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Upgrade Advice (3-yrd old computer, $400 budget)

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December 27, 2011 3:57:13 PM

I built the below system three years ago, but it isn't keeping up with newer games (SWTOR, Skyrim, etc). I would really like to simply upgrade this system if possible, but am so out of the loop on hardware that researching this has become a giant headache. Main reason for the upgrade is to increase performance and be able to play modern and upcoming games on at least a Medium setting without lag.

I can put a another $400 into this if it would be possible to realize a significant increase in performance.

Quote:
1 x Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
1 x ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
1 x MSI R4850-512M Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
1 x COOLMAX CUG-700B 700W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Certified / CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC and Compatible with Core i3/i5/i7 Power Supply
1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor BX80570E8400
1 x CORSAIR 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model VS1GBKIT400
1 x Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996587
2 x SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223F - OEM
1 x Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive


I am thinking of adding a SSD, upgrading the memory to 8GB, and upping the video card to try and improve performance. I am not sure if the PSU or processor should also be upgraded. At that point I've nearly rebuilt the entire system, though.

So my questions are the following:

1. Is it worth upgrading?
2. What is the best way to upgrade this system to increase performance?
-which parts
-any recommendations would be greatly appreciated
3. Is it worth simply getting another R4850 and using CrossFire?

I don't care where I buy the parts from, but typically use NewEgg for simplicity and an easily accessible record of previous purchases.

Thanks in advance for your help.
December 27, 2011 4:25:24 PM

Update ram maybe 4 to 8 gb use crucial memory scan to find out what type ram's for u.And a better gfx card maybe one for 150 $ and a ssd :) 

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a b B Homebuilt system
December 27, 2011 4:35:28 PM
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If you have a spare system to order parts online, I would part out your system, starting with the cpu/board/ram and see what $$ you can add to your budget before making an upgrade decision. I use craigslist or anandtech's for sale forum.

You might get $125 for the board/cpu/mushkin ram as a package deal. Assuming you get this for your old combo, and add $400 to it for the upgrade, I would use this:

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

cpu: http://promotions.newegg.com/NEemail/dec-0-2011/bestsel... 2500K for $204.99 with promo code.

ram: http://promotions.newegg.com/NEemail/dec-0-2011/bestsel... gskill 1600 2 x 4gb for $35 with promo code.

video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
December 27, 2011 5:35:03 PM

I appreciate the suggestions. I would really like to avoid swapping out the motherboard if possible, just due to the amount of labor it would require to rebuild everything (takes me forever to do this kind of stuff).

Would swapping out the memory, using a SSD, and picking up another R4850 to setup CrossFire give me much of a bump in performance? Or is it better to simply upgrade my video card altogether. I don't need something that can run games in Ultra, but I would definitely like to see good performance on Medium settings and have the ability to play on high settings if it doesn't break the bank or require a completely new system.

Also, I've seen a few places where people recommend using a quad-core processor for gaming. Is that really necessary or would I still be able to run MMO/FPS's just fine with a dual-core?
December 27, 2011 5:48:00 PM

hate to sound a bit like a party pooper, but adding on newer hardware to an old mobo just doesn't sound right.

If you can sell to chip your costs, get a budget P67 motherboard, Intel i3-2300, 8gb of 1333 Mhz RAM and a 64GB SSD for booting.

You should be able to run that on your PSU, and keep using the HD4850, your stoarge drive, optical drives and case.
December 27, 2011 6:02:04 PM

I does not take forever to do this - and the results will be far better. SSD will not make your games play better - just load faster(provided you got one to hold your games & OS). If you want to make the most of what you have get:
$60 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$28 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$249 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can push your cpu slightly after adding the cooler - note requires mobo removal.
GPU may be overkill - if you decide to upgrade keep it.
-Bruce
December 27, 2011 6:06:50 PM

It's definitely not worth trying to put money into a new CPU on that board. 4GB RAM should be sufficient. What I would do in your position is ditch the 4850 and upgrade. The 512MB of VRAM will just hold you back on today's games. As for the currently available GPUs on the market, I would look into the 6950 2GB. If you can hold out for another month, it would probably be worth seeing what AMD puts out. Pricing is sure to get better.
Beyond that, save up for a new CPU/motherboard/RAM setup.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 27, 2011 7:19:59 PM

Quote:


CPU + RAM: Intel Core i3-2120 + Team Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1333 $139.98
GPU: HIS Radeon HD 6870 $159.99
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-H61M-DS2 $49.99

Total: $349.96 (before $6.77 shipping and $20.00 mail-in-rebate)



This is a good build. I would add this newer power supply:
CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply: $49.99 after promo code
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 27, 2011 8:20:17 PM

kittcg said:
I built the below system three years ago, but it isn't keeping up with newer games (SWTOR, Skyrim, etc). I would really like to simply upgrade this system if possible, but am so out of the loop on hardware that researching this has become a giant headache. Main reason for the upgrade is to increase performance and be able to play modern and upcoming games on at least a Medium setting without lag.

I can put a another $400 into this if it would be possible to realize a significant increase in performance.

Quote:
1 x Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
1 x ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
1 x MSI R4850-512M Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
1 x COOLMAX CUG-700B 700W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Certified / CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC and Compatible with Core i3/i5/i7 Power Supply
1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor BX80570E8400
1 x CORSAIR 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model VS1GBKIT400
1 x Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996587
2 x SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223F - OEM
1 x Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive


I am thinking of adding a SSD, upgrading the memory to 8GB, and upping the video card to try and improve performance. I am not sure if the PSU or processor should also be upgraded. At that point I've nearly rebuilt the entire system, though.

So my questions are the following:

1. Is it worth upgrading?
2. What is the best way to upgrade this system to increase performance?
-which parts
-any recommendations would be greatly appreciated
3. Is it worth simply getting another R4850 and using CrossFire?

I don't care where I buy the parts from, but typically use NewEgg for simplicity and an easily accessible record of previous purchases.

Thanks in advance for your help.




I checked your motherboard - ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard, which tells me that your RAM is either Wrong or you typed wrong...
either way it does NOT support 184 pin. It also only supports up to 8GB of RAM, DDR2 1200 240 pins.

This _ Wintec Value 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model 3VT8005U9-4GK for $40 dollars should match your 240 pin 800 mhz. Mixing RAM with different values (speed/type) it could be your problem.

I'm going to assume that you are using a 64bit OS, otherwise upgrading to 8GB won't help you at all unless you also upgrade to a 64bit OS.

Lastly I don't have an SSD, but you are right on that SSD will help give you the speed that you need specially for an "old" system.
If you check daily on Newegg's daily deals, sometimes they have SSD sales for about $1 per GB, so if you check frequently you will find a good deal.
Hint: your board doesn't support SATA III so don't expend the extra money on speed that you won't see, rather use the same money for more GB on your SSD,
get an SSD II for more bang for your buck.
;) 

December 27, 2011 10:01:40 PM

drwho1 said:
...Mixing RAM with different values (speed/type) it could be your problem...

...get an SSD II for more bang for your buck.


Buying a different brand of RAM and a SSD is not going to give him any performance increase in games. That is 0 bang-for-buck. He could buy a new GPU, but he needs a more powerful CPU as well. That means a platform upgrade. Core2duo and 4850 are going to struggle in new games.
January 16, 2012 11:34:41 PM

Best answer selected by kittcg.
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