Advice Upgrading my PC

Discussion in 'Techie Discussion' started by mooSe_, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. mooSe_

    mooSe_ FH is my second home

    I'm looking to upgrade my PC since I've got a bit of money and it's starting to feel a bit old and rickety (I've had it for almost 4 years now). It's mostly used for gaming although I don't play that many new games. I mostly just play SC2; although occasionally I might have a go at some other games so I guess I'd like it to comfortably be able to run any games that are currently out. I'm also thinking about trying to live stream some SC2 so I'd like to make sure it's good enough for that too. Atm I play SC2 on low graphics and it lags a bit in big battles lol.

    I'm not really sure what specs are relevant but at the moment I've got:

    Gigabyte GA-EP35 DS3L
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU
    4x 1GB Kingston PC6400 800Mhz DDR2
    512MB nVidia 9800GTX+
    Coolermaster 460W Dual 12V Rail

    Also the case that I have has taken a bit of a beating and neither of the sides actually fit on; so maybe I should get a new one of them too.

    I don't really know where to start. Also I'm worried that I'd end up wasting money on upgrading something pointless or getting some things that aren't compatible or something dumb like that (basically I'm a nub).

    Any advice on where to start looking, recommendations or things to avoid is welcome.
  2. ECA

    ECA I am a FH squatter

    Scrap everything you have, except mice/keyboard/monitor. Whats your budget?
  3. Kryten

    Kryten Old Cow. Moderator

    You'll need processor, cpu and ram regardless - so there's a start. Best value for money by a long way are the core i5's - something like an i5 3570, Z77 motherboard (again best value appear to be the Gigabyte range) and 8GB ram (2 x 4GB) will be a good base to build on. You should be able to use your existing PSU and graphics card although the latter may still hold you up. You might find it does you well enough with the extra CPU boost behind it.
    If it doesn't, then you can upgrade both the graphics card and PSU later on.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Litmus

    Litmus Resident Freddy

    I'll buy the Mobo off you of you wanna sell, maybe the cpu too depending on price.
  5. wolfeeh

    wolfeeh One of Freddy's beloved

    for what it's worth i recently (august, september, september) built three gaming PC's, from scratch, all new components, nothing salvaged from any old pc's. I used two Gigabyte Z77-D3H boards in the september builds and the Z77-DS3H in the august (don't ask me what the difference, I didn't realise I'd ordered different boards - I certainly haven't noticed anything. For a £75 ish board I can thoroughly recommend them. All three alive on arrival (all from Piss-easy BIOS/UEFI set-up, If I was to try really hard to say something negative about them I'd say the smaller power connector off the power supply was in a potentially awkward position resulting in the (short-ish) lead off the coolermaster GX500 powersupply having to be run across the top of the board to reach it. both september builds used Corsair TX550 power supplies (semi-modular) and even though the relevant lead was hard-wired on those they went around the back of the motherboard try, up and behind with very little effort, that was basically a lesson learned. to be honest I'm not sure I could say that was a mobo-design-issue but as it affected the fitting of the board in one PC i mention it. Most sites don't mention but this gigabyte board is supplied with two SATA-6GBPS cables in case you need them, but bear in mind I think they were 30-45 CM's long, I only used them in the august build in the Coolermaster Elite 430 Case as both September builds used full size NZXT Phantom Cases which are much bigger so I bought 60 cm SATA leads for those.

    I used 8GB of DDR3-1600 in all builds (Kingston Hyper-X) @£30 per kit. I think the price has now gone up a little, but either way, I contemplated 16GB but I can't say I actually needed it.

    All three builds were limited to Asus Geforce GTX 560 Ti 1GB DirectCU II cards due to money and the original intention was to upgrade at least one PC shortly and move one 560 into another rig for an SLI set up. I'm now struggling to justify this as even though this card is over a year old and only mid-range anyway the system as a whole (Core i5 3450, 8GB DDR3-1600, GTX 560 Ti) is chucking out a stable 60 FPS in Battlefield 3, upwards of 150 FPS in Starcraft 2, Over 300 FPS in Counterstrike and over 120 FPS in 25 man World of Warcraft raids.

    ALL games are running in 1920 x 1080 with every single graphical setting to it's maximum, i.e. ultra, high, whatever, with anti-aliasing and so on on full.

    Basically I was building these rigs on a tight budget as I needed to buy monitors, keyboards, mice, cases, DVD drives, hard-disks & SSD's + copies of windows etc for each of them.
    If you have all these things already you could be looking at spending ~£500 or less on building a system similar to these. If you have more money obviously you can pick and choose what to go big on. If I was doing this all over again now I'd potentially consider a budget GTX 660 Ti, but if I had the money I'd be looking at GTX670/GTX680.

    although that said I have been toying with the idea of building an AMD based rig with the FX-8350 and some sort of Radeon to get a real world idea of what the intel/AMD difference is like.

    Anyway if you need to know more, give me a shout, on here or by message.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  6. mooSe_

    mooSe_ FH is my second home

    Looks like I'm probably building a new pc then :p

    Hmm I guess I don't really want to spend more than like £600 although I can probably get someone to get me part of it for christmas lol.

    That sounds ideal I think. Thanks for all the info.
  7. Zenith.UK

    Zenith.UK Part of the furniture

    It sounds like people here have got their act together when it comes to gaming system builds. It's giving me some ideas.

    My mum's old desktop gave up the ghost in July so she gave it to me. I ripped out the dead mobo and replaced it with a mobo that could take the DDR2 RAM she already had AND DDR3 if I want to in the future. I also got a Zotac GTS450 card which doesn't draw a huge amount of power and is actually air-cooled (to save having to change the PSU).
    I've not got any *recent* games to throw at it, but Deus Ex:Human Revolution, Portal 2, L4D2, TF2, BlackMesa all play smoothly with everything turned up to max. The limitation is the monitor at 1680x1050.
    This machine is now "good enough" to be my everyday PC, so my 5 yr old laptop is being blitzed to a fresh Win7 install and will be turned into the kitchen media player.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. wolfeeh

    wolfeeh One of Freddy's beloved

    to give you an idea; working from the centre out;
    mobo £75, ram £30

    i5 3450 - £143
    or i5 3570k - £173
    prices are for kits including reference heatsink / fan which i found to be fuss free and effective, and not really a slouch with the thermals, i certainly haven't justified spending an a more advanced cooler. it doesn't get hot anyway :)

    ~£60 for a 60GB SSD of some sort as a boot drive for windows - if you've not had one before you would be shocked and awed at how much this is worth the money. in fact the best £60 you will ever spend on your system.

    £217 for an EVGA 2GB GTX 660 Ti

    now the question is, what are you doing about case & PSU?

    If you need a new one, and on a budget I'd look at the coolermaster Elite 430 w/ Coolermaster 500w PSU, easily beefy enough to run that lot - £63 the pair.
    Is your DVD drive SATA connected? iirc the gigabyte board doesn't have IDE onboard.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. TdC

    TdC Trem's hunky sex love muffin Staff member Moderator

    btw if you can only choose one thing (because you've spent everything else on beer, or given it to me) I'd say get an SSD mate. mechanical disks are lame, srsly.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  10. wolfeeh

    wolfeeh One of Freddy's beloved

    what tdc said tbh, the difference is shocking. actually if you have a massive wodge of cash burning a hole, i.e. about £400 get a 480GB Corsair Neutron and have done with it.
  11. Kryten

    Kryten Old Cow. Moderator

    Otherwise grab yourself any of the 128/120GB kits - samsung 830 is probably still the one to go for but otherwise anything else that isn't OCZ won't be bad. Any drive will be a massive difference from a hard drive regardless of make and model. The new sandforce drives will be the best performers but generally I tend to stick with the Intel or Samsung stuff for reliability reasons. I personally edge towards the Samsung as the industry tends to use consumer level Samsung drives as cache units in large storage arrays.
    • Agree Agree x 1
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  12. mooSe_

    mooSe_ FH is my second home

    Rainbow'd tdc for suggesting that giving him money might be on the same list of priorities as buying beer.

    Since everywhere I've looked seems to recommend SSD I think I'll give it a try. Since I'm trying not to spend too much money should I just get a smaller one for installing OS and some programs on and then store everything else on my HDD?

    How does this look?

    - Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H Socket 1155 VGA DVI HDMI 7.1 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard

    - Kingston 8GB DDR3 1333MHz i5 Memory

    - Intel Core i5 3450 3.1GHz Socket 1155 6MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor

    - EVGA GTX 660 Ti 2048MB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort PCI-E Graphics Card

    - Samsung 128GB 830 Series SSD Kit

    - Coolermaster Elite 430 All Black Case With Elite 500W PSU

    Total: £598.56 Which is basically the upper limit of what I was looking to spend, which always seems to happen with computer stuff :rolleyes:
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Litmus

    Litmus Resident Freddy

    Yea that's all good stuff, maybe even drop the 660ti to just a 660 to save a few pins if you wanted... The diff isn't that much
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Litmus

    Litmus Resident Freddy

    Although looking at it again, I would check that psu is a decent quality one otherwise it could cause problems being 500w and crap quality
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. wolfeeh

    wolfeeh One of Freddy's beloved

    the coolermaster supply will drive that card. it's inexpensive, not cheap, there's a difference.

    for the same price you can get 1600mhz DDR3 dude, you don't want 1333mhz. the board and the processor will eat it, but they'll also eat 1600mhz so get that.
    IMHO you either need to use your existing hard disk with that SSD or get a bigger one if you wanna install more than 3-4 games.

    I forgot to mention the reason i recommended the EVGA card, besides getting solid reviews EVGA have an upgrade programme that that card is eligible for last time i looked... basically you have somewhere between 3-6 months where down the line you decide you want a better card then you buy it direct off EVGA, you send them your old EVGA card and you only pay the difference, i.e. you can incrementally upgrade yourself all the way up to a GTX690 :) (and THAT you WILL need a better power supply for). the other thing to do is register the card with EVGA, then if it dies for some reason they will send you another one BEFORE you send that one back. basically they're a bit hot on the 'ole customer service thang.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. wolfeeh

    wolfeeh One of Freddy's beloved

    btw, that list; is gonna give you a SWEET pc, you're gonna love it. have fun :)
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Litmus

    Litmus Resident Freddy

    Erm also just noticed the cpu, get k model so you can over clock, that cpu is locked
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. wolfeeh

    wolfeeh One of Freddy's beloved

    Don't believe they do a 3450k. You'd be looking at the 3570k. £30 more but then you'd also be looking at a non stock cooler and a better quality power supply to drive it all so in reality what is the extra cost for overclocking?

    By default the 3450 turbo boosts to 3.4 ghz with stock cooler when necessary. And frankly for the sort of thing you seem to be looking at, can you justify it? It's not short of performance as it is.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Litmus

    Litmus Resident Freddy

    Yea, 3570k is what i was talking about. Its all down to the end user i guess. Me personally would prefer to pay the extra for the overclock, but that just me(running a 3770k @ 4.6). Even with stock cooler you could still probably get to around 3.8ghz with out to much problem. But as you say, if it boots to 3.4ghz that should be enough for that the majority of people will need.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Athan

    Athan FH is my second home

    tomshardware indeed says "3570k if you're going to OC, else just save money and get a 3450", i.e. the 3750k is worth it if, and only if, you overclock it (when talking bang for bucks).
    • Agree Agree x 1
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  21. Scouse

    Scouse HERO! FH Subscriber

    I don't know why anyone would overclock their PC anymore. There's not a single game out there that pushes the hardware.
  22. ECA

    ECA I am a FH squatter

    Yup, because games are all 360/ps3 from major studios the drive for pc performance just isnt there.
    The 720/ps4 wont even push it much.

    It's good and bad though, you can get a sick pc that runs everything in ultra for £600-800 these days.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  23. Athan

    Athan FH is my second home

    You may not have played Guild Wars 2 or Planetside 2... they both chew up CPU power, and apparently benefit from higher clock speeds ('cos the state of the art of multi-threaded still isn't all that great). The key thing is these are both games where you get fights with lots (50+ per side) of players in the same smallish area, and handling all that data is what loads the CPU.
  24. Scouse

    Scouse HERO! FH Subscriber

    Shit and inefficient programmers is what's loading the CPU in the unsurprisingly not-amazingly-good-looking Planetside 2.

    I still get 30fps in max *everything* on my Athlon X3*...

    *or whatever the damn thing's called - I'm pissed ;)
  25. mooSe_

    mooSe_ FH is my second home

    it's so fast :love: so shiny
    • Like Like x 2
  26. wolfeeh

    wolfeeh One of Freddy's beloved

    Happy bunny? :)
  27. mooSe_

    mooSe_ FH is my second home

    happy moose
    • Like Like x 2

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