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Help With Upgrades

gigaxrgigaxr Member UncommonPosts: 613

I am looking to build a new system or upgrade my old system with $800-$900 budget. I am going to do some casual gaming, heavy vector editing, and web application development. I am thinking about switching to AMD for the Phenom II X6. (The vector art I work on can take up major system resources, and at times Inkscape will hiccup or freeze completely)



Here's my current system:

CPU: Intel Q6600

RAM: G.SKILL 2x2GB DDR2 800

MOBO: ASUS P5B Deluxe

GPU: GTS 450

PSU: Cooler Master ~650W (don't know the model number, sry)





New parts I'm considering (Win7 Pro 64-bit):

CPU: Phenom II X6 1075T - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103858

MOBO: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131644

RAM: CORSAIR 2x4GB DDR3 2000 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145325

GPU: ??

PSU and Case combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.634445

(puts me at $709.95 without a GPU)

 

Can someone recommend an ATI GPU? Or would I be better off finding a motherboard with SLI support and buying a second GTS 450 for ~$140?

 

Thanks all for your input!

Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,090

    A Phenom II X6 only makes sense if you're running programs that will scale well to six cores.  Games don't.  I don't know what vector editing is, but that might well scale well to many cores, so that the six core processor would make sense for you.  You could check whatever program(s) you use on your current computer in Task Manager to see if it is able to max out all four cores on your current processor.

    If you do use programs that scale well to many cores, then you might want to wait a couple of months for AMD to launch their new Bulldozer architecture.  My estimate of "two months" is a guess, but AMD has promised many times that it will launch in Q2 2011, which means by the end of June.  That will have eight core processors, and each core will be much faster than the Stars cores of the Phenom II architecture.  I also expect the eight core Bulldozer processors to be expensive, but they'll have a cut down six core variant that is less so.  The same Orochi die is going to be used both for 16 core Interlagos server processors (two eight cores dies in a package) and also for 4-, 6-, and 8-core Zambezi desktop processors.  Since AMD will pull out a lot of the "perfect" dies for server processors, that leaves a ton of salvage parts for the desktop side that they'll need to get rid of.

    -----

    I'm not sure why you're looking at such an expensive motherboard.  It really only makes sense if you're going to run at least three AMD video cards in CrossFire (Nvidia disables SLI on AMD chipsets through their drivers), are going to give the processor an unreasonably large overclock, or need some other peculiar feature.  To get a motherboard for an AMD processor that supports SLI, you'd need an Nvidia chipset, which is rather dated by now and not very good, so the only real point of an Nvidia chipset is the SLI support.  Rumors say that Nvidia will enable SLI on AMD's 990FX chipset for Bulldozer processors, which is highly plausible because if they don't, then that would tell people that they have to use a flagrantly inferior processor (Bloomfield, Thuban, etc.) and/or chipset (P67) to use SLI, which would kill SLI entirely.

    -----

    You don't need 2000 MHz memory.  Your processor only officially supports up to 1333 MHz memory.  Overclocking it to 1600 MHz would probably be fine, but a 50% overclock of the memory controller is quite an overclock, and not necessarily safe or stable.  It's rumored that Llano and Zambezi will officially support up to 1866 MHz memory, but even that would be the highest DDR3 clock speeds of any memory controller, ever--including video cards that use DDR3 memory, and those could really use the higher clock speeds.

    -----

    Don't get that power supply.  It's junk.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/11/22/cooler_master_gx_650w_power_supply_review/9

    "The Cooler Master GX 650W is a mediocre power supply for couple of years ago, and an outright failure today. The Build Quality of the unit is nothing to write home about (unless it is a warning), the topology is old and outdated, and the exterior is flash over substance. Coupled with this we have mediocre voltage, poor by today's standards efficiency, and out of specification DC Output Quality. One upping this poor showing is that fact that the unit was completely unable to complete our load tests at 100v AC input. That makes the GX 650W not just a failure by our standards, but rather a double failure and an ugly one at that. Making matters worse is the fact that this unit is priced at up to $100 in retail and $70 online... As it stands, there really is not anyone that this unit would be a good fit for that we can think of, and certainly not for its intended crowd of "gamers." Cooler Master should be ashamed and owes all gamers and hardware enthusiasts an apology."

    Depending on what power supply you already have, you may have no need to replace it.  Find out what you have and list the exact model.  Cooler Master makes some awful power supplies, but also a handful of pretty good ones.  If you need a new power supply, then this will work just fine if you don't replace the video card:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371034

    If you're looking to get a higher end video card, then you'd definitely need a stronger power supply than that, though.  This one is a good deal if you do the rebate:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817207007

    If you picked the case because of the combo deal with the power supply, then you might want a different case.  If you picked the case because you like the case, and then took the power supply because of the combo deal, then go ahead and get the case.  It's a nice case.

    -----

    A GeForce GTS 450 should work just fine for light gaming.  Unless you've got a much bigger budget than you're letting on, my recommendation would be to wait until AMD launches their Southern Islands (probably Radeon HD 7000 series) cards later this year, or Nvidia launches their Kepler (likely GeForce 600 series) cards around the end of this year, and then upgrade to one of those.  Those will all be on a 28 nm HKMG process node, which should be much better than the 40 nm bulk silicon process node that current video cards are made on.

    If you want a new video card now, then try this:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102932

    That should give about double the video performance of what you have now.  At $150, it's a great deal.  That's probably why it's also out of stock, and likely won't stay in stock for long when it does come back.

  • gigaxrgigaxr Member UncommonPosts: 613

    Quizzical, thank you for the excellent info. I'll keep an eye out for more info on the Bulldozer architecture.

     

    I should have mentioned I run a dual-monitor setup. Also, one of my monitors runs at 1920x1080, which kills my GTS 450. I am going to save up and buy 2 Radeon cards for a nice Crossfire setup. I'll keep an eye out for the Southern Islands cards as well.

     

     

    You've been a lot of help, thank you!

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,090

    For what it's worth, Bulldozer is the processor core architecture.  Other code names include Orochi (the die with eight Bulldozer cores on it) and Zambezi (the desktop processors based on the Orochi die).  Retail branding hasn't been announced, but it's rumored that the processors will have an FX in the retail branding.

    A lot of it is a question of when you want to upgrade.  A GeForce GTS 450 should be able to run any game out there just fine.  It's just that some games will have to be run at moderate settings in order to run smoothly, and not max settings.  Regardless, if you're willing to wait about two months for Bulldozer, then you could reassess the situation then.

  • gigaxrgigaxr Member UncommonPosts: 613

    Do you know if Bulldozer will use the AM3 socket?

  • ArmaniDevilArmaniDevil Member Posts: 83

    Originally posted by gigat

    Do you know if Bulldozer will use the AM3 socket?

     

    AM3+ Whole new socket. 

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,090

    Bulldozer will use Socket AM3+.  Some Socket AM3 motherboards will get a BIOS update to support Bulldozer processors, and some will not.  A Socket AM3 motherboard with a BIOS update might have to disable some Bulldozer features, though, and it won't use the newer generation (probably AMD 900 series) chipsets.

  • gigaxrgigaxr Member UncommonPosts: 613

    Ok thanks guys. I just found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socket_AM3%2B#Socket_AM3.2B

     

    "Mechanical compatibility has been confirmed and it's possible AM3+ CPUs will work in AM3 boards, provided they can supply enough peak current. Another issue might be the use of the sideband temperature sensor interface for reading the temperature from the CPU. Also, certain power-saving features may not work, due to lack of support for rapid VCore switching."

     

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,090

    Processors for Socket AM2, AM2+, AM3, and AM3+ all fit in each others sockets.  The question is whether they'll actually work in the "wrong" socket, and sometimes the answer is yes with only some minor disadvantages, while other time the answer is a flat no.  And the answer varies by processor and motherboard, not just the sockets for each.

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