Homebuild upgrade £500 need more performance!!

peter12

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ok so im new here and dont have great technical knowledge but defintaely think i can do this!

currently have a packard bell imedia x2424

with

motherboard: asus p5kpl - am
cpu: intel core 2 quad q6660 (standrad 2.4ghz)
graphics: ati radeon 5450
ram:4gb ddr2( actual 3gb beacuse of 32bit OS)
OS: vista 32 bit
psu - upgraded to 500watt dont know make or model


went to a shop to ask about an upgrade and for a new cpu motherboard graphics card and windows 7 they said around £550
This seems crazy and i know i could upgrade or build a whole new pc myself for cheaper

help me out and tell me what is still good and re-useable and what needs replacing
Approximate Purchase Date:2 years ago

Budget Range:(500)
System Usage :(using cad programs and gaming)

Parts Not Required: anything usable from above

Overclocking: no idea how to but dont mind doing it
SLI or Crossfire: dot know what this is

Monitor Resolution: currently 1024 * 768
 
I am not familar with pricing in the U.K., but if you want high quality stuff from a new'ish generation the price doesn't sound that radical, especially since europeans seem to pay 100% tax on everything for some reason.

Prices in USD for things you might be looking at just to get a ballpark estimate would be something like this:

i5-2500k = 220
Gigabyte Z68 = 125
Crucial 2 x 4GBs = $40
Windows 7 x64 Upgrade CD = $105
HD 6850 = $150
XFX 650w PSU = $65

That would be a complete makeover for about $700 USD.

Even with the good exchange rates you have I think your taxes would probably bring it up to at least 700 GBP.

That is gold standard stuff, though, the bread and butter sort of things that get suggested to everyone around here.

If you were willing to go for an AMD x4 and a micro board you could cut the price for the processor and motherboard in half and get the whole thing down to about 550 USD or so and whatever that comes out to in GBP.

If you were willing to take a big step down in graphics you could go from 6850 to 6770 and that would save about $50 USD. I wouldn't advise this from anyone who wants to do graphics intensive things, though.

You could just tack a better video card on your current system and hope for the best with the 500w PSU, but I would be wary of it. If you don't know the maker and model they probably aren't great ones and it might overload the PSU.

Before I can really advise you on anything serious I would really like it if you could find out the PSU maker and model for me.
 

peter12

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i5-2500k = £172.55inc vat
Gigabyte GA-Z68P-DS3 Z68 Socket 1155 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard £72.59inc. vat
Crucial 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 Ballistix Sport Memory Kit CL10 1.5V =£29.99inc vat
Windows 7 x64 Upgrade CD = £71.14inc vat
HD 6850 = £113.99inc vat
XFX Pro 650W Core Edition PSU - Single Rail 9x SATA 4x PCI-E = £66.53inc vat

total £525 at a quick browse i could probably find cheaper so call it £450

with th graphics thats a 1gb card right? whats the difference between that and mine?

any ay to find psu make and model without opening machine up?

also the shop wouldnt use stuff half as good the charge and arm and a leg for doing it :fou:
 

peter12

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opened the case and power supply is sealed in another metal case. if i open whats the risk of a discharge? or can i see make in bios?
 

CrysisComa

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By the metal case are you sure your not referring to the Power supply itself? This is what a power supply looks like

http://www.springfielditec.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Choose-power-supply-computer-exactly.jpg

check the side of this metal box for a chart that should show wattage, volts, make and model.

The difference between that one and yours. To put it simply. The one hes suggesting is astronomically faster. Yes its 1gb, but graphics cards come down to more than just Vram (which is what the 1gb is referring to)

 
The maker and model should be visible on the outside of the metal shell of the PSU. You shouldn't need to open anything.

There is pretty much always a sticker on one side with this and other information on it. Anything you can see on that sticker would be helpful.

The XFX Pro 650w Core that I showed is a best in class PSU and it isn't even that expensive compared to others in its class. I highly recommend it.

Also, CrysisComa is right about the graphics cards. The 1 GB dedicated video memory is very important, but other things matter a lot too.

People love to hate on passmark scores, but they are a decent benchmarking tool.

Here is a link to most all the cards ranked against each other

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

using that benchmark.

The 6850 that I showed is about 10 or 15 down from the top (the best) with a score of 2,738. The 6450, which is better than the 5450, has a score of 364. The 5450 would appear off the bottom of the charts if it were ranked on there with the rest.

That gives you a rough idea of how the two cards compare to each other in terms of graphics performance.

For $150, you can't really do much better than the HD 6850 video card.

The 6770 that I mentioned which is about $90 has a score of 1749 on that list so it is more than 1000 behind the 6850 which is only 50% more. You pay 50% more and get about 70% more graphics power. Usually the cost/benefit for paying more money goes in the other direction with more money buying less performance.

I am not the most knowledgeable person on this board about the internal workings of graphics cards, but if you want for me to try to explain more of the differences I can try.
 

peter12

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crysis thats exactly it when i got my graphics upgraded they said they would upgrade power supply as well. what your saying is that thge power sup[ply comes in that metal case? If thats the case then they never touched it as it still says 400watt on it :fou: cheeky ****** so defintaely need new psu. also what about cooling there is a fan on motherbaord from heat sink i think also a fan on psu will that be enough?

raidden what youve suggested in general is exactly what im looking for and i would definately go for better graphics as im running hungry programs like solidworks, prodesktop and 2dvd. plus my games like dow2 and soon swtor.

Is there anywhere i can compromise some without loosing performance as i love what youve suggested but my sons birthday soon and partners going mad about £500 :eek: .

Btw thanks for all your help raidden and crysis appreciate it
 

peter12

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is the stuff in the list i priced up based on raiddens suggestions the right stuff and a good price? also is it possible to upgrade individial poarts later without anything needing to be replaced i.e futureproofing so to speak

i5-2500k = £172.55inc vat
Gigabyte GA-Z68P-DS3 Z68 Socket 1155 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard £72.59inc. vat
Crucial 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 Ballistix Sport Memory Kit CL10 1.5V =£29.99inc vat
Windows 7 x64 Upgrade CD = £71.14inc vat
HD 6850 = £113.99inc vat
XFX Pro 650W Core Edition PSU - Single Rail 9x SATA 4x PCI-E = £66.53inc vat

its basically a full rebuild as only thing not being replaced is dvd drive and memory card/usb ports
so may have to break it down into 2 parts

if this is this case what is the first step would it be psu, motherboard and os? will my other bits fit onto these for time being??
also can i not run my current graphics in tandem with the hd 6850 to get 2 gb of graphics? or is there another graphics that i can get for an extra £10-20 that will offer greater results and performance?

please help as i wish to start asap as uni work and gaming calls! :D
 

metal orient

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I made you a build but it was £34 over budget, the reason it was more expensive was that i upgraded the motherboard and the GPU, which i would say were worth it.

i5-2500k = £172.55
http://www.ebuyer.com/251596-intel-core-i5-2500k-3-3ghz-socket-1155-6mb-cache-retail-boxed-processor-bx80623i52500k

Gigabyte GA-Z68P-AP3 Z68 Socket 1155 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard £79.99
http://www.dabs.com/products/gigabyte-z68ap-d3-lga1155-intel-z68-ddr3-atx-usb-3-0-7MQB.html

Crucial 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 Ballistix Sport Memory Kit CL10 1.5V £29.99
http://www.ebuyer.com/275166-crucial-ballistix-sport-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-1600mhz-memory-kit-cl10-1-5v-bl2kit51264ba160a

Windows 7 x64 Upgrade CD £69
https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Software/Operating+Systems/Microsoft+Windows+7+Home+Premium+64+Bit+SP1%2C+Operating+System%2C+Single%2C+-+OEM+?productId=38272

XFX HD 6870 = £119.99
https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Graphics+Cards/ATI/ATI+6800+Series+/XFX+ATI+Radeon+HD+6870+1024MB+GDDR5+PCI-Express+Graphics+Card+?productId=47776

650W OCZ ZS £54.46
https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplies/650W+or+less/650W+OCZ+ZS+Series+ATX2.2+80PLUS+Bronze+Power+Supply+?productId=45458

There are 3 sites used: ARIA.NET, DABS.COM and EBUYER.COM

With postage included from aria (the other 2 are free) the total cost of this build is £534.31

To answer your questions:
No your processor and RAM and CPU are not compatible with the motherboard, you also cannot crossfire your current graphics card with anything but a 5550 or another 5450.

If you wanted to break it down into 2 upgrades, i'd suggest motherboard, processor, RAM and windows 7 in one group and graphics and psu in another. Which you do first would be your choice. I do wonder about your case as i'm not sure it would be able to handle the thermal load, this is purely speculation however.
 

peter12

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my current psu is only 400 watt would this handle ok?

also as my pc was originally shop bought its a pentium imedia case so have no idea whether its any good at handling any thing

also what is crossfire??

1 last questionj will my current cooling be ok i.e 1 fan on psu and 1 on motherboard?
 

peter12

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oh and ps you guys are probably the most helpful forum members ive encountered in any forum

quicke to reply and very helpful with advice and places to get things

cheers
 

peter12

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got windows 7 sorted now only £20 my uni has a surplus amount of copies they bought under a license so saved £50 there :) is there a performance difference netween the professional version 64 bit and ultimate also is there a limit on amount of ram it will register
 

metal orient

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my current psu is only 400 watt would this handle ok?

also as my pc was originally shop bought its a pentium imedia case so have no idea whether its any good at handling any thing

also what is crossfire??

1 last questionj will my current cooling be ok i.e 1 fan on psu and 1 on motherboard?
I would be surprised, if it isn't a decent brand i'd have concerns, maybe take some pictures of your case and put them here so we can have a look?

Crossfire is where you use 2 cards in conjunction to get better performance.

got windows 7 sorted now only £20 my uni has a surplus amount of copies they bought under a license so saved £50 there :) is there a performance difference netween the professional version 64 bit and ultimate also is there a limit on amount of ram it will register
Well that will help things alot. What i would do is keep my build but make 1 change, which is change the RAM to something a little better, maybe corsair vengeance LP, costs about £5 more but they look better and have slightly better timings. But if you don't want to spend extra that's fine as well.
 

supersmoggie

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Just my penny's worth - it may be worth your time looking at ebuyer.com - consistently the cheapest in my limited experience and will give you an idea what you need to spend.
 

peter12

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yeah ebuyer is also what ive been using to get a good idea of a pice range invariably as well the are very competetive.

may spend the money saved from windows on ram and grahics but that depends on weather you guys think i need a new case

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=packard+bell+imedia+x2424&hl=en&biw=1280&bih=813&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=IpL-KdPvj6OB9M:&imgrefurl=http://microdream.co.uk/packard-bell-imedia-x2424-quad-core-q6600-4gb-ram-1000gb-hd-dvdrw-gf7050-vhp.html&docid=cPh71zvuLhwf3M&imgurl=http://microdream.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/265x265/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/img_5391.jpg&w=265&h=265&ei=9QAPT9yEJc-eOp_7hZ8D&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=690&vpy=200&dur=3011&hovh=212&hovw=212&tx=126&ty=129&sig=106238510830958672408&page=1&tbnh=139&tbnw=139&start=0&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:3,s:0

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/507/img6767ti2.jpg/

raidden posted a build and metal orient commeted and made 2 changes are these changes worth it?

and is there a difference between win7 pro and ultimate performance wise or limitations?
 
The biggest difference between ultimate and professional is that professional doesn't have an encryption thing called BitLocker.

Most people don't care about that, and therefore don't need Ultimate.

If you can get a copy of Windows 7 through your student status, go for it. Not sure if you can, but its definitely a cost reducer if so.

The RAM he chose isn't listed for that motherboard on the Crucial online tool which generally is very good at listing all the options. It may work, but it isn't tested and verified by the company.

The motherboard/ram combo I suggested is a safer bet.

If his choice did work, though, you would be a small % better off in a few small areas (probably not gaming).

His PSU is also a big step back in terms of quality, but if it did work, it would save you some small amount of $.

I wouldn't make either switch if it were for my own computer.

Maybe I can find something in an hour or two that you can give without losing quality, but I wouldn't do it in either of those places.

The PSU and the RAM are the two biggest things I wouldn't sacrifice on in my own computer, because they are arguably the 2 biggest sources of problems for computers.
 

peter12

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thats great raidinn thanks

if you could offer me a slighlty better option and slightly cheaper that would be great!

finally do i need a new case and cooling system or am i ok with what i have?
 
Unfortunately, the better options tend to be the more expensive ones.

I will see what I can do, but shaving from the budget is most likely going to entail some sort of sacrifice on your part.
 

metal orient

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I presume you mean this tool? http://www.crucial.com/uk/store/listparts.aspx?model=GA-Z68P-DS3&Cat=RAM
I would imagine the reason the RAM i listed isn't there because it's not Crucial RAM..... As it is the gigabyte board isn't listed on Corsairs website (at least the more featured AP3 isn't, the DS3 board is and confirms compatibility).

I won't argue that the gains are minimal, because they would be.

In terms of PSU quality what makes you say that? yes XFX core line is made by seasonic which is a great company but JohnnyGuru gave both a 9, so i wouldn't say it was bad by any means:
OCZ review:http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story4&reid=248
XFX review:http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story9&reid=216

XFX has the problem of not packaging their PSU's well: "Power supplies rattling around loose in their boxes is just asking for a high RMA rate. This needs addressing." Something to bear in mind.

 
Maybe the tester got a messed up packaging or something, but the one I got most certainly didn't rattle around loose in the box and I have never heard of this brand or model having a high RMA rate.

Just sayin.

RAM - This is what I meant



which IS Crucial RAM which is why it says Crucial on it.

The AP3 most definitely isn't on the tool which is why I would avoid it, not to mention it costs more money when the OP is trying to shave from the budget.


Returning to the PSU issue, JohnnyGuru may have given both of them the same rating, I won't argue about that. I will say, though, that ratings are subject to a lot of things. A 650w rated XFX isn't the same thing as a 650w Diablotek after all or we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

That being said, I do sit around many hours each day and help people troubleshoot technical problems and whereas I have never diagnosed a problem caused by an XFX PSU I have diagnosed many problems related to OCZ PSUs including those where a BANG was involved.

I have also read reports on fail rates for major brand things and I can tell you that OCZ is leading the way in RAM and SSD failures as well.

OCZ doesn't really compete for the highest quality spot in most any category. In PSUs they usually give modular to make up for the lower quality at the same price, for instance.

Other prices, they compete on things like price to lure away buyers from other brands.

Not that they are horrible, but I wouldn't trust my computer to OCZ and I wouldn't advise anyone else to do it either unless cheap modular is a fixed requirement.

OCZ has historically outsourced its PSUs to FSP, 3y, and Topower. FSP being their OEM of choice most of the time its likely the ZS is a FSP OEM PSU.

Regardless of what it is, none of those OEMs hold a candle to Seasonic as an OEM. They don't even try.

Note, FSP is also used by many generic brand manufacturers who design "700w" units that put out 300w in reality. This is never the case with Seasonic OEM PSUs.

OCZ did buy its way into better PSU designers when it acquired PC P&C, but its still not in the same ballpark as Seasonic is.

Again, I am not going to go as far as saying OCZ is actively bad like Diablotek is or anything, but I am not going to use it or advise others to use it. Nor am I going to smoke or advise others to do so.

The OP is trying to shave and going with an OCZ PSU may not be the worst way to go about it, but I would use it as a last resort.

I would rather suggest an XFX 550w instead which lists itself as 52 GBP inc vat like here

https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplies/650W+or+less/550W+XFX+Core+Edition+80PLUS+Bronze+Power+Supply+%5BP1-550S-UKB9%5D+?productId=45332

or even go as far as an XFX 450w for 42 GBP inc vat

https://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplies/650W+or+less/450W+XFX+Core+Edition+80PLUS+Bronze+Power+Supply+%5BP1-450S-U2B9%5D+?productId=45329

These could be available elsewhere for cheaper too. I didn't search around for the cheapest place to get these things or anything like that. Both of them should probably work just fine although with increased average load the longevity may be lower.

Dropping back to 6770 or 6790 is still on the table too if performance is to be sacrificed in order to shave significantly off the budget. Both are still very far ahead of the current 5450. It would pain me to see this route taken, but it would free up a sizeable chunk.

The OP did manage to get the Windows 7 through school too it seems like so that freed up 50 GBP as well.

Case/Cooling setup - I am having a difficult time finding good information on the specifications of the case and the motherboard for the iMedia X2424. Maybe because it is kinda old now. However, it does look like a micro only case, so I am not sure if it will fit the motherboard we have chosen.

At this point I think I will have to suggest dropping back to this motherboard instead of the one chosen originally P8H61-M LE just to make sure it it can fit inside the case. Here

http://tinyurl.com/7awxvso

it says it is 46 GBP inc vat which is a decent savings and still should do the job OK.

This RAM works with it for 29 GBP

http://www.ebuyer.com/172949-kingston-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-1333mhz-i5-memory-kit-non-ecc-cl9-1-5v-kvr1333d3n9k2-8g

per its QVL. I don't trust Kingston as much as I do Crucial, but I do know that Kingston RAM tends to be very low in failure rates.

I would rather stick with the original setup, but I can't trust that it will fit the case and I don't want to suggest buying a new case either, so I will go out on a limb and recommend the Asus motherboard / Kingston RAM combo. Possibly with the XFX 550w or 450w if necessary to shave more off the budget, if necessary.

 

peter12

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raidden massively appreciate all the effort youve gone to to explain even if most of it was over my head :D

however i like the original setup seemed like quality for money build!

also any student in the uk can get win7 for cheap look here

http://www.software4students.co.uk/ but they must have an ac.uk email address as proof.

i think i will just get another case its more cost effective long term and will enable better hardware.

what do you suggest? also if thats the case do they come with cabling to attach everything or is that another extra?
 

CrysisComa

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yes all the cabling you will need will come with your Case and with your power supply.

As for what case, the more fans the better. But there is alot of really awesome looking cases around, so take your pick

edit: I also agree with Raiddin on the Power supply. XFX is definitely a better quality Power supply than OCZ or many others


A new case would be good, but if your budget doesnt allow then there is nothing you can do. However for future building a new case would help. Im not even certain the 6850 would fit in yours... from the cases i have used from prebuilt computers there isnt much room.
 

metal orient

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I was under the impression you had chosen the Crucial RAM, as it was Peter12's choice first.

The Gigabyte AP3 is actually on Crucial's website just not Corsair's.

Again one of the reasons you're more likely to have diagnosed a bad PSU from OCZ than XFX is that XFX only started making them 2 years ago, but i would agree that seasonic seems to be the OEM that gives you quality. A pity Toms's PSU maker list does not include the ZS line but JohnnyGuru suggest that it's a Sirtec made unit. I was planning on making my PC with this PSU because of the great price and decent review from JG.

Peter12 just be aware that they are all upgrade editions, i got caught out by that, fixed with a cheap copy of XP though.

Definitely agree with antec 300 and HAF 912, Bitfenix Shinobi is another good option for cheap but good cases.


 
I did suggest 2x 4GB Crucial RAM in the first response to the OP. I did so because I think it has the best mix of price and quality.

I am pretty sure that you can successfully install the full version of Windows 7 off of an upgrade CD on a clean formatted drive with no prior editions of Windows installed on it. About 99% sure I would say.

Someone doing this should skip the activation during the initial install and try to do it from inside Windows when they are fully setup. If it doesn't work for some reason then they can insert the CD again while Windows is running and upgrade to it (reinstall on top of itself) and it will always work.

That being said, my school lets people keep student emails even long after they have stopped being students and thxfully all you need is a valid student email address for MSFT to consider you a student, so I can get student upgrades for the forseeable future.

When I did get one most recently, I am 95% sure it was a full version download, not an upgrade version.

If it is an upgrade version, though, then the upgrade versions definitely allow installs on fresh no-OS hard drives because I already did it twice with that CD. I have to buy another copy to get a 2nd valid CD key, but I can confirm that the fresh installs do work quite well with formatted and brand new drives.
 

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