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Thread: How would you upgrade this PC?

  1. #1
    Spider pig, spider pig
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    How would you upgrade this PC?

    My current PC is a few years old now. For most stuff it's fine and relatively speedy, but when either doing lots of things at once (so if processing RAW photos and using spotify then web browsing slows down) or playing more modern games (mostly strategy, especially Total War series, FPS is only really played on XBox360) the PC just doesn't quite seem quick enough.

    Currently it has a Core2Duo e8400 (3GHz), 2GB RAM, NVidia GeForce 9500GT graphics and a Samsung Spinpoint 1TB SATA HDD.

    My current thoughts were leave the processor and motherboard, take it up to 4GB (8GB?) of RAM, new graphics card around £60 (suggestions on which? what about this one from Scan which is currently £52), and consider adding an SSD drive to improve boot times as well as performance. I'm not looking to overclock mainly as I'm after my PC to remain relatively silent, which it currently is. For the same reason I'd like a new GFx to be passively cooled if possible.

    I have a budget of around £100-£150 to improve things - do you think I am thinking along the right lines?

  2. #2
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    What motherboard and PSU do you have ATM??


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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    Motherboard is an Asus P5K-VM and the PSU is a cheapish jobby - one of these.

    I'm thinking of changing the PSU if only because it makes an intermittent whining noise - which I can't pinpoint but doesn't seem to be related to the 12cm fan (it continues even when the fan is temporarily stopped, but is definitely coming from the PSU). Can't see if there's another internal smaller fan making the noise.

    EDIT: Scratch that bit about the PSU - I've just taken it out and cleaned all the dust etc and it now seems to be silent again. All good.
    Last edited by Alex; 22-07-2011 at 12:19 PM.

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    Personally I'd still change the PSU - cheap PSUs are a ticking time bomb and £27 is cheap for a 650W PSU. You don't need anything like that kind of power to run the computer you have - look for a 350W - 400W PSU for about the same price and you're likely to have a more stable computer

    As to upgrades, I think you're spot on to look at 4GB RAM and a new graphics card. Look for a card with GDDR5 memory, rather than GDDR3, as it will have much better performance due to higher memory speeds.

    Since you've picked suggestions from Scan yourself, how about these parts:

    PSU: Antec Earthwatts 380W @ £39: slightly pricier than your existing one, but very reliable and efficient - I've used them myself in a variety of builds (including an always on server) and had no issues at all.

    GPU: Either MSI 5670 OC @ £62, or XFX 5770 single slot @ £75. The latter is a much better graphics card, but does need a PCIe power connector: I wouldn't go for this if you're not upgrading your PSU.

    RAM: less critical: it comes down to whether you want to buy 2x1GB to increase your total RAM to 4GB, or 2x2GB to either increase to 6GB, or to sell off your existing RAM to make back a little of the upgrade cost.

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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    Thanks for that.

    There's some 2 x 1GB RAM in the trading forums which I'll buy to take me up to 4GB, which will still leave me one slot for a further 2GB if I want to go up to 6GB.

    With the graphics card, there's an AMD Radeon HD 5830 on the trading forums for £85 which I'm tempted by. Seems to benchmark better than the 5670/6670 options, at least according to http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu_list.php. My only concern would be the noise issue - no real way of knowing how noisy it would be and not keen to spend another £20-£30 on a cooler for it.

    I probably will get a new PSU - this one has started making noises again despite a thorough clean out.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    personally I'd not trust that psu and change it

    this one from xfx made by seasonic http://www.scan.co.uk/products/450w-...-sli-crossfire

    I think you're going to have to spend a bit more on the card to get an upgrade as I think a 6570 would be more of a sideways move
    A 6670 at least although a 6750 or 6770 would be better
    better yet someone was selling a gts250 in the for sale section (should be about the same as a 6750)

    ps are you overclocking?

  7. #7
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL

    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    I would get this PSU:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/450w-...-sli-crossfire

    This HD5670 GDDR5 is around £51:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/190138

    The cooler seems to relatively quiet:

    http://www.hexus.net/content/item.ph...=21916&page=13

    I have an HD5670 512MB GDDR5 in one of my computers and I can run Sins of a Solar Empire and Supreme Commander 2 at 1440X900 or 1680X1050 using decent settings.

    The HD5670 512MB GDDR5 is at least twice as fast as a 9500GT DDR3.

    An HD6670 GDDR5 is around £65 to £70 but the HD5770 1GB mentioned before is better value.

    I would add another 2GB of RAM. I assume you have a 64 bit operating system installed.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 22-07-2011 at 12:59 PM.


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  8. #8
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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    So, new PSU. I've bought 2GB extra RAM from the classifieds now.

    What about the Radeon HD 5830 in the classifieds? Seems to benchmark a lot better than the 6750/6670 options according to here and is apparently reasonably quiet too.

    I'm not overclocking as I'm wanting to keep the PC quite quiet. I suppose I could upgrade the fan from the stock one and then try overclocking it, but I'm not sure the CPU is the bottleneck at the moment anyway.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
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      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
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      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    no that cpu isn't bad, it is basically a die shrunk, factory overclocked e6600

    yes the 5830 would be good, it was slightly better than the 5770/6770 or about the same as the older generation 4890 or gtx275

    if your case will fit it http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coole...m2-am2plus-am3 it's on today only for £20
    Or the original 212 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coole...am3-754-939-94 on today only for under a tenner
    Not quite as good but for that cpu it'll cope very well

  10. #10
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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    As regards the fan, this one is reduced from £20 to £6 on 'today only', so I think I'll get that one. For the sake of £6 I suppose I may be able to get a decent overclock on this - 3.8 - 4GHz?

    I'll get the PSU suggested by yourself and CAT-THE-FIFTH and I'll leave the decision on an SSD for another day I think.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus GTX560ti CuII
      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
      • HAF 912+
      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 21" ips something

    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    only a 92mm fan they can get a bit noisy when they ramp up and that style of cooler can be a little fiddly to fit, still better than the stock cooler.

    personally for £9.50 the original hyper212 would be better

    if it'll fit, depends on the width of your case.

  12. #12
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
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      • Memory:
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      • Storage:
      • 128GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Radeon R5 230
      • PSU:
      • Battery/Dell brick
      • Case:
      • Dell Inspiron 5570
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10
      • Monitor(s):
      • 15" 1080p laptop panel

    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    The e8400 was, for a very long time, *the* processor to put in a gaming rig. There's still a lot of games that rely on clock speed above number of cores, so it's still a good fit for a gaming rig, and definitely not worth upgrading. it should overclock nicely, particuarly with a good third party cooler like Pob suggests.

    The 5830 certainly isn't a bad graphics card, but it suffered in reviews for not being up to the standards o9f the 5850 / 5870 it shares most of the architecture with it. Personally I'd go for the new 5770 rather than a second hand 5830, because it has a much lower power draw without losing too much performance (from memory, the 5830 performance if closer to a 5770 than a 5850) -particularly while you can pick up a new 5770 for £75

  13. #13
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    Re: How would you upgrade this PC?

    For now, I've bought the memory, new PSU and a new cooler for the CPU - with the intention of overclocking it a bit.

    Given that most of the games I play are strategy rather than FPS, the slowdown (which isn't terrible) may be improved with a faster CPU speed and more memory. I'll see how we go with just these, and if still necessary buy a new graphics card as well.

    I went with the 92mm fan option, only because I was worried about the weight 'hanging off' the motherboard with the 212 cooler - I didn't want it to crack the motherboard.

    Thanks chaps.

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