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Thread: Upgrading on a Budget

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    Question Upgrading on a Budget

    My system is as detailed in "My System" and is feeling its age. I would like to spend something in the region of £250-300 on upgrades.

    The motherboard recently died a death and I'm cant decide whether to change it for a similar S939 board or go to 775. A similar board would allow a graphics upgrade whereas a 775 board would mean a better processor and memory.

    The primary use of the system is for gaming, but I'll be keeping it as an XP machine for the foreseeable future.

    Thus my question really comes down to which upgrade will help my system last best until september (when I'm doing a large upgrade). And leading on from this, which parts should I buy?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lanky123's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    Are you going to be overclocking?

    If you are then you could probably squeeze a Core2 E4500, a cheap P35, 2gb ddr2 and an 8800gt 256mb into the budget.

    E4500 Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    P35 Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    2gb ddr2 667mhz Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    8800gt 256mb Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Comes to about £280 i think, less if some are on today only.

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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    IMO you're not going to have much luck with sourcing a S939 motherboard unless you go to ebay and some are very overpriced.

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    • Wyoming's system
      • Motherboard:
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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    I have had a look at S939 boards and Asrock have just released a new one (literally this month, the 939N68PV-GLAN) retailing for £50.

    I'm not going to be overclocking but I'll check for some benchmarks on 775s at stock speeds and see if I can find one that works for me in my price range.

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    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    If you're happy with your current graphics card you could in theory keep it.
    A decent core2duo should keep you going for some time as would 2gb of memory
    Motherboard ABit P-35 = £75-80
    CPU e6750 =£110-120
    Memory 2x1gb pc6400 DDR2 =£40

    That should keep you going untill september, at that time you could then look at upgradeing graphics card, hard drive and maybe sticking in another 2gb of memory.

    PS any idea why your motherboard died?

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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    One thing to keep in mind, if you switch to an Intel chip, it's difficult to reinstall Windows, every time I've had to do it by wiping down the HDD with a Windows 98 or Linux disc before it'd let me reinstall.

    Other than that, I'd make the switch if you've got the cash. As others have pointed out, for £200 to £300 you can easily cross over.

    If you're *really* tight for cash, get a motherboard with onboard VGA (say a G33 based option), pick up an E2160 and 2GB of PC5400 RAM, all for £120-150ish, it'll run just as well as your current rig at least, and then has room to upgrade with a new GFx card later on.

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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    Yeah I know why the motherboard died. I bought a new PSU and it was faulty. Plugged it in, large cloud of smoke - all very dramatic.

    RMA'd and it's been replaced but now I have a dead mobo. However I'm not sure if the RAM or CPU were also damaged and I have no way of testing those parts. That probably makes the new motherboard, memory and CPU option the most sensible one.

    I assume that as I'm sticking with XP that a quad core CPU brings to tangible benefits whatsoever?

    What about P31 boards like the Gigabyte GA-P31-DS3L which support 1333mhz CPUs? Apart from not officially supporting those CPUs what benefit does the P35 chipset bring?

    As for reinstall issues, I think I have an unused HDD somewhere that I can put XP on and use that system to wipe my current discs but thanks for the warning.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cptwhite_uk's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    Wyoming will never need on-baord vga, he has a PCI-E X800XL which makes your suggestion mute. Lanky123 has the best advice here. Personally I'd go with those suggestions for the CPU, motherboard and RAM if you're capable of a mild overclock to 2.8 to 3.0 Ghz

    Total = £161.61 (+ upgrade graphics card when Nvidias new range come out in spring)

    If you don't do overclocking:

    Switch the processor to:

    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    ...an extra £43 approx. gets you double the cache, and a 466Mhz clock speed increase (equivalent performance increase of 600Mhz I'd say, roughly). Bang-per-buck isn't quite the same but you're paying a slight premium for guaranteed performance at stock.

    Total = £204

  9. #9
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    I see two important pieces of information from the OP. Firstly he uses the system mostly for gaming. Secondly he is not going to OC.

    IMO the first means that a new video card is a must - the X800XL is some way behind current cards (it's 3 years old FFS) - because these have the biggest effect on gaming.

    The second means, in combination with the low budget, that an AMD solution is worth looking at.

    I'm sure that staffsMike's suggestions for RAM and GFX are good (and at cheapest come to £150). I'm no expert on AMD mobos, but this one appears OK: Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK and this processor Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK takes the price to ~£250. That's 2.6GHz with no OC.

    That leaves £50 to update the HDD and/or DVD (not shown in spec) or to save for the next update.

  11. #11
    Senior Member cptwhite_uk's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    Lanky RAM link is £6 cheaper, Corsair, PC6400 and 4-4-4-12

    No need to spend the extra on the Geil staffsMike links too in my opinion, plus free delivery from Scan

    Don't consider AMD Even cheap builds aren't worth it anymore. AMD 2.6Ghz is equivalent to Intel 2.2Ghz approximately.

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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    I've never built a non-AMD system, and I'm considering changing to Intel based purely on benchmarks at stock speeds where the top 14 processors for the crysis demo are intels (a run ended by a Phenoms which is still more expensive than the faster Q6600). What are the prospects for new intel CPUs moving socket? I'd like to think that come september I'll still be able to get a top end CPU on a 775 motherboard.

    So if my assumptions are correct I'd prefer that if I do upgrade my CPU that I went for an intel.

    As I'll be running games at 1440x900 I assume the best bang for buck for me is a 256mb 8800gt? Is it worth getting a pre-overclocked card?

    Thanks for all your help so far

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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyoming View Post
    What are the prospects for new intel CPUs moving socket? I'd like to think that come september I'll still be able to get a top end CPU on a 775 motherboard.
    Well you will. Both Wolfdale and Yorkfield processors will be introduced throughout next year utilising Socket 775. However, if Intel's roadmap is still on track, they will be also introducing Nehalem based processor (on two new sockets) towards the end of 2008. Obviously, these will be targeted at the high-end user (i.e. will cost a lot of money) but should cause a few price drops as a result. So providing the motherbaord you eventually choose supports them, you can buy a duo core processor now to fit your budget and put in a quad core Yorkfield later down the line when you're ready (and at the right cost).

    Regarding, the 8800GT video cards, I would buy from manufacturer offering at least 2-3 years warranty and if possible a card offering a better cooling system / fan. These cards run very hot and although they may be built to cope, I find 88 C a little uncomfortable, especially with other components around it.

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    • Wyoming's system
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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    Which 8880GTs offer better than average cooling on them as standard?

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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    Q6600 quad core £150 ish for retail
    P35 mobo £50 ish
    8800GT £116
    2Gb mem £40 ish

    £356 all in and laughing for a good,good while for £50 ish over your budget.

    If you wanted to just do the mem,cpu and mobo then i've got an X1800XT i can do at a reasonable price.

    (i've posted "ish" prices as they can vary from week to week depending on various offers being banded about)

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    Re: Upgrading on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyoming View Post
    Which 8880GTs offer better than average cooling on them as standard?
    Asus, Gigabyte and Gainward seem to employ alternative cooling set-ups / fans. Unless someone has one of these on the forums you'll have to do a bit of research as to how much more affective these are. Something to bear in mind though is that they'll probably take up a bit more space - so be careful.

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