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Plinglebob
21-02-2012, 05:44 PM
After my PC has been playing up for a couple of months now and the graphics card starting to chug a bit (8800GTX) I'm thinking of upgrading my PC. However, I'm on a pretty limited budget and so I'm hoping to cannibilize some parts from my current set up, but I'm not sure what parts I should keep and what to replace. The following is what I currently have:

Monitor: 19 inch with a max resolution of 1440x900. To be honest this is big enough for me for now especially on my current budget.

Power supply: 1000 Watts. My previous power supply blew up about 18 months ago and this was the only one I could find at short notice that wasn't 600watts or less. Saves on my heating bill.

Motherboard & CPU: Asus P5N-E SLI with an Intel Core 2 Quad CPU running at 2.66GHz. Not sure how much processor tech has improved since I last upgraded in August 08 so unsure whether I should replace both, neither or ditch the motherboard and just clean (if possible) the CPU and get a new fan and motherboard.

RAM: 6Gb. 2x2Gb and 2x1Gb. The 2Gb sticks are Corsair with the 1Gb sticks ones I bought cheap to see if it would make a difference. Here I'm just not sure if I'm wasting cash by buying 2Gb sticks to replace the 2x1Gb or not.

Graphics Card: Nvidia 8800GTX. This is definitely getting replaced.

Tower, Hard Drive and OS: Tower is being replaced as mine is about 7 years old now and same for the current hard drive. Will also be updating from Windows Vista to 7. Any advice on a tower would be great.

My aim is to have a system that will last me another 3.5 years without having to replace or add anything. Thoughts, tips etc would be fantastic. Thanks.

Althea
21-02-2012, 05:50 PM
I'd say just upgrade your graphics card. I'm not sure what's currently the best, but I'm on a GTS 450 (it was mid-range, now it's a bit out of date) and I'm on fairly high settings for most games with no real problem, so anything above that - and there's a lot - should keep you going for ages.

Mistabashi
21-02-2012, 06:11 PM
For the motherboard and CPU, it's either upgrade both or neither - your current setup uses socket 775, which has long since been superceded. For current Intel "Sandy Bridge" processors you'll need a socket 1155 motherboard. This will also give the option of USB 3.0 and SATA III, along with some other features that may be useful if you intend to add an SSD at some point.

So depending on what your budget is you may be better off buying a new GPU and HDD and sticking with what you've got while you save-up some more cash, since you would otherwise be looking at pretty much building a whole new system from scratch.

EDIT: Although come to think of it, HDD prices are currently 2-3 times over-inflated due to the recent flooding in Thailand, so you might want to hold-off on that too.

Feldspar
21-02-2012, 07:29 PM
Replacing the graphics card is definitely the cheapest option for a quick boost to games, but if you want a system that will last you another 3.5 years you will have to replace motherboard, processor and memory.

Currently the big recommendation is the Intel i5 2500k, which is plenty of processor for games and general PC stuff and retails for somewhere in the vicinity of 160. A motherboard to go with this will be 60-120 depending on what features you want/need, the 2500k is known for it over-clockability, and more expensive motherboards will take more advantage of this, but you will probably find the top-end boards are wasted on the general consumer. Memory is fairly cheap at the moment, 8Gb (2x4Gb chips) seems to be the sweet price point nowadays, but a doubt there's generally much improvement over 4Gb, 30-40 should bag you what you need (your current memory will be too slow). Case recommendations depend on price point, 40-50 will bag you a decent tower, 140 will bag you an excellent one, and taste counts, not everyone wants a black box or garish LED monster. As for graphics cards, I would recommend not spending more than 100, unless you change you monitor, you can always swap it for a flashier model in a couple of years at the same or lower price point, they really seem to pump out quicker cards every other week.

Kamikaze-X
21-02-2012, 07:46 PM
The latest Custom PC magazine is a pretty good buy- it has a PC that can play Skyrim @ 1080P on high settings for approximately 350.

You could cut the component choices down and easily hit the 200 mark if you didnt need a hard disk or DVD drive, case and PSU.

Alternatively, I would recomend backing everything up, and sticking Windows 7 on an SSD, like a nice 64GB from Crucial. having an SSD in my system is the single most awesome upgrade I ever did, and then sticking in a HD6850 or somesuch.

You could also stick your old stuff on ebay to make some of the difference back- you could easily get 120 for mobo/cpu/memory and put that towards something.

Kamikaze-X
21-02-2012, 07:48 PM
oh, and in regards to getting a Core i5 2500K, unless you are overclocking the pants off it, don't bother. Its only really for e-peen waving in PC Mark Vantage.

this is coming from someone who used to be a junkie overclocker. I just upgraded to an i5 2400, and it is plenty fast for gaming.

Mistabashi
21-02-2012, 08:18 PM
oh, and in regards to getting a Core i5 2500K, unless you are overclocking the pants off it, don't bother. Its only really for e-peen waving in PC Mark Vantage.

this is coming from someone who used to be a junkie overclocker. I just upgraded to an i5 2400, and it is plenty fast for gaming.

The difference in price between a 2400 and a 2500k is about 10-15, so I wouldn't say it makes much difference. However, you can't overclock on the cheaper H61/H67 chipset motherboards, so you might end up paying a bit more than that for overclocking ability.

Feldspar
21-02-2012, 09:01 PM
If you are looking for a PC to last 3.5 years, then you might be looking to over-clock it in a couple of years, just when it starts to feel a little sluggish.

Kamikaze-X
21-02-2012, 09:41 PM
The difference in price between a 2400 and a 2500k is about 10-15, so I wouldn't say it makes much difference. However, you can't overclock on the cheaper H61/H67 chipset motherboards, so you might end up paying a bit more than that for overclocking ability.

that's pretty much my point.

he's trying to keep costs down, so would really be looking at the P67 motherboard, at the lower end of the spectrum, and the overclocking head room, cooling and VRM circuitry isnt up to much cop at the low end.

He would have to invest in some good aftermarket cooling too.

The processor might be 15 more, but then he has to spend more on a decent motherboard to get the benefit, around the 120 mark rather than the 60-80 mark.

It all adds up in the end, and for not much improvement. The 70 odd quid would be better off going towards a Crucial M4 64GB SSD, which would give him far more longevity than overclocking.

The JG Man
21-02-2012, 10:03 PM
If you were replacing the mobo, you could consider going to AMD for a processor -http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=amd+phenom+ii+x4&sprefix=amd+ph%2Caps%2C531 I've got a quad core Phenom 2 that should last for quite some time and it's markedly less expensive than the i5. Not as good? Not in the OC department, but it's run absolutely fine for me without needing to do so.

For graphics card, the nVidia 560 Ti and the ATI 6850 are generally considered to go-to high-range-but-bang-for-buck cards you can get at the mo. They're not the highest, but they should definitely last.

Mistabashi
21-02-2012, 10:31 PM
If you were replacing the mobo, you could consider going to AMD for a processor -http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=amd+phenom+ii+x4&sprefix=amd+ph%2Caps%2C531 I've got a quad core Phenom 2 that should last for quite some time and it's markedly less expensive than the i5. Not as good? Not in the OC department, but it's run absolutely fine for me without needing to do so.

The 955 / 965 was great value back when you could get them for 80-90, but at current prices they just aren't worth it since the i3 2120 is cheaper and beats them in most tasks (plus it's socket 1155 so you get some upgrade potential, something you won't really get by going AMD given the recent flop of Bulldozer and their "re-focussing" on the mobile and APU sector).