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How far do I need to go to notice a big difference?

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November 19, 2011 12:23:02 PM

I want to replace my current machine, but I'm not sure how far I need to go to make a noticeable improvement over what I have now.

I haven't been able to run new games in a long time, and I haven't picked up anything new in a long time, either.

The last game that ran well on my machine was Hitman: Blood Money. Before that was Hitman: Contracts. I tried the Cyrsis demo and got very low FPS. I also have GTA IV and I get about 12 FPS (imagine playing Max Payne with bullet time constantly on ;)  )

My current build:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 4200+ (dual core, socket 939)
GPU: nVidia 7600 GT
RAM: 3 GB DDR 2

So, there's a ton of great stuff I haven't played, so I don't need a 'future proof' system. If I can get it to run GTA V and Hitman: Absolution, I'll be happy. But even if not, there's a big backlog of titles I can choose from.

My monitor is a 1440x900, so that's the resolution I'll be aiming for.

I don't have any idea for a budget yet. I don't want to spend too little and not notice a big difference. But then again, I don't want to spend more than I have to; if I'd be happy with a $500 build there's no point in building a $1,250 system.

I have an Antec Sonata II with a 380 watt PSU. I can re-use the case, but the CPU probably will need an upgrade. My HDD is old, and needs to go (I don't trust older HDDs; data is worth more that the drives to me so I usully replace them often). I have a DVD burner I can use. So basically I need everything but the case and the DVD burner.

I'd appreciate any advice or input you might have. Thanks in advance!

More about : notice big difference

November 19, 2011 3:34:15 PM

Seems to me that any upgrade will significantly improve your system. For this build, we can go with AMD since they produce cheaper CPUs and GPUs.


CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 $125
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics: PowerColor AX6870 $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: ASRock 970 EXTREME3 $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus 500W $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: NZXT BETA $45
http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Tower-steel-chassis-CS-NT...

HDD: Seagate - Barracuda 1TB $55
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Seagate+-+Barracuda+1TB+Int...

RAM: Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB $22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Heatsink+Fan: STOCK $0

DVD-ROM: LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $552

Explanation: I chose the Phenom II x4 because it is a 4 core CPU, and it'll help future proof your system more because of the 4 cores it has. I chose the 6870 because it is a mid-range gfx card that is able to give decent FPS (60FPS) on Battlefield bad company 2 with a resolution of 1920x1080, so with your monitor resolution you should be able to withstand games for a while. The MoBo is CrossFire capable, which means in the future, if you decide to get another RADEON 6870 you can CF it and make the 2 gfx cards work together as one card. It is also an AM3+ MoBo, which supports the newest AMD FX CPUs, in case you want to upgrade later. CM PSU, 500W, enough for Crossfiring 2 6870's. NZXT BETA case looks kick ass for that price, I would totally recommend it. If you want, you can change to the NZXT GAMMA, which is about $10 less, but still cool. I really don't think the HDD is that price, since the HDD price has gone up and normal 1TB drives sell for ~$150, so we cautious. The 4GB of RAM will be sufficient for all your needs, most games don't exceed 1.5GB of RAM usage, so you should be fine for the next generation of games.
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November 21, 2011 6:29:34 PM

r0aringdrag0n said:

HDD: Seagate - Barracuda 1TB $55
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Seagate+-+Barracuda+1TB+Int...

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I really don't think the HDD is that price, since the HDD price has gone up and normal 1TB drives sell for ~$150, so we cautious.



When I first read this, it was listed for $55 so I tried to buy one right away. Right at checkout my network went down, and I was tired so I called it a night.

Worke up, tried to buy it, and the price had nearly trippled :( 

Your system is pretty close to what I had in mind, except I was thinking of going with a lesser vid card (to a 6570) but adding an SSD (for an OS drive - I know it won't do much for gaming except for load times, but I think it should make an improvement for everything else I do - web browsing, general computing, word procerssing, etc - right?)

Maybe I'll hold off until January and look at HDD prices - and by then video cards should be a touch cheaper as well.

Would I notice a huge difference from a 6570 to a 6850?

Thanks!
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November 21, 2011 6:46:33 PM

emesis said:
When I first read this, it was listed for $55 so I tried to buy one right away. Right at checkout my network went down, and I was tired so I called it a night.

Worke up, tried to buy it, and the price had nearly trippled :( 

Your system is pretty close to what I had in mind, except I was thinking of going with a lesser vid card (to a 6570) but adding an SSD (for an OS drive - I know it won't do much for gaming except for load times, but I think it should make an improvement for everything else I do - web browsing, general computing, word procerssing, etc - right?)

Maybe I'll hold off until January and look at HDD prices - and by then video cards should be a touch cheaper as well.

Would I notice a huge difference from a 6570 to a 6850?

Thanks!

Comparing the 6570 to a 6850 is like comparing a tank to a jeep in a contest in which has more firepower. the 6850 will boost your gaming performance beyond your wildest dreams. I normally tend not to add SSDs because of not being all the useful. It normally speeds up boot times by like 5 seconds, which is really insignificant. The CPU is what really matters
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