Upgrading the old PC - Questions

My current build:

Intel Core 2 Duo at 1.86ghz
4GB RAM (3.25 useable)
Windows XP 32bit
1TB 7200 HDD at 3gb/s
Nvidia 560ti

I plan on upgrading the system to something newer, I think of it as open heart surgery as I plan to remove most of the old components and just keep the case.

New Build:
Intel i7-2700k
Intel® Desktop Board DP67BG Extreme
16GB DDR3 GSkill Memory
Nvidia 1GB DDR5 560ti - From the old PC build
1TB 7200RPM HDD 3GB/s - from old build
Windows 7

I got the Intel CPU and Motherboard as a bundle deal from Intel for $250

I have a few questions with the new build.

Should I first wipe the HDD clean before trying to install Windows 7 over it with the new components, or does it really not matter. If I should format it, how do I do so outside of windows?

I want to be able to run 2 screens for EVE Online - Two accounts - one on each screen.

My question is, since the motherboard has 1 PCI-E 16 slot or 2 PCI-E 8.0 for two cards- what is better?

Should I get a higher end card and stick with 1 slot.

Or buy another 560ti and run that

Also how hard is it to tell one card to power 1 screen and the other power the other instead of SLIing them as someone told me using SLI would give lesser performance for 2 screens. Any help would be appreciated!

16 answers Last reply
More about upgrading questions
  1. 16 gb is overkill on ram, as is the i7 for gaming. Save some money and get 8gbs and the i5-2500k (if overclocking, if not get the i5-2400)

    sli has a lot of small issues, such as microstuttering so I would avoid it. Either stick with your 560ti or upgrade to a bigger card, but the 560 will run just fine.

    I would also look into getting an ssd for a boot drive and to load your most played games on. It will increase the performance of your new rig by a very noticable amount
  2. I would suggest you format the hard drive before you install Windows 7 on it. This is easy to accomplish during the install process. In the 2nd or 3rd menu it will ask what you want to install Windows onto, then you can select the one already there, hit the delete button, and then select the blank space for the OS.

    2x 560 TIs will usually be better than 1, but it comes with a lot more headaches too. I think you would be fine without the 2nd one unless you try it and figure that you can't stand the result.

    I much prefer 1 card solutions myself, but the 560 TI is probably good enough by itself for you not to have to worry about anything.

    Also, I would probably not use the Intel Desktop Motherboard over a Gigabyte board and probably not use the G.Skill RAM over Crucial RAM. The processor also sounds overkillish.

    A 2500k would do nearly as well for half as much cost. It could practically buy the 2nd 560TI if you decide you need it.

    You could also spend the saved $200 on a SSD instead. People who have them tend not to want to go back to not having them. If you install EVE on it, it might help quite a lot on load times and things.
  3. Sorry about not being more clear on somethings, hehe.

    So in terms of the i7-2700k and the matching motherboard - I am getting directly from Intel for $250 for the both of them. So buying an i5 and matching motherboard would cost the same price, if not more than what I am spending currently.

    Switching down to 8GB of ram would run around $60 compared to the 16GB at $30. I'm not worried about the $30.

    I know Crucial makes great memory, but I bought the GSkill memory for the first build and loved it - they also have a lifetime warranty and it was an easy process when I had to change one of the sticks out after a few years. I am not familiar with Crucial's warranty.

    My main question with the motherboard is how can you tell what is better with the slot?

    What is the difference between one slot at 16.0 or two slots at 8.0?

    I'm aiming for less of a headache - I want to run two accounts, one on each screen and my current build can't handle it, the FPS drops to 10 when I move the second instance to the other screen. The game manufacture said it was due to Windows XP and its version on directX not being able to render it correctly. So I am hoping this should fix the problem.

    I'll take a look at an SSD - I missed a deal through intel last summer that gave a CPU and SSD, but no motherboard. I'll see what one costs!

    I'd probably get confused on how to install iTunes on the SSD, but have the music and movies saved to the normal HDD.

    I don't plan on overclocking anything. I just want a stable system.

    Can I format the HDD with the new hardware installed, or should I do it before?
  4. You can format the hard drive with new hardware already installed.

    The difference between x16 and x8 for video cards is in bandwidth. Most video cards are not bottlenecked in how fast they can transfer stuff between themselves and the processor.

    Indeed, there are setups that enable x16/x16 and they are often tested to perform worse than x8/x8 setups on the same motherboard. Basically, technical problems with running multiple cards cause more problems than the extra +8/+8 gives you.

    In any event, you shouldn't have any problems with 2x 560 TIs at x8/x8. Most of the bottleneck is inside the video card itself as it determines what to render so the lack of bandwidth usually isn't a big deal. If you get low FPS on the new build then just stick in a 2nd video card and don't worry too much about it.

    2x 560TIs at x8/x8 is much better for your FPS than 1x at x16. There is a problem called Micro Stuttering that only affects 2 card setups (not 1, 3, or 4) that can seriously detract from the user experience, but since you are already vested in 560TIs having the first one in your possession the 2nd 560TI may be the lesser of two evils vs getting 1 bigger fatter card.

    It isn't hard to install things on a SSD. It functions pretty much just like a regular hard drive. You just unplug all your other hard drives, install windows and all your programs, and then plug back in any other drives you want to put data on.

    You will ideally want to format any drives you no longer need Windows to be installed on after you install it on the SSD so as to avoid potential boot problems, too.
  5. Thanks I appreciate the help.

    I don't believe the board supports x16/x16. It's either 1 card at 16 or 2 at 8. I wasn't really sure what would be better - 1 large card or two smaller ones (in this case the 560ti)

    How hard is it to set up SLI? Or should I do it where 1 card powers each screen? What's more efficient or easier to set up?

    Also with the SSD I think I get everything installed correctly, I am just not good with routing information. For example if I wanted to install itunes on the SSD, but have it store the music, movies, and TV shows on a different hard drive, i'd probably struggle to figure out how to do that.
  6. SSD - Most programs have a "tools" menu and usually an "options" submenu that takes you to a place where you can set those sorts of things up pretty easily. I don't know about iTunes specifically, though.

    If you don't mind ebaying your current 560TI, then I would suggest a better 1x video card instead of SLIing. 1x cards is just so much easier to setup and maintain than 2x and so much more hassle free.

    The current board doesn't do x16/x16, but I was just saying that even if you could it wouldn't necessarily be better than x8/x8.
  7. Ah thanks I do appreciate it.

    I'll see what I can do - is there really a market for used video cards? This one is less than a few months old.

    I'll see how it handles in the new computer.

    Otherwise I was looking at the new 590's :)
  8. The market for used video cards is very strong, actually.

    You can get quite good prices for new-ish video cards.

    Two bids right now for used 560 TIs are $203 with 3 hrs left.

    That is just a couple bucks shy of what a Gigabyte 560 TI costs retail on Newegg.com and that is before the last 1 minute when people sometimes enter into bidding wars.

    It wouldn't be wise for people to do so in this case, I am just trying to show the market on ebay is pretty competitive.

    One of the ones for $203 is from last August.
  9. Thanks I got it up and running!

    I was told that if I really wanted to do something, I should just buy a second Nvidia 560ti and not SLI them, but have it power the second monitor.

    Speaking of two monitors is there anyway to set it up so the mouse doesn't go over to the second screen when it hits the end of the first one unless I hold it there for a few seconds - I thought I had heard about being able to that.
  10. I haven't heard of it, but I don't see why it isn't possible. I am not an expert on 2 monitor setups or anything, though.
  11. Thanks! Any idea how to switch between applications without the one on the main screen being minimized?
  12. Alt Tab would work, I would think. If you asked me a few hours earlier I could have tested it on my wife's PC when I temporarily let her have my monitor. It is too late now, though.
  13. I think I got it worked out.

    Now is there any way to monitor the load on the GPU?

    I am trying to figure out what is getting stressed out while playing the games.

    Basically I am running two instances of the game, one on each screen, and I am only getting between 50-60 FPS with few people around.

    I can always CTRL - Alt - Delete and see the CPU's load, but not the GPU
  14. There are gadets that let you monitor GPU load. Just right click on the desktop, hit gadgets, and say you want to look online.

    There are some listed there.
  15. Yeah there is one there, when I click on it, it gets hung up - not sure what the issue there is.

    Is it true that the temperature and fan speed of the card is really going to show you the load on the gpu?
  16. In the ideal world fan speed would vary pretty closely with video card loads, yes.

    Temperature a little less, but it helps too.
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