I7 920 vs. 3770k vs 4770k

Hi, I'm a longtime lurker and a new member and need advice. My specs are as follows.

Processor: i7-920 C0 (stock)
Motherboard: Terrible m-atx Gateway Motherboard
Ram: 9gb @ 1066 Tri-channel
Graphics card: EVGA GTX 560 Ti 1gb
Power: Antec 650W Earthwatts
Cooler: Stock

My problem is that my specs are not up to par on the latest games and are being dated for video encoding. I was considering just replacing the motherboard, ram, cooler, overclocking my cpu and adding a second 560ti, but prices seem to have shot up. I can't find a decent board for under $200 and Ram seems to be more expensive than even a year ago.

My only other options seems to be to either buy a 3770k now or wait for the 4770k a month later. However, I'm worried that the first batch of Haswell CPUs and motherboards will not meet their full potential in terms of overclocking and features. I guess my current specs is a testament to that.

So far I am really lost. I'm not sure what course of action is the most prudent. I do live by a Microcenter if that helps and I bought the massive Fractal Design XL R2 case when it was on sale but so far it's gathering dust.
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  1. If you wanted to just upgrade the GPU for right now, I've seen that 1GB of VRAM just does not hold up well in modern games (evidence). The 650 Ti BOOST offers performance only ~10% "worse" than the GTX 660 and is $80 cheaper. That would be the cheapest Nvidia upgrade. Of course, you could just wait and see what the 7xx series will offer you. The promised specs are pretty awesome for simply upgrading the current architecture.

    If you're looking to upgrade the CPU and really want to go i7 (might as well living near a Micro Center :) ), then you're weighing a few things. Haswell will use less power and offer a very minor performance boost over IB. Considering how bad the heat dissipation was for the IB i7s, you might just want to go with a SB and overclock it hardcore. Of course, if you have a super large case, then an IB CPU is no big if you get a CM Hyper 212 EVO.
  2. A good question is if you're sure you need the i7 over the i5 for gaming. I agree with Slitweaver that a GPU upgrade is in order. Your RAM is fine; a little over actually, 8GB dual channel is the standard for gaming; and even though your speed is under standard, the fact you're on an Intel platform and not an APU platform helps negate the negatives away from that speed deficit. Though in all reality, you should try to get 8 GB of 1600 if it's in the budget.

    But again; back on focus. Do you really need an i7? Why so?
  3. Micro Center. Not getting the i7 is almost pointless because it's only a few more $ there :D
  4. SlitWeaver said:
    Micro Center. Not getting the i7 is almost pointless because it's only a few more $ there :D


    You lucky 'muricans. Well the point still stands; the i7-920 is still a really capable processor even today. That GPU however, wasnt even at the top of the food chain when it came out and certainly isnt now...
  5. Agreed. Get a 660 or 650 Ti BOOST, they're both incredible. I can testify for the 660 personally. :) The i7-920 probably would not bottleneck either of the cards (and certainty not too noticeably). Or with 7xx series around the corner, you could just wait and see. If you can, you might get a new motherboard that supports dual/quad channel DDR3 RAM for a start and get 8GB of 1600MHz RAM. Wow! LGA1366 socket motherboards are expensive. I think you might want to just get an LGA1155 motherboard and throw in an i7-2600K (SB) or an i7-3770K (IB).
  6. SlitWeaver said:
    If you wanted to just upgrade the GPU for right now, I've seen that 1GB of VRAM just does not hold up well in modern games (evidence). The 650 Ti BOOST offers performance only ~10% "worse" than the GTX 660 and is $80 cheaper. That would be the cheapest Nvidia upgrade. Of course, you could just wait and see what the 7xx series will offer you. The promised specs are pretty awesome for simply upgrading the current architecture.

    If you're looking to upgrade the CPU and really want to go i7 (might as well living near a Micro Center :) ), then you're weighing a few things. Haswell will use less power and offer a very minor performance boost over IB. Considering how bad the heat dissipation was for the IB i7s, you might just want to go with a SB and overclock it hardcore. Of course, if you have a super large case, then an IB CPU is no big if you get a CM Hyper 212 EVO.


    I considered SB before, but ruled it out because based on just rumors, I hear Haswell should match or exceed the OC ability of SB. Finding an SB is also difficult too. And was considering the Hyper 212, used it in my brother's AMD build, but I want max OC possible and silent operating, so I'm considering the tried and true Noctua DH14 or a watercooling alternative. And yes, now that I think about it, I think I can hold off until the 7xx series since the games, emulators, and applications I run are more CPU dependent (Skyrim, Civilization, PCSX2, Handbrake, etc..)

    SlitWeaver said:
    Micro Center. Not getting the i7 is almost pointless because it's only a few more $ there :D


    Yes, the price difference to get an i7 is just too awesome to refuse :D

    Oh and my budget is between $350-$500. I prefer the greatest performance for greatest value.
  7. Budget for the whole upgrade? Then probably a 660Ti because you can upgrade that to tri-SLI overtime. But seeing as Haswell and 7xx series are "just around the corner," you might want to just wait for those to come out and see the pricing/performance benefits over their current parts and then come back and re-analyze an upgrade. If you need one now though, I'd get a new motherboard and RAM (I can offer recommendations), an i7-3770K, and a 660Ti if it fits into the budget after the other upgrades. If you really want silence, go with liquid cooling.
  8. SlitWeaver said:
    Budget for the whole upgrade? Then probably a 660Ti because you can upgrade that to tri-SLI overtime. But seeing as Haswell and 7xx series are "just around the corner," you might want to just wait for those to come out and see the pricing/performance benefits over their current parts and then come back and re-analyze an upgrade. If you need one now though, I'd get a new motherboard and RAM (I can offer recommendations), an i7-3770K, and a 660Ti if it fits into the budget after the other upgrades. If you really want silence, go with liquid cooling.


    My budget as of now is $500, but if I wait until June I can possibly spend a little more. I was thinking of the 660ti, but I feel it's too small of an upgrade and not low profile enough for possible tri-sli. I feel like a new 760ti or 770 might be better cost/value wise; or even the current 7xxx radeon gpus. But I'm more concerned about the the CPU now.
  9. For the CPU, I personally believe Haswell is not gonna be worth it if you already have IB. But since you don't, you might just want to wait for it to come out and decide from there. :)
  10. SlitWeaver said:
    For the CPU, I personally believe Haswell is not gonna be worth it if you already have IB. But since you don't, you might just want to wait for it to come out and decide from there. :)


    Gah, guess your right. I'm gonna wait for Microcenter's new catalogue tomorrow. If it offers an amazing new deal on the 3770k, I'll bite. If not I'll wait for Haswell. I guess replacing my lga 1366 board is out of the question. Thanks for the help!
  11. Slickshooter said:
    I guess replacing my lga 1366 board is out of the question.

    Do you mean "is a must"? And no problem! Best of luck in upgrading your computer to awesomeness! Hopefully it'll prove future-proof for at least the next couple of years :)
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