Upgrading Build

I'm looking to upgrade my build. I currently have:

Antec Sonata III Case and 500w Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129024

Gigabyte GA-MA785GT-UD3H Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128411

2x4GB G.Skill Sniper RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231461

Western Digital Cavier Black 750GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136794

AMD Phenom II x2 3.4GHz Black Edition
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103887

Now firstly I plan on adding a wireless adapter. When I'm not at school I don't have an accessible ethernet cable nearby. I was also planning on adding an SSD, assuming that this is where I would get the biggest performance increase. My CPU has some room for an upgrade, so I was thinking on upgrading to a phenom II x4, which, to my knowledge, is the best I can do without a new motherboard. Now I currently don't have a discrete graphics card and after another thread in the forum, I'm leaning towards a Sapphire Radeon HD 6770 FleX so I am able to run three monitors without displayport (the graphics card thread can be found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/355892-33-looking-graphics-card ). These are the upgrades I have in mind:

SAPPHIRE Flex 100328FLEX Radeon HD 6770 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
The FleX technology seems like the best option for me without having to purchase a displayport adapter since the monitors I would be using don't have displayports.

AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Desktop Processor HDZ980FBK4DGM - OEM
This looks like the best CPU I can upgrade to. Would the x6 be better? I chose the OEM because I was planning on using the stock heatsink that came with my current processor. Is the extra .2GHz worth the cost increase over the other Phenom II x4 CPU's?

OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
SSD's are new to me. This one is highly rated on newegg and reasonable in price which is why I picked it. Is 120GB too much since I already have a 750GB HDD along with another 500GB in miscellaneous HDD's and 1.5TB in external HDD's.

Rosewill RNX-N300X PCI Wireless Adapter
This was up there with the most reviews. I was debating between PCI and USB but since I'm two stories away from my router, the increased power from the PCI one led me in that direction. I could bypass this purchase if it's possible to use my spare wireless router as an adapter but after googling, I don't believe that would work

All of the items are inside of my price range. I don't game too much but I'd like to have the option to if I so choose. Ideally, I'd at least want to be able to play Diablo III max settings. I do watch a lot of HD videos so I would like that to be a breeze, which wouldn't take a whole lot. Unfortunately, I do not currently have the money for all of these upgrades which brings up my next questions, which items should I purchase first in order to get the greatest performance increase? The wireless adapter is my first choice, seeing as I don't want to go any longer without having any internet on my desktop. After that, I'm not sure what the order should be.

Thanks for the help!
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  1. dont get amd when intel will be much better doing your work and games. a good chip and board is a i3 2120 and a p8h61-ce. if you dont like intel, they go ahead although the 980 will be a harder find

    DONT GET THE VERTEX 3!! it is the most often failing drive ever. get something reliable such as the mushkin chronos(deluxe), crucial m4, or a intel drives.

    you wont be playing diablo 3 on max settings with that card. only medium-high. get something like a gtx560ti or 6870, or 6950. those will
  2. I'm stuck with AMD, as I'm not looking to upgrade my motherboard. It's not that I don't like Intel, it's that I'm a poor college student who can't afford to upgrade to Intel.

    That's interesting to hear about the vertex 3, especially with how many ratings it has on newegg and the 4 eggs.

    My 3 monitor restriction seemingly prevents me from getting a different card unless I want to buy an active displayport to dvi adapter. I would get a different card if I could get an adapter for a cheap price.
  3. Quote:
    dont get amd when intel will be much better doing your work and games. a good chip and board is a i3 2120 and a p8h61-ce. if you dont like intel, they go ahead although the 980 will be a harder find

    A dual core i3 is not as efficient as a quad core Phenom II for "work". You can argue all you want that the 5FPS differences in gaming are worth something (although thats silly), but don't "troll" people who are looking for advice on financial investments. Especially when the OP is talking about using his same motherboard, and you're advising him to buy another board. Its not necessary.


    EVERY benchmarks that utilizes more than 2 cores, the Phenom II out performs the dual core i3, this would include Battlefield 3 multiplayer, possibly future games that come out that utilize more than 2 cores, as well as multitasking.

    On the topic with the OP.
    At any rate, Phenom IIs are getting rare, but they are still available. You don't need a 980 however, you can get a 965 for cheaper and clock it up to the settings of a 980 if you wish (they are the same CPU and ship with the same stock fan), you are correct, you can use your same motherboard.


    Now, I do agree with TheBigTroll about the video card, perhaps with the money you save, it would allow you to get a better video card. a 6870 would be a very decent choice and about the best you can do without spending over $200.

    Perhaps you can work that into your budget by not buying the 980. Also, you don't *really* need an SSD, its more or less purely a luxury item. Personally, I would use that money and spend it on an even better video card than a 6870 like a 7850.



  4. jradicle11 said:
    I'm stuck with AMD, as I'm not looking to upgrade my motherboard. It's not that I don't like Intel, it's that I'm a poor college student who can't afford to upgrade to Intel.

    That's interesting to hear about the vertex 3, especially with how many ratings it has on newegg and the 4 eggs.

    My 3 monitor restriction seemingly prevents me from getting a different card unless I want to buy an active displayport to dvi adapter. I would get a different card if I could get an adapter for a cheap price.

    Let me see if I can re-read your post and figure out what you're saying about your monitor, but I wanted to get it off my chest about this. Maybe I'm breaking tom's forum rules, but I personally am tired of seeing people posting things making it sound like the difference between AMD and Intel chips is the difference from buying a Ferrari and a Yugo. Realistically, the difference can be considered the difference between a Mercury and a Lincoln (yes Intels are better, but how much better is what I question)

    And to suggest that an i3 with an H61 board is a stronger choice for a balanced system than a Phenom II quad dropped on to an already owned AM3 board is complete folly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your foundation. Take that from someone who not only owns the system in my signature, but also owns a system with a more expensive i5-2400 CPU.
  5. Okay, heres what I'm thinking. Why exactly do you need 3 monitors? I run duals myself. I can't understand why you'd want to sacrifice gaming performance that could be had with a stronger video card than a 6770 for the sake of a 3rd monitor.

    As for what you would want to purchase first from these upgrade potentials. This depends really. For gaming, I think you'd see the biggest bump from going with a better video card. For mulitasking and productivity (including video editing, photoshopping, browsing with multiple tabs open, etc), the CPU would be what I would do first.

    Having said that, the Phenom IIs will not be around much longer as they were discontinued earlier this year. And because the current Bulldozer AM3+ is not backward compatible with AM3, you might want to snatch up a Phenom II 965 while you still can, lest you be left without an upgrade option for your motherboard.
  6. Well the 965 comes with a heatsink which I wouldn't need. I could go for the 970 OEM and use my existing heatsink and save some money. Could I overclock with the stock heatsink?

    So you're saying the performance boost from an SSD isn't worth the cost? I guess I could wait until prices on SSD's go down.

    As for the graphics card, "What I'm looking to get out of a graphics card is the ability to connect to three different monitors, one of which needs to be HDMI. My third monitor, the only one I really need to be HDMI, will be connected to a home theater receiver which is hooked up to an LCD TV and surround sound. The only reason I want it to be HDMI is because I have a few of those ports on the receiver and because I'm hoping it will transfer sound from my PC to the receiver as well. The other two monitors consist of an LG with VGA and DVI ports and a Samsung 26" tv with HDMI, DVI, and VGA."

    Copied that from my other thread. My reason for the third is just so when I want to have media displayed on the third monitor, which will be a 32" TV, I can do so without the need to switched my second monitor by changing the HDMI cable as I currently do. Hopefully that describes what I'm looking for a little better. That's why I was looking at the FleX card, as suggested to me by another user in my graphics card thread.

    That's good to know about the Phenom II's. Will the price increase now due to lack of supply?
  7. The thing you need to consider about the OEM chips is that they only come with a 30 day warranty. The Boxed CPUs come with a 3 year warranty. Now the warranty is technically voided by overclocking, however short of admitting to AMD that you did overclock should a warranty claim be necessitated, or short of doing something completely stupid when overclocking the CPU, you should have no problem getting your claim accepted. I don't know if the dual core Phenom IIs ship with the same heatsink as the quads, I would assume they do, but I could be wrong.

    Either way, realistically, I would not push a Phenom II quad past 3.7GHZ on a stock cooler. My 975 model was barely kept cool enough at its default 3.6GHZ on the stock cooler (stock coolers are typically junk for overclocking this is true for both Intel and AMD), and the stock cooler was running full blast as I had disabled active control via BIOS. Either way, the bottom line to keep in mind when considering an OEM chip is the lack of warranty support beyond 30 days.

    On the topic of an SSD, yes they are faster to load programs, including Windows, but at their current price per gigabyte in storage, in my opinion no they are not worth the cost. Yes, they will get your games loaded a few seconds faster, but when your budget is tight, if you ask me (and you did), you'd be better off using that money on a more powerful video card to give your gaming performance an extra "umph".

    AS far as your HDMI thing, I unsderstand what you're saying a little better, although I will reserve advice on how to go about handling it as I have little in the way of actual experience to really comment. Although, I would say that perhaps you could get a 2nd lower end video card to handle this task, although like I said, thats something I'm not 100 percent sure about.

    As far as Phenom IIs increasing in price, good question. I have already seen evidence of Phenom II 1100Ts being sold for over 300 dollars on ebay, as they are no longer available from major dealers. The 1100Ts are awesome CPUs, I wish I had one, but I couldn't see myself taking a gamble on an ebay purchase, maybe some folks do. But no, I don't think you'll see an increase in price of them from major stores, you'll just see them go out of stock never to return. Which is why, considering when they're gone your motherboard will be without an upgrade path to get one while you can. Newegg has dropped the prices on the ones they have left considerably since their release dates over a year ago.
  8. Since the phenom II is out of production, what happens if I need a replacement under warranty say, 2 years down the line? They can't replace a product that doesn't exist. Warranty's are good, though. Looks like I'll opt for an in-box version.

    As for the graphics card, now you see my dilemma. The best way I see, aside from the Sapphire FleX, is to do DisplayPort to either VGA or DVI, have a DVI monitor, and have the HDMI monitor. With that, I think I should be able to get three monitors and satisfy Eyefinity's need for a DisplayPort device to run. With that, it looks like I may be back to spending hours looking at graphics cards to no avail, and tacking on the price for the active adapter to whichever I consider.
  9. Thats a good question. I believe AMD's terms of warranty says they reserve the right to replace the product with an equivilent product or better. (At least thats the standard mumbo jumbo you usually see). My guess is even if they've completely sold out of a product they probably still have some for the purpose of warranties. But who knows? Very good question. Worst case scenario they send you an equivalent Bulldozer and you'd have to get a new mobo. (Bulldozers aren't nearly as bad as some people- and tech sites make them out to be BTW) something I myself am starting to learn as time goes by.

    Yes, I see the dilemma with the graphics card, but on the other hand, the solution may be so simple I'm just not seeing it. I wouldn't give up hope that someone here can chime and and give u a perfect solution.
  10. Dropping the SSD and switching to the CPU you suggested allows for $120 to be spent elsewhere. Now, do I want to spend all of that or take the savings, I guess that's up to me. Now, I'm willing to do the FleX card, but I'm also open to other options. I have no idea about graphics cards, unfortunately. I was looking at a 6870 FleX but it's deactivated at newegg, not to mention anywhere else it costs ~$250+.


    That would suit my needs perfectly. I would dabble in two graphics cards, with a second cheap one supporting my need for three monitors, but I have absolutely no idea how that works. I guess I should go post in the graphics section, but I fear the reposting about my existing post.
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