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Upgrading current system and need some advice

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February 21, 2012 11:37:27 PM

As stated I'm upgrading my current desktop low level gaming rig. Everything but the GPU and PSU came from a stock Dell case (also changed the case as well).

Current setup follows:

Athlon II X4 630 @2.8ghz
4gb DDR2 Ram
Sapphire 5770 Vapor-X GDDR5 1gb
OCZ 550W Fatal1ty Series Power Supply
NZXT Crafted Series Vulcan Black Steel / Plastic Gaming mATX

So obviously I need to upgrade now as this PC is out of date. Odd fact, I can play BF3 with everything on High @1920x1080 and no Anti Aliasing @30+FPS which stuns me a bit. Anyway the main reason I felt I needed the upgrade is that I am running out of RAM when playing BF3 (Firefox, Origin, and BF3 total 85% RAM usage when the map is still loading). Whenever I try to run Skype after those three are open BF3 crashes as I run out of RAM. I'm not looking to be completely future proof or to have a super amazing rig, and I'm limiting this upgrade to around $350 between the CPU, Mobo and RAM.

So here's what I got for an idea so far:

AMD FX-6100 Zambezi 3.3GHz Socket AM3+ 95W Six-Core Desktop Processor FD6100WMGUSBX
ASUS M5A88-M AM3+ AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL

I plan to keep the current GPU and PSU, unless you feel that it will create a bottleneck on that end.

The RAM was already ordered because Newegg had a great price for it today. If anyone has a better idea to stay within the price (which is now $300 because of the RAM) please list it below. I'm still looking at after market coolers so please list your favorites but no water cooling please, this is a LAN case and I use it for that reason.

Sorry for the novel here, but I did want to be clear as possible. Thank you in advance for any feedback.
February 21, 2012 11:52:10 PM

Hi! Welcome to the forums.

Hmm, looks like a good plan. I will however say that GPU performance is more important than CPU performance, which means we'll focus on that. Here's my proposed plan.

-Keep the Athlon II X4 630, get a new motherboard and GPU.
-Mobo: ASRock 970 Extreme3 AM3+ (has USB3 and Sata3, if you don't need these let me know)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: XFX 6870 1GB $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now I suggest going this route, or switching to Intel. Why? Take a look at the chart here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a... The Athlon 631 is at the bottom of the charts but they were using CPU heavy games like Starcraft 2 and Skyrim. If you want to upgrade, I suggest making the switch to the i3-2100, which currently sits at $125 with a good mobo (limited expandability though) going for $65.

Now, look at the performance gap between the 5770 and the 6870: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/296?vs=290 You're looking at nearly double the framerates. In my mind, this is the bigger deal since most games tax the GPU much more heavily than the CPU.

Hope that helps! If you don't need USB3 or Sata3, we can bring the price down considerably, putting the extra into a better GPU or a different CPU.
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February 22, 2012 12:14:54 AM

Thanks for the input! Sadly according to my system and from what I've read online my CPU is a AM2 variant which won't work with DDR3 right? And the mobo you list is a ATX while my case is Micro-Atx (which i believe I forgot to point out originally). I know this limits some of the possibilities of what I can install into my case.
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February 22, 2012 12:36:39 AM

I think it would be better for him to get an i3-2100 or an i5-2300 than another AMD CPU.
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February 22, 2012 12:38:05 AM

cutebeans said:
I think it would be better for him to get an i3-2100 or an i5-2300 than another AMD CPU.

Yeah, if you look above I suggested that. I'm trying to incorporate his existing CPU (the Athlon 630) into the upgrade.
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February 22, 2012 12:41:41 AM

I did in fact look at that same Mobo earlier today lol. As for the GPU is there any big difference between the 6xxx series and 7xxx?

I do play a lot of Skyrim and SC2 so the CPU bump would help (SC2 could really use it lol), but I see what you mean on my GPU needing to be updated. Would it be a good idea to wait a month or two to get the card you recommended? I ask this because I'm honestly ok with the way my games are running now framerate wise, but as i pointed out i really do need more memory. I really do value your help and input.
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February 22, 2012 12:47:19 AM

cutebeans said:
I think it would be better for him to get an i3-2100 or an i5-2300 than another AMD CPU.

I was looking at Intel CPU's earlier and I have nothing against them at all except the naming schemes for the socket types on the mobos. I'm sure I could get used to them over time. I'm just used to budget everything so that's why I went with AMD first and that both my AMD PC's are running very well still.
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February 22, 2012 12:49:05 AM

If you can, it would be a good idea to wait a little bit and grab both CPU, GPU and mobo. If you can push the budget to $360 or so, (or wait until you can spend that much) you can grab both the i3-2120 and mobo, plus the 6870. I'll show you what I'm looking at.

CPU: i3-2120 $128 (there's often sales on this chip)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mobo: ASRock H61/US3 Sata3/usb3 $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Plus the 6870 above.
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February 22, 2012 1:12:40 AM

So while looking at your Intel ideas I went looking at Neweggs combos and finally just went picking myself. Found this

Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I52400 Here

And

GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Here

That 2500 I assume should be better than the 2120 and I would like a board that has 4 RAM slots if possible, both have good reviews mostly and the 2400 is the same price as the 2300 until the 27th.

What do you guys think? I know that gets rid of funds for a GPU, but I might be able to get money for that as well.
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February 22, 2012 1:25:16 AM

If you can go for that, then by all means do. It is an excellent combo, the i5-2400 completely dominates the CPU field in the sub-$200 range. Good choice!

Now your GPU is going to be a bottleneck :p  I suppose that can wait though, right?
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February 22, 2012 1:38:14 AM

It's not gonna hurt the framerate is it? Logically it shouldn't but hell weird stuff happens lol. I think I'll take the dive into Intel for this build, gonna cost $50 more than the FX combo but it should last longer I assume.

Now for coolers? I assume that everyone would recommend one, any favorites or good ones I should be looking at?
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February 22, 2012 1:46:24 AM

It certainly won't hurt the framerate, it just won't get better in GPU intensive games like BF3.

My favorite cooler for the i5? The free one that comes with it :lol:  You can't overclock the i5-2400 so there isn't any need to get a different one. The stock Intel cooler will keep it nice and chilly at stock speeds.
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February 22, 2012 1:52:53 AM

Oh really? Guess that is technically a "bonus" for the FX, but I never OC'd any of my components yet. Might do it for my 5770, while I wait to get a new card.

Good to hear that the stock cooler should work fine, also I guess my case will help that since one side is just a mesh cover and can house a 200mm fan lol. What about thermal paste? The pre-applied paste good to go or should I buy some Arctic Silver? Was thinking about doing it to my GPU because I feel it gets too hot too fast. About 50-60c under load like BF3.
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February 22, 2012 2:14:50 AM

Not really an advantage. The i5-2400 FAR outpaces the FX-6100, according to this benchmark: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a... Overclocking on the FX platform is pretty shoddy, with power consumption rising considerably the more you overclock. I wouldn't mess with it.

Stock paste is fine. I've actually become a fan of Masscool Shin Etsu, it's half the price of AS5 yet cools just as well. Plus it doesn't have the long setup time AS5 does.

60c isn't really that hot, not at all. if you were 80c or over then definitely do something. 60c is perfectly fine for a GPU.
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February 22, 2012 2:15:39 AM

Artic Silver 5 is an excellent choice for both cpu and gpu...just be careful with removal of gpu cover...can be tricky and ensure that you don't lose any of the thermal pads on other items on the gpu...Also..if just air cooling...obviously you are...the Cooler Master Hyper 212 is an OUTSTANDING cooler for both AMD and Intels socket configs and is really priced conservatively between $30-$40 dollars and blows away both oem coolers that come with the cpus in performance. You will not have to worry about heat from the cpu causing any issues in the future.

I presume by coolers you DID mean the cpu and not the gpu?

I have owned a couple of the 5770's with the vapor chamber design and never experienced and cooling issues with the cards and heat. I run a 6970 card from xfx and it's still using the vapor chamber design...the fan can get loud but have found no reason to run it above 75% fan speed for any benchmarks or games, so obviously the vapor chamber cooling design works pretty well as well as keeps the warranty valid from the manufacturer.
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February 22, 2012 2:30:02 AM

You are correct I was referring to the CPU cooler. I may just stay with the OEM cooler for now, I can always buy a aftermarket one afterwards or get that giant 200mm fir my case lol.

The 5770 never actually gets noisy even with the mesh siding, and the fan speed is set to auto. It used to get up 80c in the original Dell Midtower case when playing SC2 or WoW (which is odd because those are CPU intensive and the CPU never got above 35c). In the new NXZT case I haven't watched it get above 45c and that is the main reason I got the case (and because I LAN every week at my buddies place so the carry handle is nice).
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