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Upgrading my system

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Last response: in Systems
January 22, 2013 3:56:47 PM

Hey guys!

As the topic says I'm planning on upgrading my rig. Basically I'd like to upgrade my monitor, CPU, GPU, mobo and keep my RAM, PSU and case, and I need some help at it, so here I am. First of all I'd like to throw out that I'm looking for what's going to give me the most bang for buck. My max budget is 500-600€ and here's where I'm at now:

CPU: Intel core 2 duo e8500 (3.16ghz)
GPU: Radeon HD 4870
Motherboard: Asus p5q pro
PSU: Corsair tx650w
RAM: 4gigs
HDD: 600giga drive (as with the RAM, don't know the detail of it off of my head)
Monitor: Acer 19''

And my case looks like a alienware case although it's actually not, it just kinda looks that way.

What do I need my computer to do? Well I'm looking for a (gaming) computer that can last me a good number of years before I upgrade again, I need it to run games like Battlefield 3 and Guild Wars 2 top notch while being able to record. I'm also going to start streaming and recording videos (youtube) so that's also a thing.

And here's what I was looking at:

GPU: Sapphire radeon HD 7870 (200€)
CPU: Intel core I5 2500 (200€)
Motherboard: Not really decided yet, but obviously something with a L1155 socket (and if possible under 150€)
Monitor: LG 24'' (IMPORTANT NOTE: the price of this monitor is not to be included in my budget)

I'd like to keep my PSU, ram and case, obviously adding some ram and a better HDD over time, but for my core upgrade I'm thinking of the above stated components. Can the components work together? And is it possible to use my current radeon 4870 with the 7870? (hoping my 650w corsair is enough)

What do you guys think? Would also like to thank in advance to anyone that decides to help, thank you!

More about : upgrading system

January 22, 2013 4:09:11 PM

That should be fine but you will not be able to keep the RAM. That board you currently have is DDR2, and anything you're going to get now is DDR3 so you'll need new RAM. Luckily, it's dirt cheap now and you can get 8 GB of good ram for $40.

I'd recommend an i5 3570k. It's going to give you great gaming performance and last a good long while. As for the card, depending on budget, either a GTX670, 660ti or 660 from nvidia, or 7950, or 7870 from AMD. AMD probably has the best bang for the buck right now. Here is something that I think would serve you well and start you in the right direction.

Intel i5 - $230: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MB MSI Z77 $85: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooler - Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO $25: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM 8Gb DDR3 $47: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU - GTX 660ti $270: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU Alternate - Sapphire 7950 $280: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total build with either card comes out to $667, which should be in the sub 600 euro range. The big if about the build is the card. If Battlefield 3 is your game, and you play that more than anything else by a lot, the 660 ti is going to be faster. BF3 favors nvidia a bunch. If you plan on playing a mix of games, and I saw you mention guild wars, then the 7950 is by far the better purchase. It's 3 Gb, twice the bus, and should last longer with newer games than the 660 ti. You may also need to switch to low profile RAM, but I think that cooler is narrow enough that it will not be a problem. Good luck.
January 22, 2013 4:21:37 PM

Actually failed to notice that. But I just checked and 8gb of DDR3 RAM isn't really expensive, around 30€-40€.

If it's not obvious yet, I'm from EU (Slovenia) so sites like newegg are out of the question, pixmania.si and agt.si are the ones i'm looking at.

Thanks! Looking forward to your suggestions :) 
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January 22, 2013 4:36:46 PM

Sorry about the parts being from newegg. I still think those parts are going to serve you well though, and prices on those sites should still bring the total to less than 600 euro. Let me know what you think.
January 22, 2013 6:05:10 PM

Just realized that you are also looking for a monitor. I see you have a 19". What is your current resolution? I would aim for a 24" 1080p. Those can be had for $175 or less.

If you do end up getting a monitor, you may need to drop the cards down to a 660/550ti, or a 7870/7850 to fit within budget. You could also drop to a lower i5, though you forgo the overclocking ability of the k series. Personally, I'd hold out for the monitor and build a nicer system unless the 19" is a very low resolution. Pick up a monitor when you find it on sale somewhere.
January 22, 2013 6:07:21 PM

If you can wait get intel's 4th gen CPU, should come out soon(couple months)
January 23, 2013 6:15:51 AM

I actually responded a few seconds behind your post even though at the time as I posted it I had not seen it, although I knew you'd be going for that because it's the best site for components.

I'm a radeon fan, it's not based on anything else than my experience with them and my friends (my friend has nvidia GPUs and he's always having some trouble while I have not had one problem). My main games are Battlefield 3 and Guildwars 2 right now but I do play lots of games so there's no limit to that.

I'd go for the 7950 but is it in the price range? If you could use pixmania.si for the parts that'd be much appreciated.

I was looking at this just now:
http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12886468/art/msi/z77a-g41-... (is this the one you suggested?)

http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12838275/art/amd/radeon-hd...
(the only 7950 I think would fit in my budget)

As far as the monitor goes, the thing is it's my birthday and my friends know I want and need an upgrade. So my girlfriend and family said that they're going to get me a 24'' monitor. I mean there's the chance of me telling them to wait with it but that's kinda rude and not really what I'd do. Current resolution is 1280x1024. Like I said, the monitor isn't to be included in the budget because I'm getting it as a gift.

(http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12606866/art/lg/e2442v-bn-..., this is what they're probably getting me)

Oh and about waiting, I've been waiting for quite some time now to be honest, at least a year and a half so I don't know, will the 4th gen intel CPU's come out in a month or 2 or half a year, and will they drop the price of what's currently out there.

Appreciate the help guys, really do!
January 23, 2013 6:50:08 PM

Sorry, I guess I was reading a bit too quick and missed that the monitor will not be included in the budget. That's awesome you're getting it as a gift! Also, I wouldn't wait for Haswell. It's not going to be out until June, and from everything I've seen from the Intel Developer Conference, most of the focus is going to be on integrated graphics and lower power. The gains may be 5-10%, but I wouldn't hold out for six months for that. Ivy Bridge will serve you well for a long time.

Ok, so here is my second attempt using the site you linked to above.

CPU - 207€: http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/11764446/art/intel/core-i5...
MB - 78€: http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12886468/art/msi/z77a-g41-...
Cooler - 29€: http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/11643609/art/cooler-master...
RAM - 42€: http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/11388349/art/kingston/2-x-...
(you can get a different brand such as Corsair or G.Skill if you prefer. This just looked like a good price. Just aim for DDR3 1600 and CL9 or less)
GPU - 209€: http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12988713/art/sapphire-tech...

Total: 565€

You can pick and choose with the parts a little bit, but I think that will get you some great performance for the money. With that k series I5 and that cooler, you can get some great extra performance with an easy overclock as well. If you want a different MB, make sure it is Z77 so you can overclock the k series part. Also, getting a 7950 in there is doable as well, but will probably put you over budget by about 10-20. I figured I would stay within budget, and the 7870 is still a great card. Good luck, and I hope this helps!
January 23, 2013 11:55:09 PM

Another option is this,

CPU - 180€: http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12570884/art/intel/core-i5...
Use the supplied cooler since you can't overclock that model i5, so don't bother with the cooler master 212 evo.
Put the 60€ saved towards the HD 7950

That way, you're still looking at 560€ for the upgrade, and you get a better video card. It will play games better than the other system currently, but the CPU will not last you quite as long when it comes time to upgrade. Depends on the trade off you're willing to make.
January 25, 2013 10:19:02 AM

I'm leaning towards the radeon 7950 side. I'm not really a overclocking guy since I don't know how to do it myself but how long do you think would the i5 3450 last me compared to the 3570k?

If I'm not mistaken the 7950 would take the PCI-E 3.0 slot in the MB, so I can use my existing 4870 in the 2.0 slot and power this 19'' monitor I'm currently using?
January 25, 2013 2:55:48 PM

The 3570k may last you an extra year or so. I usually think of a good overclocking CPU lasting one more generation (maaaaybe two but that depends) before an upgrade is needed since you have the extra legroom to push it, but the 3450 will last you a good few years though. You'll also get better gaming performance presently by going i5 3450 and radeon 7950.

As for the video cards, you could do that, but I would just sell the 4870 you have now. Most modern video cards, including the 7950, support several displays. So you'll be able to use both monitors with the 7950, and pocket the money from selling the 4870.
January 25, 2013 6:18:22 PM

Oh, didn't know that concerning the display. I'm pretty much decided now, the monitor is already at home waiting for me to buy the new parts so I'm going with the i5 3470 and 7950. I'll just measure the case just in case though, don't want to buy the 7950 and find out that I can't fit it in.

I have to order thermal paste with the CPU right? I've never actually combined a MB and CPU before.

Oh and just one last thing, concering the 7950 I'm planning on buying.
http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12838275/art/amd/radeon-hd...

Isn't the design kinda off? I mean it looks like it's prone to overheat fast because of the casing
January 25, 2013 8:38:56 PM

Most heat sinks come with thermal compound already on the heatsink. My i5 from a build a few months ago did, so you should be fine.

Also, I agree about the card. It will work fine, just in case you're worried, but I would go with a different 7950 since it would be within budget now. Most third party solutions will run faster, cooler, and quieter. Here is one I think is good for the price.
http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12844795/art/sapphire-tech...
January 25, 2013 9:32:45 PM

Cool, so getting the CPU onto the mobo shouldn't be too much of a problem. So basically 597.6€ for the whole build that I hope lasts me a good 5 years, not too bad, not too bad. I'll go with the Sapphire 7950 because I'm worried the card might get too stressed temperature wise.

Thanks daedalus12, you've helped me pick the best option even with saving some money and most of off not getting too stressed about getting the buy right. Really appreciate it.
January 25, 2013 9:47:33 PM

No problem, have fun with the new computer!
January 26, 2013 9:39:46 AM

Just as I thought I've found my new computer I've found yet another problem. The 4870 I have now is 24cm with around 3cm of cables at the end. Problem here is that the Sapphire from pixmania is 29cm which means it won't fit in my case.

I don't know what case I'm using because I can't find the company I bought it from anymore. So now the last problem is what can I do? I'm hoping I can remove one of the boxes meant for hard drives. I'm using only one but I have 2 boxes meant for them (one box can fit around 2, maybe 3 drives). I'm not sure if that's possible but I sure as hell hope it is because investing in a case isn't really what I want. :( 

The only other easy solution I found is if I buy this 7950 for 10€ more

http://www.pixmania.si/si/uk/12781961/art/sapphire-tech...

I don't know why it's 10€ more (maybe because of the vapor x) and I really don't know why it's 27.5 in length (2cm less than the other).

Although a interesting note, on Sapphire's page I found that the card should be 27.5...I'm confused
January 28, 2013 5:00:22 PM

Well, some cases do allow for hard drive bays to be removed to allow for more room for the GPU, but that is something you'll need to test first.

According to Newegg, the Vapor-X is 2 cm shorter, so that may be the one you need to go with.

On the plus side, for 10€ more though, the sapphire vapor x will be a good card. It has an even better cooler and a higher boost state than their standard card. It should run cooler and quieter as well. The power headers are also on the top of the card and not the side, so you don't need to worry about cabling being a problem with length. Double check your lengths, and if it fits, then go for that one.
January 28, 2013 5:37:22 PM

I checked and ordered the non-vapor x one. Basically if it really is 29cm it's going to be too long but I can remove one of the hard drive bays. I already ordered the parts and they're on their way.

Once I get them and put the new rig together I'll post again, hopefully something with good news.

On the bright side, if the build doesn't work I have 14 days to send the parts back and get my money back.