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Upgrading my 6-yr old tower

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June 14, 2012 1:56:59 PM

Hey guys, so I'm currently in the process of upgrading my 6-year old tower (yeah it's realllllly old)

I recently upgraded my video card to a Radeon HD 6770, and i'm looking to Upgrade my mobo/CPU/RAM:

I am a broke college student on a bit of a budget, and I'd be using it primarily for Solidworks and a bit of gaming (diablo 3 primarily, probably pick up another title or two soon.)

I have about ~250 to spend, and this is what I came up with:

Sandy bridge i3-2100:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3V LGA 1155 Intel B75 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8GB G.Skills DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thoughts?

More about : upgrading tower

a b B Homebuilt system
June 14, 2012 2:00:28 PM

I wonder if Solidworks would benefit from the higher core count of AMD FX. If not, what you have is probably your best choice (except the i3-2120 is probably within your budget).
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 14, 2012 6:57:22 PM

I'm not familiar with Solidworks, but for gaming at 1680x1050 and lower, the i3-2100 and the HD 6770 will be a good combo. That CPU can handle even a HD 6870 for higher resolutions with little or no bottleneck.
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Related resources
June 14, 2012 8:14:03 PM

FinneousPJ said:
I wonder if Solidworks would benefit from the higher core count of AMD FX. If not, what you have is probably your best choice (except the i3-2120 is probably within your budget).


Can't confirm or deny, but my inclination is the same - quad core would likely be beneficial for CAD. I would go for an i5 quad but I know budget is a major concern. Diablo 3 isn't that resource intensive and that GPU can handle it, but I think the $60 difference will definitely showcase itself on a daily basis.
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June 14, 2012 10:18:38 PM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 14, 2012 10:58:05 PM

Solidworks looks to me like a CAD program, for that kind of work a quad core would be a better choice than a dual core. Really a quad is a better choice for a modern system anyway, IMHO.
Phenom II 965 quad, its also overclockable so you can squeeze a bit more performance out of it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Any CPU can handle Diablo 3 really. Most games are more limited by the video card and not the CPU anyway.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 14, 2012 11:49:17 PM

1. Good Choice of video card
2. What kind of hard disk is in the old tower, IDE (flat ribbon) or SATA (small round) ? Ditto optical drives. the new MB does not have IDE. Better to get a new optical or HDD then to install an IDE adapter.
3. Assume your current system has power supply with standard ATX connectors especially the 4/8-pin CPU power connector that came in with the pentium4. Pictures here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-perform-ste...
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 12:03:30 AM

If its an IDE drive, definitely invest in a hard drive. I have a couple of those IDE to SATA adapters, they're pretty much all junk and only good enough to get your files off the IDE drive before chucking it in the garbage. The adapters won't improve their speed anyway and IDE drives are substantially slower than new drives.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 12:15:30 AM

nekulturny said:
and IDE drives are substantially slower than new drives.

... and those ribbon cables a bitch to manage and make look good :pt1cable: 
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June 15, 2012 1:34:17 AM

tsnor said:
1. Good Choice of video card
2. What kind of hard disk is in the old tower, IDE (flat ribbon) or SATA (small round) ? Ditto optical drives. the new MB does not have IDE. Better to get a new optical or HDD then to install an IDE adapter.
3. Assume your current system has power supply with standard ATX connectors especially the 4/8-pin CPU power connector that came in with the pentium4. Pictures here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-perform-ste...


Got a pair of 250GB Seagate Sata II HD's in there, however my optical drive is IDE. Will probably need a new one of those... crap.

My PSU is a 550W thermaltake, it's SLI-certified (or at least it was when I bought it), and I believe it has ~26A on the 12V rail, however I could be wrong. In any case the newer CPU/RAM chips are less power intensive than the ones I bought when I first built it.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 1:45:13 AM

auswa100 said:
Got a pair of 250GB Seagate Sata II HD's in there, however my optical drive is IDE. Will probably need a new one of those... crap.

My PSU is a 550W thermaltake, it's SLI-certified (or at least it was when I bought it), and I believe it has ~26A on the 12V rail, however I could be wrong. In any case the newer CPU/RAM chips are less power intensive than the ones I bought when I first built it.


Any SLI certified PSU will work great with hd6770 and have right connectors. So you are set there.

Plenty of good/cheap $20-30 optical drives. edit: or maybe the $17 unit from thsi build.... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-pc-do-it-you...

Re: hard drives, with two 250GB if you don't mind risk of losing data, then RAID0 on your new MB will make disk IO faster, great for CAD, photo edit, video and game levels. Bad for keeping data w/6 year old drives. And you get one 500GB C drive instead of managing two different drives.
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June 15, 2012 5:25:06 AM

thanks for all the replies guys! It appears that solidworks (and most CAD programs for that matter) are single threaded, so in this price range I can't really go wrong with getting an i3, plus it means I can upgrade to an ivy bridge i5/i7 down the road (if I feel so inclined)

P.S. Despite Diablo 3 being so lax on system requirements, the age of my CPU and RAM really do show, because those are the two things bottlenecked the game right now. Sad day :( 
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 11:59:49 AM

I don't know where you heard that CAD programs are single threaded from, but thats not entirely accurate.

http://cadspeed.wordpress.com/

I will remind you if you're looking up random tech articles about what program, or what product does what. Pay attention to the dates on them. I found a couple articles saying CAD programs were single threaded, although being that they're from 2008, 2010.. Well, they don't really bear much weight to me.


Either way, something you should keep in mind. In 2013, Intel will be moving on to the LGA1150 socket, which means if you want to upgrade to the latest quad in a year from now, you'll be buying a new mobo to put it on. Long and short of it, if you want a Sandy/Ivy quad, BUY IT NOW, or save your money until you have enough to afford it I personally would advise Sandy over Ivy if you plan to overclock, but if not overclocking, go Ivy. .

Really thats kind of a foolish financial decision in the first place to basically throw away a perfectly good i3 to upgrade it to a quad.
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June 15, 2012 1:49:54 PM

Ah that's a good link, thank you. However given the only thing I really do is solidworks is 3d drawing, and rendering/simulation it seems is where four cores really shine, it may not be financially feasible at this point in time for me to get a quad-core sandy/ivy bridge, because any absolutely heavy lifting I need to do can be done on my department's workstations, which sport quad-core i7's.

That being said I most likely won't be overclocking, as I don't really see the point. I'll think about it more, not to mention the fact that ivy bridge i3's are coming out in the near future, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for those.
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a c 118 B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 2:32:56 PM

Good luck, you can't really make a "bad choice" either way, but just so you keep your options open. As far as I'm concerned, Intel really could knock AMD out of the park if they didn't have such a large price gap between their Dual core and Quad core CPUs. Although, the final nail has probably already been nailed down.

As far as overclocking in general, really (again in my opinion) anyone doing a homebuild system should be considering it, as this is one of the main advantages of homebuilding over buying pre-built.

Aside from, cost, performance (since even custom build companies like Dell have pretty limited selections of parts), and warranties, since you usually get better warranty deals with homebuilding vs buying "service plans" from pre-built companies, the only trade off, is you're doing all the actual tech service work.

I know, I'm rambling, I'm done lol.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 4:22:12 PM

Overclocking is not so bad if you are careful. In fact the AMD FX chips come with unlocked multipliers for overclocking. There are reports of people overclocking 3.6 ghz chips to 4.5 ghz. The AMD would be a fine choice, I've got an older Athlon quad core, also on a budget myself, and it runs everything I want now.
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