Tales of an admin's upgrade...

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Tales of an admin's upgrade...

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:46 pm

I have been running two computers with hand-me-down parts for a long time now and they are finally starting to die with random BSODs and hard locks. At first, it was just my everyday machine but when I started leaving my gaming machine powered on all the time, it started going as well. Wanted to install Win7 on them (currently running XP 64) but there are no drivers for either motherboard. So I checked the system guide and started looking up parts. One thing is for sure, I have been out of the game for a long time.

Gaming/work machine: AMD Opteron 165 on a Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe, with 2 GB of RAM and an ATI Radeon HD 3870. 520W OCZ PSU
File server, everyday machine: Dual AMD Opteron 242 on a MSI 9130 K8T Master2, with 2 GB of RAM and an Apogee GeForce 6800 D128M. 430W Thermaltake Purepower PSU
Spare GPU: BFG Geforce 7950 GT OC

Financially, there's no way I can replace both systems, so I targeted the older of the two systems. With a born-on date of 2003, it was time to say goodbye to the K8T Master2. I started with the Econobox parts but I found a really good deal at Microcenter for the core components of the Utility player. $60 off a CPU/mobo combo if you buy a 2500K with a Z68-based motherboard. Plus, Microcenter is currently selling the 2500K for $180 ($35 less than Newegg). I figured my existing PSU would be up to the task so I headed to Microcenter on Saturday to pick up the following:

Intel Core i5 2500K - $180
ASUS P8Z68-V LX - $60 (after the $60 combo discount)
Corsair XMS 8GB DDR3-1333 - $45 (currently listed for $56)

The system guide has essentially those parts listed at $395, while I paid just over $300 with sales tax at Microcenter. Feeling pretty good, I started pulling the old parts out of my case and installing the new ones.

My good feeling was smashed when I went to power on the system and only got a high pitched whine from my PSU for my troubles. Apparently the Purepower is anything but, outputting only 350W verses it's rating of 430. More importantly, it's not even ATX 2.0 (required by the ASUS P8Z68), which would have been nice to notice prior to going to Microcenter. I could have pulled the 520W out of my other computer, but I needed that computer to be up and running while getting the new one to work. Plus, the P8Z68 does not have any PATA connectors and I did not have any SATA CD/DVD drives. So back to Microcenter I went (the next day of course, no way would I be lucky enough to get the new machine up and running in a single day) to get a new PSU and DVD drive:

Corsair Builder Series CX500 - $60 (found an open-box for $48)
Lite-ON iHAS124-04 B - $20

Even though the Radeon 3870 is better than the Geforce 7950, I decided to go with the GeForce. As mentioned, I like having a complete working system up (such as it is) while building and I really don't need much graphics power for this machine. I probably could have gotten away with the built in GPU, but the GeForce was just sitting around.

Once I got the new PSU, everything else has been easy. Windows install went fine and I am working to set everything up as it was. Not too happy that my $300 budget ballooned to nearly $400, but so it goes. One other major benefit is how quiet the new system is. Now if only I could find some time to play games on it...
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Re: Tales of an admin's upgrade...

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:52 pm

yay! that rocks! I love hearing administrative stories....both horror and successes... Makes it feel like we're all one big dysfunctional cyber-family! :D
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Re: Tales of an admin's upgrade...

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:38 pm

That's an awesome price for a really fast system, we are living in good times 8)
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Re: Tales of an admin's upgrade...

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:37 pm

Congratulations!

Sandy Bridge + Z68 offers compelling performance.


On the mysterious lockups of your very old systems: Have you checked the CPU and chipset cooling? I had the thermal paste dry out on one of the systems that I assembled from that era. Cleaning it up and applying fresh Arctic Silver to both heatsinks solved the problem. The next most likely problem would be failing capacitors. :( My mother is still using my old Opteron 175 on an NForce2 Ultra motherboard.
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Re: Tales of an admin's upgrade...

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:47 pm

That's pretty close to the system I just built in October, except I got the P8Z68VLE instead of the LX, and put in the 16GB kit. You're going to love it. Quite fantastic how much power the i2500k contains for the money -- I remember spending $250 in 1998 dollars for a K6-233 CPU and my first super-7 mainboard, back when a similar Intel upgrade would have cost easily $350+.

It's a great time to be an enthusiast.
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Re: Tales of an admin's upgrade...

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:45 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:On the mysterious lockups of your very old systems: Have you checked the CPU and chipset cooling? I had the thermal paste dry out on one of the systems that I assembled from that era. Cleaning it up and applying fresh Arctic Silver to both heatsinks solved the problem. The next most likely problem would be failing capacitors. :( My mother is still using my old Opteron 165 on an NForce2 Ultra motherboard.

No bad caps on the MSI 9130 (I had two ABIT boards go bad on my back in the day), although the thermal paste is a bit light on both processors. I could definitely touch those up, although now I don't have a PSU to run the board. I'll be sure to check out my other system this weekend.

ludi wrote:That's pretty close to the system I just built in October, except I got the P8Z68VLE instead of the LX, and put in the 16GB kit. You're going to love it. Quite fantastic how much power the i2500k contains for the money -- I remember spending $250 in 1998 dollars for a K6-233 CPU and my first super-7 mainboard, back when a similar Intel upgrade would have cost easily $350+.

Yeah, your thread helped push me into the 2500K instead of the 2100 (that and the low price difference). I really wanted to go for 16 GB, since it is so cheap right now, but couldn't justify the extra $50. Especially not having to buy a new PSU. I'm not a huge fan of the features on the LX, but none of the other boards at Microcenter were worth the price premium. I guess all these "Deluxe" motherboards in the past have spoiled me but I don't have $250+ to drop on motherboards anymore.
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Re: Tales of an admin's upgrade...

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:50 pm

Kevin wrote:I'm not a huge fan of the features on the LX, but none of the other boards at Microcenter were worth the price premium. I guess all these "Deluxe" motherboards in the past have spoiled me but I don't have $250+ to drop on motherboards anymore.

I don't think I've dropped $250 on a motherboard in a *very* long time. Possibly since my Socket A dually MPX system (which would make it around 10 years ago). Even a sub-$100 micro-ATX board can be quite capable these days as long as you're not planning on ever doing dual video cards.
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Re: Tales of an admin's upgrade...

Postposted on Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:08 am

just brew it! wrote:Even a sub-$100 micro-ATX board can be quite capable these days as long as you're not planning on ever doing dual video cards.

viewtopic.php?f=33&t=78368&p=1095026&hilit=#p1095026
Some lunatic wrote: You can run two graphics cards on a micro-ATX motherboard, as long as you pick the right motherboard to start with.
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