Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Holiday upgrade build

Last response: in Systems
Share
December 11, 2012 9:36:44 AM

With holidays coming up I have some free time and was considering upgrading my current rig and preparing it for it's retirement when Intel released Haswell next year. Over the many years I have owned this rig it has honestly been the worst computer I have ever had and I have had so many things replaced because of failure that there is very little left from the original build (one HDD, the CPU and the DVD drive are all that remain of the original build).

My plan is to use some of the parts of this upgrade in the new Haswell rig (mainly the SSD, case, monitor and sound card) and then junk the rest/turn it into a back up computer. I currently use my PC for mainly web browsing, watching movies, playing games and virtual machine work and would love to spend no more than $1000 on this upgrade. My main motivation for upgrading now is one, I honestly don't know if this rig will hold together until Haswell is out and two, I want to get myself a really nice Haswell rig so will be looking to spend quite a lot (virtual machines love RAM) so would love to take less of wallet hit in the future and get some of the parts now that I can later reuse.

Current rig specifications:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8200
Gigabyte G41M-combo
8GB DDR3 Kingston PC3-10700 RAM
Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT OC
Windows Vista Ultimate Edition 64-bit SP2
Seagate 500GB main HDD
Seagate 500GB old install HDD (it and the main HDD were part of a RAID 1 array before my other motherboard died)
Seagate 1.5TB storage drive.
Samsung 2TB USB 3.0 external back up drive
Samsung SyncMaster 2333 24" monitor
LG Flatron L1750SQ 17" monitor

Proposed upgrade items:

Gigabyte ATI HD 7770 OC Edition, PCI-E 3.0, 1GB 128-bit GDDR5, DVI,HDMI,2x Min $120

Corsair Obsidian 650D Black Mid Tower Case with Window $198.50

Samsung 250GB SSD 840 Series- SATA III 6Gbs, 2xnm Toggle DDR 2.0 NAND, 3-Core MDX Controller, 512MB $199
or
Samsung 256GB SSD 840BW Pro SATA3 2.5 $270

Sound card (unsure what to get or even if I should get on but looking at around the $100 mark).

CROSSOVER 27Q LED-P 27" DVI Computer Monitor (QHD) 2560X1440 16:9 Pivot ~$371.72

Total ~$860

With the upgrade to a solid state drive it is the perfect time to also change my current operating system. For the longest time I have wanted to use Linux full time and this would be the perfect chance as I already use open source applications for most things so it is no problem to get the Linux version with the only sticking point is games. I know Wine can handle most of them (with varying degrees of success) but I do wonder how much of a performance hit I will take (not really worried about the frames but more the overall experience and playability).

Operating system choices:
Lubuntu 64-bit Free
or
Windows Vista Ultimate Edition 64-bit SP 2 Free
or
Windows 7 Enterprise Edition 64-bit SP 1 $15
or
Windows 8 Enterprise Edition 64-bit $15

I would love some input about this proposed build.

More about : holiday upgrade build

December 11, 2012 9:54:19 AM

OK here is the issue with your build at 2560x1440 a 7770 gpu is just not going to cut it. I recommend at that resolution you go with, at the very minimum, a 7950. Takes a lot of power to run games at the resolution in ultra detail and still maintain 60 fps. Your best move would be to get a 7970 then when possible get another 7970 for crossfire so you can really drive all the latest games at 2560 ultra 4xAA and maintain 60fps.

Are you married to amd? The GTX 670 is the best value/performance gpu imo. I would re use the case you are currently using, take that 200 you were gonna spend on a new case and add it to the 120 put aside for the 7770 then like 30 more dollars you got a gtx 670. Would you rather play your games much smoother in 2560 or have a prettier looking computer that stutters like hell at 2560 rez.

Also getting the gtx 670 sets you up for a perfect upgrade in a few years when you need some more gpu power. Simply add another gtx 670 in sli and the useful gaming life will be doubled. Do you really need a soundcard? Do you produce music? Do you record audio? Do you have high end speakers/amps/receivers where the quality of a standalone soundcard can actually be heard? If your answer is no to those 3 questions the free on board audio will do everything you need it to. So I would skip the soundcard and get the ssd 840 pro instead of the ssd 840. I don't like the triple level cells they are using on the 840 and feel like their endurance will be poor. So stick with the 840 pro which is mlc. The Samsung ssd 840 pro is currently the best consumer ssd on the market.

Love the Korean monitors. I got a 27" Korean monitor on ebay for 400. It is a catleap. People think something is wrong with the monitors but mine came with zero dead pixels. You will be very happy with the monitor. It's like a secret us display sellers don't want you to know about. They got the 30" 2560x1600 korean monitors for 600 up there, I might even try one fo those.

Smart upgrade choices. I was going to hold off on my build but i found some 1 to sell off my mobo and cpu to when haswell comes out so I will be building right after christmas. Since all the parts you are choosing to upgrade will easily transfer to your next system you might as well get them now and start enjoying them now right.

If gaming is important to you then you should get windows 8. Yes I know the metro interface sucks and it's gonna be a slight learning curve to get used to the new operating system but windows 7 is not receiving the next update to direct x 11.1. Windows 7 will forever be stuck at direct x 11.0. If you want the latest direct x you will have to have windows 8 and as you know when direct x updates graphics change big time. Windows 8 will provide the best gaming experience.

monitor 370 gpu 350 ssd 270 that's 990 dollars, sure you have to re use the case but I think the faster performance trumps looks of the pc. This way you get an incredible monitor, really fast gpu and the best ssd on the market. And the gpu leaves you room to add another in sli to add a lot of longevity to the system.

May I ask where you get the enterprise edition? Isn't the enterprise edition for businesses with tons of computers and it doesn't require activation? I would love that version that I don't have to activate and can put on many computers.
m
0
l
December 11, 2012 10:58:14 AM

Quote:
Are you married to amd?

No, I actually prefer nvidia but at the price range the AMD 7770 is the better performer than its' nvidia counterpart.

Quote:
I would re use the case you are currently using, take that 200 you were gonna spend on a new case and add it to the 120 put aside for the 7770 then like 30 more dollars you got a gtx 670.

That isn't a bad idea except that I really hate my case because every time I have to do any work on the inside I have to remove the graphics card because it is so cramped to work in. Also the new case has 200mm fans so should be a lot cooler and quieter than my current case. It also seems that nvidia and AMD will be releasing their new cards around the same time as Haswell so I had thought about just getting a nice cheap little card to hold me over and then get one of the newer cards when they are released.

Quote:
Do you really need a soundcard?

I am unsure at this point, I am getting sound play back issues with youtube (yeah I know could be one of hundred different things causing this) and have always thought it would be nice to have a proper sound card but as you point out if you don't have the high end out put gear to go with it might be a good idea to give it a miss (at least until I finally purchase some decent headphones).

Quote:
The Samsung ssd 840 pro is currently the best consumer ssd on the market.

It certainly seems that way and it is not a lot more expensive than the no pro version so thought might as well get the better of the two.

Quote:
Love the Korean monitors.

It seems that everyone who gets one is very happy with them and it will be nice to upgrade my Samsung as during movie play back it does get some distortion (bright lights tend to glow/bleed/flare too much). I had planned to go multi-monitor again down the track and with the new Dell U2413 and U2713H monitors being released set to use a newer LG panel I would then expect these new panels to start showing up in the Korean monitors so could pick up a new Korean as my main and put the other as a secondary.

Quote:
If gaming is important to you then you should get windows 8.

I do game a little, I enjoy being able to use my computer for entertainment and not having to work on it which I am doing more and more as this current one ages.

Quote:
Yes I know the metro interface sucks and it's gonna be a slight learning curve to get used to

Once I realised that the modern interface was the start menu just full screen it all made sense but yes there is still a learning curve to be had.

Quote:
windows 7 is not receiving the next update to direct x 11.1. Windows 7 will forever be stuck at direct x 11.0. If you want the latest direct x you will have to have windows 8 and as you know when direct x updates graphics change big time. Windows 8 will provide the best gaming experience.

Most of my games come out of the bargain bin as these are older titles that run well on my newer (relatively speaking) system so I can enjoy them at their highest quality setting so having the latest Direct x is not a real concern of mine but a nice to have.

Quote:
May I ask where you get the enterprise edition? Isn't the enterprise edition for businesses with tons of computers and it doesn't require activation? I would love that version that I don't have to activate and can put on many computers.
I get it from work as we are under an enterprise agreement with Microsoft (because we have thousands of computers across our organisation) and staff are able to purchase a copy to use on their home computer.
m
0
l
Related resources
December 11, 2012 11:49:19 AM

The 9800 gt can support 2560x1600 max resolution over its dual link dvi connector so theoretically you could stick with it and just run your games at lower resolution for 6 months till haswell comes out. If it was me I would choose that solution over spending 120 on a gpu that will go practically unused in 6 months. But if you'd rather spend the 120 for better game enjoyment over that 6 months I can't tell ya no.

Def skip the soundcard. The benefits you would receive with it do not justify the money spent.

So the ssd 840 pro done deal grab it up as that will easily transfer over and I don't see any ssd topping the ssd 840 pros performance for awhile. So thats 270 spent now

The monitor done deal grab that up you wont find a better deal then the 27" 2560 ips monitors. So thats 370. 640 total 760 total with gpu

For computer case. If you like the corsair obsidian series a lot I really have to recommend the 550d over the 650d. The 550d is engineered for silent computing with acoustic dampening all over it and its cheaper then the 650d. It has panels on it that you can leave on for more sound deadening or take off for more fans. You can pick if you need the extra cooling or if you dont need it and can use the lower noise. It would run you 150. Thats 790 total without gpu 910 total with gpu.

So for 790 you can have the monitor, case, and ssd. All of these pieces will seamlessly transfer to your haswell build in 6 months and you can start enjoying them now. That sounds a lot better then 910 with the gpu basically wasted in 6 months. Those are 3 pieces of equipment I'd be proud to own myself.

Also when you build the new comp I would leave all the old HDD's in the old PC and get a new 3TB data drive for the haswell build. Old hdd's are not reliable and are best relegated to backup computer duty.

Since you want a lot of ram if you really wanted to you could upgrade to a 2x8GB 16GB total ram set up now as it would also easily transfer to your haswell build just save the old ram to put back in.

You could also get upgraded case fans for the case as they would obviously transfer to the new build too. I would hold off on the heatsink though because just cause the heatsink fits a core 2 duo E series doesnt mean it will fit core i7 haswell

I would leave the side panel and top panel on for maximum noise suppression as the 2x 120mm front intake and the rear exhaust upgraded to 140mm + a 120mm intake on the bottom of the case in front of the PSU will provide enough airflow even for some overclocking.
m
0
l
December 12, 2012 7:09:11 AM

laststop311 said:
If it was me I would choose that solution over spending 120 on a gpu that will go practically unused in 6 months.

Very true and I would do that but I do have genuine concerns that my card may die between now and then and while my motherboard does have an onboard card I doubt it is even able to play back 720p movies but it could get me by until the new stuff from nvidia and AMD.

laststop311 said:
If you like the corsair obsidian series a lot I really have to recommend the 550d over the 650d. The 550d is engineered for silent computing with acoustic dampening all over it and its cheaper then the 650d. It has panels on it that you can leave on for more sound deadening or take off for more fans. You can pick if you need the extra cooling or if you dont need it and can use the lower noise.

I had originally planned on getting the 800D and then dropped it down to the 650D and with the price difference being only $30 I think the 650D will be a better case for me overall.

laststop311 said:
Also when you build the new comp I would leave all the old HDD's in the old PC and get a new 3TB data drive for the haswell build. Old hdd's are not reliable and are best relegated to backup computer duty.

I had not thought about that but new drives are cheap so could get some nice 4TB drives in the new build. Also if old hard drive are not reliable the last place you want them is in your backup system ;) 

laststop311 said:
Since you want a lot of ram if you really wanted to you could upgrade to a 2x8GB 16GB total ram set up now as it would also easily transfer to your haswell build just save the old ram to put back in.

I did look into this and it seems my motherboard cannot handle more than eight gigabytes and my next system I would be aiming for around 32 gigabytes worth of RAM.

laststop311 said:
You could also get upgraded case fans for the case as they would obviously transfer to the new build too.

I looked into this already and couldn't find a good review of 200mm fans for the 650D so will stick with the stock fans for now (they should still be better and quieter than what I have now).

laststop311 said:
I would hold off on the heatsink though because just cause the heatsink fits a core 2 duo E series doesnt mean it will fit core i7 haswell

I have already thought the exact same thing otherwise I would get a new one now and re-paste the heatsink with a good quality thermal paste/grease.
m
0
l
December 16, 2012 3:40:48 AM

I have settled on the P280 case, the Samsung 256GB 840 Pro SSD and four Corsair Air Series SP120 Quiet Edition Case Fan which brings my total to $475. I may still grab the AMD 7770 if my current card doesn't make it or I really want to play some newer/more demanding games between now and when I move to Haswell.
m
0
l
!