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Upgrading CPU, motherboard and memory.

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January 31, 2012 10:48:54 AM

Hi all,

First up, please forgive any dumb questions ("There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots") - it's been a while since I've been aware of what's going on at the leading edge of processor and chipset technology. I'm desperately trying to pick it all up...

My current main PC, used for a variety of things (I'm a big multi-tasker, PC-wise) but specced for gaming, and especially FSX, is getting very long in the tooth:
Motherboard: Asus A8N-SLI
CPU: Athlon X2 64 3800+
Graphics: 2x 9800GT, SLI'd

It's time to upgrade - budget is around £500 sterling (I'm in the UK). I'm pretty clear that the performance crown currently sits with Intel, so I'm looking at a Core i5 or i7. I'm looking for something that is moderately future-proof (my current setup has done pretty well for over 5 years), so may spend disproportionately on the motherboard with an eye to picking up an Ivy Bridge processor (keen on the power saving). I'll be keeping the graphics cards but would like something that will support current/future configurations.

The LGA2011 chips are, I think, beyond my budget (although I'm willing to be talked into making the budget more flexible - I *do* like the idea of 8 DDR3 slots!) so I think I'm looking at LGA1150 and probably the Z68 chipset (although this is definitely an area I could do with more advice on). In terms of chip, I'm thinking the

So, the questions:
- Will the Intel motherboards support my graphics cards, running in SLI?
- Is the i7 and its HyperThreading worth it over the i5?
- The Sandy Bridge chips will support DDR3 at 1333MHz but have apparently been tested to 2133MHz - I assume there's no problem with getting higher speed memory and underclocking if not stable?
- Presumably it's worth looking for a board with 2 PCIe 2.0 ×8 slots?
- Can I get some recommendations?

Thanks for your time!

Adam...
a b à CPUs
January 31, 2012 11:21:42 AM

I would suggest you ask this question in the 'Homebuilt Systems' section - but I will answer it for you now.

Answers.
1. Yes - however the 9800GTs will be a huge bottleneck to anything.
2. No - In fact it reduces FPS is some games.
3. I currently use mine at the rated 1600Mhz using Intel XMP Profiles (Intels way of saying we support it but not officially)
4. Yes, all the good Z68s support x8/x8 configs - I suggest looking into the P8Z68-V or PRO version, or the ASRock Extreme3 or Extreme4.
5. Of course you can.

i5 2500k - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-2500k-unlo...

ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 (PCI-E 3.0 and full Ivy Bridge Support) - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8z68-v-gen3-intel-...(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-hdmi-atx

8GB Corsair Vengance Black DDR3 1600Mhz - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-jet-black-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-150v

MSI GTX560ti Twin Frozr II - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-msi-gtx-560ti-oc-twi...

Alltogether I think were looking at £510 for the job lot - Including the Card.

The reason I advise you to buy a card while your at it is because 9800GTs WILL Bottleneck the hell out of anything new. The single 560ti will be rediculously fast in comparison.

[EDIT] I suggest you look into getting a Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO ( http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coolermaster-hyper-212-e... ) to cool your 2500k - This gives you headroom to Overclock to around 4.5Ghz and keeps the chip nice and cool - Cool CPUs are Happy CPUs!!!
January 31, 2012 11:28:13 AM

Hi,

I just finished a build with an Intel i7 processor and I couldn't be happier !
Even if you expand your budget, I still think that LGA 2011 is too expensive for you, as just the CPU and Mobo would take a Huge part of your budget !

I bought :

- i7 2600k
- Corsair H70
- Asus p8Z68 Pro/Gen3
- Corsair Dominator GT 2133
- Corsair Force GT 60Gb SSD

So to answer your questions :

  • Yes the New Intel Mobos will support your SLI.
  • The i7 and it's hyper-threading is worth it over the i5 only if you do more than gaming. HT becomes useful when you use resources-hungry programs.
  • I have a Z68 Mobo, and have been using 2133 Mhz memory. Usually when you look at the specs of your Mobo, it will tell you what kind of memory it will accept, both in normal and Overclocked Frequencies
  • Always better. Might also want to look at boards with PCI-E 3.0 if you want to be really ready for the future.

    As for the recommandations, it depends if you go for the i5 or the i7.
  • I7 2600 K : £243
  • Asus P8Z68-V / GEn 3 : £129 OR Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 : £121
  • Corsair Vengeance 8Gb 1600 Mhz : £38
  • Corsair Force GT 60Gb SSD : £88

    Total : £498

    I added a SSD thinking you don't presently have one. Just started using one myself a few weeks ago, can't live without it now ! If you don't want one, you can always put some more money on the Motherboard or get 16GB Memory ! It might also be wise to buy a CPU cooler. You can get a Hyper 212 for £30 !

    If you have any more questions, let me know !

    [EDIT] : Deadjon is right though. Your current GPUs will bottleneck the rest of oyur system. If you can in fact expand your budget, I'd go for a 560 or 570 ! With this you'll be truly ready !
    Related resources
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    a b V Motherboard
    January 31, 2012 1:05:58 PM

    500 sterling?? I've never even heard of that and I've been to England.

    Yes you want a Z68 with 8x/8x.

    1600mhz is the ram sweet spot for Sandy Bridge. Make sure it's 1.5v.

    I recommend Asrock Extreme 3 Gen 3 Z68. Here's a link.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    January 31, 2012 1:17:59 PM

    deadjon said:
    I would suggest you ask this question in the 'Homebuilt Systems' section - but I will answer it for you now.
    Aaah, OK. I'll repost there - although, I've already had most of my questions answered by you good folks...!
    deadjon said:
    Answers.
    1. Yes - however the 9800GTs will be a huge bottleneck to anything.
    Blimey - technology moves on apace. More of a bottleneck than onboard graphics? When I upgraded to them (which wasn't *that* long ago) it made a massive difference...
    deadjon said:
    2. No - In fact it reduces FPS is some games.
    3. I currently use mine at the rated 1600Mhz using Intel XMP Profiles (Intels way of saying we support it but not officially)
    4. Yes, all the good Z68s support x8/x8 configs - I suggest looking into the P8Z68-V or PRO version, or the ASRock Extreme3 or Extreme4.
    5. Of course you can.

    i5 2500k - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-2500k-unlo...

    ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 (PCI-E 3.0 and full Ivy Bridge Support) - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8z68-v-gen3-intel-...(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-hdmi-atx

    8GB Corsair Vengance Black DDR3 1600Mhz - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-jet-black-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-150v

    MSI GTX560ti Twin Frozr II - http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-msi-gtx-560ti-oc-twi...

    Alltogether I think were looking at £510 for the job lot - Including the Card.

    The reason I advise you to buy a card while your at it is because 9800GTs WILL Bottleneck the hell out of anything new. The single 560ti will be rediculously fast in comparison.

    [EDIT] I suggest you look into getting a Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO ( http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coolermaster-hyper-212-e... ) to cool your 2500k - This gives you headroom to Overclock to around 4.5Ghz and keeps the chip nice and cool - Cool CPUs are Happy CPUs!!!


    Fantastic! Thank you very much!
    !