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New Build AMD to Intel transition advice needed

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December 8, 2011 4:04:15 PM

Hi y'all

So, with Christmas approaching... I've been thinking of doing another build on my rig.

Right now, I've got...
- Phenom II X4 970 BE OC'ed to 4.0
- ASUS M4A79T Deluxe AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX Mobo
- 8GB of GSKILL DDR3 1600
- XFX 5870 1GB
- WD Velociraptor 150GB 10,000 RPM HDD

So I've been a long time fan of AMD's cheapness, and for this build I tried an ATI card which has worked wonderfully.

However, looking to make a bit more of an impression with my new build and could use some insight.

Looking at...
- i7 2600k or 2500k (Which would be a better choice with regard to cost/performance ratio? Is the 2600k really worth it?)
- GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 Motherboard (There something else I should be looking at? Has good ratings on Newegg and is fairly cheap)
- Nvidia GTX 570 or 580 (Is the 580 really worth the extra 200 bucks?)
- Will re-use the same RAM
- Re-using the same PSU as well, 1000w Thermaltake

Now, here's my question...

I've only had to reformat my HDD once for an upgrade. All of the other times I've just used a completely new HDD.

Here, I'd like to upgrade to SSD. However, I'd rather not lose all of my data on the previous HDD or my OS.

How would I go about making this happen? I'd consider using the SSD as a primary boot drive, and use the HDD I have now as storage. How difficult would this be? Would it be possible to keep my OS?
a b À AMD
December 9, 2011 11:04:35 AM

- If all you do is gaming i5 2500k is the way to go. If you do heavily threaded stuff like rendering then the i7 2600k might be warranted.
95% of the cases the i5 is enough.

- You should be looking at a motherboard with PCIe Gen3 support. There is a bunch of models but i would stick with gigabyte, msi and asus. Seems like asrock has been having some quality issues.

- the 580 is worth the extra if you need the juice, however the 5870 is quite good, and before you go running off to get a new video card, make sure the old one isn't still quite good enough for your needs. You will experience some increase in performance just by the platform change.

- ram should be ok as long as it is 1.5V ram. If not there have been sales as low as $30 for 2x4GB 1.5V CAS9 1600MHz kits.

- PSU should be good even if you would like the SLI GTX580's.

OS: just do a clean install on the SSD and set it as your boot drive. You are best off installing your apps again, but some SSD manufacturers do provide tools which let you take an image of the old HDD and install it on the SSD. Space is usually a problem in those cases though and the clean install is much preferred.

However if the old HDD is the 150GB velociraptor and that's not full then it might be doable.


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December 9, 2011 2:19:52 PM

Thanks for the reply!

Good to know about the 2500K, I've heard good things regarding overclocks with it as well.

As for the 5870, and this may be the fault of my CPU... but I feel like it isn't handling Skyrim very well.

I'm getting 25-30FPS, probably an average of around 30 with an enhanced ini file, HD mods, etc. Even running with 4GB LAA. I'm sure it's partly due to Skyrim being poorly optimized, and partly due to it being a CPU heavy game.

However, was just looking for something that'd pack a bit more punch to make running Skyrim a bit more smooth. Other games run fine enough though, so perhaps you're right. But, I figure if I'm upgrading everything else... might as well tackle to graphics card.

GTX 570 fit my profile of performance/cost, and perhaps I could see the 580... but would like to minimize cost.

My RAM's alright, and is 1.5V, which is fortunate because I'm simply re-using a lot of parts for this build (CPU cooler, HDD, PSU, RAM, case).

The issue with the HDD is this...

I take it, if I just used the HDD I have now, with a change in motherboard and processor... it wouldn't work with the new parts. If it would, then I'd just skip the SSD altogether, 10k RPM is fast enough for me really.

I guess it's not that big a deal if I have to wipe my current HDD, I'd just like to keep the OS. Got it on a builder's install disk, and unsure of whether it'll install again or whether it was a one time deal. I don't have any of my music or anything on this HDD, tried to keep this system as simple as possible (Browser, AV, and games are pretty much the only programs on this computer).

Also, you mentioned "increase in performance just by the platform change", did you mean specifically with the parts I've selected from Intel? To be honest, and I'm sure this is a wives tale, I've sort of tried to keep ATI/AMD and Intel/Nvidia together in my builds. Granted, I've never actually used an Intel processor and am a Nvidia supporter. Just wanted to try out ATI/AMD and see if it worked well, which it does.
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a b À AMD
December 9, 2011 6:17:57 PM

Intel CPU's provide a significant amount more CPU power than the AMD's do. And the sandy bridge architecture has quite an advantage in memory handling.
So I expect you will be seeing a sizeable improvement in framerates in some games simply by going from AMD to Intel.

There are some articles about it here at tom's as well, look em up it will show a pretty clear distinction.
This might be the article to take a look at: Tom's skyrim performance analysis
CPU in particular.

According to tests though Skyrim acts better with Nvidia cards, but why spend $280+ if you don't really have to.

And the above performance difference is present in many games. So imho: get the other stuff first, then if the GPU doesn't cut it, spend the money on the new GPU.
All you lose is a couple of days for UPS to bring in your new video card :) 
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December 9, 2011 8:47:35 PM

rvilkman said:
Intel CPU's provide a significant amount more CPU power than the AMD's do. And the sandy bridge architecture has quite an advantage in memory handling.
So I expect you will be seeing a sizeable improvement in framerates in some games simply by going from AMD to Intel.

There are some articles about it here at tom's as well, look em up it will show a pretty clear distinction.
This might be the article to take a look at: Tom's skyrim performance analysis
CPU in particular.

According to tests though Skyrim acts better with Nvidia cards, but why spend $280+ if you don't really have to.

And the above performance difference is present in many games. So imho: get the other stuff first, then if the GPU doesn't cut it, spend the money on the new GPU.
All you lose is a couple of days for UPS to bring in your new video card :) 


Sounds good, you're right about the GPU. Can just uninstall drivers and get a new GPU if it doesn't perform, no need to waste money if it'll already do what I want it to with just a new processor.

However, regarding my OS and HDD.

My OS disk is one of those "System Builder" disks with only one install, I -may-... a big -may- have a regular W7 disk laying around from when I bought my laptop. But, will I be able to re-install my OS if I re-use the same HDD from my AMD build?

The biggest obstacle for me now, is negotiating the HDD. I may get a small SSD for a boot drive, 64GB and then use the other HDD for storage. Dealing with HDD's is probably where I know the least about system building, so just curious.

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December 10, 2011 2:34:04 AM

Outlander_04 said:
With newer games like BF3 you are unlikely to see nay performance increase by changing from a Phenom to the 2500k

http://www.techspot.com/review/458-battlefield-3-perfor...

just buy a better graphics card


Not really worried about playing games like BF3, my current rig blows BF3 away. As it's not too CPU intensive. I just want something a bit more capable for a game like Skyrim with tons of demanding mods.
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