What upgrades should I buy?

Associate
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6 Mar 2012
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Hey guys, I'm new to the forums but they have been a great source of information for me over the last few weeks.

I currently have an Alienware PC from 2009 (ish) and am looking to upgrade some of the components. These are the current specs of my PC;

Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q9400 @ 2.66GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.7GHz
Memory: 4094MB RAM
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 (With 512MB memory, I think)
Motherboard: ASUS P5N-D
System Model: Area-51 7500 R6

All these are the standard parts the the PC came with. Any other useful information you might need ill try to find. I am looking to spend around £250-£300 on upgrades. I was thinking of adding 4GB more ram up to my system maximum and adding a new GPU, I was thinking the GTX 560Ti 1GB.

What do you think of these choices? Would I need to install any more forms of cooling if I were to make these upgrades?

Thanks for the help.
 
Caporegime
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Hi and welcome.

Looking at your spec, I think just a GFX card upgrade is all you need.

Spend £200 on a GTX560ti 2GB or wait a bit for the ATI 7870 to come into stock:)



Do you have a 64bit OS to make use of 8GB of RAM?

Whats the PC used for?
 
Soldato
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Well seeing as that's not enough to do a full rebuild and that your processor is still decent anyway, i'd buy something like a GTX560ti and a Crucial M4 SSD. Also consider getting a decent CPU cooler and clocking that Q9400 up a bit to get the most out of it.
 
Associate
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Thanks for the quick reply guys, really appreciated.

I do have a 64bit version of Vista (home premium) and the PC is used for gaming, Skyrim, ME 3 etc. Ideally I would like to play these on very high or ultra settings (currently on medium with decent FPS). I had not seen the ATI 7870, ill go and have a look at it. Would I need extra cooling for these upgrades? My cores and GPU run between 35 and 40 degrees under a stress test.

I had tinkered with some overclocking on my CPU but was uncomfortable with the process, I think ill go back to it once I understand it better.
 
Caporegime
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Soldato
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I clocked my old Q9550 to 3.4Ghz without even trying. It's a doddle, just do a bit of reading up on it first. But get a decent aftermarket cooler before attempting it. My current 2500K was even easier to clock.
 
Associate
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I'm not sure on how to open my case, i will have to look into how to do that. It's the old style Alienware case. I'll open it up tomorrow and get those measurments. How would I go about safely overclocking my CPU?

When running Super Pi to calculate Pi to 32M DP my core speed is 2666.62 MHz with small variations. x 8.0 multiplier. 333.34 MHz Bus Speed and 1333.34 MHz Rated FSB.
 
Caporegime
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Heres a beginners guide - http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=17612922

I have never used one of these systems, so not got a clue, opening a thread in the overclocking+cooling section might help:)


Another thing to find out is if you have a cut out on the motherboard tray to gain access to the rear of the motherboard to be able to fit and clamp a aftermarket heatsink, open the other side panel and see if you can see the back of the motherboard around the CPU area.

Also the distance to the side panel if you can measure it from roughly the CPU surface, motherboard.

A lot of the coolers I was thinking of suggesting seem to be about 160mm tall.
 
Associate
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Would you say that they are better than the GTX 560Ti? The coolers you were going to sugggest, would they also fit ok?

Thanks for all the help.
 
Caporegime
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You got what appears to be an after-market cooler.

Maybe just blow the dust out of the PC clean the fan blades and apply some new thermal paste to your cooler.

Would you say that they are better than the GTX 560Ti?

I linked to two reviews earlier.:)
 
Associate
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Ok I will do, oops I forgot about that. I will go and have another read.

Thanks for helping me make this decision. :)
 
Associate
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I think I'll wait for the 7870 to come in, it sounds like exactly what I am looking for.

I was also looking at getting a PC for bringing up to uni with me, with a bit more portability than my current desktop. I was looking at building my own with parts from overclocker. I guess im looking for somthing that I can still game on but is not massive. I was looking at:

Fractal Design Core 1000 Midi Tower Case - Black
Cooler Master Silent Pro Modular 600W '80 Plus Bronze' Power Supply
Asus P8Z68-V LX Intel Z68 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Motherboard
Intel Core i5-2400 3.10GHz (Sandybridge) Socket LGA1155 Processor
Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 16MB Cache
Samsung SH-S222BB/RSMS 22x DVD±RW SATA ReWriter
Corsair Vengeance Blue 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit
Akasa AK-191-SM Smoke Ultra Quiet 120mm Fan (as an extra to the one that comes with the case)
Samsung SH-D163C/BEBE SATA 16x DVD-ROM (Black)

This came to around £630 and the case sais Midi so im guessing it will be a bit more portable. I could not find any box cases that would fit the larger graphics cards and CPU's but maybe thats just me being inept in my looking.

Thanks for the help,
 
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