Upgrade or Rebuild?

Hi all,

Firstly my computer specs are:

Motherboard - P5Q Pro
CPU - Intel Core Duo E8500 3.16GHz with a OCZ Vendetta 2 cooler
Graphics Card - ATI Xfire 4850 with 1.5GB RAM Total
RAM - 4GB Gskill
PSU - Corsair 650W
Case - Cooler Master RC-690 with a Corsair 650W PSU.

I originally wanted to build a new computer for Skyrim, D3, and Guild Wars 2 when it is released. However, I have ran into money issues and was curious if there was a cheaper way to upgrade my current machine instead of rebuilding it completely.

I would like to go for an upgraded quad core CPU, and possibly an upgraded GPU since I run games at 1920x1200 I have an issue running them on max settings. I'm also interested in getting a SSD, but can hold off till later since that wont have much effect on gaming performance.

However in doing so would I need to get a better Mobo and a higher Watt PSU?

Let me know if there is a good / cost effective way to upgrade this or would it be better to hold off and build a brand new computer later down the road.

14 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrade rebuild
  1. Been Looking around and it seems I will need to replace my Mobo if I want to get some of the better CPUs. Would this look like a good upgrade and leave me room to continue to upgrade the RAM, add another GPU, Etc. in the future.

    New Mobo -

    CPU -

    GPU -

    However, after looking, it seems this board onmly supports DDR2 RAM.. Would I have to also upgrade my RAM?

    It seems like I'm getting close to just building a new computer.

    Anybody have any other suggestions?


    EDIT: If I also need to get RAM -

    Looks like total its going to be around 800ish dollars. There has to be a cheaper / better way to upgrade this is possible.
  2. It seems like the cheapest way for me to upgrade this would to just replace my GPUs and be done with it, but then I would still be stuck with and older dual core CPU.. Would the CPU I currently have be more than enough for the games listed above? If I was to just upgrade my GPU to the Radeon HD 6950, would that be plenty or would my CPU just bottleneck the GPU?
  3. You could go with an AMD quad for a lot cheaper.
  4. Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K- - - - - - -$214

    GIGABYTE GA-Z68P-DS3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s ATX Intel Motherboard - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $80 w/ MIR

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBR - - - - - - - - - - - $50 Get 2 sets for $100 if you can

    Keep your video card SAPPHIRE 100312-3SR Radeon HD 6950 Dirt3 Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity - - - $265

    This comes to ~$659. Or $609 with only the 4 GB's of memory. And of course if you leave out the video card initially it is only - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~$344.

    You should be able to use your current case and psu. If this looks good and depending on your budget we can suggest some more if you like. You can wait on the video card at first since there are built in graphics on the mobo. I have found it is easier to get the most needed parts first and a little down the road you can add the wanted parts. What 'ca think??
  5. Thanks for the reply. It looks good but a couple quick questions.

    if I was to go with 2 sets of the RAM for 8GB, would it be better to get the ones I listed instead? They would be the same price, but a bit quicker?

    Also, instead of using the Integrated Mobo graphics, could I not throw in my old GPUs until I ordered the new one? Or are my old GPUs not compatible with that board?

  6. Sure, but the ones I picked out you can have twice as much for the same price, 16 GB's per $100. I was working toward the lower dollar goal because I am trying to persuade you not to upgrade an older system like the one you have is yucky and just as expensive as a good new build.
    I found a quad core processor for $166 and an additional 4 GB's ddr 2 gskill memory for $122 and just for that upgrade alone it came to almost $300. That to me is a big waste of money.
    I do like your memory better and you can always add the other 2 sticks later. However, yours is also an overclocked memory which will require more power from the psu, Now, by themselves that's not much. But when you throw in that awesome video card you're linking to you're liable to overextend your current psu. That card alone asks that the system, YOUR WHOLE SYSTEM not just for the card, have a minimum of 500W. And that's where you're already at.
    So, if you want to do it in stages then get the ones you selected. You can get a higher psu later. Get your selected memory first and leave it at stock settings, get your video card and your system is up and running. Later/next, you get a higher wattage psu and clock the memory to the higher settings. Then if you want you can always get the ssd you talked about and the other 2 sticks of memory. It's a good plan. To start with a solid build and work up to a monster is a great way to go.

    A closer look at the averages confirms this. The Radeon HD 6970’s average system power in this test is 321 W, while the GTX 570-based system consumes 329 W. The Radeon HD 6950 averages 279 W and the Radeon HD 5870 averages 274 W.
  8. Thanks again for the responses!

    I did not realize the memory you linked was 8GB, I thought it was 4GB. Also if I were to decide and buy another 8GB. Would there be any possible way I would ever really need 16GB of memory?

    Also, I think I will do what you suggest. I will build it piece by piece to get a "new build" instead of an upgraded machine.

    If I am understanding you post right, It would be best to start with the Mobo, RAM, and CPU... Wait until I have the cash to purchase a new GPU and possibly a new PSU.. After that grab an SSD, another 8GB of RAM, and if im feeling extra happy maybe a new case to throw it all in to finish the system off?

    If I was to do this, would the Mobo you linked be more than enough for this build? Or should I spend another 20-50 dollars to get a bit better one since it will be the first thing I replace?

    @FinneousPJ: Is the article you linked stating that the average power consumption used by the 6950 is only around 279W? If this is the case would my 650W PSU be more than enough, or should I still upgrade it at the same time I get the new GPU?

    Thanks again for the replies, you all rock!
  9. Yes, don't worry about the PSU.
  10. Best answer
    Yes, depending on your starting budget. I would rather go with this ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard for $133. Stick with the 2500K @ $214, and stock cooler. Along with the Ripjaws X Series 8GB you selected for $100. You're @ ~$440. If you can swing that for starters then this system, along with your current psu, case cd/dvd and hdd(s) will have you up and running. My mistake on the psu. For some reason I was thinking you had a Corsair 500w, not the 650w, (other guy I'm helping), so you're good there with the faster memory and the video card you have picked out when you're ready.
  11. That ASRock board look awesome, but I cant find where is said that is supports Xfire.. If it does not then I wont be able to put my 2 4850s in there as well as add in an extra 6950 latter on down the road.

    EDIT: Nvm, it does support Xfire.
  12. Thanks everybody for you help!

    Went ahead and ordered the:

    Mobo - ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68

    CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost)

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133

    Next order after I save up a bit more will be for the Radeon HD 6950, Possibly a SSD.. Then onto the finishing touches with a new case and PSU so I can put my old one back together.

    Thanks a bunch for everybody's help!
  13. Best answer selected by typeo.
  14. Glad to and enjoyed helping you. Enjoy the new beginnings and thanks for the best answer! :wahoo:
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