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CPU/motherboard upgrade

By Terry Haney ยท 42 replies
Feb 13, 2013
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  1. Hello all. I am new here, and so this is my first thread. I have peiced computers together in the past, but I am by no means a pro, or even a talented enthusiest. What I am trying to do now is more of an upgrade. I bought a computer from ADK in 2007. It is a video/audio computer, and ADK did a great job. I would highly reccommend them. If I wasn't trying to save some money I would go back to them, but I am trying to do this as inexpensively as possible (meaning I would like to keep as much as I can from this computer to use).

    Here is what I currently have: Antec Titon 650 case with Thermalake 700w. Intel board DP35DP; 3 PCIe, 1 IDE, 8xSATA, Glan, 8xUSB2, 2xTI firewire. Intel Quad Core Q6600,2.40 GHz, 1066 FSB, 8MB Cache. Coolmaster Mars - RR-CCX-W9U1-GP fan. 2 Vantec 80mm Stealth fans - very quiet. SuperTalent DDR2 PC5300 CL4 240 pin RAM (1GBx3). HD1=Seagate 80 GB ATA100/7200rpm. Raid zero array 2 Seagate 640 x2, Seagate 320GB x1. Video XFX nVidia GeForce 8600GTS 256MB, PCIe 675MHz, 2 DVI HDCP PCIe. PIONEER DVR112B Dual Layer DVD-RW drive. Windows XP Pro 32 bit. 2 Monitors.

    I want to replace the MB with a Z77 MB,and the CPU with an i73770K. I will need to upgrade the RAM to DDR3 2400 (Preferably 16GB). I want to change the OS to Windows 7 Pro 64 bit. Here are my newb questions:

    Will I need to replace my Video card?
    Can I use the same case and fans?
    Can I use the same HDs and the same RAID 0 Array (I know nothing about RAID) ?
    I was hoping to not have to replace anything more than the MB CPU, RAM and OS. I do want to replace the DVD for a blu ray burner. Can anyone spot something I may be missing?
  2. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 349   +111

    That video card will be compatible with your build. However, if you plan to use the PC for gaming or other graphically intensive tasks, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer model. A CPU upgrade may help performance in some games, but the GPU is what's holding you back.

    But as I said, if you don't plan to game on the system, then it will be fine.

    Yep, should be just fine, the newer motherboards will likely have more fan headers than your previous one.

    As far as I know (not being an expert on RAID), you should be able to the same setup with the new motherboard (although I'm not sure about retaining your data from your current build).

    You may also want to consider purchasing an SSD, and loading your new OS onto that. It'll do wonders for your system's responsiveness, and may negate the necessity of a RAID array.

    I would suggest getting an aftermarket CPU cooler, so that you can properly overclock. If your going to get a Z77 motherboard and an unlocked CPU (such as the i7-3770K), it makes no sense not to overclock.

    It would be useful to know exactly what the PC will be used for so that we can more accurately gauge whether you need to upgrade other parts of the build.
  3. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Evangelist Posts: 353   +110

    I would spend at least $150 on a new video card if you play any recent game titles (or want to start). The RAM can be 1600 to 2400, doesn't matter much, it's all much faster than you can quantify in human terms (you won't be able to tell the difference except in benchmarks, and even there not by much). For the motherboard, only spend on the features you really want, and pick one from the top 3 makers (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI), and you should be able to avoid the nightmare of trying to POST a brand-new motherboard that's D.O.A. because it's a crap brand, although all of them sell a few duds. For the CPU, liquid cooling is definitely the way to go these days, since all-in-one sealed loop kits start at just $45, and are much less stressful on the motherboard and the ears, while cooling a whole lot better than air coolers in general. Windows 7 Pro x64 is probably the best choice right now for maximum compatibility for hardware & software - I love some of the new features in Windows 8, and I'm still running it, but there are issues with some drivers and programs.
  4. Terry Haney

    Terry Haney TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks to you both! I feel alot more confident in this change now. You asked what my use is with the PC. I use it to record multi-track audio and capture/edit video. I have prosumer cameras like the Panasonic DVX100B, and a couple HD cameras. I record audio, and MIDI. I use Sony Vegas Pro, Cakewalk Sonar, Sony Acid Pro, and Sony Sound Forge Pro for much of the mastering. The capturing and editing video, recording live multi-tracks, and editing while using alot of dynamic and sound shaping plugins can eat the RAM up quickly. The system I have has served me well, but it has it's limits. I also think that 64 bit is going to blow the 32 bit DAW out of the water. I have been using an older Shuttle I built back in the 90's for my web searching, etc, as I don't want the internet slowing things down and threatening the integrity of my DAW PC. This Shuttle has almost bit the dust. Her days are numbered. So I was thinking of purchasing a bare bones PC with the items I need for upgrading, and using the parts I take out of my recording PC to replace in the bare bones system. I was thinking as long as the mother boards are able to fit either case I could make this happen. I just want to make sure I am covering anything that may bite me in the rearend and leave me scratching my head and eating Ramon noodles and eggs for a months to cover the extra cash these unforseen things may cost me. I am not really a big gamer. I used to like the old video laced "who done it" games like Tex Murphy or Black Dahlia, or Gabriel Knight, but they don't really make that type of game these days as far as I can see. I will also have to read up carefully on how to trim down the OS to accomidate audio streaming. There are a lot of hidden processes in Windows that can muck up a recording rig. That is why I loved paying ADK to build it. I knew I was getting a trimmed down system for my needs. Thanks!

    Oh yea, I forgot to mention, the liquid cooling thing scares me. Liquid and electric components sounds pretty risky. Am I wrong about this?
  5. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 349   +111

    Because you do a fair bit of video editing, I would definitely recommend upgrading your GPU. Which one you get really comes down to how far you're willing to stretch your budget. Something like an AMD 7770 is about as low-end as I like to recommend, as anything cheaper won't give you a whole compared to integrated graphics. If you can stretch it, an AMD 7870 or a GTX 660 will be much more powerful.

    Yes, you are a bit wrong :p I say "a bit" because it depends on what sort of liquid cooling your talking about.

    Open-loop liquid cooling systems are liquid cooling systems that are put together using custom pumps, reservoir, pipes, radiators, grommets etc. These are not for the inexperienced builder, and do pose a risk if you don't know what you are doing.(Although they are the most effective and awesome-looking way to cool your stuff :cool:)

    However, what most people mean (such as hood6558) when they talk about liquid cooling, is a closed loop system. These are all-in-one type coolers, that are pre-assembled and only use one radiator. They are completely safe, and pose almost 0 risk to your components, as no water can escape from the loop (they're called closed loop for a reason :p). They also require 0 maintenance (apart from dust cleaning, which you should do anyway), so your components are never exposed to water.

    Because you are on a tight budget, however, I'll recommend the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (an air cooler), which is one of the (If not the best) CPU cooler below $40.

    It would be nice to know a "comfortable" budget and also a maximum budget (for the whole upgrade) so I can give you a full list of recommended parts.
  6. Terry Haney

    Terry Haney TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks again. You're right, I should define my budget. I want to stay around $1000, and the lower the better, but I can spend a little higher to get a quieter/quicker setup. I am thinking 400-500 for the cpu/motherboard, around 100 for ram, 200-250 for video. I do need firewire and at least 1 PCI port. I could probably go 100 or so for the fan. I don't really want to go completely cheap on the parts that will go into my recording PC, and everything that comes out of it will go into the PC that will replace my shuttle. So the shuttle replacement does not need a top notch case or power, and I have the Hard drive, video card ethernet card for that PC. The Music computer is where I want my largest investment to go. I was hoping to get a bare bones PC with the stuff I need for the swap at around $800 or so. I could go 1000, but only if I need to. Luke, you suggested an SSD for my OS hard drive. I could Possibly do this, but will I be able to do the Raid array? Why did you say I may not need RAID? In all of this budgeting I do need room for the OS and the internal Blu ray Burner. You guys are great! Great advice!

    Also, this is just to illistrate how dim I can be at times, when I saw the AMD Video cards I thought I could onlyu use them in an AMD computer.:confused:
  7. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 349   +111

    My suggestions:

    CPU: I assume you are set on getting the i7-3770K. If you are, make sure you get the K version, those who don't overclock are truly missing out. If you want to save some cash, the i5-3570K is around $90 less, and the biggest difference between the two is the i5's lack of Hyper-threading (imitating 8 cores, good for multitasking) . If you don't believe that you will take advantage of this feature, the i5 is worth considering.

    Cooler: Like I said, I would definitely recommend the Hyper 212 EVO, which will be much cooler and much quieter than stock cooling.

    Motherboard: You have heaps of options here, and the more you pay, the more features you get. The Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 is probably the best value oriented motherboard out there, and will fulfill all your needs (one of my personal favorites). The Asrock Z77 Extreme 6, Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H and ASUS P8Z77-V LK are all in the next tier up, and each have some extra useful features (the Gigabyte is my pick of the bunch, and the one in my personal rig).

    Memory: Again, there are many choices for you out there, all of which will do you just fine. Also, purchasing 2400 mhz may not be entirely necessary, and you aren't likely to notice the speed difference (especially considering the huge price premium you're likely to pay). The best Idea is to shop around, and find the best looking deals. For example, G.Skill Ripjaws Z 4x4GB 2133mhz is a steal at $93, especially considering your likely to pay a minimum of $130 for 16GB of 2400mhz. just make sure you buy from a good brand (G.Skill, Corsair, Mushkin, Kingston, Crucial)

    GPU: My previous recommendations still stay strong, and I also recommend the AMD 7850.

    Optical Drive. Because you want Blu-Ray, your looking at a minimum of $40 for a reader or $60 for a burner (It's ok to go for the cheapest you can find whe it comes to optical drives :p

    The i7-3770K CPU, Extreme 4 motherboard , Ripjaws memory, Blue Ray drive, Hyper 212 Evo and AMD 7850 totals around $800 (plus you get Bioshock Infinite and Tomb raider free with the GPU, a nice bonus (y)) The OS will likely cost you around $100 (whether you go Windows 8 or 7 is up to you :p ). So your looking at around $900 dollars OR $800 if you go with the i5-3570K.

    A Crucial M4 128GB will cost you around $110, and is a very good investment. It will allow you to install your OS and other frequently used programs on it. Because of this, you won't likely need the extra speed on your current Hard drives, as you will be just using them for Media files (Videos, Music, Photos) so you could take them out of RAID 0 to free up some space, or put them in RAID 1 for security.

  8. Adamking

    Adamking TS Member

    I vouch for the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. It's nice and solid. Or you can go with what I currently have in my computer right now: Arctic Cooler 7 Pro Rev.2. There on Newegg, it is currently on sale for $19.99 instead of 39.99. It has dropped my processor's heat down by over 12 degrees Celsius than the stock.
  9. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 349   +111

    Looks good, but I'd like to know, how much noise does that fan make?
  10. Adamking

    Adamking TS Member

    It's dead quiet. I just unplugged all of my fans (I have four, excluding that one) and you have to really pay attention just to hear it, and that's with the case door open and being up on top of my desk next to me. With the case side panel closed, either on the floor or on top of the desk next to your head, you won't hear it.
  11. Terry Haney

    Terry Haney TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks again. I looked at the Artic Cooler. I was building a barebones on Portatech.com and they only give you limited choices and the Artic cooler was one, but the price was higher than $19.99
  12. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,482   +978

    As for the GPU, dont go with AMD if you are using video editing software. CUDA is used by various video editing programs. As for the HDD, IDE isnt supported in Z77 platforms. Do you happen to have a microcenter near you? you can easily get a i73770K+the mobo for 300 with their combo deals. I would increase the budget to 300 for a GPU (660ti 2GB or 3GB is even better if you are rendering at >1080p), since it will cut down video rendering times by a ton. What version of software are you using? You probably want 16GB of ram and an SSD or fast HDD (caviar black) for editing films at high resolutions. You need all the speed you can get to cut down rendering times. Also are you recording audio? I see your picture is a guitar. If so you may want a sound card also.
  13. Adamking

    Adamking TS Member

    So what have you decided?
  14. Terry Haney

    Terry Haney TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Unknown - I am doing video editing (Sony Vegas Pro) and I do record audio (MOTU 2408), Cakewalk Sonar, Sound Forge (I listed this in an earlier post). I recently decided to try the new Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 instead of MOTU, but I am having issues with the Focusrite. I am getting horrible volume. I have nice nearfield monitors (JBL LSR 4326's), but that's another story. I have no Microcenter near me. I am in the country. I don't think the IDE will be a problem. I will take a closer look at the GPU. Thanks for the input.
    Adam - I am going with your suggestion on the cooling, but I haven't jumped into actually purchasing yet. I am trying to do an upgrade to my existing PC and come out with 2 PC's, one for surfing the net, email, etc and one for my recording/editing (I explained in my first post). I am wondering, if I purchase a bare bones, and then move these things around, how hard is it to bet the motherboard out of one case and into the other?
  15. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,482   +978

    It is a pretty hard task to move the motherboard from 1PC to another... it is basically like rebuilding the PC from the ground up since you have to remove the GPU, CPU, RAM. Since you are into recording, I recommend a sound card, especially if you are professional or planning to go professional. They are a big improvement over on-board audio.
  16. Terry Haney

    Terry Haney TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I don't think you are understanding me about the sound card. The MOTU is a sound card (PCI) with a break out box which records 24 channels simultaneously. It has 24 channels of adat or 24 of TDIF, and 8 analog. It records 24 bit up to 96K sample rate. I have a sound blaster audigy card for my midi. The Focusrite is via firewire and has 24 channel multi-track capability, 24 bit and up to 192K . I also have a M-Audio Project I/O control surface. I am covered with the Audio end of things I know that I have to remove and move the components to do this. I have built computers in the past, but I have never removed a motherboard once installed. I find the idea a little scary. I also have not done this sortr of thing for years, so I am nervous.
  17. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,482   +978

    Ahh I didnt get that part. Thanks for lcearing it up. It is scary. You are nervous about building?
  18. Terry Haney

    Terry Haney TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I am nervous about the motherboard/cpu moving from one case to the other. I am also concerned about the RAID array. How important is this array now a days. . I am planning to get an ssd for my os. Do I really need to do striping? I am also wondering if I will be able to use software I currently have that are 32 bit in my 64 bit system. I may be wrong, but I thought you could go backwards but not forward. Is that correct?
  19. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,482   +978

    Well, It isnt hard to move the CPU and motherboard, it is just tedious and takes some patience. As for the RAID array, you do not need those anymore since an SSD is already fast. Also RAID 0 makes an SSD even more prone to fail. As for the 32bit apps, you can run them find on the 64bit OS, but they will only use If I am not mistaken around 3.4 GB of the total RAM at most (they wont use that much but are limited to it if they ever need it during rendering and such). I recommend that since you are upgrading to a powerful system, it is worth upgrading 100% to 64bit apps like Photoshop and Vegas since they will perform a ton faster. Good luck on the build.
  20. Lots has been said here so I will just offer my experience since I am unfamiliar with the demands of the sound stuff you are doing. I am running a i7-2600K NOT overclocked and absolutely nothing makes it run more than a few percent except for video rendering where it is essentially 100%. How much does your sound work stress your cpu? If it doesn't then I think the 2700K is overkill, save money and go for a i5-3570K. I am assuming that you are likely using all of your DDR2 PC5300 CL4 memory. I have found on my system timings matter much, much less than frequency, 1866 Mhz works extremely well at stock voltage. (I am using 4 x 4 GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 MHz cas 9, it was inexpensive, 8 GB modules were not common yet. I upgraded to this from DDR3 1333(?) memory and it made more of a difference than going for low timing memory). I think that would also save you money to use for 8 GB modules and/or SSD and/or better GPU. According to Windows Development website Windows 7 Home Premium only supports 16 GB of memory, while Windows 7 Professional physically supports 192 GB, so if you require 4 x 8 GB modules you need Win 7 Pro.

    As far as the raid-0 array, since it uses the mobo chipset and not a dedicated raid card I highly, highly doubt it will transfer to a new mobo especially if the raid chip is different. Raid 0 also doubles your chance of losing your data from a problem from either drive in the array. I would avoid it. I highly recommend an SSD boot drive, ditch the Seagate 80 GB ATA100 drive. A modern drive like a WD 2TB Caviar Black will surprise you by it's speed, I'm assuming you cannot afford something like a 1 TB Velociraptor if you require a fast SATA drive.

    I can't comment on the video card since ever since I assembled my first computer I have always used ATI/AMD (now using Sapphire 6950 twin-fan, display port to my Dell U2412 1920 x 1200 IPS monitor). I know when I upgraded from a mobo/cpu system similar to yours to the Z68/i7 cpu. SSD, DDR3 combo I was ASTOUNDED at the increase in performance. No new build I have ever done has had the increase in performance than this one.
  21. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,482   +978

    If he is using photoshop the i7 is necessary. He doesnt need more than 16GB. We figured out everything here. If Terry has any questions then we will revisit this
  22. Terry Haney

    Terry Haney TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Luke said:
    Luke (and all), Why the GA-Z77X-UD3H instead of the GA-Z77X-UD5TH? What do you think about the Thunderbolt technology? Is it too infant at this stage, or was price driving these suggested MBs? I don't understand how a ThunderBolt connection daisy chaining HDs can be that fast. I mean if I have an external HD that is at the rate of 7200 will the Thunderbolt connection speed that up? Considering the video/audio editing, would daisy chaining hard drives via thunbolt connections be a major improvement? Worth the extra cash? I am a little befuddled :confused: I can already see that what I wanted to spend isn't realistic considering I want to go with a better video card (GTX 660ti), SSD HD, etc. . Oh, one more question about the hard drives. Will I be able to use my current drives (sata)? I think I can, but is there something I'm missing there? Thanks again for all the great advice :)
  23. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 349   +111

    I recommended the GA-Z77X-UD3H based on value, and the fact that it is a cracking motherboard. Of course, the UD5TH will give you more features, but it comes at a $100 premium. Thunderbolt is a very exciting technology that has a heap of potential, but I don't think that you will find it awfully useful at this stage. There aren't many things that make use of Thunderbolt yet (nothing in the average person's price range anyway :p ), and Thunderbolt isn't going to speed up your external hard drive either.

    If you can justify spending the extra cash for thunderbolt, then go for it. I just think that sort of money will be much more useful elsewhere.
  24. Terry Haney

    Terry Haney TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks. Man you are fast! Will I have any trouble with my hard drives in this upgrade? I mean anything that would make them incompatible?
  25. LukeDJ

    LukeDJ TS Maniac Posts: 349   +111

    Haha, I happened to be online when you replied.

    Anyhow, there shouldn't be any compatibility issues with the hard drives, as long as they're SATA drives (which I am 99% sure yours are, based on your previous motherboard's connectors).

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