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Suggestions for an upgrade. Worth it?

Last response: in Systems
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July 20, 2012 2:54:56 AM

This is just to see if upgrading my computer is worth it or if I should buy new parts. I built this PC in 2008 and my graphic card has broken awhile ago. I would like my new build to last me ~3 years or so. I would like to play games on this computer such as Battlefield 3, GW3, and up and coming games in the next few years. I would like most of my games to be medium-high, however I am not picky since I understand this is a budget build.


Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Sometime in August 8/12

Budget Range: 300-500 AFTER SHIPPING

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Internet, Movies

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Parts to Upgrade: GPU is a must, and anything else that is necessary.

Do you need to buy OS: No.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference, as long as it is a reliable site.

Location: California

Parts Preferences: No preference.

Overclocking: Maybe if it's not complicated, have never OC anything before so it's probably a no unless someone can show me how.

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: I don't have a preference for monitor resolution, I'd be fine with any budget monitor suggestion as since I'm so used to gaming on cheap small monitors. So any suggestions will be fine.


Why Are You Upgrading: My old graphic card straight up burnt out and is broken.

LIST OF PARTS I ALREADY HAVE (don't know if they're worth keeping or upgrading):

MOTHERBOARD:
GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

POWER SUPPLY:
OCZ StealthXStream OCZ500SXS 500W ATX12V / EPS12V Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor BX80562Q6600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ADDITIONAL NOTE ABOUT RAM:
Whenever I plug in both sticks of RAM my computer always freezes up after awhile. I've tested both RAM individually and both sticks work fine when they are inserted individually. The PC just freezes when both sticks are in, and I assume this is because I'm using a 32BIT OS? I've tried every possible slot combination (yellow/yellow, red, red, red,yellow, etc). I'm not sure if I should buy another set of ram or if there are other ways I can fix this.

If you guys have any questions, feel free to ask. I will try and respond to the best of my abilities.

Thanks a lot.
July 20, 2012 9:19:21 AM

can you re-use you Hard drive, optical Drive and Case? if so please list those specs.

also where in California are you? I ask because MicroCenters have some good in-store only deals. There is one in Tustin, CA (Orange County) and one in Santa Clare (Silcon Valley).

I would say the only reusable item so far is your Power supply.
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July 20, 2012 4:49:12 PM

Not sure if I can re-use these but I'll list them anyways. I'm in Santa Clara County in the bay area.

OPTICAL DRIVE:
Sony Optiarc 20X DVD±R Burner 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model AD-7200S-0B - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE:
COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3500630AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive (Perpendicular Recording) -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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July 20, 2012 6:29:55 PM

vastilo said:
Not sure if I can re-use these but I'll list them anyways. I'm in Santa Clara County in the bay area.

as long as there is nothing wrong with them re-use them.

so you are near the Santa Clara MicroCenter, that's great.

So, we will re-use your Case, PSU, HDD, ODD. we will get you a new MB, CPU ,RAM, GPU and Monitor.


I went with a quad core build. alternately you could go with a Dual core and a better GPU. this rig should play BF3 on high settings for the most part.

From the Santa Clara MicroCenter

CPU $150
Core i5 3450 3.1GHz
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Ram $28
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
-------------
177.98 + $14.91 tax = $192.89

NewEgg

MB $80 +$7.56 shipping and Tax
GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3H
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video card $120 Free Ship + Tax & $10 MIR (could also go with a HD 7770 for about same price if you are an AMD fan)
VGA 01G-P3-1464-KR GeForce GTX 560 SE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
--------------
$199.98 $14.50 Tax +$7.56 Shipping = $222.04
-------
$ 414.93

Look for a monitor at MC that you like. they have several under $100. if it's refurbished ask about their stuck pixel policy before you buy or try to check it out in the store befroe you leave.

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
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July 20, 2012 9:34:46 PM

Are there any major differences between getting the stronger GPU or the stronger CPU by any chance? I understand certain games are more CPU intensive and others are more GPU intensive but I'd like to know the overall advantage of each. I'd also rather choose the PC with less overall issues and a more durable build. With that said, I'd like this PC to last me ~3 years, so would a dual core be sufficient to handle up and coming games?

Also, between the nvidia and AMD GPU, are there any pros and cons to each of them? I've had nvidia in the past (8800 GT) which was the card that blew up on me so i'd like to carefully make the decision choosing between both of them.

Thanks!

edit: after reading some reviews, I'm probably going to stick with your suggestion on the 560 SE. I will probably purchase the quad core. However I'd still like some feedback on the pros and cons of having a stronger CPU vs a stronger GPU before I make my decision.
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Best solution

July 21, 2012 6:47:29 AM


This shows bench marks on a bottom line and top line intel dual core. the gpu's are not identicle, but close in power.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-pc-do-it-you...

Nvidia vs AMD - I like Nvidia because of the better drivers. the HD 7770 is the AMD equivilent of the GTX 560se if you choose that route. I own 2 AMD and 4 Nvidia GPU's.


dropping down to a Dual core and upping the GPU isn't all that bad an idea. My though process was that future wise, a quad is better and since you live near a MC the i5 3450 is a steal at $150, this is $50 under the going rate. Had you not lived near a MC I would have design the upgrade around a Dual Core CPU.
also I figure for upgrading, it easier to change a Graphics card, than a CPU.

I figure also that the monitor you would buy would most likey be 1600 x 900 and the GTX 560se will drive that pretty well on high and very high gaming settings. Even if you bought a 1920 x 1080 monitor it would drive most things on high and some on very high as long as you don't get crazy with the AA and AF.

the only case I can make for quad vs Dual core is maybe BF3 Multiplayer 64 maps seems to studder when my son plays on the HTPC (i3 2120) and this doesn't happen on his gaming rig (i7 2600) he says it playable, but it does studder on some maps. I think its playable.


MC has the i3 2125 for $119 which also a steal. If you go the DualcCore route then, the GPU upgrade you would want is the GTX 560, it performs the same as the older HD 6870.

you can go with a slighly less expensive MB and RAM as the Dual core only support 1333Mhz ram.

MicroCenter
CPU $119
i3 2125 3.3Ghz (this is the same as a 2120 that would have recommended, but with the HD 3000 graphic and its $5 cheaper that a 2120 at newegg)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Monitor ~$100 (same as the bild above)

NEWEGG
MB $67 ($6.77 Ship)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM $24 (free ship)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU $170 (Frees ship) $20 MIR =$150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-----------
260.97 + 18.92 tax +6.77 ship = 286.66 - $20 MIR
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July 21, 2012 9:47:11 PM

Best answer selected by vastilo.
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July 21, 2012 9:47:49 PM

jerreddredd said:
This shows bench marks on a bottom line and top line intel dual core. the gpu's are not identicle, but close in power.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-pc-do-it-you...

Nvidia vs AMD - I like Nvidia because of the better drivers. the HD 7770 is the AMD equivilent of the GTX 560se if you choose that route. I own 2 AMD and 4 Nvidia GPU's.


dropping down to a Dual core and upping the GPU isn't all that bad an idea. My though process was that future wise, a quad is better and since you live near a MC the i5 3450 is a steal at $150, this is $50 under the going rate. Had you not lived near a MC I would have design the upgrade around a Dual Core CPU.
also I figure for upgrading, it easier to change a Graphics card, than a CPU.

I figure also that the monitor you would buy would most likey be 1600 x 900 and the GTX 560se will drive that pretty well on high and very high gaming settings. Even if you bought a 1920 x 1080 monitor it would drive most things on high and some on very high as long as you don't get crazy with the AA and AF.

the only case I can make for quad vs Dual core is maybe BF3 Multiplayer 64 maps seems to studder when my son plays on the HTPC (i3 2120) and this doesn't happen on his gaming rig (i7 2600) he says it playable, but it does studder on some maps. I think its playable.


MC has the i3 2125 for $119 which also a steal. If you go the DualcCore route then, the GPU upgrade you would want is the GTX 560, it performs the same as the older HD 6870.

you can go with a slighly less expensive MB and RAM as the Dual core only support 1333Mhz ram.

MicroCenter
CPU $119
i3 2125 3.3Ghz (this is the same as a 2120 that would have recommended, but with the HD 3000 graphic and its $5 cheaper that a 2120 at newegg)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Monitor ~$100 (same as the bild above)

NEWEGG
MB $67 ($6.77 Ship)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM $24 (free ship)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU $170 (Frees ship) $20 MIR =$150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-----------
260.97 + 18.92 tax +6.77 ship = 286.66 - $20 MIR



Thanks, I will probably go with the quad core and upgrade the GPU in the future.
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July 22, 2012 5:33:03 AM

vastilo said:
Thanks, I will probably go with the quad core and upgrade the GPU in the future.

That's a good choice. good luck on your upgrade
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