Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

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Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Wed May 02, 2012 8:25 am

So I'm currently rocking an old core 2 duo system with a Radeon 5850. Now Ivy is out I want to get the upgrade I so richly deserve, while passing everything else on to my sister.

My rig will be this plus the 5850 (will probably get stuff from aria and amazon so don't worry about the prices...):

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£178.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
CPU Cooler: Corsair CAFA50 61.0 CFM CPU Cooler (£25.77 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£82.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£32.00 @ Maplin Electronics)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£70.00 @ Ebuyer)
Hard Drive: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case (£76.99 @ Maplin Electronics)
Power Supply: Corsair 650W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£90.93 @ Maplin Electronics)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) (£100.38 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £657.57
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-02 14:18 BST+0100)

And my sis will need these bits to make a complete system from my old one:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£70.00 @ Ebuyer)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GT 520 1GB Video Card (£33.86 @ Ebuyer)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£13.67 @ Scan.co.uk)
Total: £117.53
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-02 14:18 BST+0100)


Does that all look vaguely sensible? Things I'm not sure about:

  • is my mobo ok? I'm possibly going to upgrade to a gtx 670 later, but multi-gpu is not on the cards
  • good silent cpu coolers? I'm not going to overvolt much if at all
  • I want a wifi card, any recommendations?
  • Will my sister be able to use my old win7 key when I swap out the HDD and GPU on the old rig for her?

Thanks!
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Wed May 02, 2012 7:16 pm

pizza65 wrote:I want to get the upgrade I so richly deserve, while passing everything else on to my sister.
Welcome to the Tech Report!

pizza65 wrote: CPU Cooler: Corsair CAFA50 61.0 CFM CPU Cooler (£25.77 @ Ebuyer)
There are plenty of good CPU coolers available. You want one that uses a 120mm PWM-controlled fan. The CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo provides good performance for a moderate price.

pizza65 wrote: Video Card: MSI GeForce GT 520 1GB Video Card (£33.86 @ Ebuyer)
GeForce GT520 is a very low-end graphics card. Radeon HD7750 for £82½ is good enough for moderate gaming at low resolutions. Even Radeon HD6570 for £44 or GeForce GT430 for £39 would do a better job than GeForce GT520.

pizza65 wrote: [*]Will my sister be able to use my old win7 key when I swap out the HDD and GPU on the old rig for her?
This should be okay. The Windows license should be tied to the motherboard. You may have to go through the automated activation system that replaced the nice young man in Bangalore.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 11:22 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:Welcome to the Tech Report!

Thanks!

I replaced the cpu cooler, upgraded the case to a white 500R, dropped to a modular 550W PSU and pulled the trigger on my new build. Just leaves the salvage...

JustAnEngineer wrote:
pizza65 wrote: Video Card: MSI GeForce GT 520 1GB Video Card (£33.86 @ Ebuyer)
GeForce GT520 is a very low-end graphics card. Radeon HD7750 for £82½ is good enough for moderate gaming at low resolutions. Even Radeon HD6570 for £44 or GeForce GT430 for £39 would do a better job than GeForce GT520.


Sorry I should have qualified that - this machine's gaming days are over. There's no integrated chip on that mobo so I need something cheap and reliable, and preferably quiet. I'm open to suggestions? It's not the sort of card I'd ever buy for myself :)
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 11:47 am

that system can certainly still game, though maybe not as well - might want to consult with your sister about if she wants to do any gaming or not


But the 430 for £7 more than the card you selected is a good 'well may as well' choice.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 12:36 pm

Your system looks just fine to me. A couple questions though:
1) Do both of you need a 1TB hdd? The spinpoint F3 is definetely the best 7200rpm 1tb drive out there, but with hard drive prices still fairly high, a recycled hdd might save a few bucks in the repurposed system.
2) Perhaps you can share some information about what your sister will be using your old rig for so we can hammer out this GPU choice? Theres a piece of hardware for every need. If the sister just going to be doing MS office work, facebook, and watching youtube videos, there's not much need for a better GPU.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 12:53 pm

Looks fine to me. One suggestion: it appears you may keep your hardware for quite a while between upgrades. For that reason, I would suggest getting 16GB of RAM, which is dirt cheap now and will undoubtedly be much more expensive in a year or two (plus, you're guaranteed to get matching DIMMS if you purchase all together today). Not much benefit of having 16GB now, but you may be glad having it down the road.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 1:40 pm

DPete27 wrote:Your system looks just fine to me. A couple questions though:
1) Do both of you need a 1TB hdd? The spinpoint F3 is definetely the best 7200rpm 1tb drive out there, but with hard drive prices still fairly high, a recycled hdd might save a few bucks in the repurposed system.

I certainly do - I'm on a 1TB spinpoint F1 at the moment which I'll use for backup. I'd consider a smaller one for her though, as she's not sure what she'll need, but since the HDD will be the limiting factor on performance for her likely use cases, I wanted to get a fast one. I think 512GB drives are only about £15 cheaper, but there's no point spending more than I need to! Can't see any spinpoint f3's at 512GB anywhere, what else is worth considering? I definitely won't give her my old one as it's the most likely thing to fail.

DPete27 wrote:2) Perhaps you can share some information about what your sister will be using your old rig for so we can hammer out this GPU choice? Theres a piece of hardware for every need. If the sister just going to be doing MS office work, facebook, and watching youtube videos, there's not much need for a better GPU.

Pretty much as you describe. She has no real interest in games apart from scrabble and tetris, so it really does just need to be stable without frequent driver updates.

Spyder22446688 wrote:Looks fine to me. One suggestion: it appears you may keep your hardware for quite a while between upgrades. For that reason, I would suggest getting 16GB of RAM, which is dirt cheap now and will undoubtedly be much more expensive in a year or two (plus, you're guaranteed to get matching DIMMS if you purchase all together today). Not much benefit of having 16GB now, but you may be glad having it down the road.

Fair point. I've had the rest of it for a while because I was a cheap student; the only upgrade I did was from an 8800gt to the 5850. As I've already ordered it may be too late though, also are there any benefits likely for a gaming machine? I'm currently on 4GB which has been more than enough. I have 8GB on my machine at work (I'm a web dev) and I've only been limited by that when Eclipse gets possessed by an evil spirit and decides it wants it all; normal usage doesn't top 6GB or so.

Thanks!
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 1:44 pm

No benefit seen in games using 16GB vs. 8GB. It's all about future needs or the need to virtualize a lot.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 2:02 pm

Spyder22446688 wrote:No benefit seen in games using 16GB vs. 8GB. It's all about future needs or the need to virtualize a lot.

With a bunch of Chrome tabs open my 8GiB are getting low actually. So I can see we are getting there to 16.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Really? I typically have about a dozen or so tabs in chrome, ditto in FF, netbeans, eclipse, outlook, a couple excel windows, paint.net, lync/googletalk and sometimes a VM as well on 8GB at work, and it's never been a problem until eclipse leaks, at which point it doesn't seem to matter how much RAM you have. I also only reboot about once every 3 months. Maybe I've just been lucky? Everything is also running off a 256GB SSD there as well, could that be why I'm getting away with this?
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 2:54 pm

Memory usage can vary depending on what site you're visiting. Also remember that "a bunch" is a highly subjective number. FF could be talking about 50 tabs or more.

You might also look into an AMD 6450 passively cooled GPU as an alternative to the 520 depending on which camp you sit in. The 6450 has slightly better performance and uses less power for rougly the same price.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Thu May 03, 2012 3:11 pm

DPete27 wrote:Memory usage can vary depending on what site you're visiting. Also remember that "a bunch" is a highly subjective number. FF could be talking about 50 tabs or more.

I may be approaching 50 (if not more), but may be some of the sites are leaking memory through Javascript and a few of them also contain heavy Flash **** content. :o I just remember one day I checking RAM usage and I was close to my physical and I was like wtf. Since then I just pay more attention and close some tabs that I don't use anymore. Once you add a VM (or 2), a couple instances of VS2010 (or Eclipse), and other stuff it should be fairly easy to hit 8 gigs.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 4:54 am

Ha, ok. I've always found more than a dozen to be fairly unusable. That explains the difference! I've also found that leaving firebug or content inspector open will sometimes be a huge drain on memory. In that case I'll probably be alright for now with the way I use it.

DPete27 wrote:You might also look into an AMD 6450 passively cooled GPU as an alternative to the 520 depending on which camp you sit in. The 6450 has slightly better performance and uses less power for rougly the same price.

Don't really have a 'camp' to be honest. I've had more driver issues with AMD, but I was using first-gen eyefinity so I'm not terribly surprised, and I hear NV surround was similarly problematic at first. Passive cooling would be great. I'll look into that one.

With something like the 6450 or gtx520, will I just be able to install one driver and then not have to really worry about it? I'm used to updating every chance I get because of improved performance and stability (for both NV and AMD) but my sister is not technically minded and I want to keep maintenance to a minimum for her.

Related: any tips for keeping maintenance low? I was planning to make sure she has a decent program for every major extension so she never has to download anything unhelpful, get her set up on automatic updates for everything (chrome, FF, flash, pdf reader etc), get her set up for remote desktop and maybe create an extra admin account for myself. That sound thorough?
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 5:26 am

You've probably noticed lately that AMD's catalyst drivers will automatically update themselves. It's hassle-free.

Don't buy a GeForce GT520. GeForce GT430 is much better.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 6:10 am

The motherboard you picked is not sli or crossfire capable.if you never plan on using that feature then all is well but with the improvements lately you might want to leave that option open.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 8:36 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:You've probably noticed lately that AMD's catalyst drivers will automatically update themselves. It's hassle-free.


I definetly like that new feature. I've only noticed it happening for less than 6 months or so but its SOOOO convenient. Also, the 6450 is old enough that the majority of new driver updates will not have any effect on it. Most driver updates are for improved performance in games anyway. If your sister isn't playing the latest 3-D games (ones released < one month ago, or yet unreleased) she shouldn't need to ever update drivers.
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Re: Splitting my rig for upgrades, advice?

Postposted on Fri May 04, 2012 9:20 am

pizza65 wrote:Related: any tips for keeping maintenance low? I was planning to make sure she has a decent program for every major extension so she never has to download anything unhelpful, get her set up on automatic updates for everything (chrome, FF, flash, pdf reader etc), get her set up for remote desktop and maybe create an extra admin account for myself. That sound thorough?

If you and your sister live in different locations, I suggest teaching her how to request Remote Assistance or setting up logmein/TeamViewer so you can do remote work. With RA/TV both of you can share the screen and she can see what you are doing. Heck you can even dictate instructions to her for really simple stuff, so she can be part of the experience. ;)
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