Upgrading homebuilt sytem for christmas 600-700 budget Suggestions PLZ

Hey guys Ive been building my own home PC for almost a decade now but I always run into the same problems when it comes time to upgrade or build a new one. Mainly I'm really indecisive and spend weeks reading online tech review for computer hardware performance vs price comparisons which always just end's up giving me a massive head ache and constantly wondering after the purchase if I made the right choice or not. Well this Christmas I thought I would do something a bit different and try asking some of the good folks her at Tom's Hardware (a site that the inner geek in me has really come to love) what they think is best so that I at least have a second opinion this time around.

Approximate Purchase Date: anytime between tomorrow and Christmas but the sooner the better.

Budget Range: around the 600-700 dollar range after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Its a Gaming PC looking to run games like BF3, Skyrim, Guildwars 2 @ 1920x1080

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, motherboard, processor, case, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg or whatever the new hot site is atm

Country: I live in the U.S. Texas to be exact

Parts Preferences: none but I am a bit Nvidia biased when it comes to similar price ranges (they got me believing their Tessellation hype train).

Overclocking: never overclocked befor but I would like to get into it in the future

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe see comments

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 native Samsung SyncMaster BX2431

Additional Comments:
Okay so Ive got a couple of routes im thinking of taking here.

1) Buy an SSD to put the OS on and keep my games and other crap on my regular hard drives but im just not sure if the performance gains on this would justify it as I could just buy 2 cheap 500gb hdd and raid 0 them ( though I heard that that really inst worth it at all) or of course I could just keep the hard drives I have and funnel all that money into other more important stuff? Important thing to note I have at least 100BG of games in my steam folder alone and probably another 100GB of movies which is why I cant do just a pure 2 SSD raid0 solution, well that and its too freaking expensive.

2)Graphics cards and should I crossfire/sli? Well I don't think the Motherboard I have right now supports that option so im guessing Im going to go with a single card though I wouldn't mind adding another card perhaps a year latter as a cheap upgrade (though I think ill have to get a new Motherboard too for this) also a bit concerned if my current processor would cap that performance when if that does happen. Also My graphics card ATM inst that terrible It can certainly play most of the games that came out a year ago very well but Im looking for something a bit more future proof I guess.

3) RAM man I just don't have a clue on this one. Is 4 GB enough for a win 7 64 bit os or should I go to 8GB? Also despite reading about timings and what not I still have no clue what makes good ram from bad ram and if it really even matters that much in the performance/dollar ratio.

4) Power supply will I need a new one? I know I definitely will if I ever go dual cards but keep in mind I also charge my Iphone and power my headset of my computer too.

Okay well those were my big concerns Ill include my pc specs below I would like to thank those that will take the time to read and respond to this post and feel free to go a bit crazy with some of your recommendations as I always enjoy having lots of options no matter how indecisive it makes me in the end. :D

OS: Windows 7 professional 64 bit service pack 1
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-880GA-UD3H
Processor: AMD Phenom II x6 1090T @3200Mhz
CD-ROM: HP DVD writer 1140r SCSI (hardly ever use it for anything)
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTS 450
Memory: 2x2048 DDR3 Kingston max bandwidth PC3-10700 (667Mhz)
Keyboard: Logitech G15
Mouse: Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 (willing to hear opinions on new mice and keyboards but their very low priority atm)
HDD:250GB model ST3250410AS this one has the OS on it.
500BG model WDC WD5000AACS-00G8B1 has steam and most of the movies on it.
Sound System: Logitech X530 5.1 surround sound system (the one that sells for 50/60 dollars)
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi extreme gamer (Is this even worth keeping or should I just chunk it and us Mobo sound?)
PSU: Thermaltake - 600W TR2 ATX Power Supply

* On an unrealated note spell checker correct me when I misspell Logitech or Intel but doesn't recognize Nvidia or AMD I smell a conspiracy.
2 answers Last reply
More about upgrading homebuilt sytem christmas budget suggestions
  1. Heck, don't feel bad. Planning the PC is as much fun as building it.

    Yes, go with a SSD and don't forget to use the 6GB SATA port for it. But keep your games and any apps you regularly use on it too. (At least, keep the current games you are playing on it) Else, the only speedup you'll get is the OS bootup.

    There's no sense going with Xfire on that board. It only has a x4 slot for the 2nd card. I can vouch for that not being a good combination. I don't think you'll see any 'bottleneck' worth worrying about with a 3.2GHZ PhII X6, tho.

    Most games won't require more than 4GB of memory, but I recommend 8GB for best performance. Any brand name DDR3 1600MHZ or 1333MHZ or 1066MHZ memory (the biggger the number, the faster the RAM) should be fine, although if you can find something on the manufacturer's QVL, that's always best. But not to worry if you can't. Always buy the sticks of RAM in pairs for best compatibility.

    600W should be enough for any single card you choose. If you want to calculate it out, use this PSU calculator: http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/
    But you'll be fine with a single card.

    And finally, yes... there no doubt is a conspiracy afoot. ;)
  2. OK. First I'd suggest getting the 960T instead. It'll be cheaper and still has the chance of unlocking 6 cores. Even if it doesn't unlock the 960T will perform better in gaming, Quad vs Six-core.
    Sweet combo with memory too.

    I'd switch the board, option to CF in the future @ 8x/8x, it's ATX, fairly cheap and a solid board. Asrock Extreme3 870 R2.0 $80 Plus it can use AM3+

    Swap the GPU, I understand the Nvidia bias but Tesselation isn't crazy important, specially not in those games. Another thing, the GTS 450 is a bit old but also worse than many of the AMD cards of the same price. Plus you'd have to spend more on a board that allows SLI since only the 9xx chipset supports SLI and it has to be 8x/8x on the lanes.

    At your resolution, you should be getting anything better than the 6870 AT LEAST.
    The 6870 is the cheapest card you'll get that'll run 1920x1080 somewhat well. The next card up is the GTX 560 (no Ti) which is about $20 more so your choice. I'd just stick with the 6870.

    Get this power supply it'll allow future CF of the 6870 but give you solid power.
    Specially for the price, it's one of the cheaper 650w.

    Drop the sound card and save money. MB Sound has come a long way over the years. My MB sound on my 790FX-GD70 is solid and its pretty pristine when playing games or listening to music. Just be sure you have quality headsets/speakers (Seeing as you will be getting the X530 I suppose you will).

    That's about it.
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