Upgrading my system. Advice?

Posts: 17
Hey guys. I was hoping to get some advice on a motherboard, CPU and GPU. My rig is about 6 years old. It's a store bought HP from Best Buy (don't judge me :P) with a GeForce 8600 GT in it and 4 GB of RAM. Current CPU is AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.50 GHz.

Now all i am trying to achieve is maximum graphics settings for the campaign of wings of liberty and the upcoming heart of the swarm and i play a bit of desert strike on arcade and would like less lag, if any of you know this game. I also play WoW and Diablo 3 and would like to max graphics settings on those as well. Not concerned with any other games on the PC as i play most everything else on my ps3 or steam with no issue. I don't want anything so cheap as to be obsolete in a month but nothing so expensive it is overkill and not even supported and over the top for the likes of WoW, SC2 and D3.

I am going to be starting from scratch and building a new rig from the ground up so i would like opinions on motherboard/CPU combos and graphics cards. Should i bother with a quad or stick with dual core? Is it simply a matter of highest GHz? Should i stick with 4 GB of RAM or would 8 be worth it at this point?

Thanks in advance for any help :)
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MVP - StarCraft
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Don't skimp. You want some wiggle room, especially in your processor, graphics card, and RAM. I'm not the tech MVP, but I did build my own computer. 3.6 gig quad core, 8 gigs of RAM, and a GeForce GTS 450 run like a dream.
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Posts: 17
Thanks for the reply. Do i really need the 8 GB of RAM or would 4 suffice? Purely out of curiosity. And also, is a quad better than a dual core 10 times out of 10 or is it all based on the GHz? And i completely forgot to ask about the PSU. I have a 500w. Enough or should i go for a 750-1000 if i got the components you are suggesting?
Edited by Razael on 1/18/2013 1:44 PM PST
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Community Manager
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Moving this to the Games, Gaming, and Hardware forum to ensure that other hardware aficionado's are able to weigh in. :)
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i recently built a monstrosity of a computer, and i'm pretty happy with 32 gigs of ram. i didn't like having 8 though.

honestly, ram is cheap. so why not get 8-16 GB?

and 'better processor' isn't about the clock speed (GHz) as much as a number of other (highly technical) factors. i'd recommend getting a newer model (especially since this will be your rig for a good long while), but not necessarily the newest. i got the i7 3770k, and it's a beast. but i probably would have been happy with the i5, to be honest.

the point is, to look into the future. is buying a processor now, and a new one in three to five years a better idea than buying a super expensive one now and it still being good by then (assuming you don't overclock it and burn it out). both have very good merits, and it's up to you to decide. but as long as you get something made in the past year or two, that exceeds the recommended requirements of what games you're playing, it'll work fairly well.

and for graphics, i have friends that love their gtx 460s. but you can get a newer one for a decent price, as well. gtx 550s are relatively inexpensive, i think. and they'll run farcry 3 on max graphics pretty easily.
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Thanks for the redirect :) Was unaware where to post this. I'm new to the forums.
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Posts: 17
Fair enough chaotic and thanks for the reply :)

So, i am looking over parts on newegg at the moment and my tax return should be here by the end of next month. Trying to get a rough idea. In your opinion i should be fine with the i5? 3rd gen i presume? And then if i can afford it, get a gtx 550. If not, a gtx 460. Am i assuming right?

I want a decent machine that has room to be upgraded further in the future should i decide to. Right now just focused on maxing the graphics settings of WoW, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 with no lag issues regardless of game mode. I'll upgrade if need be for a future game.

And if i assumed right, should i be alright with a 500w PSU or should i grab a 750-1000?
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Posts: 1,074
01/18/2013 01:44 PMPosted by Razael
Thanks for the reply. Do i really need the 8 GB of RAM or would 4 suffice? Purely out of curiosity. And also, is a quad better than a dual core 10 times out of 10 or is it all based on the GHz? And i completely forgot to ask about the PSU. I have a 500w. Enough or should i go for a 750-1000 if i got the components you are suggesting?


-you dont need 8 gigs of ram, as nothing even comes near to using 4 , much less 8. But i'd still say get 8! There are some kits out there for $35 U.S patriot viper ram. Its up to you. Techically you can save by getting a single 4 gig stick. But i'd still say get the 8 so you can run it in dual channel.. ( dual channel means it will run faster)

-Quad cores are perfect for gaming right now. there will be an industry shift once the xbox 720/ps4 get released to use more than 2 cores. Those consoles are rumored to come out end of this year, and since most games are console ports. Quad core will start becoming a requirement. Dont skimp on the cpu, trust me on this. Skimp else where. You asked about the gigahertz . For games requiring dual core, yes higher gigahertz is better than 4 lower clocked cores. However with the quad cores these days ( i5's) . There cores are actually really good. 3 ghz on on i5 on a single core is like 4 ghz on an a single amd core. The architecture is different, Gone are the days of just comparing core frequences to other core frequences.

For the psu, What matters is if its brand name or not. If its some crap like besttek it would be wise to upgrade that as well. The problem with cheap power supplies are that they give really low amps on the 12 rail ( and pretend to inflate the wattage as its a selling point on 3 v rail and 5v rail with amps you would never need). The most important is the 12 volt rail. Depending on the specs you choose, even a really low 450 watt power supply could be sufficient, just because its brand name and has the amps on the 12. Graphic card makers really need to stop giving out psu advice based of wattage, is so misleading. Look at the v12 rail and see how many amps it gives . Reply in this thread.

I could only make a suggestion on the psu once you choose all your specs, so i know how much power you pc will need.

If you really are only building a pc just for sc2.

you could get some really cheap parts and still max out the game, dont skimp on cpu though as sc2 is a cpu bound game. Graphic cards have no problem putting out a ton of frames when nothing is going on, but if your cpu is crap, when mid-game comes along your frame rates would slow to a crawl thanks to the cpu being !@#$.

Building a pc only for sc2? i'd say get the i5 3570k. You dont even need a graphic card. But if you want to push it to ultra, a $70 dollar gpu will do easily.
Edited by Incinerate on 1/18/2013 2:56 PM PST
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Posts: 17
Yeah i would like to push it to ultra, but in World of Warcraft and Diablo 3 as well. I mean i play some other games, but none of them have any issues. SC2 is just choppy in campaign when set too high and laggy as hell online in multiplayer or custom games when set too high. Diablo 3 is fine when i am solo up to a point but even then needs to be tuned downed for certain areas/events. In a party it is a nightmare. WoW is also very choppy solo when set too high and even at low is laggy in massive battlegrounds.The only really demanding games on the PC i know of are Crysis, Far Cry, battlefield and Black Ops 2 and i don't intend to play any of them or any FPS games to be honest on my PC. I leave those to my ps3.

So i would say i am leaning towards getting an i5 3rd gen motherboard/CPU and unless i find a better alternative/upgrade to my geforce 8600 gt than the gtx 550 i will go with that. Waiting to make a definitive decision on the CPU and motherboard so i know how many slots i have for RAM but i agree on multi-channeling it. Found a nice antec case on newegg for $70 with two front fans, a huge top fan and a back fan so air flow and cooling should be good and the stock heat sink fan with the CPU will make that all good i am sure.

Only other thing i am left up in the air about is mechanical HDD or new SSD. Thinking HDD for now but want the capability to add an SSD later for my OS. Thoughts?
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Posts: 1,074
Blizzard games are always cpu bound in my opinion, thats why i keep saying get a good cpu for blizzard stuff if you really only care about building this pc for their games. (sc2 diabo WOW etc)

The latest i3 processor at the $125 dollar mark would be good enough for you. But if you really want to make sure and go overkill , the i5 will destroy blizzard games. get the cheapest 3rd gen i5 and you will have no worries .

for the ram, as long as its atleast 4 gigs, your golden. up to you! ( i'd go for 8 gigs in dual channel). or if you really want to save, go with one 4 gig stick, and one 2 gig stick ( total 6 gigs). 6 gigs will give you head room while not being overkill .

Great motherboard is the asrock z77 extreme 4 lga 1155. Its the higest rated z77 motherboard and it has the best price of them all for the most amount of features. You mentioned the possibility of an "SSD" . this motherboard will have the sata 3 port to give a sata 3 ssd its full speed.

SSD will give the most amount of speed Improvement for everything that is easily noticeable nowadays on a pc. But ssds wont actually give more frame rates per second. In regards to games all they mean is faster load times. SSD 's are great for having your operating system on so everything feels really fast. I wouldnt recommend an SSD on a budget build though. As the price per gigabyte is pretty high.

Just note that you wont actually see a FPS boost with an ssd, but everything else not related to computing will improve drastically.

Seagate and western digital make good harddrives, i'd go for seagate since its cheaper.

For the graphic card, a budget card will destroy blizzard games . Blizzard games dont require much graphics, . You can get all blizzard games to play on ultra settings with a $70-100 priced card.
Edited by Incinerate on 1/18/2013 3:49 PM PST
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Posts: 17
Thanks man. I got a few components kind of narrowed down. Mind telling me what you think?

CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116504

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157335

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066

GPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121435
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Posts: 1,074
Thanks man. I got a few components kind of narrowed down. Mind telling me what you think?

CPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116504

Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157335

Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129066

GPU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121435


Cpu choice extremely good

Motherboard choice, Good but not good at the same time. Nothing wrong with the motherboard per say, but it wouldnt make sense to get a K series cpu with that board. ( the K is for overclockers), So you can step down that cpu to the i5 3570 non K version. If its only blizzard games you care about. You could step down to the latest i3 processor for $130 or so. The board has 1 sata 3 6 gig port, so it perfect for 1 ssd if you choose to get one. It has room for regular hard drives as well.

The case is good , you could probably go cheaper if you want to . But its good case

-That graphic card is also very good for blizzard games. It will destroy them all at ultra.

( i have a gts 250 and it plays sc2 at ultra) . My processor is i5 3570k ( i just waiting a while before i get a graphic card to see where the cards are performing at in relation to next gen games)

Overall good choices, change the cpu to non k version if you choose that board. If you really want the i5 3570k, go with the extreme 4 from asrock. But since its for overclocking, you could get a cooler master hyper 212 evo for $30 bucks to push that 3570K to 4.5 ghz EASILY. Thats EXTREMEEEEEEEEEEEEEE OVERKILL THOUGH lolllllllll You only care for blizzard games, so the latest i3 is good enough for you.
Edited by Incinerate on 1/18/2013 4:15 PM PST
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Posts: 17
The non K version is only $15 cheaper on newegg was why i just stuck with that one lol. So, should i still downgrade the CPU or upgrade the motherboard? And what wattage PSU do you suggest for this lineup? Also found the last components:

RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314

Optical Drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

HDD:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148912

Plan to get an SSD in the future but not concerned about it now. Thanks again for all the help and feedback :)
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Posts: 1,074
the k version just means unlocked, therefore you can overclock it easily. With that board it wouldnt make sense to get the k version because its not good for overclocking. ( the i5 has something called turbo boost, so it will overclock it self on default to 3.8 gigaz on stock cooler) . So no need for the k version on that board.

that cpu is plenty powerful, so powerful you can play any game ( crysis 3, farcry 3, whatever) and it still be king.

As i mentioned, if its only blizzard games though.. the latest i3 is good enough for you.

if you go with 3570k , i highly suggest a z77 motherboard and a non stock cooling fan. If you not getting aftermarket cooler, the k version makes zero sense. So yes you can save the $15 ( its more like saving $45 because you wont need an aftermarket fan as well)

Tell me whats your goal aim again, i not sure if its just blizzard games or everything in general you want to have the option for. IF ITS BLIZZARD GAMES ONLY. i would not recommend you spendign more than you need to . the i3 latest will be good enough.

that harddrive is really expensive .

take this one instead http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148840 . Its plenty fast and got 1 tb.

For the psu, ill tell if you need to upgrade. Go into your computer box now and tell me what amps you see marked on the v12 rail.
Edited by Incinerate on 1/18/2013 4:34 PM PST
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Posts: 17
Took the side panel off but the sticker with all the info is not visible. I am pretty confident it is 500w though. Almost positive it is a best buy brand like dynex or rocketfish or something like that :P. And my main goal is to be able to play blizzard games at max graphics with no issues and be open for a little wiggle room to upgrade here and there in the future if need be. I play steam games and league of legends and elsword, civ 5, sim city 4 etc. with no issues. Just the graphic intensive multiplayer games. Excluding SC2's campaign. That is quite choppy for me as well. Only other thing i really do is torrent, listen to music and burn dvd media.
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Posts: 1,074
okay thats a crap psu if it doesnt even have name or sticker visible. But sometimes crap psu's are good enough, as long as they arent pushed to max.

i still cant really make a good recommendation on the psu unless i know the exact amps on the v12 rail. Its up to you to decide there. maybe google search whatever clues the psu gives you on the sticker to see where the specs are at?

The choppyness will be cleared with a good cpu. and the graphic card you choose will be more than good enough for blizzard stuff.

The board you choose there has room for 1 sata 3 ssd, and 3 regular hard drives. So thats good . The board will also support up to 16 Gigs. So as long as both ram slots work, it will be good enough for you.

Want my suggestion?

go overboard with the cpu/motherboard. So in the future if you see a game you really want to play at maxed settings, all that would be required is a gpu change ( even though the gpu you are choosing now is actually quite sufficient for gaming now.

My current settings?

- i5 3570k
-cooler master hyper 212 evo fan for the cpu
-asrock z77 extreme 4
- 8 gigs patriot viper 1600 hertz 1.5 volts
- one 67 gig cruical m4 ssd
-one 1 tb segate barrcuda harddrive for mass storage.

thats my setup, im using my old gts 250 from my previous build and just waiting it out to decide on a graphic card , cause i wanna max out crysis 3 when it comes out ( game looks stunning) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KW73TZTAH8&list=FLGqf82gZWsoJ_jHAggd1jPw&index=3 ( i will probably need a gtx 670 or 680 for that

My build is very budget except for the planned graphic card
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Posts: 17
How do you mean go overboard? Get a z77 board with the 3570k cpu?
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Posts: 17
And i will pop my power suppl yout and look at it tomorrow at some point and get back to you on here if you are still looking at this forum then XD
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Posts: 1,074
overboard meaning getting more than you actually need .

Yea z77 boards are tailor made for 3rd gen ivy bridges. It doesnt really do that much more, just better for overlocking. But the board you mentioned wasnt a z77, thus why i said the K series isnt needed. standard 3570 is plentyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy strong for you. And it will stay strong for everything else even when not overclocked.

None of my cores go past 60% when playing sc2 at ultra. ( only 2 cores go up to like 40ish). For the most part i5's are basically almost idle running sc2 LOL

hence why i mentioned i3's are probably all you need to max out blizzard games easily.
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Posts: 17
Honestly when we get into overclocking that is when things are over my head. I know what it is and what it does but i have no knowledge on how to do it or whether i even should.
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