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Help with Upgrading system

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February 23, 2012 3:02:39 PM

Hello,

I would like to upgrade my current system, and I'm stuck on which Motherboard I should purchase, here is my current system:

Asus P5QPL-VM
Q9550 Quad-Core proccessor
4GB DDR2 RAM
GTX 460
500B SATA-II
750W PSU

I was planning to go for the ASUS-P8Z68-V LX, i5-2500k and atleast 16GB RAM DDR3 (32GB in the future so the motherboard needs a max memory of 32GB)

The main reason why I would like to upgrade my system is because of the RAM. I noticed that 4GB for Windows 7 64bit is not enough as I need it for video editing, gaming, etc. and since DDR3 is much cheaper than DDR2, it is time for me to switch to DDR3.

So I would like to ask whether you could recommend a different motherboard than the ASUS-P8Z68-V LX. Not only the motherboard but if you think I should go for a different processor, please let me know all detail.
I am not planning to overclock anything, even if it is easy and safe so please don't tell me to use "this" and overclock it to "this".

Thanks in advance

More about : upgrading system

February 23, 2012 3:23:56 PM

It may be beneficial for you to put limitations on your budget for this build so we can tell you what parts will give you the biggest bang for your buck.

The biggest recommendation I would like to make is to go with the i7-2600. If you are open to messing around with overclocking in the future, go with the i7-2600k. For video editing, the i7 will outperform the i5.

The motherboard you chose is a good choice, there are better MB out there, but no real reason to tell you not to get the one that you chose.

When choosing your RAM, go with 1600 MHz to get the best benefit for both gaming and video editing. Something from G.Skill or Corsair are always a good choice, probably something with a 9-9-9-24 timing.
February 23, 2012 3:23:57 PM

The mobo and CPU are nice. You don't need the "K" model if you aren't overclocking but for the extra $10 you may as well in case you ever change your mind.

Most folks run two sticks of 4 RAM for a total of 8GB RAM.

Edit:
The 2500K does give you the Intel HD3000 graphics however....nice for video conversions. That mobo will also support running your integrated graphics in conjunction with your discrete GPU.
Related resources
a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 3:29:21 PM

If you're not planning to overclock you don't really need the 2500K - you could get the i5-2400 and it will still be just as fast. What's your max budget? That would help to determine what motherboard to get.

I could always suggest the one I use: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This one is a bit of a less expensive variant: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And then there's this one for the price: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 3:32:39 PM

if your not planning on overclocking then get the 2500 instead of the 2500k.
now ignoring that. you should wait.
were about a month away from ivy bridge launch. you have waited this long whats another month maybe two.

ivybridge (or the 3000 series processors) are up to 16% faster than current sandy bridge processors at the same clock speeds. but they will be clocked a good bit higher at the same price. and on top of this they use a lot less power. 77 watts max opposed to the current 95 watts on any quad core sandy bridge.
a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 3:36:22 PM

farrengottu said:
if your not planning on overclocking then get the 2500 instead of the 2500k.
now ignoring that. you should wait.
were about a month away from ivy bridge launch. you have waited this long whats another month maybe two.

ivybridge (or the 3000 series processors) are up to 16% faster than current sandy bridge processors at the same clock speeds. but they will be clocked a good bit higher at the same price. and on top of this they use a lot less power. 77 watts max opposed to the current 95 watts on any quad core sandy bridge.


Only if you're trying to play games on super-high res or ultra will you notice the extra 16% gain in speed increase. The Ivy processors are going to be significantly more expensive than what's out now. The i5-2400 would be a great bang-for-buck option if the OP is really trying to save money.
a c 248 V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 3:48:33 PM

I think your reasoning for lots of ram for video editing is good. It is my understanding that the 64 bit enabled apps can use the ram as workspace, greatly enhancing performance.

Consider:

1) More than 16gb of ram will need pro or ultimate.

2) With 4 ram slots, you will need to use 8gb sticks which are more expensive per gb by 50% today to go past 16gb.
It is usually better to buy a kit of ram up front to insure compatibility.

3) The reason to buy a "K" suffix cpu is to allow easy multiplier overclocking. If you will NEVER do that, buy the cheaper 2500, and a H67 based motherboard. That said, I would still buy the "K" on the chance you might change your mind, or, when you ever want to sell it, you should get the small price premium back. Preserve that option.

4) Nothing wrong with the ASUS-P8Z68-V LX. But, how many expansion slots do you really need? A full ATX motherboard has 7, a Micro-ATX has 4, and even a mini-ITX has one for the graphics card. A smaller motherboard will usually cost you less. Here is an example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5) Gaming does not benefit from more that 2-3 cores, and I don't know about your apps. A i5 would seem to be appropriate. If you can use more threads, then a i7 with hyperthreading would be better. The extra 4 hyperthreads are somewhat like having 4 added cores of 1/4 power each.

6) Unless your need is urgent, wait until april when ivy bridge should launch. You should get 10% more performance for your dollar.
a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 4:10:29 PM

Quote:
1) More than 16gb of ram will need pro or ultimate.


Most people will never use beyond 16GB unless you're working with, say ultra high resolution video. Ultimate is pretty much a waste unless you make use of the language packs. Pro does away with Home Premium's memory limitations.

Quote:

2) With 4 ram slots, you will need to use 8gb sticks which are more expensive per gb by 50% today to go past 16gb.
It is usually better to buy a kit of ram up front to insure compatibility.


Despite the fact that most Z68 motherboards will claim to support 8GB chips, most won't. Even with the latest BIOS updates it still has a hard time recognizing them. X79 might be better as that will support up to 64GB of RAM with relative ease. But the average user - even the hardcore video editors and renderers won't make full use of that yet.

Quote:

4) Nothing wrong with the ASUS-P8Z68-V LX. But, how many expansion slots do you really need? A full ATX motherboard has 7, a Micro-ATX has 4, and even a mini-ITX has one for the graphics card. A smaller motherboard will usually cost you less. Here is an example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813157252


When I build my systems I generally plan for 2 x video cards, 1 x PCI wifi card (if needed) and one additional expanion card (if needed).

Quote:
5) Gaming does not benefit from more that 2-3 cores, and I don't know about your apps. A i5 would seem to be appropriate. If you can use more threads, then a i7 with hyperthreading would be better. The extra 4 hyperthreads are somewhat like having 4 added cores of 1/4 power each.


That is true - but it depends more on what the OP's needs are.

Quote:
6) Unless your need is urgent, wait until april when ivy bridge should launch. You should get 10% more performance for your dollar.


A 10% performance difference is not going to matter much. Only the most hardcore gamers or professional video editors and renderers will make use of the full CPU load on Sandy Bridge, and your average user most likely won't. What we learned from the AMD fiasco with Bulldozer/Zambezi/whatever is that CPUs have bottomed out for the most part. Even the dual core i3-2120 runs circles around the octo-core FX-8150. It will be a long time before AMD catches back up with Intel. The software is always going to be one or two generations behind the hardware and the developers know this. Very few apps like CS5 and rendering programs like Autodesk Revit take full advantage of hyper threading. Where you'll notice the biggest difference in any build is the GPU, not so much the CPU. There was a point in time where that was essentially the case, now not so much. 10% performance difference is not going to mean much at all, if anything. Until I see some actual benchmarks, I'm not buying the Ivy Bridge over-hype.
February 23, 2012 6:37:35 PM

Hey guys, thanks for all the replies, didn't expect so many in a short time.

Sorry for not including my budget, but my budget will be around £300 ($470) and if possible, I would like a new motherboard (that supports up to 32GB of RAM and atleast 2 PCI Express slots, just in case if I want to upgrade to SLI/Crossfire), atleast 16GB of RAM (8GB if not possible), and a new CPU since my Q9550 won't be compatible with a motherboard like the Z68.

I had a look at other motherboards and noticed the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 is quite decent too and very cheap. What do you guys think?
And I won't wait for ivy bridges to get released since I won't need the extra 16% faster performance, I mean an i5-2500k would do my job, as I said in the first post, the main reason I would like to upgrade is the RAM (and maybe 32GB in the future with SLI) therefore the motherboard needs to last for a long time (hence why the ASROCK Z68 has a PCI express 3.0 slot).

Thanks for the replies again, much appreciated
a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 8:50:31 PM

Quote:
I had a look at other motherboards and noticed the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 is quite decent too and very cheap. What do you guys think?


That's certainly a good choice. For $20 more you could also check this one out: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:

And I won't wait for ivy bridges to get released since I won't need the extra 16% faster performance, I mean an i5-2500k would do my job, as I said in the first post, the main reason I would like to upgrade is the RAM (and maybe 32GB in the future with SLI) therefore the motherboard needs to last for a long time (hence why the ASROCK Z68 has a PCI express 3.0 slot).


You certainly won't use all 16GB RAM, and 32GB is quite ridiculous and major overkill on any build - even if you were using X79 I'd still say it was.

As I said before - I'm not buying the Ivy hype until I see some actual numbers. You're right to stick with the 2500K and you probably won't notice the performance boost. Pretty much all Z68 boards have PCI-Gen 3 in some form or another. Even the Gigabyte board I linked to does. That's really the only major benefit in waiting for Ivy, otherwise what's out now is good.
a c 248 V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 9:15:06 PM

No game I know of can, by itself use more than 2-3gb of ram. For the gamer, 8gb is more than sufficient.

But, ram is cheap, and if your editing app is 64 bit enabled, then the more ram the better.
With a budget, I think I would stop at 16gb.
February 23, 2012 9:22:19 PM

Quote:
That's certainly a good choice. For $20 more you could also check this one out: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128498


What are the benefits I would get for spending $20 more?

16GB of RAM will probably be more than enough for me yeah, but it's always better to have more, no? :p 
But as geofelt said, 8GB RAM sticks cost a lot so I will go for 4x4GB 1600mhz Corsair.

So I'm definitely sure which CPU and RAM to get, for the CPU it will be the i5-2500/K, and as mentioned above, the RAM will be 4x4GB 1600mhz (16GB), so the only problem now is the motherboard.

Quote:

4) Nothing wrong with the ASUS-P8Z68-V LX. But, how many expansion slots do you really need? A full ATX motherboard has 7, a Micro-ATX has 4, and even a mini-ITX has one for the graphics card. A smaller motherboard will usually cost you less. Here is an example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813157252


Well, I'm currently using a Micro-ATX and I am not happy with it since the sound card gets in the way of my graphic card fans. If I had more expansion slots (ATX), I could put them far away from each other so that the fan from the Graphics card would not get covered by the sound card, if you know what I mean, and apart from that I don't really need many. But since I may want to upgrade to SLI, the motherboard should be able to support SLI.
a b V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 9:53:10 PM

Quote:
What are the benefits I would get for spending $20 more?


The only difference would be the Gigabyte brand vs. the Asrock brand - both boards have the same features - I know a lot of people either really like Asrock or really dislike them. I haven't tried their boards but I'm certainly open to it. I use the similar Z68XP-UD3P model and I find it to be a really solid and well constructed board for the price.

Quote:


16GB of RAM will probably be more than enough for me yeah, but it's always better to have more, no? :p 
But as geofelt said, 8GB RAM sticks cost a lot so I will go for 4x4GB 1600mhz Corsair.


Not only do 8GB sticks cost a lot more, most Z68 and P67 boards will have trouble recognizing them. Even with the latest BIOS updates and everything, Z68 at max will support 16GB of RAM - anything over that and you're kind of asking for trouble.

Quote:
Well, I'm currently using a Micro-ATX and I am not happy with it since the sound card gets in the way of my graphic card fans. If I had more expansion slots (ATX), I could put them far away from each other so that the fan from the Graphics card would not get covered by the sound card, if you know what I mean, and apart from that I don't really need many. But since I may want to upgrade to SLI, the motherboard should be able to support SLI.


If you have SLI in mind absolutely you want a full size ATX board. A Micro ATX board will limit your expansion options and will be really frustrating in the long run.
February 23, 2012 10:19:27 PM

Quote:
The only difference would be the Gigabyte brand vs. the Asrock brand - both boards have the same features - I know a lot of people either really like Asrock or really dislike them. I haven't tried their boards but I'm certainly open to it. I use the similar Z68XP-UD3P model and I find it to be a really solid and well constructed board for the price.


Well, the brand doesn't really matter to me so I guess I'll save those $20 and go for the Asrock.

As for the RAM, would these do?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Corsair-Vengeance-Performance...

or

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Corsair-Vengeance-16-GB-4-x-4...
(which looks the same to me but £6 cheaper..)

or is there anything cheaper I could get for the RAM? If I will lose performance in comparison to these, then no problem I will just go for the corsairs, but if you will link me to a website can it please be in UK currency (I prefer ebay or amazon) and also verify that the RAM sticks will work with the motherboard + cpu please.

Thanks
a c 248 V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 10:43:43 PM

On the ram, don't pay more for speed beter timings unless you are a record seeking overclocker. Read this to see what you are getting for your price. Pay attention to real world benchmarks, not synthetic tests.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...

Don't pay extra for fancy heat spreaders on 1.5v ram; they are not needed unless, again, you are after record overclocks.
In fact, I would avoid tall heat spreaders which can impact some oem cpu coolers.

You want documented ram compatibility. If you should ever have a problem, you want supported ram.
Otherwise, you risk a finger pointing battle between the ram and motherboard support sites, claiming "not my problem".
One place to check is your motherboards web site.
Look for the ram QVL list. It lists all of the ram kits that have been tested with that particular motherboard.
Sometimes the QVL list is not updated after the motherboard is released.
For more current info, go to a ram vendor's web site and access their ram selection configurator.
Enter your motherboard, and you will get a list of compatible ram kits.
While today's motherboards are more tolerant of different ram, it makes sense to buy ram that is known to work and is supported.

Onboard HD sound is very good these days. Do you really need a discrete sound card? The old rationale of lower cpu usage is just no longer valid with modern multi core cpu's.

I am also not much in favor of cf/sli when a good single card will do the job. Here is my reasoning:
a) How good do you really need to be?
A single GTX560 or 6870 can give you great performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.

A single GTX560ti or 6950 will give you excellent performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games.
Even 2560 x 1600 will be good with lowered detail.
A single 7970 is about as good as it gets.

Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed. Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.

b) The costs for a single card are lower.
You require a less expensive motherboard; no need for sli/cf or multiple pci-e slots.
Even a ITX motherboard will do.

Your psu costs are less.
A GTX560ti needs a 450w psu, even a GTX580 only needs a 600w psu.
When you add another card to the mix, plan on adding 150-200w to your psu requirements.

Case cooling becomes more of an issue with dual cards.
That means a more expensive case with more and stronger fans.
You will also look at more noise.

c) Dual cards do not always render their half of the display in sync, causing microstuttering. It is an annoying effect.
The benefit of higher benchmark fps can be offset, particularly with lower tier cards.
Read this: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stut...

d) dual card support is dependent on the driver. Not all games can benefit from dual cards.


e) cf/sli up front reduces your option to get another card for an upgrade. Not that I suggest you plan for that.
It will often be the case that replacing your current card with a newer gen card will offer a better upgrade path.
a c 146 V Motherboard
February 23, 2012 11:36:05 PM

CF/SLI:
I agree that this is not desirable.

BIOS:
Don't forget to get the latest BIOS update for your motherboard. Mine fixed both SSD and RAM issues.

RAM:
8GB is the most you need for gaming and will be for many years. As for video editing, investigate how much would actually benefit you for your tasks.

Graphics:
Get an AMD 7xxx or wait for the NVIDIA GTX6xx series. I recommend one of equal or greater benchmarks than a GTX560Ti for gaming.

Graphics and OpenCL:
Both these new cards offer the new OpenCL compatibility (and NVidia has CUDA) which will be important for processing, especially video editing in the future once applications support it. Read about OpenCL (NOT OpenGL).

SOUND:
I have a M-Audio AV40 stereo speakers, and an Auzentech X-Fi Forte audio card. I did a LOT of research and believe this is still a great combo. Onboard sound is good, but not great. Good speakers (more than $100 for stereo) need better than onboard sound. Conversely, don't get a good sound card and use poor speakers. At least $200 for both the sound card and stereo speakers is my recommend for good sound.

CPU and Heatsink:
Get the K model. If you edit video you'll want the processing power. I personally just struck a nice balance at a 3.3GHz overclock.

I recommend an after-market heatsink costing roughly $30 to $70 depending on need. It will make a big difference in NOISE even in idle.

PC CASE:
I have an Antec 100 which I love and it was cheap. You may wish to look for one which supports USB3 at the front if you get a motherboard which has USB3 outputs to the front panel (recommended). We're not far away from USB3 thumb drives which can work at up to 600MBytes/second and USB2 only supports up to 60MBytes/second.

To be clear, the motherboard must have USB3 outputs for the case (not just the rear ones) and the case must also support USB3 (better wires). You'd probably end up with PROBLEMS using a high-speed USB3 drive hooked up to a case supporting only USB2 front inputs but hooked to USB3 on the motherboard.

BACKING UP WINDOWS:
After Windows has been installed AND activated, immediately make an IMAGE of that with Windows 7 Image or Acronis True Image and keep on a USB hard drive (or span to DVD if you know how). Never delete this Image. Then make a new image every month or so in case of software corruption or drive failure. The old image is in case an issue creeps into future updates that you can't fix. You can then SAVE all your important data and RESTORE that original easily without re-activation (you have a limited number).

I'd do the initial IMAGE after the drivers were installed for ease, though you may need to update them if you RESTORE (especially the video driver).

Good luck.
February 24, 2012 12:25:03 AM

Quote:
On the ram, don't pay more for speed beter timings unless you are a record seeking overclocker. Read this to see what you are getting for your price. Pay attention to real world benchmarks, not synthetic tests.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503 [...] -best-ddr3

Don't pay extra for fancy heat spreaders on 1.5v ram; they are not needed unless, again, you are after record overclocks.
In fact, I would avoid tall heat spreaders which can impact some oem cpu coolers.


After checking the article and doing some more research, if I understood correctly then it would be better for me to go for a RAM card that has 1333MHz and a low CL as possible (preferrably CL8 or CL7)?
In the benchmark for gaming, I see that the 1333MHz perform quite better than the other, but I think the difference is really minor and since the recommended MHz for the i5-2500k is 1333MHz, I do think I should stick with that rather than going for the 1600MHz.

Do you have any RAM cards in your mind that would suit me well? I checked on ebay and found a few:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Latest-Product-AMD-8GB-2-X-4G...
Though, I'm not sure about the AMD bit and it is also more expensive than the previous link I sent.

I have also checked the motherboards tested vendor list but noticed that most/all of the RAM cards listed there are very expensive in comparison to what I can find.


Quote:
Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed. Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.


For the next 3 years+, I'm sure I won't upgrade anything so easily apart from maybe the GPU (GTX 460) and no, I won't buy another GTX 460 to make it SLI, I would probably go for something like a GTX 560Ti seeing as how cheap that card is these days.

One thing is that, maybe something could happen in the future that could influence me to go for a SLI or a dual monitor or even triple, maybe if I won the lottery or something, which I don't play anyway x) But what I'm trying to say is that I want to be ready for future upgrades as I don't want to constantly replace my system (e.g. this time replacing motherboard to get more RAM since my current one can hold 8GB DDR2 which is far more expensive than DDR3).

So please ignore the SLI part, I won't be using it anytime soon, anyway. :p  At the moment I am just confused which RAM to purchase, 1333MHz CL9? CL8? 1600MHz?

And thanks for taking your time trying to help me by the way.

@photonboy: thanks for all that info.. but I'm only looking to replace my CPU, Motherboard and some new RAM that fits the Motherboard/CPU. I am not planning to replace my current Graphics card in the near future, and you may be right that 8GB of RAM will suit my needs, though I prefer 16GB of RAM (don't ask why :p ).

Thanks
a c 248 V Motherboard
February 24, 2012 1:25:58 AM

Pogge said:
Quote:
On the ram, don't pay more for speed beter timings unless you are a record seeking overclocker. Read this to see what you are getting for your price. Pay attention to real world benchmarks, not synthetic tests.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503 [...] -best-ddr3

Don't pay extra for fancy heat spreaders on 1.5v ram; they are not needed unless, again, you are after record overclocks.
In fact, I would avoid tall heat spreaders which can impact some oem cpu coolers.


After checking the article and doing some more research, if I understood correctly then it would be better for me to go for a RAM card that has 1333MHz and a low CL as possible (preferrably CL8 or CL7)?
In the benchmark for gaming, I see that the 1333MHz perform quite better than the other, but I think the difference is really minor and since the recommended MHz for the i5-2500k is 1333MHz, I do think I should stick with that rather than going for the 1600MHz.

Do you have any RAM cards in your mind that would suit me well? I checked on ebay and found a few:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Latest-Product-AMD-8GB-2-X-4G...
Though, I'm not sure about the AMD bit and it is also more expensive than the previous link I sent.

I have also checked the motherboards tested vendor list but noticed that most/all of the RAM cards listed there are very expensive in comparison to what I can find.


For the next 3 years+, I'm sure I won't upgrade anything so easily apart from maybe the GPU (GTX 460) and no, I won't buy another GTX 460 to make it SLI, I would probably go for something like a GTX 560Ti seeing as how cheap that card is these days.

One thing is that, maybe something could happen in the future that could influence me to go for a SLI or a dual monitor or even triple, maybe if I won the lottery or something, which I don't play anyway x) But what I'm trying to say is that I want to be ready for future upgrades as I don't want to constantly replace my system (e.g. this time replacing motherboard to get more RAM since my current one can hold 8GB DDR2 which is far more expensive than DDR3).

So please ignore the SLI part, I won't be using it anytime soon, anyway. :p  At the moment I am just confused which RAM to purchase, 1333MHz CL9? CL8? 1600MHz?

And thanks for taking your time trying to help me by the way.

@photonboy: thanks for all that info.. but I'm only looking to replace my CPU, Motherboard and some new RAM that fits the Motherboard/CPU. I am not planning to replace my current Graphics card in the near future, and you may be right that 8GB of RAM will suit my needs, though I prefer 16GB of RAM (don't ask why :p ).

Thanks


With sandybridge and ddr3, there is not much of a price difference between 1333 ram and 1600. Mainly, 1600 ram is 1333 ram that has been binned and able to be overclocked to 1600 . As to latency, yes there is more of a difference between low , like 8 and the normal 9. It gets more complicated, but the net recommendation is to buy the cheapest supported 1.5v ram in the size you need. You will not be able to tell any difference without a synthetic benchmark.
Quote:
Only if you are looking at triple monitor gaming, then sli/cf will be needed. Even that is now changing with triple monitor support on top end cards.

for what it is worth, I would buy from a reputable seller with a good return policy. If you trust the e-bay vendor, then fine.
a c 146 V Motherboard
February 24, 2012 2:33:40 PM

CPU FAN:
Just FYI, but my BIOS incorrectly assigned "AUTO" for the CPU FAN when it needed "VOLTAGE."

If your CPU fan varies in speed (stress test to 100%) it's set up correctly. If it runs at 100% at all times check the BIOS settings. It also needs to be plugged into the "CPU_FAN" on your motherboard.
!