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Upgrading Rig - Advice Needed

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December 21, 2012 3:31:29 AM

Hey guys, not a frequent poster but definitely a frequent reader. That being said there's some information I couldn't find on the forums specific to my situation so I figured I'd make a thread.

I'm looking to upgrade my current PC to get good performance gaming (specifically Arma2/3, Planetside 2) whilst still keeping my computer somewhat future proof for hardware upgrades and new/more demanding games. Price is definitely an issue I'd like to keep it under $500 if possible.

My current rig:

CPU: Phenom II x4 965 BE (3.4 Ghz) + Hyper 212 cooler
GPU: HD 5750 1GB
Ram: 2x2GB 1600Mhz Corsair
Mobo: MSI 770-C45
Case: Antec Sonata III 500
Power Supply: *Built in - Antec 500W earthwatts

I thought I could get away with just upgrading the GPU but it turns out that I have identified my CPU to be the bottleneck when playing Arma 2 and DayZ on low/med settings.

So here are my projected upgrades:
CPU: i5 3570k = $229
GPU: 7870 (might downgrade to 7850 or GTX 650 Ti or even 7770 2GB if it means staying in budget) - also not really familiar with different brands/models of said card
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD3H LGA 1155 Intel Z77

I'm really hoping I'll be able to keep my current power supply - I've calculated this rig using an HD 7870 as GPU reference on newegg's power supply calculator and apparently I'll need 488Watts - so my 500W should do the job correct? - If not other GPUs have significantly lower wattage.

I'd really appreciate some input/suggestions - especially from those who have experience with similar GPUs/CPUs and Arma 2.

Things I CARE about:
-60 FPS - ALWAYS!
-Price/Performance Ratio
-I prefer to get an Intel CPU this time - but I'm open to suggestion if you make a compelling argument
-Must be able to play Arma 2/3 with high FPS
-Ability to overclock with ease (relatively speaking) CPU/GPU/RAM
-Somewhat future-proof
-Durability & ease of cleaning/construction of rig (I don't have little nimble fingers - I tend to drop screws and break clips)
- All games in 1920x1080 and the possibility of using multiple monitors in the future if I feel the need

Things I DON'T CARE about:
-Noise
-Looks
-Ultra settings - I don't care if I need to run things a little lower - as long as I get a full 60+ FPS (generally I tone down graphics regardless to ensure maximum performance and to prevent visibility being hindered by effects such as bloom)
-Bells/Whistles

Once again - I really do appreciate your time guys - all suggestions/input/advice is GREATLY appreciated and I'll be checking this thread frequently. :D 

December 21, 2012 3:52:38 AM

How much budget do you have right now?
December 21, 2012 4:10:07 AM

$500 CAD

Preferably from http://www.canadacomputers.com/ (to avoid shipping costs - I live 20 mins away) but I don't really expect you guys to account for the exchange rate (difference is minimal these days).

Other sites I'm open to ordering from are:

NCIX.ca
Newegg.ca
tigerdirect.ca

I'm also open to suggestion for other places to shop - specifically shops in Ottawa, Ontario where I can avoid shipping costs

/edit - I am in no way expecting anyone to price reference to these sites, if you feel like it - sure that'd be great, if not no problem at all, your advice is still appreciated.
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December 21, 2012 10:06:11 AM

Well, 500w should be enough to power a single 7870 system.

Assuming you're going to keep the case as well, here.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($220.90 @ Amazon Canada)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Canada Computers)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.16 @ DirectCanada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 6670 2GB Video Card ($44.99 @ NCIX)
Total: $475.03
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-21 07:04 EST-0500)

This way, the only upgrade you'll be doing is the GPU.

Be sure to nail both rebates on mobo and GPU though, it's $65 total. :p 
December 21, 2012 5:30:48 PM

Hmm thanks for the advice, however I feel like the RAM and HDD can wait. Upgrading to the 6670 doesn't really make sense to me either - as it seems to be a lesser card than my current 5750 (although it does have 2GB VRAM).

I think I'll need to up my budget a bit. If I chose to wait on the HDD and RAM this would then allow me to spend $150-175(ish) on the GPU (possibly a 7770 or 650 Ti, or if I up my budget to $550 I might be able to get away with a 660 or 7850/7870)

How crucial are you thinking upgrading my RAM and HDD is? Any other suggestions?
December 21, 2012 5:52:21 PM

A HD 6670 would be a downgrade so i don't know why someone would reccomend that.

This will be much better
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Canada Computers)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P67X-UD3-B3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($99.88 @ Canada Computers)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($208.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $508.86
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-21 14:50 EST-0500)

BTW if they are actualy HD 7850's and not GT 620's, buy it two of them instead of the card listed above.
http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00883V06O/?tag=pcp0f-20
December 21, 2012 6:09:54 PM

Hmm this looks much nicer, - nice find on the 7870 - very nice price.

What do you mean "if they are actually 7850s and not GT 620s"?

Do you think I'll be losing much performance going from the 3570k to the 2500k? (specifically in CPU intensive games - like Arma 2, Shogun, Planetside 2)

I usually try not to OC my stuff until the warranty has expired - I don't know why but I'm always paranoid that OC will just insta-fry my gear, although I do have the CM Hyper 212+




Best solution

December 22, 2012 12:41:22 AM
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Well, you didn't specify any HDD, so I assumed you needed a new one. As for the RAM, 4gb is fine, but it's slowly proving to be insufficient for newer games, but you are correct - it can wait.

I don't understand what he means by that statement either. :p 

There won't be much of a performance loss, around 10% maybe in terms of frame rates, but I won't suggest getting a 2nd generation CPU when the current one is only away for $20, and it gives you PCI-E 3.0 and native USB 3.0 ports; granted, the former isn't consumed completely yet, but since you'll be using this for many years it'll be better to have. An IB CPU also has better out of the box performance, that and the SB series are already due for pull out.

I would suggest against that HIS 7870, the cooler doesn't look any good and you'll want a good one for long usage and high load so you won't get high temps and noise.

If you can up your budget a bit, I suggest something like this.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($220.90 @ Amazon Canada)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Canada Computers)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($209.88 @ Canada Computers)
Total: $530.77
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-21 21:36 EST-0500)

If you don't think you'll OC, and won't SLI/Crossfire, this is the best setup I can suggest.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ NCIX)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($94.99 @ Canada Computers)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($209.88 @ Canada Computers)
Total: $494.86
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-21 21:41 EST-0500)
December 22, 2012 1:44:41 AM

I'm liking the first setup you listed excella. I'm going to try and stay away from OCing if I can, but I don't want to shut that window completely (apparently ARMA 2 sees some very excessive perfomance increases when OCing the I5 3570k to 4.5 Ghz) and from what I hear the K series CPUs make OCing a much easier task for noobies like myself.

What is the reasoning for going with the GIGABYTE DS3H on the second rig you listed? Is the Extreme3 more OC friendly?
December 22, 2012 7:37:18 AM

The *only* CPUs you can OC the right way are the ones with unlocked multipliers, in short - the 'K' versions. :p 
Not exactly sure why OC would give performance increase in Arma 2 though.

The H77 board is basically the z77 board minus OC and SLI/Crossfire capabilities, so if you're getting a locked CPU such as the 3470, you don't need the extra features of the z77.

Additionally, if you're sure you won't be adding a 2nd GPU for SLI/Crossfire in the future, you can opt to get the cheaper z75 board or the z77 Pro series. These chipsets can still OC, but does not correctly support SLI/CF since the other PCI-E slot which is 2.0 only has a bandwidth of x4 which will bottleneck the performance of the 2nd GPU.
December 22, 2012 7:49:13 AM

sell the mobo, cpu and gpu, and go with what the others said, i5-3570k and 7870
December 22, 2012 5:22:59 PM

Best answer selected by PrecisionMission.
December 22, 2012 5:35:00 PM

Thanks for your help guys - going to go with the i5 3570k + z77 mobo + HD 7870.

Also excella - the reason I'd OC my cpu for ARMA2 is because it's a stupidly demanding game on your CPU, especially with a 10 Km view distance (its also coded by monekys and extremely unoptimized). There were a few benchmarks around showing that in Arma2, a i5 OC'd to 4.5 Ghz got about a 30% increase in FPS over it's un-clocked 3.4 Ghz counterpart.

@ angaddev, doubt anyone would buy my current setup, but ill try =P

Thanks guys!
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