Upgrading PC - bit of advice?

Discussion in 'Hardware - PCs, Consoles, Gadgets' started by BrunoNoMedals, Jun 14, 2012.

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  1. BrunoNoMedals

    BrunoNoMedals LE Reviewer

    It's been five or six years since I last upgraded my PC which means a) it's old and b) I'm out of the loop. I'm hoping if I run my plans past you lot you can point out anything I've missed.

    I'm currently running Vista on a Core 2 Duo with 8GB DDR2 RAM and an nVidia 8800GT with an 800W supply. I have a 1TB HDD which I'm perfectly happy with. My plan is to update the processor and GFX, with an implied replacement of the motherboard and PSU, and upgrade to Windows 7.

    I was hoping to re-use my existing RAM but it would appear that DDR2 is too out of date and incompatible with all the DDR3-based MB's knocking about.

    I've seen the following on Dabs and wondered what you thought given a budget of ~£800:

    Asus Intel Gamer Plus Ivybridge Bundle (Includes P8Z77-V, Intel Core i7-3770K & 8GB DDR3) (ASUSINTEL-BUN18) - dabs.com

    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 550 Ti 970MHz 1GB PCI-Express HDMI (OverClocked) (GV-N550OC-1GI) - dabs.com

    Fractal Design Newton R2 1000W 80Plus Modular (FD-PSUNEWT21000) - dabs.com

    Is the GTX 550 Ti a worthwhile investment to last at least 3 years, or is it already knocking on? Dabs have GTX690s going for around £900 which is ******* ridiculous. The GTX 570s are ~£220 but are they worth paying double for?

    Perhaps a more complicated question is to do with my OS upgrade plan: I want to build the new rig with the existing HDD (and existing Vista installation) but then stick the Windows 7 CD straight in. Is it possible to do the OS upgrade and handle the change in hardware profile in one go, or should I boot up the new rig with the Vista installation disk, do the necessary, and upgrade to 7 once it's settled? I'm running 32-bit Vista (the 4GB of unused RAM I have sat in the machine only cost an extra £20 when I bought my last PC so I went for it on the off-chance I updated to a 64-bit OS) and I'd be going for 64-bit 7 - will this make a difference? Should I even bother with 7 or just repair my Vista for the new hardware, run it on 4GB RAM for a bit, then invest in Windows 8 when it comes out?

    Views, opinions, alternative stores etc. all appreciated.
  2. Yes he has a great choice of PC friendly devices, if he doesn't need a computer as well.
  3. BrunoNoMedals

    BrunoNoMedals LE Reviewer

    Roadster you cheeky comedian, you...
  4. The mother board and cpu is a good starter bundle, I personally would drop to a 750w psu and strech for a 580gtx or a cheap 6** series gpu. I have used Computer hardware, components & gaming PC retailer Overclockers UK for 6 years for my bits and have just thrown out nearly 6k on my dream games machine. They are fast and reliable.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. A good place for general help is Toms Hardware. They do comparisons of stuff so you can get a feel for whether or not moving up or down in terms of performance will actually make a difference. I find them very useful. They also do typical builds (albeit in dollars) to give you a feel for balancing components.

    Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: April 2012 : Best Gaming CPUs For The Money, April Updates

    Best Gaming CPUs For The Money: May 2012 : Best Gaming CPUs For The Money, May Updates

    To details then, to my inexpert eyes you look to be overcooking the CPU and skimping on the GPU. I'd maybe look at an i5 and a GTX 570 or equivalent.

    I've got a 570 and on a big monitor (2540x1440) for modern games it's good but even so can't max everything out. When it starts to bug me I plan on getting a second for SLI. But that should be a while yet.

    RAM - maybe 16 gigs ? Or buy the RAM in 4GB sticks so you leave a couple of slots free for more sometime. Buy the fastest RAM you can, no point creating a bottleneck there.

    As to the OS, personally I'd back everything up and install Win 7 from scratch on the new system. KISS and all that. MS do a migration manager (something like that anyway) that copies all your settings onto a HDD or similar for you.

    I remain to be convinced by Win 8 and don't plan on getting it until it's been out for a good while and I actually see something it does that Win 7 doesn't. And I can turn Metro off, my fuckhuge monitor is not a mobile phone.

    I buy my kit from Overclockers UK and Novatech, never had any bad experiences with either. I used to use Aria a lot until they stiffed me out of a few pounds and I had to do a chargeback to get a refund. I don't use them any more but you might be luckier.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. BrunoNoMedals

    BrunoNoMedals LE Reviewer

    Thanks chaps.

    Already have an 800W PSU and don't trust it to power anything more powerful than my existing GPU. That and, with it being 5+ years old, it's probably due to seize up soon anyway.
  7. BrunoNoMedals

    BrunoNoMedals LE Reviewer

    I'm tempted to go for the motherboard bundle first and do the Windows upgrade, keeping my existing GPU and PSU for a bit longer. In a couple of months I should be able to fork out for a 600-series and maybe even get a bigger monitor to make it worthwhile.

    Two more questions:

    1) Would two of the 550s running in SLI give better performance than a 580 or even a 600? Overclockers are doing them for £75 and I'd happily invest £150 on two of them if I thought it would give a suitable performance increase.

    2) Is it worth paying extra for W7 Pro over Home? I consider myself to be an advanced user and like to be able to access everything my OS can offer, but what does Pro give you that Home doesn't?
  8. Performance in SLI is - as far as I know - always less than the sum of the parts. Not necessarily much less, but still. And it gives you nowhere to go should you want to upgrade, so I'd go for the beefiest single card I could afford. Last time I looked a 570 was just short of 200 quid.

    Home v Pro ? No idea I'm afraid, I can only suggest looking at the specs.
  9. Pro doesn't give you much more than more Networking Tools for business's so not really worth the extra unless you are planning to network your entire home.

    I'd suggest getting an SSD drive to run only Windows and a separate drive for your programs. Makes for a much faster machine.

    With the age of your current components you may have to upgrade your hard drives anyway due to the current tech used in Motherboards/processors.

    Aria PC - Computer Hardware, Components, Monitors.. at lowest prices do excellent bundles.

    Most games don't need more than 4GB Ram (unless it's SWTOR that has huge memory leaks caused by bad programming) but it's a personal preference, I use 8GB myself, and the more the merrier really if you want your rig to last a good while. I'd recommend Ripjaws for gaming (quite cheap last time I bought a pair).

    Sli or Crossfire is not really worth it as it creates bottlenecks and can actually slow your performance. Radeon HD6xxx is good value but if you are a NVidia fan then the GTX570 is probably the way to go.
  10. Always go for the best single GPU card you can afford.

    There are too many factors involved when using multi gpu systems.

    Some games wont even recognise the second card full stop, then you have the PCIe slots on your motherboard. Some boards will only work in 16x8 or even 8x8, your best going for a board that can handle dual x16 at the very least so you can squeeze more performance if you want to add a second card later. These boards cost quite a bit more though.

    Alternatavely, the money you save by buying a cheaper board can be pumped into a better single card.

    It all depends on how future proof you want to be and how much scope you want to leave for expansion weighed up with how good a performance you want for your budget now.
  11. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    add more ram 4gb ditch vista for win7 or run a free copy of win 8 for a year or so and it will keep going a while longer and run loads better.

    it's vista which will be holding it back.
  12. What make is it? If it's a quality make you'll be fine for a long while and that includes SLI/crossfire plus overclocking a 2500k/3750k plus. 1000W+ PSUs are either for people who think a bigger number equals better even though they struggle to pull 350W (ie morons) or are running some serious hardware. Quality over quantity every time.

    PSU calculator here - eXtreme Power Supply Calculator

    I'm still running an e8400 dual core @4Ghz with 4Gb ram for games with a HD6950 I got last year because I only have a 1680 x 1050 monitor - runs everything fine. I have a 620W corsair PSU that's been going for 5 years. Doubt I get anywhere near 380W.

    Just picked up an SSD which makes huge difference to loading times (even on sata 2). There are some great deals for SSDs out there at the moment.