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1.5 year old gaming build, need help choosing upgrades

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May 15, 2012 11:43:58 PM

Currently I am using a 1.5 year old computer that I am going to upgrade as a reward for myself for completing high school.

Currently the parts are (all running at stock settings):

i7-950 CPU
6gb RAM
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R mobo
Corsair 750w PSU
ATI Radeon 5850 GPU
500gb HDD

I mainly use this computer for gaming and am looking at mainly upgrading the gpu. I have been looking at the EVGA gtx 670 that just came out, but my fear is that with a gpu that powerful, it will be bottlenecked by the rest of my computer. This has caused me to start thinking about upgrading other parts of my computer as well, but I don't want to all of a sudden be replacing the entire build and be shelling out well over a grand. I'm trying to figure out what to upgrade so that I will be running games at as high a setting as possible (mostly just mmo's at the moment, especially Guild Wars 2, but I play a variety of games). Whether this means replacing the mobo and cpu as well, I don't really care, as long as the upgrade is well worth the money. I was thinking of also upgrading the RAM to as high a speed as possible (currently I can't remember what the speed is, but I do know it is nothing spectacular) so I would like to put in whatever speed is highest for my mobo (if I end up keeping my mobo, that is) but according to the website, for my mobo the fastest speed is 2200, and I have never seen any memory that runs at 2200, only 2183. Anyways, thanks for any help and suggestions!

Also, I have no specific budget per say, but less is always more when it comes to cost.

Thanks again,
Tav
May 15, 2012 11:59:24 PM

imo since ram is cheap try upping to 8+ gigs, gtx 670 vid card, 120gig SSD, corsair H80 or H100 cooler and OC that bad boy. Should be able to run everything on high and have that rig last you another couple years. Wouldn't worry about bottlenecking too much after you overclock it.
May 16, 2012 12:00:44 AM

Tavaron said:
Currently I am using a 1.5 year old computer that I am going to upgrade as a reward for myself for completing high school.

Currently the parts are (all running at stock settings):

i7-950 CPU
6gb RAM
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R mobo
Corsair 750w PSU
ATI Radeon 5850 GPU
500gb HDD

I mainly use this computer for gaming and am looking at mainly upgrading the gpu. I have been looking at the EVGA gtx 670 that just came out, but my fear is that with a gpu that powerful, it will be bottlenecked by the rest of my computer. This has caused me to start thinking about upgrading other parts of my computer as well, but I don't want to all of a sudden be replacing the entire build and be shelling out well over a grand. I'm trying to figure out what to upgrade so that I will be running games at as high a setting as possible (mostly just mmo's at the moment, especially Guild Wars 2, but I play a variety of games). Whether this means replacing the mobo and cpu as well, I don't really care, as long as the upgrade is well worth the money. I was thinking of also upgrading the RAM to as high a speed as possible (currently I can't remember what the speed is, but I do know it is nothing spectacular) so I would like to put in whatever speed is highest for my mobo (if I end up keeping my mobo, that is) but according to the website, for my mobo the fastest speed is 2200, and I have never seen any memory that runs at 2200, only 2183. Anyways, thanks for any help and suggestions!

Also, I have no specific budget per say, but less is always more when it comes to cost.

Thanks again,
Tav


upgrade your GPU. You CPU, especially if overclocked, should be fine. If you have the cash throw an SSD and some faster RAM. But I'd stick with the CPU/MOBO until at least the Haswell series of CPUs
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 12:12:16 AM

GPU first and foremost. Nehalem is still a very viable platform that will still pump out good frame rates and takes well to overclocking. For more gaming performance focus on the gpu.
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2012 12:15:16 AM

You will be fine with a GTX 670 - If v90k new much about triple chanel ram - he would know the next step would be 12G - 6G is fine for gaming. I have my i7-920 OCed to 3.89Ghz - get a cooler and you can do the same or better. Enjoy the GTX670.
-Bruce
May 16, 2012 12:17:12 AM

Grats on graduating from high school. It actually depends on what you are doing with your PC now. If you are into programming, more ram is great. For playing games, yes a new graphic card like HD7850 / GTX560TI will be an upgrade for you. If you want a speedy boost for bootup. I suggest either get: Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s 32 MB Cache 2.5 Inch Solid State Hybrid Drive ST750LX003
or one of SDD(get a reliable ones as OS boot drive)
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2012 12:17:23 AM

"I have been looking at the EVGA gtx 670 that just came out, but my fear is that with a gpu that powerful, it will be bottlenecked by the rest of my computer. " Not a chance. You have a ton of CPU, memory bandwidth. Go with the $400 gtx 670. Or add a second HD5850 = $150 Ebay ?

i7-950 CPU <-- really strong
6gb RAM <-- plenty
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R mobo <--nice, SLI, xfire, etc.
Corsair 750w PSU <--
ATI Radeon 5850 GPU <-- excellent, but this is your game framerate limit
500gb HDD <-- maybe add second drive raid 0 for better boot times, level load times, your MB chipset supports it using intel RST drivers.

May 16, 2012 12:47:38 AM

Thank you for all the quick responses, I think I will OC my cpu and stick with my current mobo until Nehalem. Also, thank you for the cooler suggestions v90k! Now, if I was to upgrade my RAM (which I would certainly do to 12gb as dish said for the tripple channel), does anyone have any suggestions for what speed to go at? I would love for something that I wouldn't have to replace again anytime in the future, but I'm not sure what my mobo will take in terms of speed.
a b 4 Gaming
May 16, 2012 12:53:47 AM

Your memory will be fine as is unless you plan on doing major video editing.6G will be fine for gaming. Get the GTX670 and go for a SSD if you want your computer to feel snappier. On that note - x58 mobos do not have true SATA III ports - won't get the max out of a SSD but it will still work fine on the Intel SATA II ports.
-Bruce
May 16, 2012 2:51:45 AM

dish_moose said:
You will be fine with a GTX 670 - If v90k new much about triple chanel ram - he would know the next step would be 12G - 6G is fine for gaming. I have my i7-920 OCed to 3.89Ghz - get a cooler and you can do the same or better. Enjoy the GTX670.
-Bruce


Yes BRUCE no need to flash your epeen I was simply giving him general advice. Yes i was posting during my lunch break to try to help this poor guy out. Yes I didn't use triple channel ram cause i skipped Bloomfield. And I apologize for not meeting your standards of replying d0uche bag. There was little gain coming from my OC'd C2Q setup that probably costed less than your 920 failed setup. But the point was, adding more memory would only benefit him in reaching his goal. Next time Ill just exclude specific numbers and just say to add more ram so id*iots like you don't side bust and get all nazi.

The moral is more memory, a good closed water loop system, ssd, GTX670 and a good OC will get the OP to where he wants to be without having to over haul his rig. Good luck on your upgrades rb.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 4:34:59 AM

Your memory is fine; you do not need any more. Your CPU will also be above-average until the next generation, so leave that alone too.

Best upgrade I could see for you is an SSD - you would probably carry that over to any new machine.

One other thing to point out - a used 5850 sells for about $130-$150 right now. Crossfired 5850s get you pretty close to the performance of a GTX670 at less than half the price:
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?p=33435211

Of course, that pretty much maxes out what you can do with GPUs and also consumes more power. The other way to look at it is, you could sell that 5850 and then a top new video card like the GTX670 or HD7970 only costs you net $250-$300 instead of $450.

Really your call. Personally, I'd probably crossfire the 5850s because I'm a cheap bastard, and then when the time comes to build a whole new rig, something better than the 670 or 7970 will be on the market anyway.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 4:37:43 AM

v90k said:
The moral is more memory, a good closed water loop system, ssd, GTX670 and a good OC will get the OP to where he wants to be without having to over haul his rig. Good luck on your upgrades rb.


By the way - what you just mentioned could easily cost $1,000, and you're changing four components. You wouldn't call that an "overhaul?"
May 16, 2012 6:00:39 AM

Don't crossfire. I have two 6950 2gbs and they're fantastic, but the 5xxxs don't crossfire as well, some games don't support it and you'll be in an upgrade dead-end. The 670 will give you better performance (and sometimes MUCH better performance) while giving you a much better upgrade path.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 16, 2012 6:33:50 AM

romany8806 said:
Don't crossfire. I have two 6950 2gbs and they're fantastic, but the 5xxxs don't crossfire as well, some games don't support it and you'll be in an upgrade dead-end. The 670 will give you better performance (and sometimes MUCH better performance) while giving you a much better upgrade path.


Just to clarify, I wouldn't recommend crossfiring 5850s as a long-term solution. They'd be great to get you through about the next year or so, then you turn around and sell them when you build a new Haswell-based system. At that point, the GTX670 will be two tiers down from the top from whatever is new at the time, and then the math kicks in that the 5850s will probably depreciate about another $10 each, but the GTX670 will depreciate $200. So if that's what you have your eye on, toughing it out with the 5850s would save some serious cash (not that having crossfired 5850s is really "toughing it out.")

I told you I was a cheap bastard. If you or the OP is not, then yeah, you can probably ignore this.
May 16, 2012 8:55:16 AM

Why are you people telling him to upgrade GPU? A 5850 is faster than a 6870 in a lot of games still.

Don't touch anything until the end of the year when nvidia releases its GK110 GPU. Then you can consider a platform upgrade to ivy or sandy (i would personally stick to sandy if you are going the overclock route).
May 16, 2012 9:55:40 AM

capt_taco said:
By the way - what you just mentioned could easily cost $1,000, and you're changing four components. You wouldn't call that an "overhaul?"


not really first off he didn't specify a budget. Secondly, you gotta update yourself on some of the costs on parts.

Memory - $46
SSD - $140
Corsair H60 - $65
GTX670 - $400

$651 + tax = about $710 so no, its not easily 1k.

And secondly no, four components is not an overhaul. He's not tear his whole rig completely down to rebuild it. Adding memory, swapping coolers and video cards, and adding a hard drive is more of a major tune up to hold him over. No need to get your panties in bunch cause you like building cheap. You get what you pay for.
May 16, 2012 1:52:49 PM

v90k said:
imo since ram is cheap try upping to 8+ gigs, gtx 670 vid card, 120gig SSD, corsair H80 or H100 cooler and OC that bad boy. Should be able to run everything on high and have that rig last you another couple years. Wouldn't worry about bottlenecking too much after you overclock it.



Here's why upgrading your RAM is not a good idea....


I have no clue why going from 6gig's to 8 gigs would make a difference at all? Honestly unless you doing video editing or compiling a large amount of code a bunch of ram is useless. Over 4 gig's you need to monitor your ram usage via a app to see if you need more and 95% of the time you won't break 4gigs. Now you can buy Faster/betting timing ram and find a small increase, but thats another article in it's self.

Diablo 3 just released yesterday. the Recommended Requirements are below.

Windows® Vista/7 (latest service packs)
Intel® Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 5600+ 2.8 GHz Intel® Core 2 Duo
2 GB RAM 2 GB RAM
NVIDIA® GeForce® 260 or ATI Radeon™ HD 4870 or better NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M or ATI Radeon™ HD 4670 or better

Now compare what you have!

CPU - All good here i7 will never be replaced. you will end up building a new rig in 4 or 5 years and the i7 will still be running like a dream.

6gb Ram - as we discussed prob overkill, so no fixes here (again unless you go for faster ram, research carefully. as it may not be a huge gain only a small gain of what you got if any. Also by faster i mean better timing not just mzh)

PSU - does not affect your gaming in any way unless you can't power your video card.

GPU - (Video card) this seems to be the bottle neck. you meet the 4870 or better requirements, but just barely. Gaming is about 75% GPU card. UP this to any 7000 series Radeon HD or a Nvidia GTX 550+ Card.

HHD - The information we need is missing.. whats the RPM's ? Brand/model so we can look at transfer rate? HD can limit you slightly so raid striping 2 HD can greatly improve performance, but your real issue here is the VID card.



Upgrade your GPU and I think thats all you need for now. I compared this to a new game that just released to give you a idea of what part of your machine is overkill vs what is adequate. Also keep in the mind the Suggested (not minimal) video card here is over 4 years old. You don't have to have the latest and greatest to have the best gaming experience. On a normal system running max graphics on a MMO you will not be able to tell a difference between any of the GTX 600 series Video cards. You get into multi monitors/multi boxing/HTPC you will start to see a difference.



Good Luck!


May 16, 2012 6:47:20 PM

rofl pls reread ALL the posts. A good example is your "HHD" statement. SSDs blow away in performance and costs, you would of picked that up by reading the posts and wouldn't be asking brand/model/rpm xfer rates etc etc. Again, hes asking for advice and opinions to be able to play games now and the next 1-2 years on high. So I'm not gonna post some thrift budget go to goodwill and buy all your crap type of build. If he chooses that route than thats up to him thats why its called advice.

I'm done posting, I'm sure rb420 can piece together the recommendations and come up with the things that are best for him and his budget. Good luck!
May 16, 2012 9:13:48 PM

v90k said:


I'm done posting, I'm sure rb420 can piece together the recommendations and come up with the things that are best for him and his budget. Good luck!



Wasn't my thread, I just offered advice....
a b B Homebuilt system
May 17, 2012 3:35:41 PM

v90k said:
not really first off he didn't specify a budget. Secondly, you gotta update yourself on some of the costs on parts.

Memory - $46
SSD - $140
Corsair H60 - $65
GTX670 - $400

$651 + tax = about $710 so no, its not easily 1k.

And secondly no, four components is not an overhaul. He's not tear his whole rig completely down to rebuild it. Adding memory, swapping coolers and video cards, and adding a hard drive is more of a major tune up to hold him over. No need to get your panties in bunch cause you like building cheap. You get what you pay for.


Yeah, if you get cheap memory, a SSD that's too small, and the cheapest watercooling for CPU only, you can get it for "only" $700, which is still almost the cost of a whole new system. And for some reason, it's OK for you to pick the most bargain-basement components to prove a point about price ... at the same time you're criticizing me for being cheap.

Something tells me it's not worth wasting even one more keystroke on this argument, so I won't.



May 17, 2012 10:17:53 PM

Thanks everybody for the replies, it's now just me down to me deciding how cheap I want to be. I will either be purchasing a completely new gpu or just buying another 5850 as Taco suggested. I think I am leaning towards the latter so that I can also put in some money for a nice SSD and then I will begin saving for my Haswell build. Thanks again for the help, now to just decide which choice I will go with.
May 23, 2012 6:56:49 PM

v90k said:
rofl pls reread ALL the posts. A good example is your "HHD" statement. SSDs blow away in performance and costs, you would of picked that up by reading the posts and wouldn't be asking brand/model/rpm xfer rates etc etc. Again, hes asking for advice and opinions to be able to play games now and the next 1-2 years on high. So I'm not gonna post some thrift budget go to goodwill and buy all your crap type of build. If he chooses that route than thats up to him thats why its called advice.

I'm done posting, I'm sure rb420 can piece together the recommendations and come up with the things that are best for him and his budget. Good luck!





angry user....


v90k.. you got a few things wrong here. Read on a article on transfer rates. 7200rpm HHD write speeds are close to the same as SSD. SSD works WONDERS on READ, their write is sort of lacking..

www.newegg.com 500gig hd for $75 512gig SSD for $700.

you said

"SSDs blow away in performance and costs" explain this one.....


Also you can read up on the transfer rates to get a better idea and this cost you nothing. Research is free!! To many people go by the RPM # to judge speed and it can be very misleading.

!