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Upgrading my basic PC. Which one should I upgrade first? Thank you!

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December 26, 2012 5:33:36 AM

Hi, I have a very basic PC, and am trying to upgrade it into a decent gaming rig. I'm having trouble deciding about what I should upgrade first. This is gonna be my first time tinkering with my hardware. :na:  Here are the specs:

Intel Core i3 530 @ 3.71 GHz (OC'ed)
Intel DH55TC (LGA 1156) Mobo
Kingston DDR3 2x2GB 4GB RAM
Western Digital 500GB HDD (SMART reports failing HD)
Palit GT 240 1GB GDDR5
Generic 650W PSU

Budget: $200 at the moment, but I can save up my allowance monthly to get the next parts to upgrade.


- I'm thinking, I should get me an SSD first, preferrably 64GB or 128GB and plus, I have a spare 250GB Laptop HDD from my broken PS3 which I think can be added to my PC, right?

- Next, I could upgrade the video card, since I play a lot of games and do some photo and video editing. I've search around the internet and I've seen people suggest the Radeon 7770/7750 or GTX 650, I don't know..

- Get another 1156 mobo, an OC-friendly one, buy a cooling system and OC my i3 further.

- Keep my current mobo, and buy a used i5 760.

- Last option, or in the future, is to save up more and go Ivy Bridge and buy a 1155 mobo.


I would like to get something that will give me a good upgrade path and be able to play in few the years to come with playable settings.
Thank you very much in advance, and happy holidays!

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a b B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2012 5:42:42 AM
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+1 to following choice

crucial m4 64GB is the cheapest :)  for 128, you can get samsung and intel. it can be re-used for future build

7770 hands down

leave the mobo, it will be a negligile to upgrade on the exact same tech

used i5 760 is very wise choice, no need to OC as it is already decent. make sure it is dirt cheap

YESSS save up for future intel ivy or haswell

anyway, welcome to the forum buddy :) 
December 26, 2012 5:59:57 AM

Thank you! I look forward to ask a lot from the community. :) 
I'm pretty much clueless on this hardware stuff, but it looks like it's fun to set up your own. :) 

Question, if you were to decide, should I get a 64GB one or a 128GB one for the SSD?
Will the laptop hard drive be okay with the setup?

Will a used i7 930/920 be nice, or will the i5 760 be okay?

Is haswell the next gen?
Related resources
December 26, 2012 7:51:02 AM

I would go for a 128gb because 64gb is just to small, for my needs at least.

I would go for the i5. An i7 isn't necessary and it would save you money you could maybe put into getting that larger 128gb ssd.

The laptop drive will be fine. I'm even running one in my system. Hoping to get an ssd soon though!

Haswell are the chips coming in 2013. They will arrive after our current Ivy Bridge chipsand will be on a new socket (LGA 1150).
December 26, 2012 9:53:40 AM

128GB it is! Do I have to get a specific brand of SSD? Samsung? OCZ? Crucial?

Is the wishlist order correct? Or should I get a different part first?
a b B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2012 10:55:00 AM

^ 128 samsung and intel whatever cheaper...

intel 520 series and samsung 830 series is good
a b B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2012 11:41:50 AM

if you're going to upgrade you go for what's going to matter the most............. video card. but I wouldn't buy any of those listed. didn't mention monitor/resolution........... but for a few more bucks you can get a 660ti for ( i think it was ) under $240 at newegg today.

that would make the biggest impact on performance. then I would look at the processor and then maybe an ssd........ which means nothing if the computer you're using can't do anything you want ( game ) to play well.
December 26, 2012 12:03:12 PM

I do a lot of different stuff on my computer. I play and record games, edit and store lots of photos and videos, do documents, make websites, do photoshop, etc.

Btw, I have a 1600x900 Samsung monitor. But I'm hoping to get a 32/42 LED TV soon. But that'll be until I get a new PC.

I was hoping to get 2 parts within the budget. I don't live in the US, so I guess the prices here in the Philippines are a little different. But what I've seen around the net are:

7770: $120-$140
660 Ti: $280-$300
128GB SSD: $110-$130
Used i5 760: $120-180
Used i7 870: $160-$240

a b B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2012 12:26:08 PM

swapping a lot of info.............. ssd/memory/processor......... gaming/video card.

you need to move.... LOL
December 26, 2012 12:44:03 PM

I was hoping to get a 128GB SSD first, then a video card next. I'm still in a dilemma if I should get a 7770, a gtx650, or a gtx550ti.

For the processor, if I could find a cheap ass mobo in my local computer shop, I could add in an aftermarket cooler and crank the OC of the i3 to 4.0-4.4Ghz until I can save up for a new system.

a b B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2012 2:10:10 PM

monchee said:
I was hoping to get a 128GB SSD first, then a video card next. I'm still in a dilemma if I should get a 7770, a gtx650, or a gtx550ti.


If you want the best *gaming performance* upgrade you can get out of $200, spend it all on a video card (a gtx 660 or an HD 7850/7870). Leave the ssd out for now.

If, instead of what you originally stated, you want an upgrade to the overall system that is *not* focused on gaming, *then* get an ssd.

the ssd will help your windows boot time, and loading times in games (and the few other times the game would need to read from the HDD), but it does *not* actually increase your in-game performance at all.

if indeed what you want is a game performance upgrade, spend it all on a video card.

enjoy!
December 28, 2012 4:12:28 PM

So I got me a Crucial M4 128GB SSD today, installed and worked like a charm. :)  Couldn't find me an 830.
I also threw out the 500GB HDD and replaced it with the spare 250GB HDD from the broken PS3.

Now I think the video card has to be upgraded. For months, I've been having this strange graphics card problem wherein I exit an application, whether its browsing with chrome or playing games, the screen suddenly freezes, turns black, then goes back to normal saying NVIDIA kernel driver blah blah has crashed. I've tried lots of versions of the driver, but I can't seem to fix it. Does anyone know how?

Anyway, back to the topic, I've got my eyes on the GTX 660 Ti or the HD 7850. Hopefully the prices of those would go down by the time I'd be able to save money for that. I'm ready to bust it all out on the video card. :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
January 2, 2013 6:12:34 PM

660ti is great, personally I wanted a gpu under 200 and got a 7850. Great performance for the price.
January 4, 2013 4:13:05 AM

I'm currently enjoying the SSD atm. And I'm now ready to splurge on the graphics card! :) 

My budget for the card would be the most at $200. But let's keep it as low as possible.

I've been doing my homework lately and see that the good cards are 7770/gtx650.

What are your thoughts on the two?
a b B Homebuilt system
January 4, 2013 7:44:33 AM

For 200 you can do WAY better. For 200 you need to be getting a radeon 7850, or gtx 660. Either of those cards will blow away the two cards you picked. To give you an idea I had a gts 450 card, and when I upgraded I went for the 7850, the 2 cards you listed were maybe 20% faster than my 450 which was an entry level card and is now like 2-3 generations behind.
January 20, 2013 12:02:05 AM

Thank you for the info ohiou_grad_06. So I plan to get a Radeon 7850 now (FINAL! Hahaha!) and I have a question. Will the i3 530 OC'ed to 3.71 Ghz bottleneck the performance of the 7850?
!