Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

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Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:40 am

I just won some (unexpected) money and am planning to offer myself an upgrade up to ~1000 USD, maybe a little more. Now, strictly speaking, I don't need an upgrade but I would like to offer myself a little gift.

Actual system:
ASUS ROG AM3+, Phenom II 965 BE 3.4 GHz, 16 Gb DDR3 ECC 1333MHz
AMD Radeon HD 5850, HP ZR24w (+secondary EIZO S1931)
2xWD RE3 1TB, 2xWD RE4 2TB
Antec 183 with Scythe Kama Flow fans, Seasonic X-750 Gold
Cherry mechanical keyboard, Razer Deathadder

I use the computer for gaming (DOTA2, Guild Wars 2, Battlefield 3...), photo editing, browsing and occasionally some linux programming.

I was thinking of going the eyefinity route and getting 2xHP ZR24w plus maybe a Radeon HD 7970 or 7950. I will also eventually get a piledriver CPU when available but this is not an immediate concern... A Plextor M5S SSD would be nice, too, but I can't get that plus the eyefinity upgrade.

Do you have any other ideas? Is the eyefinity worth the ~1000?
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:32 am

You would definitely see a performance improvement with an SSD.
$199 256 GB Samsung 830

Your existing Radeon HD5850 is still adequate for most games at your 1920x1200 resolution. Radeon HD7950 or GeForce GTX670 would be a good upgrade if you wanted to run with all settings at maximum.
$338 -20MIR Sapphire 100352OCSR Radeon HD7950 3GB (950/1250 MHz). It's $38 more than the stock model that runs at 810/1250 MHz.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:42 am

Eyefinity is nice, but not without its quirks. It'll double your GPU requirements, too.

As you mentioned, you can't afford the eyefinity, the SSD and the GPU all at once. The only one of those I would say is vital is the SSD.

Getting the eyefinity without a new graphics card will probably leave you wanting a new graphics card, but the 5850 will be the shortest-lived component in your PC - just sit on it for a bit longer IMO.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:34 am

I'd get the GPU and SSD. Both of those will give you a noticeable improvement and future-proofing, with no real downsides. The Eyefinity setup is obviously cool and exotic, but as Chrispy said, it's also not without some hassle. I think moving to an SSD for boot/apps/game is the biggest single improvement you can make in a PC today.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:51 am

I've moved this thread to System Builders Anonymous.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:37 pm

bwoodring wrote:I'd get the GPU and SSD. Both of those will give you a noticeable improvement and future-proofing, with no real downsides. The Eyefinity setup is obviously cool and exotic, but as Chrispy said, it's also not without some hassle. I think moving to an SSD for boot/apps/game is the biggest single improvement you can make in a PC today.


Thanks to all for the feedback.

Hm... So something like a Plextor M5S (am a fan of the company from the CD-RW days... otherwise I would go Samsung) plus a 7970 for around $800 (approximate conversion from local currency) would be a nice upgrade. I might then keep the $200 for a Piledriver. Any objections to the Plextor drive? As for the 7970, I am thinking Sapphire but I am not sure whether I want the O/C or standard version with custom coolers. Any other ideas?
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:16 pm

This is honestly a great time to transition to an Intel cpu.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:53 am

TheEmrys wrote:This is honestly a great time to transition to an Intel cpu.


Then I would have to change to a Xeon Ivy Bridge (or throw away the ECC RAM which I quite like) plus a good workstation m/b. I thought about that, but it's relatively expensive and I think the Piledriver will be a decent, even though markedly slower, alternative for much less money. If we had the Piledriver reviews today, I could probably make a better decision.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:51 pm

If I had your rig and $1k I would be getting a samy or plextor M3 256GB ssd and a nice 27" monitor like this
http://accessories.ap.dell.com/sna/prod ... redirect=1

edit - I have a 256GB plextor M3 and I am very happy with it. It's in an AM3+ GA-990xa mobo, in Atto it tops out at 535MB/s read and 374 MB/s write
Last edited by anotherengineer on Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:51 pm

A good alternative to the Plextor would be a Vertex 4 if they are priced similarly, as it has excellent random performance.
What case are you currently using?
Last edited by TDIdriver on Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:52 pm

ptsant wrote:
TheEmrys wrote:This is honestly a great time to transition to an Intel cpu.


Then I would have to change to a Xeon Ivy Bridge (or throw away the ECC RAM which I quite like) plus a good workstation m/b. I thought about that, but it's relatively expensive and I think the Piledriver will be a decent, even though markedly slower...


Piledriver isn't even an upgrade over your current PhII.

As for a Xeon, you can get a pretty nice one that would be an awesome upgrade for you right now:Xeon E-1240 for $265.

and a mobo:
ASUS P8B WS for $229

And what about the ECC memory do you like/need?
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:44 pm

TDIdriver wrote:A good alternative to the Plextor would be a Vertex 4 if they are priced similarly, as it has excellent random performance.
What case are you currently using?


I know the Vertex are excellent drives but their reputation has suffered a bit. I was mostly between Plextor M5S 256 and Samsung 830 256. My case is Antec P183 and I am happy with it, although I would like more 3.5" space...
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:52 pm

TheEmrys wrote:Piledriver isn't even an upgrade over your current PhII.

As for a Xeon, you can get a pretty nice one that would be an awesome upgrade for you right now:Xeon E-1240 for $265.

And what about the ECC memory do you like/need?


Why get the previous generation? I mean, if I'm going to spend, I should at least get the Ivy Bridge Xeon, no? Like the 1270 v2 or something. As for Piledriver vs PhII, I certainly hope it will be faster. Double cores plus 800MHz, it has to be...

Concerning the ECC memory, the job that got me the money in question involved running some statistics over huge databases. Like several GB, over several days. I'm not sure that this qualifies as "mission critical" but having a random bit flip or having to start over would be bothersome and I think it's nice to have. Nicer than 1866MHz CAS9, I guess...

Anyway, the Xeon is still a consideration but not my first choice.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:54 pm

anotherengineer wrote:If I had your rig and $1k I would be getting a samy or plextor M3 256GB ssd and a nice 27" monitor like this
http://accessories.ap.dell.com/sna/prod ... redirect=1


Nice suggestion, possibly as good as Eyefinity without the hassle. I'll have to see a 27" up close...
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:00 pm

ptsant wrote:
TheEmrys wrote:Piledriver isn't even an upgrade over your current PhII.

As for a Xeon, you can get a pretty nice one that would be an awesome upgrade for you right now:Xeon E-1240 for $265.

And what about the ECC memory do you like/need?


Why get the previous generation? I mean, if I'm going to spend, I should at least get the Ivy Bridge Xeon, no? Like the 1270 v2 or something. As for Piledriver vs PhII, I certainly hope it will be faster. Double cores plus 800MHz, it has to be...

Concerning the ECC memory, the job that got me the money in question involved running some statistics over huge databases. Like several GB, over several days. I'm not sure that this qualifies as "mission critical" but having a random bit flip or having to start over would be bothersome and I think it's nice to have. Nicer than 1866MHz CAS9, I guess...

Anyway, the Xeon is still a consideration but not my first choice.


The Xeon listed is an Ivy Bridge. And my faith in AMD has fallen so far that I don't see Piledriver being much of an upgrade. Bulldozer certainly isn't.

As for your ECC memory needs, its completely warrented.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:50 pm

If you can get an Ivy Xeon that plugs into a consumer-grade LGA2011 board that accepts ECC you'd be set.

To recap the above:
-the biggest gains you'll get in desktop performance would be to use an SSD for OS/Apps/workspace; also, the Samsung 830 is the fastest desktop SSD, the Vertex/Agility/Whatever 4 from OCZ is designed for 'server' usage patterns
-the biggest gain in gaming would be a GPU; as JAE suggested, either an HD7950 or GTX670

For the CPU upgrade, a 3.4GHz PII is still pretty quick. It will probably stress a little with BF3 in multi-player on high population servers and in areas with a lot of destruction on Close Quarters maps, but it shouldn't be unplayable. My recommendation is to wait a generation here.

TheEmrys wrote:The Xeon listed is an Ivy Bridge. And my faith in AMD has fallen so far that I don't see Piledriver being much of an upgrade. Bulldozer certainly isn't.

As for your ECC memory needs, its completely warrented.


It's anyone's guess as to whether AMD will get their act together with the Bulldozer architecture (does it have a 'K' designation?). The design itself is sound on paper and they've stated that they're addressing the known shortcomings; if they deliver the Piledriver they're talking about, they just might get within a half of a generation of Intel. Piledriver is like Netburst with a shorter pipeline and real grunt behind it. I do agree that it isn't worth waiting for, though. Intel has the performance and the price available today.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:10 pm

Airmantharp wrote:If you can get an Ivy Xeon that plugs into a consumer-grade LGA2011 board that accepts ECC you'd be set.


Definately the best way to go, but there are some solid Xeon's and lga1155's that support ECC. Typically a cheaper option as well.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:36 pm

Definitely get a SSD. The 830, M3P/M5P or really any drive would be a huge upgrade. But since you mentioned luxury, I vote for a Asus Essence STX PCIe soundcard if you want to luxuriate your earholes. If blowing 200 bones on it's not in the cards, one of their more modestly priced cards would still be a baller upgrade.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:49 am

I've not used a Plextor M5 but based on quantity of user reviews, The samsung has a longer clean track record.
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Re: Luxury upgrade? Please offer ideas...

Postposted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:22 pm

I've got a 120GB Mushkin Chronos in my system and it works really well. Setting up a boot drive was definitely the best thing I ever did for my system. My boot times are SO much faster. I've got a mechanical hard drive as a storage drive, and every time I have to access it and have to wait for the whir of the drive spinning up. Definitely go for the SSD
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