500$ budget, what to upgrade

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500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:26 pm

Hello Everyone,

I'm looking to upgrade my 2010 build for around $500.

Here are the specs:
GPU: ati 5850
CPU: Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156
Case: Antec P183
PSU: CORSAIR TX Series 650TX
RAM: Crucial 4GB DDR3
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P

I am happy with my case and PSU. I'm trying to run games like BF3, Arma 2 (3 when it comes out), planetside, and other hardware demanding games on high/ultra. What upgrades would you guys suggest?

Just looked at newegg for 1156 socket CPU's and only found one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819115221 . is 1156 heading down the EOL path?
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:43 pm

A Radeon 7970 might do the trick, and assuming you're running a 64-bit OS, you should have plenty left over to upgrade to 8GB of RAM.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:56 pm

Yep its 64 bit. I was looking at the 7970's and saw the Ghz edition, is it worth the extra cash?
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:59 pm

What resolution is your monitor?

1156 has been nearling EOL since the Sandy Bridges came out on 1155. But, depending on the resolution and quality of your monitor, you might want to look at a monitor upgrade.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:48 pm

If you want to push your current system to the max, $500 can get you a nice 2560x1440 monitor with cash left over.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:45 pm

SSD
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:04 pm

I don't think we know your monitor resolution. I'm running a 5850 and playing borderlands and BF3 at quality and speeds I've happy with running 1920x1200 resolution. Definitely an SSD. See if you can snag a Samsung 830 before they're all gone - 256 would be nice. That should leave you $300 or so - some more memory wouldn't hurt - $50 would easily get you 8GB - I just got 8GB for $25 so there's a potential to pay less. You could also go for a 128gb SSD of the modern,reliable variety for $100 or so, some RAM for anotehr $40-50 and that should leave you $350 for a nice graphics upgrade. It's also hard to argue with getting a really nice monitor that will last you longer than just about any other component you can buy.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:27 pm

How about a 128 or 256 GB SSD (Samsung 830 is nice for $109) another 8 GiB of PC3-12800 RAM for $30 and a $280 Sapphire Radeon HD7950 or $270 Gigabyte GeForce GTX660Ti?
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:23 am

If you care about gaming then the first upgrade should be a graphics card and focus on anything else (SSD/Monitor/RAM/etc.) after that. You will see very little improvement in most games by upgrading your CPU.

The SSD will not noticeably help your gaming experience except to shorten some load times, but it will make all other general computing tasks much faster.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:09 am

Imo you should sit on the cash till the next gen cards are out and then buy yourself the best graphics card for the money. At the moment you should though make the inexpensive upgrade for the RAM. You never know when they might pull a move a la HDDs
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:22 am

Samsung 256GB 830.

The reason why is it will last across to your next system. Assuming you already have Windows 7, you should have ~$300 left over that would snag a 7950. (Though if you can wait 4-5 months, there'll probably be new GPUs)
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:47 am

You actually have some mix n' match options.

A SSD will give you a kick up in performance for pretty cheap up to the ~256 GB range.

RAM is cheap right now, so you could easily throw in an upgrade to 8 or even 16 GB.

And depending on either of those, you might still have room for a 7950. The other thing to keep in mind here is that some of the Radeons are still coming with three games, so even if you have a nice path to a SSD and/or RAM, $300 for a 7950 + 3 games pretty much dominates the value perspective right now.

Of course, as people mentioned, your resolution could also be a factor in getting "max" settings. Even if you couldn't set things to max/ultra, upgrading to a 1200p IPS display could make everything look a lot nicer, so keep that in mind as well.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:57 am

Thanks for the reply's everyone. Right now I'm running a 1080p monitor, upgraded that last year and I'm happy with that. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 824001414R

At work....more to come...

frumper15 wrote:I don't think we know your monitor resolution. I'm running a 5850 and playing borderlands and BF3 at quality and speeds I've happy with running 1920x1200 resolution. Definitely an SSD. See if you can snag a Samsung 830 before they're all gone - 256 would be nice. That should leave you $300 or so - some more memory wouldn't hurt - $50 would easily get you 8GB - I just got 8GB for $25 so there's a potential to pay less. You could also go for a 128gb SSD of the modern,reliable variety for $100 or so, some RAM for anotehr $40-50 and that should leave you $350 for a nice graphics upgrade. It's also hard to argue with getting a really nice monitor that will last you longer than just about any other component you can buy.


I forgot to mention that I can play bf3 and bl2 just fine right now on med low setting at 1620 x 1080p, but I'm trying to beef up my system for future games. Arma 2 would more or less be my bench mark here. Right now I can only average 20-30 fps on very low settings. If I could max that out I would be a happy camper.

--I also looked up the Samsung 256GB 830 SSD and they are out of stock at newegg :x . what do yall think about this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820239045
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:08 am

steel-the-deal wrote:--I also looked up the Samsung 256GB 830 SSD and they are out of stock at newegg :x . what do yall think about this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820239045


In stock here: http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=74136

Not from the US so don't know if they're any good as a seller.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:19 pm

Thanks yogi. I've been looking around a bit and saw good reviews on the gtx 660. With my specs, would grabbing two of these for sli be a smart option?
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:30 pm

steel-the-deal wrote:Thanks yogi. I've been looking around a bit and saw good reviews on the gtx 660. With my specs, would grabbing two of these for sli be a smart option?


Nope, better buy one beefier card unless one of those cards is good enough when SLI doesn't cause issues (scalling isn't the only thing that might not be done right, there are plenty of other glitches).

Come to think of it, how about a inside the second review for SLi and CF setups?

Back on topic, if you want to max out games, the SSD, while a good upgrade it won't boost fps, but give you a more stable peak at all times and drastically reduce load times. If the fps counter is what you really want to improve and you can't wait any longer than just buy the best card for the money around the 400-450$ mark. Advisable you read reviews about it before deciding and also choosing one that has a good custom cooler just to reduce noise when the card will be used under load for long periods of time.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:38 pm

Ever since TR started doing the "Inside the Second" type reviews, I've been skeptical of SLI/Crossfire. A single investment in a strong card is much more valuable than rigging two lesser cards together.

Arclight has a good point as well. SSDs are excellent for overall PC performance, but they won't push out faster frames.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:39 pm

His $500 is bang on the mark for the 7950 ($300) and the Samsung 830 256GB combined ($199). Can't see how you can spend the money any better.

The single 7950 is MORE than enough for 1080p and comes with 3 games. Huge value.

@OP don't do CF/SLI yet. I think Nvidia/AMD have proven it is still not worth it as it doesn't provide a benefit to minimum FPS enough to prove its worth + inside the frame reviews show the crappy micro-stutter issues as the other guys are suggesting.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:09 pm

yogibbear wrote:His $500 is bang on the mark for the 7950 ($300) and the Samsung 830 256GB combined ($199). Can't see how you can spend the money any better.

The single 7950 is MORE than enough for 1080p and comes with 3 games. Huge value.

@OP don't do CF/SLI yet. I think Nvidia/AMD have proven it is still not worth it as it doesn't provide a benefit to minimum FPS enough to prove its worth + inside the frame reviews show the crappy micro-stutter issues as the other guys are suggesting.


But, but the recent revisited review of the 7950 vs 660Ti shows the 660Ti would be the better choice at that price point.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:21 pm

Arclight wrote:But, but the recent revisited review of the 7950 vs 660Ti shows the 660Ti would be the better choice at that price point.
Not exactly. That new review definitely shows that something wonky is going on with the 7950 in combination with the new drivers, Win8, etc., but the games bundled with the 7950 still outweigh the value of the 660 Ti at that point, IMO. As long as you want one of those games, it's a better deal.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:41 pm

superjawes wrote:IMO. As long as you want one of those games, it's [7950] a better deal.

Unless you want Assassins Creed 3 which is bundled with the 660Ti.

Definetly another vote for the SSD first and foremost, then a new GPU if you really need to spend $500.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:57 pm

Kind of broke right now Edit: Expendable entertainment related money is limited and need to capitalize on the 6 month no interest deal from newegg.

Here is what I'm looking at:
GPU-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814127667
SSD-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820239045
Liquid CPU cooler-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835181010

Ive been thinking about swapping out my old heatsink/fan as its bulky and the blades are a pain in the ass to clean. With the cooler, it puts me at $502 which qualifies me for the 6th month no interest plan...what do you guys think?
Last edited by steel-the-deal on Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:33 pm

steel-the-deal wrote:Kind of broke right now and need to capitalize on the 6 month no interest deal from newegg.

Here is what I'm looking at:
GPU-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814127667
SSD-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820239045
Liquid CPU cooler-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835181010

it puts me at $502 which qualifies me for the 6th month no interest plan...what do you guys think?

Uh, what do I think? I think that spending half a grand you don't have, on entertainment gear you don't need, which could theoretically depreciate faster than the payment schedule, is not a smart way to upgrade.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:19 pm

steel-the-deal wrote:Kind of broke right now and need to capitalize on the 6 month no interest deal from newegg.

Ummm....If you're broke, why are you spending $500 on computer parts?
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:20 pm

ludi wrote:
steel-the-deal wrote:Kind of broke right now and need to capitalize on the 6 month no interest deal from newegg.

Here is what I'm looking at:
GPU-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814127667
SSD-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820239045
Liquid CPU cooler-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835181010

it puts me at $502 which qualifies me for the 6th month no interest plan...what do you guys think?

Uh, what do I think? I think that spending half a grand you don't have, on entertainment gear you don't need, which could theoretically depreciate faster than the payment schedule, is not a smart way to upgrade.


Well of course I don't need it...but I want it, and I'm not hocking food stamps to get it...If I was in jeopardy of loosing shelter and going hungry I would place my assets else-ware. As far as technology depreciation, doesn't that go without saying?

I must be in the wrong place, I thought this was a place where people find unique ways to waste money on frivolous pieces of tech that the average person doesn't need...
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:44 pm

Wait... but how are you buying people christmas presents? Or affording some time off over xmas? Is this on top of the $500 worth of debt you're taking out to gain some PC performance?

I really couldn't justify taking a "loan" even if it was "interest free" (always read the fine print) to upgrade something as depreciating in value as a PC.... though if you have a guaranteed job over the next 6 months... then... you know it's your money.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:57 pm

steel-the-deal wrote:I must be in the wrong place, I thought this was a place where people find unique ways to waste money on frivolous pieces of tech that the average person doesn't need...

Don't misunderstand us...we're all for wasting money on things that might seem frivolous, but we only spend money we HAVE. As yogi pointed out, it sounds like you're taking on $500 in debt for this and not actually spending $500.

You might put yourself in a much better position by saving up the $500 (or more) over six months and getting something much better without taking on any debt...
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:58 pm

Yep I'll have my job in 6 months and I'm on a salery so I'll be getting paid during my three weeks off (higher ed). Also, I have a very small family. Everyone is of age and doesn't need much...we usually just exchange gift cards, clothing, and stocking stuffer type items. as for the fine print, I actually just went to new egg and I guess they changed it from $500 to $200 :) ..so that might change things a bit...But I have purchased parts for two full builds using the 12 month no interest plan and never missed a payment. It's actually a great way to build credit. I'm fully aware of how to maintain a budget, I'm 29 and have been doing it since I was in college.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:06 pm

superjawes wrote:
steel-the-deal wrote:I must be in the wrong place, I thought this was a place where people find unique ways to waste money on frivolous pieces of tech that the average person doesn't need...

Don't misunderstand us...we're all for wasting money on things that might seem frivolous, but we only spend money we HAVE. As yogi pointed out, it sounds like you're taking on $500 in debt for this and not actually spending $500.

You might put yourself in a much better position by saving up the $500 (or more) over six months and getting something much better without taking on any debt...


Believe me Super, I do have the money, its just I don't like the idea of dropping that much cash at a time on stuff like this. I put alot away in savings (that I dont touch), that is not for this type of thing. This is just how I prefer to do things. I have been contemplating this upgrade for a while now as it feels like I'm just squeaking by with the games I like to play. I dont like playing slideshows and with my setup I'm taking a pretty big quality hit adjusting for performance.
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Re: 500$ budget, what to upgrade

Postposted on Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:13 pm

yogibbear wrote:
steel-the-deal wrote: --I also looked up the Samsung 256GB 830 SSD and they are out of stock at newegg :x
In stock here: http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=74136
And here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/8 ... ERNAL.html
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