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Upgrade or Rebuild?

demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

Thinking about either upgrading or re-building my current system in preperation for the new games releases. My current system plays everything I play just fine .. LoTRO currently :)

I will prob be grabbing a copy of SWToR and GW2 eventually, but bare in mind that I dont play SPG's like Crysis etc so I dont require a system to handle stuff like that ... I pretty much only play MMO's so I dont need a screaming system, just something that will handle the new releases and future proof me for a year - 18 mos.

With that in mind .. my current spec's (a little old to be sure)

AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual core 6000+

4G 800MHz DDR2 ram

Windows XP (lol)

750w Power supply

Sata HD 400G

Nvidia 9800 GT GFX card

 

Of course my monitor, mouse, keyboard etc are all gaming (G15, sidewinder etc) and will migtate so no need to replace them.

 

Now currently my system does not run DX11, I've looked and SWToR does support DX9 and WinXP, so my question to the tech savy here is ... should I upgrade my GFX card and OS only .. bringing me to a win7 system with a DX11 card only .. or should I do a rebuild?

 

The parts I'm looking at for a rebuild are as follows -

 

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7343084&CatId=6978

A B3 motherboard for the (fixed) I5 sandybridge chips

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7073161&CatId=6988

I5 2500k Chip, An unlocked sandybridge.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=40739&Sku=C13-5720

8G 1600MHz ram. (as I understand it above 1600 on an I5 is a waste)

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=41125&CatId=3669

A DX11 GFX card. Not the best but SLI able so I can add another at a later date.

And of course upgrading my OS to Win7.

Total cost ~ $700 with the OS

 

I know obviously that the rebuild will see an increase in performance all around, thats obvious. Is it worth the investment though? Will just doing a basic upgrade on my current system see me good for another year to 18mos? Remember I dont play single player games like Crysis etc ... and I dont run 2 or 3 versions of a game, I just want my system to handle SWToR and GW2 on near max settings (I habitually turn stuff like shadows off for PvP performance anyway) without throwing a fit.

 

Feedback welcome !




Comments

  • drazzahdrazzah Member UncommonPosts: 437

    Go for rebuild, I think spending more money for a complete rebuild will justify the cost. I do not think upgrading your machine will justify the cost it will take.

    image

  • ShiftlessShiftless Member Posts: 41

    Go spend a little cash on a GeForce 550ti and Vista 64.  Will keep the system afloat for a while and you can use both in your future build quite easily.

  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Originally posted by Shiftless

    Go spend a little cash on a GeForce 550ti and Vista 64.  Will keep the system afloat for a while and you can use both in your future build quite easily.

    Aye the 550ti was the card I linked on the OP.

     

    Vista 64 over Win7? Any reason (Except for price obviously) that you'd recomend that? It was my understanding that Win7 is the OS of choice now?

    I'm not overly limited on funds, infact the rebuild > upgrade is for 2 PCs I'll be doing at the same time, so in actuality its either around $600 (2 GFX cards + 2 OS) for the upgrade or around $1500 (Items in OP X2 + 2 Chipset cooling solutions) for the rebuilds.

    I'm just wondering if its actually *worth* doing atm. The *Can i run it* website claims that my current system will be fine with SWToR, no listing for GW2 atm, but I always take that with a pinch of salt. If the upgrade will offer me 12-18 mos stable gameplay then thats all good and I'll go that route. If however I'd be throwing more cash at them in 6-12 mos I may as well run the rebuilds now :)

     

    One question I would like to pose is this, the MB and GFX card I listed were both picked for SLI capabilitys. Is SLI still a viable option? Last time I SLI'd it was with Voodo2's lol. MMO's dont tend to be GFX intense .. would I be better going with a non-SLI MB and a single GPU solution over the SLI? IF so can anyone suggest alternatives to the above MB / GFX card in the ballpark price range from above (ie ~$300 for the pair)




  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,851

    Which other parts are you planning on keeping?

    I've never seen a GeForce GTX 550 Ti at a price that made it a decent value for the money, and your link is no exception.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,375

    1) Avoid Vista like a hooker scratching herself. Nothing good can come from playing with it. Win7, if you buy it new OEM or Retail, is cheaper than Vista anyway, and if you go Student Discount route is much cheaper.

    2) My rule of thumb is that there are basically 6 parts to a computer: CPU, Motherboard, RAM, Video, Power, Case. If you need to replace 3 or more of the 6 in your upgrade plans, your probably better off just selling/donating/trading/giving away the old computer as a whole functioning unit and building again from the ground up, otherwise you have half of a functioning computer just laying around doing nothing.

    In your case, the CPU is probably the weakest link. If you upgrade the CPU, you need a new motherboard. If you upgrade the motherboard, you need new RAM. Now it is possible to ~just~ upgrade the CPU with an AM3 CPU that will be backwards compatible, but only if your motherboard is AM2+ (not just AM2), and even then you probably just want a new motherboard anyway.

    Your at the point where it's probably best to just consider an entire new build.

    3) SLI: My take on SLI is only do it when you absolutely have to. It doesn't really make sense as a "future upgrade" path, because you really need to build the computer around the fact that your using SLI. There are a lot of hidden costs with SLI: You need a better motherboard, a bigger power supply, a bigger case, more ventilation. Sure, you can just stick a second card in there and turn SLI on, but it won't be nearly as effective as if you just got a single faster card in the first place. SLI really only makes sense when you need performance levels that you absolutely can't get in a single card solution. Right now, really, that's only in 3D or multi-monitor gaming at high resolutions. And in a few years, if you are looking at the upgrade route, whatever card you get today will more than likely get discontinued and newer cards will be faster for the same price anyway (case in point, look at the 9800GT right now - they exist to purchase, but would you really want to pay that much for a second one when you could spend the same amount and just get a faster card in the first place).

  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Which other parts are you planning on keeping?

    I've never seen a GeForce GTX 550 Ti at a price that made it a decent value for the money, and your link is no exception.

    Well if I upgrade, basically I'll just be replacing the GFX card and OS. The PSU is good, 750w. I see no reason to upgrade the ram unless I upgrade the MB and CPU.  The HD is'ent the best, but it'll do for now and I do plan to add a SSD at some point in the future.  DVD is fine for my needs, the odd movie, since i tend to DL software anyway.

    I have 3 cases currently, 2 Full's and a Midi. All have good air flow and extra fans etc.

    If I am going to rebuild I'd obviously prefure to use the Full size towers over having to grab another Midi.

     

    Going on the rebuild route I'd like to make its a significant as possible to future roof as much as possible.

    The I5 2500K seems a good buy as did the MB. Of course I posed the question, should I go for an SLI enabled MB or not bother, going with a different MB / GFX card instead? Its been a long time since I SLI'd cards and I'm unsure of the value of it these days.

    You say the card is a bad buy, can you suggest alternatives either SLI ready (if thats the route I should take) or an alternative GFX card / MB if I should'ent bother.

     

    Thanks for any input !




  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Originally posted by Ridelynn

    1) Avoid Vista like a hooker scratching herself. Nothing good can come from playing with it. Win7, if you buy it new OEM or Retail, is cheaper than Vista anyway, and if you go Student Discount route is much cheaper.

    2) My rule of thumb is that there are basically 6 parts to a computer: CPU, Motherboard, RAM, Video, Power, Case. If you need to replace 3 or more of the 6 in your upgrade plans, your probably better off just selling/donating/trading/giving away the old computer as a whole functioning unit and building again from the ground up, otherwise you have half of a functioning computer just laying around doing nothing.

    In your case, the CPU is probably the weakest link. If you upgrade the CPU, you need a new motherboard. If you upgrade the motherboard, you need new RAM. Now it is possible to ~just~ upgrade the CPU with an AM3 CPU that will be backwards compatible, but only if your motherboard is AM2+ (not just AM2), and even then you probably just want a new motherboard anyway.

    Your at the point where it's probably best to just consider an entire new build.

    3) SLI: My take on SLI is only do it when you absolutely have to. It doesn't really make sense as a "future upgrade" path, because you really need to build the computer around the fact that your using SLI. There are a lot of hidden costs with SLI: You need a better motherboard, a bigger power supply, a bigger case, more ventilation. Sure, you can just stick a second card in there and turn SLI on, but it won't be nearly as effective as if you just got a single faster card in the first place. SLI really only makes sense when you need performance levels that you absolutely can't get in a single card solution. Right now, really, that's only in 3D or multi-monitor gaming at high resolutions. And in a few years, if you are looking at the upgrade route, whatever card you get today will more than likely get discontinued and newer cards will be faster for the same price anyway (case in point, look at the 9800GT right now - they exist to purchase, but would you really want to pay that much for a second one when you could spend the same amount and just get a faster card in the first place).

     

    Thanks for your input.

     

    Seems since I am looking at upgrading 4 parts, OS, MB, GPU and Ram I am looking at a rebuild. The case is fine, and my PSU is a 750w that i picked up about 12mos ago after mine failed.

    OS I am pretty sold on Win7.

    The MB / GPU I am still concerned about, it seems that SLI is not the option that it used to be, so in that case the MB / GPU I selected in the OP are probably not ideal for my needs. Any suggestions on alternative MB / GPU's would be appreciated.

    The ram I picked seems a good buy to me ... opinions?

     

    FYI the spare parts generally are slotted into my mother-in-laws PC, so they dont go to waste !




  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,851

    Originally posted by demarc01

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Which other parts are you planning on keeping?

    I've never seen a GeForce GTX 550 Ti at a price that made it a decent value for the money, and your link is no exception.

    Well if I upgrade, basically I'll just be replacing the GFX card and OS. The PSU is good, 750w. I see no reason to upgrade the ram unless I upgrade the MB and CPU.  The HD is'ent the best, but it'll do for now and I do plan to add a SSD at some point in the future.  DVD is fine for my needs, the odd movie, since i tend to DL software anyway.

    I have 3 cases currently, 2 Full's and a Midi. All have good air flow and extra fans etc.

    What power supply do you have, what case, what motherboard, etc.?

  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,375


    Originally posted by demarc01

    The MB / GPU I am still concerned about, it seems that SLI is not the option that it used to be, so in that case the MB / GPU I selected in the OP are probably not ideal for my needs. Any suggestions on alternative MB / GPU's would be appreciated.
    The ram I picked seems a good buy to me ... opinions?
     
    FYI the spare parts generally are slotted into my mother-in-laws PC, so they dont go to waste !


    If you read a site like Tom's Hardware, they will tell you SLI/Crossfire is awesome because you can get 2 560's for cheaper than a 580 and get nearly the same performance out of it.

    What they aren't telling you is that SLI/CF doesn't work in every game - it's driver dependent. Sometimes those drivers don't get updated for months, for some games they never do. Very few games see an actual 2x increase in performance even when they do have working driver profiles - most are in the 30-60% range.

    They also don't take into account the price of a SLI capable motherboard - a x16/x16 motherboard can be more than $100 more than the standard equivalent. And you need a bigger power supply. And it will cost more in electricity to run, and it will generate more heat, and noise.

    So by the time you take it all into account, you actually pay a good deal more to SLI than you would have if you just had the single faster card.

    But if you need performance that the single fastest card can't get you - that's where SLI/CF come into play.

    As far as motherboard/GPU to pick, that all more or less goes back to your budget. I like the 6950 right now for price versus performance, but sometimes you can catch sales that make the 560's, 6870's, and 570's really good too.

    As far as motherboards go, for a core i5 any decent P67/Z68 motherboard that has the right option set is fine. I like Asus, I've heard good things about Gigabyte and MSI - and there are other good manufacturers out there as well. A decent board probably runs about $150, going down a lil or up a lot depending on what options you pick with it and how aggressive you want to overclock it.

  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Originally posted by demarc01


    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Which other parts are you planning on keeping?

    I've never seen a GeForce GTX 550 Ti at a price that made it a decent value for the money, and your link is no exception.

    Well if I upgrade, basically I'll just be replacing the GFX card and OS. The PSU is good, 750w. I see no reason to upgrade the ram unless I upgrade the MB and CPU.  The HD is'ent the best, but it'll do for now and I do plan to add a SSD at some point in the future.  DVD is fine for my needs, the odd movie, since i tend to DL software anyway.

    I have 3 cases currently, 2 Full's and a Midi. All have good air flow and extra fans etc.

    What power supply do you have, what case, what motherboard, etc.?

    Ok I looked in one of the PCs,

     

    PSU in there is a cooler master 600w. The other has a 750w not sure in brand name. (I *think* its a coolermaster i replaced it after a failure)

    The MB is an MSI N1996 K9N4 SLI in one, the other is burried under a desk and i cant see the make / no. I do know its a year or so newer than the MSI, not that it helps much. Tomorrow if I get time i can dig it out and get more accurate info.

    Case, NZXT, older one Lexa Blackline case. Its apparently a gaming case though and has 4 80mm fans, 3 120mm fans. Thats the Mid.

    Dont see a brand name on the full so no real clue, again it has 3 80mm and 3 120mm fans ... if that helps.

     

    Found the full's specs for case - Apevia MX-Pleasure-NW-BK.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811144135




  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Originally posted by Ridelynn

     




    Originally posted by demarc01



    The MB / GPU I am still concerned about, it seems that SLI is not the option that it used to be, so in that case the MB / GPU I selected in the OP are probably not ideal for my needs. Any suggestions on alternative MB / GPU's would be appreciated.

    The ram I picked seems a good buy to me ... opinions?

     

    FYI the spare parts generally are slotted into my mother-in-laws PC, so they dont go to waste !




     

    If you read a site like Tom's Hardware, they will tell you SLI/Crossfire is awesome because you can get 2 560's for cheaper than a 580 and get nearly the same performance out of it.

    What they aren't telling you is that SLI/CF doesn't work in every game - it's driver dependent. Sometimes those drivers don't get updated for months, for some games they never do.

    They also don't take into account the price of a SLI capable motherboard - a x16/x16 motherboard can be more than $100 more than the standard equivalent. And you need a bigger power supply. And it will cost more in electricity to run, and it will generate more heat, and noise.

    So by the time you take it all into account, you actually pay a good deal more to SLI than you would have if you just had the single faster card.

    But if you need performance that the single fastest card can't get you - that's where SLI/CF come into play.

    As far as motherboard/GPU to pick, that all more or less goes back to your budget. I like the 6950 right now for price versus performance, but sometimes you can catch sales that make the 560's, 6870's, and 570's really good too.

    As far as motherboards go, for a core i5 any decent P67/Z68 motherboard that has the right option set is fine. I like Asus, I've heard good things about Gigabyte and MSI - and there are other good manufacturers out there as well. A decent board probably runs about $150, going down a lil or up a lot depending on what options you pick with it and how aggressive you want to overclock it.

     

    Thanks for the feedback !!

    It seems SLI is'ent really a very attractive option for me atm. As I said in my OP I'd only be playing MMO's and just looked at it as a way to future proof a little, seems that SLI is'ent that anymore. With that in mind then I should start looking for a standard (or more standard) MB without SLI capabilitys, no reason to spend extra on a feature I'll never use. As far as overclocking goes, Its been some time since I last overclocked anything, generally I am happy to run at stock until I have issues and as you can see from my current spec's, I really dont fiddle that much once the PC is up and running.

    I know some GFX cards I've used in the past came with OC options and I did invest in a GPU cooling fan to run them a little hotter, appart from that though I cant say I've overclocked anything for several years, so OC options are low on my priority list.

    I'll take a look through the P67/Z68 MB lists and see if I can find something that fits the bill !

     

    Thanks again :)




  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,851

    Originally posted by Ridelynn

    If you read a site like Tom's Hardware, they will tell you SLI/Crossfire is awesome because you can get 2 560's for cheaper than a 580 and get nearly the same performance out of it.

    What they aren't telling you is that SLI/CF doesn't work in every game - it's driver dependent. Sometimes those drivers don't get updated for months, for some games they never do. Very few games see an actual 2x increase in performance even when they do have working driver profiles - most are in the 30-60% range.

    They also don't take into account the price of a SLI capable motherboard - a x16/x16 motherboard can be more than $100 more than the standard equivalent. And you need a bigger power supply. And it will cost more in electricity to run, and it will generate more heat, and noise.

    So by the time you take it all into account, you actually pay a good deal more to SLI than you would have if you just had the single faster card.

    But if you need performance that the single fastest card can't get you - that's where SLI/CF come into play.

    Tom's Hardware actually changed their mind.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-geforce-stutter-crossfire,2995.html

    -----

    There's no sense in considering any Nvidia card below the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB.  Below that, AMD completely dominates at every price point.  A Radeon HD 6770 is just as good as a GeForce GTX 550 Ti, and much cheaper.

    ----

    Again, what power supplies?  Cooler Master makes some fairly good ones, and also some awful ones.

  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    cooler master rp 600 pcar

    http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=5906  (I believe is the correct link)

     

    Is what it says on the side ! :)

     

    I looked at the GTX 460's and there seem to be two in my price range,

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7228997&CatId=3669

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=136231&CatId=3669

     

    These more acceptable cards?




  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,851

    Originally posted by demarc01

    cooler master rp 600 pcar

    http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=5906  (I believe is the correct link)

    That's a piece of junk, and you should replace it.  This would work:

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=125449&CatId=5431

    -----

    The Zotac card you linked makes some sense if you regard rebates as "free".  But you can get a nicer card for cheaper:

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1318423&CatId=7005

  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Thankyou for the links !

     

    I noted that the PSU comes in a 650 version too for a few bucks more -

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=125450&body=MAIN

     

    Would you recomend spending a couple of extra bucks for the extra output?

     

    Also, Assuming I buy the card / PSU you recomend, is the MB / Chip / Ram I linked in the first post a good buy to round out the system?

     

    It would bring me up to around ~$850 per machine (with the OS / Non-stock chip cooling) which I can stomach if it'll give me an 18mo grace period without the need to upgrade again. (of course I would eventually sometime in the future tba get some rebates back lol) and add a SSD at some point.

     

    Again thanks for your help so far, and any feedback on the MB/Chip/Ram would be appreciated :)




  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,851

    Originally posted by demarc01

    Thankyou for the links !

     

    I noted that the PSU comes in a 650 version too for a few bucks more -

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=125450&body=MAIN

     

    Would you recomend spending a couple of extra bucks for the extra output?

    No need.  The problem with your current power supply is quality, not wattage.  I wouldn't trust it to deliver 300 W, let alone 600 W.

    If you like rebates, then you can get a nicer motherboard for cheaper.

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=93425&CatId=6978

  • BeezerbeezBeezerbeez Member UncommonPosts: 302

    I just built my own this week and got a lot of advice from this article (among many, many others).  I'm not sure what you want to spend but the MB and RAM they recommend are solid.  Bounce around the article, there are about 12 pages with different builds for different price points.  I modeled mine based off the "sweeter spot" on page 8 (if I recall).  Of course, I upgraded a few things and changed some out but it was a helpful palce to start.  Check how much power your GPU needs before settling on your PSU, but 650w is probably a safe bet.

     

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/21462/8

  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Awesome ;)

     

    Not a fan of rebates, hence my sarkey comment in the last post, but even before rebate the MB you linked is cheaper than the one I was looking at lol.  Judging by your post history in the tech forums here I'm not gonna suggest you dont know what your talking about, if you say its a better board I pretty sure you know what your talking about !!

    I assume the chip / Ram meets your approval since you did'ent post links of something better / cheaper lol.

     

    Thank you for all your help Quizz, I'll take it all to heart when I make some buys in the next few days !!




  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Almost a month later so figured I'd throw in some feedback.

     

    I took Quizz's suggestions to heart, buying the MB, Card and PSU he recomended. Coupled with the Ram and i2500K chips and a cooling solution I selected ( http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3071635&CatId=493 ) incase your interested.

     

    Also picked up a Win7 64-bit Family edition upgrade for around $150.

     

    Threw it all together and it works excellent. My CPU runs ~45c under load / 34c upon boot, I am able to set everything to max and get sweet FPS. Currently I'm playing some LoTRO and running ~130FPS in 21st and ~70-80 Galtrev for refrence. (Used to run ~70FPS in 21st and ~45 FPS in Galtrev with some settings off - shadows / terrain clutter etc) so a vast improvement.

     

    The Cooling solution was a PITA to fit, but I cant complain about the effect, its deff cooling the chip.

     

    All in all I spent ~ $1800 but bare in mind that was to upgrade TWO PCs basically only keeping the tower / Hard drives from my old setups and upgrading to OS as well. I did pick up two new Sata DVD Roms as well, so the whole systems were overhauled.

     

    Over all I am very pleased with the results and my two new rig's should serve me well for a couple of years. I do aim to add a couple of SSD's at some point in the future (A few paycheques from now)

     

    Once again I'd like to thank Quizz for all his help and recomendations and the other people who bounced advice to me in this thread, thank you all.

     




  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,851

    Two computers?  If you want to upgrade the video card in both in the future, what you can do is to get a new high end card for one of the computers, and then move the video card from that computer to the other, so both of the "old" cards are running in the same computer in CrossFire.  Obviously, you don't want to do that right now.  But it's something to think about if you want a graphical upgrade two or three years from now.

    The power supply should be able to handle two Radeon HD 6850s, as those aren't terribly high power cards.

  • demarc01demarc01 Member UncommonPosts: 429

    Aye I'll do that in the future, assuming both cards hold out. I seem to have terrible luck with GFX cards and they are usually the only thing that ever fails in my systems.

    The systems run great atm though, Cools, fast and performing well, and the 2500k's should keep me in teh good for a decent period of time. I know the new intel chips are due early next year, but looking at the figures I doubt I'll see an MMO that requires that kind of output before my next rebuild !!

    Again thanks for the help, just wanted to pop back and post to let ya'll know how happy I was with the builds. (My Wife, who I re-built the 2nd PC for, loves the GFX and Performance, Happy wife happy life!)




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