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Stuck! I have 600 dollars, help me upgrade guys :D

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August 21, 2011 9:31:28 AM

I have 600 dollars (US), and would like to upgrade what seems to be my archaic (ironic, 2 yr old) system xD. I shop at Newegg ONLY ! haha and Tigerdirect sometimes

Main goals, to play the games listed below in full settings 1080p, with Skyrim being the main game I will play for the next year when it gets released, along with newer titles related to the games I have mentions below. Keep in mind I am not a crysis junkie, and have no intentions of running it maxx'd out, but it would be cool to try if I can afford to get playable fps with the upgrades you guys might have in mind for me :D 

My current rig:
- Phenom II x2 550 BE OC'd to 3.7GHz (w/ arctic cooling, nice temps)
- 9800 GTX+ (stock settings)
- Gigabyte GA-MA790x-UD4P mobo
- 4 GB G.SKill ddr2 (PC2-6400)
- 150 GB HDD 7200 RPM
- 450W PSU
-23" ASUS 1080p monitor (1920 x 1080)
- Windows 7 32Bit (would and will upgrade to 64 bit when I get upgrades, I have the 64 bit disk)

would like to future proof my system with the best price/performance ratio that you guys might have in mind. I've been doing a lot of research, and the more I do...the harder it is for me to determine what I should upgrade. I know my mobo is 2 years old, my GPU is not the best by far... and my ram could be running at DDR3 (but that would also require a new mobo).

I like to game on max settings. Some games I play are as follows: TES IV Oblivion, Skyrim (new rig must max this out !! my main goal :D  ), Dragon Age I+2, Dead Space, Metro 2033, Starcraft 2, Mass Effect series, and I'd love to try out the Witcher 2 if I can afford it after some crucial upgrades, that is...if it seems apparent to you all that the games I play and would like to play in the future need some hardware upgrades in order to max out. I know my rig has a very hard time playing even High settings in Dragon age 2 on DX9, which runs at around 25fps and isnt even that aesthetically pleasing of a game :( 


In regards to the research I've done, I've come to the conclusion that the best price/performance gain I can afford for a new GPU is to crossfire some 6850's, granted, you guys see that as a viable option; however, If you think I can use a new CPU/mobo/PSU / RAM then i probably wont be able to afford to Crossfire the 6850's


Anyways, I'll stop rambling! Any information would be awesome. I'm not too sure about the mobo situation because I've read that x16/x16 PCI slots get about 10% extra performance gain in fps, which certainly counts. And I cannot find a mobo that has 2 of those :/ 


Also, would it be better to wait to upgrade CPU ( if I even need to, in case it might bottleneck my 6850 if anyone thinks that's a good solid card to run these games on max settings) for a few months until the Bulldozer's come out????

More about : stuck 600 dollars upgrade guys

August 21, 2011 9:52:41 AM

highc1157 said:
I have 600 dollars (US), and would like to upgrade what seems to be my archaic (ironic, 2 yr old) system xD. I shop at Newegg ONLY ! haha and Tigerdirect sometimes

Main goals, to play the games listed below in full settings 1080p, with Skyrim being the main game I will play for the next year when it gets released, along with newer titles related to the games I have mentions below. Keep in mind I am not a crysis junkie, and have no intentions of running it maxx'd out, but it would be cool to try if I can afford to get playable fps with the upgrades you guys might have in mind for me :D 

My current rig:
- Phenom II x2 550 BE OC'd to 3.7GHz (w/ arctic cooling, nice temps)
- 9800 GTX+ (stock settings)
- Gigabyte GA-MA790x-UD4P mobo
- 4 GB G.SKill ddr2 (PC2-6400)
- 150 GB HDD 7200 RPM
- 450W PSU
-23" ASUS 1080p monitor (1920 x 1080)
- Windows 7 32Bit (would and will upgrade to 64 bit when I get upgrades, I have the 64 bit disk)

would like to future proof my system with the best price/performance ratio that you guys might have in mind. I've been doing a lot of research, and the more I do...the harder it is for me to determine what I should upgrade. I know my mobo is 2 years old, my GPU is not the best by far... and my ram could be running at DDR3 (but that would also require a new mobo).

I like to game on max settings. Some games I play are as follows: TES IV Oblivion, Skyrim (new rig must max this out !! my main goal :D  ), Dragon Age I+2, Dead Space, Metro 2033, Starcraft 2, Mass Effect series, and I'd love to try out the Witcher 2 if I can afford it after some crucial upgrades, that is...if it seems apparent to you all that the games I play and would like to play in the future need some hardware upgrades in order to max out. I know my rig has a very hard time playing even High settings in Dragon age 2 on DX9, which runs at around 25fps and isnt even that aesthetically pleasing of a game :( 


In regards to the research I've done, I've come to the conclusion that the best price/performance gain I can afford for a new GPU is to crossfire some 6850's, granted, you guys see that as a viable option; however, If you think I can use a new CPU/mobo/PSU / RAM then i probably wont be able to afford to Crossfire the 6850's


Anyways, I'll stop rambling! Any information would be awesome. I'm not too sure about the mobo situation because I've read that x16/x16 PCI slots get about 10% extra performance gain in fps, which certainly counts. And I cannot find a mobo that has 2 of those :/ 


Also, would it be better to wait to upgrade CPU ( if I even need to, in case it might bottleneck my 6850 if anyone thinks that's a good solid card to run these games on max settings) for a few months until the Bulldozer's come out????


I would get a 128mb crucial M4 ssd (or other solid manufacturer. Maybe OCZ or Intel), which will help alot with games that load alot of content (Wow, Elder scrolls, etc), and will make your computer feel snappier in general. Also, I would look at getting a new video card (Like a radeon hd5770). This would only cost you around 350$ total, and both of those parts could easily be transferred to a new system if you chose to build it in a few years (Maybe get a slightly nicer Graphics card like the gtx 560 or radeon 6870 which will still be very good cards for the next 2-3 years, especially in sli/crossfire configs).

You can't really make a worthwhile RAM upgrade or processor upgrade without a new mobo. If you did get a slightly more power hungry card, you might want to consider a new PSU, especially if the one you have now is a stock PSU (PSU failures can be very bad for your components and a pretty common, I've had quite a few with cheap PSUs). A 500-600W 80plus psu would never be at much more than 1/2 -> 3/4 load and would perform very efficiently at those points. Plus you could move the PSU to a new system without much worry (like the SSD and video card).

If your going to get a bulldozer eventually, you might want to get an AMD card.
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August 21, 2011 11:22:33 AM

really huh? nice, well i hope the ssd helps :D , are you talking about an internal or external ssd, and how much do they run for???

Also, why did you mentions the hd5770. isnt the 6850 much better?

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August 21, 2011 6:18:15 PM

Internal SSD. 128gb one will run for around $160(on sale) - $225. The HD5770 is cheap and can run most of the games you were talking about. There are quite a few reviews on price/performance for video cards, and you should probably just pick from the AMD ones.
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August 21, 2011 7:08:42 PM

Quote:
Yes it can "run" them. What he is asking for is a setup that can MAX a game like Metro 2033 @ 1920x1080 resolution and the 5770 won't come close.

Plus 5xxx series has poor CF scaling..

I suggest getting something like, 2x 6850's (then slightly overclocking them a safe amount) but that is a budget build imo.

For you, I would suggest aiming for something like SLI 560TI (also can slightly overclock and have performance equal to a 580 1.5gb.)

I am sure you will be able to play all of those games at high settings since you are only gaming on 1920x1080!

I would still wait for others to comment first before going by the word of a tired stoner with a few good points :p 


Yea, I wasn't really looking at his budget / games he wanted to run at the time I said that. the 2 6850s in crossfire is pretty solid and should get you an excellent experience at all games @ 1920x1080, and it won't be incredibly loud. Tom's has it as one of the more worthwhile upgrade you can make for 330$
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August 21, 2011 7:09:58 PM

I had originally seen Skyrim, and I really doubt it will be as much of a graphics killer as Metro 2033, since it will probably have a rediculous amount of content. Hence why I recommended an SSD.
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August 21, 2011 7:22:33 PM

He's only got 600 bucks. Buying a solid state drive will eat up almost a quarter or even half of that. I say skip the SSD for now (till you get more $$). Maybe a bigger hard drive but I would definitely recommend an AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition. I bought one for 160 dollars and I have to say, it is amazing. Right now I have it overclocked to 3.6 and it is lighting quick. Although if your upgrading your CPU you should probably upgrade your board and RAM as well.

You could easily get all three with 600 bucks. Get 2X4GB of ram, find a nice cheap board, maybe even an micro for around 50 bucks.

G.skillz has very cheap RAM. 8 gigs for 60 dollars. I use it and it works great.

Another issue is your power supply... 450W is not a gaming supply... Try and find one thats at least 700 for around 100 dollars.

As far as graphics cards.... I am currently running a Radeon HD 4770 that plays Bad Company 2 on all max settings and plays games like Crysis on High(not Max'd).

It's an uber cheap card when I bought it (around 120 bucks) and now 5850's are that way. I just bought a 6850 from sapphire (newegg) for 150 bucks and have it in another system and its running great!

With 600 dollars you can do a lot on a budget build and still get max performance in all the games you play. A lot of FPS games use up a lot of CPU resources vs. GPU resources so having a great CPU is your best bet in my opinion.

Just make sure your getting a graphics card that supports Dx11 and make sure your getting RAM with speeds that are compatible to your board.

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

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

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 21, 2011 7:57:33 PM

hey I'm at work right now, what board do u suggest ? keep in mind I wanna crossfire 6850's
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August 21, 2011 8:04:26 PM

I haven't owned this board but it is one of my next purchases...

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

I know its not as cheap as what I was talking about but in the past year I have gone through 3 cheap ass boards. Get a quality motherboard as its the foundation of your computer. This one I like because it skips the onboard video, allows crossfire, and supports all types of DDR3.

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August 21, 2011 8:12:27 PM

not sure why you are preoccupied with the mobo. even most high end mobo's for current gen CPU's drop to x8/x8 bandwidth for 2x graphics cards. it's a minor difference (not 10%). usually a few FPS.
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August 21, 2011 8:19:30 PM

Skip the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition and new board if you only have 600$. I have the phenom II x6 1090t in this desktop and I would not recommend it as a gaming processor, as games are not typically heavily threaded, and benchmarks show that the Phenom II x4 black editions pretty much outperform the x6.

Anyways, Sandy Bridge i5-2500k is the hands down killer in price/performance if you were trying to buy new everything, which I don't think you are.

PCEnvy, the most important upgrade he can make for gaming is his graphics card. Also, saying 450W isn't a gaming supply doesn't make any sense. 450W is just the max power the psu can output, whereas a 700W psu could still be crap. Get a PSU that matches your power requirements (which will be closer to 600-650W if you go dual 6850s), and get a reliable brand that is bronze or silver rated.

Aside from graphics, the only other upgrade he can make without replacing his mobo is his HDD to a ssd, which will have a huge impact on games that load a lot of content( E.G. Skyrim, a game I have also pre-ordered), and will make his desktop experience snappier overall.
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August 21, 2011 8:37:45 PM

do you have any good ssd's in mind ? also , granted I upgrade to crossfire 6850's, do you think my current dual core 3.7 ghz is sufficient or might bottleneck my system.

if you think that those graphics cards and a ssd would be most beneficial, let me know. also should I upgrade to 64 bit Windows and maybe get more ddr2 ram ?
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August 22, 2011 12:35:56 AM

anyone?
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August 22, 2011 6:36:02 AM

Games are not heavily threaded? *cough*BlackOps *cough*

I don't know what your running but my 1090T is pretty ******* awesome.

I didn't even check what he already had as far as MOBO. Just checked it out know and yeah I guess I'd be keeping that. But he has 600 dollars and buying an intel i5 and a SSD is about all of that maybe one 6850 with it.

You ripped at me for saying 450w psu isn't a gaming PSU. Now your just being annoying. 450w is not enough to supply a crossfire config and everything else running at extreme load. And a nice 120 dollar power supply does just fine. I've had the same 750 for over 6 years now made by CoolerMaster. Buying into the gold/silver rated *** is not worth it when your building budget. I have a cheap power supply that has lasted me more than 3 machines so think what you want about that. I'm trying to help from the budget perspective and he wanted more than one opinion. Don't need to be a jerk about it.
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August 22, 2011 8:34:25 AM

560Ti is a must if you want a good gaming card... It's good enough for most games runnig at high and it's good price for it's performance
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August 22, 2011 8:48:13 AM

Can somebody suggest a combo for less than 600 that will give me the best performacne boost in a game with graphics like skyrim (granted, we don't know how it will perform).

From all your posts I'm thinking maybe a single 6850 will be able to max it out, think so?????

THat would leave me with 450 dollars to maybe get a better cpu (granted you guys dont think that my 3.7 GHz OC on my Phenom II x2 will bottleneck my rig), and maybe a few more things (like PSU, maybe RAM, CPU, MOBO, SSD....whatever you guys think I would benefit from the best with the image in mind that I will only be playing skyrim for probably the next year :D , and BF3 and witcher 2 ) .

I just wanna make sure whatever upgrades I get will be synchronize well with older parts; therefore, making sure I do not introduce any bottlenecks in my system.

I just want to be sure that whatever upgrades you guys suggest, are bottleneck proof, keeping in mind that they won't bog down my performance in game..


A lot of people are suggesting just an SSD and a new GPU. Do you guys thinks that a single 6850 and an SSD will be capable of maxxing skyrim 1080p? I know this is speculative, but try to compare it to a game like the witcher 2 or metro 2033, that way I can at least be sure it can handle skyrim max

I can afford this SSD listed below, seems fast and solid. that leaves me with roughly 450 dollars to get a gpu and anything else that seems necessary

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-148-...
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August 22, 2011 4:15:25 PM

My intention wasn't to be a jerk, sorry! The jist of what I was trying to say was that your power supply explanation did not make sense. I'm an EE and have actually worked at a company that designed its own power supply, and the truth is not all 700W PSUs are created equally.

@highc Crucial SSDs are all pretty decent and the 64GB should be plenty of space for you, especially if you manage it well. You can probably get a few more gigs by making the pagefile on your OS a little bit smaller (not too small because you don't have a ton of ram).

If you want to spend the rest of your 450$ get the dual 6850 otherwise if your looking at single cards maybe get a 6870 or 6950 1/2GB. Your CPU won't severely bottleneck you, and the rest of your computer you can upgrade another time (mobo/ram/cpu combo). I can't really think of a worthwhile upgrade you could make without replacing your mobo and that doesn't seem to be in your budget.
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August 22, 2011 4:19:13 PM

And to elaborate, you were close to right in that with a crossfire power draw around 220W, his system would be very close to it's limits (the rest of his components won't typically draw much more than 230, with the bulk of that coming from the CPU). So yes, it would be a good idea to invest in a better* power supply, with a slightly higher rated maximum output power.
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August 22, 2011 4:23:12 PM

Also, the 1090T is a great processor (again, I have it), it's just not typically thought of as a gaming processor. That's not to say that it can't easily handle most games =).
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August 22, 2011 4:31:38 PM

Yea, but he has a phenom II 550 @ 3.7GHz and I just don't think that upgrade would do much for his system overall. I was advising against upgrading his CPU to a 1090T, and would probably say the same about the 955BE (benefit/cost pretty low)
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August 23, 2011 12:35:06 AM

Also, to the OP:

If you get the 64GB SSD your going to want to re-install your OS on it and then probably keep 1-2 Games that you want to run fast on it as well. If you have enough RAM (track your usage to find this out), you can shrink your pagefile to a pretty small amount or set it up to use your HDD. This can get you an extra 6-10GB on your SSD.

There are many guides you can follow for proper use of an SSD boot/app drive.
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