Bit of an upgrade/rebuild debate.
So, first post on here. Looking for a bit of advice as I've got the upgrading bug, and am considering using some of my income tax return in a month or two for upgrading. I can most likely swing 3 or 4 hundred dollars at most including taxes, as I'm a newly graduated Computer Science student still looking for work beyond minimum wage, full time at a gas station :haha:.
I will be using it for web surfing, some light gaming (probably across the 3 1280x1024 screens I run, which I already can do as long as I turn some things down), some video conversion, and likely a Linux VM for code writing and compilation.
I will be purchasing my parts from Canada, with a preference for places with warehouses/stores within reasonable driving distance of Guelph, Ontario. I prefer to pick up parts myself rather than to ship, though I'm not against shipping if major price differences/necessity wills it.
I don't have any particular brand preferences, though I do tend towards AMD processors and ASUS motherboards. The only board company I tend to look past is Gigabyte, as I've had some minor issues with their boards in systems I've built for others.
At least half of the parts in the computer systems in my apartment were salvaged from discarded systems or purchased cheaply used. I have no issue with used parts.
The system I am looking to upgrade is the one in my System Specs. In all honesty, I'm fairly happy with how well the system runs as is, but as I said I'm feeling the itch to upgrade. So here's the debate: do I go for:
-Upgrading the CPU/Mobo/RAM, and probably the PSU.
-Grabbing an SSD and keep the rest
-Leaving it as is and waiting
I have no issue with overclocking, though my experience level is likely not much more than beginner/low-end intermediate.
If I go with the first option I've been considering going with an AMD FX-6300, a Motherboard with a 970 chipset, some 1333 or 1600 mhz G-Skill RAM, and a decent 500-600 watt PSU.
If I go with the second option, I don't think I'll need more than a 128GB SSD, preferably one with a good price/performance ratio. If I go this route I'll keep the WD Black 500GB as my storage drive.
Alternatively, I could just wait for another year or so. But dang it, I want an excuse to rebuild my computer!
So let me know what you think. Thanks in advance!
May be pick up a used AMD X6 combo from another user. I got a 1050T, Asus Formula 4, 8GB of RAM, and a Thermaltake 120 cooler for $250 last year. It's pretty good for VM since I can run 2 VM with 2 CPU each with 5GB of RAM (I have 16GB now). If you're keen on AMD, you can get a used X6 but use a newer AM3+ board like the 970 chip you mentioned. When Steamroller comes out, you would have minimum problem doing a straight CPU swap.
SSD. No point in doing the mobo and chip unless your getting better IMO.
Also 4GB of ram for VM's.. grab more from somewhere.. At least another 4 if you can.
SSD and ram should make your system more responsive than a cpu upgrade IMO.
If you do go for a new mobo and chip, And have $400 to spend.. Why not this?
(fx 8350, 990x, 16GB 1600mhz cl9)
It's right at the top of your budget but should be pretty good (especially when overclocked) for your needs.
if your not in a rush then look out for more sales / deals to get it even cheaper. (or even look at second hand ram and motherboards)
/edit, all this said a new PSU would probably be an idea no matter the upgrade you go for. (just checked what you have)
If you can save $50 - $60 going second hand on the ram / mobo (or maybe a cheaper mobo) or just the RAM / SSD then the XFX 450 / 550 watts are damn good value.
I would go 550W, leaves you more wiggle room XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (P1-550S-XXB9) - PCPartPicker Canada
Thanks for the input so far guys!
I would be looking at a RAM upgrade if my P5KPL-CM had more than 2 slots - If I want 8GB I'd have to find 2x4 DDR2, and that can get pricey.
I would have considered an FX-6300 on a decent board with DDR3 to be a fairly big upgrade to a mildly OC'd Q6700 on a cheaper board with DDR2. That said, the SSD may provide a more tangible boost in everyday performance even on SATA2. Hmmmm.....
Yeah, that build looks nice, but I more or less have to keep to under 400 after taxes. That's about all I can convince the girlfriend to let me spend on something that technically isn't a necessary upgrade. And from reviews I had seen, the 6300 was kind of the sweet spot in terms of price/performance on a budget of the FX line, unless I've read the wrong reviews :haha:.
EDIT: But yeah, if I can squeeze the numbers down by buying used/sales, that 8350 setup would be sweet. And yeah, the PSU I'm running right now in my system is pretty weak - my halfway decent one had to be put into the HTPC to power the 4870. Which is kind of amusing, if you think about it.
EDIT2: Even more amusing is the thought that just 3 1/2 years ago when I started Uni I had a P4 1.8 Northwood, with 1GB of RAM and an AGP HD2400 Pro. Yeah. Time flies.
If budget is constraining you to get a stop gap CPU / MB / DRAM combo, just go with a SSD for now and forego the DDR2 memory upgrade there as well if it's just going to be temporary. Besides the much quicker boot times, you're not going to get those annoying pauses that you see with hard drives because of disk thrashing with a SSD.
Probably the single biggest thing I notice even with a modern 2nd gen i5 system is how much of a bottleneck a traditional mechanical hard drive is compared to everything else.
I have to agree with an SSD. I saw a better increase in performance putting an SSD in with my Q6600 than I did upgrading that to an i5 3570K. At least with general day to day usage.
Edit: There is a great cheap system here for $200 that will probably outperform the AMD you are looking at. This will still allow the purchase of a great used power supply as well.
Nice for the price and if you can get an SSD and PSU then your laughing.
That is a pretty good price.... The plan was to make the purchases on income tax return money in ~1.5 - 2 months, but at that price I would really like to jump. Unfortunately real life has seen fit to make use of my usual small chunk of monthly budget flex fairly quickly this month, so I will have to see if I can scrounge some cash from somewhere. My only concern is about the upgradeability of the platform, but I can almost ignore that at that price. If I can't scrounge up the money before it goes, I'll probably end up going the SSD route then and plan on a more thorough upgrade in the Fall or early next year.
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