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First time builder, don't want to ruin it.

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August 12, 2012 7:23:49 AM

I have never pieced together a PC before. I wanted to play an MMO but didnt want to spend much money on a rig. I bought a refurbished DELL OptiPlex 745, added RAM and bought a shiny video card. I use dual monitors (1 DVI, 1 VGA) to play DDO and watch streaming videos at the same time (yes I know I'm lazy). But now I want to run things faster and at higher quality graphics levels. I don't really know much about hardware but I'm trying to teach myself with this process and I would love some help. Friends said this was the place to find it, so here are my specs:

- Intel Pentium D 945 CPU 3.40GHz
-Windows 7 64bit.
-8 GB RAM (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
-SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6570 2GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card (100324L)
-305w power supply.

Here's what I was shopping for:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX

Refurbished: ASUS M5A97 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL11Q-16GBZL


-I assume I need a new power supply, what do I about that?
-Think I can swap out these parts or do I need a new case too?
-Am I being too greedy with 16GB RAM, will I use that much or is 8GB cool?

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August 12, 2012 7:26:27 AM

Sadly, that won't even play MMOs at good settings. :/ 
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August 12, 2012 7:33:42 AM

Right now I can play Dungeons & Dragons Online at default settings in 1920 x 1080 windowed mode. And on my vga I can watch Hulu or Netflix, etc. I can't switch back and forth between windows very quickly and my game can dip in frame rate. But it does work.

Why would my upgrade idea not work azeem?
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August 12, 2012 7:36:15 AM

depending on the side of the mb and case (most dell and hp use micro atx mb.) you may need to use one.
if your going to piecemeal a pc..your better off buying the power supply first and buy a 500-600w one so you can put in a newer video card. i use an h77 mb and one of the new ib i3 that be out in a few weeks. (120.00) price point. with a 500 or 7000x video card you should be able to play mmo. the newer 650 nvidia going to be in the 130-150.00 price point.
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August 12, 2012 7:36:30 AM

Well, the GPU is really holding your CPU back, causing a bottleneck. I'd not run on anything less than a 6670.
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August 12, 2012 7:48:58 AM

Thanks for the advice that helps. I get what your saying now azeem. And I didn't realize that there would be an i3 coming out soon near the price point of the x4 which is way better than I have now anyway. That's a good thing for me to consider now.
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August 12, 2012 8:25:27 AM


-AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX

-PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W High Performance 80PLUS Silver SLI CrossFire ready Power Supply

-Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive


-BIOSTAR A960A3+ AM3+ AMD 870 ATX AMD Motherboard

-G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL11Q-16GBZL

-SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 100358VXL Video Card


yes/no? Wait for new intel release?
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Best solution

August 12, 2012 8:29:10 AM

Try to get the 560 SE as it is a better GPU. Also change the RAM to 8GB and the PSU to a 550W XFX PRO550.
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August 12, 2012 9:03:39 AM

BIOSTAR A960A3+ AM3+ AMD 870 ATX AMD Motherboard

EVGA 01G-P3-1464-KR GeForce GTX 560 SE (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

XFX Core Edition PRO550W (P1-550S-XXB9) 550W ATX12V 2.2 & ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified ...

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL11D-8GBXL

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
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August 12, 2012 11:15:10 AM

Can you tell your overall budget and how much do you intend to keep this pc

So i can give you a better advice
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August 12, 2012 3:07:27 PM

Yeah fair question. Budget is a bit flexible but I would like to keep it under $600 (I *might* be convinced to go higher). I picked out the x4 because of the price to power ratio but might be convinced to spend more on that. Pretty much whatever I buy would be waaay better than what I have now and I don't need top of the line, 7 months ago I was still using my XPS M1210 laptop and pair of desk fans as my computer. What I build here would prob not get changed again for 1-2years. The only game other than DDO that I am interested in playing anytime in the future would be Rome Total War 2. When I bought what I use now I simply was not aware of what was available now and I want to take advantage and build something good but cheap.

No game needs to be run at the highest graphic quality. I don't do any video editing or photoshop. I just browse, stream movies/tv, play DDO and some other games, and use skype video chat some too. Mass Effect 3 was playable but could have been much smoother. I don't mind lower graphics at all, anything that isn't nintendo 64 looks pretty to me, I'm not overly picky. I mean I had been using the same laptop since 2006 so put that in perspective of what an upgrade would look like to me. Coming from using an old laptop like that; an argument over getting 18% more speed or performance out of an intel vs an AMD processor seems silly to me, they would both blow away what I'm used to. I should also mention that I work at a IT job where I use a dell d630 laptop for 8 hrs a day. So I just need to come home to something faster than a d630. If someone has been used to dial up, they don't need to jump into T1 just yet is how I look at it. But I could be completely wrong. Maybe spending a bit more on an intel would melt my face with wonder, I dunno.

Again, I do have dual monitors if that is something I need to consider. I don't really know how much more demand that would add or if it is negligible.
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August 12, 2012 3:18:34 PM

Since I don't know the flesh and bones of CPUs well at all, I basically see this AMD vs Intel thing as a pc v mac thing. I would rather pay much less for comparable power than make sure I was hitting each benchmark. I am totally ok with having a cpu that was in the top 10 -20 than make sure I had one of the top 5. I am ok with average. Because just like cars nowadays, average is pretty friggin nice n' cozy.
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August 12, 2012 5:16:54 PM

Top 20 would include i3-i7. I wouldn't want to spend more than ~$200 max on a CPU. When I compare the ~$110 AMD cpus with the ~$200 intel, am I getting double the speed for my money? Also, how much do I need to spend on a mobo?
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August 13, 2012 5:51:49 AM

Best answer selected by looksgoodonpaper.
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