View Full Version : Looking to upgrade!

30-04-2012, 08:37 PM

I am interested in upgrading my PC, and was looking for some advice. I appreciate in advance any tips you all can provide!

My current setup includes:
1) Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202)

2) ASUS P6T SE LGA 1366 Motherboard:

3) 4 Gigs of DDR3 ram:

4) GeForce GTX 275:

5) 750W Power Supply:

I am happy with my monitor, case, etc. etc.

What do you think would be the most "effective" way to upgrade this setup? Since I only have 4 gigs of ram, should I look into grabbing 8 gigs instead? Upgrade the CPU + MB? GPU?

I saw a bundled Gigabyte Intel Z68 Motherboard + Intel Core i5-2500K which looked like it might be a good option:

Worth considering, or should I focus on GPU and RAM?

Thanks for the time!

03-05-2012, 12:56 AM
I always start with Tom's Hardware's latest Gaming CPU Hierarchy Chart (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-5.html) and Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107-7.html) as a baseline to see where a given part compares to other parts.

The CPU chart says your i7-920 is in the third tier, so unless you want to get into overclocking, you'd be fine with not upgrading your CPU, which would also just about require a new motherboard. The $315 (before rebate) combo is a great way to future-proof your system though, so I'd keep it in mind for your next upgrade.

The GPU chart says your GTX 275 is in the eighth tier, so if you want to get closer to bleeding-edge your money will probably be best spent there. If you want to stick with GeForce, NewEgg's best bang-for-the-buck card is probably this GTX 480 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130759), but if you're okay with Radeon, this HD 7850 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125419) is $10 more, but also has 2GB of GDDR5 vs 1.5GB for the 480 (though the 480 uses 384-bit RAM vs 256-bit RAM on the 7850 - this is where the hierarchy charts fall a bit short since manufacturers use all kinds of different parts on their cards, but the chart only uses reference designs).

Even though 8GB and 16GB configurations are common these days, I don't think that most people use much more than 4GB on any given day. If you run things in the background or have a recording program going while you play, then you'll want to upgrade your RAM too, but if you close everything down when you're gaming, the 4GB might very well be enough. To make it easy, if you have enough cash to get the GPU and the RAM, then go for it so that you don't have to worry about it. I doubt that DDR3 will be outdated in the next few years, so it's a good long-term investment if you can swing it.

One thing you didn't mention was what kind of hard drive you have. If you're still using an HDD for your OS drive, your best bet of all would be to get an SSD. It doesn't have to be very big (64GB or greater) and it will make an immediate and very noticeable difference in day-to-day use.

If money's no object, I'd recommend going with all five parts (GPU, RAM, CPU, mobo, and SSD if you don't already have one) just so that you know you've got a good system for several years to come. But if you have to pick only a few things to get, I'd recommend the SSD first, then the GPU, then RAM, then CPU/mobo.

10-05-2012, 06:19 PM
Your build is suspiciously close to mine. Except my GPU exploded and I got a new 470 for free. Don't bother touching your ram until you upgrade both your processor and motherboard. If you upgrade your GPU to DX 11, your computer will still be an awesome machine. I would wait until the 670 drops and grab that (it's supposed to be released today or Monday on paper). If you can't wait, then grab a 500 series card, at the very least a ti.
Once you settle on a particular GPU level, we can discuss which particular card to get. Hint: get EVGA.
Sta away from ATI/AMD, their drivers still blow, even though they have great, affordable hardware.

So ya, upgrade to a 670 and your computer will be fine until Ivy Bridge's replacement comes out in a year or whenever (or Ivy Bridge E)

10-05-2012, 06:51 PM
Yeah, your best, value conscious route for an upgrade is a new graphics card.

You won't really notice a memory increase unless you are doing something really memory intensive (trying to remember what you had for breakfast doesn't count), and you won't get any benefit whatsoever if you don't have a 64-bit operating system.

Upgrading the processor means changing the motherboard and memory at the same time, this isn't merely upgrading in my book, it's rebuilding at least, I wouldn't rule it out, but in games you'll notice the graphics card update more, so if you were changing processor you'd want to change the graphics card too.

In short, upgrade your graphics card now, see how well that works out, and if you still aren't happy you'll have to go the expensive/labour intensive route and gut the entire machine.

11-05-2012, 02:27 AM
I never understood people that install more than 5 GB of RAM, most programs and games only recognize up to 4 GB.

11-05-2012, 08:51 AM
Depending on what modules you are looking for a jump from 4gb to 8gb are only a few bugs, at least nowhere near the double price. And especially when buying a pc those few bucks really don't matter concerning the price of the whole thing. Also they might be usefull in the future, once the console port limitation starts to wear off.

11-05-2012, 01:11 PM
a Core i7 920 system is fantastic still by todays standards.

All you really need to do to keep up with modern games is to stick in a nice GTX670 when they're released and voila, back to being a powerhouse gaming machine.

nothing will make a 920 struggle for at least 3 years yet.

11-05-2012, 05:39 PM
The GTX 480, whilst good having a good performance to price ratio runs loud and hot, you might want to bear this in mind. I had one but I use headphones most of the time so it didn't bother me.

11-05-2012, 05:41 PM
a Core i7 920 system is fantastic still by todays standards.

nothing will make a 920 struggle for at least 3 years yet.

There are cpu intensive games out there like Starcraft 2 and Shogun 2. But yeh, unless your heavily into your RTS games that cpu is fine. In a game like Battlefield 3 there is virtually no difference between that cpu and a current gen i7.

11-05-2012, 09:19 PM
Don't get a 400 series card. they are so horribly loud that you will regret the purchase. Seriously consider the 670, and if that's too much, hit up a nice 500 level card.
Also, while Duff is right, my 920 based system breezes through shogun at 1920x1200 at highest settings and DX 11. Unless there is an absolutely massive battle that Im fast forwarding, there is no stutter. So really your 920 should be fine for a while still. It's the video card holding you back.
And as for installing more than 4 gigs of RAM, some programs utilze more than the 3 gigs (if they have 64 bit executables) but even if not having more ram will be really nice for multitasking. You can have Photoshop suck up a couple gigs while you have a bajillion tabs open sucking up a few more and Solidworks taking the rest, with some office programs thrown in for good measure. The individuals won't suck up 6 gigs or more, but the sum certainly can.

12-05-2012, 04:43 PM
I also would not advise to go for a 400 card anymore. Get a 600 or 500. Or a 6000/7000 series AMD.