Upgrade components or buy totally new?

  thetrickster 13:02 25 Nov 2010

Hi all. At present I am running windows 7, and have the following components:

Asus P5E3 Motherboard socket 775

Pentium Q6600 2.4 GHZ

Nvidia GeForce 8800GT 1 GB

OCZ 2GB 1333

I was just wondering considering that the P.C is mostly for gaming use. Should I upgrade my components or should I buy a pre bundled overclocked pack from let’s say overclockers uk.
I was looking at upgrading the above components. Oh by the way, the cheaper the better :-)
Thanks for reading.

  GaT7 15:37 25 Nov 2010

As you're upgrading mostly for gaming, you're in luck. The only thing you'll need to upgrade (PSU permitting) is the graphics card (GPU). And 1-2Gb more RAM wouldn't hurt either.

So begin by telling us your PSU make+model & your budget & we'll discuss a few suitable upgrades. G

  thetrickster 07:28 26 Nov 2010

Thanks for the prompt reply G. I have a FSP Epsilon FX700-GLN 700 Watt power supply unit.
I would hope this is still sufficent.

Rich I

  GaT7 15:22 26 Nov 2010

If this is your PSU click here, then it has the requisite 2x dedicated PCI-E connectors required to run the suggestions below.

I think a HD 5850 click here (£170) (older) / GTX 470 click here (£177) (newer) / HD 6870 click here (£182) (newest) will do nicely. The latter 2 support 3D as well (special 3D monitor required).

All the P5E3 motherboards click here support Crossfire, so
if you go for an ATI-based card you can think about running two of them in the future.

You didn't mention a budget, so let us know if
you'd like to go higher or lower. And also the space you have for it - these 2 dimensions click here. Some of today's cards are quite large, especially length & breadthwise. G

  thetrickster 17:13 26 Nov 2010

Hello G,

Yes I have both these. The PSU and Motherboard. I was looking at the following components:

OCZ 4GB Memory Module Kit (2x2GB) PC2-6400 800MHz Dual DDR2 Unbuffered DIMM (Nvidia Edition SLI Approved)Not sure whether I would benefit from this just because it is Nvidia edition. May need Nvidia motherboard???

With regards to graphics card not sure what to get. Do most Nvidia support crossfire? Here are the three cards I was looking at, not sure if they are better than the ones you suggested?

Gainward GeForce GTX 460 Golden Sample, 2048MB DDR5, HDMI, DVI

Gainward GeForce GTX 470, 1280MB DDR5

PNY GeForce GTX 470 - Graphics adapter - GF GTX 470 - PCI Express 2.0 x16 - 1.28 GB GDDR5 - DVI, HDMI ( HDCP ) (A little pricey this one)

My budget is around £300

Thanks once again.

  GaT7 17:37 26 Nov 2010

The RAM you posted is DDR2 - you need DDR3. Also may be best to match the make & spec of the ones you already have.

Only ATI-based GPUs support Crossfire (CF), which your motherboard does too. nVidia's equivalent is called SLI, but your motherboard doesn't support it.

If opting for a GTX 470 (nVidia-based, no CF), then the cheapest one (I posted) will be just fine. You will get none to a negligible performance increase for a more expensive one. I think these cards are about 10" long & will occupy at least 1-2 additional expansion slots on the motherboard.

If opting for a GTX 460 (nVidia-based, no CF), don't be deceived by the 2Gb RAM in the Gainward - a GTX 470 with less RAM will be better. But if going for a GTX 460 anyway, consider a 1Gb one for a much better ~£135 delivered price tag click here.

Read independent reviews of the cards you're considering. G

  thetrickster 19:17 27 Nov 2010

Once again thanks for your help G. Yes your right I do need DDR3 as I already have 2GB of OCZ gold 1333 memory so I will be looking to purchase another 2GB of the same make.

With regards to the graphics card I will only be looking for ATI (crossfire) as this makes better sense for future upgrades. Should I crossfire now? Or just purchase an additional graphics card in the future to crossfire?

I just wanted to ask why I shouldnt bother changing the processor?

  GaT7 19:43 27 Nov 2010

Yes, I suppose going for CF card now is better for the future.

If you want to get a little boost from the CPU, you could buy a reasonably good after-market air cooler & easily overclock it from its default 2.4Gz to 3.2Ghz. These CPUs were made for overclocking, & as long as it's maintained at a reasonable temp & voltage increase (latter ONLY if necessary), there will be NO problem. Something like this Xigmatek Red Scorpion HDT-S1283 for ~£20 will do very nicely click here, & will be nice boost for only £20.

For games, always go for the best graphics card you can afford. The CPU is secondary, as performance increase with the latter in games will be negligible unless going for a much more powerful & expensive CPU. In which case, you may as well drop these upgrades & go for an i7 setup. G

  GaT7 19:58 27 Nov 2010

Yes, always go for one card now, & look to upgrade in the future. The reason for doing this is because one card may well be good enough for a considerable amount of time, & by the time you need to upgrade to the second, prices would have fallen (or you could even get a bargain off eBay). Or, you may also find selling the previous card & buying a newer single card will work out better overall. G

  thetrickster 07:37 29 Nov 2010

Hi G excellent help as always. The only thing with going for an i7 setup is that I believe I would have to change my motherboard, as at present it only has a 775 socket for the processor. In which case leads me onto the next debate. If I change my motherboard then will I have to format my hard drives and start again i.e reinstall OS etc? If this is the case then I believe I would be better upgrading the components you mentioned especially if I can gain another 2-3 years of gaming.


  carver 09:28 29 Nov 2010

If you change the mobo you are always better off doing a clean install, if you don't you can get all sorts of problems.

Even if you think you have managed to remove all the old drivers for the old mobo, you can bet there will be something lurking some where.

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