Crazy upgrade for a friend. Opinions?

By xcylent ยท 17 replies
Jul 22, 2012
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  1. hey all, so my friend bought himself a custom built computer around 4 years ago, and back then it was like a supercomputer (i7 860, HD5800, etc.) but now he wants to upgrade, and he asked me to help him.
    His budget is $1500 but he'd like to spend as little as possible.
    I have already recommended a new CPU, Motherboard, RAM, and optionally a case.
    parts I recommended:

    CPU: intel i5 3570K ($239)
    CPU watercooling: Corsair H100 ($149)
    Fans: Noctua 120mm 1300RPM P-fan ($25) (for the corsair H100)
    Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-V LK ($169)
    RAM: Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) ($65)
    Case (optional but recommended): Corsair Obsidian 650D ($203)

    TOTAL (without case): $627
    TOTAL (with case): $875

    He is getting a GTX 680 or a 670 in a few months, so thats why its not on the list right now.

    would appreciate anybody's opinion.
  2. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Depends what your friend is doing but if it's just gaming then the 3570K won't be a significant upgrade over an overclocked i7 860. I'd definitely recommend getting the GTX 670/680 first. But if your friend is running CPU intensive tasks (video encoding) then the 3570K will be a nice upgrade.

    What case and PSU does he have currently?
  3. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 231   +17

    He has a dusty old CM 690II and a Vantec Ion2 620W. Im gonna suggest he changes to a HX 650 or AX 650 though, because I read some pretty nasty reviews about the vantec power supplies. And he does quite a bit of coding/programming and a fair amount of gaming (dota2, Diablo3). If by now you're wondering why he wants to get such powerful parts, its because he's been saving up for a long time and he wants to buy a really powerful computer that can handle anything he throws at it for the next 3-4 years.
  4. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    It's great he's saved up for an upgrade but given the usage and the fact that those 2 games are not GPU intensive at all, I think it's wiser to tell your friend to save the cash. Unless he's constantly maxing all 4 cores and 8 threads of that i7 860 running his programs the i5 3570K won't be much of an upgrade apart from lower power consumption. Intel's Haswell platform is coming out next year and hopefully that will provide a much larger increase in performance.

    And running Dota 2 and Diablo 3 on a GTX 680 is bordering on ridiculous, the 5850/5870 are still great cards and will easily get 60fps+ at 1920x1200.

    If he really wants to upgrade then invest in a decent PSU (those Corsair ones you suggested are good, although the AX650 is overpriced for a 650W PSU) and a 256GB SSD. The CM 690 II is still a good case and I don't see the point of spending $200 to get a new one.
  5. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 231   +17

    yeah, all your points make sense, but my friend is dead set on building an overkill machine. I guess he wants it to last a long time, and still be very fast when he chooses to ugrade later.

    and I hadn't considered an SSD, thanks for the heads up. I'll ask him
  6. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    It's never a good idea to buy high end computer parts for "future-proofness", they are not good value unless you're utilising them to the max. As a hardware enthusiast it pains me to see a GTX 680 basically wasting away in a rig running Diablo 3. Now the Ivy Bridge upgrade might yield 20-30% gains in CPU intensive tasks but there will be no noticeable benefit in gaming or general computing use.

    In order of upgrade priority I'd say:
    - SSD (this is a must if he doesn't have one already)
    - PSU
    - a nice IPS monitor
    - mechanical keyboard
    - CPU/mobo/RAM
    - GPU
  7. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 231   +17

    SSD- I have mentioned. He agreed.
    PSU- I am yet to mention. I will insist.
    Monitor- He already has dual 1920x1080p 24" monitors, which he loves and does not intend to change.
    Keyboard- already owns the Razer Blackwidow ultimate.
    CPU/Mobo/RAM - I have mentioned. He agreed.
    GPU - I also advised he leave this off for later.

    I havent said it yet so I will now, THANK YOU slh28! Your input is much appreciated.

    also Dota2 and Diablo isnt all he plays. also the 860 isn't overclocked and he doesnt intend to OC it.
    I honestly think the 3570K and GTX680 (or 670?) would suit his desires.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,746   +3,712

    If he doesn't plan on over-clocking, there really is not much need in having the K version. Even the difference in the integrated graphics won't be used if you go with a dedicated GPU.
  9. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 231   +17

    he is probably gonna overclock the 3570k, hence why I suggested the H100.
    Also I'm kind of torn between the H100 and the NZXT Havik. I'm slightly leaning toward the Havik though, since it's much cheaper. any thoughts on this?
  10. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Hmm I'm not a fan of NZXT at all... if you want a good air cooler the Noctua D14, Phanteks PH-TC14PE and Alpenfohn K2 are the best ones out there and will perform just about on par with the H100. But beware those coolers are HUGE.
  11. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 231   +17

    :) I know theyre massive. and if you don't mind me asking, why the dislike toward NZXT? I'm not a fanboy or anything, just curious.
  12. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Just had bad experience with their products, e.g. had a case which frequently cut my hand when I tried to change components because of sharp edges, had a fan controller which broke after a couple of months... they may or may not have upped their game since but previous bad experiences kinda put me off buying their products.
  13. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 231   +17

    understandable. The only negative reviews of NZXT products I've read belong to the Phantom 410. and even then, only a few gave it an unfavourable rating.
    what case are you using now?
  14. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,813   +473

    Mmm a case I have from them isn't very nicely finished. The paint on it also is pretty crude (it's a black case). Smacks of cheap.
  15. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Using the Corsair 600T, easily the best case I've ever owned and very good looking too :) Just small things like 1-click removable dust filters, easy access side panels and excellent cable management make it a joy to work with. Also all the steel edges on the inside are rounded.
  16. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Most NZXT cases lack a certain attention to detail. The Phantom 410 isn't actually a bad chassis IMO- just that it's styling is a love it/hate it proposition. I've been using their Switch 810 for builds for a few months, and it is a very good chassis (esp for the money). Unless you're packing a lot of hardware into a rig it is overkill for most users- but if you're looking at expanding the system it (and the 410) offers a lot of options. I ditched my Corsair 800D to move to the Switch 810

    The PSU shown is all fixed cable inc four of 850mm or longer - a backup until a recently arrived Seasonic X-1050 (which necessitated removal of one of my graphics cards) which gives you an idea of the chassis cable management ability designed into it.
  17. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 231   +17

    would you guys consider a 650D over a Switch 810?
  18. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 231   +17

    interesting opinions. I must admit I'm a sucker for white/black coloured rigs so the NZXT switch looks kinda nice for me :)
    although I'd prefer corsair over any other case maker ANYDAY. I'm using a 400r right now, and my oh my its such a beautiful case. for sub $120, you get a sexy gunmetal paint finish (which is VERY well done), grommeted cable management, tooless design, great cooling (white LED fans <3) and the overall aesthetics of the case I just love.

    and DBZ, I must say you have a very very nice rig there, I am certainly jealous :)

    I guess for the sake of it, I'll show you guys my rig aswell.

    also my friend has decided to go with a white 600t, so we're looking forward to that. It's like a cavern in that case it's so big :D

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