Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

groan wrote:

Thaks GG,
I already have the 6870 so I am recycling it into this build.
I forgot I still need to get the OS too so that's going to push me over. I may need to wait for another month or two for this unless someone has a Win7 to sell cheap!

You can buy a Win 8 upgrade license next month for $40 (assuming what you have now has some XP OS or better). Until then you could run the one of the preview builds or the free test version that's good for 90 days.

you can always run the consumer preview of Windows 8 for Sept-Oct. I'm not sure exactly when in Oct. Microsoft will start disabling all the Win 8 consumer previews..but you probably got at least a month more..

edit..

damnit!!

I thought those using the Win 8 consumer preview will also be able to upgrade to a full license for $40? I'm using it on my newly-built machine & will be out of luck if I suddenly have to come up with an XP or Win 7 copy to install the full release.

I dont believe any of the Consumer Previews have ever been upgradable to a retail/full license.

TheGameguru wrote:

I dont believe any of the Consumer Previews have ever been upgradable to a retail/full license.

Maybe not directly (software), but they do qualify for the $40 price.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9230479/Bloggers_show_how_to_upgrade_Windows_8_previews_to_RTM

Not sure if I'll try this or not. Since I won't be losing any data & can still get the $40 price, I don't mind doing a clean install.

While I am not building a new PC I was thinking about upgrading my graphics card (I didn't want to clutter the forums with a new thread) and I wanted to get the opinions of those more knowledgeable than myself.

I currently am utilizing an EVGA GTX 470 SC (SuperClocked) card in my pc and I have been considering upgrading to a GTX 660 Ti or a GTX 670. I cannot afford anything better than a 670 and I would prefer to stay with NVIDIA for purely subjective reasons. Does this upgrade make sense at this time and will I experience a noticeable difference in game performance?

My GTX 470 SC is performing reasonably well with games like Battlefield 3 but I am planning on playing several new releases like Borderlands 2, Dishonored, Skyrim with HD texture pack, Hitman Absolution, Witcher 2, and maybe even ARMA 3 (though that might melt the rest of my computer). I know that I can push on with my existing card by gradually lowering Visual settings for each new title as time creeps by, but I would prefer not to.

I appreciate any advice or thoughts the community might have.

P.S. I have actively listened to the Conference Call for years and frequently read the forums, but I have not been an active poster. Thanks for your time.

Wr3nch wrote:

While I am not building a new PC I was thinking about upgrading my graphics card (I didn't want to clutter the forums with a new thread) and I wanted to get the opinions of those more knowledgeable than myself.

I currently am utilizing an EVGA GTX 470 SC (SuperClocked) card in my pc and I have been considering upgrading to a GTX 660 Ti or a GTX 670. I cannot afford anything better than a 670 and I would prefer to stay with NVIDIA for purely subjective reasons. Does this upgrade make sense at this time and will I experience a noticeable difference in game performance?

My GTX 470 SC is performing reasonably well with games like Battlefield 3 but I am planning on playing several new releases like Borderlands 2, Dishonored, Skyrim with HD texture pack, Hitman Absolution, Witcher 2, and maybe even ARMA 3 (though that might melt the rest of my computer). I know that I can push on with my existing card by gradually lowering Visual settings for each new title as time creeps by, but I would prefer not to.

I appreciate any advice or thoughts the community might have.

P.S. I have actively listened to the Conference Call for years and frequently read the forums, but I have not been an active poster. Thanks for your time.

Yeah, you will get quite a performance increase by going to the 670. You will basically double your framerates.

Wr3nch, what resolution monitor are you using? Most likely a GTX 660 Ti will do pretty well for what most people are running on games out right now and in the near future. Especially if you aren't running something like 2560x1440 and are more in the common resolution range of 1920x1080 (or 1200) or lower.

Yeah, just for informational purposes, what resolution is your monitor, what's your CPU, how much RAM do you have, and what OS are you running?

Thanks for your thoughts so far. Sorry I should have included some more information. Here is my current gaming pc:

AMD Phenom II X2 955 Processor 3.2 GB
700W PSU (Cooler Master)
8 GB DDR2 RAM
24" Samsung Monitor 1920 x 1200
Windows 7 64bit

I know that my build is a bit dated now. I built my pc back in the summer of 2009 and these parts were maybe middle-to-high range back then, if that. I am hoping I can squeeze another 1-3 years out of this build only swapping out my GPU periodically.

TuffaloBuffalo: that Anandtech comparison tool is quite useful and if its estimates are somewhat reliable it would be quite exciting to double my framerates. Even just having the ability to max out some graphical options without taking a framerate hit would be a welcome scenario.

Thanks again and I look forward to everyone's thoughts.

Okay, that's fine. You could speed up the CPU a fair bit, but that one's still in the acceptable range for most games. Some of the Blizzard titles will be a little sluggish, but most should be okay.

At that resolution, either a 660Ti or a 670 would be good. A 670 will give you a little more headroom. And because you're running 64-bit, you can buy any RAM size you like on the card -- putting a 3GB card on a 32-bit OS will give you, like, 750 megs free, all the rest of the RAM hidden by the graphic card.

So, basically, you can just pick whatever combo of 660/670, brand, speed, RAM, and price you like. We don't know what the next gen consoles will look like, but it seems improbable to me that they'd have more than 2 gigs of texture space, so I think a faster 670 with 2 gigs would probably be a little better, longevity-wise, than a slower 660 with 3.

I went ahead and upgraded to Core i5 3570k, an ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 motherboard, 8 GB of Crucial DDR3 RAM and a Corsair CX500 power supply. I tried (because it had worked before) to just swap the parts out, but Windows 7 absolutely refused to boot.

After Googling and poking at the BIOS settings and having no luck, I threw an old 160GB hard drive in the system and did a clean install of the OS, and everything worked great. So I've added a new 1TB drive to my system now and am in the process of reinstalling/moving everything to where I think it should be.

Not how I'd planned on spending my evening, but it could have been worse!

FeralMonkey wrote:

I went ahead and upgraded to Core i5 3570k, an ASRock Z77 Extreme 4 motherboard, 8 GB of Crucial DDR3 RAM and a Corsair CX500 power supply. I tried (because it had worked before) to just swap the parts out, but Windows 7 absolutely refused to boot.

After Googling and poking at the BIOS settings and having no luck, I threw an old 160GB hard drive in the system and did a clean install of the OS, and everything worked great. So I've added a new 1TB drive to my system now and am in the process of reinstalling/moving everything to where I think it should be.

Not how I'd planned on spending my evening, but it could have been worse!

Could have been the switch from AMD to Intel or UEFI

Hi guys,

Had a couple more questions, A later 2006 Macbook Pro 17" is this consist a unibody? And what is a unibody macbook? I been try to see which hd cabby bay can replace the dvd for HD. Second, what to I do with my Raptor drive once I upgrade to SSD. Do I use as storage or something else?

Archangelrey wrote:

Hi guys,

Had a couple more questions, A later 2006 Macbook Pro 17" is this consist a unibody? And what is a unibody macbook? I been try to see which hd cabby bay can replace the dvd for HD. Second, what to I do with my Raptor drive once I upgrade to SSD. Do I use as storage or something else?

No those are not unibody models. The unibody ones came a few years later IIRC.

I just got the first Unibody Macbook, it's a late 2008

I upgraded the ram from 2->8gb, and just installed a 120gb SSD, it's pretty rad now

but Windows 7 absolutely refused to boot.

Might be the switch from IDE to AHCI -- AHCI is a more advanced method of talking to IDE controllers. Too late now, but you could probably have set the BIOS IDE mode to 'compatible' to get Windows up, installed the new motherboard drivers, and then switched back to AHCI.

You might have had to even tinker more, because there's a very early boot phase where NTLDR loads the Windows kernel itself, along with the drivers it believes necessary to get your boot drive (usually C) operational. The Windows installer is very good at figuring this out when you first set up the system, so this isn't usually an issue unless you change drivers needed for the boot disk. The new motherboard drivers might be smart enough to fix NTLDR for you, but they also might not. If they weren't, you'd have to do it manually. I'd have to look up how to do this... I won't bother now, since you got around the problem with a reinstall.

For what it's worth, there's no particular sign that AHCI is going to change again anytime soon. I gather that it's a fairly generic driver framework that should stay compatible with a very wide range of hardware for a long time, so you should have much less trouble moving that install in the future.

Archangelrey wrote:

And what is a unibody macbook?

Means the case is machined from a single, solid block of aluminum, for extra strength. The aluminum is very thin, however, and easy to dent. Makes no functional difference, but doesn't look very good. The metal casing should be, on the whole, much more durable than the previous plastic cases, but modern plastics can be awfully good.

Second, what to I do with my Raptor drive once I upgrade to SSD. Do I use as storage or something else?

Well, Raptors are small drives, optimized for speed. If you replace one with an SSD, which will be much faster, the biggest reason to use a Raptor is gone. You could use it for semi-bulk storage, but you can buy a decent speed terabyte drive for about $90.

I don't think it's going to be very useful; it was a specialized device that's been superseded at what it does best.

Malor wrote:
but Windows 7 absolutely refused to boot.

Might be the switch from IDE to AHCI -- AHCI is a more advanced method of talking to IDE controllers. Too late now, but you could probably have set the BIOS IDE mode to 'compatible' to get Windows up, installed the new motherboard drivers, and then switched back to AHCI.

Man, I just can't keep up with PC hardware these days. I had to wiki AHCI, but it looks like you might be right:

Wikipedia wrote:

Some operating systems, notably Windows Vista and Windows 7, do not configure themselves to load the AHCI driver upon boot if the SATA-drive controller was not in AHCI mode at the time of installation. This can cause failure to boot with an error message if the SATA controller is later switched to AHCI mode.
....
On Windows Vista and Windows 7, this can be fixed by setting non-AHCI mode in the BIOS then booting and changing the registry, then changing the BIOS setting to AHCI.

So yeah, had I known what to look for maybe I could have worked around it. Or it could have been a combination of things, AHCI included, and I still would have been stymied. So I'll just adopt the general rule that if I'm replacing the motherboard, plan on a new install as well.

Well, in the future, you may not have the problem again, and it's pretty easy to work around, even if you do, so I wouldn't make that automatic assumption.

It's not like a reinstall is bad or anything, but it does take a lot of time.

Supposedly, AHCI is going to have very long legs, so at least hypothetically, we shouldn't need new drivers anytime soon. Hypothetically.

I get confused with all the amd cpu names.
Which of these are the best?
Http://support.asus.com/cpusupport/cpu_support_right_master_mkt.aspx?slanguage=en-us&name=M2N-SLI

EriktheRed wrote:
Archangelrey wrote:

Hi guys,

Had a couple more questions, A later 2006 Macbook Pro 17" is this consist a unibody? And what is a unibody macbook? I been try to see which hd cabby bay can replace the dvd for HD. Second, what to I do with my Raptor drive once I upgrade to SSD. Do I use as storage or something else?

No those are not unibody models. The unibody ones came a few years later IIRC.

So what is my consist then?

groan wrote:

I get confused with all the amd cpu names.
Which of these are the best?
Http://support.asus.com/cpusupport/cpu_support_right_master_mkt.aspx?slanguage=en-us&name=M2N-SLI

OK, did some digging (yes, I could have but at the time I did not have the ability to dig) and found that this is likely the best CPU my old M2N SLI can handle

Phenom IIX4 945 (HDX945WFK4DGM),3.0GHz,2048KB,95W,rev.C3,SocketAM3,Quad-Core

So in my quest to fix my son's machine and possibly try a new CPU will I need to re-install seeing I am going from AMD to AMD? Can I just swap it out and pray?

The CPU being bad is probably the very last thing you should assume. CPUs are typically extremely reliable.

The next thing to try is probably to attempt to rule out software altogether. You could have a virus or some other form of malware. Ideally, if you happen to have a spare hard drive sitting around, doing a fresh install onto a brand-new drive will give you a zero-risk, known clean test platform. If it still fails, you know it's hardware, but if it starts working, then either it's a software problem, or something amiss with the original drive.

Malor wrote:

The CPU being bad is probably the very last thing you should assume. CPUs are typically extremely reliable.

The next thing to try is probably to attempt to rule out software altogether. You could have a virus or some other form of malware. Ideally, if you happen to have a spare hard drive sitting around, doing a fresh install onto a brand-new drive will give you a zero-risk, known clean test platform. If it still fails, you know it's hardware, but if it starts working, then either it's a software problem, or something amiss with the original drive.

Thanks, That's a great suggestion
I'll do that.

So what is everyone using to measure temps, control fan speeds, benchmark and other stuff?

Edwin wrote:

So what is everyone using to measure temps, control fan speeds, benchmark and other stuff?

For my GPU, since it's and ATi, I use ATi Tray Tools. Give great control and a in video game overlay for FPS, Temp, Fan Speed and more.

I've honestly never run any benchmarks past a few included in games just to make sure it runs good at selected settings.

For my CPU I use CoreTemp, for GPU I use GPU-Z. Haven't run an actual benchmark in years.

What do you think about this SSD drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227726
I could also pick this SSD drive up http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227759

I have been looking into upgrading both my son's and my rigs, and am trying to stay under $150.00 (total cost) for two SSD drives.

Agility 3 (120GB) total cost after rebates for two drives: $120
Vertex 3 (90GB) total cost after rebates for two drives: $130

I know the Agility uses asynchronous nand whereas the Vertex uses synchronous nand so it (Vertex) will be the better performer of the two, but 120GB vs 90GB.

I'm trying to get the most value for the money yet get a larger drive also.

I could get the Vertex 4 64GB drive for $49.99 each, but I think this would be too small of a drive for windows, steam, and BF3. MS Office will be installed too, but that could go on the HDD.