What should I upgrade?

Wimbo999

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Feb 20, 2009
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Hey guys, I've suddenly got into computers and have an urge to do some more upgrading! I'm a student so I can't go out and buy loads of serious hardware all the time, but I would like advice on what I should upgrade next.

Current system:
E6600 OC'ed to 3.34Ghz with AC Freezer Pro 7
Gigabyte EP45-UD3
4GB OCZ Platinum 1066mhz ram
Samsung F1 HDD
Sapphire Radeon 4850 Toxic 512mb
580W PSU

I play games a bit and can play Crysis on the dx9 Very High hack (I got too many glitches in dx10). I'd like to be able to play any game that takes my fancy on decent settings, so what do I need to upgrade sometime in the future? Cheers.
 

fullmetall

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4850 to a 4870..or if you could, throw out the Q6600 and get something like a Q9400-Q9650.

Mobo: you could change to a UD3P, for dual pci-e 16x slots and try crossfire

many good things you can do, depends on your budget..
 
Hard to say... Your system is actually pretty good and it's hard to find upgrades that bring enough improvement to be worth the price.

For Crysis, a HD 4870 would add about 6 fps at 1680x1050 (35.6 fps vs 29.8 fps).
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3341&p=13
Nice, but not worth $225 IMO. OK, maybe in other games it's worth it. It depends on what you play most, I guess.

A quad would not add much in Crysis. It would make a huge difference in video encoding or FSX or GTA4. Are you doing any of those?

More RAM would not make a big difference either.
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/07/08/is-more-memory-better/5

A faster hard disk wouldn't help either. You've got the Spinpoint F1 1TB, right? That one has a 120MB/s average rate, already enormous. Even a Velociraptor would not bring a visible improvement over that.

I think the MB upgrade and a second HD 4850 would make most sense here. Or, if you can wait until June or July, get a new video card based on 40 nm technology. Of course, that depends on price and performance of the new cards. You may actually be better off with HD 4850 Crossfire even after those cards are out.

 
Wimbo999, what model of PSU do you have? Looking at Newegg, I found a HIPRO 580W with 43A on the 12V combined (enough for HD 4850 Crossfire), but also a Sunbeam 580W with 25A (too little), a Mushkin with 38A and a HEC with 28A.

 

Wimbo999

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thanks for the advice, I'm liking the idea of seeing what 40nm card come out mid year, so I shall have that and a quad for upgrades to consider soon! My power supply is a X-Power GTX - I got it in Maplins so not sure how good it is? It was a panic buy when the old one went all funny! cheers guys
 
Kind of hard to find info on that PSU. I think it has 30A on the 12V rails combined and two adapters from 2 Molex to PCI-E 6-pin, but can't say for sure. You'll need to look at the box or the back of the PSU to confirm that. If it's true then it's above the minimum recommendation (550W) for HD 4850 Crossfire. I don't know if it's safe with an overclocked CPU, but with the CPU at stock and a single HDD it should be enough.

 

fullmetall

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if he will get the other 4850 he's looking at upgrading for a 2x6pin pci-e connector psu.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703005
610w pc power&cooling

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005
650w corsair

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151027
Seasonic 550w. split rails in multiples of 18a which all equals to 72a if it was a single.

not a bad thing to have split rails because it wont overpower some things, it will limit some things.

 

Peaks

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You could try overclocking your GPU for a free graphics boost although it wouldn't hurt to upgrade to the 4850 1GB for greater memory headroom. Going crossfire is a much more expensive alternative to better GFX.

I would keep your current processor. Fi you were to go to quad core I would just wait and upgrade everything to an i7 system. Your dual core at that clock speed is perfect for games.
 

fruees

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1. Don't bother to upgrade from a q6660 to a q9550, Fullmetal I'm surprised you suggested it - It would be v. ineffective use of funds. You may get a slightly better overclock (0.2 ghz) IF you're lucky with the chip. Given that you said you were a student on a budget (like me), you want bang for buck, not a waste of money.

2. It seems to me that you can choose two different paths if you're so desperate to upgrade: If you're going to spend a fair bit, get an i7, x58 mobo and perhaps another 4850 1 gig. If not then you may as well just upgrade your GPU or overclock it since it's got great cooling. If you upgrade the GPU, though, I'd go for a GTX295 so you can at least use it on your next rig.

My advice, though, is stay with what you've got. It's a sweet build and should play most games at 1600x1050 very well. The 4890 would be a nice upgrade when it comes out and by then prices for other stuff will be lower. It makes much more sense saving a large sum for a big upgrade than multiple minor upgrades.

Good luck man!
 

fullmetall

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I said he could upgrade from the Q6600 into a Q9400-Q9650 range, but, more likely the card/mobo/psu,

and getting the i7 will consist of doing all of those things, x58 boards are pretty pricey, plus the i7 core cpu plus getting a new psu and then buying triple channel ram at 3x2gb and hopefully having a case to fit all of this in..

if he's going to upgrade anything, get a psu that has 2xpci-e 6pin connectors get another 4850 and crossfire on a Gigabyte UD3P mobo.

 

Wimbo999

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thanks again guys, I like the idea of a better GPU when new things come out. Is the 4890 going to dx11 or is it just a faster dx10 card?
 
I'm guessing it will be just a faster dx10 card. Here's a quote from vr-zone:

The Radeon HD 4890 OC Edition has 1GB of GDDR5 memory onboard and is expected to perform 25-30% faster than HD 4870. It is expected to be priced at USD299 at launch.

All rumors, of course, it may all be wrong.

DirectX 11 itself (i.e. the software part in Windows 7) may still be changed before Windows 7 is released. I doubt that AMD or nVidia want to support it in hardware before it's finalized.

 

Wimbo999

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o, so a more powerful card is a very tempted option then! I like my current board so I think a plain upgrade to a 4870, 4890 or 4870x2 in a couple months sounds like a great plan. Will I be able to play GTA IV with a dual core?
 

fruees

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Ah, I thought you made a spelling mistake and you had a Q6660! GTA4 is one of the few cpu dependant games out at the moment; you should be fine as long as your overclock is stable. I think it's optimised for Quad-core, but I doubt that you'll see a huge difference. Think about trying to get a higher overclock, and overclock your 4850 in the meantime since it has excellent cooling