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Thread: Upgrade advice

  1. #1
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    Upgrade advice

    Ok, so I've got a birthday coming up soon and a budget of maybe 100-300 to spend on an upgrade. Thing is, I don't know what to go for at the moment, therefore I'm coming to you guys for help You were a big aid in making my mind up over my first system build last year so I'm hoping you can give me another hand this time round.

    Down to the nitty gritty:

    Current spec:
    -8800GTX
    -4gig DDR2 6400 800mhz 4-4-4-12
    -C2D E6600 - currently overclocked to 3GHZ with a zalman CNPS9700 heatsink on it
    -Asus p5k P35 mobo
    -Creative soundblaster X-fi extreme music sound card
    -Corsair HX620W modular PSU
    -Dell 2407WFP-HC 24inch LCD monitor
    -Viewsonic 19" wide secondary monitor
    -Thermaltake armour case
    -Lots of fans.

    I generally use it for:
    -Gaming
    --Lots of shooters, online and offline + anything else that takes my fancy
    --Would like to have it fairly futureproof for the next year of releases or so
    --Enjoy gaming in full 1920x1200, would love to be able to play Far Cry 2 at that res comfortably
    --Like high, solid fps and performance + stability
    -Some video editing and encoding for the games
    --Would be nice if encoding was faster, I do some fairly hefty H264 encodes every so often, but not really enough to justify splashing out on it
    -General chatting and some work stuff


    So what would you guys reccomend I upgrade?

    Personally I've been looking at stuff like:
    -A graphics upgrade, though I don't particularly need it for the current crop, it would be nice to be ahead of the curve for a little while
    --The HD 4870 X2 looks obscene and probably horribad value for money, but it would be quite nice to have that honeymoon feeling of "I can run the **** out of anything under the sun" again, especially for the stuff coming out towards the end of this year (Far Cry 2, Mirror's edge, spore, Left 4 dead etc). It also has the added proviso of pushing up against what the limit of my PSU is willing to provide - I've seen reccomendations of over 600 watts, and adding a new psu to the price is probably pushing it.
    --Failing that the HD 4870 seems to be good and not totally ridiculous price-wise, while meaning that I don't have to piss around with a new psu.
    -A CPU update, likely a quad core
    --Little bit cautious with this one, but the same "staying ahead of the curve" idea applies. It's always nice when stuff runs faster, and it would be great to have the edge on encodes as well.
    --I'm cautious again because of the incoming intel chips, but it seems like they might need whole new memory/mobo etc, so maybe something to leave for christmas.
    -Water cooling
    --I don't need it, but I enjoy stable overclocking and the idea of pushing my hardware to the limit. I'm also currently running 6 case fans, so cutting down on noise and power (idk how much power fans need tbh) might be a plunning can. That said, I'm fine with the current noise tbh.


    So yeah, any particular reccomendations you have would be gratefully recieved. Also if I have failed to make anything clear enough please say so and I'll be happy to clarify.

    Thanks, Zhou
    Last edited by Zhou Yu; 30-08-2008 at 01:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    • Mithrandir's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Biostar TP45-HP
      • CPU:
      • C2D e4600 (w/ Xigmatek Red Scorpion)
      • Memory:
      • OCZ ReaperX (2x2gb)
      • Storage:
      • Samsung F1 500gb
      • Graphics card(s):
      • xfx 9600gt Alphadog edition
      • PSU:
      • Xigmatek NRP-MC651
      • Case:
      • Coolermaster Cavalier 3 silver (windowed)
      • Monitor(s):
      • Fujitsu Siemens SCALEOVIEW D22W-1

    Re: Upgrade advice

    I can only think of upgrading the cpu to an e8xxx series for the larger cache (better for gaming) and the gpu to the the 4870.

    If you were to sell those replaced items then you'd still get a decent amount I think.
    Cavalier-X: Biostar TP45-HP ¦ E4600@3.1ghz - Xigmatek Red Scorpion (OCZ Freeze) ¦ OCZ ReaperX 2x2gb (792mhz @ 4-4-4--12) ¦ Xigmatek NRP-MC651 ¦
    Palit 8800gt ¦ X-fi Fatal1ty Gamer ¦ Coolermaster Cavalier 3 (Silver/Windowed) ¦

    Poseidon Magma: MSI P45 Zilent ¦ E6300@3.0ghz - Coolermaster Hyper 212 (MX-2) ¦ Corsair 2x2gb (880mhz @ 5-5-5-15) ¦ Corsair HX450w ¦
    xfx 9600gt Alphadog edition (780/1950/1000) ¦ X-fi Gamer ¦ Gigabyte Poseiden ¦

  3. #3
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    • staffsMike's system
      • Motherboard:
      • evga 680i
      • CPU:
      • e6600
      • Memory:
      • geil ultra pc6400
      • Storage:
      • WD 320gb
      • Graphics card(s):
      • leadtek 8800 GTS 640mb
      • PSU:
      • ocz gameXstream 700w
      • Case:
      • akasa eclipse
      • Monitor(s):
      • dell 2007wfp and Lg L194WT
      • Internet:
      • pipex homecall

    Re: Upgrade advice

    I wouldn't upgrade from an E6600 to another dual core, there doesn't seem much point. Maybe get a better cooler for it because even with an freezer 7 pro mine runs at 3.4GHz with no trouble.

    If you go for a quad core then there is the cheap Q6600 at around £110, which will again clock to around 3.4GHz safely with a decent cooler above it. If you want something a little extra I would skip over the Q9300 and probably the Q9400 and go for the Q9550. That should overclock well and get you to the 4.0GHz arena if you really wanted to.

    Which P5K do you have? Just the plain old P5k?

    As I mentioned the cooler, I would change that. Perhaps a scythe ninja 2 or thermalright ultra 120 extreme.

    The 4870X2 will run happily on a 620W corsair, no worries there. But you might want to look at the 280GTX instead. It's down to around £240 which makes it pretty reasonable value in the long run, it is the fastest single gpu car around afterall. There is no real point having the X2 at 1920 x 1200 it will be wasted even on the new game I imagine.

    As for the HD4870, although it is a step up from the 8800GTX they won't be worlds apart in a lot of games.

    If you steer clear of 4870X2 I can't see a good reason to move to water cooling. A decent case with some quiet cans (yate loons, scythe slitp streams) will be fine for a system like that.

  4. #4
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    Re: Upgrade advice

    The mobo model was the "Asus P5K P35 (Socket 775) 1333FSB DDR2 PCI-E Motherboard" according to the order history.

    In terms of the cooler, I'm reluctant to replace it atm since a) it works fine and b) heatsink replacement is a major faff

    For the CPU I would definitely agree that the Q9550 is a tempting idea but I was under the impression that nehalem was just about to happen so I'm a little cautious.

    For the graphics card (the area I'm probably most tempted to upgrade) I hadn't considered the 280 GTX before. The impression I had was that they were over-priced in comparison to the HD 4870's but I see they have had substantial price cuts since their release. I definitely got the impression from the reviews that the X2's would be overkill for anything under 2560x1600, but I must admit I'm still tempted ^^. Trouble is I'm at the stage where my comp is still good enough to make upgrading a little bit silly, but just old enough that I'm beginning to feel it in the newer titles.

    In any case, keep the advice coming guys, it is much appreciated.

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