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Time to upgrade... I think

Last response: in Systems
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September 11, 2011 8:34:58 PM

Hey guys so I used this site I think over 2 years ago for my desktop and I'm feeling its starting to get a bit sluggish/components are just half old at this point. My system specs are in my signature. The questions I have for all of you is what do you think I should upgrade first, second, third, etc and why(priority of upgrades basically based on how old or how improved new technology is). PC is used primarily for Gaming/Music Production. (D3 soon to come :D  / Ableton Live) I would like to start overclocking, especially water cooled once the money comes along, I posted probably over a year ago saying I would and never got around to it due to money reasons and me being lazy. But I really will at this point as I've been saving and money is not too much of an issue right now. May however start with aircooling first as I have a MM U2 UFO and the amount of fans and space in this case make aircooling quite powerful I think.
A few ideas.

GPU obviously I really do want to upgrade but I'm not to sure if these newer cards such as Nvidia 5xx are compatible with my somewhat old mobo at this point. First gen i7. Worth upgrading? Any suggestions on that, I'm not really sure how to compare CPUs to be honest. HDD starting to feel real sluggish, getting some errors time to time, feel like its slowly dying kind of want to prevent this and get a new one asap.

So in the order I think I would LIKE to upgrade, I don't know if this is ideal. If some parts seem older than others and my order is just stupid please let me know, I'm completely open to every and all ideas.

1. GPU - Suggestions, compatibility with current mobo.

2. Mobo/CPU - If mobo will still keep me going for a while I see no reason to change it. All though new USB and PCI-e seem to be on the verge so I'm thinking I should.

3. CPU/Mobo - CPU I feel like definitley should get upgraded as it is the original i7, I got it when they were pretty new if I remember correctly. Any suggestions.

4. HDD/SSD - I'm looking to get an SSD for Win7 OS and D3 when it comes out. Suggestions for SSDs, I have not kept up with these and am quite not knowledgeable about SSDs at all.

5. SSD/HDD - As I said earlier I do believe it is slowly dying, any suggestions for good HDDs would be extremely helpful. Possibly some of these 10k RPM ones I heard about on a stream earlier. Not necessary at all as 7200 RPM seems fine to me with everything I do.

Ram - I think is fine for now, my 6GB of OCZ Gold has done me well and never had problems, if people think this may be a good worth money upgrade let me know and I will look into it further.
PSU - Does not need an upgrade, I can't stand that it is not modular as it makes a U2UFO extremely messy but at least I have the horizontal mobo bracket so I can hide a lot of the cords underneath.

GPU - CPU - Mobo - HDD - SSD (Ram and PSU probably not upgrading)

As I said before I would like to look into water cooling once I get these upgrades done. Another thought, I may be looking into SLI and perhaps getting two GTX 5xx's. Also another thing I'm concerned about and have not kept up with is release dates of new technology. If now is not the time to upgrade let me know, if I should wait for certain parts and its advisable please let me know. I have no problem being patient.

Thank for taking the time to read and thanks ahead of time for replies

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a b B Homebuilt system
September 11, 2011 11:50:20 PM

LOL, i7-920 is still ready for prime time, not 486 era "..not to sure if these newer cards such as Nvidia 5xx are compatible with my somewhat old mobo at this point. First gen i7. ..."

More video can help if you are not maxing the details in your games. 570 would work fine with your PSU and MB. Or you could grab another gtx 260 off ebay and SLI them.

At a guess the i7-920 is fast enough that you will not see real frame rate differences on current games vs a monster like the i7-2600. For some memory intensive workloads i7-920 can still run with the i7-2600, for the rest the i7-2600 kills it, but games may not show this.

If you want to try a mild overclock and you can see if more CPU makes any difference. Plenty of i7-920 overclock guides out there and you can do a 10% or more overclock without even touching voltages. http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i7-92...

One last thought on i7-920 -- I turned off hyperthreading on mine. Traded off performance in highly threaded apps for higher per thread performance. YMMV.

"PSU - Does not need an upgrade, I can't stand that it is not modular " Purists might point out that your hardwired PSU has cleaner electrical connections than a modular cable PSU. Nice PSU.

Agree you have plenty of memory

For disk, I used an SSD as a boot drive in a laptop. I've been thinking about upgrading my seagate 7200.12 drive in my home system, but was thinking I'd go RAID 0 rather than SSD. I'm hoping to get most of the boot time benefits without any of the 'technology is not really ready yet, so here are all the problems' stuff I see with the SSD in my thinkpad. But maybe I'm just swapping SSD problems for RAID problems. For your disk upgrade maybe you should consider raid. I know there are problems with the newer WD black drives in a raid config, not sure if you could use your existing drive.

IF you go SSD then research the flash controller. Sandforce are the temperamental race horses with the sandforce pro controller being really fast with excellent wear leveling. Intel is the plodding pack horse that does not fail (except the model I own, intel 320, which has a problem with bricking over power cycles). There are various other controllers each with their own quirks. Important to read newegg rating for the exact drive you are going to buy, some have huge fail rates, some don't. You can also put SSDs in RAID and double up on performance and possible trouble...

Water cooling. Yuk. (personal bias, water and electricity don't mix and any plumbing I do leaks.) If you do go water consider a sealed, self contained water unit as an alternative to the traditional big radiator stuff. Aside, an i7-2600 has TDP of 95 W. Maybe 150 watts with a reasonable overclock. An nvidia gtx 570 has tdp of 219W stock and close to 400 watts with nasty OC. If you go for exotic cooling start with video.

Enjoy your upgrade!
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