Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

Wipeout and Rykin are correct. My laptop has a limit of 16gb, but can actually go up to 32gb with 8gb sticks (it has 4 slots)

It's a bit of a gamble if you can't find anyone who's done it before you, but usually it'll work.

I could use some help guys and gals. I'm looking to upgrade my PC but im not sure where to start. I have the knowledge to install the hardware, but I'm not sure what's compatible with what and what exactly I need. I'm sure a motherboard upgrade is in my near future but I don't know what type I should be looking for. Basically when it comes to that stuff I'm clueless. I'd like to update my rig enough to play games like Firefall on max settings and run at high frames. Any help would be greatly appreciated and my specs are below.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92796379@N04/8433346151/

You'll find the first question is often: at what resolution will you be playing? This will drive GPU, and then if you know what you're likely to be playing (e.g., if it's CPU-intensive or not--I know nothing about Firefall), you can use that to gauge what CPU and therefore class of motherboard you need.

EDIT: I'm on my phone and can't tell if your Flickr pic shows resolution.)

Thanks for responding. I usually run games at 1280 x 1024.

The Conformist wrote:

Thanks for responding. I usually run games at 1280 x 1024.

Get thee behind me satanic aspect ratio

I ran that for years, but I like 16:9 and especially 16:10 so much better.

Rykin wrote:
The Conformist wrote:

Thanks for responding. I usually run games at 1280 x 1024.

Get thee behind me satanic aspect ratio ;)

What he's trying to say is; are you going to be upgrading your monitor too?

Yuck. I spent a few years with a 5:4 monitor and it was fine at the time but it was before the widespread adoption of widescreen monitors. I can't imagine using one now.

I actually have 4:3 at work so yes they have to pay me to use something other than a widescreen Though being 4:3 is nicely offset by the fact that there are two of them.

TigerBill wrote:
Rykin wrote:
The Conformist wrote:

Thanks for responding. I usually run games at 1280 x 1024.

Get thee behind me satanic aspect ratio ;)

What he's trying to say is; are you going to be upgrading your monitor too? ;)

Hah. One thing at a time PC first.

So... I think I might have just baked myself a geforce 460 shaped paperweight.

With the poor fan control that my motherboard has I dusted off a manual fan controller I had and connected the case fans up to it, and it went well, nice and quiet under light duty, and a few little stress tests didn't do badly. That is, until a gaming session later on and graphic corruption showed up, a few seconds later windows did a crash, wrote a minidump and rebooted, continuing graphics corruption at the BIOS screens. Shutting down and opening up the case reminded me why case cooling is important, let the case/oven cool off for a few minutes, restart and it's fine, and I shut down for the night.

Today it still fired up and worked for poking around the desktop, until I tried TF2 for a bit, which seemed to have pushed it over the edge. Graphic corruption returned and now it seems to be here to stay, trying to boot won't proceed past the BIOS. Using onboard graphics (HD4000) works fine and it only has issues with the 460 in, so that small investigation seems to point the finger at the graphics card exclusively.

A visual inspection doesn't show anything out of place, no swelled capacitors, etc. I haven't taken the heatsink off yet to have a better look (and redo the GPU thermal interface) which is an option. Does anyone have ideas to try, either to try and resurrect the card (even temporarily) or to confirm it's mortal wounds and get shopping.

And I was thinking of waiting to Maxwell/2014 too for my next upgrade.

Ironically, without the graphics card in there, now would be an even better time to slow the fans down.

I would have thought it would have shut down and crashed before the temperatures got to a point where it would damage the chip. EVGA Precision X and MSI Afterburner are good 3rd party tools to monitor GPU temps and create fan profiles for the GPU. You had the actual GPU fan hooked up to the manual fan controller? It sounds like it was just the case fans. I really wouldn't think that would be a GPU killing action. Did your GPU fan start going crazy before the crash?

Thin Mini-ITX All-In-One form factor is a tasty idea that isn't quite ready for prime time IMHO: story on Toms Hardware.

tuffalobuffalo wrote:

I would have thought it would have shut down and crashed before the temperatures got to a point where it would damage the chip. EVGA Precision X and MSI Afterburner are good 3rd party tools to monitor GPU temps and create fan profiles for the GPU. You had the actual GPU fan hooked up to the manual fan controller? It sounds like it was just the case fans. I really wouldn't think that would be a GPU killing action. Did your GPU fan start going crazy before the crash?

CPU and GPU were controlled by their own hardware, 2 case fans for entry/exit were on the manual controller. I know earlier in the day the GPU fan was adjusting itself as I was monitoring it during the day.

I guess self throttling or a self preservation shutdown in the style of intel CPUs would be a good thing to have, but it seems like such a feature is absent at least on mine. The fan will just do the most it can, but there's not a lot else that happens.

Huh, well, that's no fun. I really don't have any other suggestions than to go grab a new graphics card. If you have a friend who could throw it in their computer for a test, you might try that just to be sure nothing crazy is going on.

Maybe you could keep it and use it as a secondary PhysX card. It might still work for that purpose. PhysX is getting pretty decent. It was pretty awesome in Borderlands 2.

Don't know if this is helpful, but there are a few GPU cards in the trading thread right now. Or were.

Looks like my 460 is dead. I had the heatsink off to get a better look at it and redo the thermal interface (the cap on the chip is really smooth and easy to clean). Running solo the card still puts up corruption at BIOS, and running it as a secondary to the CPU graphics gets into windows, but windows won't use it with the error "Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems. (Code 43)".

Examining the board doesn't show up much. The only thing I could see was that the PCB surface was very slightly different on the other side to the power components, although seeing as I don't know it wasn't like that before (and the card is about 2.5 years old) I can't say that's where the problem is.

The intel GPU is certainly a step back, but it's kind of nice to see that it's a competent entry-level performer.

Same level as a 7600GT? It's not great by any standards, but to know that integrated graphics is getting up to that level is respectable.

Citizen86 wrote:

Same level as a 7600GT? It's not great by any standards, but to know that integrated graphics is getting up to that level is respectable.

Yeah, I'd say that chart is accurate. It's a (by modern gaming standards) low performance DX11 GPU. Settings have to go down, but it runs everything okay. What's more to say?

As for what I do next, while I've got a working GPU to keep me amused I can have a bit of a think about what replaces it, short term and long term, which might depend if my old 8800gt is still available. Whether to spend less now for an equivalent replacement and another upgrade in a year or two, or more to get something with more legs. Something that was interesting is that before my CPU upgrade my framerate was generally okay, but unstable whenever anything complex happened in GW2/PS2, now it's poorer but stable. The only weird discrepancy I've noticed is that indoors in Skyrim is worse than outdoors, but then Skyrim (and whatever engine Bethesda cooked up) is a bit weird generally.

I quite liked the 460 for the moment, it wasn't all-powerful but it was in a nice spot. I'm doing a fair amount of kicking myself for not monitoring my fan experiment or doing soak testing. I might make a point of setting obnoxious alarms whenever I go tweaking in future for anything that involves heat.

Scratched, head over to the Trading thread. There was an explosion of video cards on there recently, due to upgrades.

Yeah, and they're all in the US.

AMD is set to announce a new gaming bundle with new Video card purchases..

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?...

Pretty nice deal IMO

A 7850 was one of the options I was looking at, so that would sweeten the deal a bit.

Does anyone have any anecdotes about brands and reliability? I'm looking at some XFX stuff, but going by other places on the net it seems to be cheap and nasty rather than cheap and cheerful as it gets brought up more than other brands.

It's been a while since I've shopped PC parts, but I thought XFX was a decent brand. Weren't they one of the few that had the double warranty in case you sold your GFX card you could transfer the warranty?

ASUS is usually respectable, and EVGA was always one of the better ones for graphics cards. AsRock was sort of crappy a while ago but I guess they've come a long way.

Honestly, I think they're all pretty much the same. My XFX did die, but it was the 9600GSO/8800GS so the chip was always on borrowed time. Some brands are known for after sales service, but I've never needed to avail myself of that. Currently running a Gigabyte HD7750 and it's running well, it's a factory OC model with a nice big fan.

Most GPU manufactures these days build exactly to the reference design anyway... sure there are a few custom coolers and occasionally someone like Asus or MSI will go the extra lengths and do something unique..but for the most part shop by price and warranty.

Wow selling off my 560ti and getting the 7950 with 2 games for $280 is really really tempting.

TheGameguru wrote:

Most GPU manufactures these days build exactly to the reference design anyway... sure there are a few custom coolers and occasionally someone like Asus or MSI will go the extra lengths and do something unique.

I think you're right with the reference design, but the components they use to fulfil that design may vary (besides the GPU chip itself obviously).

TheGameguru wrote:

but for the most part shop by price and warranty.

Yes, that's kind of why I'm asking. I found this, and for the most part there is a nice correlation between price and warranty, so it does seem to be a case of you get what you want to pay for.

One thing I did (intentionally) leave out earlier is the nvidia/amd side of the debate. In the price and performance range I'm looking at (better than my 460) it does seem like amd are better in the price:performance ratio. I guess I'm just trying to get to the current facts behind the current GPU situation and exorcise the old wives tales and rumours. And, while a good warranty is definitely important to have, ideally you'd never want to use it if you can avoid a brand going through a rough patch.

I think you're right with the reference design, but the components they use to fulfil that design may vary (besides the GPU chip itself obviously).

Reference design actually covers every single component on the PCB as well as the cooling. There are some leeway in the capacitors etc.. but they have to be of a certain standard or Nvidia won't allow the card on the market. (well the card would make the market but Nvidia would be pissed at the OEM partner). So typically if a card is based of a reference design the OEM won't really improve them much or cut that many corners either... They will save the "fancy" stuff for their non-reference design cards.

Edit

Memory is the one thing you will see typically in a reference design be slightly faster in some cases.. EVGA will for example bin some higher quality/speed memory for a slightly higher than reference priced Card that otherwise looks completely reference.

Hi Guys,

I finally installed an SSD 120GB into the macbook 2006. It's works great. I also moved the old drive to a cabby on the dvd side. Here my new problem, I CarbonCopy the mac os 10.6 to the SSD but I am unable to clone/true image the Win 7 to the other half the SSD drive. Currently the Win 7 is on the old drive but it won't allow me to copy it or move it. The only ext dvd drive I have to use a Xbox HD drive and a new superdrive and neither want to be boot drive. I don't know what to do. I try making a bootable usb, Kingston 4gb DataTraveler , but I can't load an iso to it or directly copy a cd to it without it erroring out at the last minute. True Image can't even target or Source the drive for some reason.