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Is now a good time to upgrade?

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September 10, 2011 5:29:46 PM

Hi, my current system looks like this;

Windows Vista Ultimate
WD Raptor 150GB
500GB Samsung HDD
Asus Maximus formula MB
ATI 5850 1GB GPU
Q9450 CPU @2.67GHZ (Can not O/C it as it runs far too hot)
4GB DDR2 RAM
Cosair 620 watt PSU
Antec 1200 case

I'm out of Hard drive room now so I'm thinking about upgrading to something like this;

60 SSD (Not sure on what brand yet)
Windows 7 Home (For trim support for the SSD and the fact its a better OS)
2TB WD black HDD for programs etc
4 or 8GB DDR3 RAM
I2500K or I2600K CPU
ATI 5850 GPU (Carried from old build)
Cosair 620 watt PSU (Carried from old build)
Antec 1200 case (Carried from old build)

I use my PC almost everyday and its my main gaming machine so I feel the upgrade is a worth while one but is there anything that's coming out in the future that's worth waiting for? I'm confused on the status of PCI 3.0, is this out already? If I was to upgrade my GPU to the ATI 7000 or 8000 series in the future I'd assume I'd need it.

Has anyone got anything to add? The system will last me about 2-4 years
SSD recommendations?
4GB or 8GB RAM?
I2500K or I2600K?
Is there anything new coming that would be worth waiting for?


More about : good time upgrade

a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 6:21:15 PM

Your PC is still pretty good, if you don't mind sticking with it for a bit i would give it 6 months before upgrading. This means you can wait for the new series of graphics cards, better SSD reliability, Bulldozer and Ivy Bridge.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 6:53:37 PM

As the above posted, since you have a good working build currently, its not really worth upgrading right now, as theres so much new tech coming over the next few months.

Ivybridge Processor,
BullDozer Processor,
ATI 7000 Series,
Nvidia 600 Series,
And probably Windows 8 too sometime Q1/Q2 2012.

If HDD space is what your after you best bet is to pick up either an External USB HDD, or buy something like a 1TB Samsung SpinPoint F3 to add to your current build.

EDIT:
PCI 3.0 - This is planned for use with the new series of processors/GPU's, i dont believe currently anything actually uses it. Some recent motherboards (ASRock GEN3 series in particular) have started making PCI 3.0 ready motherboards just to prepare for whats to come :)  More info below copied from wikipedia:

------------------------

PCI Express 3.0 Base specification revision 3.0 was made available in November 2010, after multiple delays. In August 2007, PCI-SIG announced that PCI Express 3.0 would carry a bit rate of 8 gigatransfers per second, and that it would be backwards compatible with existing PCIe implementations. At that time, it was also announced that the final specification for PCI Express 3.0 would be delayed until 2011.[16] New features for the PCIe 3.0 specification include a number of optimizations for enhanced signaling and data integrity, including transmitter and receiver equalization, PLL improvements, clock data recovery, and channel enhancements for currently supported topologies.[17]

Following a six-month technical analysis of the feasibility of scaling the PCIe interconnect bandwidth, PCI-SIG's analysis found out that 8 gigatransfers per second can be manufactured in mainstream silicon process technology, and can be deployed with existing low-cost materials and infrastructure, while maintaining full compatibility (with negligible impact) to the PCIe protocol stack.

PCIe 2.0 delivers 5 GT/s, but uses an 8b/10b encoding scheme that results in a 20 percent ((10-8)/10) overhead on the raw bit rate. PCIe 3.0 removes the requirement for 8b/10b encoding, and instead uses a technique called "scrambling" that applies a known binary polynomial to a data stream in a feedback topology. Because the scrambling polynomial is known, the data can be recovered by running it through a feedback topology using the inverse polynomial.[18] and also uses a 128b/130b encoding scheme, reducing the overhead to approximately 1.5% ((130-128)/130), as opposed to the 20% overhead of 8b/10b encoding used by PCIe 2.0. PCIe 3.0's 8 GT/s bit rate effectively delivers double PCIe 2.0 bandwidth. PCI-SIG expects the PCIe 3.0 specifications to undergo rigorous technical vetting and validation before being released to the industry. This process, which was followed in the development of prior generations of the PCIe Base and various form factor specifications, includes the corroboration of the final electrical parameters with data derived from test silicon and other simulations conducted by multiple members of the PCI-SIG.

On November 18, 2010, the PCI Special Interest Group officially published the finalized PCI Express 3.0 specification to its members to build devices based on this new version of PCI Express.[19]
Related resources
September 10, 2011 6:59:07 PM

its tiem.......to upgrade your ram.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 7:00:38 PM

If your main usage is for gaming, then I think your most effective upgrade is the video card.

To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.


If a gpu upgrade is indicated, make it a jump of several tiers, from a 5850 to a 6970 or a GTX570. Your psu could even handle a GTX580. But, 28nm parts are due out near the end of the year, so waiting might not be bad.
I favor upgrading to a great single card vs. dual cards.

If a cpu upgrade is indicated, then the 2500K is about as good as it gets. For gaming, the 4 cores are plenty, and you can OC to the same levels as a 2600K. Use the $100 saved on a great graphics card. Despite bulldozer, I expect the 2500K to be the best gamer, at least untill ivy bridge becomes available. Even then, a 2500K will be able to drive any sane graphics configuration well.

I love a SSD for the OS and apps. Look for 80gb-120gb. Intel 510 series seems to be the least trouble free today.

Ram is cheap, get 8gb. Here is some justification:
http://blog.corsair.com/?p=65
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 7:45:52 PM

With the ram prices so low now you could take advantage of that as long as you were going to be running Win 7 64 bit. And when you do your upgrade you will probably only need to go i5 2500k for the cpu and the video card definatly. Plus unless you are going with the latest and greatest then you could wait but if you are only going up a couple notches why wait.
September 10, 2011 8:05:25 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

I use my PC for just about everything but gaming is the most demanding. The whole wait 6 months thing is something I'm still contemplating. Ivy bridge is targeted for a 20% increase I think so it might be worth waiting. I could just buy a 2TB WD black for now and wait it out. I just wish steam would allow you to install games on other hard drives then the one its installed on. On the benchmarks a 2500K is a good increase from a Q9450, even for games.

I can't overclock this processor because its hitting high 60s on stock speeds with an after market cooler. I should have sent it back to Intel to be honest. But that's why the 2500K would be a nice upgrade.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 8:07:20 PM

i5-2500k is a great processor and i dont think anyone could say "dont buy it" with a good reason.

Price vs Performance, its by far the best value for money currently.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 8:17:31 PM

"Q9450 CPU @2.67GHZ (Can not O/C it as it runs far too hot)" "high 60s stock"

Not normal for this CPU. First do the easy things -- use a can of compressed air to blow out the dust from the cooler. I'd guess from your post that the high temps are from day 1 and are not a dust problem, but... blowing it out is simple.

Second, verify fan operation on the CPU cooler. Plugged in right, MB BIOS able to read temps, fan control abel to change fan speed... You might get high 60s with a dead fan on passive cooling with a good cooler and decent case airflow... maybe?

Finally, its a pain, but I'd get some artic silver cleaner and thermal paste and do a new paste job on the CPU. Take off cooler, clean it, put the absolute minimum paste on the CPU per instructions and slap the cooler on again. (too much is problem more often than too little). Sometimes the cooler gets knocked off a bit during installation and the thermal compound doesn't work right. (have seen this also on a factory heatsink on a 3850 -- always ran really hot then was cured when heatsink re-mounted).

Finally, it's an EXCELLENT time to upgrade. (best time to upgrade is when you have the $$ and the time and the interest). The I5-2500 is an animal. Go for it.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 8:25:10 PM

Oh, if you do upgrade per your original post, it would be really neat if you could od a side by side test of using the Raptor as your system drive vs. using the SSD as your system drive. Boot time, load time, etc.

p.s. I'm not sure if the intel caching technology will ever work right, but it holds promise. With the right intel chipset you would set up the SSD as a cache rather than as a drive. Then just use your large spinning drive and the intel caching logic would write to both and read from SSD when possible. This seems simpler than explicitly managing the SSD the way you currently manage your raptor. You'd need the z68 chipset in your MB. Smart Response Technology (SRT). http://www.anandtech.com/show/4329/intel-z68-chipset-sm...
September 10, 2011 8:33:03 PM

I could do a comparison but the Windows 7 install would be new and my Vista install is quite old so it wouldn't be completely fair.

As for it running too hot I did email Intel and they said as long as the CPU does not go above 71.4C its fine. I wish I would have done something about it now but the Q9450 was quite rare and didn't want to RMA it as the only other CPU I had to put in while I waited for a new one was a 1.8ghz dual core. I did put an after market cooler on it with Artic Silver 5 paste and it did improve temps, just not enough to justify overclocking. Re-sited it a few times too, I just assumed I got unlucky with it.

The whole reason I was gonna upgrade now and not wait for Ivy bridge is because I read its targeted for a 20% increase and that's not to say Intel will hit the 20% increase. So waiting 6 months for a 20% maximum increase didn't seem worth it to me.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 8:42:52 PM

"I could do a comparison but the Windows 7 install would be new and my Vista install is quite old so it wouldn't be completely fair. "

Yep, you'd need to clone the SSD to the raptor after you set up win7 on the SSD. Then benchmark.

p.s. I'm not sure how much better you will like win7 than vista. I use both a lot. I'd stay with vista then upgrade to win8 when it comes out -- "however recent hints from the corporate vice president for Strategic and Emerging Business Development Dani Lewin pretty much confirms that Microsoft are planning to bring out Windows 8 in Fall 2012." == rumor.
September 10, 2011 8:45:26 PM

tsnor said:
"I could do a comparison but the Windows 7 install would be new and my Vista install is quite old so it wouldn't be completely fair. "

Yep, you'd need to clone the SSD to the raptor after you set up win7 on the SSD. Then benchmark.

p.s. I'm not sure how much better you will like win7 than vista. I use both a lot. I'd stay with vista then upgrade to win8 when it comes out -- "however recent hints from the corporate vice president for Strategic and Emerging Business Development Dani Lewin pretty much confirms that Microsoft are planning to bring out Windows 8 in Fall 2012." == rumor.


Only reason I'm going to get Windows 7 is for TRIM support for my SSD. The faster boot/sleep times etc is just a bonus.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 9:07:18 PM

you are right. I forgot trim. And i went from xp to win7 on my laptop for just that reason when i installed an intel 320.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 10, 2011 11:33:49 PM

Yes Intel may not hit the target of 20% but they may exceed it, we won't know until it's out. There will be other things to consider too such as power consumption.
September 11, 2011 9:21:28 AM

jmsellars1 said:
Yes Intel may not hit the target of 20% but they may exceed it, we won't know until it's out. There will be other things to consider too such as power consumption.


Sandy bridge was a 17% increase apparently, So its possible. By the look of it they're also working on the graphics core alot (Something I won't benefit from). But is it worth the 6 month wait? Its not the jump the Q6600 was from P4 upgrades. There's always gonna be something new coming out. I know power consumption helps with temps which in turn helps with overclocking but the 2500K is already running @3.3ghz and overclocks really well I've heard. I assume the 2500K is also more efficient then a Q9450?
September 11, 2011 11:21:06 AM

Acording to the news some of Gigabytes MB's are not true PCI 3.0. There bus speeds are slower. I want to make sure I get a true 3.0 MB if I was to buy one. Can anyone suggest a good motherboard? I'm willing to pay £150 for one but can go higher or lower if its offers something worth the extra cost.

With SSD's there is the Cosair force and a few OCZ drives. Any advice which to get? I want to put Windows 7 and WOW on the SSD and then everything else on the 2 TB WD black.

I know 8GB was overkill before. But is it worth it now? Also why do MB's use dual channel again? They started to use triple channel and dropped it now? I thought triple channel would have offered better performance. Regardless of how much RAM I get should I get 2 sticks or 4? People say 2s better for overclocking but I would have thought getting 4 sticks would allow more bandwidth to the RAM over 2?
a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2011 11:49:58 AM

I think this is the article you are refering to in terms of non-genuine PCI 3.0 http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/msi-gigabyte-pcie-gen3-mo...

ASRock Extreme3 or Extreme4 GEN3 fits your budget.
EX3: http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/mot...
EX4: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asrock-z68-extreme4-gen3...

As for RAM, Dual Channel 1600MHz CL9 8GB (2x4GB) is probably your best option.
Corsair Vengeance (Can get it in blue, black, red, or low profile): http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-%282x4gb%29-corsair-...
G.Skill: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004HZG4ZO/ref=asc_df_B004HZ...

A great SSD of choice currently is the Crucial M4:
http://www.scan.co.uk/search.aspx?q=crucial+m4
September 11, 2011 11:59:37 AM

415mb Read 95 Write on the Crucial but the OCZ one offers 525MB/s Read Speed 500MB/s Write Speed. Surely the OCZ one would be better?
a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2011 12:22:51 PM

Dark Comet said:
Sandy bridge was a 17% increase apparently, So its possible. By the look of it they're also working on the graphics core alot (Something I won't benefit from). But is it worth the 6 month wait? Its not the jump the Q6600 was from P4 upgrades. There's always gonna be something new coming out. I know power consumption helps with temps which in turn helps with overclocking but the 2500K is already running @3.3ghz and overclocks really well I've heard. I assume the 2500K is also more efficient then a Q9450?


Yeah i'm not trying to persuade you to wait, i'm just putting the facts out there.
September 11, 2011 12:41:07 PM

AdrianPerry said:
OCZ have apparently had a few issues and they dont actually deliver the speeds they say they can.

Crucial M4 has a much better up write up and reviews.

TOMs Hardware SSD reviews for August: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/ssd-solid-state-nand-reli...


Oh right ok I'll look into it thanks

jmsellars1 said:
Yeah i'm not trying to persuade you to wait, i'm just putting the facts out there.


I know I'm just having a hard time choosing what to do myself :p 
September 11, 2011 2:09:57 PM

The OCZ vertex drive is £20 off today for the 120GB version bring the price down to £165. So tempted..
a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2011 2:17:36 PM

The Corsair Force 3 or Crucial M4 are both cheaper than that i belive.

See what other responses you get but £165 is quite alot still for a 120GB SSD.
September 11, 2011 2:51:28 PM

The Force 3 120GB is £132.99 and M4 128GB is £140. Both from ebuyer. Gonna look up some benchmarks to see which performs better

a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2011 3:08:52 PM

Dark Comet said:
... Also why do MB's use dual channel again? They started to use triple channel and dropped it now? I thought triple channel would have offered better performance. ...


Triple channel came in with the x58 chipset and the socket 1366 i7 internal memory controller. These are the only parts that support triple channel. The newer, FASTER i7-2600s only support dual channel so there are some memory intense workloads where the older i7s have a chance. Benchmarking for typical workloads found the triple channel was worth about 1% vs. no triple channel. I use an i7-920 with 4 x 2GB dimms because i'd rather have the perormance gain of the extra memory vs. the perfromance gain of the triple channel memory controller.

on 2 sticks vs 4 sticks. Usually this is a cost vs. future proofing discussion. IF you use 4 stick then your $$ per byte is less (2GB dimms originally cost less than half of 4GB dimms) but later when you want to add memory all your dimm slots are taken.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2011 3:09:24 PM

The Corsair and OCZ drives will probably give slightly better performance, the M4 is more for reliability.
September 11, 2011 3:21:51 PM

jmsellars1 said:
The Corsair and OCZ drives will probably give slightly better performance, the M4 is more for reliability.


I've read something about having to update the M4s to get the full potential? The corsair and crucial cost around the same. I'm not too bothered about reliability because I will have nothing on the drive that won't be backed up. I Just want the fastest SSD on the market for less then £160.

tsnor said:
Triple channel came in with the x58 chipset and the socket 1366 i7 internal memory controller. These are the only parts that support triple channel. The newer, FASTER i7-2600s only support dual channel so there are some memory intense workloads where the older i7s have a chance. Benchmarking for typical workloads found the triple channel was worth about 1% vs. no triple channel. I use an i7-920 with 4 x 2GB dimms because i'd rather have the perormance gain of the extra memory vs. the perfromance gain of the triple channel memory controller.

on 2 sticks vs 4 sticks. Usually this is a cost vs. future proofing discussion. IF you use 4 stick then your $$ per byte is less (2GB dimms originally cost less than half of 4GB dimms) but later when you want to add memory all your dimm slots are taken.



Well if I put 8GB in the system when more RAM is needed (At least in 3 years time?) the whole system will need an upgrade too so I'll probably go for 4 X 2GB sticks.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2011 3:22:23 PM

RE SSDs. Everyone quotes sequential bandwidth speeds, but except for hibernation the real value of SSDs is their random access latency, not their bandwidth. It's easy to build a spinning disk array with higher bandwidth than an SSD, but it won't run like an ssd -- bad random access latency.

Suggest you focus on the rating of the drive at NewEgg. Some of the SSDs seem to be having trouble. I bought a corsair force 120 SSD, it never detected properly. Checked the newegg ratings. They were lower than other drives. Some drives from some brands are rated much higher than different drives by the same brand. When I RMA'd the force 120 I went for safety with the slower intel 320 because i didn't think the egg would cut me a deal twice. (SSDs are generally return for exact same part only). Net: there are some really fast drives out there but make sure other people are having good results in large numbers befroe you choose the SSD over another one.
September 11, 2011 3:31:15 PM

I did see something about a recall for them. But Ebuyer says "*This stock is the latest version of the Force 3 Drive. Ebuyer NEVER stocked any of the earlier models that got recalled." so it seems safe. I'll make sure I check the average rating for the products though thanks.
September 11, 2011 4:22:52 PM

Are ASrock a good brand for motherboards? How about MSI? I know Asus and gigabyte are good. The Motherboards I'm looking at don't seem to have PCI 3.0. I want to make sure I get it for my GPU update next year.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2011 5:29:23 PM

Id go with manufacturer website specs. Ebuyer probably listed it wrong.
September 11, 2011 5:35:22 PM

I might get that one then only downside is its £176, but I don't want to end up with the gigabyte ones that have less bandwidth than is needed.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2011 8:22:04 AM

Since you already have a current working build, id probably hold off for a few weeks if you plan on getting a GEN3 motherboard. I know ASRock has had some early problems, with over-clocking especially along with some BIOS issues.

All manufacturers are just jumping in and releasing new products, competition will increase as time goes on. Currently (from what ive seen), only MSI have pre-orders, and ASrock have released products - give ASUS and Gigabyte a chance to catch up, release something worthwhile, and then see what the prices are like. Gigabyte especially usually do a really nice range of low-mid-high end motherboards.

Its very early days in a very new product sector, hold off as long as you can and see what's available :) 
September 12, 2011 10:23:12 AM

AdrianPerry said:
Since you already have a current working build, id probably hold off for a few weeks if you plan on getting a GEN3 motherboard. I know ASRock has had some early problems, with over-clocking especially along with some BIOS issues.

All manufacturers are just jumping in and releasing new products, competition will increase as time goes on. Currently (from what ive seen), only MSI have pre-orders, and ASrock have released products - give ASUS and Gigabyte a chance to catch up, release something worthwhile, and then see what the prices are like. Gigabyte especially usually do a really nice range of low-mid-high end motherboards.

Its very early days in a very new product sector, hold off as long as you can and see what's available :) 



I agree with what your saying its just I don't want to end up waiting and getting the PC even closer to the release of the new CPU's. Makes it hard to justify buying it. I might make a thread in the motherboard forums to see if anyone has a PCI 3.0 MB and has had any issues. I need to decide what brand SSD, MB and RAM to get now.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2011 10:38:13 AM

120GB SSD is probably your best option (although depending on your budget 60GB might be more viable). Crucial M4 is getting some great reviews currently and its at a very competitive price. OCZ ive been hearing bad reviews in terms of reliability. Corsair Force 3 i believe is a good choice aswell.

It might be worth heading over to the SSD section of the forums, and shove a poll up or something with a few SSD's + Prices and see what kind of feedback you get as to which is the best option.

RAM - 8GB (2x4GB) 1600MHz CL9 is probably your best option here. Popular choices include Corsair Vengeance and G.Skill Ripjaws.
September 12, 2011 11:12:37 AM

120GB versions seem to perform better then the 60GBs so I'll go with a 120GB one. I'll put a poll up then, thanks.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2011 2:24:27 PM

Let me try to help and clarify some things. I think you are worrying about some non important issues.

1) The 2500K is about as good as it gets for gaming. the 32nm process makes it stay cool, and it will overclock to 4.0 and higher with ease. Future 22nm ivy bridge will be better, but will not really be necessary for good gaming. Today, the 2500K at stock will drive any gaming gpu configuration well. The 4.0+ overclock potential is there if you should ever need it in the future. If you wait for the latest technology, you will wait forever. If you want/need an upgrade today, then you can't go wrong with the 2500K.
No value either in a 2600K for the gamer. The extra hyperthreads will go unused, and a 50% increase in price is not worth it for a 5% increase in basic clock rate. Particularly when the 2500K will OC to the same levels as the 2600K.

2) Do not worry about pci-e 3.0 or 2.0. Current graphics cards can.t saturate the current pci-e 2.0 bus. Not even with the top end graphics cards. There will be NO effect that you can feel on FPS or gaming performance.

3) For the gamer, P67 or Z68 are equivalent. Pick the cheapest. Both will OC the same, and the added support for integrated graphics or ssd cache will not be used in your system.

4) For the SSD, there is much hype with SSD benchmarks. Fast sequential reads and high IOPS seem to be the performance metrics.
Unfortunately, that is not what we normally do. The OS does mainly small random reads and writes. It does so at relatively low queue
lengths.
The actual drive response times are what matters, and those response times do not differ much among all SSD's.
The SSD gives you much better response times compared to even the fastest hard drives.

Newer drives tout the benefits of 6gb sata, and they do show up well in synthetic benchmarks.
But how many apps do you run that do sequential processing?. If it is enough to make a difference, you probably
can't afford the price for the capacity you need. For the gamer, fast sequential rates will result in marginally faster level load times, but how important is that to you?

As to which brand, I think the safe choice today is Intel. They have had much lower return rates in the past:
http://www.behardware.com/articles/810-6/components-ret...

My take is, get the capacity you need and don't look back. A SSD makes everything feel so much quicker.
Look at the Intel 320 series today.
In a year, expect the prices per gb to be much lower.

5) The current Intel nehalem and sandy bridge cpu's have an excellent integrated ram controller. It is able to keep the cpu fed with data from any speed ram.
The difference in real application performance or FPS between the fastest and slowest ram is on the order of 1-3%.

Synthetic benchmark differences will be impressive, but are largely irrelevant in the real world.

Fancy heat spreaders are mostly marketing too.

Only if you are seeking record level overclocks should you consider faster ram or better latencies.
Read this Anandtech article on memory scaling:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...
As to how much, get lots of ram. No game will use more than 3gb. But windows-7 does a good job of keeping code in ram in anticipation of reuse. Since ram is cheap these days, go ahead and get 8gb in a 2 x 4gb kit. It would not be wrong to get 16gb, but I don't know how much extra value you would get from that.
---------------bottom line------------

8gb(2 x 4gb) DDR3 1600 is the sweet spot.

6) For gaming, spend your budget on the best single graphics card you feel comfortable paying for today. It is the critical component in good fps for gaming. Be prepared tor relatively fast obsolescense here. If you get a top card now, it should fetch a better price when it comes time to replace it. And, I expect that replacement will be a better value upgrade than sli in the future. So, don't pay much up front on parts to enable multiple graphics cards with today's technology.

7) With a decent cooling case, (any case with two 120mm intake fans or equivalent) You don't need fancy liquid cooling. A simple tower type cooler such as the xigmatek gaia or cm hyper 212 will do the job and be quiet.

Hope this helps; good luck.
September 12, 2011 2:24:39 PM

Looking at the reviews for SSDs on new egg it seems all of them are a risk. I'll probably try my luck with a Cosair Force GT 120GB as that seems to do quite well in benchmarks. I'll probably go with 8GB Corsair Vengeance RAM too.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2011 2:43:57 PM

Dark Comet said:
Looking at the reviews for SSDs on new egg it seems all of them are a risk. I'll probable try my luck with a Cosair Force GT 120GB as that seems to do quite well in benchmarks. I'll probably go with 8GB Corsair Vengeance RAM too.


For what it is worth, Intel has had the lowest rate of returns:
http://www.behardware.com/articles/810-6/components-ret...
Note that this report is 6 months old.

Intel 510 series is a bit more expensive(and faster) but has had no issues that I know of. I have been happy with mine.
The 320 series had a firmware bug which has since been resolved. They back it up with a 5 year warranty.
It would not be wrong to look for the older X25-M G2 160gb drive if you could find one at a good price.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2011 3:13:40 PM

geofelt said:

6) For gaming, spend your budget on the best single graphics card you feel comfortable paying for today. It is the critical component in good fps for gaming. Be prepared tor relatively fast obsolescense here. If you get a top card now, it should fetch a better price when it comes time to replace it. And, I expect that replacement will be a better value upgrade than sli in the future. So, don't pay much up front on parts to enable multiple graphics cards with today's technology.


Couldn't agree more with this point.
September 12, 2011 3:15:57 PM

I'm not sure I want to pay that much more. The return rates seem good for all of them though although it doesn't show returns to the manufacturer direct.

Here's what I'm currently looking at

Intel 2500K £160
Windows Home OEM £71
Corsair Force GT £167
WD Black 2TB £117
Corsair RAM 8GB £45
Not sure on MB but going to spend around £150 bringing my total cost up to £710. Coupled with my Corsair 620 watt PSU, ATI 5850 and Antec 1200 case I think I'll have a good gaming system for the next 2 years.

a b B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2011 3:26:22 PM

Dark Comet said:
I'm not sure I want to pay that much more. The return rates seem good for all of them though although it doesn't show returns to the manufacturer direct.

Here's what I'm currently looking at

Intel 2500K £160
Windows Home OEM £71
Corsair Force GT £167
WD Black 2TB £117
Corsair RAM 8GB £45
Not sure on MB but going to spend around £150 bringing my total cost up to £710. Coupled with my Corsair 620 watt PSU, ATI 5850 and Antec 1200 case I think I'll have a good gaming system for the next 2 years.


While everything your looking at buying is a great upgrade choice, id really consider upgrading the GPU (unless of course your happy with its current gaming performance). Something mid range like the GTX 560Ti or 6950 would be highly advised if you wish for the build to last for an extensive period of time. Once again, save yourself some money and RAID0 x2 1TB HDD's (SeaGate Barracudas or SpinPoint F3s).
September 12, 2011 3:51:16 PM

AdrianPerry said:
While everything your looking at buying is a great upgrade choice, id really consider upgrading the GPU (unless of course your happy with its current gaming performance). Something mid range like the GTX 560Ti or 6950 would be highly advised if you wish for the build to last for an extensive period of time. Once again, save yourself some money and RAID0 x2 1TB HDD's (SeaGate Barracudas or SpinPoint F3s).


I will upgrade the GPU but I'm going to do it with the ATI 7000/8000 series. I like a good 50%+ jump in FPS when I do upgrade. The 5850 is still doing quite well. I've only had it for about a year so its got another 6-12 months left in it for me. I decided to go against RAID 0 for a few reasons. Don't want to increase the failure rate of my secondly drive and then there's the increase in seek times because it has to wait for the slowest HDD. Although all of the data on the drive is not important to me if lost it would be a pain to download my 60+ steam games again if it was to fail.
September 12, 2011 3:54:39 PM

geofelt said:
Let me try to help and clarify some things. I think you are worrying about some non important issues.

2) Do not worry about pci-e 3.0 or 2.0. Current graphics cards can.t saturate the current pci-e 2.0 bus. Not even with the top end graphics cards. There will be NO effect that you can feel on FPS or gaming performance.



If this motherboard was to last me about 2.5 years and I decided to get a ATI 8950 in 1.5 years time would the PCI 2.0 bottle neck me then is the main things that's worrying me as I'd still want to keep the MB for about 6-12 months. If I could get 3.0 now I'd benefit more down the line is what I'm thinking.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2011 4:00:23 PM

Dark Comet said:
If this motherboard was to last me about 2.5 years and I decided to get a ATI 8950 in 1.5 years time would the PCI 2.0 bottle neck me then is the main things that's worrying me as I'd still want to keep the MB for about 6-12 months. If I could get 3.0 now I'd benefit more down the line is what I'm thinking.


Not to worry.

Even today, sli GTX580 running on X8 X8 2.0 pci-e shows a performance delta that can only be detected by a synthetic benchmark.
Unless you are planning on triple monitor gaming, there is no value is such a strong graphics configuration.

Other factors in graphics cards will be much more important.
September 12, 2011 4:05:38 PM

geofelt said:
Not to worry.

Even today, sli GTX580 running on X8 X8 2.0 pci-e shows a performance delta that can only be detected by a synthetic benchmark.
Unless you are planning on triple monitor gaming, there is no value is such a strong graphics configuration.

Other factors in graphics cards will be much more important.


Fair enough then. What would you recommend is a good price to spend on a motherboard. I doubt I'll do Crossfire/SLI but might overclock the 2500K if its cool enough. My Asus Maximus Formula has been a good motherboard, no issues at all with it so I know they're a good brand but open to others as well. Also is there any point in getting RAM faster then 1600mhz CL9?
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2011 7:37:34 PM

Dark Comet said:
Fair enough then. What would you recommend is a good price to spend on a motherboard. I doubt I'll do Crossfire/SLI but might overclock the 2500K if its cool enough. My Asus Maximus Formula has been a good motherboard, no issues at all with it so I know they're a good brand but open to others as well. Also is there any point in getting RAM faster then 1600mhz CL9?

1) With sandy bridge, there is no point in paying more for >1600 ram.

2) Asus and Gigabyte seem to be the preferred brands. Asrock is a spin off from Asus which was supposed to be the low cost motherboard maker. But, it seems that they have been able to produce good products at a competitive price. Actually, any of the P67 or Z68 motherboards will serve you well. Don't exclude a M-ATX motherboard which will usually be cheaper. But trying to run sli on a M-atx runs you into gpu cooling issues. Otherwise, just make a check list of features that are of value to you. I would want 6gb sata and usb3.0. I would avoid the most expensive enthusiast boards. They are of value only to the die hard competitive overclockers. You should be able to find one for $100-$130. For example thisASRock Z68 PRO3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
September 12, 2011 11:46:17 PM

Although I would like to overclock myself after the dreadful Q9450 I got (60C+ temp underload) I could buy a pre overclocked bundle, heres the two I'm looking at

Bundle 1
2500K @ 4.5Ghz
Dark rock advanced BK014 CPU cooler
Asus P8Z68-PRO
2X4GB Corsair Vengeance LP
£436 (Buying separate seems to only come to £390)

Bundle 2
2500K @4.5
Arctic Cooler Freezer 13 CPU cooler
Asus P8Z68-V LE
2X4GB Corsair Vengeance LP
£373

Questions are, whats the LP at the end of the RAM mean? Is it the same as the normal Vengeance RAM? Also with the MBs, whats the difference between the LE and PRO versions? Are these bundles any good? The seem slightly more money but the offer the guarantee that the 2500K would be running at 4.5/4.7ghz so it seems worth it to me. I should notice a big improvement coming for a Core 2 Quad @2.67GHZ to Sandybrige 4.5GHZ.
!