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Upgrading Old Rig, Advice/Criticism Appreciated

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February 20, 2012 10:58:04 PM

First, I am not terribly educated with the current hardware/tech, but am doing my research. I am looking to upgrade my current PC as it is 6 years-old now.

My current specs:

Case: N3XT Lexa Blackline
PSU: 550W
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (4x 2.4GHz/8MB L2 Cache/1066FSB)
MOBO: Asus P5N-E SLI nForceĀ® 650i SLI Chipset w/6-channel CODEC, Gb LAN, S-ATA Raid, USB 2.0, IEEE-1394 Dual PCI-E MB
Memory: Corsair 2048MB [1024MB X2] DDR2-800 PC6400
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS 512MB
OS: Windows Vista 32-Bit

As you can tell, I haven't utilized my PC for gaming for years. It's mostly served as a tool for writing, some graphic design, and surfing. I would like to invest some tech into it now and use it more for gaming.

Here is what I am looking at now:

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series HX750 (CMPSU-750HX) 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS: Windows 7

Questions I have:

1. Almost rhetorical, but I wasn't initially planning on upgrading my mobo, but it seems like a practical (and necessary) step to take. So going with the one listed, is having UEFI necessary? I can get a similar mobo w/o the UEFI for nearly a $100 less (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), but from the research I've done I can't get a clear picture as to the value of the benefit it affords me.

2. The i7 2600 seems about what I want, if not a bit overkill. I don't plan on overclocking, so would an i5 2500 be that much of a dropoff in performance?

3. 16GB of RAM too much? A lot of folks seem to think 8GB is more than enough.

4. Based on these upgrades, is a 750W PSU ample? Too much? I wouldn't mind a little wiggle room, so to speak, but I've read a lot of comments praising the efficiency of the new PSUs and it seems maybe a lower wattage PSU would be more than adequate. Not sure, though.

5. I have to replace a couple of fans in my rig as well. I'm eyeballin' the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, but would a water cooling system be overkill for what I'm doing? (No overclocking.)

I apologize in advance if any of my questions seem uninformed or redundant. ANY suggestions are totally welcome. My budget is around $1500, though I guess I could spend more, but I would prefer to get closer to $1K. Any ideas where to cut any corners and save some $ without sacrificing too much performance would be a godsend.

Thanks a ton, fellas.

Edited: I currently have a 1TB HDD, but am planning on investing in an SSD. Probably a Crucial 128GB, though I read that the Intel ones are super reliable, but seemingly overpriced.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 20, 2012 11:18:57 PM

I would advise staying with an ASUS motherboard as they are about the best at z68 right now. You can always opt for a lower end model. If you do not plan on a dual vid card, any of the low end models will work. UEFI is just the newest type of BIOS. It really does not add any cost. The difference you are paying over Asrock is features and quality of components. I have the lest cost on on this list and it is great. Not the best for dual cards though as 1 of the slots is x4 speed. For dual cards, you want 2@x8 speed. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

The graphic design could benefit from the i7 as well as 16gb ram. However, if this is just a gaming rig, drop to the i5-2400 and 8gb. The 2400 is only 10% slower than the 2500 and thus a better deal. Also, without over clock, you do not need the extra cooler. The included Intel CPU fan will work fine. Also, 1333 speed is plenty without overclock. That 1866 stuff is for AMD APUs. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a single video card, the 750 watt is overkill, but will not hurt anything as the newer certified units are efficient at all load levels. It will not draw any more power than it needs. It will also be handy if you decide on dual vid cards later.
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
February 20, 2012 11:25:00 PM

Quote:
1. Almost rhetorical, but I wasn't initially planning on upgrading my mobo, but it seems like a practical (and necessary) step to take. So going with the one listed, is having UEFI necessary? I can get a similar mobo w/o the UEFI for nearly a $100 less (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), but from the research I've done I can't get a clear picture as to the value of the benefit it affords me.


You have to upgrade your motherboard in order to utilize a 2600. UEFI isn't really necessary - it's just a way to control the BIOS from inside Windows instead of going into the menu from it like you had to in the past.

Quote:
2. The i7 2600 seems about what I want, if not a bit overkill. I don't plan on overclocking, so would an i5 2500 be that much of a dropoff in performance?


Either one will be fine - they're pretty much the same CPU in terms of performance.

Quote:
3. 16GB of RAM too much? A lot of folks seem to think 8GB is more than enough.


That all depends on what you need it for - if you're going to be working with large files, 16GB will be plenty. If you are not going to be working with large files, go with 8. But watch the tall heat sinks if you plan to use a Hyper 212. This would be a far safer bet: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
4. Based on these upgrades, is a 750W PSU ample? Too much? I wouldn't mind a little wiggle room, so to speak, but I've read a lot of comments praising the efficiency of the new PSUs and it seems maybe a lower wattage PSU would be more than adequate. Not sure, though.


It will be plenty - the Corsair Enthusiast series is a good choice, it's pretty much all I use (but I am planning to upgrade to a Seasonic X850 at some point).

Quote:
5. I have to replace a couple of fans in my rig as well. I'm eyeballin' the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO, but would a water cooling system be overkill for what I'm doing? (No overclocking.)


I very rarely - almost never actually :lol:  - advise people to go with a water cooling setup. Air is a fail-safe, where as with water cooling, you have far more room for error. If a water pipe breaks, there go your components. If a fan breaks, all you do is replace a fan, think of it that way.

Quote:
The graphic design could benefit from the i7 as well as 16gb ram. However, if this is just a gaming rig, drop to the i5-2400 and 8gb. The 2400 is only 10% slower than the 2500 and thus a better deal. Also, without over clock, you do not need the extra cooler. The included Intel CPU fan will work fine. Also, 1333 speed is plenty without overclock. That 1866 stuff is for AMD APUs. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231422


I'd second this - if it's a design / CS5 workstation it's best to get the 2600, but otherwise you won't really notice any, if all, difference between having +-.2GHz.
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February 21, 2012 12:00:56 AM

tlmck said:
I would advise staying with an ASUS motherboard as they are about the best at z68 right now. You can always opt for a lower end model. If you do not plan on a dual vid card, any of the low end models will work. UEFI is just the newest type of BIOS. It really does not add any cost. The difference you are paying over Asrock is features and quality of components. I have the lest cost on on this list and it is great. Not the best for dual cards though as 1 of the slots is x4 speed. For dual cards, you want 2@x8 speed. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

The graphic design could benefit from the i7 as well as 16gb ram. However, if this is just a gaming rig, drop to the i5-2400 and 8gb. The 2400 is only 10% slower than the 2500 and thus a better deal. Also, without over clock, you do not need the extra cooler. The included Intel CPU fan will work fine. Also, 1333 speed is plenty without overclock. That 1866 stuff is for AMD APUs. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a single video card, the 750 watt is overkill, but will not hurt anything as the newer certified units are efficient at all load levels. It will not draw any more power than it needs. It will also be handy if you decide on dual vid cards later.


Thanks for the 2400 suggestion. Might consider that route to shave some $s off the final total. Thanks for the feedback.
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February 21, 2012 12:06:05 AM

I don't do professional graphic design anymore, though it is still an occasional hobby. I think for the value VS. the necessary performance I may go with a cheaper CPU.

As for the water cooler, I was fairly certain I didn't need it, and wasn't crazy about the potential installation. It's more of a tech lust thing. Thanks for the heads up regarding the tall heat sinks.

Much appreciated.
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