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Old 02-05-08, 07:11 AM   #1
Jsunn
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Talking Upgrade Path...?

Hello all,

I would like the community's input to my potential upgrade path. I think I have a pretty good computer but unfortunatly I have been bitten by the bug and NEED the latest and greatest!!

There is a factor that may influence the path...

The new upcoming video cards GTX and later will most likely not fit in my case.

Do I upgrade the case for the anticipation of the new cards? (my EVGA step-up ends the end of March)

Do I upgrade my MOBO to drop in a new 45nm Quad?

Do I drop a quad in my 680i?

Do I go to a raid setup?

Do I get a soundboard?

Do I get speakers?

Ahhhhhhh....the choices!

Since I can only afford to get one component every few months I want to make sure I "optimize" my upgrades.

Thanks for your input!

-Jason
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Old 02-05-08, 08:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

I'd start with a new case, then add components from there.
Looks like your best bang for your buck is to go SLi if you want a gaming rig. In that case I'd be sure I had a big enough power supply.

I'm going to say your CPU will be fine for now as is your GTS. Just add a second GTS.
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Old 02-05-08, 08:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

I'd say you're fine for now, but I have a few questions:

1) What resolution do you game at?
2) Are you low on HDD space (and willing to risk the vulnerabilities RAID 0 provides)
3) Do you do a lot of multitasking?
4) What speakers do you currently have?
5) Are you running Vista?
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Old 02-05-08, 09:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

1) What resolution do you game at?
-1600X1050
2) Are you low on HDD space (and willing to risk the vulnerabilities RAID 0 provides)
-Not low on HD space. I have a 400GB with about 70% free.
3) Do you do a lot of multitasking?
-I do a lot of multitasking, photo editing, music, web surfing, standard office work.
4) What speakers do you currently have?
-Old Dell "Surround" sound.
5) Are you running Vista?
-I am running Vista 32 Ultimate.

The case I am looking at is the Silverstone TJ10.
Thanks for your help.

-J
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Old 02-05-08, 09:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

The Silverstone is definitely a beast, but if your budget is as limited as you claim I don't think it makes much sense to plunk down $300 for a case. I bought a TJ-09, but sacrificed a few things to do so (E4300 over E6600, etc.).

I'd say another 2GB RAM, but that would force you to upgrade to Vista x64. I'd also say maybe the Logitech Z-5500 speakers (Dell usually has them on sale for around $220, free shipping), but perhaps you're living in an area where noise is an issue.

I wouldn't bother with another GTS. 1680x1050 does not require SLI when you have a high end card IMO.
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Old 02-05-08, 10:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stncttr908
The Silverstone is definitely a beast, but if your budget is as limited as you claim I don't think it makes much sense to plunk down $300 for a case. I bought a TJ-09, but sacrificed a few things to do so (E4300 over E6600, etc.).

I'd say another 2GB RAM, but that would force you to upgrade to Vista x64. I'd also say maybe the Logitech Z-5500 speakers (Dell usually has them on sale for around $220, free shipping), but perhaps you're living in an area where noise is an issue.

I wouldn't bother with another GTS. 1680x1050 does not require SLI when you have a high end card IMO.
I don't mind dropping that amount of cash monies on a case if it is going to be high quality and something that can "grow" with me. My current case is very very cramped.

All of the parts I am replacing will eventually made into another system that will be usable for basic word processing and web surfing. (wont be used for gaming) My old 7600GT will be going in it.

I really don't have any desire to go to Vista 64 right now. I am still reading a lot about driver issues and gaming in the 64bit OS.

-Jason
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Core 2 Quad Q9650 @ 4.00Ghz 1.3375(v) F9 BIOS
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Old 02-05-08, 10:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

5.1 or 7.1 sound setup

oh, and 4 gigglebytes of rambles + Vista 64.

Putting a quad in a 680i board is risky business if you plan on OCing it. Stick with the same mobo and CPU until you're ready to upgrade both. Your case is fine.

But for the biggest jump in performance get SLI. Anyone who says SLI doesn't scale well is quite simply wrong.
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Old 02-05-08, 11:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Revs
5.1 or 7.1 sound setup
Sound Card too or just Z5500s? If yes to the soundcard, which one?


-J?
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Core 2 Quad Q9650 @ 4.00Ghz 1.3375(v) F9 BIOS
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2 X 500gb GB SATA 2 HD RAID 0
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EVGA GTX285 SSC
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Old 02-05-08, 03:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsunn
Hello all,

I would like the community's input to my potential upgrade path. I think I have a pretty good computer but unfortunatly I have been bitten by the bug and NEED the latest and greatest!!

There is a factor that may influence the path...

The new upcoming video cards GTX and later will most likely not fit in my case.

Do I upgrade the case for the anticipation of the new cards? (my EVGA step-up ends the end of March)

Do I upgrade my MOBO to drop in a new 45nm Quad?

Do I drop a quad in my 680i?

Do I go to a raid setup?

Do I get a soundboard?

Do I get speakers?

Ahhhhhhh....the choices!

Since I can only afford to get one component every few months I want to make sure I "optimize" my upgrades.

Thanks for your input!

-Jason

My $0.02..
These suggestions are based on your indication of limited funds over a period of time. Obviously you must balance bang for the buck. current need vs upgradeability. (PS: I feel your pain Bro.)

By your statements: you are currently case-bound now. And that will limit any other possibilities. Start there. Look at the new thermaltake armor. That will handle anything you could considerably think of adding later. (I love mine, but it is huge)

Skip the Quad's. The new E8400 ($~230) is a steal for the performance. No games effectively use quads now, and won't for at least a year, probably longer. Higher clocked duals, will beat the quads in gaming. (Multimedia processing is another matter entirely)
(Note: Intel is planning a CPU socket change for the next cores in late 2008. Future upgrade warning)

Skip DDR3 solutions for now. wait another year for prices to come down and performance to go up. The performance does not validate the cost right now.
Under 5% performance gain for 300% cost.


Video: for Price vs performance: skip SLI. (you have to buy SLI together, and have the PSU, and MB to be capable. From personal experience: planning to add a second card for SLI later, generally doesn't succeed. By the time you get to that point, the matching card is not available) That also gives you more MOBO options. Buy a good card now, plan on a full replacement in 12-18 months. (if you game at super high resolutions, then you may need SLI.) My current single card GTX-OC is fine. Even for Crysis.


RAID? Only if you are you worried about data loss. For performance: its not a significant issue in most day-2-day usage. even for gamers. So it takes 3 seconds longer to load a level? big deal.
I do recommend that any HDD be replaced every 3 years.

Do I get a soundboard? mixed..
recommend waiting till after MOBO upgrade (if thats soon). Many new MB's have very reasonable sound included now. (Vista makes sound board upgrades questionable with their new driver stack, effectively eliminating board vs board differences) Next gen MB's will probably be better. (New ASUS MB's have a well reviewed daughter card included)
If you delay the MOBO, then maybe get sound sooner.


Do I get speakers?
always. Question: How will your wife/family/baby/neighbors/roomies react to a 5.1 sound system? And gaming at 2am? I use a great 2.0 setup for general usage (better than I need), and a set of surround headphones for gaming (Zalman ZM-RS6F 5.1 headphones). I get to play TF2 with full surround, wife doesn't complain. WIN!!! WIN!!! WIN!!!.... (I have a desktop selector switch box ($6) for the center channel for Headphone vs speakers to avoid the voltage split)
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Old 02-05-08, 03:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsunn
Sound Card too or just Z5500s? If yes to the soundcard, which one?


-J?
I've always used on-board sound so i'm probably not the one to ask. I've just made sure I got a mobo with HD 7.1. Unless you're using top-notch speakers you're hard pushed to tell. The Strikers audio is particularly good for an onboard setup though
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Old 02-05-08, 06:17 PM   #11
Jsunn
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Default Re: Upgrade Path...?

These are some great responses to my questions, THANKS AGAIN!!


OK, based on some of the discussions I kinda prioritized my upgrades and hopefully this will give you more of an idea of the direction I would like to head with my system.

1. Computer case
I want to eventually move into the highend video card arena 9800GTX. Additionally I want to go the watercooled route. My current case just wont cut it. This probably means that I won't be able to take advantage of my step up. I could still stepup, but couldn't install it until I got a new case.

2. Speakers
Noise levels can be an issue, I hadn't considered a good 5.1 gaming headset. I think that I could definitly go with a better set of speakers but may not need top of the line. Get better speakers than what I have now and a top headset.

3. Motherboard and processor
Until Revs mentioned it, I wouldn't have thought to upgrade both at the same time. This makes a lot of sense and may require a little more time to save.

4. Video Card or SLi
I prefer a single card solution to SLi,but if I start to see performance lags with future gains, I think I'll drop in a second GTS G92.

5. Sound Card
Not going to upgrade here until I can be confident that driver support and vista issues have been ironed out (come on Creative)

6. Raid
Meh...

What do you guys think?

-J
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Core 2 Quad Q9650 @ 4.00Ghz 1.3375(v) F9 BIOS
2 X 2 GB DDR2 1100 @ 1000 G.Skill PC2-8800
2 X 500gb GB SATA 2 HD RAID 0
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P
EVGA GTX285 SSC
EVGA 8800GTS G92 PhysX

My 3DMark Vantage Score 16,444

Pics of my computer
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