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PC Refresh 
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Post PC Refresh
So my last pc build was back in March of 2008. After finally buying a new power supply after my pc had been broken for 9 months, I'm itching to rebuild it. Below is what I had in it. What's the best bet for upgrading. All the parts are still working, the computers just seeming slower to me compared to my laptop with the SSD. Looking at spending probably 4 or 5 hundred on an upgrade. Would probably spend 800 - 1000 if everything I have is now crap.

I'd like to go with a SSD, but that would mean I need a new motherboard for the new SATA. As long as I'm getting a new motherboard might as well upgrade the processor and get more / faster ram, etc.

Here's what I bought way back when, the processor is overclocked to 3ghz i think:

2 x OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2P8002GK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820227089

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor BX80562Q6600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819115017

EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813188024

EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814130318

Maxtor Ultra 16 L01F500 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822144244

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Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:43 pm
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Post Re: PC Refresh
Important - need to know what you're using for a monitor and if you plan to get a new one. I'm guessing that would be worthwhile considering the age of your gear.

Mind if I kind of hijack your thread? I was just going to start a thread to get some opinions on video cards - so it's sort of related. I'm sure Kor can give you options per-dollar better than anyone else, since he's always current on that stuff. Basically, you're wanting a reasonable update? It looks like you'll need to replace most components.

Just off the top of my head, I'd get an Intel Sandy Bridge CPU. I have the 2600K, but the 2500K is also very speedy for gaming and will save about a hundred bucks. They're made for over clocking and very easy to get up to speed. Kor might recommend waiting a bit for Ivy Bridge to be released, but I don't know a lot about it. At least for quite a while I don't expect my 2600K to be taxed by a game. It's just a huge leap forward over the Q6600 that nearly all of us were using at one point or another. I went from the Q6600 to the 2600K and it's just silly how much faster it is. Let's put it this way, it'll be pretty much impossible that the CPU is the bottleneck in your system for quite some time.

Ram is easy and cheap now. Have Kor find a nice set on Newegg. It's worth going to 8GB now since it's so cheap. Amazing you're using 2GB now. The SSD is where you'll get socked for a few bucks, but they are pretty remarkable. You can get a smaller one to put the OS and your most commonly used games and applications, and keep the old drive as storage for other stuff. You could also use the old drive as a backup for the SSD. I have a raid setup as a my main drive, and I have another drive in the case to do daily backups to. It's all automatic and works quite well. I never notice it, and I get both a drive image and regular file backup.. so I can select individual files to restore, or restore the entire drive easily.

Oh.. and you'll need a motherboard. I'm using a P67 board now, but the Z68 generation is the latest and worth using. Gigabyte is probably what Kor would recommend I think. They have 5 or 6 models that scale by features (naturally), but it doesn't sound like you'll need a very high end board. The GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard is one step up from the bare bones model and would do a good job. I kind of wish I hated waited for a Z68 rather than the P67, but it's really not worth the hassle of changing everything out.

Okay.. so video card. You're in luck. Nvidia is about to release their Kepler GPUs (6XX series), which will drive prices down. Whatever you choose, I'd wait until that hits the stores before buying as you'll save serious cash. The 580s have already dropped below $400, and once Kepler lands, it'll be even cheaper. They floated around $550 not too long ago... maybe 5 or 6 months ago.

So.. then we know if you go the Sandy Bridge route, you'll have a screaming fast CPU.. which is really a huge value for the dollars you spend to get it. You'll want at least a decent video card to put that CPU to use. I know next to nothing about AMD cards - Kor is very familar though. I prefer Nvidia for the better drivers. I'm thinking a 560Ti would do a pretty good job for a 1080p monitor (1920x1080). It's worth going to 2GB frame buffer for the video, so something like the EVGA 02G-P3-1568-KR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card for $270 is pretty nice. Remembering that the big price drops are coming in a few weeks though, so it'll be less. If you want really good performance, the 580GTX is going to be a big seller when the price drops hit. The models with a 1.5GB frame buffer would do well with 1080p. If you don't mind a refurb, EVGA 015-P3-1580-RX GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB for $360 is crazy awesome, and just imagine what it'll be once Kepler hits.

The reason I'm suggesting that no matter which CPU your choose, go with EVGA on the video card - and probably the motherboard as well because they just improved their warranties and it's the best in the industry now. I've only been buying EVGA video cards for quite a few years, and they really are the best Nvidia providers there are. I'm going to be re-selling my 460GTX SLI setup when I get new video, and it'll be nice for whoever buys them to inherit the warranty.. assuming they're not already out of warranty.. I have no idea.

What OS are you using? I like windows 7 x64. It's the best OS MS has sold since XP. I'm not at all interested in Windows 8. Every other Windows version is shit.

Finally.. I'm guessing your case will re-usable, but you might need a new power supply. That's pretty much the last thing you pick, once you know about the rest of the gear. Sometimes it's worth doing upgrades by parts, and sometimes it's better to build a completely new rig and giving somebody else the old one. My last build with the Sandy Bridge was a completely new build with a new case.

I think we can do that for under a grand if we just get parts. Hard to say though. The power supply might put it over the top, but hearing from Kor would be the first thing to do.

So.. Kepler.. Benches and specs are dropping and it's pretty impressive. Sub 200 watt TDP, runs cool, faster than the 7970 - don't know about OC potential yet though.. adaptive v-sync (cool idea), and much more. These things seriously rock. The GK104 was originally going to be the 640GTX, but when Nvidia found out it's faster than the 7970, they simply stuck the 680GTX label on it and called it a day. The big problem with it, however, is that it's a 1.5GB part. That's fine for 1080p gaming, but many people that are buying Kepler are wanting 5760 horrizontal rez and that's going to be a problem for some games like BF3, and future games. It looks like AIB's are going to be able to stack on another 1.5 for 3GB boards, and that would work very well for surround. They'll be quite pricey of course... probably around $650 a piece. Nice thing though, is that you can use one 680GTX for surround now. No more needing SLI to drive 3 monitors. That's a rather big deal. One 3GB GTX680 might be able to pull off surround gaming. Two of them would obviously run anything at crazy frame rates.

However - I'm wondering about GK110, which originally was going to be the 680GTX. Some people are speculating that it'll be the Kepler refresh, i.e., the 780GTX and arrive in the fall. I don't know if I want to wait that long, but it might just be worth it. Two of those would be monsters and put the bottle neck back on the CPU probably.

When I bought the 460GTX, I was buying a mid range part that would drive my monitor pretty well. When it started to lose some luster, I bought another and have been getting pretty damn good results in single monitor games, and so-so results in surround. This time I just want to throw some money at it and buy high end. I'm just not sure if I should get 2x1.5GB 680GTX, wait for 2x3GB 680GTX, or wait for GK110, which will likely be a 3GB part that is ridiculously fast with a lot of over clocking headroom.

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Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:59 pm
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Post Re: PC Refresh
It's actually 4gig of ram 2 2x1gb kits

Yeah I run win 7 x64 enterprise.

Power supply should be fine as I had to just buy one as the old one was dead. It's a corsair 600 or 700 watt ps. Should be fine.

I'm usually an nvidia fan as well and loved the evga graphics and motherboard in my existing build.

My monitors are crap. Two 19 inch lcd dells. I can live with them for now but will probably upgrade to an hd monitor at some point in the future.

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Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:26 pm
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Post Re: PC Refresh
Good to know then. I'll put together a parts list assuming you'll be using 2 24" 1080p monitors, and assume the case and power supply will carry over, along with the DVD rom and such. I think we can come up with something really slick for a good price, especially with the coming reduction in GPU prices. Might even be able to squeeze a SSD in there, and the onboard sound on the newer motherboards works pretty damn well these days. Kor can correct where I'm off. It's a good time to upgrade.

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Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:35 pm
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Post Re: PC Refresh
I'll give you more information later, quick points.

- The GTX680 is looking to come in at around or just above the 7970 in terms of performance and power usage. I'm very interested in this card (despite the rumour that this a re-badge of what originally was intend to be the GTX660 Ti) and would recommend holding out until it's launched. Even if the true top end CPU is 6 months off i'll probably just pick up one of these as an interim solution to replace my crossfire 5870 setup.

- While Ivy Bridge (Intel is trying to clear out the remaining SB stock) has been delayed for a few months early previews of both MSI and Gigabytes Z77 chip set boards have started to surface. While there's not much to be had in gains over the P67 line up it does integrate the USB controller into the Intel chip set, rather than relying on a third party controller. Additionally you will see a longer tail of firmware support They also all come with PCI-E 3.0 support which isn't necessarily the case with all P67 boards.

- If your running a Corsair HX-750 (i'm unaware of any 700W Corsair designs) then you will be fine in the PSU department. With the exceptions of GPU's PC power consumption has been dropping over the past few years.

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Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:02 pm
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Post Re: PC Refresh
How about this?

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
$219.99

GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$149.99

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B
$49.99

EVGA 015-P3-1580-RX GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$359.99

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$94.99

Total, $873.95 with the SSD. Not bad for a very fast machine. Maybe has room to spare for the new monitor.

..and remember.. no defraging an SSD.

-edditing to add that if were to upgrade any of those parts, it would be the SSD. The added space may come in handy. Generally with a 64GB SSD, you'd want to go through the exercise of removing all of the bloat from W7 in order to free up space. I'd do that using any size SSD, but it's helpful when drives are smaller. My rig is using a 2TB main drive, so I don't really care about cleaning up unused junk in the windows folder.

The 128GB version is here. It's $165.

And ya.. re-evaluating the chosen video card after the 680GTX is released would be wise. You could build the machine with your existing video card, and then just swap it out when you've picked the replacement.

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Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:00 am
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Post Re: PC Refresh
So stupid monitor question time. I know hd is 1920 x 1080 resolution, but will any monitor that has that as the recommended resolution be "HD" and you can then differentiate on preferred brand, response rate, contrast ratio, etc.

Also, can hd be done on a pc via dvi, or do you lose some if you don't do hdmi or something equivalent?

Please be gentle, I still use 1280x1024 on my old crappy 19 inch lcd's :P

I think I'm going to hold off on the graphics card till the new cards come out. Should give me a price break or a better card for the same price.

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Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:25 pm
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Post Re: PC Refresh
Anything that does 1920x1080 is by definition a 1080p HD monitor. Connecting it via DVI or HDMI doesn't matter, though you get sound with HDMI if you need that for some reason.

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Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:02 am
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Post Re: PC Refresh
You can't do 120hz at 1920x1080 over HDMI, it doesn't have enough bandwidth.
Consequently, 3D at 1080p is also locked at 30fps due to this.

DVI is better in that regard

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Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:32 am
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Post Re: PC Refresh
Yeah display port and DVI are really your best options for PC display connectivity. HDMI is ok up to 60hz @ 1920 but beyond that it's not very useful. Also a lot of display manufacturers tend to use dodgy processing for HDMI signals which can make them look a bit odd on a number of PC monitors.

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Cave Johnson wrote:
Good news is, the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show a median latency of forty-four point six years, so if you're thirty or older, you're laughing. Worst case scenario, you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator and it makes a happy face.


Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:41 am
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