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Upgrade Help


I was hoping someone out there may be able to give me some advice in regards to upgrading my current system. I am well due for an upgrade, here is my current set-up:

Gigabyte P31-DS3l (Mobo)
Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz
4 GB DDR2 Ram
500W PSU
MSI Twin Frozr GTX 660
Windows 7 Ultimate

I have installed the GTX 660 in this system, but I know it is bottlenecked due to my CPU and current motherboard. I do a lot of gaming and video editing, but I have no knowledge of overclocking (however, I am in the process of learning). So, I'm curious what would be a good motherboard for my needs. I don't want to spend a fortune but I've been looking into the Sabertooth Z77 and the Z77X-UD5H from Gigabyte. I believe I would be able to use the i5-3570k with these boards as well, which is around the price I want to spend on the CPU.

For my needs do you think I would be wasting money on a Z77 board, and I should go with something cheaper, or are these boards a good combination with the i5-3570k? Also would a 500W PSU be able to run the new hardware or should I upgrade this as well? Nvidia states that for the GTX 660 a 450W minimum PSU should be used, but MSI states I should be using a minimum of 550W; however, it has been running without any problems as of now. I have been noticing a lot of fps drops and stuttering especially when playing Far Cry 3. So, I'm simply wanting to make everything run smoothly for the lowest price; yet have good quality with the possibility to overclock once I have a better understanding of the process.

I appreciate any feedback. This will be my first build without the help of a shop, so any information would be greatly appreciated.
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  1. Best answer
    for the power supply issue it depends on the ps make and model and how the 12v line is set up wattage and amp wise. if it a good name brand unit then what you want to look at is the total wattage the cpu and video card will use. (ib 77w) with the max wattage know see if it close to the max output on the 12v line. if it is close then bumping up to a larger ps would keep your rig from getting damaged if the power supply pops and take it out. the gigbyte board for the money is a better value it has onboard wifi and bluetooth. with the sabertooth you have to toss in an extra card for it.i would on your build toss in an after market evo 212 or other good air cooler. the stock plastic leg intel cooler are ok but a lot of time new builders snap the legs off. (poor design by intel). cpu coolers with back plates and screws..easer to get on and work better. when you buy the ddr-3 ram you dont need to spend extra cash on ram that faster then 1600. not going to see much speed from 1800 or 2100 ram. with the ram make sure it 1.5v and has a 9-9-9-9-24 or faster timing. low profile ram is also good if your going to use an after market heat sink. i would start with a 8g kit of two 4g dimms. if you need more ram then add another 8g. with the newer mb and os a small boot ssd 120g does speed a system can add it latter when you have more funds.
  2. as much as i like sabertooth, i would opt to buy a cheaper board, asrock extreme4 is good esp for its price, there are other options of course. the point is, get a decent board, pour your extra money to the gpu or psu, etc
  3. buy z77 mobo maybe later SLI them with good psu
  4. Great advice. Thanks all. I was thinking about the SLI option with two GTX 660s at some point. How would the asrock extreme4 handle that? If I went with that Mobo I could probably purchase an i7 rather than an i5 cpu as well. I've always been partial to Gigabyte (simply because the one I currently have has never had any problems), I know Asus makes nearly 40% of the mobos in computers today, but I have no idea about ASRock; are they reliable, quality, etc.? I notice a big price difference, so if I go with the ASRock Extreme4, purchase an i7-3770k cpu, and later SLI another GTX 660 - best bang for the buck?
  5. asrock was started by asus to make low end mb..asus want to bring asrock back into the fold. the i5-3570 is the same as the i7 just that it does not have the fake hyper threading cores. there are very few games that use hyper-threading.
  6. Thank you again smorizio. After taking your advice, I have come up with the following build:

    ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
    MSI Twin Frozr GTX 660
    8GB Ram G.Skill Ripjaws XL
    Powerex Black Hawk 650W PSU
    Hyper 212 Evo

    And some of the other bells and whistles not needed to mention. Now onto the case. I was looking at the Haf XB Mesh, because I like the cube design and this thing seems to be designed pretty sturdy. However, I was also thinking about the possibility of using a HTPC case such as the Silverstone Grandia GD04 (or up to the Gd08).

    I read that the HAF was built for power and not silence, so they mentioned it was noisy due to the fans being in the front. Plus the HAF is rather bulky, but I know it would handle everything nicely and any upgrades I may have for the future. Yet, the HTPC case would sit nicely on my entertainment center and seems as if it would be much quieter; however, would it be feasible to use a case such as this for the set-up listed?

    At the moment I am not overclocking and I don't have a SLI set-up, but I may want to do this in the future once I learn more. But it would be nice to have a case that is aesthetically pleasing and quiet. Help?
  7. If you are not going to overclock, you could get away with a cheaper i5 or even an i3 3220 and then upgrade to the CPU later to over clock.

    the i3 3220 costs about half as much as at the i5 and I have one, for example, I don't run into a CPU bottle neck until I hit about 79 FPS in Crysis 2, and that's with dual GTX 460's on Extreme DX11.

    An i3 would bottleneck a dual GPU setup, but you would still be able to get VERY playable frame rates, especially with just a single card.

    You could take that extra $150 or so you save and buy a nicer PSU, I've never heard of Powerex?

    If you plan on dual gpu in the future, I'd def get something 750W+ bronze rated with at least 50-60A+ on the 12V rail...

  8. DryCreamer -

    Thanks for the input. I live in Seoul so my PSU selection is a bit different here. I'm not positive how great the quality of the PSU I selected is, but comparing to other North American brands it seemed equivalent from the specs side of things. If you are so kind to check out the webpage for me you can see in English (rather than Korean) the specs for it. It states 80 Plus Silver rating with 54.2A on the +12V, but I am very new to all this, so PSU language doesn't mean much to me at this point. I am strictly going off of advice I receive from the forum. I really appreciate all the feedback so far. Also, do you think I should jump it up to 750W, rather than 650W? Would it be okay to have that much power if I don't need it, prior to OC or installing a second GPU?

    Any idea on using a HTPC (Silverstone Grandia GD08) for this set-up or do you advise going with the HAF case? I really like the look of the HTPC and I want something that would run as quiet as possible, but I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not. Thanks.
  9. The PSU actually looks pretty good from what I see. 54 A is enough to run 2 video cards, I think you would be fine with! my Korean is a little rusty, so I don't know if its Nvidia Radeon 'certified' or just 'ready'. but I think in any case, its seems good for your purposes. The silver efficiency rating is impressive to me

    As far as the case, you can't really go wrong with the HAF case, I know a couple guys that have got them and they are very easy to work with and well built. I don't think you would regret getting it.

    I have never seen a Silverstone GD08 in person, but from the images the space inside looks a little more 'compressed' or smaller than the HAF, so the full size video card looks like it will move into the hard drive area once installed.

    I thought that Tom's did a review of one here, but I can't find it. so check this one out:

    in the conclusion he gives it very positive reviews

    I've never really pursued HTPC setup, so I don't think I can give you very helpful advice about it, but I like the HAF, especially for the price.

    but if you do decided to get the Silverstone case, put a post here with your thought! :)

  10. Thanks everyone for the input - it has all helped me with my decisions. I have done some major editing from my initial ideas due to your help. I believe I have decided on the Silverstone HTPC case so once I start the install and get everything going I will be sure to leave a post. If anyone has any information about spacing on the GD08 that would be great, but I think I will start another thread regarding spacing issues. I appreciate it all!
  11. Best answer selected by EKuan.
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