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Seeking Advice on Upgrading my Current PC

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July 22, 2011 10:39:49 PM

My current PC is over 4 years old, invoice date was 5/29/2007 - however it's still somewhat relevant because I put some really high end stuff in it for that time.

It's time to upgrade though. I'm still running Windows XP and I want to play Battlefield 3 in October so I'm going to make the jump to windows 7 64bit and I want to upgrade the hardware accordingly.

This last PC I specced most of the parts however a friend who owns a computer/networking company put it together. That's not an option at this time, so I'm going to do it myself and I'm looking for some advice. I have some know how - just enough to be dangerous.

Current Build:
Intel Core2-Dou E6600 2.4GHZ. 1066Mhz FSB, 4MB L2 Cache - LGA-775 chipset
MSI P6N Platinum NFORCE 650i-SLI LGA-775 - Core2-Dou and Quad Capable - 4 DDR2 slots
GeForce GF-880GTX PCIe, 768MB DDR3
4x 1GB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz Kingston
Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATA-300 7200RPM
Case - Dual 250mm side fans, dual 80mm rear fans
850w rosewill power suply
windows xp pro oem

I want to upgrade to Windows 7 64bit
I want to upgrade to a quad core processor
I want to upgrade to a better video card - thinking nvidia 560
I want 8gb ram

As far as the processor goes, LGA775 chipset, there's a 2.66 gighz quad core for $180 from newegg.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The only thing I need to look at as far as video card compatibility is the PCI slots right? Or is there something else?
This card looks pretty good: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Requires PCI Express 2.0 x16

What about Ram - will an older motherboard accept DDR5 ram? I bet not since it mentions 4x DDR2 slots - probably need a new motherboard for newer ram eh?

I'm wondering if I'm not looking at replacing the PC all together if I need a new motherboard. I like the case I have, but my wife could use this older machine if I bought a new one.

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

That's basically everything I want for $1000.

If I'm going to upgrade my current setup:
Processor $180
Video Card $250
Ram $70 x 2 = $140
Windows 7 OEM 64 bit = $140
Total: $710 - plus I have to get a motherboard - and the headache/labor.

Starting to look like I should just buy some kind of package.

I would greatly appreciate advice/suggestions.
a b B Homebuilt system
July 23, 2011 1:17:22 AM

If you have the money, get the new system
July 23, 2011 1:29:37 AM

There's really no use upgrading the CPU and sticking with the same old board with such a budget. Quad-core Socket-775 CPUs are still ridiculously expensive compared to newer releases. There are cheaper Socket-1155 and -1156 CPUs out there, with most outperforming them as well. The unfortunate side-effect, in terms of cost, is having to also replace the motherboard and RAM. But, since you were already considering a RAM upgrade, and DDR3 is actually cheaper than DDR2, that's not such a bad thing. (And there is no DDR5. Don't know where you saw that...)

Consider an inexpensive Sandy-Bridge build. There's a few options with Sandy Bridge, and here are the more reasonable ones in order of cheapest to most expensive.
1. An H61/H67-based build with an i3-2100 Dual-Core. (Costs start at about $180)
2. An H61/H67-based build with an i5-2400 Quad-Core. (Costs start at about $250)
3. A P67-based build with an i5-2500K Quad-Core. This platform would allow the CPU to be overclocked, while the others cannot. (Costs start at about $320)

All 3 can use the same RAM and GPU, so neither of those is a true variable in the cost equation. Pricing of the 3 CPU's is stable presently, and they only differ by a maximum of $95. The only real variable is the motherboard since motherboard costs are actually dependent on the CPU chosen.

I should also mention Windows 7 OEM can be found on sale as low as $80 at times. That is, unless you absolutely insist upon Ultimate, which is really only necessary if you have programs that require WinXP compatibility mode. (Loosely translated, Home Premium is usually all most users actually need, especially for a gaming PC.)

Here's how I see it cost-wise.
~$100 (or less) for the OS
~$60 for 8GB (2x4GB) of DDR3 RAM
~$225 for a GPU (such as the 560Ti you've suggested)
That's a total of nearly $400, which leaves over $300 for a motherboard and CPU. (Compared to the previous $700 total.) That means all three of the CPU/mobo options I explained above are viable within that budget. Once you decide just how much CPU performance you need, it's just down to picking a specific motherboard.
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July 23, 2011 2:14:25 AM

RazberyBandit said:
There's really no use upgrading the CPU and sticking with the same old board with such a budget. Quad-core Socket-775 CPUs are still ridiculously expensive compared to newer releases. There are cheaper Socket-1155 and -1156 CPUs out there, with most outperforming them as well. The unfortunate side-effect, in terms of cost, is having to also replace the motherboard and RAM. But, since you were already considering a RAM upgrade, and DDR3 is actually cheaper than DDR2, that's not such a bad thing. (And there is no DDR5. Don't know where you saw that...)

Consider an inexpensive Sandy-Bridge build. There's a few options with Sandy Bridge, and here are the more reasonable ones in order of cheapest to most expensive.
1. An H61/H67-based build with an i3-2100 Dual-Core. (Costs start at about $180)
2. An H61/H67-based build with an i5-2400 Quad-Core. (Costs start at about $250)
3. A P67-based build with an i5-2500K Quad-Core. This platform would allow the CPU to be overclocked, while the others cannot. (Costs start at about $320)

All 3 can use the same RAM and GPU, so neither of those is a true variable in the cost equation. Pricing of the 3 CPU's is stable presently, and they only differ by a maximum of $95. The only real variable is the motherboard since motherboard costs are actually dependent on the CPU chosen.

I should also mention Windows 7 OEM can be found on sale as low as $80 at times. That is, unless you absolutely insist upon Ultimate, which is really only necessary if you have programs that require WinXP compatibility mode. (Loosely translated, Home Premium is usually all most users actually need, especially for a gaming PC.)

Here's how I see it cost-wise.
~$100 (or less) for the OS
~$60 for 8GB (2x4GB) of DDR3 RAM
~$225 for a GPU (such as the 560Ti you've suggested)
That's a total of nearly $400, which leaves over $300 for a motherboard and CPU. (Compared to the previous $700 total.) That means all three of the CPU/mobo options I explained above are viable within that budget. Once you decide just how much CPU performance you need, it's just down to picking a specific motherboard.


That's good advice - I think the DDR5 I might've seen on the video card memory? Either way, the newer DDR3 is cheaper and faster as you said so worth upgrading the motherboard. I was very limited in my choices of CPU's as well and they were also more expensive.

I guess this begs the question - if I'm buying basically everything except hard drive, case and accessories - should I just get a new machine all together? I'm leaning towards that route because my wife doesn't have a desktop so I could give her this one. This current cpu will do way more than what she needs.

Any advice on who builds a good packaged gaming system? I probably could stumble my way through putting one together but it seems like I can buy one for the cost of the parts and not have the headache.

I sincerely appreciate the helpful replies!
a b B Homebuilt system
July 23, 2011 3:20:49 AM
July 23, 2011 3:29:23 AM

wld go with what k1114 put but yes shop around and def go for 2500k if in budget...good luck brother
July 23, 2011 11:29:24 AM

k1114's build is decent, but I wouldn't bother with a P67 or Z68 chipset motherboard unless you're going to go with a 2500K CPU and take advantage of the fact that those chipsets allow K-series CPUs to be overclocked, or unless you intend to SLI/Crossfire immediately. A 2500K is only $30 more than an i5-2400, so the price/performance ratio falls in favor of the 2500K and it's tremendous OC potential. If you're going to go with a non-K-series CPU, the H61 or H67 chipsets provide all the basics. (Though with only 4-SATA connections, H61 has storage device limitations.)
July 23, 2011 3:51:38 PM

For $30 more I agree 2500k cpu is the way to go.

Is 500W power supply enough juice? What if I decide to add a second 560ti down the line? I'm running 850W in this current machine.

I'd rather spend a couple extra bucks and do it right than skimp.

I'm a beginner at this - just know enough to be dangerous. I had help with the first build I did and that was 4 years ago.

Good advice guys, I appreciate it.
July 23, 2011 6:28:36 PM

You could only add a 2nd 560Ti if you were to get an SLI-capable motherboard, which not all P67 and Z68 are. If you're considering that route, look carefully at every motherboard's features list to make sure it's SLI-capable.

And yeah, a high-quality ~500W PSU (like the Antec HCG 520) would provide plenty of power for a 2500K and a 560Ti system. Far too many people tend to go overboard in terms of power supply output. But, if you're considering going SLI'd 560Ti's, then a 500W PSU isn't gonna cut it. You'd have to step it up to 650-750W or so for that. Antec's True Power New series comes to mind, as well as many others.

Lastly, if you went the 2500K route, you'd want to pick-up a decent aftermarket CPU HS/Fan cooler to dissipate the additional heat overclocking it would produce. The stock Intel cooler isn't good enough for extensive overclocking. It's not a huge additional expense though, as there are plenty of sufficient ones in the $30-40 range. Even at it's stock speed, the 2500K is pretty damn powerful. So, overclocking is something that could be done later, which means you don't have to get a CPU cooler and OC it immediately.
August 15, 2011 1:27:21 PM

Ok, back to upgrading this PC:

Reminder, current build is:

Current Build:
Intel Core2-Dou E6600 2.4GHZ. 1066Mhz FSB, 4MB L2 Cache - LGA-775 chipset
MSI P6N Platinum NFORCE 650i-SLI LGA-775 - Core2-Dou and Quad Capable - 4 DDR2 slots
GeForce GF-880GTX PCIe, 768MB DDR3
4x 1GB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz Kingston
Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATA-300 7200RPM
Case - Dual 250mm side fans, dual 80mm rear fans
850w rosewill power suply
windows xp pro oem

Here's what I'm thinking:

My best friend (Danny) has a friend who builds computers for a living to help me if I need it. I was a little bit worried messing with $1000 worth of computer parts without really knowing what im doing.

The case I have is huge and has fans in the top, both sides, front and back, should fit whatever I need (currently has evga 8800gtx card in it so room for the video card shouldnt be an issue) and the PSU I have is 850 watts which should be plenty. Danny also has a leftover install of windows 7 64bit from a family pack he bought so that would also save me money. The CD drive I have is fine, I do want to replace the hard drive though. It's making a decent amount of drive noise which means it's not too long for this world.

That means I need:
CPU $315: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Ram $120 (16gb, x4): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Video Card $340: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard $220: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard Drive $60: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cpu/motherboard combo saves $20 ($515 total): http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

$1035.00 total worth of parts for what should be an absolutely screaming machine.

Any idea if that rosewill power supply will have all the right plugs that I need? Have they changed the motherboard plugs at all since 4 years ago? Will the video card plugs be the same? Are there any other things I need to be aware of? Any pointers? I'm pretty confident in the video card and cpu I've selected. I chose the motherboard because it was highly rated and had a tom's hardware recommendation ;)  . Western digital are the best drives I've heard and 500gb is plenty for me. Kingston and Corsair both seem to be good ram and that was also highly rated.

I really appreciate your guys advice! With your blessing I think I'm ready to pull the trigger on this parts order!!!!!
August 15, 2011 1:54:58 PM

he i5 2500k is almost as good as the i7 so there really is no need for the extra $100. with that savings a new psu is in your budget. also you don't need 16 gigs of ram 8 is a little overkill.
August 15, 2011 2:34:28 PM

jackspeed said:
he i5 2500k is almost as good as the i7 so there really is no need for the extra $100. with that savings a new psu is in your budget. also you don't need 16 gigs of ram 8 is a little overkill.


You are right - 3.3 vs. 3.4. 2mb difference on the cache - what will that do?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 15, 2011 3:25:08 PM

didn't know about the sache but there is almost no difference in terms of gaming atm between the 2 processors. and yes thats the 1 I meant. As for the power supply I would recommend getting it new you may not need to but all parts eventually fail and if a power supply goes it can take stuff with it. 4 years is a little old but other people might disagre with me
August 15, 2011 3:31:31 PM

jackspeed said:
didn't know about the sache but there is almost no difference in terms of gaming atm between the 2 processors. and yes thats the 1 I meant. As for the power supply I would recommend getting it new you may not need to but all parts eventually fail and if a power supply goes it can take stuff with it. 4 years is a little old but other people might disagre with me


That's a very good point about the power supply. Have you had that happen before where a PSU went out and fried some other components when it did?

The only thing I don't like about doing that is now I'm replacing everything but the case and CD-rom drive. It might be at that point worth keeping this old PC as a backup and just buying a new cd rom drive and case.
August 15, 2011 3:42:38 PM

Can anyone recommend a good case? So many options not sure what to look for. Definitely looking for a gaming case with plenty of cooling fans and room for all of the components. There's lots of good combo deals on newegg also.
August 15, 2011 4:11:44 PM

The $100 less processor begs the question - is the 570 worth $100 more over a 560 ti? It's 1/4gb video memory difference, but the clock speed on the 560 is actually faster. Any thoughts? Probably isn't worth $100.
August 15, 2011 4:36:18 PM

my brothers pc's power supply died and took out the mobo as well (we didn't check if the processor was still good). http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-performance-... looks like the 570 is better not sure how much and heres 3 options for cases
rosewell challanger http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 50
Rosewill ARMor http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 100
coolmaster haf 912 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 60 but out of stock at the egg check amazon for prices
a b B Homebuilt system
August 15, 2011 4:37:37 PM

The cache makes very little difference, not enough to make up for $100. The i5 2500k is the best bang/buck there's really no point in going higher for gaming unless you're rich. 4gb of ram is all you need for games since most games are still 32bit and don't go higher than 2gb usage. However I would suggest 2x4gb since ram is so cheap right now. The 560ti can overclock to 570 performance but even at stock you going to be maxing pretty much every game at 1080p. There are cheaper boards to sli on but if you did want a high end board, the asus pro has everything the deluxe does. The asrock extreme4 is tom's recommended. The samsung spinpoint f3 is the same performance as the caviar black but is $20 less. You might also want to add an aftermarket heatsink like a cooler master hyper 212+.
August 15, 2011 5:58:38 PM

So how about this:

Cpu build:
Power Supply Antec 750W, $95 : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Aftermarket Heat Sink $29: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec 900 Case $99: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard ASRock P67, $150: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
EVGA 560TI Card $240 : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I5 2500k $220: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard Drive Western Digital 500gb 7200rpm, $60: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Corsair 4g (x2) 1600 DDR3, $60 total: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Drive $21: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Already have 64 bit windows 7 OS.
Total Cost (before shipping): $974.00

Let me know if this looks good. I saw that power supply on sale and it has plenty of juice incase I want to add a new video card. I went down to 8gb ram on advice that most program don't utilize more than 8gb. I went with the western digital drive because the 500gb is the same price as the 1tb samsung drive and I just don't need the space. There will be two programs installed on this machine in the near future - Battlefield 3 and Star Wars the old Republic.
August 15, 2011 6:16:51 PM

According to this article this is a good case as well as the antec. this case has usb 3.0 and free shipping
case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
article http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/dragon-rider-chaser...
as for the ram I personally prefer to go with kits so heres your ram in red http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or blue http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT looks good I currently use that power supply. Antec is a good rand and it has alot of overhead
August 15, 2011 8:52:18 PM

If you want it it should be good just finished reading the best gpu for the money in aug article and I noticed.
"AMD dropped half of the reference Radeon HD 6950's onboard memory to give us this 1 GB model, and the price fell accordingly. At $245, there really isn't any competition for this powerful, yet conservatively-priced graphics card. It outperforms the GeForce GTX 560 Ti in enough situations, on average, to score the sole recommendation." so how about this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 16, 2011 12:51:59 PM

I don't do ATI or AMD, period. Bad previous experiences.

I ordered all of my parts from newegg last night. $1000.42 total w/ shipping but $45 worth of mail in rebates.

I think I did pretty good!

thanks everyone for your help!
August 16, 2011 3:06:11 PM

blazzen said:
I don't do ATI or AMD, period. Bad previous experiences.

I've had bad experiences with Intel and nVIDIA products, but never once run into an issue with an AMD or ATI part that couldn't be solved. That doesn't mean I'll never use Intel or nVIDIA ever again, though. It just means I had a faulty product, which all manufacturers experience at some time or another.

I hope the build goes smoothly and the system works out well for you. Good luck.
!