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Upgrade or Build From Scratch?


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#1
northernCX

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So I've had this computer for about 3 years- a refurbished big-box store comp that was all I could afford at the time: an HP Pavilion w/ Athlon 64 processor, 3GB RAM Multi-Media reader, Lightscribe burner (I've NEVER used that feature), and 500GB hard drive. I upgraded the video card which was low-to-mid-range then, a RADEON X1300/X1550 series (can't remember exactly which it is now, 256K), added a 4-port USB 2.0 card and a 600W Thermaltake PSU (the stock one was so underpowered I couldn't browse and burn a DVD at the same time without locking up).

One of the system fans is dying, and I'm starting to have disk errors on startup. I've recently pre-ordered SW:TOR and found out during beta testing that this rig is at the bare minimum for system requirements, and it shows- the game is so frustrating to play I've given up on the beta test.

The system is dated, but stable so long as the hard drive is working. Does it make sense to bother upgrading this one, or build one from scratch? I'm not keen on going the pre-built route again, since there's always things that get cheaped out on. One thought was to scratch-build a gaming-capable rig, and only replace what's needed with this one to turn it into a HTPC.

Up until now, I don't use the computer much for gaming, but when I do, it's gotta work. I have Microsoft FSX, and The Old Republic is on the way- which I definitely want to play. I'll set up separate posts to list the components I'm looking at for a new build- I'd considered robbing some of the components from this one such as the optical drive, etc. but that's not necessarily hard and fast if I'm going to salvage this one for home theatre use.
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#2
phillpower2

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Hi northernCX
Looking at the present specs I suggest that you build from scratch and use the present PC as a HTPC albeit with a new HDD as you have said you are getting disk errors.
You have told us your intended use but can you provide us with your maximum budget se we can make the appropriate suggestions.
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#3
iammykyl

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What model of PSU do you have? How old is it?

Info. HDD prices have gone crazy, do not be surprised if one cost as much as a mid range GPU.

http://www.crn.com/n...ecappj01?pgno=1
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#4
northernCX

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Trying to keep the budget under $1000 Canadian, the PSU is a Thermaltake Purepower 600W ATX... which means, for the list below, I'd need a new PSU (I think) as it's not an ATX mobo (I don't think).

Rig One:
NZXT M59-001BK M59 Gaming Mid Tower Case - ATX, mATX, Baby AT, Black
Price: $59.99




GIGABYTE GA-Z68AP-D3 Intel Z68 Motherboard and Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz Quad-Core Unlocked Processor Bundle
Price: $347.99*




Corsair CWCH50-1 Hydro H50 CPU Liquid Cooler - 120mm Fan, Copper Cold Plate, Aluminum Radiator, LGA775, LGA1366, LGA1156, AM2/AM3
Price: $79.97



2X (for 16BG RAM) Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B Vengeance Desktop Memory Kit - 8GB (2x 4GB), PC3-12800, DDR3-1600MHz, 9-9-9-24 CAS Latency, Intel XMP Ready,Unbuffered
Price: $69.97




Gigabyte GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card - 1GB, GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.1, DVI, HDMI, DirectX 11
Price: $183.99*


Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64BIT Operating System Software - OEM DVD
Price: $139.97


Seagate ST31000524AS Barracuda Hard Drive - 1TB, SATA 6Gbps, 7200 RPM, 32MB
Price: $139.99

Edited by northernCX, 27 November 2011 - 04:07 PM.

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#5
northernCX

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And the second 'wish list' is as follows:

Rig 2: (cheaper rig)
NZXT M59-001BK M59 Gaming Mid Tower Case - ATX, mATX, Baby AT, Black
Price: $59.99

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition AM3 CPU HDZ965FBGMBOX - 3.40GHz, Socket AM3, 6MB Cache, 2000MHz (4000 MT/s) FSB, Retail, Processor with Fan
Price: $129.99

Corsair CWCH50-1 Hydro H50 CPU Liquid Cooler - 120mm Fan, Copper Cold Plate, Aluminum Radiator, LGA775, LGA1366, LGA1156, AM2/AM3
Price: $79.97

2X (for 8GB RAM) Crucial BL51264BA1339 Ballistix Sport Desktop Memory Module - 4GB, PC3-10600, DDR3-1333MHz, CL9, Unbuffered, Non-ECC
Price: $32.99

Gigabyte GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850 Video Card - 1GB, GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.1, DVI, HDMI, DirectX 11
Price: $183.99*

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64BIT Operating System Software - OEM DVD
Price: $139.97


MSI 870A-G54 Motherboard - AMD 870, Socket AM3, LAN, USB, DDR3, ATX
Price: $119.99


Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black Hard Drive - 1TB, 7200RPM, 64MB, SATA 6Gbs
Price: $154.99

Either is also going to require either a new monitor or an adapter to come from the vidcard to the VGA input on my current LCD... I'm trying to put something together that I can 'sell' to the wife as something that won't need to be replaced (I won't say upgraded) anytime soon.

Edited by northernCX, 27 November 2011 - 04:15 PM.

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#6
phillpower2

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Below is a build I recently suggested to another member, see what you think.
$69.99 + Free shipping Case http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811129066
$129.99 + Free shipping MB http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128512
$299.99 + Free shipping CPU http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115071
$44.99 + Free shipping Ram http://www.newegg.co...12800CL9D-8GBRL
$129.99 + $7.28 shipping HDD http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822136950
$169.99 + $6.98 shipping Video card http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814130652
$20.99 + Free shipping DVD burner http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827136238
$104.99 + Free shipping PSU http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817139021

Total before claiming mail in rebates + $985.18
MBs QVL (qualified vendor list) this will allow you to check that the CPU and Ram are compatible http://www.gigabyte....spx?pid=3979#ov also are you aware that if you use anything other than the stock heatsink and fan supplied with the CPU you invalidate your warranty;

• damage to the Product due to external causes, including accident, problems with electrical
power, abnormal electrical, mechanical or environmental conditions, usage not in accordance
with product instructions, misuse, neglect, alteration, repair, improper installation, or improper
testing

full article @ http://www.intel.com...b/cs-009862.htm

No operating system or TIM (thermal interface material) are included so you will need to add those costs to the total.

EDIT: Just so you are aware of why HDDs are presently more expensive here is some info courtesy of RKinner http://www.geekstogo...hortage-coming/

Edited by phillpower2, 27 November 2011 - 04:25 PM.

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#7
iammykyl

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Hi Phillpower2.

I am able to go direct to Newegg but having problems with your links in Post #6.
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#8
northernCX

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The links won't work for me either... page not found errors.
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#9
phillpower2

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Hi Guys sorry and please see http://www.geekstogo...aming-computer/ for topic :blush:
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#10
iammykyl

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Hi northernCX,


Any thoughts, questions?





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#11
northernCX

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Looked at the newegg links, looks pretty similar to one of the possible builds I'm looking at except for the i7 CPU rather than the i5. With the overclocking ability of the new Core second generation, is the i7 really necessary for an average user that doesn't game very much, but wants to be able to play them when he's got them?

I also noticed the HD and something else from that list are no longer carried by newegg. So swapping out different things would be necessary, and keep in mind I'm in Canada; import costs for US sites sometimes (but not always) erodes any cost saving by shopping on US sites.

Another question, though: with either the i5 or i7 CPUs, how much real-world benefit comes from more than 8GB of RAM? The one build I'm looking at has 8GB, the other 16GB; if I don't need the extra RAM, or it's not going to help much, I can trim some from the budget there; or, conversely, what about running 4 sticks in dual-channel? I see some mobos have that; 4 RAM slots, with 2 pairs; not even sure how that works.

Edited by northernCX, 01 December 2011 - 10:58 AM.

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#12
iammykyl

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Got some visitors here today but will sort something out tonight.

Newegg, Canada. http://www.newegg.ca/
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#13
iammykyl

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This Mobo, Newegg CA. http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16813157271 $149.99 + $12.24 shipping.
Same Mobo, Newegg US, http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813157271 $124.00, free shipping, $14.99 after mail in rebate.

Convert,14999.0 CAD = 14782.7286794 USD. Better deal in the good old USA. I will price on Newegg US.

, is the i7 really necessary for an average user that doesn't game very much, but wants to be able to play them when he's got them?



I use the 2500K even for top end gaming builds, for q workstion build I use the 2600k or 2700K.

Another question, though: with either the i5 or i7 CPUs, how much real-world benefit comes from more than 8GB of RAM?


4GB, HTPC, office. 8GB gaming (more is just a waste, money should go to the GPU. 16GB + workstation.

what about running 4 sticks in dual-channel? I see some mobos have that; 4 RAM slots, with 2 pairs; not even sure how that works.


http://www.hardwares...com/article/133

I will be selection 2x4GB sticks = 8GB.

Mobo. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813157271
CPU. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115072
RAM. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820233147
GPU. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814500210
case. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811129066
SSD. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820233206
PSU. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817371048
DVD. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827135204
OS. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16832116986

Does not include taxes and shipping. Total $1069.00

Edited by iammykyl, 02 December 2011 - 06:54 AM.

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#14
northernCX

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Found most of it on Newegg.ca, except for the RAM, switched that for this:
http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16820231314

As well, swapped the case as the one you gave was unavailable, and the video card- made a small change there but may go with your recommendation depending on other factors- but for $75 difference, one review on the card I picked specified the game I want it to play, and it was running at 50fps.

Case: http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16811147153
Video Card: http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16814130571
CPU heatsink/fan: http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16835103046 (quite a few reviews on the chipset claim the stock fan to be noisy, flimsy and several have had fan breakages... odd)

Total price on the wishlist: $1,094.90 CAN

One other question: Why the SSD? I confess I don't know much about them at all, except they were pretty new a couple years back; I'm assuming there's (most likely) a speed and reliability advantage? With that 120GB drive, I'm assuming the idea is to store most of my media and game installs on my external HD (1.5TB), and keep system software, etc. on the SSD?

Thanks for all the help and info, BTW. It's been some time since I got into the nuts and bolts of a computer aside from basic upgrades I've done myself.

Edited by northernCX, 02 December 2011 - 11:33 AM.

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#15
northernCX

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Also, for shiggles I ran the same build (almost, had to sub a couple things again) through TigerDirect.ca. Here's what I came up with for $1024 Canadian:

MOBO/CPU: http://www.tigerdire...86&Sku=B69-5412
RAM: http://www.tigerdire...10&Sku=C13-5702
GPU: http://www.tigerdire...9&Sku=E145-0471
SSD: http://www.tigerdire...19&Sku=C13-8120
PSU: http://www.tigerdire...7&Sku=T925-3083
DVD: http://www.tigerdire...4&Sku=A455-5022
Cooling: http://www.tigerdire...60&Sku=C13-2140
Case: http://www.tigerdire...0&Sku=C283-3122
OS: http://www.tigerdire...32&Sku=M17-7302

Pretty similar I think, this one adds better cooling and a stronger PSU (by accident, really, but I'm happy with the Thermaltake PSU I've been using, so...)
The mobo you'd picked didn't come up at all, neither the GPU. Unless there's something glaringly bad that I've picked either here or at newegg, I can't wait to start ordering stuff... would like to get it built before my TOR debuts!
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