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Midgrade gaming PC - upgrade or sell + new build

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February 27, 2013 10:30:04 AM

Hello all! Need some advice.

This is my current system, which I just built in October:
http://pcpartpicker.com/b/AtN

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($223.79 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($175.98 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($50.39 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($75.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($75.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB Video Card ($281.85 @ Amazon)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($117.98 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: BitFenix Spectre LED 47.7 CFM 140mm Fan ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: BitFenix Spectre LED 47.7 CFM 140mm Fan ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($103.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer
Total: $1388.90
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-27 09:08 EST-0500)

It's working great, nothing wrong with it aside from a broken side panel fan wire, but I'm getting the itch to upgrade something.

I have a roommate who wants me to build him a system. His budget is $1200. Within that budget, basically all I'm coming up with is "my computer, minus something." There are a couple of things I might consider doing differently to save money without sacrificing performance (for instance, a cheaper case and a 650W Builder Edition PSU) but overall, as far as I can tell, in the $1200 range, you're pretty much looking at my rig with maybe some differently-branded components and less storage. Maybe the 660Ti instead of the 7870 GHz Edition.

He also doesn't have the money to spend right now - he's budgeting the $1200 over the next month - but he needs the computer as soon as possible because his is having some issues. I, on the other hand, have money to spend upfront. So my thought is "Instead of upgrading mine and building him a new one, I could deliver better value for both of us if I just sold him mine and built myself a new one."

So, question 1: Is $1200 a fair price for my computer, fully assembled and delivered, with a stable 4.4GHz overclock, a clean OS install and in-house technical support? That is, is that at least a good a deal as he could expect to get new for that price in the next month? It's very important to me to know that we're both getting a good deal out of this. The system has about 4 months of use, but has been exceptionally well-cared for, never overheated, and is completely clean, dust-free, stable, and performs well.

Question 2: I have a net budget of about $600 for upgrades. That is, I can spend $600 directly upgrading my rig, or, if I sell mine for $1200, I can spend a total of about $1800 on a new one.


So what would you suggest for:

1) Upgrades to my current system at under $600

2) A new system at $1700-1800

My priorities are:

1) Quality and reliability. I will gladly and unquestioningly pay 10-20% more for any part for better materials, better binning, or even just a better brand reputation.
2) Gaming performance at 1080p with high antialiasing settings. I'm sensitive to framerate drops, micro-stuttering, and edge flicker.
3) Streaming, recording, and video editing in 1080p.
4) Boot and load times.
5) Gaming performance at 2460x1440. I'd like to be able to support a WQHD monitor in the future, but I don't currently have one, and I can't afford both a monitor and a system to support it, so I want the system first so I can buy the monitor later.
6) Cooling. I keep my room relatively warm at all times, and I live in Seattle where there's no A/C during the summer, so I need my computer to be able to handle ambient temperatures of 24-35C without getting uncomfortably hot.
7) Avoiding SLI/Crossfire. I play some games that don't like it, and I don't want to deal with it unless the performance difference is very large and the price difference is very small.
8) Ease of overclocking.
9) Looks. In the absence of a large quality difference, I would prefer to buy attractive components in matching colors. Cable management/minimalism is also important.

The following is non-negotiable:
- CPU must be an Ivy Bridge K-series.
- Motherboard must be Asus and have onboard wireless.
- The only upgrade I'll consider for my SSD is a Samsung 840 Pro series.
- Any new PSU must be modular.
- Case will be Corsair unless there's a very, very good reason to choose a different brand.

I don't care at all about:
- Acoustics. I actually like the white noise of computer fans. I don't want whiny fans, but as long as the pitch is low, I don't care if it roars like a jet engine.
- Size. I have all the space in the world for my tower.
- Weight. In any situation where I'd be moving my computer, the difference between 20 and 40 pounds is irrelevant.
- Multi-monitor setups, Eyefinity, etc. Don't like, don't want.
- PhysX.
- Any external connector or connection protocol that isn't DVI, USB, ethernet, wireless, sound, or maybe Bluetooth.
- RAID. My data is neither important enough for RAID 1 nor unimportant enough for RAID 0.
- SATA II ports beyond 2, SATA ports beyond 3, PCI-E slots beyond 2.
February 27, 2013 11:25:48 AM

1. For the upgrades, all I upgraded was the graphics card to a 7950 SLI. If some games are not up to date with SLI, just disable the second card for a bit.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($175.98 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($219.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($75.98 @ Outlet PC)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($75.98 @ Outlet PC)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) ($297.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) ($297.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($101.60 @ Mac Connection)
Case Fan: BitFenix Spectre LED 47.7 CFM 140mm Fan ($12.98 @ Outlet PC)
Case Fan: BitFenix Spectre LED 47.7 CFM 140mm Fan ($12.98 @ Outlet PC)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($103.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($26.37 @ Compuvest)
Total: $1624.77
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-27 08:17 EST-0500)

2. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($32.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($91.76 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($114.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($105.95 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) ($297.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card (2-Way CrossFire) ($297.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Corsair 650D ATX Mid Tower Case ($149.93 @ Mac Connection)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 750W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1631.50
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-27 08:25 EST-0500)
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February 27, 2013 12:35:33 PM

Thanks. I'm having trouble getting excited by Crossfire 7950s, but it's probably better than anything I'm coming up with (most of the builds I'm coming up with involve a 7970 GHz Edition and then wasting money on a ROG board and shiny things).
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February 27, 2013 1:00:35 PM

Yeah I wouldn't recommend the 7970. If you're on a single monitor, it's no noticeable difference vs the 7950.
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