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Really want to upgrade but need advice and opinions

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by dhdude, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. dhdude

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    Hey Guys, I'm a long time reader of TPU and its forums, but have only joined recently, as I haven't felt I've had much to contribute to the community, but now I have a decision to make in regards to my motherboard and graphics card, and for the life of me can't decide what to do.

    My current system specs are:

    Q9550 @ Stock
    Asus P5QC P45 mobo
    2x2GB + 2x1GB Corsair Dominators PC-8500 @ 800mhz
    EVGA GTX 260 216 55nm SSC
    2x500GB Spinpoint F3s in RAID 0
    650w Xigmatek NRP651
    24" Iiyama Prolite E2407HDS 1080p monitor

    There are several factors at play here, and I guess I have multiple questions that I would appreciate help with, any opinions would be welcomed :)

    Basically I currently run a Asus P5QC, which I originally bought almost 2 years ago as i found its combo of 4xDDR2 and 2xDDR3 slots more appealing than the ability to use crossfire, as I thought it would increase it's longevity, as I needed a powerful, upgradeable build to see me through Uni, and at the time 775 was more appealing to me than AM2+.
    (With hindsight however this motherboard is an appalling overclocker, not just from my experience, but from my research, it seems others have had limited success overclocking quads with this board too.)

    However a year ago, I upgraded from an E2180, which i had mildly overclocked to 2.67GHz (as the mobo wouldn't let me go higher no matter what I tried) to a Q9550, which was all i could afford rather than a complete system overhaul, as I knew I had to go quad core if i still hoped to game and have a PC that could still handle entertainment 2-3 years after, and be as little of a bottleneck as possible to any graphics card upgrades i might do over that period.
    My original plan was to overclock the chip to 3.4GHz or above, however the motherboard doesn't seem to like overclocking quads, as although 3.4GHz is prime95 & Intel burn test stable, the PC will BSOD after a few hours of running these settings; I am a relatively experienced overclocker, and have spent months tweaking the bios, which has been updated to the latest version, to no avail, so I'm wondering if it's worth buying a new motherboard now to aid my overclocking efforts, as at present, and for the foreseeable future, I am unable to upgrade to an i7 and/or DDR3. Another issue is that 2 of the DDR2 slots are only capable of speeds up to DDR2-800, which I found somewhat restrictive, as the system would BSOD if i raised the mem speeds any higher.

    I am currently looking at the P5Q Deluxe, for multiple reasons, as it can do CrossfireX (something I am interested in, and will move on to in a min,) run my ram at anything above 800mhz, and have a PCIe x4 slot, as I would like to put a USB 3 expansion card in my rig soon, as I understand that PCIe 2.0 x1 slots have insufficient bandwidth for more than one USB 3.0 port. And I would like ICH10R, as I know raid performance is significantly better for my RAID 0 setup than previous ICHs & nForce motherboard southbridges. But I'm wondering if spending £120 on a dead socket upgrade is worth my money?

    The next issue I have is that I am running a GTX 260 overclocked to be as fast as a 280, and am interested in the SLI hack talked about in these forums, I understand the concept and would like to run it myself if it is worth it, but again my current motherboard only has one PCIe x16 slot, so would need a motherboard upgrade to facilitate this idea, so again it raises the question of upgrading to another 775 mobo.
    Alternatively I'm also wondering if I should instead sell my current single 260, and invest in a single 5850, as I am interested in AvP, BFBC2 and future DX11 games.

    The next six month period is, realistically, the last chance I'm going to have to upgrade for the next couple of years, so I'd rather have some sort of overclocking headroom for my CPU, expandability (USB 3.0 card & maybe second gfx card [2nd 260 now with new P45 mobo, or second 5850 later on if i get rid of my 260 and replace it with a 5850 now]) and capacity to play games at my current res.

    Is it worth trying to sell my CPU, Motherboard & RAM and putting about 200 pounds on top of the money I make off of it and buying something more upgradeable, or shall I spend money on a new motherboard for this perfectly capable platform?

    I know there are multiple issues and questions here, and I hope I haven't made it too convoluted, apologies for the essay, but any help and advice would be greatly appreciated :) :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  2. digibucc

    digibucc

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    wait until the end of the six month period, that's what i'm doing.
    especially if it's all your spare cash for a few years, don't spend it on a dead socket tech.

    hang around the BST thread and get a a couple of deals, get a 1366 or 1156 mobo, and then in a few months there will be more options for better, cheaper DX11 cards.
    it's not the right time to make a cost-efficient purchase. so you have to decide whether you need it now, or you want it to be as good as you can get for the next few years.

    i know i7/ddr3 is expensive. believe me ;) , but you are wasting half of what you'd spend on that on old tech. you're just asking for pain.

    there is always new tech going to be released, but this is one of those times that in order to make the most of your money , you have to wait a bit. 90% out there is old tech, and the new tech is bleeding edge and expensive. a few months will even it out and give us much better options. :)
     
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  3. Delta6326

    Delta6326

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    +1 on that wait a little bit longer things are going to start to go down:)
     
  4. EastCoasthandle

    EastCoasthandle New Member

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    I've been doing some research on this. Even created a thread about it. The fact of the matter is as follows:
    -i7s are only noticeably faster then a Q9650 when using benchmarks and using multi-thread specific applications that may take advantage of hyper threading when both are overclocked at the same frequency. For example winrar, 3DMark06, Vantage, Cinebench and the like. As for games the difference I've seen is minimal and not noticeable at all when both CPUs are overclocked at 4.0GHz for example (your motherboard may need a bios update). So, I suggest that you keep your Q9550 until i7 PCs settle down in price unless you are using a multithread app that uses hyperthreading in which you need the extra performance. In those examples the i7 is noticeably faster.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
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  5. assaulter_99

    assaulter_99

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    I wouldnt buy anything for that socket right now, unless you need to replace something that's dead. As for your gpu, I would wait too. There's nothing that's proving that dx11 is the next thing, at least for now. You could wait a couple of months, let prices settle down, if ever they will ;) It seriously depends on your budget though.
     
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  6. EastCoasthandle

    EastCoasthandle New Member

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    He should stick to his current CPU and overclock it (He may need a bios update). There is nothing wrong with sticking to 775 socket if the OP is on a budget. The noticeable benefits I've seen with an i7 setup are limited and for the most part not worth the premium right now. If the OP is a gamer he's not going to see benefits in most games.
     
  7. dhdude

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    I've had this motherboard since shortly after the P45s came out, and have updated the bios each time there's been a new one released, and none of them have been able to stably maintain my overclocks for my Q9550, no matter how minimal, unfortunately :( I mean my E2180 could be raised to 266 FSB (from 200 @ stock), but the board wouldn't let it go higher than that at all, either it'd BSOD upon booting of Windows or just not even post at times, and I haven't been able to get anywhere at all with this Quad.

    And whatever I choose to upgrade over the next 6 months will have to last me for 2-3 years afterwards, which kinda sucks, but there's not much I can do about it.
    Thanks for your advice guys, its helped me decide that there's not really much point spending £120 on a new motherboard for this socket, it's just frustrating as I'm sure there's overclocking headroom on this chip, and it feels like a waste not being able to push it above stock.

    In regards to the GPU, I paid around £200 for it a year ago, and I have someone willing to buy it off of me for around £120 in a months time if I choose to sell it. Do you guys think that's a good deal? Considering the few shops left in the UK that still have GTX 260s in stock tend to sell them at around £150+ brand new.

    Any more advice or opinions would be appreciated :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  8. digibucc

    digibucc

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    yeah understandable ... unless you sell your current rig you can always screw with the CPU after...

    but centering an upgrade around an overclock is backwards. even if you got another 1GHz per core, it wouldn't make the difference you will want for the next few years.

    as for the GPU idk,..sorry , don't pay much attention to Nvidia camp ;) ... from your post though it seems a decent deal. you will have to lose somewhat but get him to pay as fair as possible, he should be willing to go up to $10 off retail without much of an issue, provided it's still under warranty and he trusts you - at the same time I would just buy retail rather than save the $10 - so it's a balancing act...
     
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  9. BraveSoul

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    hey there.. welcome to TPU forum,, u'll get lots of help here, and fun
    u said it
    core 2 quad at 2.8ghz should last u those 2-3 years no problem
    as for the videocard,, i myself switched from 260gtx 216 to 5850,, glad i did it, 5850 is an amazing overclocker, core is stable at 900mhz vs 725mhz stock, many push higher then that.
    so switching to 5850 is definitely worth it... however like 'digibucc' said,,, wait a lil more if u can ,, im sure prices will drop once new geforce rolls out
     
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  10. phanbuey

    phanbuey

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    thats becoming more and more debatable. As the new GeForce is rumored to be a 2900xt, if that is the case then the new GeForce will do to the prices of the 5850 what the 2900Xt did to the prices of the 8800 series: Nothing.
     
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  11. dhdude

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    I have to admit this is a concern of mine, as I would love a DX11 GeForce card, but the rumoured poor performance and high prices dont bode well for the GTX 4xx series.

    I mean don't get me wrong, I like ATI as much as I do Nvidia, Ive been quite lucky in that all my experiences with both manufacturers cards have been good so far, and so as far as brand preference is concerned, I have none in particular. But I do hope these rumours of poor GTX 4xx performance prove to be unfounded, as I think I speak for us all when I say it'd be nice to see 58xx series prices drop :D

    In the mean time, if I choose to sell my current 260 to my friend, I will be looking at paying another £100 pounds on top of the cash I make from it to buy a 5850 if prices remain the same :( is that kinda cost worth the performance increase?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
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  12. phanbuey

    phanbuey

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    Well... i have the SLI GTX 260's and theyre clocked high enough to match 275 stock performance. And everything I see shows that I get higher avg FPS than a 5850, but lower Min FpS.

    Overall I would put an Overclocked 5850 at about the same level as 2 gtx 260's in SLI... the performance difference would be give and take, but thats the class of performance we are talking about.

    You would, therefore, see anywhere from 50-75% increase in avg fps and 50-100+% increase in MIN fps (this is what counts) from your single 260. Plus you would get DX11, in a quiet card. I think its well worth the investment. The gtx400 series is gonna be like windows vista/2900xt/5800FX... they will come out with a revision ASAP, as it is a stepping stone product.
     
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  13. dhdude

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    If I were to buy another 260 that alone would cost me between £125-150 depending, and then I would have to buy another 775 motherboard to do it, so that would be at least another 120, so I guess it makes more sense to spend less and get DX11 while I'm at it, in the form of a 5850. :)

    Do you guys think its worth waiting until Fermi comes out, even if it is just a paper launch, to see what the performance is like? and any changes in price that might occur? I'm keen to see a TPU review on the GTX 4xx series when it's released and possible :rockout:
     
  14. BraveSoul

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    agree on that one
    wait if u can ,, it should be available in april, and performance reviews earlier,,but then if it is good, will u be willing to spend $400+ on it? i dont think 470gtx will be any cheaper then that.
     
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  15. dhdude

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    Thanks for the help guys :) not only have you made me feel welcome here, but you've also provided me with some valuable opinions and info :D based on this I've decided that I'll hold off upgrading my CPU, Mobo & RAM for a while, but will most likely sell my 260 and grab a 5850 when Fermi is released, as it would appear that Fermi's gonna be outta my price range and 58xx series seem to offer better performance for the price.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  16. Fourstaff

    Fourstaff Moderator Staff Member

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    Like what everyone said, up the ram and get a gfx card. Your rig is still very powerful.
     

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