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Upgrade current build or clean the slate?

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October 13, 2011 1:59:33 AM

Hey guys, wondering if I can salvage some components from my current build or should just scrap my current build and start all over. It primarily a dedicated gaming box, I have another separate media server.

Current Build

CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz

Mobo - ASUS P5Q LGA 775 Intel P45

GPU - XFX HD-695A-CNFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB Reference Card

Mem - OCZ Reaper 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

CPU Cooler - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus

PSU - PC Power and Cooling S75CF 750W

HHD - Corsair Force CSSD-F120GB2

HDD2 - 2 x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3R HE103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM

Case - Antec P183 V3 Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower

Monitor - ASUS VE278Q Black 27" 1920x1080 2ms HDMI LED Monitor


Now this build was ok, OC's fantastic, played BFBC2 great, and all other games I threw at it... Until I played Battlefield 3 in Alpha and Beta, this game made me reassess my current PC build.



So this is what I came up with...

CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz

Mobo - ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION LGA 1155 Intel P67

GPU - XFX HD-695A-CNFC Radeon HD 6950 2GB Reference Card and maybe add another for CF I know of another reference
card for sale, same as mine for $250

Mem - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

CPU Cooler - Antec Kuhler H2O 620 Liquid Cooling System

PSU - PC Power and Cooling S75CF 750W or upgrade to

SeaSonic X760 (SS-760KM) 760W ATX12V V2.3/EPS

HHD - Corsair Force CSSD-F120GB2

Case - Antec P183 V3 Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower

Monitor - ASUS VE278Q Black 27" 1920x1080 2ms HDMI LED Monitor

As you can see I'm just upgrading the Motherboard, CPU, memory, cpu cooler and maybe the PSU and adding another 6950 gpu for CF.

Staying with the P67 for now as I really don't see a huge benefit with going to Z68 or am I missing something here? Please be critical and offer a constructive alternative.

I've also been frustrated with the driver quality from AMD/ATI as of late and am seriously considering dumping ATI altogether and "going green" maybe a pair of 560s? Your thoughts?

Thanks all in advance.

RC
October 13, 2011 3:06:27 AM

I don't think you'll notice a temperature difference between the 212+ and the liquid cooler. The 212+ is a good cooler and you can stick with it.

If you like your PSU you can stick with it, although PC Power and Cooling is not the most reliable brand so it might not have the longest life. Seasonic is a good brand.

I would not scrap that 6950 for 560s if I were you - ATI drivers and Nvidia drivers are both similarly bad. If you can afford a second 6950 then you should do that. However two 2GB 6950s can cause pixelating and microstuttering on one monitor. I don't know how you feel about dual monitors, but most people never go back after they've tried it. Also, consider maybe a 120hz refresh rate (at maybe around 24" if you need to stay at the same price point).

I personally feel like Z68 is worth the $15 dollar upgrade. It's true that you don't get much for the upgrade, but $15 isn't much money (relativity), either.

I don't know anything about that case. It looks nice, but it doesn't look like it has the best cooling and two 6950s will put out a lot of heat.
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October 13, 2011 3:42:10 AM

Thanks for your reply Dan,

It's true, the 212+ is pretty sweet and the 2500K is supposed to run cooler than the E8400.

As for the PSU, I honestly have nothing to complain about, rock solid for 2 years now and have put it through it's paces, although the Seasonic will likely be more efficient, reliable and cleaner power.

So maybe keep the 212+ and splurge on the SeaSonic X760?

The case in question is fantastic at handling heat, it's a dual chamber design and I have it set up with 5 super quiet 120mm fans in a push/pull config, never have any heat issues. excellent design and well worth it.

I did not know about the pixelation/stuttering issue with dual 2GB 6950s. As for dual monitors, I actually have 2 other Samsung P2350s but was having issues with just one 6950 driving all three. And the monitor bezels are rather thick so it really takes getting used to.

I already have the Asus VE278Q, but didn't want to buy another due to the thick bezels, can you advise on a thin bezel 120hz 24"? Maybe have to buy 3 =)

What does Z68 bring to the table besides SSD caching and video decoding? Which a gamer would really take advantage of? I never plan on running more than 2 cards. Please elaborate.


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October 13, 2011 3:52:44 AM

I really like the look of your case. If you're happy with the cooling then definitely keep it.

If you already own the monitors then I wouldn't worry about replacing them. The monitors you have perform well, but if you were buying them new, 120hz performs slightly better. The thick bezels are definitely annoying.

The Z68 adds no gaming or overclocking performance. In addition to the things you mentioned, with Z68 you get the onboard GPU which is a nice backup and it's also a good way to save power when you're not gaming. The Z68 and P67 perform the same for gaming, but the Z68 outperforms the P67 in some other areas and in a few years I would imagine that Z68 will be better supported just because it's newer technology. If it were a difference of $50 then forget about Z68, but it's generally a difference of $10-$15, so it's arguably worth it. You can choose whichever you'd like.
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October 13, 2011 3:57:17 AM

danraies said:
I don't think you'll notice a temperature difference between the 212+ and the liquid cooler. The 212+ is a good cooler and you can stick with it.

If you like your PSU you can stick with it, although PC Power and Cooling is not the most reliable brand so it might not have the longest life. Seasonic is a good brand.

I would not scrap that 6950 for 560s if I were you - ATI drivers and Nvidia drivers are both similarly bad. If you can afford a second 6950 then you should do that. However two 2GB 6950s can cause pixelating and microstuttering on one monitor. I don't know how you feel about dual monitors, but most people never go back after they've tried it. Also, consider maybe a 120hz refresh rate (at maybe around 24" if you need to stay at the same price point).

I personally feel like Z68 is worth the $15 dollar upgrade. It's true that you don't get much for the upgrade, but $15 isn't much money (relativity), either.

I don't know anything about that case. It looks nice, but it doesn't look like it has the best cooling and two 6950s will put out a lot of heat.

Where do you get that PCPC isn't the best brand? Everything I have heard is that they are the best and most reliable.
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October 13, 2011 6:10:38 PM

I could be wrong about PCPC. There are so many PSU brands out there that it's hard to keep track sometimes. I always stick with Corsair, Antec, and Seasonic. It's possible that PCPC hangs with those three, but I would be surprised if it's superior to those three just because I never hear it get recommendations.
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October 14, 2011 1:19:50 AM

From what I recall, PCPC actually make PSUs for other OEMs, and they market their own as well. Their quality is fairly decent to excellent and I've never had any issues. I know that article that Fiz is talking about and will see if I have it bookmarked.
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October 14, 2011 1:30:08 AM

Low and behold the PSU article I was referring to was a Toms Hardware article, the one I was referring to was the original from back in 2010 but there has been an updated one here Who's Who in Power Supplies

And as I check the chart, the PSU I have is a Silencer model which was made my Seasonic. So I had incorrectly stated that PCPC was a PSU manufacturer when in fact they are not. My apologies, they are owned by OCZ. The PCPC PSU I have put my faith in for the last couple of years is actually a Seasonic rebranded as a PCPC. That being said, I will keep it and when it goes, will replace with another Seasonic.
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October 14, 2011 1:37:20 AM

I don't know whether to start another thread or just continue this one, I've been doing a little reading and find myself wanting to deal with the heat, power consumption and headache of a CF setup, not to mention the premium for a good P67 board with the NF200 chipset.

What's you opinion of going with a single card board and a decent upper end GTX 580, like an EVGA SC or FTW version? Can anyone recommend a good single card board? P8P67 Pro Ver 3.1?

Keeping all the components I can currently reuse and selling off my 6950 reference card, shouldn't be too hard to do.

Your thoughts? Should I start another thread altogether?

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Best solution

October 14, 2011 1:47:32 AM

Sorry to jump on your already in progress thread, but I thought I'd throw my opinion out there.
-drop the WS revolution. For a 2-way connection, you don't need the NF200 chip that makes the board so expensive. A normal 8x-8x connection will certainly do for either of those GPU's. Try the ASRock p67 Extreme4 Gen3. Has PCI-e 3.0 compatibility for future upgrades, and a nearly unmatched featureset for the price.
-Keep the PCP&C PSU for sure! It will do quite well.
-Get cheaper ram! That is crazy expensive. You should be able to find an 8GB 1600MHz kit for around ~$50.
-Don't sweat micro-stutter. It's unnoticeable for the most part, people are just jumping on it like it's making your computer explode or something. Secondly, 6950's don't have that issue NEARLY as much as lower end cards I believe.

Lastly, don't forget to check other sites. NCIX.ca offers free shipping, and so do canadacomputers.com & directcanada.ca Newegg should be a last resort.

Well, I hope that helps you out ;) 
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October 14, 2011 2:47:56 AM

Thanks striker410, this is the type of criticism I appreciate.

I actually buy all my hardware from Canada Computers (lived in Kingston for a while and bought all my hardware from their first store there, they've come a long way) and recently started buying what they do not have in stock from NCIX in Markham, I just posted the newegg.ca links for ease of viewing and format.

I was actually second guessing my choice on the WS Revolution and was considering a P8P67 Pro V3.1. I have always had excellent luck/results with ASUS products, although I've heard some good things about ASRock, are they a quality product or just attractively priced?

That ram price is a little high eh, thing I've found a few choices for less.

I'm also still considering going green, the EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD Superclocked appeals to me and considering dumping ATI altogether. Call it driver fatigue.


Thanks and keep it coming

RC
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October 14, 2011 3:20:13 AM

I like ASRock. They are actually a spinoff of Asus, they used to be the budget line. This basically means they have near Asus quality, but not the price. I definitely recommend ASRock in general, but also the Gen3 series in particular.

Since you are already invested in AMD with your 6950, I would stay with it. A pair of 6950's is a force to be reckoned with at 1080p.
I'm not sure about drivers TBH, but the hype about Nvidia having better drivers is false. It used to be true, but AMD has recently upped it's game in regards to drivers. I've had hassle with both green and red :p 

It's your machine, and therefore your call. What sort of driver issues are you having?
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October 14, 2011 3:36:25 AM

It's up in the air at this point, I may just upgrade the mobo, cpu, and ram for now and see how the 6950 likes it's new home. I've had terrible luck with the ATI 11.4, 11.5, 11.6 drivers and had to resort to running 11.3s till the 11.8 came along. Tearing, getting dumped to desktop, you name it. Playing mostly BFBC2 and BF3, but they seem a bit better for now.

I see switching GPU gears at this point a little fickle since the new GPUs are due out soon.

I'll see what I can pick up tomorrow at the CC Whitby store.

Thanks

RC
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October 21, 2011 2:56:47 AM

Best answer selected by ramdmc.
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