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Looking to upgrade 2yr old gaming PC

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April 26, 2012 9:12:53 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: A.S.A.P. BUDGET RANGE: say $300-$1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Rendering Fraps and DSLR Footage, Livestreaming, Movies, Surfing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I built the system in the best answer here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/285323-31-1200-gaming

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com amazon.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States
PARTS PREFERENCES: No preference
OVERCLOCKING: Not interested
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 2x 1680x1050
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Looking for best upgrade path, if one exsists. I'm the worst combo of uniformed/lazy about hardware (but at least I'm honest ;) ). With the rendering (I use Vegas software), Im thinking the processor needs an upgrade - as my render times are about 4-to-1 in 720p right now. But, I'm not sure there is a lot more room with my current motherboard. Future games will be Diablo 3, Guild Wars 2, and Baldurs Gate HD (I know this one won't be taxing, I'm just super-excited for it to come back).

Thanks for any suggestions!

More about : upgrade 2yr gaming

April 26, 2012 9:47:28 PM

Keep the case, everything else needs uphaul. You need 8 Gb RAM, 750 watts, and a second or third gen Intel processor. Switch the GPU to nVidia. The specific parts you can decide, but i'm just listing what you basically need.
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April 26, 2012 9:47:50 PM

Oh, and you didn't list your mobo.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 27, 2012 1:46:09 AM

Radeon still makes capable gaming graphics cards just like they did 2 years ago, there are still plenty of models worth considering, so I disagree with benjamin on that.

As far as the best upgrade path, forget it. Intel's new Ivy Bridge is reportedly going to be the final generation for the LGA1155, and Ivy is not a substantial improvement over Sandy Bridge (roughly 6 percent reportedly) and the chips run hotter for the trouble, bad news for overclockers.

I'd say since you do things more CPU intensive than gaming, go ahead and get a 2700k if you can afford it, otherwise the 2500k will be sufficient. But then again, you're not going to get into overclocking, so you can trim off about 10 bucks and get the 2500 or 2700 without the "k" at the end.

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

You will need a new motherboard (love intel and hate the jerks at the same time for breaking backward compatibility on the LGA 1156)

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

Just as good but shorter warranty:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video card:
Although the current heavyweight on the market is the new GTX 680, if you can stomach the price tag it commands. The 7970 is still a strong contender, but its 2nd place for best nevertheless.

Your power supply is sufficient for a single GTX 680, not 2 of them though.

I'd add 2 more RAM sticks to give you your 8. Or alternatively, you might consider going with 4 sticks of 4GB in order to get you 16GB. For gaming, you don't need more than 8, but for the other kind of stuff you're getting into, its worth considering going 16. 32 is probably overkill.
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April 27, 2012 2:52:38 PM

nekulturny said:
Radeon still makes capable gaming graphics cards just like they did 2 years ago, there are still plenty of models worth considering, so I disagree with benjamin on that.

As far as the best upgrade path, forget it. Intel's new Ivy Bridge is reportedly going to be the final generation for the LGA1155, and Ivy is not a substantial improvement over Sandy Bridge (roughly 6 percent reportedly) and the chips run hotter for the trouble, bad news for overclockers.

I'd say since you do things more CPU intensive than gaming, go ahead and get a 2700k if you can afford it, otherwise the 2500k will be sufficient. But then again, you're not going to get into overclocking, so you can trim off about 10 bucks and get the 2500 or 2700 without the "k" at the end.

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

You will need a new motherboard (love intel and hate the jerks at the same time for breaking backward compatibility on the LGA 1156)

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

Just as good but shorter warranty:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video card:
Although the current heavyweight on the market is the new GTX 680, if you can stomach the price tag it commands. The 7970 is still a strong contender, but its 2nd place for best nevertheless.

Your power supply is sufficient for a single GTX 680, not 2 of them though.

I'd add 2 more RAM sticks to give you your 8. Or alternatively, you might consider going with 4 sticks of 4GB in order to get you 16GB. For gaming, you don't need more than 8, but for the other kind of stuff you're getting into, its worth considering going 16. 32 is probably overkill.


Actually, Ivy Bridge runs 20% better with less heat and less power for the same price. The mobo you suggest is amazing, but if you get Ivy, you need a P8Z77. Anything by Asus will do. Radeon GPU's are good, but have software problems.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 27, 2012 7:47:14 PM

benjamincakir said:
Actually, Ivy Bridge runs 20% better with less heat and less power for the same price. The mobo you suggest is amazing, but if you get Ivy, you need a P8Z77. Anything by Asus will do. Radeon GPU's are good, but have software problems.

Actually, no it isnt. And you don't need Z77 to use Ivy, Z68 will do, and so will some H61/67s.

Ivy bridge heat- http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/overclocked-ivy-brid...

The heat issue is also potentially a big problem for laptops...

Power consumption= 15 watts under load=Not even a penny less a day on an electric bill: http://www.guru3d.com/imageview.php?image=38117

Intel said Ivy bridge would offer about 20 percent improvement over Sandy. Realistically, that number is about 6 percent. They also said power usage would be 20 percent less.. It isn't...

The lie: http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/23/intel-ivy-bridge-per...

The truth: Not 20 percent http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-benchmar...
Not even close to 20 percent. Heck, not even 5 percent http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-benchmar...
How about here? http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-benchmar...
Nope, just Chuck Testa: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-benchmar...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ivy-bridge-benchmar...



AND just to throw it out there Intel HD 4000 graphics still can't top AMD Llano, this is the LGA1155 socket's varsity year, its a joke. Considering the fact that Intel's HD graphics pale in comparison to Llano it amazes me that Intel can still hold the laptop market.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Intel/Core_i7_3770K_...

-Edited for typo
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 30, 2012 3:42:08 AM

benjamincakir said:
ur just an AMD n00b

1. I recommended an Intel product to the OP.
2. I showed you unbiased evidence to suggest that at best Ivy Bridge is not an improvement over Sandy, or at worst, its not even as good.

You come back and call me an AMD noob simply for the fact that you have nothing of substance to add but rather than admit you're wrong, you'd rather resort to personal attacks. Get lost. Come back when you have something substantive to add to this discussion, the OP is making a financial investment, if you're going to play silly games with other people's money, you don't belong here.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
April 30, 2012 6:58:06 AM

Your case, PSU, and RAM are fine. You can still buy the RAM, so hopefully your new board will be happy with 4 sticks of it.

Since you are not interested in overclocking and your case is well ventilated, I see no harm in using an IB CPU.

Here's the basics
  • XFX Double D FX-785A-CDFC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH
  • ASRock Z77 Pro3 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770
    TOTAL: $731.96

    You might add an SSD and you will probably need a new copy of Win 7 OEM, as that one is tied to the MB.

    Here's a benchmark for Sony Vegas, so you can see that the processor I mention should do even better:
    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1501/15/

    Maybe there are IB Vegas benchmarks, I didn't look too hard given those results it's obvious it's multithreaded.
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    April 30, 2012 7:38:16 AM

    My recommendations are:

    1. Become interested in overclocking. No, really, I don't care that you're not interested right now. You are probably among the top 3 guys in the United States that will benefit from it right now, so sack up. It will save you $500-$1000, and another $500-$1000 two years from now. Remember this for point #5.
    2. Radeon HD 7870: $330 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    2a. Carry this video card over to your new machine in 12-18 months.
    3. Sell HD 5850 for $150 on ebay. $$$$.
    4. Wait for Haswell architecture to come out in mid-2013. Build a complete new machine then.

    5. The important part here is that it is currently a BAD TIME to build a whole new machine if you have a somewhat competent 2-year-old system. The upgrade you get from your last system is ok but not great, and Intel is moving to a new architecture and socket in a year to a year and a half.

    So buy now, and you'll be pissed when your new machine is a year old but significantly behind and has no upgrade path - just like the situation you're in now. When you're caught in the middle like you are now, it's best to grind it out with your existing machine until a new generation comes out. You get a bigger upgrade for your cost, and you stay with the most current generation.

    I hate to sound this way, but Intel CPUs seem to go in cycles of about 2 years, and the best time to build a machine is about 3-9 months after a new socket is introduced. If you get on that cycle, you'll be in the sweet spot of power and cost. To get on that cycle, you have to either spend an extra $1,000 or extend the life of your current machine by a year. The way to do that is by overclocking and getting a new GPU and carrying it over.
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    a b 4 Gaming
    April 30, 2012 1:44:18 PM

    Either Ivy (Proximon) or Sandy (nekulturny) are both good upgrade paths. You should see your Render times cut in half.

    As nekulturny says Ivy is only about a 6% improvement over Sandy. you will need to look at the pricing yourself to see if 6% justifies the cost.

    my only advice to either of their builds is to go with 8-16GB's of new DDR3 -1600 memory and not re-use you old PC 1333 (Ram is cheap right now)

    following capt_taco's advice is not going to get you as much of an increase in Rendering times at all. the Ivy/Sandy architecture is far superior to the the older lynnfield. There is not enough overclocking head room to close the performance gap.

    A SSD drive would be an outstanding upgrade to your rig also. A Samsung 830 or Crucial M4 are good choices (fast and stable)
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    April 30, 2012 4:26:27 PM

    jerreddredd said:
    following capt_taco's advice is not going to get you as much of an increase in Rendering times at all. the Ivy/Sandy architecture is far superior to the the older lynnfield. There is not enough overclocking head room to close the performance gap.


    Nope, it definitely won't get close to the same performance increase; no question about that. My post was 100% intended as practical advice on how to get the best outcome you can while being cash-conscious.

    If money is no object, you can definitely get more performance in the short term by ignoring what I posted and going with a major overhaul. I just don't see spending several hundred dollars to replace a machine that's already above-average as a very good investment. If it were my system and my money, I'd definitely want to ride it out if possible until the next generation architecture, when the i5 machine would be just average and the upgrade would be more meaningful and lasting.
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    a c 118 B Homebuilt system
    a b 4 Gaming
    April 30, 2012 4:37:14 PM

    Capt,

    Respectfully, I think you're counting on the fact that Haswell is going to be a substantial improvement over Sandy. Its a year from its production run. Now we all know the embarrassment AMD had with their Bulldozers, this can happen to Intel, and has in the past. Intel arguably struck out with Ivy, and even though Intel is certainly less likely to strike out than AMD, they certainly have. (Pentium 4/Pentium 4 Dual core)

    I think it a bit of a mistake to think too far ahead like that, we know something works well today because its currently tangible, and just because Haswell comes out its not going to make Sandy/Ivy useless.
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    a b B Homebuilt system
    April 30, 2012 7:00:52 PM

    nekulturny said:
    Capt,

    Respectfully, I think you're counting on the fact that Haswell is going to be a substantial improvement over Sandy. Its a year from its production run. Now we all know the embarrassment AMD had with their Bulldozers, this can happen to Intel, and has in the past. Intel arguably struck out with Ivy, and even though Intel is certainly less likely to strike out than AMD, they certainly have. (Pentium 4/Pentium 4 Dual core)

    I think it a bit of a mistake to think too far ahead like that, we know something works well today because its currently tangible, and just because Haswell comes out its not going to make Sandy/Ivy useless.


    Maybe so, but my opinion was based mostly on the fact that regardless of what Haswell does, it would be a shame to basically throw away a pretty good machine. You can take it or leave it; that's just my opinion as a cheap bastard. ;) 
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    June 5, 2012 4:16:38 PM

    Best answer selected by joshsdh.
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