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Thread: What would you do?

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    What would you do?

    Hey,

    I'm not a novice PC builder, but I've also not built a PC for a good 5 years, so was wondering if I can get some advice from you lovely people.

    I've got a 4 year old machine which I've just installed Win7 64 on to and realised how old the machine is. So...I've decided that it's prob time to upgrade a few bits. I've got to take in to consideration that my case mounts the MoBo upside down (initially got a card with a big built in heatsink and pipe from various chips on the MoBo and it soon fried!) and that I run 2 x 24" monitors.

    I don't really mind too much about money; I mainly use it for work but I play a few games too. I'm not too bothered about overclocking, but like bells and whistles to play about with.

    What would you upgrade with this machine? I'm thinking MB, Graphics, CPU and add some more ram.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks

    Martyn

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    Pork & Beans Powerup Phage's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do?

    CPU: i7 860
    RAM: 4gb GSkill Ripjaw
    Mainboard: MSI or Giga P55
    GPU: 5870 1gb

    The rest (Case,PSU, HDD) I would keep. But storage is so cheap now it's hard to overlook a variety of 1tb drives from Samsung F3, Hitachi or WD Caviar Black. Better, faster and cheaper than your old 250Gb ones.
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    Re: What would you do?

    You will be glad to hear that your socket 939 processor will fetch a lot on Ebay. I would estimate around £60 to £70 on Ebay.

    Do you need Crossfire or not??

    What is your budget??

    Would like to have an SFF PC or use a smaller case??
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 24-10-2009 at 04:10 PM.


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    Re: What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phage View Post
    CPU: i7 860
    RAM: 4gb GSkill Ripjaw
    Mainboard: MSI or Giga P55
    GPU: 5870 1gb

    The rest (Case,PSU, HDD) I would keep. But storage is so cheap now it's hard to overlook a variety of 1tb drives from Samsung F3, Hitachi or WD Caviar Black. Better, faster and cheaper than your old 250Gb ones.
    Cool, thanks for that. Any reason to not go for the i7 870? It's not relatively much more. Like wise, there seems to be 3 MSI p55 MBs (CD53, GD65 & GD80) and many Giga P55 boards, each slightly more expensive than the last, but I can't see any easy way to work out which is better - any recommendations?




    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    You will be glad to hear that your socket 939 processor will fetch a lot on Ebay. I would estimate around £60 to £70 on Ebay.

    Do you need Crossfire or not??

    What is your budget??

    Would like to have an SFF PC or use a smaller case??
    I don't know if I need cross fire - I play some games, but have consoles too, so it's not my main gaming machine. I'm guessing I prob don't need some uber amount of graphic power over what Phage mentioned above (5870 1gb).

    As for budget: I don't really have a budget. I don't want to shell out an early adoption tax on the newest stuff, but I want good hardware which will last me 3-4 years, so I guess I'm saying that I'll shell out however much if it seems worth it in the long run.

    I'll prob stick with the case I have, as it nice one, unless there's any specific advantage to upgrading. The PC is in my office, so don't think there's much point to having a smaller case or SFF.


    Thanks.

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    Re: What would you do?

    The HD5870 is a good card but is not worth nearly £100 over an HD5850. The HD5850 is probably the sweet-spot for price and performance for a single card setup and has most of the performance of an HD5870.

    Also the HD5870 is around the same speed as a HD4870X2 which is the second fastest graphics card out there after the GTX295. If you do not play many PC games consider a cheaper card as buying a graphics card for the future is never a great idea as the market moves very quickly.

    Here is an alternative build to the Core i5 based build:

    AMD Phenom II X4 955BE ~ £125

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3 Dominator DDR3 ~ £83

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    Asus M4A79XTD EVO ~ £80

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    Has Crossfire(a pair of PCI-E 2.0 8X slots)

    or

    GA-MA770T-UD3P ~ £71

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/GIGAB...770T-UD3P-MOBO

    HD5850 1GB ~ £200:

    http://www.dabs.com/products/xfx-ati...ml?q=HD%205850

    AFAIK the socket 1156 Core i5 is better for games than a socket 1366 Core i7 although for everything else a socket 1366 Core i7 920 will do better so also consider this too! For encoding and 3D rendering a socket 1366 Core i7 would be definitely the way forward IMHO.

    In any case once you start hitting 1680x1050 very few games currently are CPU limited and very few games make use of more than even three cores so ANY decently clocked quad core will be relevant for a few years!


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    Re: What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    ...
    Here is an alternative build to the Core i5 based build:

    AMD Phenom II X4 955BE ~ £125...
    So would you go AMD or intel? I've had a look and can't decide which is better. I'm guessing that Intel is more expensive but more powerful, is that right?

    Thanks again

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    Re: What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartynH View Post
    So would you go AMD or intel? I've had a look and can't decide which is better. I'm guessing that Intel is more expensive but more powerful, is that right?

    Thanks again
    Recently yes, Intel is more powerful for more cash but it's not quite that clear-cut. As Cat alludes too there are sweet spots in any range and that's always the case with CPU's.
    Which you choose will depend more and your intended role as both OEM's have great products atm.

    When you say you use the machine for work is this likely to be processor intensive or graphically heavy?
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    Re: What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vimeous View Post
    ...When you say you use the machine for work is this likely to be processor intensive or graphically heavy?
    Mostly processor heavy, although I do have a slight addiction to FPS's but have consoles too so not too bothered if the pc doesn't handle extremly high graphical settings on games. I tend to have to run about 8 or so applications at once when I'm working (web developer), so need it to do multitasking well (hence installing 64 bit)

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    Re: What would you do?

    This all depends on personal taste and intended usage.
    I play a few games and believe that whilst the 5850 is a good midrange card, it will date faster. I always advise to get the best GPU you can afford. So it's a budget limit.

    Similalrly for the CPU, if your budget limited the i5 750 is probably the best value. If more cash is available but you don't want to OC, then the i7 860 is great value and includes hyper threading. If Ocing holds no problems for you then the i7920 is still the best value.

    Your choice of CPU then decides your mainboard and memory.
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    Re: What would you do?

    With regard to CPU's I agree with Phage although judging from your usage I'd suggest the i7's would be best. Multiple distinct apps are precisely what Hyper-Threading is aimed at and is likely to benefit you more than many here.

    Of the i7's, as Phage says, the socket 1156 i7's are best if you don't want to overclock yourself as their turbo mode is an effective way of getting the most from the CPU without getting your fingers dirty. The i7 860 certainly looks better value atm.
    Socket 1366 will give the machine a longer lifespan but judging by how often you upgraded it's likely irrelevant. However the i7 920 is the Q6600 of the moment - meaning it's been shown to be very overclocker friendly - enabling you to get the most performance for your cash.

    If you choose a 1366 base you'll need RAM in batches of 3 sticks. All other cases it's RAM in batches of two. Socket 1156 also requires low-voltage RAM (sub 1.65v I believe) but this should be clearly marked when you're looking to buy.
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    Re: What would you do?

    The new intel cpu's do have the edge over the phenonII am3 in benchmarks, however the big question is how ell that translates into the real world and from what I've read so far, not that impressive.
    Don't get me wrong they are both very good, but that's my point, they both are.

    the 1156 motherboards do have a couple of things going for them, sli or crossfire on the same board and quite a few have hardware based automatic overclocking (not turbo mode) that means you can late the motherboard do the overclocking for you instead of having to gid around with all the numbers and bios settings.
    Still not as good as overclocking by hand but it does make oc very simple and accessable.

    Trubo mode is another of thoes things that look great on paper but less so in real life, in theory it's great, turn off unused cores and boost the multiplier of the remaining active cores, so when you're not using all the cores you get a speed boost.
    However at stock settings it's not that big a boost and the automatic hardware overclock functions get better resaults and while it can* be run with overclocking it tends to cause to many instibility problems
    *depends on motherboard, most automatically disable it when you try to overclock

    One area AMD still beat intel is in price, granted thoes prices CAT linked are Today Only specials, however amd still turns out cheaper by £50ish depending on what you get of course and AMD has far greater scope for later upgrades.

    On the intel side there's plans for newer smaller architechture cpu's but there's already questions to if the p55 motherboard will be compatible with them.
    An AMD3 motherboard should be good for another couple of cpu's at least, AMD has gone the compatibility route and so far have been sticking with it.
    I don't want to put you off intel just pointing out it's not the be all and end all that some people make it out to be.

    As to which p55 motherboard if you go the i5, depends what you're after, there are the cheaper boards but they do of course lack features and will not be so good for overclocking (also lack hardware controlled auto overclocking)
    As a rought ball park number you're looking at around £130 for a motherboard.
    Ones I'd consider are
    MSI P55-GD65
    Asus P7P55D PRO
    Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4
    DFI LanParty DK P55-T3eH9
    EVGA 132-LF-E655-KR

    EDIT: I'm not sure how much socket939 is worth now (with the new intel and amd stuff out the last gen is am2 & socket775) however both your cpu and motherboard are high end for 939 so should get a decent return.

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    Re: What would you do?

    OK, I've been having a look around and I think the most cost effective route is to put a little extra cash up front and get an i7 920 and overclock it. I've not overclocked before, but there are guides I can follow so I'm happy to try, and it's a much more cost effective option for £->performance.

    So, here's what I've got:
    CPU: i7 920 @ £207.20
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Intel...-Cache-8MB-OEM
    I've just read somewhere that the 930 is going to be out in Q1 2010, think it's better off waiting for that?

    MB: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 @ £188.80
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...00-SATA-II-ATX
    Is this still the best MB for i7 920 OCing?

    RAM: ? @ ~£90
    People have been touting the 4gb GSkill Ripjaw, but there are various types (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/search....Skill+Ripjaw+). Can anyone point me in the right direction as to which one I should get, given the above MB? Also, any reason why I shouldn't go for 8Gb as I'm running win7-64, or is this just being greedy?

    Also, I'm very reluctant to order through overclockers because of past personal experience of horrendous after sales customer service, is there anywhere else that is better? I like Scan but they don't do some of the higher end stuff (like the ripjaw ram), and I'd rather only have one lot of delivery costs and customer service to deal with

    GPU: HD5850 1GB @ ~£200
    Still looking at this, as CAT-THE-FIFTH mentioned, it's prob not wise to try to buy a GPU which is going to be future proof. So, I've tentatively got a HD5850 1GB marked down, but I'm aware this is quite expensive for someone who doesn't play a load of games.

    HDD: a couple of TB drives. @ ~£60 each
    Are there any drives I should look out for/avoid? Don't want to get a deathstar HDD or equivalent.


    So, a lot of questions still. Thank you for your help, it's a very confusing process and a lot to take in whilst trying not to make an expensive mistake.

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    Re: What would you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartynH View Post
    So, here's what I've got:
    CPU: i7 920 @ £207.20
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Intel...-Cache-8MB-OEM
    I've just read somewhere that the 930 is going to be out in Q1 2010, think it's better off waiting for that?
    Yup, but there's always going to be something worth waiting for, so don't tear your hair out over it!

    MB: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 @ £188.80
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...00-SATA-II-ATX
    Is this still the best MB for i7 920 OCing?
    Nearly all X58s are excellent for OCing, this one is a good example but again don't worry if you find yourself looking at other models.

    RAM: ? @ ~£90
    People have been touting the 4gb GSkill Ripjaw, but there are various types (http://www.overclockers.co.uk/search....Skill+Ripjaw+). Can anyone point me in the right direction as to which one I should get, given the above MB? Also, any reason why I shouldn't go for 8Gb as I'm running win7-64, or is this just being greedy?
    No, you should go for 6gb. The 920/930 is a triple channel chip, so to take advantage of it you need a multiple of 3.

    Also, I'm very reluctant to order through overclockers because of past personal experience of horrendous after sales customer service, is there anywhere else that is better? I like Scan but they don't do some of the higher end stuff (like the ripjaw ram), and I'd rather only have one lot of delivery costs and customer service to deal with
    Ebuyer are very highly rated.

    GPU: HD5850 1GB @ ~£200
    Still looking at this, as CAT-THE-FIFTH mentioned, it's prob not wise to try to buy a GPU which is going to be future proof. So, I've tentatively got a HD5850 1GB marked down, but I'm aware this is quite expensive for someone who doesn't play a load of games.
    If you don't want to buy for future proofing then don't get this - it's still marked up at a premium due to lack of competition. Get an older generation card like the 4870 for now at bargain prices, then upgrade only when you need it, for lower costs.

    HDD: a couple of TB drives. @ ~£60 each
    Are there any drives I should look out for/avoid? Don't want to get a deathstar HDD or equivalent.
    The Samsung F3 is the cream of the crop at the moment. Good second choices are the Western Digital Black and Samsung F1.

  14. #14
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    Re: What would you do?

    I would also look at the HD5770 1GB if you can get one for under £120. The HD4870 1GB is a decent performer but it runs hotter and consumes much more power. Also DX11 seems to be better received by game developers so expect many games in the next year to make use of DX11 features like tessellation.


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    Pork & Beans Powerup Phage's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do?

    ^^What Kalniel and C5 said.
    For RAM I went with Patriot (see my machine left), but there are others.
    For quite a good overview there's the guides from Ars.
    http://arstechnica.com/hardware/guid...09-edition.ars
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