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Upgrade i5 Suggestions

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April 10, 2012 11:50:31 AM

I am sitting on a 2 year PC and i was thinking of two options : selling it or upgrade it. Mostly used for gaming, resolution 1920x1080. This is the list of components i am thinking of upgrading ram, hdd, gpu


Case : Thermaltake Wing RS
PSU : Chieftec (Sirtec) 500W 36A 12V 80+
Processor : i5-750 (OC 3.3/3.8 w/Turbo)
Mobo : GA-P55-USB3 (sata 2)
GPU : Gainward GTX460 @ 760/3800
Ram : 2x2 GB Kingston 1333 CL7
HDD : 1TB Seagate


Do you think it is worth it investing in a Sata III SSD, a pair of 4GB Ram and a better GPU? Or should i sell it to a friend while it still has some worth?

Also if any upgrade is decided what parts should i keep? I know i am sitting in a good CPU on a non-upgradable mobo but any advice is welcomed.

More about : upgrade suggestions

April 10, 2012 1:03:34 PM

You have a pretty good system and you don't actually need an upgrade anytime soon. If you want more gaming performance then upgrade to a GTX680, Radeon 7970/7950 etc. You can also consider a GTX 580 which recently had a price cut and its widely available. If you go with any of the card here I said, upgrade the PSU to a Corsair TX750 V2. You should also upgrade the RAM to Corsair Vengeance 8GB to get a much smoother game play. If you want you can add a Samsung 830 series, Crucial M4 based SSD drive. It will run smoothly on a SATA2 board. The fact is that Real world performance of a SSD drive don't have a great performance difference between a SATA2 vs SATA3 for example performance in file transfer, application loading, windows booting etc, but on synthetic benchmarking for example AIDA64, HD Tune, AS-SSD, PC Mark etc will show a huge difference but that doesn't matter, real world performance matters ultimately. You can stay with that configuration for at least 2 years from now on......

Happy Gaming :sol: 
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April 10, 2012 1:53:19 PM

Well, i'm not sure what your budget is, but let's play it safe and stay low.

If your 460 is the 768MB model and not the 1GB one, I would very much consider selling it or changing it. SLI would be a great way to go if your running the 460 1GB version. Dual 460's will rival any 580 framerate-wise, not vram wise.

Going to 8 gigs of ram or heck, even 16 gigs of ram is more than enough for gaming. I run alot of ram myself because it allows me to run without any pagefile. Any good 8 gig kit is around $35-$40. Keep the extra ram on hand just in case your new ram goes bad later. Spare parts are always a good thing. (16 gigs of ram is about $80)

Do you need an SSD? Are you not happy with your current 1TB HDD? Only consider this option if you have a real need for SSD speed. Storage does not help in gaming other than faster level loading times, or quicker loads in any game with an open world enviornment like fallout3/battlefield 3/skyrim.

If your really looking for speed, an SSD is the only way to go. I personally prefer a crucial M4 myself. If you look around the web, you will see that next to intel, it's the most reliable SSD out there. And it's firmware is written to handle nothing great, but everything very well. Think of a supercar vs a 4x4, in reading/writing huge files, sandforce based SSD's win. But put them into the 2Kb-32Kb realm where windows lives, and they are not as fast as an M4. I run a 256 M4 on my x58 motherboard in sata2 and it does great!.

Going back to your videocard, I'm personally an nvidia fan because of driver support/stability. However I do root for ATI. With that, Considering your PSU is not too powerful, I would recommend either a single 570/580 or a 7870/7950. Anything less would not be much of an upgrade.

Please keep in mind that the new 680's just came out. I'm only not recommending them because of availability. However, if your willing to wait, they are a great way to go. But as I mentioned before, SLIing 2 460's is also a killer way to keep your rig gaming for years!

And lastly, your PSU. I don't personally have much experience with chieftec PSU's, but online reviews suggest mixed feelings. i would consider a beefier and more reliable PSU if your going to SLI or run a videocard that draws more power.
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April 10, 2012 2:08:35 PM

I think you have a decent system. If anything I would upgrade your ram, PSU and GPU.
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April 10, 2012 2:12:44 PM

I'll go ahead and piggyback on these guys' suggestions. Your cpu is good for another maybe 2 years I'd say, as is your psu because you'll want to go for an AMD 7870/7850 because of it's awesome price point/performance right now and uses little power.. A 680 would be too much for your cpu, and wasteful. You should also just get another 2x2 gb ram kit, because RAM is a very low-limiting factor in most processes, as long as you have enough. These suggestions should give you the most benefit for your buck.
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Anonymous
April 10, 2012 2:13:33 PM

repeat after me 10 times:

upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU.

got it?
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April 10, 2012 2:21:41 PM

@wickedsnow

Great reply dude, much appreciated.

I have the 1Gb model, specifically the Gainward GS which is a very decent 460 gpu. I cannot SLI it cause of mobo restrictions (only xfire). I am indeed into MMORPG games so SSD is a must. I have spent most of my day reading forums and reviews but i cannot seem to draw any conclusions about what to buy. So maybe grab 8GB ram and an SSD as an upgrade path and later on change the whole system but keep those. I know this will turn out to an SSD thread but i have to ask between those that are available in my country. So between the following please advise what you think :


OCZ Vertex 3 SATA III 120GB
Intel 330 Series 120GB
Mushkin Chronos 120GB
CORSAIR SSD FORCEGT 120GB

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April 10, 2012 2:30:14 PM

Anonymous said:
repeat after me 10 times:

upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU. upgrade the PSU.

got it?



http://www.xpcgear.com/chieftec-aps-500s-power-supply.h...

Is it THAT bad? It is running pretty silent and cool for the past 2 years and with OC to CPU and GPU. I know it is not in the Silverstone, Corsair category but i think it is a decent one.

I found a review for the 550w model of the same product :

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cases/display/chieftec...

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April 10, 2012 2:41:14 PM

I have these RAM modules : KHX1333C7D3K2/4GX. Should i buy the same exact modules in order to get 8GB?
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April 10, 2012 2:42:29 PM

darkling said:
@wickedsnow

Great reply dude, much appreciated.

I have the 1Gb model, specifically the Gainward GS which is a very decent 460 gpu. I cannot SLI it cause of mobo restrictions (only xfire). I am indeed into MMORPG games so SSD is a must. I have spent most of my day reading forums and reviews but i cannot seem to draw any conclusions about what to buy. So maybe grab 8GB ram and an SSD as an upgrade path and later on change the whole system but keep those. I know this will turn out to an SSD thread but i have to ask between those that are available in my country. So between the following please advise what you think :


OCZ Vertex 3 SATA III 120GB
Intel 330 Series 120GB
Mushkin Chronos 120GB
CORSAIR SSD FORCEGT 120GB


I like the Mushkin Chronos 120GB.
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Anonymous
April 10, 2012 2:48:14 PM

darkling said:
http://www.xpcgear.com/chieftec-aps-500s-power-supply.h...

Is it THAT bad? It is running pretty silent and cool for the past 2 years and with OC to CPU and GPU. I know it is not in the Silverstone, Corsair category but i think it is a decent one.

I found a review for the 550w model of the same product :

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cases/display/chieftec...

i understand it has done fine so far; i am not knocking on the brand. to upgrade your system you very well may start to run into a problems when you a bigger gpu, multi gpu config or more peripherals like an SSD.
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April 10, 2012 2:52:32 PM

Anonymous said:
i understand it has done fine so far; i am not knocking on the brand. to upgrade your system you very well may start to run into a problems when you a bigger gpu, multi gpu config or more peripherals like an SSD.



For two extra modules of RAM and an SSD u think it should cause me trouble? How much more wattage will the system pull with these additions?

And also since you are the vet in this post, should SATA 2 prevent me from the pricier SSD and decide to go to an Async SATA 2 or even cheap SATA 3 SSD? Like the OCZ Agility or the Vertex Plus series?
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April 10, 2012 3:55:53 PM

I wouldn't go with a cheap one. I doubt you'll notice the difference.
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April 10, 2012 3:56:31 PM

Darkling,

Your PSU is not bad by any means, it's just not something that people would normally suggest. Too many people on Tom's have had PSU's go bad or blow-up in their face. We (collectively) are just looking out for your best interest. If your trust your PSU, that's all that matters.

For SSD's, reliability wins over speed any-day in my book. Out of the 4 you listed, here's what I suggest from top to bottom. personally, Intel is the best way to go if you want stability.

Intel 330
Muskin Chronos
Corsair Force GT
OCZ vertex 3.

I would shy away from the Corsair and OCZ as they use the new 2281 sandforce controller with 25nm nandflash, which has been having a world of issues and badluck follow it everywhere. 35nm nandflash does not have a problem currently. (example: vertex 3 max iops).

As I mentioned before, I am partial to nvidia videocards, but currently a 7950 is damn hard to beat, if not impossible price/performance/per watt wise. I don't think a 7870 would be enough of an upgrade for you. I would shoot for the 7950. Heck, spend an extra $10-20 bucks on a good OC version if you want. Just get something is 2GB or more of VRAM if you want it to last. Games of today and future games are making much more use of VRAM. If you can find a 4GB 7950 OC, then you have a winner!

The 7950 will not put any real strain on your PSU. However, anything more powerful will and a new PSU should be considered.

It's best to match RAM whenever possible. Another 2x2GB kit would be just fine. If you can't match the kit exactly, then just look for ram with the same voltage and timings of your current ram. If your not sure what that is, use an app like CPUid or SIW.exe to find out. If all else fails, just physically look at the stick. The voltage and timings should be listed on the side of the ram.

Let's fast forward for just a second. Let's say you get your additional ram, your SSD and say, a 7950 OC whatever. If you start having system reboots, random shutdowns, or game crashes, it's your PSU. You can verify by just putting your older 460 back in and if it's stable, then you need more power for your new videocard. However, if you get a sandforce based SSD 25nm, then it might be your SSD.

Here's the problem I see. It's possable that you get everything you want and it all goes very smooth and your very happy. (This is what we all want for you)

But it's more likely that you will run into weird issues or settings that you didn't account for before. And with that, new problems arise. You have a stable system right now as I understand it. Let's keep that stability in mind for just a second. Not enough power, a bad PSU, bad videocard drivers, buggy SSD, and new ram can all cause the exact same computer problems of random reboots or system hangs or game crashes. How do you ensure reliability and stability with your upgrades? How can you be sure what the problem is if any? here's how: Look below.

My advice? Follow these steps:
1. Get your ram and put it in your system in it's current state. Run a memtest for say 1 hour on all your ram. Maybe even run 3dmark06-11 to test your system. This will ensure that your ram is playing nice with the older sticks, ensure that enough voltage is getting to them, the correct timings are being used and are stable, and that your memory controller is not being stressed out because all of the banks are populated by ram.

2. Uninstall all your nvidia drivers, pull out your 460 and put in your new videocard. (Whatever your purchased) Test out a few games, run 3dmark again say 3-5 times in a row. If you have no crashes at this point, no bluescreens, and no random re-boots. (mostly rebooting during a game when the system is using the most power.), then so far so good. Your PSU will be enough to power your system and your ram/videocard addition are both perfectly stable.

3. Install your SSD. Put it on the sata2 port of your mobo and ensure that in your bios, AHCI mode is enabled for the controller/ports your using for your SSD. After windows is installed and all drivers are installed, do the following for SSD stability/reliability.

4. Disable pagefile, superfech, defrag, and indexing. These are SSD tweaks designed to help your SSD last longer and have just a touch more power on tap when needed. Now there are many more SSD tweaks that can/will help you, but those 4 are most important. The reason for these needed tweaks? All the optimizations that have been created over the years to help HDD's actually hinder/hurt SSD's. Go figure!

Anywho, take my advice and all others with a grain of salt, do a bit of digging with benchmarks/reviews about the parts we are all suggesting to you, and follow the steps I gave you and you should be a very happy guy!

I'll be monitoring this thread for the next 2-3 hours so that I can provide you with fairly immediate help. After that, gaming calls!

FYI: Any SSD you pick, go 3rd gen only, as the firmware/trim/controllers are much more optimized. sata2 vs sata 3 or not. just do it.
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Best solution

Anonymous
April 10, 2012 6:24:53 PM

darkling said:
For two extra modules of RAM and an SSD u think it should cause me trouble? How much more wattage will the system pull with these additions?

And also since you are the vet in this post, should SATA 2 prevent me from the pricier SSD and decide to go to an Async SATA 2 or even cheap SATA 3 SSD? Like the OCZ Agility or the Vertex Plus series?


having more than 4 gigs of for gaming isn't necessary. if your working with media like graphics or video than the more the better :) 

you can use a SATA III ssd with aSATA II port. you would come close to if not fully saturating the bandwidth when hitting 300 MBs reading the drive ie. during boot up, loading a program. but not during overall performance. in other words; yeah go for it, it will add just about 5 watts to your system.
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April 11, 2012 6:17:44 AM

Best answer selected by darkling.
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