GAWD I'm tired of spending my life researching computer components. Technology changes so fast by the time I think I've made a decision, something better comes along. My personal situation keeps me house bound so my media PC is my life (not used for gaming). I'm on a fixed income though I don't sacrifice quality if I can help it. I usually wait until I have enough money to buy what I want/need though sometimes make the wrong decision - which is what I did when I bought my PC. I've decided to expand/upgrade/replace with quality components that I can later use as I simultaneously, albeit slowly build my dream media PC.
I now have an Asus CM5671 barely 18 months old, with 4GB memory(can add 4 more) Intel I5 dual core, Intel G45/43 integrated video/sound, PSU 300W, Hauppauge 2250 dual TV tuner, hooked up to my 37" Panasonic flat panel where I access WMC.
I have a 2nd smaller HP 20" monitor within arms reach for surfing the web, amateur web design using excel, word and so forth while watching TV/movies on my flat panel.
Not realizing how quickly I'd use up HD space, I added a 2nd internal 1TB HD and then an external 1.5 TB drive and then finally 3TB Goflex network storage so I think I'm set. I also just replaced an old WRT54g router with a Linksys E4200.
Not surprisingly, with all the HD content I download, store and watch, my system is slow at times, audio is out of sync often
and the movies stutter and lag.
I'm now working on adding a new video card to an empty pci-e slot and I understand that it renders the integrated card useless which is fine. I'm not savvy enough to get into the BIOS and make them both work (or screw them both up), which probably isn't necessary anyway....right?
I am leaning toward the HD5670 with a new Corsair 650 higher end PSU such as the TX series. Unless of course, you think that a
CX series (much cheaper) is more than satisfactory.
Keeping in mind that I intend to pull out any new components I buy now to put in a new PC later, am I on the right track or should I be thinking further into the future? Is a new graphics card the next logical step here or should I be upgrading or replacing something else first? Your recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Okay, you are on the right track, I think your media PC will benefit from a GPU upgrade.
The HD5670 is suitable for your needs, you should also compare it to the Radeon HD6570, both are almost perfect for your needs (the 6570 is a slightly better/faster GPU)
The PSU upgrade is a good idea, however you must be sure that your case has enough room for it to fit.
RAM is not really important in a media centre so your 4GB is enough, and the dual core CPU is sufficient for a media centre, however eventually upgrading it could also yeild some nice performance improvements.
Overall I think you have the right idea by adding a small GPU, it will help hugely with HD playback.
What a relief. I can't afford to make any more mistakes. In fact I didn't even consider that the new power supply might not fit. I'm guessing I just need to compare physical measurements? Also, since you brought up the HD 6570, my 2nd choice was going to be an HD 6770 but thought it might be overkill. I will be taking your advice to upgrade the CPU down the road, so would the 6770 be a better choice or did you recommend the 6570 based on the potential CPU upgrade? Is the 650 PSU sufficient for either one?
I just bought a Corsair 650w HX PSU for $118. I didn't open my case to measure so I'm crossing my fingers. I guess I can always return it. Also, I was looking at some more video cards and saw that the HD6850 REALLY ROCKS except for the power it uses compared to the 5760. It blows the 6570 and 6770 out of the water too. If I'm going to spend over $100 on a card anyway, what about that one?