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Looking to upgrade for under 700

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July 9, 2011 10:56:11 PM

Hello all!

I'm looking to upgrade my PC soon for under $700 if possible, as the title states! Pretty much what I'd like is something that can handle my current favourite game, Global Agenda, smoothly with most of the settings maxed out. I'd LOVE to do it for less than my estimate if at all possible!

These are my current parts I'm looking to upgrade to achieve that:

Intel Core 2 DUO E6600 2.4GHz OC'd to 3.0 GHz
2 x 2GB OCZ XTC gold DDR2-800
Gigabyte P35C-DS3R Motherboard
Sapphire Radeon HD4890

I am more than willing to grab aftermarket parts to overclock, but would prefer to stay away from water cooling.

I've thrown together a bunch of parts that I figured may be sufficient and would love some feedback if possible.

AMD A8 X4 3850
Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H
2 x 4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series DDR3 1866MHz
Asus EAH6870

Not particularly sure if this is optimal for overclocking as I haven't played with AMD for many years. I've seen several indicators that the 955/965 Black Edition may be better, but the post may be outdated with the speed at which technology is changing.

Thanks!

More about : upgrade 700

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July 9, 2011 10:59:46 PM

Why are you selecting a fusion chip.....


i5-2400 + H61/67 + HD 6950/GTX 560 Ti + RAM would be ~$500-550.

i5-2500K + Z68 + HD 6970/GTX 570 + RAM + cooler would be ~ 750-800.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2011 12:57:20 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Currently the best price/performance ratio when it comes to a CPU.
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A great and affordable card that will run most modern games.
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Good low profile kit.
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rock solid MATX ROG Z68 motherboard.
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A fine introduction to watercooling.
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All of the before mentioned hardware's combined cost is 720USD and would keep you going strong for quite some time.

As you can now clearly see, 700USD is more than enough to upgrade to the latest hardware!
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July 10, 2011 1:00:21 AM

DoomsWord89 said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Currently the best price/performance ratio when it comes to a CPU.
-

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A great and affordable card that will run most modern games.
-

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Good low profile kit.
-

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rock solid MATX ROG Z68 motherboard.
-

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A fine introduction to watercooling.
-

All of the before mentioned hardware's combined cost is 720USD and would keep you going strong for quite some time.

As you can now clearly see, 700USD is more than enough to upgrade to the latest hardware!


RAM is very overpriced, he can just buy the regular sticks and remove the heatsinks if he needed to.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2011 1:01:31 AM

If you were to go with an i5-2500k and a single GTX 560 Ti (I'll list my recommendations), it would end up costing you around $700 - exactly in your budget range. That includes 8GB of RAM and a good aftermarket CPU cooler for a little overclocking.

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Just from personal experience, I've never had a single MSI product give me any trouble whatsoever. That board is probably one of the best you can get for that price range, and would allow for a second 560 Ti in the future if you needed it. Should be absolutely rock solid - I've always only used MSI motherboards.

CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The i5-2500k is unlocked for easy overclocking, and is basically the best gaming CPU you can possibly get right now. :) 

GPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I chose that Zotac over the EVGA because 1) it also has a full lifetime warranty and 2) their AMP! edition cards have always seemed to be overclocking friendly from what I've seen. IMO, Zotac is every bit as good as EVGA, just underappreciated.

RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Also what I personally use, that stuff will work in absolutely everything. You can get the DDR3-1600 instead of the DDR3-1333 model if you want, but it won't make any noticeable difference whatsoever, not really worth the extra money IMO. I haven't had a single problem with G.Skill, either - I can't really say anything about stability because it's never done anything it shouldn't have. ;)  Things can't go past 100% stability I'm afraid.

And finally, your cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
As everyone around here will telly you, the Hyper 212+ is basically one of the best things you can buy for under $50... its price to performance is unmatched. The 212+ should be able to handle any overclocking you may want to do, as long as you don't plan on pushing your setup to its limits.

So there you have it. That's what I'd do if I was in your position, and it's right in your budget. If you would rather save some money, go ahead and drop the aftermarket cooler until some other time, or maybe drop down to an i5-2400 if you dont feel the need to overclock that badly - that setup will still completely blow through nearly any game you throw at it. A second 560 Ti in the future would probably do you more good than overclocking would, although that's another $250. Your call. As I said, I'd still recommend what I had above, but it's your computer, not mine. :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2011 1:05:13 AM

browsingtheworld said:
RAM is very overpriced, he can just buy the regular sticks and remove the heatsinks if he needed to.


A 5USD-12USD difference is hardly "very overpriced".
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July 10, 2011 1:31:04 AM

That's 10-30% more. Like I said, very overpriced.

You can get 4 Gigs of DDR3 1600 for $35.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2011 1:35:45 AM

Not to burst anyone's bubble, but does an all-in-one watercooler really fit here? That money would be a lot better put towards a GTX 560 Ti instead of just the 560.

And I'm really not a fan of that Asus ROG motherboard. It just seems like you're paying wayyy to much for something when you can get a good motherboard with more features for a lot less. Maybe I'm mistaken and it serves you coffee or something, but it isn't really looking like it. :( 

I'd always go for 8GB of RAM with the prices right now. Heck, I'm constantly using 11 out of 12 gigabytes of my own (don't ask)... I don't know how I'd ever get past with only one third of that. With all the more extra it is, it would give you a lot more flexibility for things like video editing, 3d design/rendering, and similar.
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July 10, 2011 1:39:12 AM

The H50 is just terrible for the price. I should have said that in a previous post.
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July 10, 2011 1:48:26 AM

Thanks for the quick replies!

@browsingtheworld I must have jumped the gun in assuming the fusion chip might help with the physics processing on video games, considering most cards have enhanced physics processing nowdays if I remember correctly. That thought slipped my mind as I was at work when i typed this up :D  (don't tell my boss)

I've been considering the 2500k in case I decide to go closer to 700, but would LOVE to stay around 500 if it can handle what I'd like. I'll have to look into the 2400 as well, but I'd imagine its capability to overclock isn't nearly as good as the 2500K, is it?

@ DoomsWord89 and someguynamedmatt - DoomsWord89 suggested 4GB kit of RAM, but someguynamedmatt suggested an 8GB kit. Would there be a huge difference between the two if I'm not that big of a multitasker or even performance-wise? Also, will the speed of the RAM affect how far I can overclock the processor I choose?

Also, have there been any reported issues with running NVIDIA cards on AMD chipsets? That's my main reasoning for selecting the AMD card instead.

Problem with the Water Cooling kit is I don't really have room for it in my cramped Antec 900 case, but thanks for the suggestion! I may consider it later on.

I seem to have forgotten to mention I have a Thermalright 120 eXtreme on my CPU atm. I'd probably just pick up a bracket for it if I were to go the i5 route.
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July 10, 2011 1:56:50 AM

MiNdWaRp said:
Thanks for the quick replies!

@browsingtheworld I must have jumped the gun in assuming the fusion chip might help with the physics processing on video games, considering most cards have enhanced physics processing nowdays if I remember correctly. That thought slipped my mind as I was at work when i typed this up :D  (don't tell my boss)

I've been considering the 2500k in case I decide to go closer to 700, but would LOVE to stay around 500 if it can handle what I'd like. I'll have to look into the 2400 as well, but I'd imagine its capability to overclock isn't nearly as good as the 2500K, is it?

@ DoomsWord89 and someguynamedmatt - DoomsWord89 suggested 4GB kit of RAM, but someguynamedmatt suggested an 8GB kit. Would there be a huge difference between the two if I'm not that big of a multitasker or even performance-wise? Also, will the speed of the RAM affect how far I can overclock the processor I choose?

Also, have there been any reported issues with running NVIDIA cards on AMD chipsets? That's my main reasoning for selecting the AMD card instead.

Problem with the Water Cooling kit is I don't really have room for it in my cramped Antec 900 case, but thanks for the suggestion! I may consider it later on.

I seem to have forgotten to mention I have a Thermalright 120 eXtreme on my CPU atm. I'd probably just pick up a bracket for it if I were to go the i5 route.

Contrary to popular belief, the non-K chips do overclock a bit. Even without overclocking you will never notice the difference between an i5-2300 and an i5-2500K at 5.0ghz during gaming. At that point your bottleneck will be your video card. Remember the cost of an additional CPU cooler for the 2500K too.

It's like $35-40 for an additional 4GB of memory so there's no good excuse not to get 8GB. RAM will not really affect your maximum overclock.

Water cooling is overrated. A good air-cooled system is often better than water cooling.

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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2011 2:43:44 AM

Ah, alright then. Very nice cooler... that should definitely save you a few dollars.

Like browsing just said, there's no reason not to get the extra 8Gb. For all the more it costs, the added RAM will noticeably speed things up once you start opening multiple programs, and for any kind of rendering/editing work whatsoever. It's kinda hard to explain clearly... you'll just have to trust the guy that has 12Gb that every now and then you'll run into something that will make you say "I wish I had about a terrabyte of memory right now".

Hmm... well, as for your budget, it shouldn't be too hard. If you drop down to an i5-2400, remove the aftermarket cooler I had, and replace the GTX 560 Ti with an HD 6870, it would still give you crushing performance for around $600.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/290?vs=330
If you'd drop back down to 4Gb of DDR3, then it would save you another $30 or so, bringing you down to around $570. Further still would probably be a motherboard downgrade...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Chopping off another $20. It would cut off your ability to do Crossfire or SLI in the future, which you may or may not have wanted. That would bring it down to around $550. Still $50 over budget... you'd have to drop down to an i3 I think if you wanted to get into the $500 range. :??: 

Any thoughts?
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July 10, 2011 3:16:44 AM

I'm not particularly interested in going dual GPU. I'd prefer to just have to worry about one working :D 

Is there a big difference between the H61 and P67 chipsets as far as overclockability or anything else goes?
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2011 2:47:23 PM

Hah, I know what you mean.

P67 is the chipset you want if you plan on overclocking. H67 was made to allow for the integrated Intel HD graphics, and wont let you overclock much, if at all. H61 is Intel's budget chipset, which you really don't want. Z67 is their flagship, which combines the features of P67 and H67, basically.
So yes, there's a huge difference.

The problem is, that if you want to overclock, I'd really like to see a motherboard with a decent heatsink on it. Those intro-level MSI boards don't have one... they're probably okay, but once again, you wont be able to push it very hard before it starts to heat up.

I hate to say it, but it's going to be hard to get a balanced, overclockable i5 system for under $500.
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 10, 2011 3:02:01 PM

browsingtheworld said:
Contrary to popular belief, the non-K chips do overclock a bit. Even without overclocking you will never notice the difference between an i5-2300 and an i5-2500K at 5.0ghz during gaming. At that point your bottleneck will be your video card. Remember the cost of an additional CPU cooler for the 2500K too.

It's like $35-40 for an additional 4GB of memory so there's no good excuse not to get 8GB. RAM will not really affect your maximum overclock.

Water cooling is overrated. A good air-cooled system is often better than water cooling.



That may be true for most closed loop kits. But there is not an air cooler on the planet that can compete with a full loop water cooling system. Even the lower end RASA series out-performs the NH-D14 by leaps and bounds and is available for only 20USD more.
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March 27, 2012 9:39:53 PM

Best answer selected by MiNdWaRp.
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