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Old Pc optiplex 780 upgrade

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March 11, 2013 3:08:04 AM

Hey guise

New guy here, picked up some useful stuff around the boards. Recently purchased a dell optiplex 780 tower to screw around. It packs a core2duo with 2.33ghz, has ddr3 ram capability, pcie x16. My main purpose is to use it for picture editing using adobe Lightroom, a little video editing and gaming (diablo, Starcraft, cod and some other fps)

What I initially plan to do is upgrade the CPU to a quad core 9400 and cheapy vid card and upgrade the ram to 8gb. But this morning I was swayed by my sis in law to pick up a mid ranged vid card (radeon 7770) and psu to support both new CPU n gpu.

Since I can't afford all of it in one purchase, what would you upgrade first? What I was thinking is upgrade the ram to 8gb vengeance brand, 430 watt thermaltake psu and a 7770 radeon. Btw I have a 24" monitor with 1980x1200 (?) native resolution, will this run it smoothly?

Am I taking the right route here to build a budget pc? If you we're me, what would you do? Pls don't tell me to throw it away and buy a better rig cuz that's not an option :D 

Halpppp!

More about : optiplex 780 upgrade

March 11, 2013 4:53:12 PM

Quote:
Am I taking the right route here to build a budget pc?


Sorry, no. On the bright side, you're also wrong about not being able to build a better one with the resources you have. The problem is your approach. You can't just throw money at 5 year old hardware because it won't handle new parts and the older inferior stuff it CAN handle is more expensive.

Also note: You're also missing the fact that your budget pc is already built.

Part by part:

Your board probably doesn't support the video card. I checked the specs and it just says pcie x16, which probably means 1.0. It's supposed to be a backward/forward compatible standard, but it's not. 1.0 Slots can't take 2.1 or later (I believe because of changes in power requirements).

You won't get a whole lot more out of a quad core, and since those chips are fairly old, so you don't get the 'recently old' discount.

This was the cheapest core 2 quad I could find in under a minute at $120ish.

Here's a newer one for $99; a quad core at 3.4 Ghz. I know from experience that this chip is awesome.

Also, just because it supports DDR3 doesn't mean you can just slap anything into it. I think core 2 quads only support up to 1066, but it might be 1333. 1066 ram is actually MORE expensive than newer ram. I couldn't confirm it at a glance, but I think it might only support 4GB also.

What would I do?
For now, I'd use the crap out of that dell just like it is. Maybe I'd put $20 worth of ram in it, but that'd be all. It'll do everything you want except game. My long-term plan would be to phase in new components for an eventual full rebuild (for about what you're planning to spend anyway). Then, I'd find something else to use the dell for (there are lots of great uses like home theater, network storage, etc).

First, I'd buy the new board and CPU. This can easily be done for under $200, and could be as low as $125 if you're frugal and willing to make compromises. The dell ram should probably work, but check with the new mobo's manufacturer to be sure.

Then, I'd buy components in the following order until I had two fully working computers: ram, psu, gpu, new hdd (either a junker for the dell or a new fancy for the new fancy), a second optical drive (optional, easy to find free or nearly free).

Knowing Dell, the case and board are probably a matched set. They like to do things like move a screw over an inch or put the ram above the cpu and run a fan conduit where it's supposed to go. It's their way of making sure you can't use their stuff with anything else. You can get an old busted computer from a thrift store and harvest the case for about $10 or they can easily be garbage picked. You may get lucky and find a viable hard drive and other toys to use in the dell once this all done.

Good luck, and sorry I couldn't tell you what you wanted to hear.
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March 11, 2013 9:33:43 PM

That is very unfortunate lol. Thanks for the eye opener. I dont really plan to use it as a gaming rig, its more of a all around machine.

I still plan to buy some upgrades, but I wont probably go all out and spend a lot money on an aging machine. I judt installed a 64bit win8, I guess ill start there.

Really appreciate your thoughts. Anyone else wants to wreck my dreams? :D 



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Related resources
March 11, 2013 11:49:10 PM

Before anyone planning to provide any opinions it is very beneficial to read optiplex 780 manual ftp://ftp.dell.com/Manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/... page 6 of pdf where it is clearly stated that PCIE is 2.0. I don't see where 1.0 came from. This is first.
Second. It is not that old PC, and with little money it can be upgraded to handle most of today tasks, including gaming up to Crysis 3 if you wish. Yes, it is not new, but when money are limited, all options has to be taken into consideration.

In order to better provide you with possible choices please identify your case form factor. I will provide Optiplex 755 family line picture as example, please name your form factor



Regarding Video card, check around for 7750, would it satisfy your needs? It will work on your existing power supply (wattage depends on case form factor as well), it costs at most $120 or less depending on manufacturer, it will play all modern games on low to medium settings without AA enabled!

Once you post form factor and Video card requirement (7750 or above, if above, power supply PSU upgrade is required) I can provide with possible choices. Then, and only then you can decide your next steps.
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March 12, 2013 12:09:00 AM

Im seeing some positive light here! :)  im reconfiguring my newegg basket then you post this :D 

I was about to get this -> http://m.newegg.com/Product/index?itemNumber=N82E168201...

Replaced with with regular looking ram simce im not sure if it will work. I went to the crucial website and I think its supported. Since thr number values are the same.

Mines the biggest one, the MT tower. Im looking at the radeon 7770 at the minimum. But really wanted the 7850, but im sure itll be bottlenecked by the cpu, hence the thought of upgrading to a core2quad if thats even a logical solution.

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March 12, 2013 12:10:23 AM

Actually, the best CPU in any system but the USFF is an Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q9650/3.00GHz, 12M, 1333FSB, which is respectable jump over your current one. But to confirm I still need form factor, and preferably motherboard model.
The easiest way to find motherboard exact model is to get CPUZ http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html install and run, check information under third tab from the left - mainboard. Also, check CPU tab, the very first one to verify your current processor, please provide full model as well.
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March 12, 2013 12:26:07 AM

shopping from the phone, please slow down. I can actually confirm already - Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q9650 would work, no motherboard model is necessary. Also, you can go up to 16 GB of RAM if desired. Crucial is the best for Dells, just don't get fancy ones.
See, if you can afford Corsair power supply, Thermaltake takes the bottom of the recommended power supplies, it is not that bad, but Corsair is much better and not as expensive as the best one - Seasonic.

The only thing I need to find - if CPU cooler has to be upgraded.

You almost done. Still slow down with Video Card, I have some reservations, I would have to check on card size if it actually fits...
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March 12, 2013 7:19:33 AM

Wow. Thanks for all of this :) 

I have the MT model, its huge, im guessing it can take full sizedcards. I have the e6550 2.33ghz right now.

This totally changed my upgrade path :) 
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March 12, 2013 9:16:06 AM

Rjsaml said:
Wow. Thanks for all of this :) 

I have the MT model, its huge, im guessing it can take full sizedcards. I have the e6550 2.33ghz right now.

This totally changed my upgrade path :) 


Mini Tower is not that "huge" as you think. I am having problems locating open side panel picture, it is very important, so if you can snap a picture of your open side panel Optiplex, that would be great. If you have problem focusing, I need area around PCIE card and CPU heatsink cooler, this is the problem area for many Optiplex models!
Don't just buy video card yet please, or you might have to return it and get upset!!!

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Best solution

March 12, 2013 10:15:20 AM

My worst expectations came true - you can not fit just any video card.
Watch this video first http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbVoe-4_oZ0
Second, I will show what I mean on the example for Optiplex 755 and GX620, apparently all of them including yours 780 are sharing the same hardware architecture!

Unfortunately no card that is more than 7.5 inches long or 2 slots wide will PHYSICALLY FIT inside the case - it was found that only single bracket video card can fit due to BTX MOBO, where card internals facing upward towards PC internals, not ATX, where dual card design is blocking another PCI slot by facing downward.

If you prefer the card with beefier fan, then the length of the card must not exceed 7.5 inches, otherwise only "skinny" single bracket, single slot cards can physically fit.

Pictures below will prove my point.

View shows no room for dual bracket



Single bracket only, or you have to cut dual bracket in half



Here you can clearly see only single place for the bracket



Visual explanation



7.5 inches explained, also shown "obstacles"



This is the picture of actual "skinny" single slot video card (not sure which model)- perfect, "glove" fit.



So, I found 2 GDDR5 7750 cards (GDDR5 is better than GDDR3, even if GDD3 offers 2 GB RAM), which confirmed in reviews to fit Optiplex gx620, 745 and 755 cases (the difference between those models are different processors).

Skinny, flimsier in terms of construction, completely single slot XFX 7750 http://www.amazon.com/XFX-DisplayPort-PCI-Express-FX775...
A bit beefier cooler, not as skinny, more durable in construction PowerColor AX7750 http://www.amazon.com/PowerColor-AX7750-1GBD5-DH-Video-...
I cannot say which one of those 2 is better, both are good and got less bad reviews related to structural build.
I saw recent recommendation regarding drivers "Changing to the just-released AMD catalyst 13.2 BETA driver improved performance noticeably in just about every game" posted 03/05/2013.

If you had previously NVIDIA card or NVIDIA chip - drivers have to be completely uninstalled prior to installing ATI card.

This is it. So, you are very limited in choices for video card, limited by size, unfortunately
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March 12, 2013 10:25:50 AM

Above post was for original power supply. Considering that everying inside your case is crooked, I am expecting that standard ATX power supply may not fit as well!
I am looking into this issue, need more time.
Look first if 7750 will satisfy your needs.....
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March 12, 2013 10:43:40 AM

Well iguess its a full tower, I have a mink tower here at my office and its certainly bigger. I can take a pic when I get home, hopefully, you cam bring meore good news :D 

I really appreciste the time
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March 12, 2013 10:47:13 AM

*edit*

Ughh. Its ok, I can settle with lesser quality vid card. I can't thank you enough bro. Ill post back I I fully install everything
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March 12, 2013 10:52:17 AM

So far I found only one 7770 video card which will fit inside - PowerColor AX7770 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
From NVIDIA I only see SPARKLE 700025 (SX650TI1024KD) GeForce GTX 650 Ti http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... which most likely will fit, but I can not recommend Sparkle since I have no clue who they are and what is their quality.
It will require power supply upgrade. Unless you come up with another single bracket video card, your choices stop here.

So for the better budget I would recommend stop at 7750.
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March 12, 2013 10:52:49 AM

So far I found only one 7770 video card which will fit inside - PowerColor AX7770 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
From NVIDIA I only see SPARKLE 700025 (SX650TI1024KD) GeForce GTX 650 Ti http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... which most likely will fit, but I can not recommend Sparkle since I have no clue who they are and what is their quality.
It will require power supply upgrade. Unless you come up with another single bracket video card, your choices stop here.

So for the better budget I would recommend stop at 7750.

EDIT: Toms server problems, posted twice by TOM.
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March 12, 2013 11:04:12 AM

Yea, I have no prob with the 7750, that is my initial plan anyways. Would you still suggest replacing the cpu to crank upmore speed? I feel like i will waste money if I do
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March 12, 2013 12:51:04 PM

I would say first get video card and RAM, install and play your favorite game, if your FPS on low to medium settings without AA are above 40 - you are fine the way it is, if not, well, this is next discussion.

Q9550 search lead to very expensive results, even on eBay. So this is the list of Optiplex compatible Quads

Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q9650/3.00GHz, 12M, 1333FSB
Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q9550/2.83GHz, 12M, 1333FSB
Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q9400/2.66GHz, 6M, 1333FSB
Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q8400/2.66GHz, 4M, 1333FSB
Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q8300/2.50GHz, 4M, 1333FSB

Q9550 found here http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=... starting price about $105, if you can get it around this price, it is worth it, I think above $150 it become too expensive, after all, you just saved on 7750 at least $50 or more and power supply another $30 or so, so your savings to apply toward CPU upgrade are about $100, not bad. However, keep in mind that Quads are 95 watt and your E is only65 watt - cooling upgrade is required, if your CPU heatsink is aluminum. It is easy to check, open your box and look at heatsink with flash light, if you see only white metal, it is aluminum, if you see yellow parts inside, it is called copper. Dell installs copper heatsinks on 95 watt quads for Optiplex models, I have part numbers, easy to find if needed and not expensive at all.


So please check first.
Performance wise, most today programs and games began utilizing 4 cores already, so the more cores you have the better. If it was me with tight budget, I would go for Q9550 for under $150. If suddenly you decide to purchase Q9550 and I am not around, go for E0 stepping identified as SLB8V - full name would be Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz 12M 1333 SLB8V E0 Yorkfield, this is last generation, improved quality...
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March 12, 2013 1:10:06 PM

You guys seem to have this figured out, but I just wanted to answer the question of 'where are you getting 1.0 from' and say why I gave my suggestion. I glanced at the tech specs, and it didn't say any pcie version. In every system from that era that I've encountered, if it doesn't say, it's 1.0. 2.0 was new, so that's something you'd expect to see up front.

I said I wasn't certain, and I think I said to call dell.

Also, I did later come across some rather affordable decent quality pcie 2.0 cards that would work in 1.0 slots, and I planned to check back and mention them.

I still don't think the cost of a processor upgrade is justified for the improvement in performance.

What did that one chip cost? $237?
phenom 965 $99
Decent board at a glance $120
8GB of ram supported by the chip $53
Total: $272

Again, not saying you should junk the box, but for $37 more than the cost of the best chip, you have a new system that kicks the crap out of the existing one with a better chip (I didn't bother to check if this system would work with the other stuff you have, it's just an example). For this reason, I suggest not putting any more money into it than you have to, especially not a chip upgrade.

As I said before, it will do anything on your list except gaming. If that's all, then only get a video card. You can always put that card into a newer system.

A bit more ram might not be bad, but I'd say don't spend more than $40.

Another thought, Rjsaml, you keep calling it a full tower. That's actually something entirely different. What you have is called a mid-tower. You mean to say it's not a tiny little thin station. Put it next to a true full tower and you'll never forget the distinction :)  That's not a dig by any means, if you didn't have the mid tower, you could probably kiss your hopes of any substantial upgrades goodbye (waiting for someone to tell me I'm wrong, lol).

As I said, I think you guys got this, just wanted to clarify why I gave the advice I did.

EDIT: oops, I hit the post button before I was done typing and had to go back
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March 12, 2013 1:54:41 PM

Lol yea i guess its a MT. Its jusy bigger compared to the ones in using at my office. Im not techy guy so buying new boards and other components will really throw me off. Ive settled to the 7750 and ram upgrade for now. Thanks to both off you, really.

Btw kisisanik its yellow heatsink, so im guessing its copper, if ever I wanted todo the cpu upgrade later, will it be enough or I still need to install something elsr?

Hatss off to bothr of you
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March 12, 2013 2:43:52 PM

@Rjsaml: You have copper, so nothing more you can do here, it is very proprietary.

@BadPeteNo: There are manuals to check prior to providing advices, it took me a few minutes to find 2.0. Your suggestion almost stop OP from saving money, you remember OP mentioned about tight budget?
Now, your system would require also case another $30 at least and PSU for the same at least, plus Win7 (Dell Win7 would not install on non Dell motherboard) another $80, make it total about $410 or more versus max $150 (or less) from eBay for processor which is about as strong as 965 (maybe a bit weaker).
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March 12, 2013 3:35:34 PM

Kisianik said:
@Rjsaml: You have copper, so nothing more you can do here, it is very proprietary.


You mean I just slap it on and thats it? Sorry I got a lot of Q's.

I understand Pete's point, but his suggestion wouldnt fit my budget nor my tinkering skill so I got to make the most out of this dinosaur
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March 12, 2013 5:14:11 PM

Just opened up the case and I was mistaken. Its aluminum. Im pretty excitef with this lol
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March 12, 2013 5:50:10 PM

Almost, you would have to clean it well, apply thermal paste and place it. When you will be ready I supply detailed instructions.
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March 16, 2013 10:19:46 PM

Checking if the thread is locked....
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March 16, 2013 10:39:19 PM

So it is aluminum, :sarcastic: :pfff:  It is very sad news. I got your PM.

There is a problem with mounting any heatsink to your Dell motherboard - It is looks very proprietary. I looked at motherboard when I was helping someone else with similar cooler system - I was not able to identify proper LGA size for this cooler, so it is not standard....

Anyway, you are looking for part number J9761
http://www.redplanettrading.com/Dell-J9761-D9729-Heatsi...
http://www.impactcomputers.com/j9761.html
Amazon claims it is correct one, but I don't like the picture, it is seems like aluminum one http://www.amazon.com/Dell-Optiplex-GX620-Heatsynce-ass...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Heatsink-Optiplex-GX620-an...

Make sure that heat-spreaders are parallel (copper version) to motherboard, not perpendicular (in aluminum version).
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March 17, 2013 7:28:39 PM

Thanks for that info, got a good price for a q9400 bought off craigslist (75) with the supplied heatsink. Though I havent triedto fit it yet. The stock heatsink will probably work with it right?

Ill update you ttomorrow! :)  I was editing photos with the e6550 earlier and I can see its age, hopefully the quad will remedy that.
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March 18, 2013 7:46:37 AM

Thread can get closed automatically very soon, if this happens, start a new thread with your Dell model in name of the thread, so I can locate it easily.
Supplied Intel cooler would not fit, you will see it soon. In any case I would really appreciate if you can measure distance between connector holes on your MOBO or screws of original aluminum heatsink - so community can find solution.
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March 18, 2013 9:06:39 AM

I will! Hopefully the stock cooler will hold up.
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March 18, 2013 8:37:28 PM

Got the measurements, its 4 1/2 inches (vertical) and about 3 3/4 (horizontal). So far its beem running for 30 mins with the stock coole. Looking good. Next up, gpu n ram :) 
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March 19, 2013 11:41:21 AM

Are you saying that Intel stock cooler mount on Dell MOBO without difficulty? That location of the mounting screws fitexactly on Dell MOBO?
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March 19, 2013 11:55:00 AM

No, im using whatever came with the dell, heatsink that came with tge quad does not fit.
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March 19, 2013 1:36:29 PM

Kisianik said:
@Rjsaml: You have copper, so nothing more you can do here, it is very proprietary.

@BadPeteNo: There are manuals to check prior to providing advices, it took me a few minutes to find 2.0. Your suggestion almost stop OP from saving money, you remember OP mentioned about tight budget?
Now, your system would require also case another $30 at least and PSU for the same at least, plus Win7 (Dell Win7 would not install on non Dell motherboard) another $80, make it total about $410 or more versus max $150 (or less) from eBay for processor which is about as strong as 965 (maybe a bit weaker).


How better to save the OP money then to tell him to just be happy with it as it is? $0 investment. Furthermore, it's his job to determine if my advice is sound, not yours. He said "what would you do", I told him what I would do, and I'm sticking to it.

And one last thing, as long as we're inaccurately comparing apples and oranges...
Core2Quad Q9400 $269 PassMark score = 3451
Phenom II 965 $99 PassMark score = 4327

If we do a little math, the 'points per dollar', the core2quad gets 12.83 points per dollar, while the Phenom II 965 gets 43.27 points per dollar. Not only is the chip SUBSTANTIALLY more powerful, but nearly 4 times more economical. You should know it's a decent chip, you have one.

Again, this is a mute point. I'm only replying at all because I don't think I should be scolded in a public forum for what basically comes down to opinion. I realize you guys are well past this, but I've been busy at work for the last week, and when I saw that quote I got fairly annoyed.

@Rjsaml Good job finding a great deal on a used chip! Buying a new one would have been down right silly.
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March 19, 2013 6:14:39 PM

BadPeteNo said:
Kisianik said:
@Rjsaml: You have copper, so nothing more you can do here, it is very proprietary.

@BadPeteNo: There are manuals to check prior to providing advices, it took me a few minutes to find 2.0. Your suggestion almost stop OP from saving money, you remember OP mentioned about tight budget?
Now, your system would require also case another $30 at least and PSU for the same at least, plus Win7 (Dell Win7 would not install on non Dell motherboard) another $80, make it total about $410 or more versus max $150 (or less) from eBay for processor which is about as strong as 965 (maybe a bit weaker).


How better to save the OP money then to tell him to just be happy with it as it is? $0 investment. Furthermore, it's his job to determine if my advice is sound, not yours. He said "what would you do", I told him what I would do, and I'm sticking to it.

And one last thing, as long as we're inaccurately comparing apples and oranges...
Core2Quad Q9400 $269 PassMark score = 3451
Phenom II 965 $99 PassMark score = 4327

If we do a little math, the 'points per dollar', the core2quad gets 12.83 points per dollar, while the Phenom II 965 gets 43.27 points per dollar. Not only is the chip SUBSTANTIALLY more powerful, but nearly 4 times more economical. You should know it's a decent chip, you have one.

Again, this is a mute point. I'm only replying at all because I don't think I should be scolded in a public forum for what basically comes down to opinion. I realize you guys are well past this, but I've been busy at work for the last week, and when I saw that quote I got fairly annoyed.

@Rjsaml Good job finding a great deal on a used chip! Buying a new one would have been down right silly.


My original advice to OP was Q9550 with benchmark of 4040, which would be closer to Phenom 965, I seen this. However OP choose Q9400 due to his reasons, and most likely price. We cannot calculate performance per dollar without knowing how much OP payed for his Q9400, I am not arguing about the Phenom 965 performance, but overall costs with choosing new system, as you advised, would be dramatically higher.
If OP would ask to build cheap new system from scratch, I would not say a word.

BadPeteNo said:



Again, this is a mute point. I'm only replying at all because I don't think I should be scolded in a public forum for what basically comes down to opinion.

@Rjsaml Good job finding a great deal on a used chip! Buying a new one would have been down right silly.


I apologies for the tone of my voice there, my fault.

The goal of this post was and is - getting the most for less, and substantially less than ~$400 with 965 CPU. As I stated previously, his system would be able to play Crysis 3. When he is settled, and all running good, next step would be saving money for the next new build, new Intel processors are around the corner, which would drop the price for I5 2500 significantly, and this CPU will beat 965 easily, but this will happened in a year or so, for now OP has something to play the games with, and this is the point of this thread.
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March 19, 2013 6:30:31 PM

Rjsaml said:
No, im using whatever came with the dell, heatsink that came with tge quad does not fit.


Now, prior you burning all your PC, while playing games, we need to see how your present cooler is holding up.
Get OCCT, excellent little monitoring and testing program, which would let you see temperatures and provide you with not that barbaric stress tests. I measured OCCT stress tests against first Crysis - OCCT is about %20-30 stronger, so if you pass OCCT, meaning your temperature is not that high, you can play all modern games without fear for destroying you PC.

But be ready to see that stronger CPU cooler may be required, I mean you would have to find the cooper model I mentioned above.
Also, I hope you used good thermal paste like Arctic Silver kind.
When changing/removing cooler, make sure that you clean processor from old thermal paste very good, left overs will dramatically affect you cooling.

Any more questions?
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March 20, 2013 5:24:41 AM



Will download that asap. I dont really plan in playing modern games likke crysis but thats good to know. Used artic silver 5, cleaned ut prior to installing. Bookmarked the copper heatsink just incase.

Thanks Kisianik and Pete. All points taken. On my next build I know better, but right now, this'll do.
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