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Upgrading from Pentium 4 to i7-2600k

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March 1, 2012 11:08:02 PM

Hello,

The first comp I ever built for myself was 7 years ago and it is a Pentium 4. It's finally on it's last leg (I can barely surf the Internet, lol). It's been so long since I've been involved with hardware for home desktops that I need some guidance/reassurance. I would really like help with picking out a good graphics card (200-500$). Is it better to get 2 graphics cards or just 1 super graphics card?

My build is listed below. Any help, tips, or cracks at how bad my choices are, are welcome. Thanks!



NZXT Phantom 410 CA-PH410-B1 White Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$99.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$179.99

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
$169.99 -$20.00 Instant

CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10
$159.99 -$20.00 Instant

MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
$239.99 -$10.00 Instant

Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I72600K
$324.99

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
$20.99
Anonymous
March 1, 2012 11:36:57 PM

What are you going to use this computer for? Don't get 8gb sticks they are too expensive. And you can get the Corsair tx instead of the hx. Get a ssd and a cheap "green" drive for everything else. What's you budget? If your building a gaming computer drop down to the i5-2500k save money on the ram and PSU and get a 7970

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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March 1, 2012 11:49:43 PM

My take on Dual graphics cards vs. a good single card.

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.

As to your build:

If you will be running multithreaded enabled apps, then the 2600K is very good.
Otherwise for primarily gaming save $100 for elsewhere.

Considering the current crazy hard drive prices, I suggest you start with a SSD instead. Get a 80-120gb ssd and plan on a hard drive expansion when you need it later.

8gb ram sticks cost 50% more than 4gb sticks. Save some by buying a 16gb kit of 4 x 4gb instead.
Sandy bridge is insensitive to ram speeds. read this:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...
Also, tall heat spreaders are not necessary and can interfere with some cpu coolers.
Here is a ram kit you could consider:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4503/sandy-bridge-memory-...

For gaming, buy the best graphics card you feel comfortable paying for.
At $450 or so, I would go with the 28nm amd 7950. Pick your favorite brand.
At $330, GTX570 or a comparable 6950.
evga GTX570:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
At $300, the GTX560ti-448 or 6950:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You will get fair value for your money at any price point. The market for less than the top card is very competitive. There are fans of both nvidia and AMD.
March 1, 2012 11:52:51 PM

Thanks for the responses.

I'm basically trying to build an all around comp. Going to be doing some graphic design, web design, maybe some gaming, and other random day to day tasks. I haven't had a new comp in 7 years so I'm trying to spoil myself a bit cause this pentium 4 is unbearable, haha.

@h3sham - why is that mobo better? I did the compare function in newegg and couldn't really see anything crazy different.
Also I will mostly be doing design work and playing some video games (but not that hardcore). Do you have any other graphic card recommendations that might be less $$ and fit my needs?


@ivan1984 - I rather get the 8gb sticks now than have upgrade later. What size SSD would you recommend? I thought about getting an SSD but couldn't justify the price for it. Is it really worth it to get a SSD? My concerns were that a lot of programs require installation on the C:.

Thanks.
March 2, 2012 12:04:37 AM

I am a big fan of SSD's they are 50x faster in random i/o than any hard drive. It will make everything you do feel much snappier.
A 80gb-120gb ssd will hold the OS a bunch of apps and a handful of games. Add a hard drive later if you have to.

If you will install more than 16gb of ram, you will need to install windows 7 pro or higher. w7-home premium is limited to 16gb.
Unless you have some 64 bit enabled apps that can make use of lots of ram, 8gb or 16gb should be plenty.

If you will do only modest gaming, then a simple GTX560ti would be appropriate.

Since you have waited 7 years, can you wait a couple of months more? 22nm ivy bridge is expected to launch in april. It will run faster on a clock for clock basis, run cooler, and oc higher. All at about todays prices.
!