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Help with PC upgrade project

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March 4, 2012 8:09:04 PM

Hi There,

I'm a long-time reader, first time poster here and I could really use some insight/knowledge on where to go with my current PC upgrade. I've put a fair bit of time into researching parts/upgrade directions, but I've become stumped as to whether at this point I should be trying to work with what I've got in upgrading, or start fresh, and further to that second question whether I can use some of the parts in my current PC. Before the nitty gritty technical stuff I should admit that while I have a decent grasp on terminology from the internet, I'm pretty practically inexperienced, so hopefully I dont ask too many questions I've unwittingly read answers too.

I've got a Dell Inspiron 530 with 3GB of RAM, a 2.40GHz Intel Duo Processor E4600, NVIDIA GEforce 8300 video card, running vista home basic 32bit. I want to put 3-500$ in my PC to make it a better gaming machine, specifically for Star Wars the Old Republic (SWTOR).

When running the game my CPU rarely maxes out (60-70%), which has led me to believe that my graphics card is the main bottle neck in my machine. In looking into all this I also discovered that my power supply, 160w, is far less than the recommended 450w for gaming machines. This is the main source of my issue, if I'm going to put money into my machine in the form of a video card, is it a waste to do so without an adequate power supply? If so, can I upgrade my power supply without screwing over the rest of my machine?

Any help/advice anyone could give is much appreciated, if you need any more specs I can post them, with directions on how to find them much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help

More about : upgrade project

March 5, 2012 2:50:03 AM

Is your desktop a slim-line? If so, I want to say now that they can be (but not always are) a PITA to upgrade. You'll have to buy a special slim-line PSU in addition to a GPU that is slimline. To that end, its doable. But if you want to drop $500, if you can squeeze it, add in another $100 and you can build yourself a decent gaming rig from scratch, using today's hardware/tech.

Also, is your desktop the 530, 530a, or 530c?
March 5, 2012 3:30:17 AM

Its best you build a new PC for 500$
If you have a slim-line desktop it could be a problem in buying new slim PSU&slim GPU.( :pfff:  not such a good idea)
I say get a new PC with
CPU - i3 2120 -127$
GPU - ATI Radeon HD 5770(now known as HD 6770) - 109$
PSU - corsair cx 500 - 65$
Ram - 4GB DDR3 RAM -50-70$
Motherboard - Gigabyte - H61M-DS2(or any supported motherboard according to your need)
Cabinet -

So hope this helped :hello: 
Related resources
March 5, 2012 3:40:58 AM

Yadhu said:
Its best you build a new PC for 500$
If you have a slim-line desktop it could be a problem in buying new slim PSU&slim GPU.( :pfff:  not such a good idea)
I say get a new PC with
CPU - i3 2120 -127$
GPU - ATI Radeon HD 5770(now known as HD 6770) - 109$
PSU - corsair cx 500 - 65$
Ram - 4GB DDR3 RAM -50-70$
Motherboard - Gigabyte - H61M-DS2(or any supported motherboard according to your need)
Cabinet -

So hope this helped :hello: 


This guy has a good basic build outlined. A couple of additional suggestions:

Go for an AMD 6850 GPU. They run about 110 - 120 after rebate if you look around,

Go for 8gb of DDR3 ram. Not sure why the guy above listed 4gb for $50. You can get an 8gb set for about 40 - 50 after rebate, or even normal price. Sometimes cheaper.

Go for a better motherboard. Preferably Asus. My last 2 gigabyte boards died within a week. :)  Get an H67 series, or z68 series.

If you'd like a more detailed build, Id be happy to give more recommendations.
March 5, 2012 4:20:42 AM

claec said:
This guy has a good basic build outlined. A couple of additional suggestions:

Go for an AMD 6850 GPU. They run about 110 - 120 after rebate if you look around,

Go for 8gb of DDR3 ram. Not sure why the guy above listed 4gb for $50. You can get an 8gb set for about 40 - 50 after rebate, or even normal price. Sometimes cheaper.

Go for a better motherboard. Preferably Asus. My last 2 gigabyte boards died within a week. :)  Get an H67 series, or z68 series.

If you'd like a more detailed build, Id be happy to give more recommendations.

Dude forgive me i did not consider using products after rebate
yes i see the price i listed for ram is a bit too high i guess you can get 8GB ddr3 1666Mhz for 50-70$
ciao ;) 
March 5, 2012 10:29:13 AM

Wow, thanks for the great replies guys. I've got the regular 530, not slimline. So is the general consensus to move on from the Inspiron, even though its not slimcase? I'll admit I was getting a similiar feeling, although as of last night I'd resolved to only upgrade the PSU/video card.

Embarassingly enough, I dont have the first clue what an optical drive ie, is that the physical CD drive? From this it sounds as though I can raid my current machine for parts, could I move over my optical drive/hard drive? Also, can I move the fans to the new machine? (I figured this is a seperate question as its more likely that to transfer these to a case they werent designed for could prove problematic)

I'm getting pretty excited at the start of this project, its great to have a resource like this so I dont slam my head into the wall 40+ times before my computer'll run, thanks again for the input.

One additional question I had regarding the suggested processor, I seem to remember reading somewhere that the i-_____ line of processors were meant to be overclocked? I put some serious time into learning about GPU/CPU overclocking, and still felt it was too much of a gamble for my parts seeing as I understood too little, is this the case? and if so wouldnt it be smarter then to up/down grade appropriately to avoid an overclocked CPU?
March 5, 2012 10:55:34 AM

AchillesLast said:
Wow, thanks for the great replies guys. I've got the regular 530, not slimline. So is the general consensus to move on from the Inspiron, even though its not slimcase? I'll admit I was getting a similiar feeling, although as of last night I'd resolved to only upgrade the PSU/video card.

Embarassingly enough, I dont have the first clue what an optical drive ie, is that the physical CD drive? From this it sounds as though I can raid my current machine for parts, could I move over my optical drive/hard drive? Also, can I move the fans to the new machine? (I figured this is a seperate question as its more likely that to transfer these to a case they werent designed for could prove problematic)

I'm getting pretty excited at the start of this project, its great to have a resource like this so I dont slam my head into the wall 40+ times before my computer'll run, thanks again for the input.

One additional question I had regarding the suggested processor, I seem to remember reading somewhere that the i-_____ line of processors were meant to be overclocked? I put some serious time into learning about GPU/CPU overclocking, and still felt it was too much of a gamble for my parts seeing as I understood too little, is this the case? and if so wouldnt it be smarter then to up/down grade appropriately to avoid an overclocked CPU?


Overclocking means turning up the core voltages
In exact words it means increasing voltage supply to CPU/GPU
So that its perfomance can be increased
IT wont be so good with every processors so leave it
sometimes you may even burnout your CPU/GPU
Optical Disk Drive-CD/DVD/Blue-ray etc..

So hope this helped
ciao ;) 


March 5, 2012 12:06:02 PM

Clearing up the optical drive definitely helped. I understand what CPU/GPU overclocking is, I was more wondering as to whether the suggested processor, CPU - i3 2120, would be better to replace with a CPU that isn't as geared towards those tech-savvy enough to overclock?

Also, I've talked to several friends who said that I'd be able to take the harddrive out of my 530, but that it might not boot, as I understood it this means that if I'm to use my current harddrive in my new PC I'm going to need a new OS. Which isnt a big deal to me, since in going from 3-8gigs of ram I'll need to upgrade to 64bit anyway.

I was curious as to what kind of cases you guys would go for, as this is one area I'm really ignorant in. Aesthetics are of minimal importance to me, more concerned about the most bang for my buck, while recognizing that I'm not totally sure as to the difference/importane of internal versus external 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 bays.

Thanks again guys, can't tell ya how much better this forum information has been than aggressive googling hahaha.


EDIT: Sorry I should have added, the case question is assuming I don't use the Insipron 530 case, from what I've learned it seems as though moving away from the restrictions of pre-made PCs and their cases is a much smarter long-term play...that being said, I defer to you hardware gurus out there to maybe set me straight.
March 5, 2012 12:26:20 PM

AchillesLast said:
Clearing up the optical drive definitely helped. I understand what CPU/GPU overclocking is, I was more wondering as to whether the suggested processor, CPU - i3 2120, would be better to replace with a CPU that isn't as geared towards those tech-savvy enough to overclock?

Also, I've talked to several friends who said that I'd be able to take the harddrive out of my 530, but that it might not boot, as I understood it this means that if I'm to use my current harddrive in my new PC I'm going to need a new OS. Which isnt a big deal to me, since in going from 3-8gigs of ram I'll need to upgrade to 64bit anyway.

I was curious as to what kind of cases you guys would go for, as this is one area I'm really ignorant in. Aesthetics are of minimal importance to me, more concerned about the most bang for my buck, while recognizing that I'm not totally sure as to the difference/importane of internal versus external 5 1/4 and 3 1/2 bays.

Thanks again guys, can't tell ya how much better this forum information has been than aggressive googling hahaha.


EDIT: Sorry I should have added, the case question is assuming I don't use the Insipron 530 case, from what I've learned it seems as though moving away from the restrictions of pre-made PCs and their cases is a much smarter long-term play...that being said, I defer to you hardware gurus out there to maybe set me straight.


Ok! the i3 2120 is not meant for overclock it is clock locked
i3 processors do not have turbo boost(don't waste your time thinking about turbo boost)
so overclocking is not possible

For cases
cooler master cabinets are good (but very costly around 5000 Indian rupee)
Power supply (corsair,coolermaster are good but costly)

But you don't need that since its not a high end PC
go with i ball brilliance cabinet with 500w PSU

Hope this helped
ciao ;) 
March 5, 2012 2:35:50 PM

AchillesLast said:
Hi There,

When running the game my CPU rarely maxes out (60-70%), which has led me to believe that my graphics card is the main bottle neck in my machine. In looking into all this I also discovered that my power supply, 160w, is far less than the recommended 450w for gaming machines. This is the main source of my issue, if I'm going to put money into my machine in the form of a video card, is it a waste to do so without an adequate power supply? If so, can I upgrade my power supply without screwing over the rest of my machine?

Any help/advice anyone could give is much appreciated, if you need any more specs I can post them, with directions on how to find them much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help


Are you sure about that 160w power supply? The 530 generally has a 300W power supply. Check on that. If you have the 300W you can use a AMD/ATI Radeon 6670 Video Card even though the recommended power supply is 400W. This would be an inexpensive and simple upgrade. Prices for the card average about $90-100 but there are rebates available for some of the versions. Not sure about how this will work with Star Wars Old Republic, though, but it is better than what you have in your machine now and does exceed the minimal requirements for the game.
March 5, 2012 4:33:31 PM

iamwhoiam99 said:
Are you sure about that 160w power supply? The 530 generally has a 300W power supply. Check on that. If you have the 300W you can use a AMD/ATI Radeon 6670 Video Card even though the recommended power supply is 400W. This would be an inexpensive and simple upgrade. Prices for the card average about $90-100 but there are rebates available for some of the versions. Not sure about how this will work with Star Wars Old Republic, though, but it is better than what you have in your machine now and does exceed the minimal requirements for the game.


I'm about as sure as I can ever be as far as computer hardware specs are concerned. I've read the same thing about the inspiron's 350w power supply, the Dell receipt they emailed me didnt list the PSU hardware and the only wattage number on the physical PSU is 160w. My best guess is that in 2008 when I ordered the computer I saw a chance to save some money by downgrading the PSU and didnt know enough not to skimp on a power supply.

If theres anyway to check through the computer, or if the voltage numbers can tell you more I can find out/post them, but the only wattage number is 160.
March 5, 2012 5:41:43 PM

Personally, I think that if you're building a new system the only things worth saving from your Dell would be the optical drive and maybe the hard drive. In reality though, you could probably wipe the hard drive and re-sell your Dell to help finance your new build.

As for computer cases, there are quite a few that can be found for around $40 - $60 that will serve you just fine

This case here is an Antec 300. Probably your best choice for a basic build.

For a power supply, it is vital to get a name-brand. This combo comes with a corsair 500 watt power supply and a Western Digital 500gb hard drive. Corsair is probably one of the best power supply brands, and western digital makes great hard drives.

Here's a good motherboard and CPU combo It comes with the Intel i3 2120 and an Asus P67 motherboard that will be compatible with future CPU upgrades.

As for RAM, a basic set like this will be more than sufficient. Not fancy, but its reliable, cheap, and requires no rebate.

For a video card, pick up an AMD 6850 when its on sale. I couldn't find any awesome deals, but this one for $130 isnt too bad.

As for an optical drive, this Asus is a good choice

So, in summary:

Motherboard/CPU combo: $231
Video Card: $130 (after $30 rebate)
Case: $60
Power Supply and Hard Drive: $135 (There is a $10 rebate and promo code that would bring it down about $20 in the end)
RAM: $37
DVD Drive: $21

Total cost after rebates and such: $600. Plus probably $20 of shipping. You could get a less powerful GPU to save some cash if you like.

This is my recommendation. Sell your Dell and build this.
March 5, 2012 7:24:30 PM

Claec,

Great idea on selling the Dell to fund my rebuild, I'm hoping I'll get around $200 for 'er. Having never sold an old computer I was wondering if you, or anyone else, had any input on how to best go about it? If I had to do it right now I'd pop 'er on craigslist for a week so I dont have to deal with packaging, then toss it on ebay I guess. I'll solve the issue of an ebay tutorial on my own time, but if there are any other resources I could use to sell my old Dell that someone could point me towards I'd really appreciate it.

I really like the build you've proposed and I've started putting it together on pcpartpicker, one question I had was whether I needed a separate cooling system, now that I'm planning on hawking the Dell, or if the case you recommended (Antec 300) comes with an adequate one?

I was also generally curious about crossfire for video cards, it may be the excitement of a new build but the idea of buying two video cards linked in tandem has become irresistible to me haha. I thought I remembered reading somewhere that the improvement wasn't worth the cost, but it seems a great option for future improvements to me.

Again, thanks a ton for all the helpful input.

EDIT: Grammar.
March 5, 2012 7:45:10 PM

1. For selling your desktop, I personally recommend Ebay. Ive been frustrated by craigslist too many times :)  However, if you're willing to deal with it, try craigslist first by all means. Those are really the two best options for selling in my opinion. You can also list it on the classifieds in this forum :)  As for price, $200 is probably fair. You could probably get $250 for it if you make sure it has the operating system COA on the back. Was it windows 7 BTW?

2. Cooling system. Basically any case you buy will come pre-installed with one or two 120mm fans. The antec 300 comes with 1x120mm fan and 1x140mm fan preinstalled. Those will be ample for your system.

3. Dual graphics cards. Im personally not a huge fan. One GPU is more than enough for the most part unless you want to run things at ultra quality. Plus, the i3 2120 would bottleneck many dual GPU situations. Also, if this is your first time build you'd probably be better off sticking to the basics :)  If you'd like the option to throw a second card in later, I could find a different motherboard for you that supports dual GPUs.

March 5, 2012 7:55:17 PM

Thanks for the selling info Claec, my OS is Vista homebasic.

As far as graphic cards are concerned, would I then be better off finding a non-crossfire graphics card if its not a huge boost/my motherboard doesn't support it? I've been perusing the pcparts site (btw huge thank you to whoever was the first one to toss that up here, what a clutch site) and I saw a 55mhz upgrade for $2 or so in the HIS H685QNT1GD instead of the HIS H685FN1GD. I've added it to my system specs, but I was curious whether you didnt see it, or steered clear of it for any reason?
March 5, 2012 8:37:56 PM

I feel guilty doubleposting, but I went and filled this out and then realized its probably better to put it here, rather than spam the forum, and I can always move/delete/repost it elsewhere if needed.

After tons of useful suggestions and lots of fiddling here is my pcparts spec/new build form.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/5pCn

Approximate Purchase Date: Finalizing the specs this week to hopefully purchase early next week

Budget Range: Current spec is at $650, budget is $700 with some wiggle room

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming/movies/internet, ultimately I'm building the PC to game

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have a pcpartpicker.com spec outline, but if you'd prefer me to link each piece separately please let me know and I'll edit the post.

Country: Canada

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Really my only preference is to go AMD over NVIDIA, my main game is currently SWTOR and its much more friendly to AMD graphic cards.

Overclocking: Yes / No / Maybe: No, don't really feel savvy enough to do it

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / No / Maybe: Maybe, leaning towards no as I've heard the benefits are negligible in light of the cost.

Monitor Resolution: This may be something I need some help on, I'm currently at 1260x768, but I'm running an NVIDIA 8300 on my HD TV (not sure exact inches), so one of my questions is whether I use this with my new rig via a HD cable? If so, I think its 1080p, and I'm not sure what that resolution is.

Additional Comments: Not alot of stuff to add here, just gearing it towards SWTOR mostly, and I would like to have an HD connection to my TV.
March 5, 2012 8:39:57 PM

I only looked for parts on newegg and always make my purchases through them if possible. I actually don't even use the pcparts site, though it is an excellent resource. The HIS 6850 that they have listed for $2 more doesn't include shipping. After shipping, it is about $10 more. Technically, it could make a difference, but I personally would stick to ordering everything from Newegg. No, I don't work for them, I've just been ordering parts from them for about 10 years :) 

As to the crossfire question, basically all cards -support- crossfire, so I would actually recommend getting a crossfire capable board.

Switch out the parts to the following:

CPU/DVD Drive This is a good combo for the i3 2120 and the same Asus DVD Burner.

This motherboard. This is a really solid Gigabyte motherboard. It has USB 3.0, Sata 6.0, and is crossfire ready.

This graphics card. Its a 6870 instead of a 6850. A bit more powerful, and only $10 more.

All in all, with the changes I added, the price should still be somewhere around $600
March 5, 2012 9:01:51 PM

Thanks, I appreciate the recommendation since I'm new to buying hardware. I've made the changes you suggested and ended up with this setup for around 625, not including the deal from the CPU/optical drive combo http://pcpartpicker.com/p/5pH2 .

I'm going to let that build marinate and see if I get any more ideas from anyone over the next few days, which I'm hoping to use to get a feel for whats ahead. I've never built a PC before so I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of good resources to learn about the PC construction process?

I was also wondering if anyone could clear up the HD question I put in the new build form. I've got a 1080p HD TV as my monitor, and I was wondering if I can use the HD cable I have to connect it with my new rig? (I'm currently using my old RGB monitor cable as I have no HD slot in my current rig).
March 5, 2012 11:35:32 PM

AchillesLast said:
Thanks, I appreciate the recommendation since I'm new to buying hardware. I've made the changes you suggested and ended up with this setup for around 625, not including the deal from the CPU/optical drive combo http://pcpartpicker.com/p/5pH2 .

I'm going to let that build marinate and see if I get any more ideas from anyone over the next few days, which I'm hoping to use to get a feel for whats ahead. I've never built a PC before so I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of good resources to learn about the PC construction process?

I was also wondering if anyone could clear up the HD question I put in the new build form. I've got a 1080p HD TV as my monitor, and I was wondering if I can use the HD cable I have to connect it with my new rig? (I'm currently using my old RGB monitor cable as I have no HD slot in my current rig).


Well while building a new system never go with cheap PSU's
Go for 80+ certified PSU's

Your new GPU will have HDMI support.
Get an HDMI cable and connect it to your monitor.
Sometimes newer GPU's comes with mini HDMI
so 1st find out what type of HDMI your GPU has regular/Mini port .
Then buy the cable

ciao ;) 
March 6, 2012 2:57:33 AM

Yadhu said:
Overclocking means turning up the core voltages
In exact words it means increasing voltage supply to CPU/GPU


This is partially incorrect. Overclocking is making something run faster, not use more power. Increasing voltages is a by-product of overclocking, as you are making the unit work harder (just like flooring it at a green light eats a lot of gas, 'flooring' your CPU/GPU eats more power, thus more voltages). It is possible to under-volt a processor to some degree to save on power, even when overclocked.

Overclocking today on an Intel processor is as simple as changing the system multiplier. However, only certain Intel processors can be overclocked, and those are designated with a K at the end of their name (IE, 2500K, 2600K, etc).

@OP

Don't forget to budget in your operating system. You won't be able to enjoy your new computer if you don't buy an OS for it. Windows 7 Home Premium OEM runs about $90 on Newegg.com last I checked (which was a month or so ago).

As for wiping your dell's HDD and selling it, that is a good way to finance part of your project. However, and this is important, be sure to find and download a program called Dban. Its a HDD wiper that ensures that anything you put on your Hard drive is wiped forever. Even wiping your drive normally could still leave recoverable info on the HDD. Dban is a permanent format, making the drive essentially the same as if you were to buy a HDD from the store. After you nuke it (or Dban it, I should say) then you can reinstall windows fresh onto it and THEN sell it.


March 6, 2012 3:49:35 AM

phyco126 said:
This is partially incorrect. Overclocking is making something run faster, not use more power. Increasing voltages is a by-product of overclocking, as you are making the unit work harder (just like flooring it at a green light eats a lot of gas, 'flooring' your CPU/GPU eats more power, thus more voltages). It is possible to under-volt a processor to some degree to save on power, even when overclocked.

Overclocking today on an Intel processor is as simple as changing the system multiplier. However, only certain Intel processors can be overclocked, and those are designated with a K at the end of their name (IE, 2500K, 2600K, etc).

@OP

Don't forget to budget in your operating system. You won't be able to enjoy your new computer if you don't buy an OS for it. Windows 7 Home Premium OEM runs about $90 on Newegg.com last I checked (which was a month or so ago).

As for wiping your dell's HDD and selling it, that is a good way to finance part of your project. However, and this is important, be sure to find and download a program called Dban. Its a HDD wiper that ensures that anything you put on your Hard drive is wiped forever. Even wiping your drive normally could still leave recoverable info on the HDD. Dban is a permanent format, making the drive essentially the same as if you were to buy a HDD from the store. After you nuke it (or Dban it, I should say) then you can reinstall windows fresh onto it and THEN sell it.


Dude why complicate things for him :sarcastic:  (by product of overclocking!)
Changing the system multiplier(i,e you can change the clock speed of your processor eg- you can change from 2.5Ghz-2.9/3Ghz)
OK the processors that can be overclocked is with K at end of its name
Like i7-2600k
i5-2500k
You can overclock/under clock accordingly
Can i make a CPU/GPU run faster without increasing its core voltages?? :sweat:  I don't think so
Thanks for the info phyco126.i myself has learned new things :D 
ciao ;) 
March 7, 2012 2:36:26 PM

@ Phyco

Thanks for the hard drive wiping suggestion....and reminding me I have to shell out $100 bucks for an OS >.< haha. On that note does anyone have any input on what direction I go? I currently run Vista, and I dont mind it, but my gut would tell me to go with Windows 7 home basic, or the equivalent, I think its home premium or something...

@ Yadhu

Thanks for the HD cable information, not sure what you meant regarding the PSU efficiency %. The one I currently have slotted is 80% efficiency, is it bad to just meet the bare minimum like that? I'm not opposed to increasing my budget reasonably (around, but hopefully under, $50 or so) if it means a significant PSU quality upgrade.

As far as overclocking is concerned I'm pretty set against doing it, I'm just not tech savvy enough to trust myself setting it up and maintaining it.

Thanks again for all the input guys
March 7, 2012 3:18:20 PM

If you can afford it, I'd highly recommend bumping the processor up to an entry-level Core i5-2300. It's a quad-core w/ Turbo Boost vs a dual-core, so the processor will last you a lot longer than the i3. It's my opinion that if you go with a low-end i3, it will end up being your bottle-neck in the next couple of years

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

Also, if you ever plan on upgrading to a more robust video card, or going CrossFire/SLI, a new PSU will have to be included with that future upgrade. Because a 500w PSU won't do.

Get Windows 7 64-bit. Don't bother with 32-bit Windows; it simply can't put to use the new hardware you're looking to buy. I'd recommend going up to Professional, but Home Premium will work.

Just my two cents.
March 7, 2012 3:48:15 PM

Thanks pure_drivel, I remember researching quad vs. dual core for my 2008 buy (which in hindsight may have been poor research given my PSU and some other components), and I remember reading that the quad vs. dual difference was negligible, that you were better off just going with a high speed dual core. Is that still the case? I'm not gonna lie the prospect of doubling the # of cores sharing the workload just seems fundamentally appealing to me.

I'm definitely not opposed to the upgrade, does the upgraded processor have the same compatibility with the other components? and do you have any suggestions as to what should I be looking at for the PSU upgrade?
March 7, 2012 3:50:40 PM

Might I humbly recommend dropping more coin, and having yourself a very nice rig that will last you a while:

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/5twQ
Part price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/5twQ/by_merchant

CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: Intel DP67BAB3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($115.99 @ Mwave)
Memory: Patriot Viper Xtreme Series, Division 2 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Microcenter)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($97.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 6770 1GB Video Card ($132.55 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $861.47
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2012-03-07 12:50 EST-0500)
March 7, 2012 3:57:33 PM

AchillesLast said:
Thanks pure_drivel, I remember researching quad vs. dual core for my 2008 buy (which in hindsight may have been poor research given my PSU and some other components), and I remember reading that the quad vs. dual difference was negligible, that you were better off just going with a high speed dual core. Is that still the case? I'm not gonna lie the prospect of doubling the # of cores sharing the workload just seems fundamentally appealing to me.

I'm definitely not opposed to the upgrade, does the upgraded processor have the same compatibility with the other components? and do you have any suggestions as to what should I be looking at for the PSU upgrade?


To hold you over for future upgrades, a 750-850w PSU will do nicely.

Processor compatibility is fine with the Mobo you selected. It's all LGA 1155 (Sandy Bridge).

I suppose the difference between a dual-core and quad-core may arguably be negligible at the moment. And by the time they actually start coding games to use all four cores the architecture will likely have changed again. Maybe disregard this suggestion.

Also, the HD 6870 is a marked upgrade is a marked improvement over the 6770. Stick with the high-end i3 and get the better GPU.
March 7, 2012 4:19:15 PM

REVISED:

Part list permalink: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/5tyb
Part price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/5tyb/by_merchant

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($125.35 @ Compuvest)
Motherboard: Intel DP67BAB3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($115.99 @ Mwave)
Memory: Patriot Viper Xtreme Series, Division 2 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Microcenter)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($97.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 6870 1GB Video Card ($177.86 @ Newegg)
Case: Antec Three Hundred Illusion ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHBS112-04 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $882.14
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated 2012-03-07 13:18 EST-0500)
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