WhyleyCoyote

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Nov 13, 2012
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Hi,

I am new on here and looking for some advice.

I have for a time been running Battlefield 3 on a PS3, but have now decided to purchase the software for my PC.

I have at present:

CPU: Intel Core 2 6600 (2.4ghz)
RAM: 2 GB (sorry I can't find the spec at the moment)
GPU: Nvidia Geforce 8800 GTS 512 (Directx 10)
Motherboard: Gigabyte 945P-S3
Hard drive: 600GB approx.
Monitor resolution: 1280x1024

I appreciate this is now an old system although it has been running fast enough for me since I purchased it (haven't used it for games for at least 2-3 years)!

The expected use is for running MS Office 2010, databases, photos, music and games.

The PC has Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit) installed which it runs successfully. Although disk access times seem slow to me sometimes it was purchased new last December to install Windows 7.

Windows reports a base score of 5.5, the results are as follows:

CPU 5.9
RAM 5.5
Graphics 6.9
Gaming Graphics 6.9
Hard Disk 5.9

From the above results I am guessing I need to upgrade pretty much everything, am I correct?

I would like to spend as little as possible initially, possibly upgrading one part of the PC per month or as funds are available.

Can anyone advise what they recommend for running BF3 at high settings (I would prefer ultra eventually).

Many thanks for any help you can offer...
 
Swap that 2GB RAM for 8GB, just make sure you get the right type (research your motherboard and check the memory specs.)

Swap that old video card for an HD 7850 2GB or a GTX 660 - those will play BF3 on Ultra.

And finally, get a solid-state cache-drive. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226336
It will speed up your whole system significantly, and all you have to do is install it, download and install the software, reboot, and you're off. (Ignore the low-score reviews, those folks didn't know what they were buying. These drives are perfect for any single-HDD system if you don't want to go through the hassle of reinstalling Windows and all of your programs from scratch.)
 
Here's a cheap upgrade for your pc. Overclocking the q6600 will yield good results.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128536
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220557

This board will run your ram at 1066, which is normal for a 775 board. The faster speed will kick in when you overclock the cpu. If the cpu fsb is normally 200, set it to 250 in manual mode and leave the ram on auto. The board will select the safest speed for the ram to run at. Some boards display the ram speed as half the actual speed, same as cpuz, a small software file that gives you your system info. So 1333 would be displayed as 667; depends on your motherboard bios setings.

Here's a second option if you want to spend more:

http://promotions.newegg.com/NEemail/Nov-0-2012/giftdeals13/te/index-landing.html?nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL111312TE&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL111312TE-_-EMC-111312-Index-_-E0-_-PromWord (3470 cpu $185 w/promo code down the page; you have to register with newegg for the code to work)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121599&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL111312TE&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL111312TE-_-EMC-111312-Index-_-IntelMotherboards-_-13121599-L08D

You can use the same ram I selected earlier or go with 1600 for about the same price.
 

aramisathei

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This is good advice, although instead of the Mushkin, go with the Samsung 830 as an OS drive rather than cache (if you don't mind re-installing Windows as Jessteran21 mentioned).
It'll serve you much better, and you can use your second hdd as a programs drive.
Roughly same price too.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147163
 

^That's a great one, if you don't mind starting from scratch with your Windows 7 install.

But really, the first thing you should upgrade is your RAM and graphics card - you should get 8GB and the best card you can afford. What's your budget right now? If you want to play Ultra on BF3 right now, you're going to need around $250.
 

WhyleyCoyote

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Nov 13, 2012
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Hi Jessterman,

Thanks, for your suggestions!

I am in the UK, so my budget will be in pounds sterling, but yes £250 I can probably afford this month.

I have been looking at the following graphics card HD 7950 (must admit I have had nothing but Nvidia on my last few desktops - all self built) so don't know anything about these cards! My biggest concern though is the old motherboard/memory/cpu will cause the system to slowdown even if I fit a better graphics card. Am I worrying unnecessarily? I can't afford to waste my money. Is the SSD drive a worthwhile purchase? I have looked at these for some time but wasn't sure whether they offer a real improvement or not?
 

WhyleyCoyote

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Thanks 01die,

I haven't got the Q6600 only the E6600 (2 cores) unfortunately, will this make much difference to your advice?
 

WhyleyCoyote

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Many thanks for your suggestion, is the size of the SSD drives important? I have looked at 60gb versions in the UK, thinking they would just be used to boot the operating system is this correct or will a larger capacity be better. Also, could I restore my Windows 7 backup onto one of these drives without having to I use the image option? Just hoping to save time really...
 
60 gb is fine for a boot up ssd. If you only have the e6600, then I wouldn't get another board for it. Wait until you have enough funds for an 1155; even my 2120 at 3.3 ghz is plenty fast for gaming. If your old files are the same or smaller than the ssd capacity, then I would clone the old drive. Connect the ssd after windows loads. Download "maxblast 5" (if your new or old drive is made by seagate or maxtor), install the software on your old hardrive, reboot, and use the cloning option. I've never had any problems cloning as this software file is large and well designed. Some other software won't clone properly. If you don't have a seagate or maxtor drive, search for similar software for western digital or whatever brand you have. Good luck.
 

WhyleyCoyote

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I just found the manual for the motherboard - it only supports DDRII RAM so I guess memory upgrades would only be viable if I update the motherboard as well?

Is this possible for the price I mentioned £250 max this month, the upgrades I have looked at so far seem to suggest I need to spend a lot more than this, but is it possible to purchase some bits each month and if so should I start with the graphics card or the motherboard - any suggestions?
 

WhyleyCoyote

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Sorry 01die, I read your post and I don't understand this part are 1155 and 2120 motherboards or something else?
 
2120 is the Intel cpu model number; 1155 is the socket type. You need to match the correct socket type to the cpu model number, then check to see if the motherboard needs a bios flash (which is a little risky for amateurs) by going to the "cpu support" section of the motherboard webpage. That section lists any bios files needed to post with the cpu. The newest chipsets for 1155 are the z77 and b75, so I recommend one of those with any socket 1155 cpu you choose. You are less likely to need to flash the bios with one of these chipset boards, no matter which brand of board you choose.
 

WhyleyCoyote

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After a bit more reading it turns out the motherboard I have is an LGA 775, is a BIOS update really going to make any difference or is a motherboard upgrade necessary as well as new memory, graphics card & SSD?

The spec. I have put together so far is as follows (although it's more expensive than I want to pay really):

CPU: Intel Core i5 2500, S1156 "Sandy Bridge" Quad 3.3Ghz, HD2000 IGP 850Mhz 6MB Cache 95W £160
M/B: Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H USB 3.0 Intel Z77 S1155, DDR3 SATA III 6Gb/s, SATA RAID PCIe 3.0, D-sub/ DVI-D/ HDMI, ATX £78
RAM: 8GB (2 x 4GB) Corsair vengeance blue DDR3 PC3-14900 (1866) £40
SSD: 60GB Intel 330 Series 2.5" SSD, SATA III 6Gb/s MLC-Flash, Read 500Mb/s, Write 400Mb/s, 20500 IOPS Max £52
GPU: 3GB XFX Radeon HD 7950 Double D 5000MHz GDDR5, GPU 800MHz, DVI/DVI/HDMI/mDP £220
PSU: 850W Powercool PC850UM, Modular, 80% Ef, 80 Plus, SLi/Crossfire, EPS 12V, Quiet Fan, ATX, v2.2 £63

Priced up from a website called scan.co.uk (which I have never used before), the part numbers are as follows:

CPU: LN36727, M/B: LN43806, RAM: LN39596, SSD: LN44331, GPU: LN47041, PSU: LN32262

I don't pretend to know what all that means, but is that a good enough spec.? Is it sufficient or too much? Can I make savings? Have I missed something?

Can I do it bit by bit or is it better to buy it all in one go? If the former which bits would you start with?

 

mox141

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Oct 11, 2012
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Hi,

So, how much do you want to spend and how long do you plan on keeping it before upgrading? When I built my system for gaming my rule of thumb was $350.00 US (220 GBP) for every year (this does not include any extra life i can squeeze out by OCing.) I am sure others will have a better rule of thumb but that's just me.

With that being said, just a couple of comments to your spec listed above:

If you are not going to be using more than 1 graphics card, the 850 watt PS would be overkill imho, you can save a little bit of money going down on the wattage there.

Also, drop the 1866 for 1600 in terms of ram, from what I've seen its not gonna help you noticeably.

With that money you have saved from those 2 you can get the 3570k, its like 16 pounds more from scan.co.uk and worth it (OCing down the line to add extra life).

In terms of buying, warranties/return policies start at the time of purchase, 7-30 days depending on merchant and item. so honestly i would buy it all at the same time so if there is a problem your not stuck.

just a thought :)


 

An SSD is definitely worth the money, but the only difference it makes in games is it cuts loading times in half.

Your old platform can still game fine, as long as you get some more RAM. The speed and age of your CPU and RAM will hold an HD 7950 back a little, but you'll still get at least 80-90% of the performance out of that card. And you'll still be able to play any game at Ultra settings.

Of course, if you just want Ultra in BF3, and since you're more familiar with Nvidia, save a few quid and get this card: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-msi-gtx-660-twin-frozr-iii-oc-28nm-pcie-30-(x16)-6008mhz-gddr5-gpu-1033mhz-boost-1098mhz-cores-9
It's in my wishlist right now.

If you really want to do a whole new build, that's fine, just know that what you have isn't too far out of date.
 

WhyleyCoyote

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OK, that is great to hear the new PC thing isn't really what I want to do! I was just expecting that my PC was out of date by now. I am not bothered what make of graphics card I go for as long as it runs fast enough for BF3 in good detail (I have been using a PS3 games console so can't wait to see the difference).

So, just so I am clear, you are saying an HD7950, a SSD and 8GB ram would be suffcient to update my original PC spec. listed in first post to run BF3 in ultra settings?

 

WhyleyCoyote

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Hi Mox 141,

Thanks for your suggestions, I am really looking at spending the minimum I can to get a system to run BF3 in ultra settings! It seems from what Jessterman is saying that I may have jumped the gun a bit by saying my system is out of date. So perhaps I can purchase higher spec. DDR II ram, new graphics card and an SSD that would be great news if my 4 year old system can still be upgraded...

I had a look for the lesser spec. memory for a new system as you suggested but I couldn't see any (on the scan site at least) that was cheaper than the one I specced originally. A 650W PSU could save me approx £20-25 I found this one on the same site LN32259. I also found the other CPU you mentioned:

LN36727 £176.58 Intel Core i5 3570K,1155, Ivy Bridge, Quad Core, 3.4GHz, 5 GT/s DMI, 650MHz GPU, 6MB Smart Cache, 34x Ratio, 77W

However, also looking at costs of upgrading old system instead of buying new and I am amazed that the old DDR2 memory is almost twice as expensive as DDR3 memory!

So far found: LN27221 £18.02 Corsair Memory Value Select 2GB DDR2 PC2-6400 (800) Dual Channel Desktop, I would need 4 of these for 8GB so nearly £80!
 
Look for the ram used if you can. 8 gb of ddr2 can get pretty expensive. If you don't find any fairly cheap (about half the regular price new) I would skip the ram until you change to a ddr3 board. My first suggestion for the board and ddr3 might be about the same price as 8 gb of ddr2. The new video card and ssd will be items you can use with your next system or build.
 

Yes, but you don't need an SSD - it doesn't boost gaming performance at all. And you could get away with 4GB RAM. Since you're stuck with DDR2, that would be cheaper.
 

WhyleyCoyote

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Well thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion it has helped me a lot!!

I have today spoken with a local PC supplier who I have used before and asked them similar questions, they have advised the following, saying I won't gain anything from an upgrade of my current system apart from RAM and GPU, he is offering the following:

Nvidia ASUS 660GTX Ti £262

4GB RAM DDRII (2 strips of 2GB) plus the 2 1GB strips I already have £19 per strip is it a good idea to mix old 1gb memory with newer 2gb strips or would it be better to buy 8gb of new matching strips? Obviously more expensive but would it avoid any potential mismatch of speeds? Is this important?

This gives me a total cost of £300, bit more than I expected but at least I don't have to re-install everything.

Apparently for an SSD drive I need a motherboard that can handle SATA 3, however I cannot (at the moment) find any reference to what SATA is used on my motherboard, the version of SATA isn't mentioned in the manual, I am guessing it could be the original SATA?

Can anyone help me with this question?

The board is:

Gigabyte S series GA-945P-DS3IS3

I am going to try and Google this next

 
I would try mixing the ram; if the ram doesn't mix well, sell your old 1 gb strips. 4 gb is plenty for most tasks. The cost of 8 gb of ddr2 for such an old board isn't worth it. That's why I recommended changing to a ddr3 board in the first place. If the chipset is Intel, you may not even have to reload windows with a board change. My windows 7 ultimate reconfigured my device drivers when changing from an amd board to Intel H61 board. It was almost painless. Can't find a picture of your board, but it probably has a sata I or sata II port. Sata drives are backwards compatable. I've used sata III on sata I ports. Your dealer can quickly check your board for sata ports or the info is in the board manual. Or you can get the sata ssd later when you change to a newer board/cpu. Too bad you don't live near me. I changed out a board/cpu recently for free to a buyer of my old parts.
 

^+1

Don't worry about your mobo - like I said before you don't need a new one. SATA is inter-compatible, but I would wait until you upgrade your platform (motheboard, CPU, and RAM) before you get an SSD, otherwise you won't get the most out of it.

A GTX 660Ti is just about overkill for your monitor resolution. You'll be playing all games at max settings for a while. If you can drop to a GTX 660, that will still get you the same results for less money. If that shop doesn't have one available, go ahead and get the 660Ti. You'll be set for 2 years at least.
 

WhyleyCoyote

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When you say "if the RAM doesn't mix well" how will I know? Will this cause crashes or just slow down the pc?

Also, I have just been reading up on the 660 GTX graphics card and it turns out I need at least a 650W power supply if I fit this card, is that 650W just for the graphics card or 650W for the whole system?

I have a hard drive, DVD drive, removable hard drive, then there's the new graphics card and increase in RAM to 6-8gb, would 650W be sufficient?

I cannot remember what size the PSU is on my present system so I will have to check tonight...

I think I will have to leave the SSD for now! I may look at updating the motherboard next time I have some funds available. Hoping that the GPU and RAM update will do the trick. Especially as I might also have to update PSU now!!!
 

Don't believe the manufacturer's specs on "required PSU wattage" - they just throw a huge number out there to make sure their butts are covered if someone tries to run the video card in a system with 6 Velociraptor HDDs, 3 extra PCI cards, 3 DVD drives, 2 floppy drives, an overclocked 140w CPU, 7 case fans, and 8 USB devices - and a no-name, $25 "500w" PSU - and the extra load kills the PSU...

Give us the specs on your current PSU - in all likelihood, the GTX 660 will not draw much more than your 8800 GTS. Your whole system will probably draw less than 200w while playing games.