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Final Build Before Purchase - Please Help Review

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January 31, 2012 7:11:44 PM

Hey everyone, I got the funds rolling... so here is what I've got for my build (thanks to Azeem40 for all the input):

It went a bit over budget... but I'm alright with that since I think these are all high quality parts.

Please feel free to comment.

EDIT: I realize all the links are annoying so here's a simple list:
EDIT #2: After looking at some of the deals on newegg.ca (damn you Americans with your better deals overall!) I think I'm going to spring the extra $30 to get the HAF 932 Advanced.

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
PSU: Antec EarthWatts Series EA-750 Green 750W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000
CPU Cooling: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
GPU: SAPPHIRE 11196-00-40G Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2
MOBO: ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Case:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

PSU:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

CPU:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

CPU Cooling:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

OS:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

SSD:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

HDD:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

GPU:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Keyboard:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

RAM:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

MOBO:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...



Grand Total (With taxes and shipping): $1,818.47



What does everyone think?



Thanks again.

More about : final build purchase review

January 31, 2012 7:27:35 PM

Looks like you are planning a Crossfire setup by the looks of that PSU but Crossfire isn't recommended on that board with the 2nd slot being x4. You want x8/x8 really. You can easily drop the PSU down to around 550-600W to save a bit of cash. Or for just a bit more you can get the Seasonic X-560, I plan to run the same card as you with an overall similar setup on the same PSU.
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January 31, 2012 7:30:02 PM

So the bottleneck is the Mobo?

What would you recommend?
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January 31, 2012 7:34:12 PM

Well no the motherboard isn't actually bottlenecking anything, it's still going to be great in games it's just not suitable for Crossfire which means you can drop the wattage of the PSU.
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January 31, 2012 7:36:53 PM

I would like to Crossfire it in the future... as a means of upgrading.
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January 31, 2012 7:44:21 PM

Crossfire isn't really suitable as an upgrade option, by the time you feel that your card needs an upgrade you will just be adding an old card which isn't recommended. There is a reason noone recommends GTX 280 SLI etc. Multi card solutions aren't necessary for 1080P single monitor setups anyway.

Also Crossfire has a lot of drawbacks:

Pros:

Sometimes good price/performance
More potential for multiple monitors

Cons:

Very high power consumption
Will normally run hot and noisy
Not all games are compatible
More driver issues
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January 31, 2012 7:47:36 PM

Ahhh really? Didn't know that.

So do you think that Mobo will be up to snuff for a future card? Say in a year?

Also, would an OEM Windows 7 be validated between new mobos?

Finally, if I'm dropping the wattage for the PSU for a single card... what is the advantage of going with the more expensive one that you suggested?
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January 31, 2012 7:57:36 PM

Unfortunately, I live in Canada... so we get shafted when it comes to electronics. :( 
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January 31, 2012 7:58:16 PM

sorry man :( 
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January 31, 2012 7:59:20 PM

The P8z68 V Gen 3 would be a better option for Xfire/SLI though.
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January 31, 2012 8:01:38 PM

QuickSilver402 said:
Hey everyone, I got the funds rolling... so here is what I've got for my build (thanks to Azeem40 for all the input):

It went a bit over budget... but I'm alright with that since I think these are all high quality parts.

Please feel free to comment.

EDIT: I realize all the links are annoying so here's a simple list:
EDIT #2: After looking at some of the deals on newegg.ca (damn you Americans with your better deals overall!) I think I'm going to spring the extra $30 to get the HAF 932 Advanced.

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
PSU: Antec EarthWatts Series EA-750 Green 750W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000
CPU Cooling: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 Continuous Direct Contact 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
GPU: SAPPHIRE 11196-00-40G Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard
RAM: G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2
MOBO: ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Case:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

PSU:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

CPU:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

CPU Cooling:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

OS:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

SSD:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

HDD:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

GPU:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Keyboard:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

RAM:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

MOBO:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...



Grand Total (With taxes and shipping): $1,818.47



What does everyone think?



Thanks again.



The Intel i5 2500K is cheaper in Micro Center. Take a look at their website.
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January 31, 2012 8:01:50 PM

The more expensive one I suggested is higher quality and more efficient, that translates to:

- Slightly lower overall power consumption
- Cooler and quieter
- Gives cleaner, more reliable power.

It is also fully modular which means the inside of your case will be more tidy and may slightly improve airflow.

Lastly it has a feature where the fan won't spin unless it gets hot or you pull more than 200W. Basically it's 0db completely silent while browsing and watching videos etc. The fan just kicks in for games.
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January 31, 2012 8:05:07 PM

- I've read some posts around multiple forums where people with the LX had difficulty overclocking their chip due to a seemingly handicapped BIOS UEFI version. Get the P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 - more $$.

- Check out this previous post on Windows 7 OEM license transfers:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/30822-63-windows-moth...

- The SeaSonic X-560W carries an 80 PLUS Gold efficiency certification and it's modular.
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January 31, 2012 8:05:54 PM

jmsellars1 said:
The more expensive one I suggested is higher quality and more efficient, that translates to:

- Slightly lower overall power consumption
- Cooler and quieter
- Gives cleaner, more reliable power.

It is also fully modular which means the inside of your case will be more tidy and may slightly improve airflow.

Lastly it has a feature where the fan won't spin unless it gets hot or you pull more than 200W. Basically it's 0db completely silent while browsing and watching videos etc. The fan just kicks in for games.



Sold. I've swapped the Antec with the Seasonic in my cart.
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January 31, 2012 8:10:43 PM

steadywaters said:
- I've read some posts around multiple forums where people with the LX had difficulty overclocking their chip due to a seemingly handicapped BIOS UEFI version. Get the P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 - more $$.

- Check out this previous post on Windows 7 OEM license transfers:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/30822-63-windows-moth...

- The SeaSonic X-560W carries an 80 PLUS Gold efficiency certification and it's modular.



Since my Windows will be tied to the mobo, can that mobo effectively last me for a while? Say... if I want to XFire Future GPUs as a means of upgrading in the future?
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January 31, 2012 8:11:10 PM

seems like you have a bit to spend, so why not upgrade your mobo and psu and set yourself up for expansion?

Along with the P8Z68 V upgrade, the OCZ ZX 850 is a nice PSU for not that much more.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your PSU basically determines how far you can OC and limits your GPU future GPU choices. I wouldn't rule out the Xfire solution.
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January 31, 2012 8:12:55 PM

QuickSilver402 said:
Sold. I've swapped the Antec with the Seasonic in my cart.


Good choice, you may have noticed I have that PSU myself :) 

Read some reviews for it, it's one of the very best PSU's on the market.
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January 31, 2012 8:18:21 PM

vollman1 said:
seems like you have a bit to spend, so why not upgrade your mobo and psu and set yourself up for expansion?

Along with the P8Z68 V upgrade, the OCZ ZX 850 is a nice PSU for not that much more.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your PSU basically determines how far you can OC and limits your GPU future GPU choices. I wouldn't rule out the Xfire solution.


I see the benefit of having a better mobo since my Windows will be tied to it. But the PSU that you are suggesting brings the grand total to about $2005.

Roughly a $50 difference (taxes/shipping) between the OCZ ZX and the Seasonic.

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January 31, 2012 8:19:13 PM

It's a tough call... since I already had to spend $240 on a monitor.
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January 31, 2012 8:22:34 PM

With rebate the OCZ is $139.99 on newegg (unless you cannot get the rebate).

The benefit is that you don't limit your system.

If you are working off of a strict budget, then I can see making some sacrifices to fit, but you look like you want a system that is upgradable not just one that is the cheapest you can get.

What mark are you trying to stay below cost wise? I may have missed it.

Edit:

http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-Fully-Modular-80PLUS-Performa...

Maybe Amazon.com would be a bit cheaper for you?
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January 31, 2012 8:25:20 PM

Bah... After the MIR it's only a $22 difference overall. I guess I can go with that.
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January 31, 2012 8:26:41 PM

Edited above to show you Amazon price
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January 31, 2012 8:27:36 PM

I was originally trying to keep it at $1700 w/ monitor. It appears I may be going $500 overboard ;) 

That being said... if this thing can last, and has the future upgrade potential, I'm willing to spend that extra money so that I'll save in the long run.

I spent $2200 on my laptop and it's lasted me for 6+ years.
Spent $2300 on my original desktop and its still going... 8 years on.

I can see the value of going to the next price bracket if it is an overall cost effective solution.
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January 31, 2012 8:29:54 PM

vollman1 said:
Edited above to show you Amazon price


Amazon.ca sells it for $229.99. No MIR, no discount.

:( 
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January 31, 2012 8:32:46 PM

The regular P8Z68-V Gen 3 will be a better choice for upgrading. The LX is a bit hamstrung in Xfire as jm pointed out.

You will have to choose budget or versatility here.

Or,

Go with a P8p67 board (doesn't have the ability to use cpu graphics, nbut you have a discreet card anyway)

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

That may be the best compromise.
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January 31, 2012 8:32:56 PM

Like anyone else, it is impossible to see how long before the motherboard becomes obsolete.

However, the P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 came out just a few months ago to accommodate PCI 3.0 cards (the next gen of cards), which would cover most video card upgrades for at least the next 2 years by my guess.
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January 31, 2012 8:37:35 PM

I've upgraded the mobo, and I'm going to stick with the Gen3.

I also forgot about getting an optical drive....

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM



One more thing: What about dropping the SSD to 64GB and upping the GPU to the 7970?
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January 31, 2012 8:41:25 PM

imo if you are going to get an SSD at all, go with 120GB or larger. Performance increase with the size of the drive. But that is just my preference.

In fact, with the way HDD prices are now, I am planning a new build using just a 128GB Samsung and waiting on prices of HDDs to fall.

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

128 GB gives me performance for OS and gaming and 128GB is fine to get me past these inflated HDD prices.
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January 31, 2012 8:43:16 PM

vollman1 said:
imo if you are going to get an SSD at all, go with 120GB or larger. Performance increase with the size of the drive. But that is just my preference.

In fact, with the way HDD prices are now, I am planning a new build using just a 128GB Samsung and waiting on prices of HDDs to fall.

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

128 GB gives me performance for OS and gaming and 128GB is fine to get me past these inflated HDD prices.



That's really interesting.... I do have an (almost entirely) empty external HDD that's 2.5 TB. Could save $100 right now...

EDIT: Actually I was going to say what's up with the price of the internal HDD, since my external @ 2.5TB cost me about $130, 4 months ago?
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January 31, 2012 8:43:53 PM

Perfect! Will last many years. I too changed to a 7950. :) 
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January 31, 2012 8:45:26 PM

I wouldn't go nuts on the SSD size though, because the SSD prices will fall also.

My advice is to get a modestly sized SSD that can get you past these HHD prices, then add a HDD later.
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January 31, 2012 8:45:48 PM

^second that. I own the Crucial 128GB M4 SSD and I can see how easy it could be to max out a 64GB with the OS and a game or two.

You could always overclock the GPU, which is ridiculously easy these days.
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January 31, 2012 8:48:13 PM

Done. HDD removed. Gonna stick with the SSD for now.

If I need more space for anything besides games/OS, I'll throw it on my external.

Saves me about $100 off this build.
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January 31, 2012 8:48:40 PM

Now, if only I didn't buy BF3 for the xbox.... damn. ;) 
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January 31, 2012 8:50:04 PM

lol funny
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January 31, 2012 8:54:24 PM

Regarding the GPU, all I can say is have a reasonable idea of what level of graphics you need. There is no point in just buying the best GPU just to have it.

My approach here is the same as the SSD/HDD: get a card that performs to your needs and don't go nuts. GPU prices will be falling again I think in Feb/March(?). If you get a modest card now, you can Xfire or upgrade later and probably still save money.

What will you be playing and at what res/settings?
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January 31, 2012 9:25:17 PM

I bought the ASUS 24'' LED backlit LCD monitor, full HD 1080. So I know that's not *that* high res.

Right now, to be honest, I'm probably going to be mostly playing SWTOR and SC2. Once I save enough money I'll be going back into the FPS realm. I haven't played FPS for years since my laptop couldn't handle it... and the Xbox has really turned me off of playing FPS' with those damn joysticks.

Basically, BF3, Shogun 2, SWTOR, SC2.


I'm hoping... in the future... to be able to run Eyefinity on SWTOR since I think it would be a cool experience.
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January 31, 2012 9:43:53 PM

3 monitors is a good thing :)  I love it!

I am not an expert in the GPU realm, but I can tell you that you will probably want to get a 2GB card for multiple monitors. Or, you can get by with Xfiring multiple 1GB cards in the future.

If you can get by using the cpu's graphics until around March, you will probably be able to get a better deal on a gpu then. Or, look at a reasonable 1GB card now.

Beyond that, I will leave the GPU recommendations to the experts here :) 

Edit:

This may help a bit for you also
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
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January 31, 2012 9:48:47 PM

The 7950 is 3GB, and apparently beats nVidia's 580.
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January 31, 2012 9:50:17 PM

QuickSilver402 said:
The 7950 is 3GB, and apparently beats nVidia's 580.


Yeah it's very slightly better than the 580, not that impressive though considering the 580 is quite old now as far as the latest graphics cards go.
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January 31, 2012 9:52:07 PM

jmsellars1 said:
Yeah it's very slightly better than the 580, not that impressive though considering the 580 is quite old now as far as the latest graphics cards go.



So what kind of GPU would you recommend?
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January 31, 2012 9:53:18 PM

7950 supports the triple monitor set up he was looking at also.
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January 31, 2012 9:54:57 PM

If I am not mistaken, you have to SLI to get multiple monitors out of Nvidia cards.

Edit:

It may be better to say how much you have to spend on a video card up front. Or you'll get into the AMD vs Nvidia debate lol
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January 31, 2012 9:58:58 PM

I'm less concerned with Eyefinity compatibility now, and more with just having an awesome visual experience out of the box.

It's been a long time coming for me...
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January 31, 2012 10:10:00 PM

vollman1 said:
Tom's says GTX 580 or

2x HD6950 2GB in Xfire

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...



Yeah, but that's because the 7950 came out today (I think?) so they didn't measure it up. I went through that article and only the 7970 was mentioned at the beginning, saying that it's too new to compare it.
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January 31, 2012 10:17:38 PM

The comment section on that was pretty damn helpful.


I'm stuck now....

I suppose it would be best to wait it out until Nvidia releases their next GPUs and these drop in price?

Can the on-board graphics handle, at least, SWTOR?

What do you think?
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January 31, 2012 10:20:50 PM

Honestly, I'm going with a 2GB 6950 with my new build. I've always disliked the idea of SLI/Crossfire setups just because of compatibility issues/driver setup/more headaches. I think single card solutions are the way to go, and can also save you money on PSU and MoBo requirements.

I think the 7950 3GB would be a great choice, and most likely give you eyefinity capability right out of the box.

EDIT- The onboard GFX probably won't be able to handle SWTOR. I have an HD 5770 right now and it's chugging with medium graphic settings.
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January 31, 2012 10:25:24 PM

I don't know about SWtoR. I am planning on trying though. Then buying the GPU in a month or so, unless I bite on this deal that is:

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

Edit:

I am using an old (5years?) Dell with a Core 2 Duo and a 9500GT and SWtoR works fine at low settings. (children's computer)

And there's not much difference now between settings.
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