I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

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I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:49 pm

Short story
I'm looking to upgrade the graphics card (for $200-$300) but at this point I think I am overdue for a system upgrade. If so, I feel like I could use some pointers to get a system that is fairly low power draw but suitable for most games at medium-high settings. I'm way out of touch with what's happening in hardware land.

My system. Please don't laugh :)
___
Intel Pentium Dual Core E2160
NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT (512MB)
Intel P31 (Bearlake) + ICH7 chipset
2GB ram
Windows XP
___

Can I get away with just a graphics card upgrade while still getting a nice benefit? Or does the whole thing need to go? (After all these years, I suspect it does...). It's really with a lot of guilt that I contemplate an upgrade 'cause I hardly used the machine for games but I find myself wanting to get back into the swing of things. Windows 8, UEFI, oh god!

Thanks for any pointers (I have a lot of catching up to do).
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:04 pm

twups wrote:___
Intel Pentium Dual Core E2160
NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT (512MB)
Intel P31 (Bearlake) + ICH7 chipset
2GB ram
Windows XP
___


Don't feel too bad: I was running a 9600GT until last year myself. :) It's definitely vintage, but if you want a peppy GPU that will still be punchy when you perform a complete rebuild, it's hard to do better than the Geforce GTX 750 Ti right now. 80% of the performance of a GTX 660 with a third less power draw than the 9600GT is a hell of a deal, and it'd only set you back around $150. Save the rest of the money for the other new hardware you'll need when the time comes. Have fun!
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:09 pm

I'm thinking you might have to upgrade the OS too. Not because Maxwell isn't supported, but because you're on a 32-bit OS getting a 2GB GPU. Doesn't all of the video memory have to fit in the 32-bit address space? I'm afraid you might not see your full 2GB of system RAM or that something else funky would happen.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:10 pm

Welcome to TR!

Well...if you were to get a new system, you could get a faster processor, utilize DDR3 RAM, get more RAM, get a faster GPU, upgrade out of XP (and use a higher version of DX), and possibly get a SSD (although that entirely depends on how much you might spend on a new system).

I will say that spending $200-$300 upgrading your GPU seems like a waste. You might improve performance, but I think you're going to get bottlenecked in the CPU and RAM before you really see the benefit of a GTX 760 (which falls in your price range). Quick question, what resolution do you mean for "medium-high" settings? Given a decent system, a GTX 760 will get you high settings at 1080p.

Take a look at The System Guide. The recommended builds come in well above your budget for a graphics card, but it should give you a good snapshot of the hardware market. Also, on the "Budget" sample:

Current System Guide wrote:This sample config is similar to the Econobox from our previous System Guides. It should offer solid CPU performance, enough threads and memory capacity for light to medium multitasking, reasonably good GPU performance at 1080p, and adequate storage. The nice Corsair case and modular power supply should make the build process very easy—great for a first-time build.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:20 pm

The "sweet spot" IMO for gaming at 1080p right now is;

  • 4-thread (i3 at least, but 4-core i5 recommended)
  • something like a R9 270 or GTX660
  • a small SSD for your OS
  • 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3
Check out TR's system guide for more options, but that's pretty close to the next-gen consoles in terms of gaming horsepower - which means it should survive new AAA titles for a good half-decade at least.

If you're on a budget, get a Core2 Quad (Q8300 or faster) from ebay/craigslist for $50-60 , put another couple of GB of DDR2 into your motherboard and buy a cheap 120GB SSD. It's not going to be as quite as fast as the entry level i3 but it'll cost you a whole lot less than a new CPU/Motherboard/RAM

Being realistic, Core2 is still fine for modern games as long as it's clocked high enough and can handle four threads. I played Crysis3 almost entirely on my old Q9550 and a 2GB 7850 (the HTPC) and it ran smooth as butter with lots of the higher-detail settings enabled. 1080p just isn't very demanding as long as you disable some of the more punishing options like 8x antialiasing and drop to "medium" instead of "ultra-quality" shadows/SSAO. Another punishing AAA title like BF4 runs fine at 1080p. Even the brand new consoles only render at 720p or 900p so you're still doing okay even if you have to drop the resolution slightly.

As for graphics cards options, get whatever your case cooling and power supply can handle - but the GTX 750Ti is probably ideal for an ageing PSU in an old case, the 2GB R7 260X is probably a more potent option on a budget - you can find them everywhere for $129 or less after MIR's. 2GB of RAM on a graphics card is the better long-term investment, for sure.
Last edited by Chrispy_ on Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:32 pm

If you live near a microcenter look at there refurbished desktops for 350-500 you can get a pretty darn fast system that all you would need to add is a GPU.

For $479 you can get a Hp envy refurb with a 460 watt PSU and a 3ghz 3.2 turbo i5-4430 Haswell quad core cpu and a Z87 chipset.
No way you can build a PC with all this for anywhere near $600 http://www.microcenter.com/product/4236 ... efurbished

Specifications
Product Information
SKU 865923
Mfr Part# H5Q09AAR#ABA
UPC 888182025109
General Information
Series Envy
Model Number 700-074
Lifestyle Entertainment
Color Black
Operating System
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8
Case & Motherboard
Case Orientation Vertical
North Bridge Chipset Intel Z87 Express
Processor
CPU Brand Intel
CPU Core Quad-Core
CPU Type Core i5
CPU Speed 4430 (3GHz)
Turbo Boost Speed Up to 3.2GHz
Smart Cache 6MB
FSB 5 GT/s
CPU Socket LGA 1150
CPUs Installed 1
CPUs Supported 1
CPU Main Features Virtualization Technology
Idle States
Thermal Monitoring Technologies
Intel 64
Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology
Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O
Intel VT-x with Extended Page Tables (EPT)
Intel Identity Protection Technology
Memory
Total Memory 12GB
Memory Speed DDR3-1600
Form Factor 240-pin DIMM
Memory Configuration 1 x 8GB, 1 x 4GB
Memory Slots (Total) 4
Memory Slots (Available) 2
Maximum Memory Supported 32GB
Hard Drive
HD Capacity 2TB
HD Interface SATA
HD RPM 7,200 RPM
HD Configuration 1 x 2TB
Multimedia Drives
Optical Drives Included 1
Optical Drive SuperMulti DVDRW
Optical Drive Specs SuperMulti DVD Burner - Write: 16x max DVDR, 8x max DVDR DL, 8x max DVD+RW, 6x max DVD-RW, 5x max DVD-RAM, 40x max CD-R, 24x max CD-RW; Read: 16x max DVD-ROM, 40x max CD-ROM
Display
Display Type Display Not Included
Video
GPU Type Intel HD Graphics 4600
Video Memory Up to 1792MB
Display Interface 1 x DVI-I
1 x DVI-D
Audio
Audio System Beats Audio
Audio Channels 7.1
Communications
LAN Gigabit LAN
LAN Data Rate Speed 10/100/1000Mbps
WLAN Wireless LAN
Wireless Technology 802.11b
802.11g
802.11n
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Card Reader
Card Reader 15-in-1 Media Card Reader
Media Supported CompactFlash I
CompactFlash II
MicroDrive
MMC
MMCplus
MMCmobile
RS-MMC
Secure Digital
miniSD
SmartMedia
Memory Stick
Memory Stick PRO
Memory Stick Duo
Memory Stick PRO Duo
xD
Ports and Connectors
Ports and Connectors 6 x USB 2.0; 4 x USB 3.0; 1 x DVI-I; 1 x DVI-D; 1 x Headphone; 1 x Microphone; 1 x Optical Audio; 3 x Audio
Front Panel Ports
USB 2.0 4
Back Panel Ports
DVI 2
USB 2.0 2
USB 3.0 4
Audio 5
Expansion Bays
External 5.25" Bays (Total) 2
External 5.25" Bays (Available) 1
Internal 3.5" Bays (Total) 3
Internal 3.5" Bays (Available) 2
Expansion Slots
PCIe x16 Slots (Total) 1
PCIe x16 Slots (Available) 1
PCIe x1 Slots (Total) 3
PCIe x1 Slots (Available) 3
Mini PCIe Slots (Total) 1
Mini PCIe Slots (Available) 0
Power
Power Supply 460 Watt
Physical Specifications
Width 6.86"
Depth 16.71"
Height 16.29"
Weight 21.61 lbs.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:43 pm

I can't recommend putting any money into that machine, beyond a max of $50 for a used card. The killer is that you're still running Windows XP, which is dead in less than a month. Save that $200-300 and put it towards a new system.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:00 pm

The Egg wrote:I can't recommend putting any money into that machine, beyond a max of $50 for a used card. The killer is that you're still running Windows XP, which is dead in less than a month. Save that $200-300 and put it towards a new system.
superjawes wrote: Take a look at The System Guide. The recommended builds come in well above your budget for a graphics card, but it should give you a good snapshot of the hardware market.
vargis14 wrote:If you live near a Micro Center...

I'll agree with those suggestions. The system guide is a great place to start for assembling your own PC. If that's too much for your budget or you'd rather not build it yourself, you can save several dollars by picking up a scratched-and-dented or refurbished unit from the outlet store and then adding a decent gaming graphics card from Newegg or Amazon.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:31 pm

If you were on a strict budget and were willing to give up your current machine completely, you might be able to reuse the case and optical drive, which would significantly reduce how much you have to spend.

You'd still have to find a Windows license (probably for $100), and that might make it more sensible to buy pre-built, but at least it is an option.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:35 pm

Probably the easiest way to do this is to forget your old system. Go out and find a low cost pre-built system with at least a i5 in it and toss in a GTX 750Ti. Most pre-builts come with a copy of windows so that part of the equation would be covered. I have read reports from people claiming they added a 750Ti to a pre-built with a 300 Watt PSU and it works great.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:57 pm

The E2160 will be a large bottleneck (especially if it's at stock speeds, 1.8GHz). 2GB of RAM will also hold you back in performance, many games these days would like 2GB of RAM purely for themselves. The best option is to spend the money on a motherboard, CPU, RAM and GPU upgrade - that means you have to spread the money a little thinner, but a fast GPU in a system that otherwise can't handle modern games won't get you anywhere.

An alternate option would be to get a Core 2 Quad ($60-120) and some extra RAM ($30) from ebay and pair that with a GTX 750Ti ($150). (Notes: Make sure to check your motherboard manufacturer's website so you get a processor which your motherboard supports. You will likely need a better cooler for a Core 2 Quad than the one from you E2160. Your chipset only supports upto 4GB of RAM.) This option easily fits your budget ($240-300) but as someone who runs a Core 2 Quad with a heavy overclock and a slightly faster graphics card than the GTX 750 Ti I can tell you that the CPU will still bottleneck that GPU in many games.

Ideally you could extend your budget and replace motherboard, CPU, RAM and GPU. Something like an i5 4430($185), H81 or H87 motherboard (~$65-100), 8GB RAM ($70) and GTX 750 Ti ($150) for a shade under $500 would perform a lot better. Unfortunately it's quite an increase from you original budget but going with anything lower than a quad core (i5) risks your system becoming outdated and bottlenecked in a short period of time (now that consoles have 8 cores and CPU speed increases are slowing games will become increasingly more multithreaded).
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:33 am

I was essentially in the same boat as you last year. I was running a HD3850 with 512 mb ram. I wanted to do the same thing and just upgrade the GPU but decided that it wasn't worth it. I ended up waiting an entire year to save up enough to upgrade everything and I'm glad I did. Think of it this way...all those games you want to play will be much cheaper in a year! Steam sales!
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:49 am

Guys, thanks so much.
I actually wrote an earlier reply with a comment to each of you but it got eaten!

Long story short:
You've all helped me make sense of current offerings so thanks. The GTX 750 Ti sounds like an almost certainty, and the rest of the stuff I'll have to decide on.

A new system is no problem money-wise, I just don't like spending so much on any single component or buying myself a heat box with diminishing returns for maximal cost. With the rate of change in the industry, I prefer to get a mainstream machine rather than a top-end one. I tend to like maximum bang-for-buck. I'm running 1920x1080 by the way. Your suggestions have been great.

A small question: do all the mainboards supply power to USB when the computer is turned off these days? My current one does but I remember this wasn't always the case in the past. I'm probably asking a dumb question but I honestly don't know whether this is common these days. It's a feature I'd rather have than relying on a separate wall USB charger or having to have the PC on all the time to charge USB things. Thanks!
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:04 am

Not all motherboards do supply power but a lot of your mainstream boards do (mine does). Mine actually will supply more amps than most. That's probably somethign else you should look at if you like to charge devices using your system. Your average USB port can't charge some tablets but there are high-current USB charging ports on some boards. Just double check the features.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:56 am

twups wrote:A new system is no problem money-wise, I just don't like spending so much on any single component or buying myself a heat box with diminishing returns for maximal cost. With the rate of change in the industry, I prefer to get a mainstream machine rather than a top-end one. I tend to like maximum bang-for-buck.
Core i5, along with mobo, RAM, and GPU. You can do all of this for about $550 ($200-ish for the i5, $125-ish for mobo, $150-ish for GPU, $100-ish for RAM) give or take $100 depending on what you choose. This will give you the "maximum bang-for-buck" that you seek, and will last you for years. Then pick your OS. I'm using Windows 8 and recommend it, but others may strongly disagree.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:01 am

flip-mode wrote:
twups wrote:A new system is no problem money-wise, I just don't like spending so much on any single component or buying myself a heat box with diminishing returns for maximal cost. With the rate of change in the industry, I prefer to get a mainstream machine rather than a top-end one. I tend to like maximum bang-for-buck.
Core i5, along with mobo, RAM, and GPU. You can do all of this for about $550 ($200-ish for the i5, $125-ish for mobo, $150-ish for GPU, $100-ish for RAM) give or take $100 depending on what you choose. This will give you the "maximum bang-for-buck" that you seek, and will last you for years. Then pick your OS. I'm using Windows 8 and recommend it, but others may strongly disagree.


The OP's said he's interested in a mainstream machine rather than an ogre. If you want to save some cash and enjoy what would still be a very healthy upgrade, Micro Center's selling i3 4130s for about $100 a pop. Pair that with a $75 motherboard (I don't think he's going after SLI or overclocking, so $125 is probably excessive) and spend part of the $150 you've saved on RAM. Don't skimp on the power supply either. 500 watts would be overkill with the GTX 750 Ti and i3, but you can get a quality name brand model for very reasonable prices these days. Final recommendations: don't invest in a Blu-ray drive unless you need it, because DVD burners are cheap and functional; consider picking up a new case with decent airflow and 120 mm fans; an SSD for the OS would be a great investment; go with Windows 7 or 8, but be SURE you install the 64-bit edition; and buy a conventional hard drive for media / game storage.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:34 pm

twups wrote:I just don't like spending so much on any single component ....... I prefer to get a mainstream machine rather than a top-end one. I tend to like maximum bang-for-buck


Upgrading the videocard in your current system is actually the least bang for buck that you can get, as anything decent will be held back by a dual core C2D at 1.8ghz. Mainstream left that territory long ago, a typical cheap desktop nowadays will have something like the Intel Pentium G3220, which is a dual core 3.0GHz Haswell based CPU, which is *significantly* faster than your C2D. What would actually count as mainstream today probably has at least 4 threads, so something like the Intel Core i3 4130, which is quite a bit faster still with hyperthreading and a 3.4GHz clock.

If you want to get with the times as you say, I'd definitely recommend you buy a new system. If you don't think you're ready to do that because you really don't spend enough time gaming to justify that cost, I'd say that the next best thing is an upgrade to Windows 8.1, or maybe even a switch to a current Linux distribution. I'm not fond of Windows 8 myself, but it is the most current OS on the prime gaming platform. Remember that you could always install that copy of Windows on a new gaming PC later on.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:16 pm

Concupiscence wrote:
flip-mode wrote:
twups wrote:A new system is no problem money-wise, I just don't like spending so much on any single component or buying myself a heat box with diminishing returns for maximal cost. With the rate of change in the industry, I prefer to get a mainstream machine rather than a top-end one. I tend to like maximum bang-for-buck.
Core i5, along with mobo, RAM, and GPU. You can do all of this for about $550 ($200-ish for the i5, $125-ish for mobo, $150-ish for GPU, $100-ish for RAM) give or take $100 depending on what you choose. This will give you the "maximum bang-for-buck" that you seek, and will last you for years. Then pick your OS. I'm using Windows 8 and recommend it, but others may strongly disagree.


The OP's said he's interested in a mainstream machine rather than an ogre.


Given OP's own words - see what I quoted - I'll double-down on my recommendations; they are on target. He could certainly do a serviceable build for less, but I think the "maximum bang-for-buck" taken in context with the fact that OP clearly likes to hang on to machines for a while tilts the conversation solidly towards an i5 in my opinion. :D
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:20 pm

OP's quote: A new system is no problem money-wise, I just don't like spending so much on any single component or buying myself a heat box with diminishing returns for maximal cost. With the rate of change in the industry, I prefer to get a mainstream machine rather than a top-end one. I tend to like maximum bang-for-buck. I'm running 1920x1080 by the way. Your suggestions have been great.

The prebuilt System I listed from Microcenter for 479$ has everything you could possibly need including a OS for a fraction of the cost of building a system yourself with off the shelf parts. On top of that it is a z87 chipset so you will be able to make the installed cpu run at 3,2ghz all the time on all 4 cores and allow for a bus speed increase of 3.5mhz over the 100mhz base clock will give you another 100mhz more then likely. Also I believe MSI make the board for the envy. Also down the road you could upgrade the CPU and cooler for some Overclocking if you happened to get a new K model overclocking CPU or a refreshed Haswell CPU down the road the Z87 chipset will let you Overclock correctly with the multiplier. Also it's 460 watt PSU more then likely has at least 1 6 pin PCI-E power connector possibly 2 Since it has one of the higher powered PSU's in a prebuilt I have seen. Most are in the 250-350 watt range.
As for the GTX 750TI if you are set on getting that GPU the best one to get is the EVGA FTW 2gb ACX dual fan cooled GTX 750ti that has a 6pin power connector to allow for a extra 35 watts of power for extra overclocking and does give you higher overclocks...I have seen speeds in excess of 1400mhz with very low temperatures. Also EVGA has a 90 day step up program so if you want a faster card within 90 days EVGA will take most of the cost of the card you purchased and put it towards a better GPU and top notch customer support. On top of that Nvidias latest driver allows GTX 750's to overclock higher then the previous driver. On a comment page on Andantech one Miner overclocked his 750 ti 240mhz a full 105mhz over the the previous driver.
I am sure down the road a Maxwell voltage tweaker program will come out like the Kepler voltage tweaker program already available but i have not tried yet.

I have found a good link to the components in the Envy with pictures of the parts, motherboard etc. worth a look and yes the Z87 motherboard is made by MSI. http://h20566.www2.hp.com/portal/site/h ... .199480143
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:00 pm

Thanks all.

I'm most attracted to mainboards video cards running bog-standard speeds (with not even a slight overclock from the factory). Just simple reliable rock-solid components running stock. Overclocking is not something I'll be doing so I'm trying to whittle down my choices with that in mind. Just quality compnents (capacitors, heatsinks, fans) without too much noise. I notice the System Guide (February) has a particular emphasis on overclockability (which makes sense given the nature of the site) but to me it doesn't matter one bit, and I wonder if some of the choices would change there with regards to mainboard and graphics card brands & models.

cpu
I'm still not decided on Pentium or i3 or i5 but I'll make that decision soon too. The discussion here has put a lot of it in context and I enjoy everyone's comments.

Beige case :)
I'm undecided on whether I will re-use my current case and decent PSU too. It will be easier for me to not touch this system and build a new one up without re-using any bits. So, laziness (and the practicality of having 2 separate systems) may win. Though I love beige cases (and my beige Pioneer DVD recorder :) and they are hard to find these days, though admittedly I haven't been looking (I'm really stuck in time :D ). I may import some compnents if the prices aren't reasonable locally (Australia), but usually they are OK.

Anyway, if you guys have anything to add with the above in mind, that would be great. If not, no problem; you have helped a lot and I'm on course!
Shopping soon :)
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:00 pm

Here's a price search engine for Australians:
http://www.staticice.com.au/

Here are a couple of popular cheap e-tailers:
http://www.msy.com.au/Parts/PARTS.pdf
http://www.auspcmarket.com.au/


Here are some micro-ATX LGA1150 motherboards. If you want to overclock, choose the Z87 chipset.
A$125 Asus H87M-Pro
A$114 Asus H87M-E
A$139 Asus Z87M-Plus


You'll want a quad-core LGA1150 processor for gaming. Only the "K" models can be overclocked.
A$250 Intel Core i5-4670 (3.4 GHz quad-core)
A$274 Intel Core i5-4670K (3.4 GHz unlocked quad-core)

If you're going to overclock or if you want your non-overclocked system to be very quiet, you may replace the stock intel heatsink and fan with an aftermarket CPU cooler.
A$37 CoolerMaster Hyper212 Evo


While I selected motherboards with four DIMM slots, let's just start with two DIMMs for your initial build. You'll want at least 8 GiB (as two 4 GiB DIMMs).
A$99 2x4 GiB PC3-12800 G.Skill Ares (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
A$192 2x8 GiB PC3-14900 G.Skill Sniper (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)


You'll want a good GPU for gaming. At 1080p resolution, consider nothing slower than a Radeon R7-765/HD7850 for a new build. You seem to be fortunate that your Australian e-tailers aren't gouging like our North American vendors are by doubling prices for high-end Radeon cards (R9-280/HD7950 and up) that the litecoin bubble is gobbling up. As long as the hot-clocking is done at the factory, you won't have to worry about insufficient cooling or instability issues that you can find when you do your own graphics card overclocking.
A$219 Sapphire Radeon R9-270 2GiB
A$328 Asus GeForce GTX760 2GiB
A$359 Sapphire Radeon R9-280 3GiB


You'll want a 0.12 to 0.50 TB solid state disk for your operating system and most-used programs.
A$188 0.25 TB Samsung 840 Evo
A$214 0.24 TB Intel 530

If you have games, photos, videos, etc. that take up a lot of space, you'll want an inexpensive large hard-drive to keep the stuff that doesn't fit onto your SSD.
A$130 3.0 TB 7200-rpm 3½" hard-drive

You may want an optical drive
A$86 LG Blu-ray/DVD/CD writer
A$19 Asus DVD/CD writer


You'll want a decent power supply
A$85 Corsair CX500 v3 (80+ bronze)
A$125 Corsair CS550M (80+ gold, modular)
A$128 Antec Earthwatts Platinum 550


Would a white case be enough of a difference from ubiquitous black for your taste?
A$82½ Silverstone PS08W micro-ATX tower


You'll need an operating system.
A$112 Microsoft Windows 8.1 64-bit OEM


How are your existing mouse, keyboard, speakers, headphones, monitor, etc.?
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:02 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:07 pm

Make sure you have plenty of airflow in whatever case you decide to use. Looks mean nothing, but airflow is the one thing computer need to live a long happy life.

I have never had a PC component fail besides a fan:) I truly believe this is because I always have had cases with tons of airflow.

As a rule all my cases have had room for at least 2 80mm side panel fans. Or I made room with a hole saw a dremel and drill back in the 90's when side panel fan were not around.

So now it is pretty easy to find cases with good airflow. I like to have room for at least a 200mm side panel fan or 2 120 or 140mm fans. same thing goes for the front panel.

My current rig is running 6 120mm cougar vortex fans. 2 on the AIO water cooler on the rear panel, 2 in the side and 2 in the top. My front panel fan is the stock 200mm fan that came with my affordable Coolermaster HAF 922. I also have a magma 120mm fan in the bottom of the case in front of the PSU. I use a 5 channel fan controller with a splitter or 2 to control the speeds. That kept it very quiet to the point I only heard my 560ti's fans above 50% speed. Now I have them all at 100% since it is in a closet now and noise is not a factor.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:45 am

JustAnEngineer, thanks for taking the time to do that. I know those sites/shops.
A larger mainboard with lots of slots at 4x RAM slots is what I normally go for, just to keep the options open. I'll look into some of those.

Mainboards. This is probably prehistoric info but ages ago I remember Asus used to slightly overclock the bus in their mainboards (to win in benchmarks). You could verify this with one of the various hardware diagnostic utils. This practice always rubbed me the wrong way. Does this sort of thing still go on? Gigabyte were traditionally more conservative which I liked. I never really liked the 'slight overclock' practice and I hope they don't still do that sort of thing to their graphics cards or mainboards today. But I'll look into those suggestions, thanks. I know I'm a bit anal about this.

Corsair making PSUs is new to me. I have been out of the loop too long :)

SSDs. I"m not totally convinced on their longevity (or smaller sizes, or bang-for-buck) so I'll be sticking to maybe 2 units of 'olde world' traditional spinning platter models; one for OS and one for general file storage and apps (I am currently doing this now too). Though I like the shock resistance and silence of SSDs, I'm not ready to buy them yet. 64 bit windows is probably a must at this point of course. I think I have resisted long enough :)

vargis14, I like big cases and adequate cooling (but low noise), even though I won't be overclocking or running particularly hot components. My main concern is keeping the hard drives cool since they are sensitive creatures and I don't want them failing due to heat stresses. My current case is internally a lot like your Coolermaster in the sense that it has drive bays going from the top pf the case to the bottom, so there is lots of room to reposition, wiggle and jiggle. I like those sorts of cases.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:55 am

twups wrote: A larger mainboard with lots of slots at 4x RAM slots is what I normally go for, just to keep the options open.
I agree about keeping the option of future expansion to 32 GiB of memory open so I chose motherboards with four DIMM slots. Each of those micro-ATX motherboards has four PCIe slots. The gaming graphics card will occupy the first slot and its cooler will overhang the second one. What are you going to install that requires more than two additional PCIe slots? I believe that micro-ATX's four or five slots are sufficient for a single-GPU enthusiast's PC.

Asus is the leading motherboard manufacturer in the world. Gigabyte, MSI and ASRock also make excellent products, but Asus seems to do a better job with BIOS updates, fan controls, etc. If you'd prefer a Gigabyte motherboard, take a look at the A$121 GA-Z87MX-D3H.

Buying a large ATX motherboard and a ginormous tower case doesn't really hurt anything, other than costing a bit more and taking up more space than a micro-ATX solution. Note that micro-ATX motherboards will fit into full-size ATX cases.

twups wrote:Corsair making PSUs is new to me.
SeaSonic, Channel Well Technology, etc. actually manufacture the power supplies. Corsair puts their brand on them.

twups wrote:SSDs. I"m not totally convinced on their longevity (or smaller sizes, or bang-for-buck).
Here's where you really do need to catch up. You definitely want your operating system, your device drivers, your browser and your other most-used programs to run from an SSD. The decreased latency makes your system feel more responsive. As for longevity, the folks at the Tech Report have been testing that, too:
http://techreport.com/review/24841/intr ... experiment
http://techreport.com/review/26058/the- ... fter-600tb
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:25 am

twups wrote:SSDs. I"m not totally convinced on their longevity (or smaller sizes, or bang-for-buck) so I'll be sticking to maybe 2 units of 'olde world' traditional spinning platter models; one for OS and one for general file storage and apps (I am currently doing this now too). Though I like the shock resistance and silence of SSDs, I'm not ready to buy them yet. 64 bit windows is probably a must at this point of course. I think I have resisted long enough :)

JAE already linked the SSD endurance experiment. Every single SSD in the experiment is operating well despite failures, and those failures still took hundreds of Terabytes of writes to reach. Longevity is a non-issue. The only thing you would have to worry about is choosing a drive with solid quality control, but this was vetted some time ago. A Samsung EVO is a safe and solid choice. Intel is even better, IIRC. We just don't recommend those as often because they carry price premiums.

And the best practice is to get something smaller and install your OS and must-haves on the SSD, using a mechanical drive to supplement it. Having your system files on flash memory will give a big kick to the performance of your machine. Boot times will be next to nothing.

twups wrote:vargis14, I like big cases and adequate cooling (but low noise), even though I won't be overclocking or running particularly hot components. My main concern is keeping the hard drives cool since they are sensitive creatures and I don't want them failing due to heat stresses. My current case is internally a lot like your Coolermaster in the sense that it has drive bays going from the top pf the case to the bottom, so there is lots of room to reposition, wiggle and jiggle. I like those sorts of cases.

I think your hard drives will be safe under normal conditions. You aren't operating in a uniquely hot room, are you? :wink:

But if you like big and cool, Corsair's Obsidian series is a safe bet. In a lot of ways, their cases are oversized (see the 650D and 350D), but they are equipped with builder-friendly features, and the extra space you have will make it very easy to get your hands in.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:44 am

twups wrote:SSDs. I"m not totally convinced on their longevity (or smaller sizes, or bang-for-buck) so I'll be sticking to maybe 2 units of 'olde world' traditional spinning platter models; one for OS and one for general file storage and apps (I am currently doing this now too). Though I like the shock resistance and silence of SSDs, I'm not ready to buy them yet. 64 bit windows is probably a must at this point of course. I think I have resisted long enough :)

You'd be doing yourself and your new computer a great disservice if you stick with spinning, rusty platters. Your new computer would still be stuck in 2009, and every computer with half a decent SSD would be a lot faster for general non-gaming tasks than your fancy new gaming computer, regardless of how much slower the CPU is or how much more RAM yours has. SSDs from the big reputable manufacturers have been very reliable for years, probably more reliable than HDDs.

Besides, there's no single component that makes a bigger bang in performance than an SSD, so with prices having sunk a lot in the past years I'd say the bang-for-buck ratio is very healthy as well. I bought mine (Samsung 830 256GB) 2 years ago at for almost THREE times as much as you can get a Samsung 840 EVO 256GB right now, and it was worth every damn penny.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:44 am

If money is tight, I'd have a hard time recommending an SSD on a gaming PC. Yes, they're very nice and make a big difference in general usage, but they don't have any measurable impact on gaming, aside from level load times. Forcing an SSD into a money-tight build likely means a lesser CPU and/or GPU. I'm not saying that's what's happening here, but I'm just saying.
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:53 am

Head will explode. Need a break from looking at Amazon.
I've decided this is where most of the components will come from.

Is it possible to get a non-overclocked GTX 750 Ti? I have been looking at amazon and it appears that all come with some "OC" deisgnation. I really want one not running overclocked from the factory. Is this possible? I'm still deciding on the card and mainboard and processor, by the way. I have been half-tempted to grab a $70 Pentium and call it a day but I'd probably be burnt at the stake if I did that (and admitted to it here :)

SSD will be omitted in this build, sorry guys (Not that you should really care :p). I pretty much agree with The Egg. I don't see much value in it for this build. More than that (and I can understand if you think this is irrational) I just don't trust the tech (yet) for the longer term. I have one of these longevity 'issues' with tech. I don't like to be thinking about limited writes, even though the mechanical (and electrical) things can stuff up in a platter drive, I'm just more comfortable with them for now, and I want far more storage on the cheap. Plus I find my current system responsive enough in 2D, to be honest. I may look at SSD again in 3 years or so. (some of you are shaking your heads now for sure :)

Power supply (Corsair CX Series 430 Watt), ram (Kingston HyperX 1600) and hard drives (WD Blue, 1TB) are sorted. I used to laugh at heat spreaders on ram in a past life, but now I see they are hard to avoid (which presumably means they are needed now). Anyway, that Kingston HyperX with heat spreaders makes me feel like a real gamer. Any tips on non-overclocked bog-standard GTX 750 Ti, or is that out of fashion these days?
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:04 am

You're really hurting the performance of your system if you rely on a hard-drive instead of an SSD. Even for your storage drive, I wouldn't recommend a middle-performing puny 1.0 TB Caviar Blue drive. Newer 2.0 and 3.0 TB hard-drives are faster and provide more storage per dollar.
US$115 3.0 TB Toshiba DT01ACA300
US$75 (with code "EMCPGWW44") 2.0 TB Toshiba DT01ACA200

GeForce GTX750Ti is overpriced/underperforming compared to Radeon R9-270. GeForce GTX750Ti is also below the threshold performance level for achieving good frame rates at 1080p in modern games with attractive levels of detail and anti-aliasing.

Don't buy any RAM that has decorative tall heatsinks.
US$145 2x8 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial BLS2K8G3D1609ES2LX0 (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.35 V, low profile)
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: I'm stuck in 2008 (Nvidia 9600 GT). Recommended upgrade?

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:30 am

JustAnEngineer, my logic behind 1TB is "less platters" basically (and presumably more reliability using less platters). Though admittedly I don't know how much they can fit on a platter these days and really need to do my homework. In the absense of knowledge, I err on the side of caution :) Being stuck in 2008 as I am, I've heard about these "new-fangled drives" offering 2TB and more, but I don't know if I can "trust them" with my data :) Though they are fairly common already of course...and they do offer much more bang-for-storage-buck...

The ram you lninked to seems to be similar to the hyperx kingston sticks in the way they have heat spreaders on them. The hyperx ones aren't decorative, but I remember a time when only the gaming ones had heat spreaders, and they were mostly for show, as I used to understand things...

Edit: apparently 1TB per platter was achieved in late 2011.
http://www.hgst.com/press-room/press-re ... ard-drives
So it's safe to say 1TB means 1 platter in 2014, I think.
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