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rider
04-10-2012, 11:22 AM
I have had for a while now a wish to upgrade my computer, or some part therein so as to enable better/further gaming. I am, however, not exactly the most confident in what part is failing me for now and where I should start the upgrades -- and because I am not quite sure I want to put money into everything there, I was hoping that you could either support my thought (based on the specs below) or say why I am wrong.

Now, the OS is a Windows 7 Professional (64-bit),

And the computer specs can be given as:

Motherboard: ECS GF8100VM-M5 (V1.0)
2.00 GB RAM installed
AMD Athlon 7750 Dual Core Processor @ 2.70 GHz
NVidia GeForce GT 220

Now, my original thought was that performance is most hindered by the CPU-GPU combination here, but then I realized that having games on top of Windows 7 would probably ask for more say 4 GB of RAM (and more likely 8 would not hurt?).

Therefore, if I asked what would be the most cost effective upgrade would that be an upgrade in the RAM to 4/8?

Or would it make more sense to try changing the other components?

Thanks for anyone who has a thought on this. :)



[If it is relevant at all, then I mostly steer clear of any FPS and am more of a strategy game player so one of my hidden objectives is to make my computer Rome 2 ready by the time that comes out next year -- but that's around a year away still so might be a bit of an early idea there.]

Jesus_Phish
04-10-2012, 11:30 AM
Ram is so cheap now days. The spec site for your MOBO says "Support DDR2 1066/800/667/533/400 DDR2 SDRAM" and up to 16gb. You'd get two 4gb sticks for 8gb total for about €60-€80.

It all depends on how much you want to spend though and how long you want the PC to last going into the future.

Alex Bakke
04-10-2012, 11:52 AM
RAM isn't as important as the CPU/GPU - However as Jesus Phish said, it's really cheap nowadays. However, both the GPU and CPU are getting on now, especially the GT 220.

What games would you like to run, and at what quality?

rider
04-10-2012, 12:00 PM
Well, I would like to be able to have Rome 2 run at nearly the very best quality when it comes out but that's then. Until that time, my main games that I play are SOASE which does not have very high graphics requirements and Shogun 2 which has relatively speaking, reasonable ones no doubt. But if I wanted to run Shogun 2 on nearly the very highest without losing out on anything else, what would that take me? Command and Conquer 4 might also factor in the thoughts, but that runs relatively well even now... and while Shogun 2 does run then it does come up with the low performance crashes so is more of an important upgrade.

But again, if it is spending 60 and upgrading RAM for say a reasonable upgrade and getting somewhat better performance compared to 300 for a very good upgrade and very high performance which would last, I guess I'd need to think about it for a moment. Going above 300 would be very unlikely though.

Jesus_Phish
04-10-2012, 12:08 PM
If going above 300 is an issue then a RAM and GPU upgrade would help with an improvement alright. There's not much else you'll get upgraded under that limit though. If you're not interested in playing something like Borderlands 2 with full physx enabled and all the sliders to max, then no you don't need to spend a tonne of money.

You can also do it in stages. You could get the RAM or GPU first and see what difference it makes. Then if you're not happy with just that or think you want more, get the other.

But definitely think about what you need and what you want.

rider
04-10-2012, 12:16 PM
With a GPU upgrade here though, would it not be somewhat necessary to go for a new motherboard first (which would bring up the costs)? But if it isn't, say I upgrade RAM now, GPU after I find the next batch of money, CPU even later, would that work taking into account that this is a AM2+ socket motherboard and probably the better as well as more cost effective units are now rather for AM3+ (and as far as I know they are not backward compatible, or did I get that wrong?)? Because it would be exceptionally silly for me to get something that fits this motherboard now, only to end up changing all of it in say a years time because the CPU upgrade would need a new motherboard.

And what would you say is the difference with the rest of the specs staying the same but RAM going from 2 GB to 8? I have no real experience based on which I could estimate this, which is one of the factors making it more difficult for me to understand the actual options I have.

Alex Bakke
04-10-2012, 12:22 PM
If you want to upgrade the CPU to someone decent then unfortunately you'll need a new motherboard, which adds cost. It is an upgrade you'll need to seriously consider in the near future though if you want to play Rome 2 on max.

The problem about upgrading RAM now is that it will be a waste of money, as you'll need to replace it when you get a new motherboard; the motherboard you have now only supports DDR2, whereas all new motherboards will need DDR3.

I would strongly recommend saving up for a bit and try to spend a bit more on getting all 3 upgraded.

Edit: I didn't notice that the motherboard was AM2+, I originally read it as AM2.

Jesus_Phish
04-10-2012, 12:26 PM
You could get some decent bundles for under 300 which would give you a newer MOBO, CPU and RAM. They might not come with a graphics card though. So you could if you like, get a bundle like that, then later buy a new graphics card and in the mean time use your current one.

I believe that AM3+ on some MOBOs are backwards compatible with AM2/2+, but don't quote me on that!

The biggest/hardest components to change are usually the processor and mobo, because one will limit the other because of socket types.

You're not going to get anything mega for your budget, but you'll get improvements and by the sounds of it you're happy enough with decent performance?

Look around on Dabs, Overclockers etc for bundles.

Sakkura
04-10-2012, 12:44 PM
Ram is so cheap now days. The spec site for your MOBO says "Support DDR2 1066/800/667/533/400 DDR2 SDRAM" and up to 16gb. You'd get two 4gb sticks for 8gb total for about 60-80.

It all depends on how much you want to spend though and how long you want the PC to last going into the future.
No you wouldn't. DDR2 is more expensive than DDR3, especially when you're talking 4 GB DIMMs. Cheapest 2x4 GB kit on amazon seems to be 75.

I'd go for 2 x 2 GB instead. Much more reasonably priced, and the difference between 2 and 4 GB is bigger than the difference between 4 and 8 GB.

rider
04-10-2012, 01:11 PM
Very well, thanks guys. It is a bit mindboggling to just keep an eye on everything for me, so I appreciate your words of advice. :)

With respect to a MOBO-CPU-RAM combo, what would be the suggested options (if we'd keep 300 as the limit here)? Would I be easily available to use the current GPU on the new creature or would that require some maneuvering as well?

I've taken a look on Scan at some of these based on the Hard Choices posts over here, and that led me to think of some creatures until I noticed that I'd probably have to keep to a microATX which the author didn't really include in his discussions (or rather, all of his suggestions were for ATX which makes sense as long as there's no previous limiting factors).

Also, I am a bit uncertain about whether I need to keep to AMD products if I'm already changing most of the equipment there?

Any idea how well any of the "prebuilt bundles" would work (keeping to Scan thus far)? They have a range at their site http://www.scan.co.uk/3xs-overclocked-bundles

Some of them look good to my eye, but my eye is rather untrained so I am a bit afraid of anything like this (well, I imagine a bundle trap...). Say changing some creatures on the 3XS Edge, how would that work out? Although probably I have to keep the ATX/mATX in mind here as well?

groovychainsaw
04-10-2012, 01:39 PM
Well, I came up with the below quickly, for 305 from scan. Upgrading the motherboard makes life easier, as I couldn't even find new AM2+ CPUs anywhere mainstream, but it does bump up towards your price ceiling. The 650GT has a fair bit of grunt for gaming, the CPU I'd head towards an i5 if you could squeeze a bit more out of your budget, but I don't think the below would be a bad system (all copied and pasted from scan, so you can check the parts out using the parts numbers). The 8GB is super cheap, you could stick with 4GB for about 15 if you wanted to shave another 15 off. I think if you don't upgrade both the CPU and GPU, you'll be bottlenecked with something like shogun. The memory will probably have the smallest impact, unless you are doing something very memory-intensive.

Graphics:
LN46903
1GB EVGA GTX 650, 28nm, PCIe 3.0 (x16), 5000MHz, GPU 1058MHz, Cores 384, DVI/mHDMI
Motherboard:
LN43804
Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H, Intel Z77, S 1155, DDR3, SATA 6Gb/s, SATA RAID, PCIe 3.0, D-Sub/ DVI/ HDMI, Micro ATX
Memory:
LN39754
8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 Vengeance Jet Black Low Profile, PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC, CAS 9-9-9-24, XMP, 1.5V
CPU:
LN36723
Intel Core i3 2120, S1155, 3.3GHz, 5GT/s, HD2000 IGP 850Mhz, 3MB Cache, Core R 33x, 65W, Retail

Sakkura
04-10-2012, 02:03 PM
With respect to a MOBO-CPU-RAM combo, what would be the suggested options (if we'd keep 300 as the limit here)? Would I be easily available to use the current GPU on the new creature or would that require some maneuvering as well?


Also, I am a bit uncertain about whether I need to keep to AMD products if I'm already changing most of the equipment there?
If you swap the motherboard and CPU, you can keep using your old graphics card easily. There's also no particular need to stick to AMD, and most tend to go with Intel these days.


CPU:
LN36723
Intel Core i3 2120, S1155, 3.3GHz, 5GT/s, HD2000 IGP 850Mhz, 3MB Cache, Core R 33x, 65W, Retail
If you're going with an i3, go for the i3-3220.

Sakkura
04-10-2012, 02:38 PM
If you want to just upgrade Mobo (mATX), CPU and RAM, here's my recommendation:

MSI B75A-G43 (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/msi-b75a-g43-intel-b75-s-1155-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-sata-raid-pcie-30-%28x16%29-d-sub-%28vga%29-dvi-d-hdmi-atx) - 57.30

Intel Core i5-3350P (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-3350p-s-1155-ivy-bridge-he-quad-core-31ghz-5-gt-s-dmi-69w-retail) - 132.85

2 x 4 GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile DDR3-1600 CL9 1.50V (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-%282x4gb%29-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-lp-cerulean-blue-pc3-12800-%281600%29-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-15v) - 30.96

Total price of 221.11 leaves room for a somewhat entry-level graphics card, but you could keep using your old one while saving up for a more midrange graphics card.

Either a Geforce GTX 650 or a Radeon HD 7770 would do well at their ~90 price point, but trading up to a Radeon HD 7850 for another 50ish really does make a world of difference.

rider
04-10-2012, 03:36 PM
Okay guys, thanks a lot for these suggestions. I am trying to understand them now to see what they actually are. :) I also did a bit of number crunching to see if the 300 pound limit I said was reasonable with what I think I can spend, and I agreed although with the potentially relevant difference that there's not too much problem if I head above for a reasonable upgrade (God help me if I go over 350 though). Based on what you guys have said previously then, would something like this be a good buy from a price/value point of view:

Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H Intel Z77 Socket 1155 Ivybridge (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-z77m-d3h-intel-z77-s-1155-ddr3-sata-6gb-s-sata-raid-pcie-30-d-sub-dvi-hdmi-micro-atx) - 82.52
8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 Vengeance (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-jet-black-lp-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-15v) - 31.99
Intel CPU i3 3220 Ivy Bridge Dual Core (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i3-3220-s-1155-ivy-bridge-dual-core-33ghz-3mb-smart-cache-retail) - 94.19
MSI Overclocked Radeon HD 7850 AMD (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-msi-radeon-hd-7850-overclocked-4800mhz-gddr5-gpu-900mhz-1024-cores-dvi-hdmi-2x-mini-displayport) - 134.98

This would come to a total of 345 or so based on the prices on Scan. Would it be a reasonable deal in your opinion for the performance upgrade it would achieve? And, could I be relatively certain at this handling most of what I'll want to throw at it (at relatively high graphics/performance settings) in the next two years or so with respect to an average RTS game?

Also, might be a bit of a silly question but is there any way to be certain that this new MOBO will be fully compatible with the old power supply unit? Also, will changing all of this hardware require a reinstall of Windows afterwards, or will it be possible to just plug the HDD back in and it should work fine?

And, I noticed once again that the GPU's are produced by a number of different companies even for a similar model -- is there anything that I should avoid or are they all relatively similar?

Thanks
(http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-jet-black-lp-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-15v)

Sakkura
04-10-2012, 05:27 PM
Buying that Z77-based motherboard is a bit of a waste of money with a Core i3 CPU. You could drop it down to a cheaper B75 or H77 alternative and spend the leftover cash on maybe getting up to a Core i5. Though then it does end up slightly over 350 with a Radeon HD 7850.

As for compatibility with your old power supply, that's pretty much ensured by the ATX specification. Unless your PSU is literally ten years old. The more relevant question is whether it has enough power and enough 6-pin PCIe connectors for the graphics card.

If your Windows is an OEM version, you will have to buy a new OS when you replace the motherboard. If it's a full retail I *think* it will keep working without a reinstall.

And as for the brand of graphics cards - there are differences, but they're usually not dramatic. Just a little variation in how good/loud the cooler is and what exact outputs it offers (DVI, HDMI etc.).

rider
04-10-2012, 06:07 PM
Something like this Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-b75m-d3h-intel-b75-s-1155-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-pcie-30-(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-hdmi-micro-atx) you mean? I think the only relevant thing I lose is the RAID capability, and that would give me around 26. And say... keep that at the same CPU then and end up spending less, or go to the limit again with something similar to this i5 3450 (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-34501155-ivy-bridge-quad-core-31ghz-5-gt-s-dmi-650mhz-gpu-6mb-smart-cache-31x-ratio-77) ?

For finding it out about the PCIe connectors, would I need to look in there or is there a place in the computer systems where it would display the power source information? I've never needed to look for it before, but I would hope it at least says on itself.

Sakkura
04-10-2012, 06:33 PM
Something like this Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-b75m-d3h-intel-b75-s-1155-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-pcie-30-(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-hdmi-micro-atx) you mean? I think the only relevant thing I lose is the RAID capability, and that would give me around 26. And say... keep that at the same CPU then and end up spending less, or go to the limit again with something similar to this i5 3450 (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-34501155-ivy-bridge-quad-core-31ghz-5-gt-s-dmi-650mhz-gpu-6mb-smart-cache-31x-ratio-77) ?

For finding it out about the PCIe connectors, would I need to look in there or is there a place in the computer systems where it would display the power source information? I've never needed to look for it before, but I would hope it at least says on itself.
Yeah exactly. You also lose a few other little perks, but none of them are likely to make a difference for you. Only one SATA3-port instead of two (fine, regular HDDs don't need more than SATA2 anyway, and those are still plentiful); no overclocking (fine, these CPUs don't really overclock anyway); no Intel SRT (SSD caching - it's usually better to just use it as a regular drive anyway).

The Core i5-3350P I suggested earlier is a slightly cheaper Core i5-3450 which just has the graphics part of the chip disabled. That's fine when you're using a dedicated graphics card anyway.

As for the power supply, it might say on the label, but don't count on it. If you can make out the brand and model name then the info is only a googling away.

mashakos
04-10-2012, 06:35 PM
Your budget is equivalent to - $490
Unless prices of the core i5 2500k are way out of proportion in your region, I recommend:

Intel Core i5 2500k ~ $220
EDIT:
MSI Z77A-G41 ~ $90
G.Skill Ripjaws ~ $40

That leaves... $140

Graphics card:-
This is a tough one. With $140 left you will have to go with AMD.

If you can up your budget by $60 though, there are some nice options:
Geforce GTX560 Ti ~ $200
Special offer on GTX 480 - $200 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130759)

The GTX480 is a tremendous card, though it has crap cooling on it which tends to get very loud. Still, for $200 you're getting GTX670 performance so a great deal if you can find it at that price.

Sakkura
04-10-2012, 06:50 PM
Your budget is equivalent to - $490
Unless prices of the core i5 2500k are way out of proportion in your region, I recommend:

Intel Core i5 2500k ~ $220
ASUS P8H61-M ~ $65
G.Skill Ripjaws ~ $40
The i5 2500k is 167 ~ $270. Besides, you're mixing a CPU unlocked for overclocking with a motherboard that doesn't allow overclocking, which means wasting money.

mashakos
04-10-2012, 07:03 PM
The i5 2500k is 167 ~ $270. Besides, you're mixing a CPU unlocked for overclocking with a motherboard that doesn't allow overclocking, which means wasting money.

oh yeah, I forgot that the h61 motherboards are gimped. Will have to update my post.

mashakos
04-10-2012, 07:05 PM
The i5 2500k is 167 ~ $270.
seriously? Can't you find it in brick and mortar shops for less? It costs $220 where I live, and we usually get overpriced PC hardware.

Sakkura
04-10-2012, 07:16 PM
seriously? Can't you find it in brick and mortar shops for less? It costs $220 where I live, and we usually get overpriced PC hardware.
Most of the difference is probably VAT.

rider
05-10-2012, 01:24 AM
Had a nice discussion on VAT earlier today, probably should just live in Japan for this thing. :P

Fair enough on the i5 3350P, makes more sense then. Very well, thanks for the advice. Although I take it that the power source thing is pretty much going for chance (which is fair enough, I guess).

Now, what you said about the OS earlier on made me a bit wary and I decided to ask a friend what he knew, though his prime experience is with Mac's. By what he said, it would seem that reinstalling a Windows is very likely on any MOBO upgrade even if it is not an OEM version? And, that, as I see it, might prove problematic since even though I don't have a Windows install (I believe you can get them from the MS site, no?) then the copy that I have has a bit of a history -- namely, I got this computer second hand, and from what I can see it was originally Vista (or that could just be the case, but unlikely) and was only later upgraded to a Windows 7 Professional.

Based on what I've heard, it seems unlikely I'd be able to use the same instance of it (as without changing the install) after changing the MOBO, and likewise there seems little chance for me to actually reinstall the same copy. Do you have any idea if this is a solvable issue (with what I have being the W7Pro notice that it is activated as well as the product ID)? Thus far there seems to be little actual consensus based on what I've read as to the actual effects of any certain re-alignment of hardware, so I would like to hear what the options are that I have there. Another friend suggested I do a Windows backup and just use that to restore the system in case it doesn't work well, but I have certain reservations about that approach (namely, I don't see why it would work).

Sakkura
05-10-2012, 01:51 PM
Well now, that's a good question. It probably depends on whether the original Windows was an OEM license or not. OEM Windows is tied to a single computer, which Microsoft defines as a motherboard. New motherboard, new computer, new Windows purchase. Full retail versions, on the other hand, can be moved to as many new computers as you like (but only one at a time of course).

As for install discs, you can download an .ISO 100% legally and either burn it to a CD-ROM/DVD or put it on a USB flash drive. The only thing you need is the product code so you can actually activate Windows after installing. Otherwise you'd have to reinstall every week or something of the sort.
Here's a tutorial (http://www.pcworld.com/article/248995/how_to_install_windows_7_without_the_disc.html).

rider
05-10-2012, 03:03 PM
Ah, well, I now noticed that the product ID includes the fatal combination of letters, "OEM", in it, so I have to assume that is what my computer's OS is. From what I can see and read, that means a change of motherboard would make my computer useless. :P

The best I can find online right now is around a 90 for Windows 7 Home OEM, or 120 for 7 Professional OEM // 7 Home Retail. At that price range, it would either mean I need to factor it in when thinking of the overall price limit or just scrap the entire process. Lowering the limit would make the rest of the purchases that much worse (and, well, honestly I am unsure if I would like to get an OEM version if the same thing could easily happen in the future). [There also seems to be an offer for 7 Ultimate OEM at 140.] Altogether, the situation seems to look bleak.

I don't think there's any real way of going past this problem either, and substituting Windows for something else is not a real option when staying on the gaming track I think.

It would, however, look like it is possible to connect the GPU that we were thinking of, HD 7850, which requires a PCIe 3.0 slot to a PCIe 2.0 slot for a small loss in performance. So, maybe if there's no way of going past the OS issues it would make sense to go to 4 GB RAM (something like this (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-(2x2gb)-corsair-twinx-xms2-ddr2-pc2-6400-(800)-240-pins-non-ecc-unbufferedcas-5-5-5-18)though that is 800 MHz?) and the HD 7850 for no upgrades on the MOBO-CPU? Any idea how that would improve the performance of the system? Also would the fact that the 7850 is dual slot be a problem with this MOBO (http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Product/Product_Detail.aspx?DetailID=911&CategoryID=1&MenuID=20&LanID=0) that I currently have (the previous one is single slot, I think)? [Interestingly enough it also mentions being AMD3 ready which confused me thoroughly when I found the meaning on Wikipedia, because I have no idea if it means that I could connect a AM3 unit with some trouble or could not at all.]

mashakos
05-10-2012, 03:16 PM
Now, what you said about the OS earlier on made me a bit wary and I decided to ask a friend what he knew, though his prime experience is with Mac's. By what he said, it would seem that reinstalling a Windows is very likely on any MOBO upgrade even if it is not an OEM version?

Sounds like your friend secretly wants you to switch? lol

I had a very similiar experience:
Ran Vista retail mainly on a core 2 duo + intel X38 combo for a few years.
Upgraded Vista to Windows 7 OEM
Changed motherboard and cpu to Core i7 3930k + Intel X79 combo

I cloned my operating system partition before upgrading the motherboard. After the upgrade, I was asked to activate windows, and I did. The activation went ahead without a hitch.
In case it does not get activated, a friend who works at the local Microsoft office explained to me that you can call Microsoft and request a phone activation as long as you give a reason for the hardware change that is accepted (e.x I upgraded my cpu) and you don't call an unusual number of times (more than 10 times in a single week for example.).
I didn't test it out as I said the activation worked for me.

Sakkura
05-10-2012, 04:02 PM
Ah, well, I now noticed that the product ID includes the fatal combination of letters, "OEM", in it, so I have to assume that is what my computer's OS is. From what I can see and read, that means a change of motherboard would make my computer useless. :P

The best I can find online right now is around a 90 for Windows 7 Home OEM, or 120 for 7 Professional OEM // 7 Home Retail. At that price range, it would either mean I need to factor it in when thinking of the overall price limit or just scrap the entire process. Lowering the limit would make the rest of the purchases that much worse (and, well, honestly I am unsure if I would like to get an OEM version if the same thing could easily happen in the future). [There also seems to be an offer for 7 Ultimate OEM at 140.] Altogether, the situation seems to look bleak.

I don't think there's any real way of going past this problem either, and substituting Windows for something else is not a real option when staying on the gaming track I think.

It would, however, look like it is possible to connect the GPU that we were thinking of, HD 7850, which requires a PCIe 3.0 slot to a PCIe 2.0 slot for a small loss in performance. So, maybe if there's no way of going past the OS issues it would make sense to go to 4 GB RAM (something like this (http://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-(2x2gb)-corsair-twinx-xms2-ddr2-pc2-6400-(800)-240-pins-non-ecc-unbufferedcas-5-5-5-18)though that is 800 MHz?) and the HD 7850 for no upgrades on the MOBO-CPU? Any idea how that would improve the performance of the system? Also would the fact that the 7850 is dual slot be a problem with this MOBO (http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Product/Product_Detail.aspx?DetailID=911&CategoryID=1&MenuID=20&LanID=0) that I currently have (the previous one is single slot, I think)? [Interestingly enough it also mentions being AMD3 ready which confused me thoroughly when I found the meaning on Wikipedia, because I have no idea if it means that I could connect a AM3 unit with some trouble or could not at all.]
Yeah if you need to buy a new Windows version it kinda wrecks the budget. Even more so if you go for a full retail version since that costs about twice as much as OEM.

The HD 7850 supports PCIe 3.0, but it doesn't require it at all. The only major difference between PCIe 3.0 and 2.0 is twice as much bandwidth, and the 7850 doesn't even need all the bandwidth a 16-lane PCIe 2.0 slot makes available.
Still, the CPU itself would hold it back to some extent. It would end up waiting for information on what to draw next, because the CPU would be taking longer with the calculations of AI behaviour and physics etc. than the graphics card would actually drawing the frame.

Installing a dual-slot graphics card on your motherboard will block the regular PCI slot next to the PCIe slot, but that's not a problem as long as you don't need some PCI device installed there (and your case has an I/O slot by that PCI slot).

rider
05-10-2012, 04:16 PM
@Sakkura: Thanks; seems like a half-way upgrade in many ways then (as it really would be).


Sounds like your friend secretly wants you to switch? lol

I had a very similiar experience:
Ran Vista retail mainly on a core 2 duo + intel X38 combo for a few years.
Upgraded Vista to Windows 7 OEM
Changed motherboard and cpu to Core i7 3930k + Intel X79 combo

I cloned my operating system partition before upgrading the motherboard. After the upgrade, I was asked to activate windows, and I did. The activation went ahead without a hitch.
In case it does not get activated, a friend who works at the local Microsoft office explained to me that you can call Microsoft and request a phone activation as long as you give a reason for the hardware change that is accepted (e.x I upgraded my cpu) and you don't call an unusual number of times (more than 10 times in a single week for example.).
I didn't test it out as I said the activation worked for me.

Won't be switching for sure. :)

Now, based on this it would seem that upgrading everything would work without much trouble. Do you think it makes a difference whether the original Vista was OEM or Retail? And by cloning it, do you mean just a copy of all you had there or something more sophisticated?

mashakos
05-10-2012, 04:22 PM
Won't be switching for sure. :)

Now, based on this it would seem that upgrading everything would work without much trouble. Do you think it makes a difference whether the original Vista was OEM or Retail? And by cloning it, do you mean just a copy of all you had there or something more sophisticated?

Having a previous retail version has no impact on the current OEM version of Windows. By cloning I just mean a simple backup of the whole partition using an application (it's not a simple file copy but a byte by byte backup so things like the mbr or Master Boot Record are intact). Made the backup in case windows activation didn't work after the upgrade, but luckily never needed to use / restore it in the end.

rider
05-10-2012, 04:32 PM
Okay, that's a positive thought. As a final question (for now :P), would you say that a 7850 HD that's 2GB is worth a 7 price increase over the 1 GB version? How much does that actually change?

[Also, just to be sure, you're speaking of the Windows Backup feature inherent in 7, yes? Not the system image / system repair disk thing?]

mashakos
05-10-2012, 04:39 PM
Okay, that's a positive thought. As a final question (for now :P), would you say that a 7850 HD that's 2GB is worth a 7 price increase over the 1 GB version? How much does that actually change?
RAM matters if you have a choice between high performing gpu's. Looking at how this card performs with Battlefield 3 (low to mid 30's fps @ 1080p ultra settings) I see that this is on the lower end of the scale. How is your budget? I've been in your shoes in the early 2000's and believe me it's better to buy a used mid to high end card than a new mid to low end card. It will last you a lot longer, at the same price value.



[Also, just to be sure, you're speaking of the Windows Backup feature inherent in 7, yes? Not the system image / system repair disk thing?]
Neither. I use Trueimage for all my backup stuff, mainly because it comes with a bootable Linux version that I can use to restore a completely empty drive.

rider
05-10-2012, 04:42 PM
By now the budget is well and truly gone. What would be a good second-hand higher graphics card though (and what are good second-hand hardware sellers) for a similar price (120-140)?

mashakos
05-10-2012, 04:44 PM
By now the budget is well and truly gone. What would be a good second-hand higher graphics card though (and what are good second-hand hardware sellers) for a similar price (120-140)?

140?? Man, I've seen two people selling their old GTX580s at a local forum for that.
I'm sure you can at least find someone selling their gtx570 in the UK for that, if not a gtx580.

mashakos
05-10-2012, 05:25 PM
What about this one here: eVGA GTX 580 on eBay (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/eVGA-NVIDIA-GeForce-580-GTX-1536-MB-015-P3-1587-KR-Graphics-Card-/271069704972?pt=UK_Computing_Computer_Components_G raphics_Video_TV_Cards_TW&hash=item3f1d03730c)? This would be a bargain then by what you are saying, and much better for what it is?

This is a no brainer. Go (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHEtfTfgJv0) Get (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7dQ8K5DRGE) it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E54Nfs0nEZM) now! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifF1CVq5xUY)

rider
05-10-2012, 08:07 PM
Useless eBay ended up, well, not that well. :P As in price heading higher and higher...

Finicky
05-10-2012, 10:50 PM
Unfortunately your current set up is beyond salvaging.
The cpu is so outdated that a new gpu wouldn't be enough to make all modern games playable, which means you need a new cpu, which means you need a new mobo, which means you need new ram.

See if you can reuse your case/psu/hdd/dvd reader/windows copy.

The basic bang for buck upgrade rule: (assuming each part you use is of a baseline quality/performance of course)
GPU >>>>>>> CPU >>>>> RAM (assuming you have 2GB or more) > HDD

It's a shitty time to buy a rig imo, at least compared to 2008-2011.

HDD's are double overpriced, there is nothing in the 150-200 euro midrange gpu range that is faster than anything in the 200 euro gpu range a year and a half ago, gpus overall have seen a massive pricehike due to lack of competition, your best bet for cpu land is still something equivalent in both price and performance to what you could have found a year and a half ago.

Basically, you'll spend the same if not more(hdds) you would have in early 2011 and you won't get any more performance than you would have back then if you go mid range :\

Pretty grim times in hardware land especially for those interested in a price/performance midrange build. There is no value to be had right now.

Sakkura
06-10-2012, 01:07 AM
200€ price range year and a half ago... that's an HD 6870. Today, it's a 7850 or maybe a GTX 660. There is a difference at least on that component.

HDDs still aren't nearly as cheap as they should be due to the floods, but it's gotten better, especially at 1 TB and up. CPUs are very meh, no significant changes since Sandy Bridge launched (spring 2011).

There's an interesting article about the HDD prices here (http://techreport.com/review/23185/the-post-flood-decline-of-hard-drive-prices-is-slowing). One pic below.

Finicky
07-10-2012, 02:01 AM
200€ price range year and a half ago... that's an HD 6870. Today, it's a 7850 or maybe a GTX 660. There is a difference at least on that component.

HDDs still aren't nearly as cheap as they should be due to the floods, but it's gotten better, especially at 1 TB and up. CPUs are very meh, no significant changes since Sandy Bridge launched (spring 2011).

There's an interesting article about the HDD prices here (http://techreport.com/review/23185/the-post-flood-decline-of-hard-drive-prices-is-slowing). One pic below.

I keep reading this piece of misinformation and it pisses me off, this misconception is why HDD prices are taking so long to drop.
Here is why HDD prices are high :
Seagate bought the samsung HDD division
WD bought the Hitachi HDD division
The HDD market is basically a duopoly right now (the very reason for the aqcuisitions)

Seagate saw a huge jump in quarterly profits in Q4 2011, if the flood were hurting them so badly and causing a real shortage their profits would have dropped, not jumped up.

Hours after the news of the flooding, retailers everywhere jumped on the opportunity to triple prices of their current stock (everyone who checked prices that day will know this)
Seagate and WD chose to lower production and increase prices to retailers as a reaction (huge increase in quarterly profits as evidence despite losing part of their stock and factory up time to the floods).
Since there is no competition in the market (WD and seagate control it) there was noone to piss in their price fixing cornflakes by undercutting, hence why prices continue to remain sky high.

The only competition left now is in the retail business, and to get rid of their stock they have slowly been undercutting eachother, but since neither WD or seagate are lowering their distribution prices this can only go so far.

In a way it is still poetic justice (at the cost of the consumer) , greed driven retailers who jumped at the opportunity for huge profits on their stock at the time of the flood are now seeing decreased turnaround and profits compared to before the floods , as they still have to compete with one another and WD/seagate continue to limit production and keep distribution prices high.

WD/seagate are happy to produce less and sell at a double premium, the floodings were just a chance opportunity for them to raise prices faster due to the change in perception of value (aka the pseudo shortage, I've never once seen any retailer here go out of HDD stock, but all that matters is what people will accept).

Until we see some renewed competition through another buyout or new HDD player (unlikely), hdd prices will remain inflated, WD/seagate stockholders will remain happy, and capitalism will continue to show that it only works as long as the industry allows for competition.

SSD are at a dead end density wise (and therefor capacity wise) so they will never become a real competitor for storage. HDD's will remain in demand as storage drives even when every OEM pc comes with an SSD boot drive.
Maybe in a few years if and when IBM manages to bring memristor drives to the market, competition to the storage market will return (or rather HDD's will become an obsolete medium like the floppy disk) and consumers can get some value in return for the profits of the industry again.

Even if the floods had never happened, the Samsung and hitachi aqcuisition would have ensured a rise in HDD prices and a stall in competition.
There is a reason why there still isn't a real successor to the spinpoint f3 after 2 years.

Sakkura
07-10-2012, 03:31 AM
The floods spiked the prices. That they've been somewhat slow to recover can be partially blamed on a lack of competition, yes, but also on the very thin margins there's been on HDDs in the last few years.

Also, there is still a fifth/third player out there in Toshiba, so it's not a perfect duopoly. Yet.

Besides, a 2 TB HDD costs the same as a 128 GB SSD. They're still decent value, even if it sucks to see a price hike.

Finicky
07-10-2012, 04:49 AM
The floods spiked the prices. That they've been somewhat slow to recover can be partially blamed on a lack of competition, yes, but also on the very thin margins there's been on HDDs in the last few years.

Also, there is still a fifth/third player out there in Toshiba, so it's not a perfect duopoly. Yet.

Besides, a 2 TB HDD costs the same as a 128 GB SSD. They're still decent value, even if it sucks to see a price hike.

Yes the floods resulted in the price hike... but not because of scarcity (rather because it was an easy way to manipulate perceived value)... Which is what people keep using to justify spending twice as much as they should.

Small profit margins (hello competition and free market, meet Sakkura) justify doubling the price? May I perhaps interest you in buying a bridge?

SSD's are extremely poor value/storage capacity compared to HDDS, again this does not justify doubling the prices.


The amount of rationalising in your post, jesus christ...
HDD's are currently extremely poor value (not so much as SSDs, but the two aren't mutually exclusive), full stop.

Sakkura
07-10-2012, 05:18 AM
Prices aren't double what they were before the floods. They're still elevated, yes, but you're exaggerating. There certainly was scarcity, but the price hike was also partially preemptive, scaring away customers so demand didn't outstrip production as much as it could have.

karry
10-10-2012, 03:32 PM
Prices aren't double what they were before the floods.
Yes they are. On 1tb drives. On 2tb drives its around 150% of what they were 18 months ago.


The i5 2500k is 167 ~ $270.
What ? I'll be buying i5-3750k soon, its 230$.


The only thing you need is the product code so you can actually activate Windows after installing. Otherwise you'd have to reinstall every week or something of the sort.
You dont need to activate Windows 7. Ever. If you dont want to. The worst it will do is give you a nag screen every day or so, and not allow you to set a wallpaper.


The basic bang for buck upgrade rule: (assuming each part you use is of a baseline quality/performance of course)
GPU >>>>>>> CPU >>>>> RAM (assuming you have 2GB or more) > HDD
Not always true. If you're into, say, emulation, GPU is the least of your needs.

Sakkura
10-10-2012, 07:15 PM
Yes they are. On 1tb drives. On 2tb drives its around 150% of what they were 18 months ago.

Not quite. Not even back in June (http://techreport.com/review/23185/the-post-flood-decline-of-hard-drive-prices-is-slowing).


What ? I'll be buying i5-3750k soon, its 230$.
Where are you buying it though? And obviously the i5-3570k is not the same as the i5-2500k.

Grizzly
10-10-2012, 11:58 PM
Not quite. Not even back in June (http://techreport.com/review/23185/the-post-flood-decline-of-hard-drive-prices-is-slowing).


Where are you buying it though? And obviously the i5-3570k is not the same as the i5-2500k.

It is, actually. The 3570 is the 2500 with 22nm architecture. Considering that the equal-but-slightly-less-power-hungry version is 230 dollars (and that is Intell's recommended price, it is stupid to go higher then that as a retailer) , it seems odd that the slighlty older version would be selling for anything more then that.

Alex Bakke
11-10-2012, 11:07 AM
It is, actually. The 3570 is the 2500 with 22nm architecture. Considering that the equal-but-slightly-less-power-hungry version is 230 dollars (and that is Intell's recommended price, it is stupid to go higher then that as a retailer) , it seems odd that the slighlty older version would be selling for anything more then that.

It could be an effort to push people away from Sandy Bridge, towards Ivy. If production's going down as well, then obviously prices will go up.

Sakkura
11-10-2012, 11:32 AM
It is, actually. The 3570 is the 2500 with 22nm architecture.

No, the 3570 is the same architecture at a new manufacturing node, with a new type of transistor gates and with an expanded IGPU. It also features a different material between the silicon and the IHS, with poorer thermal characteristics.

As for the prices, Intel has an MSRP that is relevant mainly for the US market. When a country (like the UK) adds VAT, they don't just sell their stuff cheaper to compensate.

Finicky
11-10-2012, 05:46 PM
Not always true. If you're into, say, emulation, GPU is the least of your needs.
Yes, hence the keyword 'BASIC' in basic rule.... I mean , seriously?

Also just to indulge you : dolphin now has excellent gpu acceleration, so while you still need a high end cpu for it, you also benifit greatly from a good gpu.

Again: in general (normal gaming), spending 100 euros more on a gpu is going to get you a frigging LOT higher framerates than spending 100 more euros on a cpu (let alone on something silly like an SSD).
Again, assuming you aren't just being obtuse and trying to pair a low end c2duo with a gtx 670...

To bash ssds some more: totalbisquit was attributing his 3second load times in dishonored to his SSD, my not formatted since 2010 bought in 2008 95 percent full (if you know HDDS this shits on performance) 1TB HDD with damaged sectors also has 3 seconds load times in dishonored (/offtopic)