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Hardware  » Upgrade PC or buy new?

20 posts found
  veego590

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/07
Posts: 40

 
OP  1/13/13 11:20:17 PM#1

Hey everyone. I'm looking to upgrade my current PC. However I'm not sure if I should just buy a new graphics card and RAM or just completely get a new setup.

I bought my PC around 2008 and here are my current specs:

 

 

Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 280

Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU    920  @ 2.67GHz, 2653 Mhz

RAM: 6.00 GB

 

I would likely buy a GTX 650 or something else along the 600 series line if I were to upgrade. However if I did that, would my processor be able to handle the new graphics card? I don't overclock as I don't have an aftermarket heat sink fan, nor do I know much about overclocking so I typically stay away from it. 

Thanks for the help!

 

  django-django

Novice Member

Joined: 11/27/12
Posts: 115

1/13/13 11:37:45 PM#2
What motherboard and power supply do you currently have?
  miguksaram

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 828

1/13/13 11:37:47 PM#3

Well just to start I would probably suggest you aim a bit higher in the GPU market if you are looking for a meaningful upgrade in GFX performance.  About the only thing you will get by upgrading is more power efficiency which if it hasn't bothered you for the past 4-5 years I'll assume that is not the reason you are looking to upgrade now.  On top of which you will most likely take an actual GFX performance hit in many other areas.  A meaningful GPU upgrade for you will most likely run around the $300 (give or take $50) range.

http://www.hwcompare.com/13543/geforce-gtx-280-vs-geforce-gtx-650/

That said we would need a lot more information (standard computer specs) and your actual overall budget you can afford to place toward an upgrade in order to advise you further. 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13664

1/13/13 11:46:11 PM#4

Why are you looking to upgrade?

A GeForce GTX 650 is a slower card than a GeForce GTX 280.  It will use a lot less power, though, and offers better compliance with modern graphics APIs.

If you want to upgrade for reasons of performance, then I generally recommend getting at least double the performance of your old card.  That would put you at something like a Radeon HD 7950 or GeForce GTX 670.  Those aren't cheap, though--unless you compare them to the $650 launch price of your GTX 280.

Another upgrade option is to add a good SSD to your system.  That won't affect your frame rates in most games, but it will make the system a lot more responsive.  It's very nice to have a computer that just does what you tell it, rather than making you sit there and wait every time you ask it to do anything.

  birdycephon

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/09
Posts: 1327

Not Safe For Woona (NSFW)

1/13/13 11:55:35 PM#5
Personally, I'd wait. The computer doesn't look too bad yet.
  veego590

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/07
Posts: 40

 
OP  1/13/13 11:55:47 PM#6
I have 850W power supply, so power isn't really a concern. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if I do upgrade to a GTX 670 or something of the like, would my current system fully benefit from it? (As my other hardware is older as well)
  django-django

Novice Member

Joined: 11/27/12
Posts: 115

1/14/13 12:06:06 AM#7

If I was going to spend the money on a 670 I would do a new build. 

If you don't want to build a new one, and still want a 670 then it would be fine with your current CPU.

My only concern would checking the size of the acutal case.

  veego590

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/07
Posts: 40

 
OP  1/14/13 12:10:55 AM#8
Originally posted by tommy-xx

If I was going to spend the money on a 670 I would do a new build. 

If you don't want to build a new one, and still want a 670 then it would be fine with your current CPU.

My only concern would checking the size of the acutal case.

Just out of curiosity, why would you rather spend $800-$1000 rather than $350? Just to have a "shiny" new pc? Or do you think a new sytem would greatly benefit a new card?

And by the case, you mean if the card will fit in my actual tower?

  miguksaram

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 828

1/14/13 12:15:57 AM#9
To make things easier for everyone, could you please list your specific case and PSU (850 watt PSU doesn't really tell us anything tbh, especially if you have been running it in that PC the it's entire life).
  veego590

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/07
Posts: 40

 
OP  1/14/13 12:21:20 AM#10
Originally posted by miguksaram
To make things easier for everyone, could you please list your specific case and PSU (850 watt PSU doesn't really tell us anything tbh, especially if you have been running it in that PC the it's entire life).

 

Sure, sorry about that. 

My case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811144197

PSU:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153106

  django-django

Novice Member

Joined: 11/27/12
Posts: 115

1/14/13 12:23:19 AM#11
Originally posted by veego590
Originally posted by tommy-xx

If I was going to spend the money on a 670 I would do a new build. 

If you don't want to build a new one, and still want a 670 then it would be fine with your current CPU.

My only concern would checking the size of the acutal case.

Just out of curiosity, why would you rather spend $800-$1000 rather than $350? Just to have a "shiny" new pc? Or do you think a new sytem would greatly benefit a new card?

And by the case, you mean if the card will fit in my actual tower?

Would it benefit yes, do you need to? No, you can run a GTX 670 on your current setup as long as it fits into your case (yes the tower), building a PC isn't always an option for people who can't afford a new one. PC building can be quite costly, but it is also worth it in the end. For me it's not about a "shiny" new pc, its about having an entirely new setup that I can work with and research enough to know that all the parts work well together because they all up to date.

  birdycephon

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/09
Posts: 1327

Not Safe For Woona (NSFW)

1/14/13 12:25:38 AM#12

Those are nice. Though if you're planning on reusing the case you might want to consider thinking about replaceing the fans sooner or later, cuz some of them most likely are getting worn out by now.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3569

1/14/13 1:55:58 AM#13

Here's what I would do, in order of least expensive -> most expensive

1) Overclock the CPU - that model can usually get 3.5 easily, with some getting as high as 4.2 - it was a notoriously great overclocking chip. That's free, and a decent boost.

2) Add an SSD. This runs about $80-$200 depending on the capacity (get at least 120G, and then anything on top of that that you can afford). This will make your computer feel brand new and very fast (although it won't net you any more FPS - that sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true).

3) New GPU, but you have a top-end GPU from a few generations ago, so you need to look at least mid-tier. 650 is pretty much the bottom of what's worth even looking at from nVidia today. If your hellbent on nVidia 660Ti/670 should be about where you would want to start looking, on the AMD side 7870/7950. That's going to start around the $250 range and go up from there.

4) To get much more performance than doing the above 3, your going to need a new motherboard ($125ish+ for a decent Z77) and a new CPU ($220ish for a i5 3570k). If you get to this step - think new computer, because you aren't missing much to just have a second working computer, and your existing one is worth more as a working unit (if you deceide to sell it, hand it down to a relative, or donate it for a tax write-off).

  veego590

Novice Member

Joined: 11/30/07
Posts: 40

 
OP  1/14/13 2:09:13 AM#14
Originally posted by Ridelynn

Here's what I would do, in order of least expensive -> most expensive

1) Overclock the CPU - that model can usually get 3.5 easily, with some getting as high as 4.2 - it was a notoriously great overclocking chip. That's free, and a decent boost.

2) Add an SSD. This runs about $80-$200 depending on the capacity (get at least 120G, and then anything on top of that that you can afford). This will make your computer feel brand new and very fast (although it won't net you any more FPS - that sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true).

3) New GPU, but you have a top-end GPU from a few generations ago, so you need to look at least mid-tier. 650 is pretty much the bottom of what's worth even looking at from nVidia today. If your hellbent on nVidia 660Ti/670 should be about where you would want to start looking, on the AMD side 7870/7950. That's going to start around the $250 range and go up from there.

4) To get much more performance than doing the above 3, your going to need a new motherboard ($125ish+ for a decent Z77) and a new CPU ($220ish for a i5 3570k). If you get to this step - think new computer, because you aren't missing much to just have a second working computer, and your existing one is worth more as a working unit (if you deceide to sell it, hand it down to a relative, or donate it for a tax write-off).

Thanks! That helped a lot. 

  miguksaram

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/29/03
Posts: 828

1/14/13 2:13:35 AM#15

Just be sure IF you plan to try the OC route that you pick up a CPU cooler, if I recall correctly you mentioned not having one originally.  You can get a very decent quality one for next to nothing in the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo or Plus line.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dcomputers&field-keywords=coolermaster+hyper+212+evo&sprefix=coolermaster+h%2Caps%2C294

  Duvious

Novice Member

Joined: 5/06/07
Posts: 118

1/14/13 2:25:53 AM#16

I have / had a very similar setup to yours and I just upgraded this past August after building the system originally in July 2009.  Basically I did an upgrade at the 3 year mark, your a little further along than that in time but specwise we have the same system for the most part.  I will break down what I had and what I upgraded to along with the pros and cons I found with each so you can compare that to your situation and see if it helps.

 

MY ORIGINAL SPEC'S:

i7 920 2.67Ghz CPU OC'd at 3.8Ghz on CoolerMaster V8 and eVGA 760 Classified Mainboard

6GB OCZ Ram

eVGA nVidia GTX 285

Cooler Master UCP 1100W PSU

SB X-Fi Titanium PCI-Express Sound Card

500GB SATA 7200RPM HD

All in a Cooler Master ATCS 840 Case

 

UPGRADED SPEC'S:

Kept same CPU & Mainboard

Took out 6GB Kit and installed a new 12GB Kit from Geil

GTX 285 fried (reason I started the upgrade) so I put in two nVidia GTX 660 Ti's in SLI mode

Also took out the 500GB SATA HD and replaced it with an OCZ Vertex4 256GB SSD

 

As far as the upgrades go I don't know your budget so if a 12GB RAM kit is too much or dual video cards are for SLI, etc.  then look for something that fits you better.  If you can't throw in a 12GB kit I wouldn't even bother with the RAM as 6GB is plenty, although I have noticed my system will use the extra RAM occasionally.  If you plan on getting into running virtual machines or anything the RAM would help there too.

As far as the the video card goes if you aren't getting a 660Ti or better you won't see any performance increase.  Two 660's will run more than a single 670.  I would go with either of those two if you can afford it.  SLI is a pain sometimes but I'm getting over 100+ FPS in most everything I'm playing currently (EVE, GW2, CS:GO, SC2, etc.) except for The Secret World and would highly recommend SLI if you are a tweaker type.  If you just want to set it and forget it, get the 670. 

The single biggest performance increasing upgrade I did and you can do too is changing your hard drive to a Solid State Disk.  Before touching the RAM or the video card I would upgrade to an SSD.  This won't improve your graphics at all but load times for everything, Windows Boot, Game launching, instance loading, etc.  is vastly improved. 

The second thing I would upgrade is the Graphics and lastly the RAM. 

I went from a Windows Experience Index of 5.9 in Win 7 Pro on the old setup to 7.6 on the upgraded setup.  My main bottlenecks on the old system were the Hard Drive and CPU.  With that said my system is chugging right along and unfortunately the CPU is still the bottleneck but I'm squeezing 3.8 Ghz out of a 2.67 Ghz chip on air cooling and running stock voltages.  I've been running that for almost two years and it stays below 30C at idle, never gets above 60C at high load.  If you have any questions or want to get into OC'ing PM me.

  Duvious

Novice Member

Joined: 5/06/07
Posts: 118

1/14/13 2:34:22 AM#17

Just now read Ridelynn's reply which pretty much said the same thing before me but much more concisely, lol.  I would def' OC it before buying anything and then upgrade in the order we both said.  Outside of that Ridelynn's right, if you want more than what that offers you it's time for a new mainboard.  The main reason I didn't opt for that is because the new i7's, the 3820k specifically doesn't really run any better than the 1st Gen i7's we have.

The main things you will miss out on by not getting a new motherboard are:

6Gbps SATA, you are probably at 3Gbps.

USB 3.0, you are probably on USB 2.0

PCI-E 3.0, you are probably on PCI-E 2.0

Also, upgrading to a 660Ti or higher will allow you to do Direct X 11 whereas you can only currently do DX10 with your 280.  Although a new card won't be fully ultized as the new ones are designed for PCI-E 3.0 and you will basically be running it downgraded at 2.0 but you will still see very nice performance gains, I did even on my old mainboard.

If I've repeated anything here that was already stated I apologize, I didn't read all comments. Best of luck to you!

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13664

1/14/13 10:25:32 AM#18
Originally posted by veego590
Originally posted by miguksaram
To make things easier for everyone, could you please list your specific case and PSU (850 watt PSU doesn't really tell us anything tbh, especially if you have been running it in that PC the it's entire life).

 

Sure, sorry about that. 

My case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811144197

PSU:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153106

The case should be fine so long as the fans still work and you don't try to go overboard with a really high power system.

The power supply, on the other hand, is an example of why we have to ask which particular power supply you have, not just the nominal wattage.

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermaltake-TR2-RX-750-W-Power-Supply-Review/902/7

That's a review of the 750 W version of your power supply; you have the 850 W version.  It quickly fried when they tried to pull 750 W from it.  It ran way out of spec at 600 W.  It did stay in spec at 450 W, at least, though from how far out of spec it went at 600 W, it might not have been in spec by much at 450 W.  And that was when it was brand new.  Power supply performance degrades as components age.

Fortunately, you can get a very nice power supply for a lot less than you used to.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139012

With the promo code, that's $82 after rebate for a high end power supply.  Don't be fooled by the 650 W rating as compared to 850 W on yours.  It's highly probable that the new version Corsair HX650 can deliver more power than your Thermaltake TR2 RX 850 W while staying in spec--and likely a lot more.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13664

1/14/13 10:32:05 AM#19
Originally posted by Duvious

GTX 285 fried (reason I started the upgrade) so I put in two nVidia GTX 660 Ti's in SLI mode

SLI and CrossFire are a bad idea unless you're going with rather high end cards.  And two GTX 660 Tis in SLI is a particularly bad idea.  If you actually need more performance than a single GTX 660 Ti offers, then you're probably running very high graphical settings at very high monitor resolutions.  That's where a GTX 660 Ti is liable to leave you starved for both memory capacity and memory bandwidth.

Maybe the setup performs great for you.  But if so, then if you were to pull out one of the cards entirely and leave the other, that would probably also perform great.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13664

1/14/13 10:34:29 AM#20
Originally posted by Ridelynn

Here's what I would do, in order of least expensive -> most expensive

1) Overclock the CPU - that model can usually get 3.5 easily, with some getting as high as 4.2 - it was a notoriously great overclocking chip. That's free, and a decent boost.

Ridelynn's advice here is good.  But I wanted to add that a Core i7-920 is quite a power hog.  If you're looking to overclock it, you'll need a rather beefier aftermarket cooler than if you were looking to overclock, say, a Core i5-3570K.  I'd also want to know what motherboard you have if you're looking to overclock.

I'd also check to see what the limiting factor is in whatever is giving you performance issues before overclocking.  If you're playing a game where you're held back by the CPU, then sure, overclock it.  But if the problem is the GPU, then overclocking the CPU won't help you.