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Upgrade or new build? with parts list

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August 24, 2012 3:09:02 PM

Hello all,
I have built several gaming rigs in the past but I haven't built one since 2008. I still keep up with newer stuff, so I'm only slightly out of the loop. I would like to upgrade or just flat out build a new one. My current system is a solid build. I have had zero issues. Runs newer games (Skyrim, FFXIV, D3, MW3, etc) on medium/Low settings. I'm also an amateur photographer so it can run Adobe Lightroom smoothly and Photoshop decently. I want something that will run games at Medium-High and will perform faster for Adobe photo workloads, but something that wont break the bank. 600-700 budget (keeping my Lian-Li case, and my Samsung Monitors)

Current setup is:

Mobo - GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX

Video - MSI N9800GT 512M OC GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support

PSU - XIGMATEK MC NRP-MC651 650W ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V Ver. 2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified

CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core

Memory - CORSAIR XMS2 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel

Storage - Seagate 500 GB 7200 rpm

OS - Windows 7 64


New build:

Mobo - ASRock 970 EXTREME3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD

Memeory - Team Xtreem Dark Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) (Currently these are free with the the motherboard)
- OR -
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)

Video - EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI
- OR -
EVGA 01G-P3-1464-KR GeForce GTX 560 SE (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI
- OR -
XFX HD-685A-ZCFC Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX
These just come down to price and fitting into the budget.

CPU - AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4100WMGUSBX

HDD - OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
- AND -
Current 500 GB 7200 RPM for storage

Questions/Concerns:
Should I continue to use the 4 year old PSU on the new system or buy a new PSU?
Should I keep my current system and just update the video card to something newer or will I have a slight bottle neck?
Should I keep my current system and install SSD as main and use current HD for storage?
Combination of the last two?

Give me your thouhts :)  or criticism :D 
August 24, 2012 3:13:03 PM

Should I continue to use the 4 year old PSU on the new system < YES

Thumbs up on the new setup.
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August 24, 2012 6:12:52 PM

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/fxdB

your old psu should still work. if you have a OEM copy of windows, you will need a new one since the license is tied to the motherboard and not the hard drive
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August 24, 2012 7:55:50 PM

Chubbs said:
Questions/Concerns:
Should I continue to use the 4 year old PSU on the new system or buy a new PSU?
Should I keep my current system and just update the video card to something newer or will I have a slight bottle neck?
Should I keep my current system and install SSD as main and use current HD for storage?
Combination of the last two?


PSU/Yes it will work.
Can always upgrade to a silent/gold model later if you want.

System/CPU - needs to be upgraded
. Particularly if you do some graphical work. Its not worth upgrading in the old chipset. (I turned my old E8400 into a HTPC!)

I'm not sure why you went with AMD here, particularly since you had a great intel setup previously. If you care about longevity in the machine and want this to last like your previous setup you should invest in a better processor. I'd suggest a mid-range i5 in the slightly under $200 range at the minimum.

Personally, I like to spend about the same amount on CPU and GPU - (contrary to some of the gaming builds done here) in order to ensure system longevity. The GPU is easy to upgrade/crossfire later, while chipsets change too quickly to make CPU upgrades really worth it. (Edit: suggestion - $200 CPU, $200GPU, $50-70 memory, $150 Mobo)

SSD boot drive is a good idea, but I would put it well below the new CPU and GPU in terms of priority. (Having the programs boot really fast isnt as useful as having them run at high resolutions/framerates!) I would save this for the next time you have spare cash and just focus on the priorities right now. SSD prices are falling so fast ... if you have to wait a little while for that it cant hurt too much.
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August 24, 2012 9:14:07 PM

Thanks for the post!

I pretty much went with AMD CPU because of price. I have had solid AMD builds in the past as well ( though these were around 2004 lol). I have spec'd out friends build with the Zambezi and they have solid builds. Longevity of the Zambezi I wouldn't be able to say. And actually, I would really like to convert the E8500 into a HTPC. I think I will play with a few Intel builds to see what I can come up with.

The SSD idea came because of my current 500 GB is starting to fill up with games and tons of photos. I would like to get a second HD because of a maybe over flow situation and just thought the SSD would be a great performance boost. But, you make a good point the SSD could come later and if I need extra space just buy another RPM drive.

I completely agree with the GPU being an easy upgrade later. This is why I'm looking at the low 100's to mid 100's dollar range.
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August 24, 2012 9:42:55 PM

If you're looking in that range consider the 77xx series.

I would also suggest looking at Intel CPUs.
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August 25, 2012 12:51:28 AM

intel is a better solution now. amd was great in 2000-2004 but after intel put out the core 2 series of chips, amd fell behind.

zambezi would be replaced by the piledriver chips next year. zambezi was actually a step back from the phenom ii series of chips
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August 25, 2012 3:12:32 AM

After some research, I can agree with intel being the superior manufacture. Though the price doesn't fit into my budget. Every i5 build is $200 over the AMD build. ATM select AMD mobo's get free 8 GB 1600 memory.

Intel Build:
HD - Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARX 1TB IntelliPower SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"

Video - EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Memory - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL

Mobo - ASRock Z75 Pro3 LGA 1155 Intel Z75 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core
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August 25, 2012 5:37:14 AM

Looks pretty good!

Chubbs said:
CPU - Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core


You intend to overclock? Just making sure. Not sure where you live, but if close to one, Microcenter has the 2500k for $159.
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September 1, 2012 2:33:27 AM

It's been a couple days since i updated but I went with an Intel build. Not the 2500 but still an i5. See below :) 

Video Card: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support

Mobo: ASRock Z75 Pro3 LGA 1155 Intel Z75 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX

CPU: Intel Core i5-2310 Sandy Bridge 2.9GHz (3.2GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

The 2310 was about 140 (on sale), I spent 400 on it all living plenty of room if needed. I figure once or if ever the i7 or the higher i5's drop in price I can upgrade. I think the weakest link here will be the video card, but i'm not a serious gamer just a gamer who doesn't need the best graphics. The update was mainly for photo editing and my dual core wasn't cutting it.

Newegg atm has a 128 GB SSD that i'm debating about picking up. But I might save the $$ for a larger second HD for photo/video storage. Thanks for all the advice!
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September 1, 2012 5:56:23 AM

Looks great! SSDs have been pretty constantly on sale for a while now, I wouldn't worry about missing anything. The only concern would be if you didn't want to have to install windows twice (although it installs sooo fast on an SSD).

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September 11, 2012 12:18:46 AM

Best answer selected by Chubbs.
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September 11, 2012 1:59:17 AM

Thanks! Let us know how it goes.
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!