Not sure there's a point in buying a whole new machine when you already have an i5-750. Why not just replace the failing water cooling and/or fans with standard air cooling and swap graphics card with a 7850?
Originally Posted by pixelprime
As I mentioned in my post - I was very concerned over buying a new GFX card because of the disaster I had last time I tried it.
In summary, a while ago I bought an nVidia GTX 580. This thing:
I mean look at it. It's like trying to fit a small cottage inside your case.
Putting it onto my motherboard would have literally damaged vital components on the board - since the card was too deep (in terms of slot size). Add to that the enormous power requirements (although I'm told the 7850 doesn't have this problem).
I would be quite happy to swap out my current GFX card, this thing:
With something between the two. Perhaps under £200?
Honestly, I'd shoot for a GTX 560 Ti. All the reviews I've seen have been excellent, it's a fairly beefy card (certainly enough for one 1920x1200 screen) and it should last a while without breaking the bank (this should be sub-200, though I'm no specialist of UK prices).
Yeah, people will keep harping about the latest and greatest 7xxx and 6xx series from AMD and Nvidia, but the thing is... They won't be out for a while yet, there's always a few growing pains initially and prices are going to be higher than past generations because AMD isn't trying to undercut Nvidia anymore; their GCN architecture cost them a lot to put out, so they're looking to cash in. Unless you absolutely need the top dog, I'd suggest going for that. Prices might go down a little bit when Nvidia releases their new generation, but we don't know when exactly those are going to hit retailers. Furthermore, Nvidia has a habit of taking their time to release the best value-for-money cards. Their 8800GT was a second generation card within the 8xxx family, just like the 560 Ti is also some sort of half-step.
However, considering what you've said, changing the water cooling should be just as urgent if not more. Your GPU running hot is not all that unusual, Nvidia's few last generations are all hot cards, but your water cooler failing is bad. Really bad. Honestly, unless you're doing some really heavy overclocking, why not strip all that out and go for a nice and simple air cooler? Something from Noctua can really blow you away, like this NH-U12P SE2 that I happen to have. Comes with support for all Intel sockets from 775 onwards plus all modern AMD sockets. It also comes with excellent instructions (much better than any I've seen) and superb thermal paste. Just make sure it fits!
Thanks for the helpful insights. I'm definitely not necessarily after the absolutely latest-and-greatest. And to be honest, not many games out now would even take advantage of the full brute force of the card beyond what would be considered overkill. If I can get a steady 30 fps out of a game running at max, or close to max resolution, I'm happy. I don't mind trimming back some of the settings to get the right balance.
One thing I would note is that most people consider a game only to be running on 'max everything' if you're including maximum FSAA and 16xAF. Running at 1920 x 1200, I think games are crisp enough not to worry about FSAA. And although 16xAF looks really nice, it doesn't really matter to me. That means I can get more bang for my buck with other settings.
I chuckle when I remember back when I splashed out on a Voodoo 5 card - with its new fangled anti aliasing chip. I was in the future!
Circumstances have found themselves slightly more favourable, and it's looking like a new machine is probably in the pipeline.
One question, would this machine be decent enough to last me, perhaps, another couple of years as my current machine has?
Basically yes, those specs are reasonable. I would up the memory to 8GB and the processor to a 2500k for not much additional cost.
What do you want from your case in terms of looks / size / silence / price?
It might be of interest to you that small cases like Fractal Design Core 1000 and Silverstone SG08 (which are easier to transport and are easier on the eye in living spaces compared to regular midtowers) have evolved into valid options even for powerful PCs. Not sure if that particular company would build a gaming machine with mini-ATX motherboard, but it doesn't hurt to ask. I'm really itching to build a new PC precisely so that I can LAN with it or stick it on the same shelves with other home AV equipment. I have never needed the extra space in any of my midtowers, and now that I'm getting to the point in my life where I'm spending actual money on furniture and interior, a big honking monolith of a tower in the middle of it is just wrong.
Last edited by victory; 16-03-2012 at 12:03 PM.
I'm currently using this thing:
(iPhone included for scale!)
This is the CoolerMaster HAF case, standing at around 230 x 599 x 550 mm.
Ideally, I'd like something smaller-form than that.
The machine I linked to earlier (http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/view/V...750-gaming-pc/) has a case with dimensions: 191 x 437 x 468 mm, so a bit smaller, which would be nice.
They do sell 'small format' machines (what they call Mini PCs), which are here: http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/comput...-spec-mini-pc/, but as usual I'm not entirely sure what would pass as a reasonably decent gaming machine for my budget (around a max of £700-800). Having a mini machine handle that task would be amazing, but for reasons of cooling and overheating I'm reticent to make a move into that format of PC, unless anyone knows whether it's worthwhile.
Some of the mini cases aren't designed for handle power, while some - like the ones I referred to - have no overheating issues even with the ultra-high-end GPUs. Of those two cases the Core 1000 is cheap while the SG08 is out of your current budget.
Originally Posted by pixelprime
Only you know whether the benefits of a smaller case are worth it, but functionally you shouldn't lose anything besides the ability to stuff in more components.
Last edited by victory; 16-03-2012 at 01:24 PM.
The only thing I'll say about the size of the case is: if you like or want to tinker with the innards, do yourself a favor and get a nice roomy case. My last computer had an Antec 900 and while it was an excellent case, it felt slightly cramped. My current desktop has an NZXT Phantom and the difference it makes it astounding. I can finally see inside the case! Plus, I wouldn't have been able to fit my Noctua cooler in anything smaller, yet it's all extremely quiet and has plenty of space to pass wires behind the panel. Of course some of the small cases are very well designed, but you simply can't have the same feel in a case half the size.
Now if you're not interested in toying with it, then by all means get a smaller case!
I think then, all things considered, case size isn't really going to be a hugely important factor for me. Yes, smaller form PCs take up less room - but I suppose there are also compromises where noise is concerned, seeing that larger cases generally take larger / slower fans. The HAF case I have is a good example - not too noisy, mostly on account of the extremely large top / side fans.
I think I'll go with the Vortex 750. It comes with an i5-2400, which is naturally a little better than my existing i5-750 (benchmark tests show improvements in speed across the board, but the difference only seems to be between 10-20%, so not huge).
The bonus is that it also comes with a 2GB AMD Radeon 7850, which is seems like a really nice card. The combination of those factors makes it seem like a worthy purchase to me, perhaps moreso given that the machine comes with 4GB ram as standard - although I may consider upping that to 8GB.
Thanks to everyone who replied, offered advice and helped me out with this decision. For a total all-in price of £640.83 (I can get the VAT off) I think that's a pretty darn good deal for a whole new box.
I don't want to force your hand here, but just be aware that the i5-2500K is much better value than just about any processor in Intel's lineup (with the possible exception of the 2600K for those who do a lot of thread-heavy work). Why?
Because on top of the small bonus in base clock speed, you get the K, which means unlocked multiplier. I know you don't need to overclock to have good performance on Sandy Bridge, but keep in mind that a 2500K can easily gain 500MHz on air, making the 2500K go from 3.3 to 3.8GHz with just the flick of a switch. My extremely conservative overclock puts it at 4.3GHz, a whopping 1GHz higher!
Considering unlocked multipliers were usually reserved for the "Extreme" classifications which cost upwards of a grand and are usually maxed out already anyway, this is just superb value for money. Right now it might not mean much, but in two or three years the difference can be most interesting.
Just something to keep in mind. Congrats on your purchase in any case!
Thanks for the helpful info FF. The difference in cost between the 2400 and the 2500K is, astonishingly, £20. Considering all that you've told me, it seems I'd be foolish not to throw in the extra few quid for the potential bonuses available.
However, I'm always cautious with approaching OC setups. Having that extra juice is good - but won't I need to also start considering improving cooling options too? Much as I like to get good performance for money, if it means I'm going to have to start swapping other components around because of this slight upgrade (if I were to use the OC options as you mentioned), then it sounds like it's going to be more hassle than it's worth for my needs, perhaps?
Either way, it's something to think about. Thanks!
You guys are awesome, thanks! I'm posting a thread about this shortly, since it's worthy of a mention.
If you want to be able to plan for overclocking, you should also plan ahead with your CPU cooling option. I'm not familiar with the Titan brand of coolers, but either of the available choices should be a sufficient improvement over the stock Intel cooler. The cheaper one is only £19, but if you think you may want to really push for the best overclock possible with the 2500K, then either the FENRIR EVO (£39 upgrade option) or the Hyper 212 mentioned by kalelovil on the previous page (£29 at eBuyer, though I've no clue about their shipping and you'll have to installed later) should easily do the trick.
I'll second the suggestion of upping the RAM to 8GB. For the small price difference, you're much more future-proofed in the same way that you are by going with the 2500K over the 2400.
I'll also second the suggestion of upgrading to an SSD for your boot drive and the difference between the 80GB SATA 3Gbps and the 120GB SATA 6Gbps is somehow only £23 for 50% more capacity and FAR better performance. The 120GB SSD only raises total price by £55 and will make a massive difference in boot time for Windows, making it much more possible to have a bunch of stuff auto-load at startup. It will also improve game load times for any that are installed on the SSD and will improve overall system responsiveness quite noticeably. By upgrading my boot drive from a SATA 1.5Gbps HDD to a SATA 6Gbps SSD, EVERYTHING is just faster. HDDs don't really gain much performance by using faster SATA connections even if you've got a 10k RPM Raptor. And my current mobo only has SATA 3Gpbs ports, so the increase in performance will be even greater when I finally upgrade it. Storage drives are at their most expensive in a long time and it's across the board, so you won't likely find a better time to go with an SSD since you're already buying a system with a new drive. You can use your current HDD or any older one for data storage.
So with four upgrades to the base Vortex 750, you can get a helluva system that should definitely be a nice gaming machine for at least as long as your current one has (probably longer) and for £745.
Edit: Missed the topic saying pixelprime had already bought his new PC. Oh well!
Last edited by Odeon; 23-03-2012 at 09:19 PM.
Simply a brilliant signature, so I'm stealing it like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Yoink!
Originally Posted by vecordae
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