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Heres my mission! (upgrade...)

By Schmutz · 16 replies
Oct 12, 2007
  1. My current system spec:

    Processor: AMD64 3500+ 2.2ghz
    RAM: 1gb RAM pc3200
    Board: Abit AV8-3rd Eye (Socket 939)
    GFX card: NVIDIA 6800GT 256mb

    After much research I want to upgrade to (updated 14th Oct):

    Processor: Q6600 Quad core 2.4ghz
    RAM: Patriot 2GB PC-6400 C4 Extreme Performance
    Board: ASUS P5K-E
    GFX: PowerColour 2900Pro 512MB GDDR3
    PSU: Corsair VX 550W PSU
    Additional HDD: Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATA II 7200RPM 16MB Cache
    My budget is around 500 - 600 £ (1000-1200$)

    Primary reasons for upgrading are because I wish to do a LOT of Video editing in AE and 3d work (mostly in 3dsmax). I also want to be able to run the latest games ie. crysis/gears of war pc without problems

    Here are the questions I'd like to ask before I do this: (outdated & not specific to the parts I've chosen anymore...)
    1) How much of a performance increase will I see in After effects rendering times? From my understanding the quad core CPU will be capable of rendering 4 frames at once. Is it worth investing in 4gbs of RAM or will 2gbs be enough. I see 32bit OS can only use up to 3gbs effectively anyway

    2) Could you suggest any other motherboards or is the one I have selected fine? I am not clear about the benefits I'd see in (for example) Asus Striker Extreme board i have been looking at

    3) Is 7900GS 512mb a better option than 8800GTS 640mb? I'd like to be more confident in making a decision here. I believe the 8800gts appears to be the best value for money card available right now, but if I will be able to run games like Crysis and other existing ones say on par with the xbox 360 console with 7900GS then I'd rather get that seeing it is half the price

    4) I currently have a 400W PSU, will I need to look at higher Watt PSUs to support the new bits and pieces?

    Thanks a lot for any help :) I hope you can answer some questions as soon as possible because I'm ready to start buying right away
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Here are my recommendations:
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 Stepping (2.4GHz 1066MHz) Socket 775 L2 8MB Cache (2x4MB (4MB per core pair)) Retail Boxed Processor - £165.36 inc VAT
    Patriot 2GB PC2-6400 C4 Extreme Performance (2x1GB) - £53.89 inc. VAT & Shipping
    ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP AiLifestyle Series P35 Socket 775 Socket eSATA 8 channel Audio ATX Motherboard - £89.99 inc VAT
    Sapphire Radeon 21119-00-40R HD 2900 Pro 512mb GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI ViVO Graphics Card - £168.91 inc VAT
    Corsair VX 550W PSU - 120mm Fan, 5 Year Warranty - £54.99 inc VAT

    Grand Total = £533.14 and shipping is free on all items except the RAM. All parts are of very high quality and will enable you to run any app or game as fast as you need it. You'd need a new PSU so I recommended a good one. The motherboard supports the upcoming Penryn CPUs and DDR3, so it's a better choice than the Striker Extreme. The HD 2900PRO is the best value-for-money card at the moment and when overclocked to XT speeds, will easily be able to beat or be on par with the more expensive 8800GTS 640MB.
    I hope I helped. :)
  3. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Wow, thanks a lot Rage_3K_Moiz. Thankyou for listing all the parts like that and thanks for providing good theory behind why you chosen them, it really helps make things clear :)

    I have been looking blindly at Nvidia cards for the past week and haven't considered using an ATI card. I read briefly about the Penryn CPUs and DDR3 memory, but I am not sure that I would be willing to commit myself to upgrading the CPU or RAM for around 2-3years once I have built the new system... I guess its a good idea to have the option just incase though.

    I didn't know until recently how expensive PSU's where, and didn't even think I'd be upgrading mine but they seem to be critical to stable performance and I'm certainly glad to pay a little extra to be safe there.

    Why do you recommend that RAM over the one I have listed? :) What are the differences in performance here?

    Again, thanks a lot, I'm bookmarking the parts you have specified until I see fit to make any changes because they appear to be a very good selection. I'll be buying them on Monday, so I'm still open for more suggestions until then and I'll take a lot of time furthering research. I'm also aware that I have made this thread in two different places and I won't do so from now onward because I see now it really wasn't required :)
  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    No problems mate, we're here to help out aren't we? :)
    As for the RAM, the main factors were quality and the price vs performance ratio. If the OCZ RAM is cheaper, get that by all means, since both OCZ and Patriot are good, reputable RAM makers. But I found that Patriot RAM kit as the cheapest DDR2 2GB kit around. Differences in performance will depend on the CAS latency of the RAM. The lower the CAS latency, the faster the RAM. If both RAM kits have the same latency, then choose the cheaper one. Simple. :)
  5. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    The OCZ ram will cost a little more, and its CL5 which I'm guessing is weaker than CL4? I believe I will be buying the Patriot RAM with this in mind :) Thanks again mate. Out of curiosity if I wanted to upgrade to 4gb in the near future will I need to make sure its PC6400/CL4 for compatability?

    I've been taking a closer look at the graphics card you've recommended and it does seem to offer competitive performance at a far better price, can you explain why Nvidia is more expensive? I always used Nvidia in the past, 5200FX, 6800GT and found the cards very stable but I have no problem jumping ship as long as theres a reasonable means to do so. A member on another forum recommended 512mb 7900GS stating the performance is almost on par with 8800GS in DX9 games? I hope to run games like Crysis at 1280x1024 with the new machine :D :D
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    The NVIDIA card comes with more memory and higher clock speeds and is overall the better card. But the HD2900PRO is basically a stepped-down XT and since the XT wins over the 8800GTS 640MB, you'd expect the PRO to be at least on par with it, at a much lesser price. And where'd you get the notion that a 7900GS is equal to an 8800GTS in performance. There is no comparison between both cards. The 8800GTS blows away the 7900GS, and then some.
  7. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Fortunate I've brought that up then, I was quite confident after speaking with another person that the 7900GS could have been a good choice. Thanks. Now I'm looking at different options for HD2900PRO, theres the one you've mentioned then theres this: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/132737 . I see "HD" is missing from 2900PRO in the items title, does this stand for anything special? I hope you don't mind all the questions, but I think I'm learning a lot very quickly here, and you're damn good at answering them :D

    Regarding hard drives and operating systems, I have 200GB currently with Windows XP 32bit. I will be buying a new HDD, (most likely this one: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/130385 unless there are any other suggestions? ;)). If i can get Windows Vista 64bit functioning stabily on the new 500gb HDD then it would be ideal. Whats your take on operating systems and 32 vs 64bit? I have played briefly with windows vista 64bit evaluations on my current hardware and using programs like After effects/3dsmax was a nightmare, so I am hoping that them problems have been ironed out by now...
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Ah yes, that PowerColor is a better deal. It is the same card as stated on the box. Also, use 64-bit only if your gonna be using 4GB of RAM. Otherwise you'd be fine with 32-bit. But XP x64 is still ****ty, so I'd recommend Vista x64 instead.
  9. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Cool. No differences in performance between the two cards then, so I should go for the cheaper one :) BTW, what do you think about the HDD i have suggested? Are there better deals around? From what I see this seems to be a great deal.

    Is 2GB ram really the best value for money or do you think 4gb might be? I can probably afford the extra if its going to provide a significant performance gain... and then I can use vista 64bit effectively. I will be using multiple programs often; AE/3dsmax/Games. If its going to provide a crazy 2x speed increase in some scenarios it sounds like a plan to go for 4gb but if the extra ram will only provide a subtle speed increase of < 50% then I am fine with 2gb.

    Have you seen any 2gb/4gb comparisons around the web? (Regarding video game performance, and others regarding performance in After effects) I think that would make an interesting read

    I am determined to go for the power supply you have listed, the 2900PRO and the Patriot RAM. Also as you know I will be buying Q6600 processor. I am almost ready to start spending, wooohooo :rolleyes: but just before I do so I'd like to share some information I gatered about the motherboard you listed. Many websites I have looked at people asking what board they should use with Q6600 and the most common reply is the ASUS P5K :) But sometimes people will mention Striker Extreme, and ABIT IN9 32X-MAX. It is clear these other boards must offer something special to warrent the higher price tags, are they more futureproof? I'm sure the one you have suggested is fine but can cutting corners on the motherboard bottleneck the potential of the other components? (ram/cpu/gfxcard)
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    2GB of RAM should be enough. And this is a better hard drive for the price. As for XP x64, it's terrible. Stick with 32-bit since you'd only need x64 if you had more than 4GB of VRAM and system RAM combined. Windows Vista x64 is the best bet if you do want to upgrade your RAM later. I have Home Premium x64 and it runs quite well, although I've never used 3D Studio Max or Adobe After Effects. You might want to try asking around for it.
  11. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Cheers. That hard drive you've mentioned is an extra £10 and I'll probably have to pay another delivery fee there. I do not see any differences? Are Samsung that much more a reliable manufacturer? If this is true, are there not any HDD's on ebuyer that you could recommend to save me shopping at too many different websites?

    EDIT: I believe I have found the HDD you mention on ebuyer? http://www.ebuyer.com/product/130454 £61.09 inc VAT
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Nah, forget the Samsung. This is a slightly more expensive, but much better option. Western Digital produces the best HDDs out there so I think it's the best option for you.
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    In no way are they more future-proof except maybe for the fact that they both will support Penryn and both allow for three PCI-E x16 slots due to the nForce 680i SLI chipset in them and other nifty features like Dual Gigabit LAN. But those are intended for gamers who want 100+ FPS on any game and most people assume that since you have the cash to buy a Q6600, you'd also be having the cash to get a board like one of these. The P5K is a better board in that it offers WiFi connectivity and all the other standard features like SATA ports while also supporting Intel's upcoming 45nm-based Penryn CPU and DDR3 memory. The board also supports 1066MHz DDR2 memory and Crossfire as added bonuses. So all in all, it's a much better board. So you could probably throw in another HD2900PRO later if you wanted more rendering performance. :)
    And yes, buying a cheap motherboard limits your parts' potential to perform at their best capability.
  14. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    You're the best Rage! One last thing before I so confidently go buy all this gear :D On another message board someone suggested "For PSU , go for OCZ STEALTHXSTREAM 600WAT , its cheaper and better" What do you think? +50W performance at the same price, looks good to me...

    Now it's out of stock so I'll be going with the Sapphire Radeon (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/132550) you suggested intially :)
  15. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    The StealthXStream, while no doubt a good PSU, is not as good as the Corsair when it comes to quality. It's one of OCZ's PSUs that has a lot of ripple on the +12V rail when it's loaded a lot. Too much ripple can destroy components over time and since you'd be fully-loading the system a lot, I'd still suggest going with the Corsair PSU. It's of much better quality and won't give you any problems down the road.
  16. Schmutz

    Schmutz TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 126

    Just placed the order. Thanks a lot for all the help mate it has been priceless.
  17. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Glad to be able to help. :)
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