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ArmyVeteran37214

Medium Tower Case Computer Upgrade Time

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So, my main computer is finally on its last leg. It's approx. 7 years old. Windows 7 boots up, but then when I try and launch anything it just sits and looks like its trying to do something. I have a pretty strict budget of $800 or less. I intend to keep my current case, monitor, legit copy of win7, a pci raid adapater w/ some IDE devices, keyboard and mouse. Pretty much everything else will be swapped out. I'm pretty computer savy, so this shouldn't be to big of a challenge for me to rebuild from pretty much scratch.

 

List so far from Newegg:

GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ for $140

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 15000) for $75

AMD FX-6200 Zambezi 3.8GHz (4.1GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Six-Core for $135

ASUS HD7770-2GD5 Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 2GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card  for $120

Grand Total with shipping and tax is: $517.57

 

I will have to buy new Sata DVD Burner, power supply and 500 GB or less SATA Harddrive later.

 

I am an AMD/ATI fanatic, so any chances of sneaking in an Nvidia/Intel part is not an option.

Any suggestions on where I might make this computer better without breaking my budget?

 

After its all said and done, I'll finally be able to play Starcraft 2 that I've had sitting around and I wanna get SimCity. Neither of these games will push this computer to the limit, but wanna have a good computer to last me at least 4 more years.

 

 

 

 

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IMO intel over the last few years has been better performance wise than amd and ari video cards has been better performance wise than nvidia, I built my girlfriend a brand new intel system last year for $900 but I'm sure it would be cheaper now

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Ok set up for diy build. Especially for the price.
Now my thoughts:
If your current power supply is large enough to run it, don't replace it. Plain and simple reason being that it isn't performance, if it works it works. As for a burner, you can usually pick up a dvd burner for under 30 bucks now. But if you can use your old one...why upgrade that too? Hard drive is the same deal but I personally would upgrade to a 128 or 256 GB SSD over a SATA. The jump there is pretty amazing. If not, at least get small one, 32 GB or so, just for the OS. Your initial boot time will be so greatly increased.

So summed up: You picked decent equipment at a good price. Anything from your old computer that isn't performance based and can be reused, do it. If you want to spend just a few extra bucks, get a smaller SSD rather than a larger SATA.

Notes: I assume by SATA you mean an HDD style. While SATA3 claims burst performance of 6GB/s their mechanical nature limits them physically to about 1.5 on average.

Edited by Keal G Seo

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I'm an IT tech and strongly recommend Intel and Nvidia over AMD and ATI,but to each his own.
Your selections aren't too bad, but personal experiencs force me to recommended a board besides Gigabyte - I used to build machines fulltime and had a 75% dead on arrival for that brand.

Also go ahead and order the sata DVD drive and hard drive - DVD drive is about $25 and a hard drive can be had in the $60 range. No point in having all the equipment and not being able to install Windows and use the machine.

Also may be worth checking Tiger Direct, pricing and support are better IMO.

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I'm an IT tech and strongly recommend Intel and Nvidia over AMD and ATI,but to each his own.
Your selections aren't too bad, but personal experiencs force me to recommended a board besides Gigabyte - I used to build machines fulltime and had a 75% dead on arrival for that brand.

Also go ahead and order the sata DVD drive and hard drive - DVD drive is about $25 and a hard drive can be had in the $60 range. No point in having all the equipment and not being able to install Windows and use the machine.

Also may be worth checking Tiger Direct, pricing and support are better IMO.

gigabyte is great i have one of their 775 boards in a server and its been running rock solid since i got it in 2008

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Ok set up for diy build. Especially for the price.
Now my thoughts:
If your current power supply is large enough to run it, don't replace it. Plain and simple reason being that it isn't performance, if it works it works. As for a burner, you can usually pick up a dvd burner for under 30 bucks now. But if you can use your old one...why upgrade that too? Hard drive is the same deal but I personally would upgrade to a 128 or 256 GB SSD over a SATA. The jump there is pretty amazing. If not, at least get small one, 32 GB or so, just for the OS. Your initial boot time will be so greatly increased.

So summed up: You picked decent equipment at a good price. Anything from your old computer that isn't performance based and can be reused, do it. If you want to spend just a few extra bucks, get a smaller SSD rather than a larger SATA.

Notes: I assume by SATA you mean an HDD style. While SATA3 claims burst performance of 6GB/s their mechanical nature limits them physically to about 1.5 on average.

My current power supply is around 500 watts. My current hdd's and optical drivess are all IDE. I plan on hooking up two of my 500gig drives I have in raid setup now into the new setup via the PCI Raid card I have. I know they will be slow, but I'm only gonna have data on them and not gonna be using them for game installs. I'll look into the SSD's.

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I'm an IT tech and strongly recommend Intel and Nvidia over AMD and ATI,but to each his own.
Your selections aren't too bad, but personal experiencs force me to recommended a board besides Gigabyte - I used to build machines fulltime and had a 75% dead on arrival for that brand.

Also go ahead and order the sata DVD drive and hard drive - DVD drive is about $25 and a hard drive can be had in the $60 range. No point in having all the equipment and not being able to install Windows and use the machine.

Also may be worth checking Tiger Direct, pricing and support are better IMO.

I know about Tiger Direct and I'm gonna price comparison with them also. Just didn't have much time this morning to do that. Too many other imprortant things going on at the same time.

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Check directron.com for parts and prices, I've had good luck with them for a variety of components for my recording studio computer (which was a gaming machine I bought from them in the first place).

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eh forget about tigerdirect and newegg, those sites are decent occasionally for good sales, but if you want the best deals all the time, and many of those times they are from mom & pop shops, use

 

www.pricewatch.com

 

That site is great because you just click on the item and specs you want, then it publishes multiple stores that are selling the products so you can compare them beside each other.  You do need to know the specific item you want to look for though, it's not good for spec comparison on different models.

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I used to build all my PC systems for many years but lately dunno if it is worth the trouble or whether it saves much money unless a fella's needs are very unusual, or if a fella just enjoys the project for the fun of it. And it can be fun of course.

 

Perhaps a screaming game machine would make more savings and price/performance building oneself. Dunno about gaming. I tend to be interested in number of cores, fast/large RAM, and large storage capacity for my uses. Rather than nuclear-powered cryogenic-cooled video cards and the max over-clocked speed. If I get concerned with video cards, would be more interested in dual-head or quad-head hi-def outputs rather than rendering speed. And dual-head high-pixel cards can be had cheaper than the smokin-fastest rendering cards anyway.

 

Maybe it is different now, but in the past I developed the opinion that one shouldn't run a power supply for as many years possible till it gives up the smoke, because sometimes when they let out the smoke they damage too many other more-valuable components.

 

In the past there were some "gamer heavy duty power supplies" with vastly over-rated published specs, a gaudy paint job, lots of chrome and racing stripes, which were pitiful pieces of junk. Can't recall the "best" brand names and maybe today the "best" ones have changed, but I'd compare for instance a chrome-and-racing stripes PS rated for a zillion watts, with a much-more-expensive, lower-power-rating conservative well-made PS, and you could tell just by the weight, among other things. The chrome-and-racing-stripes PS was so light it felt like lifting an empty aluminum chassis, and the good PS was heavy as a brick. But look inside, there were not any bricks or lead weights in there, just big conservatively rated components.

 

Even the expensive power supplies, its cheaper to buy a new good one every few years than buy new motherboards, cpu's, cards and drives if that good old one lets out the smoke right after you built that nice new puter.

 

For stability, I suspect a solid PS AND a real good UPS prevent more crashes and glitches than picking the very finest components to go inside the box. I would skimp on the PC on a limited budget, to make sure there is a good AVR power-conditioned UPS running the puter. The finest boards and RAM in the world won't work right with bad glitchy or poorly regulated power. Or maybe it is all different nowadays and all the power supplies are great, dunno.

 

Last desktop was three or four years ago, an HP quad-core 3.33 GHz pc. Spec'd what I wanted on HP's website, upgraded dual-head video, 8 GB RAM, dual SATA 1 TB type 1 RAID boot drive, Win 7 Ultimate. It didn't peg much more than $1000 or $1200 shipped to my door and its been a champ. Have added a couple of things since, but its been a champ, couldn't be happier, and it is "fast enough" for my purposes. Ain't shopping for a new one yet.

 

http://www.shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Desktops/Desktops;pgid=c7twGfjc0ptSRpIq7ZUcoGXQ0000sKRUVefN;sid=w52CibnjcZs4i-iZM00qAWHsyUYPIrM4TjavhWp8yUYPIjKYG7ad94Wn?SearchParameter=%26%40QueryTerm%3D*%26categoryusagedesktops_dte2%3DHigh%2BPerformance%26CategoryUUIDLevelX%3DOp0QxXjbaUcAAAE0eehcZzOt%26%40Sort.TieredPricing%3D0&PageSize=15

 

That HP link shows what they claim "high performance" PC's at the moment. One might run a much higher final price after adding all the stuff "you really wanted" in the configuration, but all the pre-configured puters on that page range from $550 to $1000. In that price range, why worry whether you will get the heat sink compound smeared on just right or worry you might bend a pin putting in the cpu, or maybe have to ship back a bad cpu and try to convince the vendor, "NO, I DID NOT BURN IT UP. IT WAS BAD RIGHT OUT OF THE SHRINKWRAP."

 

I'm more partial to intel chips nowadays as well, but have had many AMD systems that worked fine. As a general rule, the AMD systems ran hotter, seemed possibly a little flakier or a "few more glitches" with peripherals, and seemed to not last quite as long before they got too flakey to depend on. OTOH, in that era there seemed fewer "firmware" bugs in the AMD chips, wheras sometimes code that ought to have worked just fine and dandy would mysteriously fail on some hyper-threaded Intels, or laboriously coded FPU asm might give a few more surprises on the intels. But that is all ancient history and maybe doesn't apply at all nowadays.

 

 

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Ok fellas its been a couple weeks and everything listed in the OP was bought and I made another order to add a few more essentials. The case fan I have will not be enough to keep this system cool enough. I spent a couple hours looking at different Blue Ray burners and SSD hard drives. Since I'm trying to build this on a budget of under $900. I'm probably gonna get a different heat sink/fan for the cpu. I know the factory one is good enough, but I wanna try and do what I can to keep the cpu cool. Also gonna  use my current psu for a little while.

 

1 - Samsung 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD128BW 128GB Solid State Drive - 2.5" Form Factor, SATA III, 530 MB/s Read Speed, 390 MB/s Write Speed
MPN: MZ-7PD128BW - $149.99

2 - Cooler Master R4-L2R-20AC-GP Case Fan - 120mm, Blue - $19.98

1 - Pioneer BDR-2208 15X Blu Ray Burner - Supports BDXL, CyberLink Software, SATA, Auto Quiet Mode, PowerRead - $89.99

Total for this batch of items was $267.59

Total for first batch of items was $519.66

Total for build so far sits at $787.25

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SSD FTW!!!!

 

My laptop boots up in about 15 seconds from a shut down with that sucker! :hyper:

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