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Need help planning an upgrade!

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by YinYang.ERROR, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. YinYang.ERROR

    YinYang.ERROR New Member

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    I'm planning to upgrade my PC, however due to it being a pre-built (I got it about 4 years ago), the upgrade has some limitations.

    1st limitation is: It has to work with a 380w PSU.
    2nd limitation is: It has to be a micro atx (9.6" x 9.6"); Because of case size.
    3rd limitation is the $330 budget.

    Parts I'm looking to upgrade are the video card, Mobo, CPU, and RAM. I prefer the AM3 socket (because of I plan to upgrade the processor again later)


    Thanks! Also if anyone has any info on migrating a HDD with windows xp installed on it to a new pc head over to my other topic here: http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=101274


    Thanks!
  2. Zoelef New Member

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    $120 - Gigabyte GA-MA785G-US2H + 4 GB G.Skill DDR2-1066
    $66 - Athlon II X2 245
    $65 - Sapphire HD 4670 512MB

    Subtotal: $251

    The 4670 isn't the most powerful video card but you'll have plenty of headroom with an older 380w PSU. The HD 4770 also warrants consideration; Newegg's cheapest one costs $45 more than the Sapphire 4670 and performs about 55% better than the 4670.

    Edit: Overclocking: I would upgrade the GPU and not the CPU so we can minimize wattage right now and upgrade from Athlon II to Phenom II when appropriate.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
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  3. overclocking101

    overclocking101

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    I agree with Zoelef but instead of the 4670 grab the 4770 as it will yeild better results OR grab a better cpu but either way both will be good upgrades. I do have a question why not save up $200-$300 more and buy a completely new system, I.E. new psu and case as well?
    YinYang.ERROR says thanks.
  4. YinYang.ERROR

    YinYang.ERROR New Member

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    I will more than likely buy a new case and psu later.

    thanks Zoelef, the Mobo you listed is exactly what I was looking for.

    Edit: For the price of the 4770 I might as well buy a Sapphire HD 4830
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  5. Zoelef New Member

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    The 4830's problem isn't its price, but that it sucks up 25-40 watts more than either the 4670 or the 4770. Since your power supply isn't a new 80 PLUS one, I'd pass on the 4830. If you can't decide, your onboard HD 4200 may be an improvement on the X1300 XT, so ride that onboard chip until the 5xx0 generation debuts...:laugh:

    Also, the 785G I listed motherboard is a MicroATX version; if that's not compatible with your case, let me know.
  6. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    my advice: buy a new case and PSU first, and dont bother moving the XP install. reinstall it - moves never go well
  7. livehard

    livehard New Member

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    You do know a system with a 4890 pulls like 320 watts? You could get the CPU and Mobo zoelef suggested and a 4870, be under your budget and PSU restrictions, but probably out of your case. I like Mussels' suggestion.
  8. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    my concern is the quality and age of his PSU - if its a random generic and not something decent like an FSP OEM unit, it could well pop on something like a 4870.

    he says its four years old, so it'd be around the 20-30% degraded mark if it was heavily used, and based on that age i'd be surprised if it had any better than a single 16A rail for 12 volt.
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  9. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Yep. PSU is where to spend the most money. One that blows can kill every single part in the system.

    My suggestion is also PSU and case first. A doubt a 4 year old OEM 380w is going to be happy on a 4870.
  10. livehard

    livehard New Member

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    Yeah, I forgot about the rails. I factored in the aging and then some. I hate rails. I did say I liked your suggestion the best though, Mussels.
    Mussels says thanks.
  11. YinYang.ERROR

    YinYang.ERROR New Member

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    The PSU is 2 years old, I upgraded it a while ago. It is made by Raidmax.
  12. JrRacinFan

    JrRacinFan Served 5k and counting ...

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  13. livehard

    livehard New Member

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    +1
  14. YinYang.ERROR

    YinYang.ERROR New Member

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  15. kurosagi01

    kurosagi01

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  16. YinYang.ERROR

    YinYang.ERROR New Member

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    How is it much better?(I'm still learning a bit about PSUs) Also I'm trying to keep the price down (While still having a good PSU that supports 450w+), and Corsair is not really good at that.


    Also, I found this combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.216930
    Which really helps with a $45 savings. ($30 instant + $15 combo)
  17. LittleLizard

    LittleLizard New Member

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    The case is pretty good for its price and the psu has a decent 12v rail.

    Go with it.
  18. LittleLizard

    LittleLizard New Member

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    THIS combo and some cheap ddr3 and you will be good to go
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2009
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  19. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    rails on PSU's arent additive - lets say your video card has two PCI-E plugs, and one is on rail 1, and one is on rail 2 of your PSU.

    That means your CPU, ram, hard drives, PCI-E slot power and everything else is off one rail, with just hte video card plugs off rail 2 - if rail 1 runs short, the PC will crash or shut down. it cant draw power off rail 2, to free up power on rail 1.

    on a single rail PSU, you dont have to worry about balancing it out so you tend to get less issues.

    The corsair 450W matches many 500-550W PSU's in specs anyway - its a great PSU.
    I'm not a huge fan of the antec basiqs, they're great for low power machines but they dont come anywhere near a corsair or OCZ in quality and reliability.
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  20. LittleLizard

    LittleLizard New Member

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    in fact antec is pretty good and the basiq looks like crap but is a good psu. but yes, i agree with you that the corsair is a better choice BUT remember we are working with a tight budget
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  21. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    true, but since he has a tight budget now one assumes the same will be so in the future, the corsair saves the need to upgrade again later and has a longer warranty as well.

    OCZ stealthX 500: 2x18A
    Parts 3 years limited
    Labor 1 year limited

    antec basiq: 2x18A
    3 years limited

    Corsair: 1x33A
    They dont say it on the newegg page, but corsair has a 5 year warranty.

    the OCZ and the antec match up, on a budget sure, go the antec.
    the corsair still outdoes them severely on the rails, as well as having the longest warranty.


    FYI, if you hit "returns and rebates" the corsair has a $15 MIR on atm.
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  22. YinYang.ERROR

    YinYang.ERROR New Member

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    But is 2 rails really that much worst?

    The only brands that seem to have a single rail are Corsair and Cooler Master.

    I would gladly get one if it was within budget, but I'm not going to be doing any SLI or crossfire; So again does it really make that much of a difference?

    :confused:

    EDIT:
    I may for $140 ($120 after MIB) get the antec 300, and a Corsair 550w (I would need 500w if I plan on upgrading to a Phenom II and a HD 5xxx later right?). Might as well get a good PSU if I'm going to keep it for a while.

    Price is a killer though, but it is only $10 more for the 550w over the 450w.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  23. kurosagi01

    kurosagi01

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    if your not going do any crossfire or sli,then by all means by a single rail psu,you are only going get a 4850 right?? the 450w corsair will easily power it with 32A while the ocz 500w only has 18A if you use one rail and the other 18A rail is just sticking out..and i've bought the ocz stealthxstream it doesn't have a lot of cables so if you have a lot of things to plug in i wouldn't reconmend it at all,but by all means check how many molex and sata connectors you are using in your system..the 450w has much more cables than the ocz.

    the 450w corsair can easily power a Phenom II,it could probably power the HD5xxx series,they would make mid-range cards aswell you know like the 4850,4830 and 4770.
    corsair psu has greater potential..as mussel said it is much better than some 550w.
    if you want buy a 550w then get the corsair 550w and the NZXT Beta case which looks nicer than the antec 300 and you wouldn't need spend a lot of money buying load of 120mm fans for the antec 300
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146055
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  24. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    YinYang.ERROR: i did explain in a previous post about multiple rail PSU's


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  25. YinYang.ERROR

    YinYang.ERROR New Member

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    thanks for your help everyone!

    I'm thinking if I use the NZXT Beta for my case I can fit a Corsair 550w PSU (550w for later upgrades) into my budget. My main problem with the Corsair 450w was the price for only a 450w.

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