Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

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Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:53 pm

Hey all, I plan on upgrading later this year (after Haswell) and am curious if I'm going to notice anything with upgrading.
Here are my current specs:
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103808 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128392 GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820211409 ADATA XPG Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (doubled up to 8 gigs)
VID: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814125348 GIGABYTE GV-R685D5-1GD Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
For my CPU cooler, i have a Corsair H60 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835181015
I bought the black edition because I planned on overclocking, but didn't notice much of a difference, so it sits at stock.
I currently have 4 HD's
C: (windows and programs) Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
D: (which i install my games on) Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 250GB 7.2K IDE ATA/100 Hard Drive ST3250623A
E: (which has my music, and all my kids videos which streams to an xbox and 2 rokus) Seagate Barracuda Green ST1500DL003 1.5TB 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s
F: (which has tv shows and other stuff) Hitachi GST Deskstar 7K3000 HDS723015BLA642 (0F12114) 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s

I have a 3 screen setup but not in the traditional sense. My main monitor which I use for gaming is a Dell ST2410 running at 1080p, my second monitor which I use for browsing while gaming is a old Hitachi L90D+, and my third screen which I use to stream vids from my machine to the living room is a 720p Samsung DLP (which is going to get upgraded at Black Friday this year to something, just dunno what yet)

So when I game, I play FPS's like Day of Defeat, Call of Duty, etc and the other game I play is WoW.

What upgrade would be my best bang for my buck? My goal is to get something that produces less heat and use less electricity because now, its hot as hell where my desk is. Ambient temp in my place is 77F.
I currently run Win7 64bit.
I have no issues going Intel, I've always bought AMD because its cheaper. Also, I have no desire to go nVidia.

Thank you for your time and suggestions!
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:03 pm

1) If you want to lower heat, you want lower TDP parts. Besides the performance benefits of Intel you also have lower TDP than AMD. Based on current trends, you should be looking at something in the i5 family.

2) I recently upgraded from a 6850 to a GTX 660. Your 6850 is for all intents and purposes equal to an AMD 7770. Budget is always a factor and GPUs tend to be the most frequently upgraded component, but just shy of the $200 mark is where the price/performance curve starts to level off. 7870 territory. Watch for sales and game bundles. Good thing about GPUs is that they can easily be transferred from old to new systems.

3) The most notable speed up will definetly be to get an SSD for OS and programs. I've been comfortably served by a 120GB SSD and put all my music/movies/data/pictures on a mechanical hdd. Samsing 840 or Intel 335 are good bets.
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:01 pm

Thank you for the response. I think this question might be coming too soon, but would it be worth catching an Ivy Bridge on sale, or getting Haswell?
Also, going from AMD to Intel = wipe n reinstall windows? Or have we advanced enough where you can swap without starting over?
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:17 pm

If you're going to wait for Haswell, you might as well get Haswell. Not that there will be a huge jump in immediate performance, but the instruction set extensions like AVX and TSX promise to have a similar effect on accelerating applications like SSE2 did.

For GPUs, the market is still a little uncertain. You'll have to evaluate the games you want to play at the resolution you'll be playing them at when you're ready to buy, and definitely don't discriminate between AMD and Nvidia. You won't be 'switching,' since you're looking for a faster replacement card instead of a side-grade.
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:15 pm

I agree, SSD's are probably the single biggest component upgrade if you are using HDD for your OS and games.

As for gfx cards, just pick your budget and hold off as long as possible, read the TR reviews :-) and pick the best price/performance card for the price you have in mind.
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:54 am

For what it's worth I'm an AMD fanboy going through rehab thanks to a $180 i5 deal at Microcenter. If you have one locally I'd definitely recommend checking it out, they usually have a good Intel quad for about $40 less than the competition as a loss leader. Simply unbeatable value, and Intel boards have gotten a lot cheaper too. As such I would second getting an IB i5 because you'll save power/heat over the long term and better performance to boot. You could probably even get away with an i3 that produces very little heat and costs a lot less, since very few games can use more than two cores. Here's ye some solid value, or you could get the trusty old 2500k's successor. Phenom II was a great design for its time but it really shows its age and even a modest CPU sould show some improvement provided you go for faster cores even if that means having less of them (i.e. don't get sucked into the eight-slowpokes trap). That said, none of the stuff you listed suggests any sort of CPU bottleneck so if you upgrade here it should be for heat/power/reliability, not performance. DoD, CoD 1-3, WoW are all like ten years old now so your system already smokes them.

Per another thread I suck at motherboards, in the past I've just gone with the cheapest thing they had or got a Fry's CPU combo so I won't comment there. I'm looking at upgrading to 7 so I'll notice much more of an improvement here than you would. SATA III and better HDs might be worth it but I'll get into that later.

As long as you're spending money and memory is cheap I see no reason not to get 16GB but if you don't use VMs or things like Solidworks that eat up all your resources you might not notice a difference. Keep in mind also that if/when the DDR3 standard becomes the DDR4 standard, DDR3 will become more expensive and difficult to upgrade as DDR2 is now.

Beyond power consumption I doubt you'd have any need to change the GPU, 6850 is a good one unless you're doing multiple monitors at high resolution (which you're not if you are running a single 1920x1080). And honestly, even as much of an energy miser as I am switching from a 6850 to anything in the 7000 series or Kepler based solely on power draw is really daft.


The one area that I think you could surely benefit is from setting up network storage instead of having all those media drives plugged into your box. Better backup potential, and you can use them across multiple systems. Also, those four HDDs are likely putting out almost as much heat as your hot 955 is so reducing or moving them elsewhere equals a more comfortable global command center. There are some very nice and affordable NAS solutions out there not to mention various DIY options, if I was you that would be my top priority as while you may not have an 'aha' moment when you flip the switch it's a much better and safer infrastructure.
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:27 am

XorCist wrote:Thank you for the response. I think this question might be coming too soon, but would it be worth catching an Ivy Bridge on sale, or getting Haswell?

As Airman said, just go with Haswell. As linked before, Haswell will be priced similar to competing IVB parts. As you can see, Sandy Bridge hasn't really come down in price even though its almost 2 generations old. Same will generally hold true for IVB.

XorCist wrote:Also, going from AMD to Intel = wipe n reinstall windows? Or have we advanced enough where you can swap without starting over?

Since you should be getting an SSD :lol: yes, you'll have to reinstall windows. IIRC, you'd have to reinstall anyway, even if you kept your current storage config.

8GB of RAM is enough. NovusBogus is partially correct. RAM prices are definetly not as cheap as they were 4 months ago ($40 for 8GB) but unfortunately, it looks like prices will continue to rise. I'd do 8GB now (1.5V is max recommended for Intel memory controllers unfortunately) and watch for good sales. I did the same this past Christmas when I purchased an extra 8GB kit for cheap knowing prices were as low as they'd ever be. Of course, maybe prices will come back down.....(crosses fingers)
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:21 am

Thanks for all the responses..here are some more follow up questions I have.

Would I need a SSD for my windows drive, and another SSD for my games since they are both on seperate drives? Or do I get a bigger SSD and consolidate to 1 drive? Currently if I add the space that is used on both those 2 drives I sit at ~200GB, so I'd have to get a 256 SSD.

Never thought of using a NAS. It'll definately be something to look into. Main question I have on that is, can you torrent directly to a NAS?

There aren't any Fry's close to me. So Tigerdirect, Amazon or Newegg are the only real options I have.

Am I understanding this correct? The ram I have now won't work in a SB, IB, or Haswell board because the voltage is too high?
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:17 am

DPete27 wrote:
XorCist wrote:Also, going from AMD to Intel = wipe n reinstall windows? Or have we advanced enough where you can swap without starting over?

Since you should be getting an SSD :lol: yes, you'll have to reinstall windows. IIRC, you'd have to reinstall anyway, even if you kept your current storage config.


I'd be willing to bet he could get away with it. Windows tends to use generic drivers for important stuff when you swap anything out from under it, even motherboards. Windows XP was generally good at it and everything from Vista on really doesn't care at all, which is a welcome consequence of Microsoft changing the driver model. You'll just have to reactivate it, which at most involves a quick call to Microsoft.

You'll have to pay a little attention to the transfer to an SSD (and I'd do that first), first concerning realignment of the filesystem and then to make sure Trim is working with a new OS.

But in theory, you can transfer to an SSD, upgrade your hardware, and then upgrade to Windows 7/8, without having to redo anything.
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:39 pm

XorCist wrote:Would I need a SSD for my windows drive, and another SSD for my games since they are both on seperate drives? Or do I get a bigger SSD and consolidate to 1 drive? Currently if I add the space that is used on both those 2 drives I sit at ~200GB

Games dont have to be on a SSD, neither do all your programs really (just the ones you use the most that you'd prefer to load faster). The benefits of having games on an SSD are reduced level load times, and some minor animation smoothness improvements (TR did an article on this, but I cant find it). If you've got free space on the SSD, put games on there, otherwise...hdd.

I'd be willing to bet that you won't have 200GB once you have everything installed on the SSD, but if that's what you have now, looking at a 256GB SSD might be a good idea. If you have a lot of games (and you still play them all) and only enough budget for a 120GB SSD, you could stick with a separate hdd for games like you do now. Unless you've got a lot of money, SSDs typically require some sort of space/file management. By the looks of it, you're no stranger to this concept.

Airmantharp wrote:I'd be willing to bet he could get away with [not reformatting] it ...

Didn't know that, I figured it would be a pain/impossible to remove chipset drivers and such that were AMD specific and the stability/comatability issues that those residual drivers could cause. Regardless, I would take the opportunity to "clean house." If a machine has been up for many years, it can accumulate a lot of "junk" buried deep that slows things down. (I don't like reformating either)
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:59 pm

If you're transferring to a new boot drive, you don't have to reformat, but it's generally a good practice. Especially if you're getting lots of new stuff (the SSD, CPU, mobo, and GPU, maybe?), you might as well start fresh.
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:04 pm

As others have said, SSD is the #1 upgrade you need. One large SSD is cheaper than two small ones, and with SSDs you don't have to worry about response times when having your OS and games on the same drive.

If you really want something that runs cooler, go with Haswell, but otherwise I don't think it's necessary to upgrade anything else but the small HDDs.. Rather use the money for a GPU upgrade.

Alternatively, if you decide to go with Haswell, you could consider leaving the old system intact and use it as a file server...?
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Wed May 01, 2013 9:34 pm

I was looking at the computer my daughter currently uses, its an Athlon 64 X2 3800 with 2 gigs of ram, could I underclock that, and use that as a NAS?
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Re: Planning to upgrade later this year, what would be best?

Postposted on Wed May 01, 2013 10:49 pm

XorCist wrote:I was looking at the computer my daughter currently uses, its an Athlon 64 X2 3800 with 2 gigs of ram, could I underclock that, and use that as a NAS?


You can use a 486 for a NAS- the biggest limitation is going to be the storage interface and storage medium for any home-brew NAS setup. Typical spinning drives will be under 150MB/s, which means anything with SATA works. You can tune Linux (or many Windows versions) to your liking, including using software RAID, where memory and CPU speed isn't the biggest concern, and a dual-core x86 CPU with 2GB of RAM might even be excessive, as many NAS devices have much less computing and memory resources available. The fast ones use lower-clocked Atoms.
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