l1=Grafische+kaarten&l2=PCIe+kaarten+ATI%2FAMD&l3=Radeon+HD6000

- XFX HD6870 Black Edition (HD-687A-ZDBC); € 159,90; slightly overclocked to 940/4600 VS 900/4200.
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/Grafische_kaarten_...(HD-687A-ZDBC)/546606/?tn=HARDWARE&l1=Grafische+kaarten&l2=PCIe+kaarten+ATI%2FAMD&l3=Radeon+HD6000

- More RADEON HD6780 cards:
http://www.alternate.nl/html/categoryListing.html?cat1=...

MEMORY: GeIL 4 GB DDR3-1333 Kit (GB34GB1333C7DC, Black Dragon); € 45,99
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/Geheugen_DDR3-1333...

- More DDR3-1333 Memory:
http://www.alternate.nl/html/categoryListing.html?cat1=...

CPU Cooling: Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B; € 34,99
http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/CPUs_Koelers/Scyth...

- More CPU coolers:
http://www.alternate.nl/html/categoryListing.html?cat1=...

Case Cooling: Tell me; € ?

- Standard:
http://www.alternate.nl/html/categoryListing.html?cat1=...

- Case Modding (LED FANS)
http://www.alternate.nl/html/categoryListing.html?cat1=...

- Fan Controllers:
http://www.alternate.nl/html/categoryListing.html?cat1=...

One more Question: I have an old Audigy 2 ZS soundcard in the old config. Is it still worth using compared to the onboard sound capabilities of today? They used to be quite underwhelming back in the day. If so, should I consider transferring the old soundcard or buying a new one from Creative?
June 27, 2011 8:18:41 AM

The Asrock 870 extreme 3 is a solid board, I have a couple and no problems with them. However it does block any upgrade route forward, so depending on if you want to have that route open, or if you will just simply do a similar upgrade down the road you might consider an AM3+ socket board.
It will probably cost you an additional 20€ or more but would allow you to use bulldozer CPU's when they come out.

With the price differences the 6870 hawk is probably your best bet.

The on board audio is generally fine now. Once you try it you can decide if you want to put your old card to the new machine,
no point in buying a new one that's for sure.

You might consider higher MHz memory, but then a CAS7 Geil set can probably run just as well on 1600Mhz or higher with a bit higher CAS rating if needed.

CPU cooler is a solid choice.



Related resources
June 27, 2011 12:03:47 PM

Thank you for your detailed explanation rvilkman,

Any reccomendations on the AM3+ motherboards? I have been thinking of this as well.

The memory. I just couldn't find out if the processor/mobo supported anything higher than 1333; the website I'm ordering from specifically mentioned memory up to 1333. I'd go with a 1600 if that is possible in this config.
June 27, 2011 12:47:59 PM

Well M5A99X EVO which is 136€ seems that have everything, supports SLI and Crossfire and great connectivity otherwise.
But it is of course almost twice the price of the original board.

As for the memory, you will probably be fine with your selection. Then if you at some point get a bulldozer CPU you can think about getting faster ram or just OC:ing the one you have selected.

June 27, 2011 5:20:06 PM

ok then, seems i'm all done. thanks alot for your replies, they are much appreciated!
June 27, 2011 5:23:12 PM

Save the money and get a 955, essentially the same chip with the unlocked multis, especially if you are interested in a BD eventually.
June 27, 2011 5:51:59 PM

Since i'm not planning to overclock and the 965 also being a Black Edition, would you still recommend that?
June 27, 2011 5:56:37 PM

200Mhz for €17 is silly, even if you don't OC.
Though to "make" the 955 into a "965" should be as simple as clicking around in the UEFI.
June 27, 2011 6:28:38 PM

clear answer, thx. might read up a bit on OC'ing.
June 27, 2011 6:33:50 PM

Quote:
Case Cooling: Tell me; € ?

I need new case coolers. The ones I have are old, noisy, and impossible to clean. The case has 1 120mm intake fan, 1 120mm exhaust fan, and 1 side fan at 80 mm. 6 years ago noise didn't matter to me. Now it does. I want to have relatively quiet fans, but NOT at the expense of good air displacement. I'm trying to find the 50/50 or 60/40 solution to it, the latter being displacement/noise. Since the case is transparent I wouldn't mind a LED fan. I also need a nice fancontroller for even more control on wether or not I want to have good airflow vs more silence.


any thoughts btw, someone?
June 27, 2011 8:25:01 PM

Lists on the web page that it's a 90mm fan on the side, but maybe there are different models.

Noctua fans are a bit pricy, but they do move a lot of air for little noise and they have a 3 speed adjustment. 100m3/h at 18dB, that's a lot of air and very little noise.
Such as: Noctua NF-S12B FLX. They do also come with a 6 year warranty, so at least they believe in what they sell.
But they have a pretty distinctive coloring so you might not like that aspect of them.

Generally I can say that the fans have to be under 30dB, if you can go under 20dB they are whisper quiet.
June 27, 2011 8:54:21 PM

Yeah it's 90 after closer inspection. I actually like the colors. Saving up on the CPU, then these fans, I think I will be right on the spot budget-wise. thx again!
!