Upgrade time…I think.

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Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:45 pm

I have an older system and was looking to upgrade it.

I currently have the following:
CPU: Q6600 @3.31 GHz
Motherboard: Abit IP35 Pro
RAM: 8GB
GPU: XFX GeForce 8800 GT 512MB
Storage: 5x WD6400AAKS 640GB drives
Samsung SH-S203N
OS: Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
Display: 2560x1440

I use Lightroom, Photoshop, Mathematica and Autodesk Inventor Pro. The file sizes I am working with in Photoshop have grown to the point where Photoshop has become annoyingly slow when applying filter, layers etc. I have not purchased or used a computer game in many years. That being said I probably buy F1 2012 and something else that is graphics intensive.

I was thinking that I would get a SSD and new GPU now and then wait for Haswell to be released in the spring to upgrade the rest of my system.
TR recommends the Intel 335 240GB SSD in their Christmas 2012 system guide. However, in the system guide the price is quoted as $170 and it is currently listed for $200 on Newegg.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167128&CMP=OTC-TechReport&ATT=20-167-128&nm_mc=OTC-TechReport&cm_mmc=OTC-TechReport-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA

Is the Intel 335 240GB still the SSD to get even at $200?

As to a GPU do I go with TR’s recommendation of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti for $300 ($280 after rebate)? I’m not sure I have any interest in Assassin’s Creed III.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127697&CMP=OTC-TechReport&ATT=14-127-697&nm_mc=OTC-TechReport&cm_mmc=OTC-TechReport-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA


Thank you for the help in advance.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:00 pm

Sorry but I don't see much point in buying either of those products now and then waiting for Haswell. You're looking at a March/April/May timeframe for that CPU. The products you'd buy now would be cheaper then. Just wait to buy stuff until then.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:13 pm

1) I have to agree with Jack. I would wait for Haswell also unless you can't wait. The following comments are assuming you can't wait.
2) Do you have a budget / spending limit
3) If you're not going to be hardcore into gaming, I would recommend a GTX 660 (non-Ti) The $100 savings can justify getting an i7-3770K instead over an i5.
4) You live near a Microcenter so you should definetly try to get your CPU and motherboard there. They have the best deals on CPU + Mobo combos. You can get an i7-3770K for $230 and $40 off a motherboard of your choice. I would suggest either the AsRock Z77Pro4-M (mATX) or the Asus P8Z77V-LK (ATX).
5) I would say 16GB RAM is a must if you're having problems with your current config. Get a 2x8GB dimm kit so you have the opportunity to possibly upgrade to 32GB in the future if need be.
6) I would wait for Christmas sales on SSDs. Intel has the best track record of "reliability." But that's not to say that other companies' SSDs aren't reliable. The drives to beat (performance-wise) right now are the Samsung 840 Pro and OCZ Vector. The downside is that they're both on the expensive side.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:33 pm

DancinJack wrote:You're looking at a March/April/May timeframe for that CPU. The products you'd buy now would be cheaper then. Just wait to buy stuff until then.


That’s an assumption.

Are you telling me I will see no performance benefit with an SSD and new GPU?
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:40 pm

DPete27 wrote:1) I have to agree with Jack. I would wait for Haswell also unless you can't wait. The following comments are assuming you can't wait.
2) Do you have a budget / spending limit
3) If you're not going to be hardcore into gaming, I would recommend a GTX 660 (non-Ti) The $100 savings can justify getting an i7-3770K instead over an i5.
4) You live near a Microcenter so you should definetly try to get your CPU and motherboard there. They have the best deals on CPU + Mobo combos. You can get an i7-3770K for $230 and $40 off a motherboard of your choice. I would suggest either the AsRock Z77Pro4-M (mATX) or the Asus P8Z77V-LK (ATX).
5) I would say 16GB RAM is a must if you're having problems with your current config. Get a 2x8GB dimm kit so you have the opportunity to possibly upgrade to 32GB in the future if need be.
6) I would wait for Christmas sales on SSDs. Intel has the best track record of "reliability." But that's not to say that other companies' SSDs aren't reliable. The drives to beat (performance-wise) right now are the Samsung 840 Pro and OCZ Vector. The downside is that they're both on the expensive side.


Would it be worth getting an i5/i7 now or better to wait for Haswell as I have waited so long already to upgrade?
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:42 pm

If I decided to get an SSD would the Intel 335 240GB be the SSD to get at $200?
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:07 pm

I would honestly go for the 240GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS for $170. That's the fastest sandforce-based drive you'll find and $0.70/GB is a great price. I have one (see signature) and haven't had any problems with it. I fully trust all 3rd-gen OCZ SSDs since they've had all the Sandforce kinks worked out. You'll find that people don't trust OCZ because they oftentimes don't test/validate their products as much as other vendors before sending them to market. Because of this, OCZ took a lot of the flak when the "sandforce bug" reared it's ugly head last year, but they were also on the front lines of all manufacturers trying to find a solution. That's all been cleared up since November 2011 though.

SSD's are a great way to give an aging system a boost, maybe enough to hold you over until Haswell comes out if that's your goal. Sure, prices will probably continue to drop, but they've kindof stagnated over the past few months and are actually a bit more expensive now than they were earlier this year, but not by much. I speculate that certain market events caused this, but that's a long story. Basically OCZ backed off on their competitive pricing a few months ago and everyone else relaxed their prices a bit because of it.

Here's the thing with the rest of the build. The $230 price for the 3770K at Microcenter is a great deal, but you don't need a K-series version with the unlocked multiplier. Microcenter had similar deals on i7-2600K's before Ivy bridge came out also but you won't find those kinds of prices on Haswell right after launch. Microcenter will still be the cheapest (maybe $30 cheaper than everywhere else for the CPU), and they always feature $40 off a motherboard when purchased with a certain list of CPU choices. You'll probably have to wait until late 2013 to see Haswell i7's this deeply discounted. You can check out the Haswell speculation thread or read through this article to make up your mind.

If you're going to wait on the CPU and mobo, I see no reason to get a new graphics card unless you plan on buying F1 2012 soon and it won't run acceptably on your 8800GT. GPU prices will continue to drop and the AMD 8xxx series GPU's will be coming out in late Q2 2013 which should at least force current-gen GPU prices down, but there might be some good Christmas deals that are too good to pass up. Keep an eye out. Just a week ago this Zotac GTX 660 was going for $170 after MIR for example.
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:44 pm

polonius wrote:
DancinJack wrote:You're looking at a March/April/May timeframe for that CPU. The products you'd buy now would be cheaper then. Just wait to buy stuff until then.


That’s an assumption.

Are you telling me I will see no performance benefit with an SSD and new GPU?


It's an inference.

You would see a performance benefit from that stuff, but if your computer is at least usable, why wouldn't you wait until you get the other stuff so that it's cheaper?
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:06 pm

I don't see any problem getting an SSD now. Unless something drops out of the sky without warning I don't know about any pending hot SSD releases, and if your Lightroom, Photoshop, Mathematica and Autodesk Inventor Pro use creates a lot of hard drive file swapping you'll see a nice speed increase in addition to the normal SSD 'snappiness'. My personal choice in Sandforce drives is Intel, their toolbox software is nice and they have a semi-custom firmware which went through more validation than stock Sandforce firmware. Plus they do perform a little differently (better) than stock Sandforce firmware drives, but in general Sandforce drives aren't the all-around fastest any more however they are priced well. (I have a Vertex 2 now in a secondary PC as well that has run without issue, so I don't think OCZ is 'bad' just that the Intel Sandforces are better.) There have been pretty consistent MIR sales on the 330 series, which is virtually identical except that it uses previous process node flash, you might find the 180GB around $100.

As for GPU, you should look up which of your productivity programs benefit most from which GPUs. Between the SSD and GPU-assist in Photoshop you ought to see a good boost to tide you over until Haswell.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:29 pm

Your current GPU is pretty slow by today's standards. I see no problem in upgrading - you should see a performance benefit in all current games, and when you upgrade the CPU/mobo/RAM you'll see it really stretch its legs. BTW, at 3.3GHz, your Q6600 is already fairly darn fast. Probably close to as fast in gaming as people who are pairing this same GPU with an AMD FX CPU, and definitely as fast as people with Phenom II systems in the 3.6-3.8GHz range. Will it be held back? Yes. Will it be an improvement now? You bet.

Same with the SSD. I'd always jump on an SSD now, as what that alleviates has nothing to do with the CPU. Since most SSDs are SATA III and your mobo most likely supports only SATA II it'll be capped at around or somewhat below 300MB/sec but it'll still be darn fast. And with the rest of the system upgraded, you'll really unlock it.

If you were upgrading the mobo/CPU/RAM without the GPU/SSD upgrade, I'd say no, hold off, but right now the GPU and mechanical storage are the slowest parts of your system.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:39 pm

I agree with getting the SSD and GPU.

But I also recommend upgrading to Haswell. I'm on a first gen Core i7 (920) and I plan to.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:38 am

MadManOriginal wrote:My personal choice in Sandforce drives is Intel, their toolbox software is nice and they have a semi-custom firmware which went through more validation than stock Sandforce firmware. Plus they do perform a little differently (better) than stock Sandforce firmware drives

Are you thinking about the Intel 520 that was released after the sandforce bug was resolved? Obviously the Intel 330 and 335 use similar firmware though. Also I would like to mention that NAND type (asynchronous, synchronous, or toggle) has a much greater effect on Sandforce performance than Intel's "firmware performance tweaks."

I don't want to send this thread into a downward spiral of brand-loyalty wars. I'm not trying to discourage the OP from buying the Intel 335, just pointing out the facts. In the end, what we're squandering over here are benchmark numbers, not real-world performance. Any SSD is so much faster than a mechanical hdd that the differences between various SSDs is almost a moot point. Sure, various SSDs have their weaknesses, but TR gerbils aren't going to suggest a sub-par drive. I did A LOT of research for 4 months until the sandforce bug was resolved before my Vertex 3 purchase in 2011. But various people will always weigh reliability differently. If an Intel SSD gives you the warm fuzzies and you don't mind the potentially higher price tag, by all means buy one. Just remember, all major vendors including Intel have had reliability issues in the past and there will always be SSD's that fail.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:38 am

polonius wrote:
DancinJack wrote:You're looking at a March/April/May timeframe for that CPU. The products you'd buy now would be cheaper then. Just wait to buy stuff until then.


That’s an assumption.

Are you telling me I will see no performance benefit with an SSD and new GPU?

There would certainly be a benefit, but it looks like you're going to be doing a complete system refresh by the time you get your Haswell CPU, and if you're waiting until April or May for your CPU, it is almost guaranteed that something will drop in price, or something current will get replaced at your current price point (Intel tends to do this when they raise speeds on a $X00 processor).

The point was that you are still at a functional stage with your current build, and the suggestion to wait is only to get the most power for your money.

You don't have to follow that, though. It is your system and your choice to what you want to put in it. You would see a nice boost from a new GPU, and an SSD will always get you better boot times than a mechanical drive.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:37 am

I don't think SSD prices will drop significantly in that timeframe. They seem to have stabilized at their already low prices.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:40 am

I think you're safe upgrading to both an SSD and a GPU. I like Samsung drive and their new 840 Pro is very good.

I know you didn't mention it in your first post, but the 8GB of RAM might be slowing you down (depending on your version of Photoshop). Photoshop loves RAM. If you're board supports DDR3 you could pick some DDR3 RAM (24GB) up right now and then use it in your future build.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:40 am

You mentioned you have "5x WD6400AAKS 640GB ".

Those drives amount only to 3,2 TB but since i'm no RAID expert can someone answer if OP would see better performance with a single 3 TB 7200 RPM, 64Mb cache, SATA III drive? I never used multiple drives so i have no idea, but my hunch is that slow downs should occur when the files get backed up on multiple drives and or transfered from one drive to another. Again i never used RAID so go easy on me.

Right now i think you should wait till you can get some Christmas deals on SSDs and combos with CPU+mobo and what not. Haswell will come soon, it's true, but if you can't wait try to at least take advantage of some deals since it's that time of the year.

If you decide to buy just an SSD and video card now, they will be both bottlenecked by your system and with the same money you probably will be able to buy something better when Haswell launches. If you're ready to deal with buyer's guilt then make your move now, if not have a little more patience.

Anyways regardless of what you will choose to do, i'm certain you will be impressed by your new system.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:04 am

we run an Autodesk-heavy environment, backed up with a lot of Adobe and we found that on consumer cards, AMD's GCN cards are significantly better than the Keplers (and non GF100 Fermi) for viewports, and several of the plugins for those programs use OpenCL, not CUDA.

To put it into context, A 7850 with 2GB was around 2.5x the performance of a 560Ti. It was enough of a result for me to order 8x 3GB 7970's for live modelling.

The added bonus is that a non-trivial chunk of our renders now run on V-Ray RT, which is incredibly fast on a 2048-shader, 1GHz OpenCL card. It won't be long before our 18-node CPU renderfarm is obsolete, and the slowest CPU in that stack is a i7-2600K.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:25 am

DPete27 wrote:
MadManOriginal wrote:My personal choice in Sandforce drives is Intel, their toolbox software is nice and they have a semi-custom firmware which went through more validation than stock Sandforce firmware. Plus they do perform a little differently (better) than stock Sandforce firmware drives

Are you thinking about the Intel 520 that was released after the sandforce bug was resolved? Obviously the Intel 330 and 335 use similar firmware though. Also I would like to mention that NAND type (asynchronous, synchronous, or toggle) has a much greater effect on Sandforce performance than Intel's "firmware performance tweaks."

I don't want to send this thread into a downward spiral of brand-loyalty wars. I'm not trying to discourage the OP from buying the Intel 335, just pointing out the facts. In the end, what we're squandering over here are benchmark numbers, not real-world performance. Any SSD is so much faster than a mechanical hdd that the differences between various SSDs is almost a moot point. Sure, various SSDs have their weaknesses, but TR gerbils aren't going to suggest a sub-par drive. I did A LOT of research for 4 months until the sandforce bug was resolved before my Vertex 3 purchase in 2011. But various people will always weigh reliability differently. If an Intel SSD gives you the warm fuzzies and you don't mind the potentially higher price tag, by all means buy one. Just remember, all major vendors including Intel have had reliability issues in the past and there will always be SSD's that fail.


No, I wasn't thinking of the 520 since it predates the 330 - therefore the 330 and 335 were also 'released after the Sandforce bug was resolved'. They are all async NAND so are comparable in that way to the high-end drives of other brands, like the Vertex for OCZ. One thing to note is that to maximize the abilities of the controller you need to get at least a 180GB drive, otherwise some channels go underused. You're right though it is niggling between Sandforce drives with the same NAND type, and any reasonably modern SSD that isn't a low-end model will be miles ahead of any HDD.

It's true no controller manufacturer has been immune to bugs, but we aren't talking about the 320. The new hotnesses are the Samsung 840 Pro and OCZ Vector, but they are priced accordingly - if one can pay for them go for it. I've seen the 180GB 330 for $90-$100 after MIR often, and the 240GB as low as $130-140 making them comparable to deals on other brands. Might not see that too much more now if those were just inventory reductions but hey :)
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:05 am

kumori wrote:I know you didn't mention it in your first post, but the 8GB of RAM might be slowing you down (depending on your version of Photoshop). Photoshop loves RAM. If you're board supports DDR3 you could pick some DDR3 RAM (24GB) up right now and then use it in your future build.

His CPU is a Q6600, or a Core 2 era CPU. I don't think anything in that family supported DDR3, and if there were a few DDR3 motherboards, they would not have been able to utilize the DDR3 speeds because of limitations of the FSB communication with the memory controller.

But yes, having lots of fast RAM would help out a lot, and I imagine that the jump to a DDR3 compatible motherboard with at least 16GB will really free up Photoshop.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:41 am

Polonius wrote: Since brevity is the soul of wit and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief.
:wink:
polonius wrote:CPU: Q6600 @3.31 GHz
Motherboard: Abit IP35 Pro
RAM: 8GB
I was thinking that I would get a SSD and new GPU now and then wait for Haswell to be released in the spring to upgrade the rest of my system.
If you're going to upgrade any of these, you're looking at a complete system replacement. Waiting for Haswell may be sensible enough but if you need an upgrade now, an LGA1155 Ivy Bridge system with 2x8 or 4x8 GiB of memory would provide a significant boost in performance. You could spend $110(+7½) + $330 + $150 = $600 on motherboard + processor + memory. You could save $100 if you live near a Micro Center store.

polonius wrote: 5x WD6400AAKS 640GB drives
Samsung SH-S203N
With the addition of an SSD, you could continue to run these for a while, but if you're building a new system, you'll want to go with SSDs and 2+ TB hard-drives.

polonius wrote: GPU: XFX GeForce 8800 GT 512MB
This component is ripe for replacement with something like a Radeon HD7950 3GB (slightly under $300) or a Radeon HD7850 2GB (under $200).

polonius wrote: Is the Intel 335 240GB still the SSD to get even at $200?
I'd have suggested the Samsung 830 a few weeks ago, but it appears to be completely gone from e-tailers' stocks now. The Samsung 840 Pro is even more expensive than the Intel models. That Intel SSD is $189 at B&H Photo Video Pro Audio and $200 at Newegg.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:01 pm

First of all, thank you for the help in December.

I got a Zotac GTX 660 video card and an Intel 335 240GB SSD.

I think I’m ready to finally retire my Q6600 an Ivy Bridge CPU and accompanying motherboard. I don’t think it is worth my while to wait for Haswell to be released.

Microcenter seems to have some good bundle deals for CPUs and motherboards. I was thinking of the i5-3570K, but am unsure of which motherboard to get. I plan to overclock the CPU and was looking that the following motherboards (prices are when purchased with the i5-3570K):

$60 ASUS P8Z77-V LK

$80 ASRock Z77 Extreme4

$50 ASRock Z77 Extreme6

Is there any reason to spend more on a motherboard? Both ASRock motherboards have 4 SATA III controllers as opposed the Asus’s 2 SATA III controllers. How are ASRock motherboards? Should I be looking at another motherboard?


Thank you for the help.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:22 pm

Only noticeable benefit you get with Asus is better fan speed control in the form of an adjustable graph. Asrock and others just offer a target CPU temp. Once the CPU temp exceeds that target the fan ramps up at a pre-determined ratio.
Everything else is just physical features. I like my AsRock Z77 Pro4-M if you're looking for an mATX board. Otherwise, if ATX is more your style, that's a great deal on the Extreme 6!!!
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:33 pm

polonius wrote:I think I’m ready to finally retire my Q6600 an Ivy Bridge CPU and accompanying motherboard. I don’t think it is worth my while to wait for Haswell to be released.


Yeah. Most people don't expect huge performance gains from Haswell anyway, since Intel's focus is more on mobile/power consumption. I'm sure an overclocked Ivy Bridge (and possibly even Sandy) will be faster than Haswell. Of course you will be able to OC Haswell too though.

As for motherboards, I've had a lot of ASUS boards over the years and always been happy with their quality and reliability. I've never tried an AsRock board so can't really comment on them.
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:53 pm

I do not really place PC games, but should I be concerned about this benchmark of the ASRock Extreme6? http://www.anandtech.com/show/6089/asro ... tes-back/7
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Re: Upgrade time…I think.

Postposted on Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:54 am

polonius wrote:should I be concerned about this benchmark of the ASRock Extreme6

That is perplexing, but the Extreme6 offers more features for a better price than the other two boards with that sale. I have to believe that the performance shortfalls in that article were due to some sort of BIOS issue. Since that article was published on July 13, 2012, AsRock has released BIOS updates 1.9, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, and now 2.6. You can view the fixes incorporated in each of these releases here. (I'd still get the Extreme6)
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