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Time to put my Phenom II rig to pasture: $1500 new build

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December 12, 2011 3:38:12 PM

As the title says, I'm looking to replace my current rig. The specs right now are:
AMD Phenom x3 720 @3.1 Ghz
Asus GX790 chipset motherboard
Sapphire Radeon 6850HD (can't remember oc settings)
4 GB RAM
OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
Western Digital HDD: 2x640 GB, 1x1GB, 1x1.5 GB
Coolermaster CM690 case
Corsair VX450 power supply (4 years old)
6x 120mm fans with fan controller.
Zalman CNPS9200 CPU cooler

My rig has been under performing in recent games and I've had to scale down the overclock due to stability issues. I'm looking to either rebuild from the ground up though I would prefer to reuse components if possible. I like my computer to be quiet so noise levels are very important to me when considering a build (which explains the case fans). I also don't like bling too much and prefer a simple, elegant case.

The games I play are Strike Fighters, Shogun II, Skyrim and EVE Online. I tend to run multiple EVE clients which, with the last patch maxes my CPU. I would like to be able to run all 3 clients at the same time with decent detail. I currently have 2 monitors (1920x1600 and 1650x1050) and am looking to get another one later.

I'm currently working up a parts list but I was looking to get a system based around a Intel 2500K processor. I will be overclocking. Everything else is TBD. I'd rather keep my SSD and videocard though and would also prefer not to have to rebuild my case. So do you have any advice/recommendations for this build?

December 12, 2011 4:55:05 PM

For the motherboard I'm looking at either:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not sure what the difference between the two is though. Does the UD4 come with a built in SSD for ready cache?

I'll probably end up getting another HD6850 for crossfire as that seems to have better performance than a single HD6950, which would have been my next choice.

For memory I was thinking of http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite.... Is this power supply good enough or should I get something beefier?

I rather like the looks of the Antec P183, though would like some recommendations here if you guys have another preference.

What CPU cooler would you recommend for overclocking a I5 2500K up to 4.0 Ghz? I'd rather have something quiet even if it's more expensive.

Should I also get a new SSD or is the one I have now fine?
December 12, 2011 5:59:27 PM

Quote:
I rather like the looks of the Antec P183, though would like some recommendations here if you guys have another preference.


I always recommend the Corsair Carbide 400R. But something similar to the P183 - I really really like the Fractal Design Arc MIDI (a similar case would be the Define R3). One thing you have to keep in mind about older Antec cases is that they have NO cable management whatsoever.

Quote:
Should I also get a new SSD or is the one I have now fine?


The one you have now will be perfectly suitable. All your storage you have now will work fine. You actually don't need to spend $1500 as you can definitely reuse a lot of your components. Really all you would have to do would be to replace the motherboard, CPU, RAM, case, PSU, add a second 6850, and that should be it. You can do that for WELL under 1/2 the $1500 you have budgeted. As my boss says - use the rest of the money and go to the Bahamas. :lol: 

Quote:
What CPU cooler would you recommend for overclocking a I5 2500K up to 4.0 Ghz? I'd rather have something quiet even if it's more expensive.


You don't need a new one - as long as you still have the mounting bracket you can reuse the one from your current build and save some money there. If you do have the mounting bracket you will need to buy some new thermal paste - the Arctic Silver 5 is always a safe bet - that will run you $10 - $12. If you must get a new one - try the EVGA M020 or the Noctua NH-U9B. Alternately you could try a closed block liquid loop like the Corsair H100.

Quote:
For the motherboard I'm looking at either:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128507

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128506


Both solid choices - I have the UD3P and I've been incredibly impressed with the way this build turned out. The UD4 will have a few more features that the UD3P doesn't have and if you don't need the extra features you can definitely get by with the UD3P. Both motherboards come with the smart SSD caching feature, it's a huge part of the Z68 platform.

Quote:
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] bo.776756. Is this power supply good enough or should I get something beefier?


If by "beefier" you mean higher wattage I'd actually suggest going with a more energy efficient PSU - something that's gold or silver certified. If you plan to have your computer always on it will save you on your energy bills in the long run. I'm not saying the TX 650 is a bad choice at all - I actually use the TX 750 in both my systems and they've lasted quite a while with very little maintenance. I'm thinking for my gaming system however I'm going to upgrade to a Gold-certified PSU in the near future.

Try this build:

Case: Fractal Design Define R3 - $109.99
PSU: Seasonic X750 Gold - $149.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 - $199.99
CPU: 3.30GHz Intel Core i5-2500K - $219.99
Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B - $59.99
RAM: 8GB Kingston Hyper X Grey PC 12800 1600MHz 1.5V - $39.99
Video card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 for Crossfire - $144.99

Total: $919.88
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December 12, 2011 6:44:41 PM

You obviously like to keep a system for 4-5yrs so I would highly recommend a 2600K over a 2500K if that's the case.

OR

You may just want to wait a couple months for 22nm Ivy Bridge cpu's.
December 12, 2011 6:50:44 PM

geekapproved said:
You obviously like to keep a system for 4-5yrs so I would highly recommend a 2600K over a 2500K if that's the case.

why? the only real difference is hyperthreading, which doesn't do anything in games. and it's certainly not worth an extra $100 IMO. money would be better spent elsewhere or saved for a later upgrade.
December 12, 2011 6:57:25 PM

Do you really need a new motherboard and cpu? You could just add a second 6850, and upgrade to an x6 1100t. You'd have more performance than you need and there wouldn't be any bottlenecks. Also, you could sell your x3 720 to go towards these new components. This is my opinion though, but i think it's the best thing to do unless you really want sandybridge.
December 12, 2011 7:21:58 PM

i5-2500k
Cheapest Z68 mobo that supports x8/x8
6850x2
Decent 850w PSU
2x4 8GB kit

You've already got a 6850, might as well go with a Tri-FireX setup and use what you have. It'll destroy a single 6950, outrun a 6950 crossfire, and keep your microstuttering issues at bay.

I'd stick with Z68 for SRT as you've mentioned.

Nothing wrong with the 690 at all, it's been a staple case for years and unless you just need USB 3.0 front inputs I wouldn't waste the money.

Something to keep in mind...

Eyefinity and Crossfire will only work in fullscreen. If you're running multiple clients in windowed mode ensure that you do not set your multiple monitors up as a SLS. If you do it'll run just fine and give no indication that something is amiss.... of course you'll be limited to just one GPU.
December 12, 2011 7:24:29 PM

jimftr said:
Do you really need a new motherboard and cpu? You could just add a second 6850, and upgrade to an x6 1100t. You'd have more performance than you need and there wouldn't be any bottlenecks. Also, you could sell your x3 720 to go towards these new components. This is my opinion though, but i think it's the best thing to do unless you really want sandybridge.


Certainly wouldn't be a bad way to go either. I'm running an X6 1055T and it works perfectly fine for me and running Gigabyte's F5 BIOS I won't need to worry about future CPU compatibility for quite a while.

You could just do that, maybe increase the RAM to 8GB, and maybe replace the motherboard with a 970 or 990FX - you could do that for a third the cost of the build I mentioned earlier.

I'd also heavily recommend upgrading your PSU to one of the ones I suggested. A 430W will not be able to handle Crossfire or SLI.
December 12, 2011 8:30:44 PM

Thanks to the informed replies above my shopping list now looks like this:

2500K+GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3P Combo: $360
Kingston HyperX 4GB: $40
SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850: $145
Corsair TX650: $95
Mounting bracket for CNPS9500: $5 (unless the socket 775 bracket that came with the hs is compatible)

Total Price: $645.

That's quite a bit under my initial budget. I could really use a second ssd though as my current one (50GB) can barely hold my windows install and 2 games. Is there any model you would recommend over the Crucial M4?

I have thought about upgrading to a 1055T but that wouldn't give me much of a performance boost over what i have right now. Plus, I can hand down the components I'm replacing so that reduces the cost of the upgrade somewhat.
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