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Thread: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

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    Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    Hey guys, I'm coming to you for advice before a computer has already broken this time! My brother is looking to boost his PC a touch and I was wondering if you'd all take a look at my suggestions for him. This is the current spec:

    OS: Windows XP
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6550
    MOBO: Gigabyte GA-P31-DS3L
    RAM: 2Gb OCZ DDR2 PC2-6400
    GFX: ATi Radeon x1800

    He has no idea about the PSU, so I'll have to take a look when I open it as to what it's capable of. It wasn't a pre-built PC, so it won't be an awful £12 300W thing, but we'll have to see. I don't think he has a particular budget, but just wants to keep it up to standard a little bit. I'm not sure quite of the logic of paying over the odds for an out of production socket 775 chip, so I've recommended:

    A new graphics card, something like these either of these two:

    XFX HD 5670 512MB
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/190648

    Sapphire HD 5750 1GB
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/175989

    2 Gb more Ram:
    2 x http://www.ebuyer.com/product/158632

    Along with Windows 7 64 to use the extra RAM. The effect of a clean OS install will probably help quite a bit, as well as looking shiny =) I think this should give him the boost he wants, without going for a whole new budget AMD build, or putting down £150-300 on an aging Intel CPU. Let me know what you think! I'll reply to any posts, but I might have to double check things with him first. Many thanks,

    Niko =)

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    The E65500 should still be a decent gaming chip if you overclock it too around 3.33GHz, along with 4GB of RAM and one of the cards above it still should be quite snappy for most games.
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    What does he use the machine for?

    If he's primarily a gamer, then probably the graphics card. If he's a photographer with a heavyweight image editing package and big files, then probably memory, followed by additional hard drives for Photoshop work files, etc.

    If he's just after a more "snappy" feel to the system, then my first suggestion would be to ensure the system is tweaked and tuned. And to be honest, start here, not with hardware upgrades.

    - Is the disk defragged regularly?
    - How long since an OS re-install?
    - Does he install loads of stuff, then take it off again? If so, try cleaning out the registry and redundant drivers and services, temp files, etc. Or format and re-install the OS.

    If all that fails, then another approach is to think about a small SSD for boot files, and maybe apps. A 30GB Intel drive is a good starting point.

    A lot depends on exactly what he does on the machine, and what he expects to achieve.

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    I meant to put a bit about usage in the original post. I'm not entirely sure what he uses it for primarily, he does a bit of everything, gaming, light image editing messing around with various programs... I think he'd like a small boost in all areas, hence my all round small upgrade strategy.

    He's got a 23" monitor, and when he plays games he likes to play with pleny of effects on, which gives not fantastic frame rates. I find it reasonably unplayable as I'm used to a better system with a much lower res. screen, hence the card upgrade. I'm away at uni most of the time, so I can't personally manage the PC, but he's not incapable of looking after it. I don't think he minds upgrading the graphics and the RAM together, so along with a bit of pruning of junk I think it should do the job. I was just wondering if anyone would say "No way! Put in this awesome and cheap C2Q chip!" or "Do an AMD rebuild with this, that and t'other". Thanks for your help! =)

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Terbinator View Post
    The E65500 should still be a decent gaming chip if you overclock it too around 3.33GHz, along with 4GB of RAM and one of the cards above it still should be quite snappy for most games.
    I don't know anything about the cooler... The case is an Antec 300 with no extra fans. I'll have to see if it's up to it, but it could be a good free upgrade =)

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but..,

    First of all, the RAM you've listed will not work with your board as it's Laptop SODIMM RAM.

    Second of all, a P31 board will not support 4 sticks of dual channel RAM so you'll have to get 2x 2GB RAM and sell of your current RAM or get a new board.

    What resolution is the 23" monitor? 1680*1050 or 1920*1080?

    If it's 1920*1080 I'd look to be getting a 5770, if 1680*1050 then a 5750 should be fine. Any lower and I don't think he'll be that happy with the upgrade.

    Either way, I think RAM and graphics card comes first. You'd definitely see a performance boost if you were to get a P35/45 board and overclock that chip though but the P31 board is is very weak when it comes to overclocking so don't expect much of a free performance boost with that board. I've owned a P31 board and they were pretty shabby, hardly any overclocking options.

    You'd also see a performance boost with an SSD but I'd say RAM and graphics card comes first then overclocking and then the SSD as SSDs are still pretty expensive.

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    I knew I'd post the wrong link about something! I wrote the first post last night on notepad, so I was a bit sleepy, but I remember seeing compatible RAM for about the same price when I'd looked earlier.

    Thanks for the info about the board, I've gone from an old AMD setup to a new AMD one, so I don't know too much about the Intel side of things. The screen is 1680 x 1050 as far as I know. For the graphics, I thought he should go for something a bit more expensive, as it will last better into a new system further down the road. Thanks for your info, I'll see what he thinks!

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikomus View Post
    can this card do 3 or 4 outputs at once?

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    If all that fails, then another approach is to think about a small SSD for boot files, and maybe apps. A 30GB Intel drive is a good starting point.
    OMG. Saracen is recommending a SSD!

    I would recommend the intel SSD too (40gb - there is no 30gb afaik), but I don't think it would work well in XP (no TRIM).

    My suggestion is Windows 7 + new 2x2gb ram. Then get a SSD as the next upgrade.

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    Re: Bang4buck upgrade advice!

    More ram and Windows 7 64.

    I recommend overclocking if the cooler is up to it. If not a £20-30 cooler such as the Titan Fenrir would be great for some fairly large overclocking.

    Graphics card wise, it's probably better to go for a 2nd hand ATi 4870 or 4890 than the new cards as they will offer better performance for roughly the same price.

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