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Need Input on Balanced Build

Last response: in Systems
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May 2, 2012 2:49:52 PM

So I've been helping my brother with upgrades for quite some time. A while ago, I would give him my hand-me-down parts, but then it became too expensive to give them away for free so I've helped him pick out parts with advice like "No, pairing a GTX 580 with an Athlon X2 would be a terrible idea..." Anyways, he's graduating high school soon and wants to revamp his computer before going back to college, and I wanted to get some TH input on my proposed upgrades, so here are his current build, and my proposed build:

Current Build
AMD Phenom II X4 Black Edition
Gigabyte GA-880GA-UD3H
4x2GB DDR3-1600
GTS 250
500GB 7200RPM HDD
OCZ GameXstream 850W

Proposed Upgrades
EVGA GTX 560 Superclock ($170)
128GB Crucial M4 ($125)
Cost: $295

Right now, he's gaming on a 20-inch 1680x1050 display, which he'll also be upgrading...likely to about 24-27 inches and 1920x1080. Also, I know the processor is old, but seeing as how he can't quite afford to pair it with a real high-end card, I didn't he'd be seeing a whole lot of improvement with a faster processor. If I get a lot of people disagreeing with that, then I'll take a look at processor/mobo combos, I'm just hesitant because of how expensive that would be and I'm not sure if the improvement would be all that noticeable. Anyways, thanks for your help!

More about : input balanced build

May 2, 2012 3:06:30 PM

ummmmm can you post his current mobo please? and the Phenom x4 black edition is a good processor it just wouldn't stand up to the newer models
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May 2, 2012 3:24:08 PM

cdiscoll2012 said:
ummmmm can you post his current mobo please? and the Phenom x4 black edition is a good processor it just wouldn't stand up to the newer models


Sorry, OP has been edited. Also, I know it wouldn't stand up to modern Intels, but there was actually an article on sub-$200 processors back in January that included the 955: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-fx-pentium-a... . Anyways, it seems that there are relatively few games that are CPU-bound, though there are some like Skyrim that make me cringe...
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May 2, 2012 3:44:10 PM

Hello, I think what you have so far is ok, just double check the PSU will handle the new GPU + extra SSD.

On the off hand, if 560 is a non-Ti version, which should really be the minimum to get for 1080p resolution, I'd say check out AMD gpus in comparable price, I think they might do better than a regular 560.
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May 2, 2012 4:00:16 PM

AntiZig said:
Hello, I think what you have so far is ok, just double check the PSU will handle the new GPU + extra SSD.

On the off hand, if 560 is a non-Ti version, which should really be the minimum to get for 1080p resolution, I'd say check out AMD gpus in comparable price, I think they might do better than a regular 560.


PSU is an 850W that I handed down to him, so it should be fine. What's your opinion on AMD gpu's though? I had a 5870 a while back, and while the card was good, it seemed like I kept running into driver issues. Like, I would get white dots appearing on my screen in Windows because apparently the card's idle clocks were too low, and I had to manually go in and create and edit an OC profile, just to increase the idle clocks to get rid of the white dots... And it seems like I'm constantly hearing about people running into issues with the latest games and the advice is always "just wait for the next driver update". So, I've pretty much sworn off of AMD because of the driver support, not the hardware. Any idea if they've stepped up their game?
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May 2, 2012 7:44:59 PM

Well I did some more research and it does look like AMD has addressed most of the driver issues. I also aggregated a bunch of benchmarks and the 6870 and 560 trade jabs, but overall they're darn close to identical...and the Ti is only showing around a 5% improvement, over the 560, and I'm just not sure that's worth it...

EDIT: Just checked Newegg and EVGA's Superclocked version of the 560 is going for $160, which is identical to the price of the stock-clocked 6870, so for now the edge goes to the 560.
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