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Thought on upgrading i7 920 system

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March 30, 2012 9:35:19 PM

Here are the particulars:

Asus P6T
i7 920 (OC to 3.8 Ghz, 200x19)
Noctua cooling (45C idle, 75C loaded)
6GB OCZ platinum running @ 1603 Mhz
Corsair 750WXTX (I believe) PS
MSI Twin Frozr GTX275


So.. I was thinking of getting an SSD and discovered that this board doesn't do SATAIII. So I thought meh, I'll get a PCIE controller for $50 and be done with it. Then wondered what's new and is it worth upgrading so I can bequeath this one to the kids (we game together).

I usually spent about $1k when I upgrade. Can I just do a GPU and the SSD on this and have that be worth it or have CPUs really come far in the last 12-18 months?

Thanks
a b B Homebuilt system
March 30, 2012 9:40:28 PM

When Ivy Bridge comes out, I think it would be a good time to upgrade. PCIe 3.0, support for 1600 RAM, faster. Yeah, that gpu is getting dated.
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March 30, 2012 9:47:57 PM

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm thinking that the board/CPU upgrade right now would be incremental, but yeah I hear you about the GPU. I can't run everything maxed anymore, particularly at 1080p.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 30, 2012 9:54:50 PM

I don't think it's worth upgrading the CPU from that. GPU you could do some good with, yes.

As far as the SSD goes, there's an excellent article here about exactly your dilemma:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sata-6gbps-performa...

Bottom line is, SSDs do perform better on SATAIII, but even if they're on SATAII they'll blow a regular hard drive out of the water, which is the real benefit. Going to an SSD is like upgrading from a bicycle to a race car; SATAII vs. SATAIII is the difference between driving the race car 180mph or 190mph. These benchmarks in particular from that same article really demonstrate that (Intel 320 is a 3Gb/s only SSD, the rest are normal 6Gb/s SSDs)
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sata-6gbps-performa...

If you want my recommendation, I'd do the SSD now and try it with the existing motherboard. You ought to be extremely happy with the improvement. If for some reason you're not, then think about going to SATAIII.


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March 30, 2012 11:22:32 PM

Thanks capt_taco, that was a good read.

I think I'll go for the SSD and see if I can find a good deal on a GPU. these can always go over to the kids later. I see a couple PCIE SATA3 cards kicking around for fairly cheap, so I'll give one of those a try as well.

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a b B Homebuilt system
March 31, 2012 2:15:35 AM

Make sure you do your research when shopping for that controller card. PCI Express 2.0 has a bandwidth of 500MB/lane, which is the same as 4Gb per lane.

So the practical implication is that, if you buy a **PCIe x1** card that's labeled SATAIII (which are the majority of them), you'll effectively only be increasing your bandwidth from 3Gb/s to 4Gb/s -- NOT to the full 6Gb/s. A **PCIe x4** card will give you the full bandwidth, but you'd need to plug it into a PCIe x16 slot on your board. So those are less common. The likely reason being that on most motherboards, it would be a problem because plugging something into the second x16 slot could reduce both slots to x8/x8 because they often share lanes. But you're lucky in that you have a board with true x16/x16, plus an additional x4 slot, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Anyway - beware of the PCIe x1 cards, which are most of the ones at the lower price levels. They call them "SATAIII" because SATAII caps out at 3Gb/s and anything between 3.01-6Gb/s can technically be called SATAIII. But they're not one and the same.

Having said that, the bottleneck at 4Gb/s versus 6Gb/s in terms of practical operation would be minimal, probably barely noticeable to you. Then again, the difference between 3 and 4 may or may not be much either. Really your call on all of this; just a question of how much money vs. speed is important to you.
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a b B Homebuilt system
April 1, 2012 9:53:58 PM

if your spending 1k$ to upgrade why not just give that to the kids and buy the new i5 ivy worth 1k or so $ it should give you great performance for both computer and your wallet
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April 11, 2012 2:54:50 AM

Best answer selected by leachman.
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