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Advice for improving my setup?

Last response: in Systems
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November 12, 2012 10:34:32 PM

I know this is a somewhat vague question, but I'm itching to do something new to my rig. I've got my main desktop, and ancillary devices such as a HTPC and android phone. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for (I don't have performance issues gaming, which is usually my indicator to do a new build) but I want to do... something.

Last couple pickups have been a second TB hard drive for data, an upgraded SSD, and a mechanical keyboard.

Anything you guys can think of would be appreciated. What's my system lacking? What's something new I can do with what I've got? What's new that I haven't heard of?

Specs-
Main PC:
OS: Windows 7
CPU: Intel i7-950 3.06 GHz (OC to 3.8 GHz on air, aftermarket heat sink)
Memory: 6 x Kingston DDR3 1333 Trichannel
Motherboard: Asus P6T LGA 1366 x58 ATX
HDDs: 128 GB Samsung SSD, 2 x 1 TB HDD
GPU: XFX HD 5850 1GB GDDR5 PCIe
Power Supply: 750 W

Nettop:
Zotac ZBOX (Atom processor, Ion Graphics)
250GB HDD
2 GB DDR2 RAM

Android:
Droid Incredible 4G

More about : advice improving setup

a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2012 10:39:27 PM

are you having issues? I mean do you want to game better?

if so, what games do you play?

also what is your budget?(need to know this too tell you what cpu, gpu, or mobo you can afford)
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November 12, 2012 10:44:51 PM

I'm not really experiencing issues (I run Guild Wars 2, League of Legends, etc perfectly fine, 60-ish FPS, I'm pretty successful when I try screen capture software or video editing as well.) Like I said, if I thought my rig was outdated, I'd just plan to replace it. As it stands, I'm... content.

I guess that's what I'm getting at. I want to tackle something new with my machine. I've considered Bitcoin mining or something silly like that, but I'm really looking for something new or different that I can try. I don't really have a budget in mind, but if I invest money into something, I'd like to see some tangible benefit to doing so.

Sorry for being so unspecific, but I feel kinda aimless at the moment.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2012 10:51:27 PM

you could upgrade to windows 8.....lol i keed i keed.

hmmm.....what about your monitor? is it less than 1080p? if so, try getting a 1080p monitor. if it's 1080p, then think about spending a bunch of dough on a 2560x1440 monitor. you can just think about it if you want to. that's what i do lol.

OR.......

what about building a new nettop? like, say, a mini-itx FM2 build? something that games harder than a PS3 that you can easily hold in your hand. that's what i've been mulling around lately.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2012 11:13:57 PM

OK what is your budget? if your content with your system right now i would just say start saving up and build a nice computer with that money, until then i would save up

also what do you want to start achieving? like new games?
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November 12, 2012 11:20:56 PM

I guess my goal with this post was to crowdsource cool stuff that others had done, and see if any of it was something I might be interested in. Augray37 had an interesting idea with the homebrew gaming system (Thanks!) but that might require a bit more electrical work than I'm comfortable with.

Budget-wise, I could probably throw $100-$500 towards something cool, but it'd have to be something really interesting to make me commit $300+.

I definitely want to never be constrained by my system with regard to what games I can play (or what software I can run). This is obviously within reason. I don't expect to have a super-computer.

Again, sorry for being so vague. You guys are awesome :) 
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2012 11:27:46 PM

haha its ok ill try... hmm so then do you want a computer?

also do you want it visually cool or a system that can run anygame at atleast at low settings?
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November 12, 2012 11:33:29 PM

Custom watercooling is a fun project to look into.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 12, 2012 11:33:30 PM

yeah thats true... get some lights and pimp up your case :lol:  and then slowly upgrade your system specs
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2012 12:06:21 AM

but i think he should upgrade gpu he has a 5850 :/  that i dont think can even run bf3 on low
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November 13, 2012 12:18:10 AM

I guess my question to the OP would be, does he/she want a project or to just swap out a single part. Besides the 5850 isn't a bad card my gtx 470 being a comparable card runs BF3 just fine at 1080p.

If the OP is serious about spending up to $500 bucks watercooling and a gpu upgrade could be done.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2012 12:30:14 AM

yeah it could but can his psu support it? also will his current cpu bottleneck the next card? thats somthing to look at
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November 13, 2012 1:51:39 AM

PSU shouldn't be a concern, so long as the OP has a reliable brand PSU. My antec 550w runs my OCed 955, a gtx 470, 8 120mm fans, 2 hard drives, water pump, and a dvd burner.

In my opinion that i7 950 still has plenty of life left in it, it would take all of a $500 budget if the OP wanted to upgrade cpu, M/B, and graphics card. Seems like a waste to me.

On another note water cooling isn't for everyone, if it was there would be way more than 12 pages in the water cooling system gallery. So i guess we'll just have to wait and see what the OP considers a worthwhile investment.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2012 2:21:12 AM

i would love to have watercooling just its a lot harder to maintain, setup, and can leak... also is a lot more expensive
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November 13, 2012 3:11:08 AM

Maintenance is once a year to drain and clean the system and setup is one of the funnest parts. Leaks are not very likely so long as the user takes care to set it up properly and leak test first!! Cost is it's biggest pitfall, but in the world of custom built computers nothing comes cheaply. I'm just gonna keep trying to turn you into a believer :p 

We all have our obsessions at first building was mine, then I built about 7 machines and upgraded parts in mine numerous times. It was just becoming to much of the same, so I got into modding and water cooling.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2012 3:19:54 AM

cool I see what you mean, yeah i just upgraded to the gtx 670... that was a mistake :/ 
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November 13, 2012 2:17:11 PM

I agree, I think my i7-950's got plenty of life in her. And honestly my 5850 holds up fairly well performance-wise. It's certainly not top-of-the-line anymore, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm not seeing performance issues.

Watercooling... I guess my biggest opposition to that would be what I said earlier:

"if I invest money into something, I'd like to see some tangible benefit to doing so."

I don't know if I'd really see any added performance benefit to doing so. Obviously my rig would run cooler, but cooler for cooler's sake isn't exactly enough to pique my interest.

I think I might try and augment my XBMC nettop to be a game emulator as well. That's a project with minimal cost (controller, possible bluetooth dongle) that I'd actually have some added functionality from.

Do you guys have any other ideas like that? I thought of the XBMC thing because of Augrey37's suggestion about the PS3. Keep the great ideas coming!
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2012 3:19:23 PM

you could also get an Nvidia GPU and get into folding at home.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2012 3:22:14 PM

or you could try to make your rig entirely passively cooled...
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2012 8:04:33 PM

OK here you go I think it is about time first off you ugrade your GPU... really your cpu should be fine for another year or two(besides in games like bf3 or really demanding games) but what im thinking is this

HD 7850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

also not the 7850 will greatly increase your performance but it may be greately bottlenecked by your cpu so i would recommend just getting your cpu/mobo replaced by

so i would say get this mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

then this cpu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

you dont need water cooling unless you think it would look cool and i would only recommend getting a hyper212 cpu aftermarket heatsink
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Hyper-Plus-RR-B10-2...
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2012 10:10:37 PM

yep i see what you mean just i would trust the mobo i showed more and its not that big of difference between the 2500k and 3570k
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November 24, 2012 12:35:40 AM

Best answer selected by dble289.
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