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What should I upgrade next?

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December 21, 2011 9:04:41 AM

So I just recently got a Radeon HD 6870, well i'm getting it for Christmas, so I will have one very soon, and I was wondering what I should upgrade next, I was thinking a heat sink for my CPU so I could overclock but I will take any suggestions, here are my specs:


Processor: AMD Phenom(tm) II X6 1090T Processor (6 CPUs), ~3.2GHz

Memory: 8192MB DDR3 RAM

Hard Drive: 1TB ( not sure by who)

Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 5670 --> ( ATI Radeon HD 6870 soon)

Monitor: Hanns-G 22" 1680 x 1050

Sound Card: Realtek HD Onboard

Computer Case: Dell Studio XPS 7100

PSU: Dell 460W

More about : upgrade

December 21, 2011 10:37:22 AM

You might want to upgrade the power supply, 500w or higher is recommended for a Radeon HD 6870.
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December 21, 2011 10:43:33 AM

I would second the power supply as a potential avenue of approach.

Additionally, I would say the case as well. Dell cases aren't known for being fantastic.

The two of those things I have in my signature are both rock solid if you want examples of potential items. Neither of them should cost more than $100 and I highly recommend both.

The PSU may be a pressing need, but last I checked it was only $60 after MIR so you may be able to pick that up soon if necessary to support the video card.

I paid $60 for the case (shipped) and really feel that I ripped Newegg off, but I know that it isn't that cheap right now. If you need something else now, I think the HAF 912 is pretty cheap at this moment. If you have some wait time I would just say try to look for a good deal on my case, because I love it.
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December 21, 2011 11:18:33 AM

1. ssd
2. Heat sink
3. Psu
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December 21, 2011 4:02:03 PM

From your specs it looks like you're running a Dell Studio XPS 7100. If that's the case I'm sorry to inform you that the custom BIOS does not provide overclocking features. :( 

See here for confirmation: http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Dell-Studio-XPS-7100-Rev...

I would second the addition of an SSD as the next logical upgrade path. Hope you love your new 6870!

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December 21, 2011 11:44:42 PM

phensen said:
From your specs it looks like you're running a Dell Studio XPS 7100. If that's the case I'm sorry to inform you that the custom BIOS does not provide overclocking features. :( 

See here for confirmation: http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Dell-Studio-XPS-7100-Rev...

I would second the addition of an SSD as the next logical upgrade path. Hope you love your new 6870!


So would I have to buy a whole new motherboard to achieve overclocking features, and for everyone saying that I need a PSU, i've been told that Dell makes quality Power supply units and I shouldn't be worried about getting a new one. (but i'm still going to get a new one eventually)
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December 22, 2011 3:27:29 AM

bcmonks said:
So would I have to buy a whole new motherboard to achieve overclocking features, and for everyone saying that I need a PSU, i've been told that Dell makes quality Power supply units and I shouldn't be worried about getting a new one. (but i'm still going to get a new one eventually)



Yes, you'd need to buy a new mobo, and a copy of windows.
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December 22, 2011 4:24:06 AM

phensen said:
Yes, you'd need to buy a new mobo, and a copy of windows.

If I was to buy a mobo, what should I look for in a motherboard? I know that I eventually want to SLI/Xfire, but other then that, what should I look for?
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Best solution

December 22, 2011 8:41:26 AM

bcmonks said:
So would I have to buy a whole new motherboard to achieve overclocking features, and for everyone saying that I need a PSU, i've been told that Dell makes quality Power supply units and I shouldn't be worried about getting a new one. (but i'm still going to get a new one eventually)


Yes, if you want to OC your processor and you have a DELL motherboard then it will not happen. If you are serious about OCing, it must be done with a non-DELL board.

Additionally, who told you that DELL makes good PSUs?

I have been a Network Admin in a past life and managed hundreds upon hundreds of DELL computers over many years and I never noticed their PSUs to be anything special. Their PSUs had higher failure rates than that of any other part in the DELL computers, in my experience.

Mind you, PSUs in general have higher failure rates than other parts and I generally like DELLs for the enterprise environment, but that is a far cry from saying that DELL PSUs should be powering enthusiast PCs constructed from individual parts.

The DELL PSUs may be better than, say, Diablotek PSUs, but they aren't better than Seasonic PSUs that is for sure.

DELL also tends to give you just as much PSU as you need and no more. That generally means if you want to upgrade then you will probably need a new PSU, regardless. This makes sense to DELL from a business perspective because a better PSU is added cost for them that they can't make up in the selling price of the computer. The competitors of DELL (HP, etc) cut PSU corners and DELL does also in order to stay competitive.

Additionally, if you go to the AMD website and look up the 6870 power requirements, it says a minimum of 500w. See here:

http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/amd-rad...

It is the second line under System Requirements if that tab doesn't automatically display.

That means right out of the box your PSU isn't within the manufacturer requirements which could potentially void your warranty.



Also, I would strongly advise against going with 2x video cards. I would strongly advise to go with a board that is $100 less (regular micro atx OC capable) and spend the extra $100 on a single fatter video card. $100 more than a 6870 puts you in 6950 range. While that card won't generally be able to provide the same FPS as 2x 6870s, it is much easier to configure, easier to power, easier to cool, easier on the power bills, and it avoids micro stuttering which can seriously detract from the gaming experience.

If you are 100% sure you want to go with 2x video cards, then make sure you ONLY do it with whatever 6870 you get now + a Powercolor 6870x2 dual processor card (total of 3 processors on 2 cards). This card is very expensive, but it gives you all of the advantages of a 3x video card setup with only two physical cards which is necessary since the 6870s only have one port for connecting them to other video cards. Three video card processors working in unison maximally avoids micro stuttering and is much easier to configure, power, cool, etc than any setup that uses 3 regular cards because it isn't guaranteed that two cards must be positioned such that at least one of them cannot breathe in air adequately.

Anyway, I still think you should stick with 1 fat card, but at least if you want to go with 2x cards at least do it with the Powercolor 6870x2 as the second card.
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December 22, 2011 7:56:39 PM

Best answer selected by Bcmonks.
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