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Buy a budget system now or limp by until I can get a good system?

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May 11, 2012 6:30:26 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-3 months

BUDGET RANGE: depends

Existing SYSTEM SPECS: Here’s the breakdown:
Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (2.40GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB cache
2048MB 667MHz Dual-Channel DDR2 SDRAM (2-1024MB modules (upgraded to 4gb – now having issues)
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX w/ 768MB
700-Watt Power Supply
Intel 975X Chipset with DDR2 and Intel Core Duo support
1000GB 7200rpm Serial ATA II/300 hard drive w/ 16MB cache & Raid 0 (2-500GB hard drives

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 24” 1920x1200

COMMENTS:
I’m starting to have some issues with my PC, I either have some bad memory or bad slots (I’ll be testing tonight. Memory test has already identified errors now I just need to see what the cause is). Anyway the system is a good 4 years old and I’m not ready to get a $2k-$3k system just yet (probably 12-18 months out).

That being the case should get a budget system now and then get a good one in a year or two or holdout for a year or so with what I have?

This is what I’m looking at:
AMD Bulldozer FX-4100 Zambezi (3.6GHz) (4 Core) (8 MB Cache)
ASUS M5A97 (AMD 970 Chipset) (SATA 6 and USB 3.0) (Socket AM3+)
8GB DDR3 1600MHz Corsair Vengeance Series
600W Corsair GS power supply
AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB
500gb HD (I can add one or both from my current system)

So will that be a dramatic increase or not really worth the $800?
May 11, 2012 7:34:59 PM

I agree with the new build, but with a few changes:

go with the 430W Corsair CX, and an i5-2400/3450 and H61/B75 motherboard instead of the AMD.

If you can't swing the $190 cpu, go for an i3-2120 and an H61 board
May 11, 2012 7:48:34 PM

also, try to get a HD6850 for just a bit more
Related resources
May 11, 2012 8:12:24 PM

If it turns out the memory is bad I would just replace it, upgrade the video card, and possibly OC your CPU if your mobo allows until you can afford your uber system upgrade.
May 11, 2012 8:17:01 PM

I would wait, but I don't know that I'd budget 2-3k. If you can scrape together enough for a mobo/cpu/ram/GPU (maybe add a PSU, but you got 700w which is pretty good if the quality is high and it's not prehistoric). Pawn your replaced hardware for a few bucks.

You could do all that for 1-1.5k and get top notch stuff. It's seems a little silly to spend 800$ on stuff you know you won't be happy with.

Alternatively, buy a good GPU now, get a mobo/ram/cpu (and case or what have you) later. A GPU will easily breathe new life into your PC, most games don't tax CPU's much anyhow.

Edit: That's all assuming you fix your ram issue, and still have the itch to buy.
May 11, 2012 8:26:50 PM

2-3k? Try more like 1k or so. Fast Example:

1

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811119233
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant


$69.99
$59.99
1

MSI N670GTX-PM2D2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Item #: N82E16814127675
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy


$399.99
1

PC Power and Cooling Silencer MK III 600W Modular 80PLUS Bronze Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 ...
Item #: N82E16817703036
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card


$99.99
$89.99
1

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Desktop Memory Model F3-8500CL7D-8GBRL
Item #: N82E16820231308
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy


$39.99
1


Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822136769
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner, Bulk Package Black SATA Model AD-7280S-0B - OEM
Item #: N82E16827118067
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$5.00 Instant
-$13.00 Combo


$102.98
$84.98
1


Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 ...
Item #: N82E16819115072
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
ASRock Z68 PRO3 GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157279
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
-$18.00 Combo


$334.98
$306.98
1

Newegg Promotional Gift Card - $10.00
Item #: N82E168GC000001
Your Promotional Gift Card will be emailed 4 days after invoice.
Subtotal: $981.92

You could sub out the SB i5 and z68 and get a

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

for about 50 bucks more.

I'd say new rig.
May 11, 2012 8:30:31 PM

It all depends on how you use your PC and what you use it for. If you are running a business and can't be without a PC, then by all means slap together a budget rig. If your PC is being used for entertainment only and you can patch the old one to keep running for another year, it makes sense to do so and just save for a better rig.

I had an old ECS mobo that fired a few caps but kept running, so I just used it until it failed completely. I had less "Tech bite" to worry about and got a much better system than if I replaced it immediately.

Just my 2/100ths
May 11, 2012 9:00:32 PM

I would say consider DIY, get something upgradeable. The board you've got, you can start with FX4100, Piledriver should be out later, and you may be able to drop one of those chips in that rig, and sell yours. Because if you are willing to do a DIY build and can reuse stuff you can do better.

If you've got Microcenter nearby, they are constantly running specials that say buy the fx 4100, get a free board. I mean dude, if you can do that, drop 8 gb of ram in that puppy, and grab yourself a 6850 and a copy of windows, you are talking maybe 400-500 bucks reusing your old stuff and you are running again. Then your old stuff that's good you can put on ebay and recoup some of your $$.
May 11, 2012 9:05:14 PM

Just to clarify, please answer these questions

You have an $800 budget now?

What parts (if any) will you use from your current rig?

Assuming the only parts you need are the ones you listed in your budget setup AND $800 is your budget now, you could get this:
VisionTek 900505 Radeon HD 7850 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - $250
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor - $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-Z77-DS3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL - $47
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 V2 600W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $70 (plus $20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total ~$722 (not counting shipping, rebates, or promo codes)

And that rig should last you for a good while.
May 11, 2012 9:18:44 PM

Or you could go this route as well:

ASRock 970 EXTREME3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157280
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$84.99

MSI N670GTX-PM2D2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Item #: N82E16814127675
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
$399.99

CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 V2 600W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817139028
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$69.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL
Item #: N82E16820231428
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$46.99

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103727
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
$119.99

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
Item #: N82E16835103065
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$29.99
$10 MIR

Total ~$752 (not including shipping, rebates, or promo codes)
May 12, 2012 2:09:15 AM

Here’s the bottom line up front:
I don’t have a set budget right now I was just wondering if getting a cheap system (under $800) would get me significant performance gains over what I have now and get me another couple of years to afford a good system. If I can do it for cheaper all the better. I’d prefer not to cannibalize the existing system other than a hard drive to move the data.

I normally prefer to get a fairly good machine that will last me many years with the option to replace the GPU after say 3-4 years and maybe up the RAM so buying a new system every 6 years is the goal I usually target.

I hate reinstalling all my games and downloading with my terrible DSL connection so I don’t like to change all that often as I find it’s a hassle.

Here is my existing system:

Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (2.40GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB cache
2048MB 667MHz Dual-Channel DDR2 SDRAM (2-1024MB modules (upgraded to 4gb – now having issues)
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX w/ 768MB
700-Watt Power Supply
Intel 975X Chipset with DDR2 and Intel Core Duo support
1000GB 7200rpm Serial ATA II/300 hard drive w/ 16MB cache & Raid 0 (2-500GB hard drives

About a year ago I added 2x corsair 800mhz DIMMs to bring me up to 4gb, well 3.5 really since I'm running 32bit Vista.

I just started getting BSODs when running Tera (or even rebooting) and got the "can not write to memory location..." so that's when I ran the memtest and found the errors. I'm going to test the banks and see if it's the RAM or the slots. If it's the slots then I need to look into getting something as running Tera, WoW and D3 with 2gigs is not ideal. If it's just the RAM I'm going to RMA it and probably squeak by for a little while.

I tried upgrading the GPU earlier this year with a GTX 460 and it physically doesn't fit (my machine is a prebuilt Gateway FX) so I'm stuck with the 8800GTX. OCing isn't an option as the bios doesn’t support it. So there isn’t an upgrade path for the existing system.
May 12, 2012 2:49:54 AM

the short answer: Yes, an $800 system will be a SIGNIFICANT improvement.
May 12, 2012 3:00:53 AM

Great that was what I was looking for. As I type on my phone, memtest is running on my pc. I pulled the "bad" dimms and put them in the slots of the good dimms and no errors. Upon looking at the cheap memory that came with the OEM system it has the following label:

1gb 2Rx8 PC2-5300U-555-12

Now the thing that sticks out to me is the 5300. Thats 533mhz ram right? My other two sticks are 800mhz could that cause an issue?

I can post this in the memory sub forum if need be. But since I was here...
May 12, 2012 3:07:53 AM

if you can run cpu-z with the 'bad' memory in it will give you better info
May 12, 2012 3:22:06 AM

Design1stcode2nd said:
Great that was what I was looking for. As I type on my phone, memtest is running on my pc. I pulled the "bad" dimms and put them in the slots of the good dimms and no errors. Upon looking at the cheap memory that came with the OEM system it has the following label:

1gb 2Rx8 PC2-5300U-555-12

Now the thing that sticks out to me is the 5300. Thats 533mhz ram right? My other two sticks are 800mhz could that cause an issue?

I can post this in the memory sub forum if need be. But since I was here...


Why yes; Yes it can. The bus is set to one speed and the point is to try and match it to the clock speed of the RAM. If you have 2 different speeds, you will create an interleaving issue that will build until the slow RAM can't keep up with the fast RAM and you have a stack crash.

PC5300 is actually 667MHz. 800MHz is PC6400.
May 12, 2012 3:30:08 AM

might have found the problem, the memory I have is:

Manufacturer Hynix
Manufacturer Part #
HYMP512U64CP8
Memory Type DDR2 SDRAM
Capacity 1GB
Pins 240 Pin
Bus Type PC-5300
Error Correction Non-ECC
Cycle Time 6ns
Cas CL5
Data Transfer Rate 667Mhz
Memory Clock 166Mhz
Voltage 1.8

The corsair is 800mhz and more importantly the voltage 1.9. Could that have done something to bank 1?

The more I look at it I don't know how I came up with the corsair ram and how I haven't had problems, it's been in there for a year. The corsair is:

CM2X1024-6400, totally wrong ram. Whats worse is the Hynix stuff is $54 a stick too.
May 12, 2012 3:37:16 AM

Design1stcode2nd said:
might have found the problem, the memory I have is:

Manufacturer Hynix
Manufacturer Part #
HYMP512U64CP8
Memory Type DDR2 SDRAM
Capacity 1GB
Pins 240 Pin
Bus Type PC-5300
Error Correction Non-ECC
Cycle Time 6ns
Cas CL5
Data Transfer Rate 667Mhz
Memory Clock 166Mhz
Voltage 1.8

The corsair is 800mhz and more importantly the voltage 1.9. Could that have done something to bank 1?

The more I look at it I don't know how I came up with the corsair ram and how I haven't had problems, it's been in there for a year. The corsair is:

CM2X1024-6400, totally wrong ram. Whats worse is the Hynix stuff is $54 a stick too.


The voltage of the RAM doesn't control the Mobo, The Mobo controls the voltage the RAM is running at. I don't think the voltage is an issue. DDR2 was pretty consistent as a standard.
May 12, 2012 3:50:09 AM

Well after testing it seems like either RAM in bank 0 shows no errors, if I have banks 0 and 1 full regardless of which the 5300 or 6400 I get memory errors. So I have to presume something is wrong with bank 1 or the combination of 5300 and 6400 together is causing the issue.

Looks like Amazon has Hynix for $12/stick, I guess its worth ordering to see if the same memory will work without errors.

May 13, 2012 2:13:56 AM

Design1stcode2nd said:
Well after testing it seems like either RAM in bank 0 shows no errors, if I have banks 0 and 1 full regardless of which the 5300 or 6400 I get memory errors. So I have to presume something is wrong with bank 1 or the combination of 5300 and 6400 together is causing the issue.

Looks like Amazon has Hynix for $12/stick, I guess its worth ordering to see if the same memory will work without errors.


It is quite possible that you have a problem with one of the banks on your Mobo; It has happened to me. I suggest doing a close visual inspection of your Mobo and see if you find any blistered spots on the silkscreen or popped capacitors. Check around the bank slot and see if there is any indication of overheating there as well.

Strongly suggest checking for a reason bank 1 isn't working before throwing any money at it. If the Mobo has burnt, it doesn't matter what RAM you put in that slot.
May 13, 2012 3:08:52 AM

I can attest to the fact that I've seen memory slots go bad. I worked on someone's pc that did that. PC ran great with memory in the other slot. But didn't like the one slot at all and would throw a bunch of errors. Remove it from that slot, worked great. Yet another reason I'm not big on prebuilts. I work on too many that come in only a year or two old and have bad motherboards or failed parts. In fact, had one guy come in with an acer desktop that was only 4 months old once. Rarely do I have problems with customs if they are done right. Case in point, my system is going on 5 years old. EVERYTHING except the motherboard has been swapped on this system. Still running an old Socket AM2 board, but have a quad core, 4 gb of ram, gts 450, bigger drive, etc. I even overclocked my Athlon II quad with this board. Running Windows 7, my Experience Index is 7.3 for CPU and Memory and 7.2 for graphics. Hard drive is my lowest rating at 5.9. Show me a prebuilt system that's 5 years old that will hang out in that territory.
May 13, 2012 2:45:19 PM

You should probably visit a good review website like Binary Store where you can read the reviews for different systems and you will find good deals.
http://www.binary-store.com
May 18, 2012 11:01:15 PM

the market strategy now is to wait through this summer if you can.

There are 2 main reasons; The new IvyBridge processors will still be coming out, and pushing down the prices of everything else.

Also, Windows 8 is set to release. So unless you don't plan on using Windows, waiting for the OS release, or at the very least until they start bundling Free voucher to windows8 with new system; can yield deals as well as starting on a new fresh OS.
May 19, 2012 4:24:12 PM

So far it's been stable with two gigs. Going to open it up and inspect the board. If it looks ok going to order two more sticks and see what happens
May 21, 2012 4:47:02 PM

When you open it up, you probably already know, but mainly take a flashlight, look at your capacitors, see if any look to bulging or leaking. If you have any bulging or leaking, your board may not have long left.
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