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HTPC i7 920 GTX560 TI for upcoming 3 to 4 years?

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December 13, 2012 6:32:25 AM

Hi,
I am an electronic enthusiast with 2 kids :)  so from time to time I like to spend some money on building a computer. in 2009 I jumped into the i7 920 x58 built with a 4890 graphics card for my new HTPC (overkill), and then afterwards changed the 4890 to a GTX 560 Ti for 3D purposes using NVIDIA 3d vision and an Acer 720p 3D projector.

My current HTPC setup (used for maybe 400 hours in 3 years but want to make use of it more) is:
- ASUS P6T Deluxe V2
- i7 920 D0 running at 2 profiles: Stock speed mainly for low power at 1.1 volts; and 3.6 GHz with Turbo (3.9 GHz) at 1.15 volts (seems stable after 20 iterations of linx that run for few minutes) and around 20 minutes of prime 95 with large ffts. Didn’t want to spend more time testing, temperatures reached 85 on cpu and 90 on cores for this one, because of possibly the HTPC case space and what is in it.
- OCZ platinum 1600 CL7 triple channel 6GB DDR3.
- Silverstone LC17 HTPC case with additional 2x low rpm (800 rpm) 9cm fans for the HDDs in front.
- Noctua NH-C12P SE14 CPU Fan (fits better in HTPC)
- Crucial M4 SSD 128 GB for OS (windows 7 64 bit) and applications/games
- 2x Seagate 1 TB 7200 rpm HDDs (planning to remove one of them to a file server or a second HTPC in another room and clear some space in the case)
- 1 WD 2 TB 5400 rpm HDD (planning to move it to a file server)
- MSI TWIN Frozr II GTX 560Ti video card (unfortunately with only 1 DVI port working, I need two working in order to connect to my 60 Hz TV/Audio Receiver and 120 Hz projector) but I am switching now cables manually (I don’t watch 3D on my projector all the time.
- Auzentech Home theatre HDMI sound card
- A USB3 add on card ( not using it much maybe will move to another computer).

I want to make use of this more but not 24/7 as HTPC (maybe few hours daily occasionally) or a [file server/media streaming/private gaming] (with no kids around) :)  (but then 24/7 might be too much power consumption, I play casual games on 1080p but very little, casual Blu-ray ripping on it.

I was planning to sell (CPU/RAM/MB) to get an i3 3220 with z77 for lower heat and power but after checking prices and since I paid a lot for it, I felt that this can last for an additional 4 years or am I wrong? Please advise.

I am in the mood for a new built but is it worth it. Would I be better using this for the upcoming 4 years or so as HTPC and casual gaming? Would I be able to use it as file server/streaming/private gaming? But what about power in the file server scenario?
a b B Homebuilt system
December 13, 2012 6:37:18 AM

I'm surprised that the 560Ti doesn't hold up too well in terms of 1080p gaming.

The only thing about getting a new motherboard and CPU is that you would have to install Windows again, so if you have a bunch of stuff on your boot drive, make sure to put it where you can find it.
December 13, 2012 6:50:48 AM

Hi Deemo13,

thanks for the reply but unfortunatly it doesn't answer my question unless you are saying that I am better going for a new built for my needs!

As for the 1080p thing, I didnt say that the 560ti can't do 1080p. I was saying that the maximum resolution for me would be 1080p because of the TV resolution and the projector resolutions wont go beyond that. I casually game and didn't notice problems with 1080p because I really dont game much, just casually.
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December 13, 2012 5:51:37 PM

Hello,

I have a very similar build to yours yet more modern, I have a 3930k, a 560ti and 8gb of ram (but i plan on getting a 670)

For you, your computer is actually really good if you wanted to last 4 more years though you better get some upgrading.

I'd say to get:

a gtx 680 ~ 500$
at least 8gb of ram
and any i7 ivybridge (or a sandybridge-e if you wanted to pay alot more) but honestly your 920 still holds up
and obviously youd need a motherboard & probably heatsink

really though if you just wanted to game you'd just need like a 680 or mabye even a 670 and you'd still be good!

Id love to build a htpc for myself soon
a b B Homebuilt system
December 13, 2012 7:42:15 PM

I wouldn't recommend the 680, too much cost for not enough performance.

Though, if you do get the i3, then what would become of the i7 if I may?
December 13, 2012 8:23:21 PM

As I have mentioned, this is not a gaming rig, it is an HTPC so mainly video watching and casual gaming. I play games at 1080p casually (once in a blue moon) :)  . But I want to do it more if I get some time.

The heatsink is very good taking that it is an HTPC case, I am limited with the height. The same heatsink with an i3 or a new i7 sandy bridge or ivy would be pretty fine I think.

My puzzle was if i should sell it and get a smaller new ivy bridge i3. But taking that it still has some juice, I am inclined to keep it, because the selling price wouldnt be appealing. If I didnt change the processor I wont need a new MB, since this is one of the good MBs for this processor.

If i didnt sell it, and used an i3 Z77 for this HTPC, I might use the i7 as a mutli purpose on demand file server, streaming server, and some casual gaming. But I am more inclined to keep it as an HTPC for now, and not to overclock above 3.4 with turbo on because in an HTPC the heat might become a problem.

Still thinking, if my urge to upgrade wins, I might jump into taking out the CPU/RAM/MB and get something new.

I dont think I need a gtx 680 for my current gaming habits. No time with the kids and work. I was thinking of a gtx 660 though just because of the problem in one my dvi ports on the 560ti.

1- Suppose I dont game on it, would it be good for HTPC work for the upcoming 4 years?
2 - If I casually game at 1080p, would it play for example crysis 2 at 1080p or similar for the upcoming 3 years?
3 - If I run it as file server/casual gaming rig/streaming on demand, (i.e. i switch it on when needed remotely or locally) to stream some video, play games, or file serving, would it be fine taking power consumption into consideration?

Note: the highest semi serious offer in my country was 275 USD for MB/CPU/RAM, so I felt I should keep it. and let it die in my house :)  I might try getting a used 6 GB of the same memory if I find a good priced one. The current memory is not used totally, I mainly see around 2GB+ used. I dont check the ram usage when gaming or watching bluray. And these are 1600 MHZ CL7 tripple channel. I might as i said get an additional 6 GB of the same type. But if i cant find the same type, Anyone can suggest similar memory if I need to mix them with my OCZ platinum?

a b B Homebuilt system
December 13, 2012 8:35:26 PM

The i3 would be great for a HTPC, and also good for gaming. Though, as for the card, I would suggest a Radeon HD7850 for its low power consumption and price/performance ratio.

6GB of RAM should be enough for now. 275 is a good offer for your CPU and MB and RAM. The i3 does not use that much power, and neither does the 7850.

So let me get this straight. You would want to use the i3 for your HTPC and light gaming, and then keep the i7 for a file server? Or the other way around? Or the i3 does both?
December 13, 2012 8:42:30 PM

I'm just saying a 680 would last 4 years
a b B Homebuilt system
December 13, 2012 8:45:35 PM

The 680 is a bit overpriced at the moment, and not really suitable for the use that the OP wants to use a PC for.
December 13, 2012 8:51:44 PM

The i3 would be good for HTPC and gaming but will not be much better then the i7 920 (even at stock and if i overclock the i7 to 3.4 with turbo) then the 920 wins even in gaming. I need an NVIDIA card because of the 3d vision kits that I ave.

for your last questions, This is what I am still thinking of. Currently I do have an i3 2100 with DH61ww MB that doesnt serve my HTPC needs (The MB doesnt have enough slots for my cards), I was planning to use this as a file server.

I was thinking of one of the following:
1 - keeping i7 as HTPC since I dont use it 24/7 and I can make some good usage of it for the upcoming few years; and use my current i3 for file server.
2 - Sell my i7/MB/OCZ but i doubt i will get the same price, the buyer has gone. and get a Z77 with ivy bridge 3220 for my HTPC.
3 - get a Z77 with my current i3 for the HTPC and use the i7 as casual (file server, media streaming, gaming) in my small office at home.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 13, 2012 8:57:07 PM

Right, 3D Vision.

I would go for the first one; it just seems like the least amount of hassle. 2 and 3 would be nice, but with all of the options you are going to vaguely see the same performance and results.

Heck, you could throw your 560Ti onto the fileserver if you wanted and then get a new card for HTPC.
December 13, 2012 9:07:20 PM

I was inclined to move the 560ti because of the dead dvi port to the file server and get a 660 for the HTPC.

A 680 would be nice momoomage but it is high price for my current usage. If it was not an HTPC I would have gotten a second 560ti and SLId it, my MB can deliver two 16X lanes on the pcie. But I dont need this gaming power nor the heat in my HTPC. although used 560ti are as low as 150 USD now. I dont know to which card two 560 ti compare to? maybe a 670!!
a b B Homebuilt system
December 13, 2012 9:10:22 PM

Well, my 2 570's I think can out-pace a 670 by a little, so 560Ti SLI should probably be around there. The 660 would serve its purpose well.
December 13, 2012 10:41:25 PM

most say that 2 560ti's are between a 670 and a 680
But since Deemo says he's just a little over a 670,
it's probably just as good as a 670

Some youtuber (name escapes me)
sold his 2 2gb 560ti's for a 4gb 670 and he called it side grading
because it was the same performance
a b B Homebuilt system
December 14, 2012 2:02:33 AM

I think that an upgrade would be a losing proposition financially, it sounds like you have all the power you need to do what you want to do now, unless you can get good prices on your used gear, you should stick with it. your i7 920 matches well against a new i3
December 14, 2012 4:50:45 AM

Yes eshepard, financially it would not be beneficial. And even more, an overclocked i7 920 at around 3.6 Ghz will be close to an i5 2500k (at stock speeds and maybe to i5 3570k at stock in some benchs) so it outperforms the i3 ivy in mutli core/threads needs and as well keep on at single threads with it.

The only negative point is maybe power usage but since I will not run it 24/7, this will be fine. Another point that I am not sure about, is that an MB with UEFI Bios might be faster in booting from my SSD using SATA6 but as well i doubt that it will noticeable in order to be a drive to upgrade.

It is the urge to building something new that is driving me to think of the upgrade. Financially, the current system can last an additional 3 years easy, and 4 years maybe for an HTPC usage. At that time any upgrade will be huge for me and much more worth it.

I think when You invest in the "workstation like" type of hardware during its prime time (time of release) i.e. Q6600, i7 1366, i7 2011, etc. It is better to make use of the hardware as much as possible. Selling will always seem a loss (personal opinion).

a b B Homebuilt system
December 14, 2012 5:22:21 AM

If you run it at the stock clocks, you might be able to use the Speed Step feature, which even though should be disabled when overclocking, slows down your processor when it is not being used.

You are correct, its like when you buy the super high end components, they end up being used for other things in the future, such as HTPC and whatnots.
December 14, 2012 5:44:54 AM

Most of the times, I am using the stock speeds for now with speed step and other power controls.

At 3.6 GHz, still using those, I beleive that below 3.6 Ghz, (backed up by readings somewhere on the net), the additional power consumption is still worth it for the gain in processing power. Turbo and speed step will be fine for me enabled even at those speeds. above that they are better disabled. (but I agree that disabling them at higher speeds makes a better sense of the overclock)

But as I said, I mainly run at stock to lower heat and noise from fans. Unless I am using the cpu heavily, there is no need for the overclock. For an i7, at stock and low level usage, the fans are pretty silent for my taste. I like the rig :) 

Maybe at the end of its life, I will overclock it to death :) 

By the way, as a side note, even at stock, the epu application under asus can be used to overclock up to around 20% at a click of a button within windows (and on an automatic basis). The only problem with this, is that I need to lower my rams to 1333 for stock speeds. because once overcloked they jump to the 1600 side. And I am using them at 7.7.7.24 at 1600. this might be the best configuration.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 14, 2012 3:11:58 PM

goldorak said:
Yes eshepard, financially it would not be beneficial. And even more, an overclocked i7 920 at around 3.6 Ghz will be close to an i5 2500k (at stock speeds and maybe to i5 3570k at stock in some benchs) so it outperforms the i3 ivy in mutli core/threads needs and as well keep on at single threads with it.

The only negative point is maybe power usage but since I will not run it 24/7, this will be fine. Another point that I am not sure about, is that an MB with UEFI Bios might be faster in booting from my SSD using SATA6 but as well i doubt that it will noticeable in order to be a drive to upgrade.

It is the urge to building something new that is driving me to think of the upgrade. Financially, the current system can last an additional 3 years easy, and 4 years maybe for an HTPC usage. At that time any upgrade will be huge for me and much more worth it.

I think when You invest in the "workstation like" type of hardware during its prime time (time of release) i.e. Q6600, i7 1366, i7 2011, etc. It is better to make use of the hardware as much as possible. Selling will always seem a loss (personal opinion).



Selling is almost always a big loss. I totally get the urge to build something, I just got my friend to do a new build, I had the fun of assembly without having to buy anything.
!