On the 10th of September I'm moving into student accommodation in preparation for starting a Computer Programming course at University commencing on the 19th of September and I'm looking to upgrade my baby a little.
Full current specification list:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AMD 790GX Socket AM3
Processor: AMD Phenom X4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz (OC'ed to 3.85ghz) Socket AM3 8MB L3 Cache
Graphics: PowerColor HD 4870X2 2GB GDDR5
Memory: Kingston 8GB (4x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz HyperX Memory Kit 1.65V CL9 (9-9-9-27)
Power Source: Antec CP 850W Modular PSU
HDD One: Western Digital WD7501AALS 750GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache
HDD Two: Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache
Screen Setup: Two displays running at 1920x1200 native. Primary display for gaming, secondary display for multi-tasking, watching movies while gaming, etc.
Internet: Dedicated 50meg fiber optic connection at my place of residence
Case: Antec 1200 Full Tower Case
Budget: Around £800-1000 of my best British pounds
Programming with Visual Studio
Gaming @ 1920*1200 resolution
Live Streaming with XSplit
Exceptional capacity for FRAPS recording at 720p fullscreen and windowed mode.
Exceptional capacity for streaming at 1080p windowed mode using XSplit broadcatster.
Exceptional capacity for gaming at no other resolution than 1920x1200 on a single screen. No future plans for Eyefinity or any stuff like that. Games range from CPU hogs like World of Warcraft to GPU hogs like Crysis, so balanced system would be nice.
Good capacity for FRAPS recording at 1080p fullscreen and windowed mode (would prefer exceptional here, but isn't a solid requirement).
I'm looking to upgrade my processor and, if required, my motherboard (for example to support an Intel processor rather than an AMD one). I have no manufacturer preferences beyond the one which supplies the best solution to my needs.
I am directly looking to upgrade my graphics card; the 4970X2 is a bloody beast to upgrade because the CrossfireX performance when properly supported rivals most single card solutions. Unfortunately CrossfireX is not supported in Windowed Mode, meaning I get massive FPS drops on games with good CrossfireX scaling when running them outside of fullscreen and the performance of the card hinges entirely on good, solid profiles. I am willing to listen to both single card and dual card setups. Once again I do not favour any single manufacturer. Whatever solution suits me needs, be it ATI/AMD or Nvidia.
My second harddrive is currently unused. I would be willing to add another storage solution to the mix in order to accommodate FRAPS needs though.
I'd like to thank everyone in advance who replies for their time in reading and assisting.
[Quick Edit]: Region; United Kingdom
[Quick Edit 2]: I am also open to additional cooling solutions. The Antec 1200 case has resonable airflow with an absolute ton of fans (1 on the top, 2 at the back, 3 at the front).
Medium-high settings at 1920*1200 with stable FPS. I believe that should be possible given the budget considering I already have mouse, keyboard, two 1920*1200 screens, the case, power supply, memory and two hard drives.
I'm not fussed about flicking ultra on everything, but my current setup feels pushed to maintain higher than low-medium settings on most new games at 1920*1200. That is the main drawback to my current setup.
Being able to fit in the necessary hardware for both 1920*1200 gaming at medium-high settings fullscreen, medium settings windowed and for FRAPS at 720p windowed and/or 1080p fullscreen and finally for XSplit broadcasting at 1080p windowed should be possible, I hope.
Where I feel my current setup falls short is in windowed mode. My 4870X2 is still an absolute beast of a card when CrossfireX is fully supported and there are good profiles but is finally feeling the strain at 1920*1200 in the latest games at high settings. Even worse is that in windowed mode it's effectively a single 4870 as CrossfireX doesn't trigger for windowed mode gaming and thus my card loses CRAZY amounts of punch when I try to FRAPS 720p windowed and when I use XSplit broadcaster as that does not pick up full screen capture so I have to have everything windowed.
I'm a hardcore gamer and my degree will focus primarily on programming games.
This is all optional to the course, but in order to come away with a first degree four years from now I'm not going to hold back. I need to be able to record gameplay footage as part of research in team projects from a massive library of titles from the latest AAA games to obscure indie titles.
Likewise using XSplit broadcaster and Own3d.tv I enjoy streaming gameplay and it would also serve nicely to be able to stream in team projects in order to showcase gameplay, ideas and to help brainstorm.
I'd like to request some more advice from other people too if possible. I'm unsure as to a good series of upgrades to enable better quality while recording with FRAPS and maintain more stable FPS with XSplit Broadcaster.
Still waiting on more Bulldozer information though. Hopefully they won't be brutally expensive in combination with an AM3+ motherboard.