Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Upgrading my self built gaming machine.

Last response: in Systems
Share
August 22, 2011 7:10:26 PM

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

Use:
Base;
Programming with Visual Studio
Graphic Editing
3D Animation

Hobby;
Gaming @ 1920*1200 resolution
Live Streaming with XSplit
FRAPS recording

Minimum Requirements:
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).
a b B Homebuilt system
August 22, 2011 9:14:32 PM

Wait for a few weeks for the new Bulldozer CPUs scheduled for next month.
August 23, 2011 6:22:47 AM

How will the Bulldozer CPUs compare to the Core i7 970 based on the current information available?

And is there any advice on a suitable graphics solution for my needs too?
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
August 23, 2011 10:14:19 AM

The benchmarks are not out yet, AMD is very secretive. Define Exceptional capacity for gaming. You mean any game on max settings?
August 23, 2011 10:36:37 AM

Oh, that is actually vague. My apologies.

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.
August 23, 2011 10:55:42 AM

Dump some 6950s in xfire in there. Wait for bulldozer and keep smiling.
August 23, 2011 11:28:08 AM

I can grab a couple of 6950s with 2GB memory from e-buyer that'll only set me back about £400, leaving £400 for a new processor and motherboard and a FRAPS-efficient storage solution.

My Gigabyte GA-MA790GPT-UD3H is only AM3 and not AM3+. I've read that some motherboards will be able to support AM3+ processors with just a BIOS upgrade, but I can't find any information on it.

After I get an AM3+ motherboard, will I have enough left to afford the Bulldozer processor later on and have a suitable setup for maintaining steady FPS when FRAPS recording?
August 23, 2011 11:32:44 AM

Jetlaw said:
I can grab a couple of 6950s with 2GB memory from e-buyer that'll only set me back about £400, leaving £400 for a new processor and motherboard and a FRAPS-efficient storage solution.

My Gigabyte GA-MA790GPT-UD3H is only AM3 and not AM3+. I've read that some motherboards will be able to support AM3+ processors with just a BIOS upgrade, but I can't find any information on it.

After I get an AM3+ motherboard, will I have enough left to afford the Bulldozer processor later on and have a suitable setup for maintaining steady FPS when FRAPS recording?



6950s are the way to go. Iv got 2 in xfire in my rig and they smash any game thrown at them. I actually can't wait to find a game that lags them. ( then I can buy a third :)  )
August 23, 2011 11:39:27 AM

Reafer18 said:
6950s are the way to go. Iv got 2 in xfire in my rig and they smash any game thrown at them. I actually can't wait to find a game that lags them. ( then I can buy a third :)  )


What processor do you have and what resolutions do you play at?
August 24, 2011 4:20:51 PM

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.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 24, 2011 10:48:57 PM

I would wait for the Bulldozer and the AMD 7000 series of video cards.
!