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Advice on current system, what to upgrade

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October 20, 2011 1:52:13 PM

A friend of mine has purchased a second hand gaming computer that consists of the following components:

Case: Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Motherboard: ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
CPU: Intel e7300 core 2 duo 775
Video/Graphics Card: nVidia GTX 280
PSU: Antec Neo Power 500 500W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Ram: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD800JD 80GB 7200 & 1Tb external

He wants to upgrade from the e7300 to a q8400 and add a 560 superclocked as well. I've advised to upgrade the primary HDD to a SSD, add the 560ti, and a corsair h60 (OC the CPU to the limit). He will be upgrading once again in 6-12 months, and if he takes my advice the parts will carry over instead of wasting $190 on a processor. If he does take my advice will there be a bottleneck on Battlefield 3, Arkham City, Modern Warfare 3, etc?

Rundown -

His way:
e8400: $190, Link
EVGA Superclock GeForce 560: $200, Link
Total: $390

My way:
EVGA Superclock GeForce 560: $200, Link
Patriot Torqx: $70, Link
Corsair H60: $74, Link
Total: $344

(From reading the following post, Windows 7 can be about 12Gb and below, with Origin and Steam loaded maybe another 1Gb, and installing a game 8gb your at the cap)

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/window...

He has a budget of $400-500, I'm trying to keep that as minimal as possible. Thoughts?

October 20, 2011 2:05:28 PM

Processor is incorrect, and I cannot edit my own post...

q8400 Processor $155

Total: $355 ~ $344

Also if you can explain how you come to a conclusion that would be beneficial as well.
October 20, 2011 3:28:20 PM

I would say for now get the video card, besides that anything else would be a waste. Not sure how much he paid for that computer hopefully not over $100-150. Id personally tell him to save up and build new from the ground up. For the $400 hes spending on upgrades he could have built himself a nice computer for $600-800 =/

That being said, the 560 will be bottlenecked by the CPU. Also ....the last thing he needs is an SSD. With his budget all he will be able to load on one ...64Gig is the OS and maybe a game. Have him get a Spinpoint 1Tb for $60 and upgrade to a SSD eventually not now.

Id recommend keeping the PSU and Case and spending money on GPU/new CPU. Some of the newer AMDs can be a HUGE boost and not cost a ton. Newegg has them with a mobo combo quite often.

For now I would just upgrade Vid Card and Hard drive. Shop around as the 560 superclocked has other cards that perform as well and beat it for cheaper.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2011 3:35:23 PM

Nah, he has to have a quad-core. Overclocking won't help there. Here is a recent Tom's article showing the effect of core number on a game. Many new games use all four cores pretty thoroughly, like Crysis 2.

A DX 11 card is very good to have now. You can keep the 280 in the machine and dedicate it to PhysX, which will kick Arkham into high gear.

The SSD is nice to have, but it won't do a thing for gaming.

Only use self-contained water cooling if you have space issues. You can spend a lot less and get a lot more cooling. Look at the FrostyTech site for more info.
October 21, 2011 6:35:01 AM

I thought the majority of newly released games are only coded for 2-3 cores? What about the issue of upgrading the CPU and then upgrading again in 6-12mos? It's a waste of time and money. That's why I recommended the H60 so that it can be transferred to the inevitable upgrades. Even OC'ing the CPU and RAM won't have any noticeable changes?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 21, 2011 12:12:10 PM

ha2fb said:
I thought the majority of newly released games are only coded for 2-3 cores? What about the issue of upgrading the CPU and then upgrading again in 6-12mos? It's a waste of time and money. That's why I recommended the H60 so that it can be transferred to the inevitable upgrades. Even OC'ing the CPU and RAM won't have any noticeable changes?


I seem to remember reading that the new games are all going quad-core, but I just don't feel like finding the links right now. I have seen with my own eyes how the old Crysis only used two and the new one cranks all four. Sure, OCing will be noticeable, but no amount of overclocking will come close to having two extra computers crunching. Heatsinks come with hardware for whatever socket. An air cooler will work better and be cheaper.

Overclocking is a hobby in itself. Normal users shouldn't do it. It creates potential instability, which is a pain in the a. The CPU is designed to be stable at the stock frequency. That's why it's the stock frequency. The manufacturer has a vested interest in having the fastest possible chip, so just ask yourself why they don't sell their chips at the OCed freq. And overclocking RAM is madness---madness I say.

You don't say what upgrading he expects to do in six months. I myself think it's worth a couple of hundred dollars to have a snappier machine for that time and just to see how much better it is that way.

By the way, since I last posted, I installed Arkham Asylum demo and maxed all settings including PhysX. The nVidia control let the CPU take PhysX, and it was unplayably laggy (but my CPU is crap---I'm getting a Phenom II 965 Monday). I dug out my old GTX 280 and installed it next to my 295. Looks good there through the window. I set nVidia Control Panel to dedicated the 280 to PhysX, and now the game runs smooth as reality.
October 21, 2011 1:30:21 PM

Petrofsky said:
I seem to remember reading that the new games are all going quad-core, but I just don't feel like finding the links right now. I have seen with my own eyes how the old Crysis only used two and the new one cranks all four. Sure, OCing will be noticeable, but no amount of overclocking will come close to having two extra computers crunching. Heatsinks come with hardware for whatever socket. An air cooler will work better and be cheaper.

Overclocking is a hobby in itself. Normal users shouldn't do it. It creates potential instability, which is a pain in the a. The CPU is designed to be stable at the stock frequency. That's why it's the stock frequency. The manufacturer has a vested interest in having the fastest possible chip, so just ask yourself why they don't sell their chips at the OCed freq. And overclocking RAM is madness---madness I say.

You don't say what upgrading he expects to do in six months. I myself think it's worth a couple of hundred dollars to have a snappier machine for that time and just to see how much better it is that way.

By the way, since I last posted, I installed Arkham Asylum demo and maxed all settings including PhysX. The nVidia control let the CPU take PhysX, and it was unplayably laggy (but my CPU is crap---I'm getting a Phenom II 965 Monday). I dug out my old GTX 280 and installed it next to my 295. Looks good there through the window. I set nVidia Control Panel to dedicated the 280 to PhysX, and now the game runs smooth as reality.


I've seen and played Crysis 2 on that particular machine and at high settings it's avg'ing 30 Fps. I definitely agree that 4core will triumph the 2cores. The stock HSF on a chip is garbage! For an air cooler to work properly and functionally you must have adequate intake and exhaust. The rig has a couple a fans to assist in that matter, but the internal WC'd H60 I would assume would allow more OC'ing to take place. I'm a novice in the OC'ing field, and have OC'd multiple machines, so that portion is nothing. Making the timing on the RAM a little bit loose would improve performance, but probably isn't noticeable. Everything can be pushed beyond it's boundaries, why not? Of course the longevity of the components will die sooner due to the increased wear.

The upgrade would be a complete overhaul (minus GPU) to Ivybridge.

Arkham Asylum or City?
October 21, 2011 1:43:00 PM

..... That computer with a 280 maxed crysis 2 at 30fps .....um no it didnt.

A GTX 460 cannot run Crysis 2 at above 25fps and that card is better than a 280. Unless your talking DX9 in which case He should be fine with that setup, Id tell him to wait and buy everything at once. Rather then pick up a peice at a time. Unless you get them on sale from newegg/micro center etc.

Personally I would wait on upgrading anything for the next gen cards .....should be out this quarter and go from there. He could put a nice comp together with a quad core AMD, new or even 6950 comp for like 600-700 in the very near future. From newegg have him wait and snipe deals ......trust me Ive done it and built computers for extremely cheap.

AMD 4core CPU + MB combo for $200ish
Keep the case and drives
Samsung spinpoint $60
NVidia or ATI card ... Spend around $200 for a 560ti and up or 6950 and up...once new cards come out
8gigs 1600 Ram $60

If he is on a budget that will do and run new games at max settings above 30fps, in everything except metro and probably bf3.
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