Intel i7 920 (2.66Ghz, 8mb cache) - Upgrade Necessary?


I have an Alienware Aurora I purchased in December 2009 (!), with the following build:
- Intel Core i7 920 (2.66Ghz, 8mb cache);
- 3GB Triple Chanel 1067Mhz DDR3;
- Dual 1GB NVidia GeForce GTS 240 - SLI Enabled graphics cards; and
- 1 TB SATA-II, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache Hard Drive.

I was pricing out a new system, but upon looking at Alienware’s website there doesn’t seem to be a massive difference in the technical specs. This seemed odd, as I would have thought two and a half years was the end of a computer's life now a days. Admittedly, I am behind the times with my hardware knowledge.

My question: does it make sense to replace the whole system to get a 3rd generation CPU? Or should I simply upgrade the attached (presumably more ram and possibly new video cards)? This is purely a gaming computer.

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

13 answers Last reply
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  1. The CPU is fine, the GPU is a classic Alienware move, it's a low end GPU only suitable for playing games like minecraft, and watching videos.

    3GB of RAM is ridiculous,
    12GB for only $65 will help a lot they say over 6GB is overkill, but at $65 why not make it more futureproof.

    The video card absolutely needs to be replaced, do you know what power supply your computer has? Specifically the wattage.

    A Budget for how much you would be willing to spend aswell would help.
  2. For your money, a GeForce GTX 670 + 12GB of tri channel RAM will be like night and day for you. Any power supply that could run dual GTS 240's shoudn't have much trouble with the GTX 670 given how efficient it is.

    To help squeeze even more out of it, look at investing in a new CPU cooler, and overclock the i7 920 to 3.7GHz or more even. If you do all that your system will be a monster.
  3. Agree with everything above CPU is still fine but amount of ram and those GPU's in SLI no longer cuts it. If you have 64 bit OS on there I would buy a 12GB kit (3x4GB) and upgrade the GPU to something like GTX560Ti, HD6950 or HD7850.
  4. The single most important part in a gaming computer is the video card , even though you have two gts 240's those cards are not very powerful and as said by Azathoth 3gb of ram is not good.
    The best part of the computer is the i7-920 , when the Gulftowns were released the 920 became very popular for it's overclocking ability and people would buy it rather then spend a lot more on the higher models because they were getting good performance from it.
    I would take out the ram and the video cards and replace them with 6gb ram and a GTX 560Ti. You could then add a second 560Ti later on for SLI. If you had a good amount for a budget you could get a GTX 570.
    Another thing that would spice up your Pc is a SSD for the OS drive.
  5. - Intel Core i7 920 (2.66Ghz, 8mb cache);
    - 3GB Triple Chanel 1067Mhz DDR3;
    - Dual 1GB NVidia GeForce GTS 240 - SLI Enabled graphics cards; and
    - 1 TB SATA-II, 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache Hard Drive.

    So the final recommendations are:
    Replace your stock CPU cooler with this, so you can overclock your 920 to even 3.2Ghz. Very easy to do.
    Extra RAM for $65.
    A new video card that will certainly be sufficient for your gaming needs.

    Overall this $320 total upgrade will modernize your computer and prepare it for current-standard gaming, for another few years to come as well.
  6. Hi guys - trying to revieve this thread....
    I purchased a very similar Alienware System with the same processor, graphics and RAM back in 2010 and I'm looking to upgrade it now....
    I was just wondering if anyone could add anything new- 8 months on from the last post?

    Any advice would be greatfully received :)

  7. you would need an upgrade in the video card department first and foremost.

    Any recommendations on what to go for - that the processor will still handle? (bearing in mind it hasn't been overclocked) OR... Am I flogging a dying horse - and should I upgrade the i7 processor to a later version?
    If so - would this also mean a motherboard change?
  8. dirtyferret said:
    your processor is more then capable for modern gaming

    your video card upgrade would depend on your budget

    I hadn't really given a budget a thought, but off the top of my head I'm thinking around the £200 mark - budget wise for the graphics card.
  9. dirtyferret said:
    you would be looking at the AMD 7870 or nvidia GTX660

    check out some reviews on games you may/will play to see which is better for you. here is one review from anandtech but other sites like toms, techpowerup, bit-tech, kit-guru, and techspot have good reviews also

    Thanks for your help...
    I was thinking as the original advice....
    Upgrading the RAM
    Upgrading the GPU
    And following your advice on the graphics card...

    Is there anything else -I should look at?
  10. dirtyferret said:
    if you want to OC the CPU, a cooler like the cooler master 212+/evo or silverstone AR01

    i would do the upgrades in the following order though
    GPU, followed by the RAM, followed by the cooler.

    I will do...
    Just one thing to ask... My system has the ALX chassis - so the CPU is liquid cooled. Do these units dry up over time or loose their 'ability' and would there be an advantage to swapping to the Cooler Master?
  11. dirtyferret said:
    then continue using the liquid cooler, its good enough for moderate OC

    Thanks for all your help - its much appreciated....
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