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Stancide

Need advice for hardware upgrades

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My PC's hardware is 4 years old, it needs some tune ups and new parts :unsure: . I am having issues running PlanetSide 2 as I get decent fps, but recently even on all low settings except rendering is at 50%, I am getting 12-15 fps in large scale combat. I don't mess with overclocking as I don't think it is smart to do without a proper cooling system and voltage.

I haven't been in the tech scheme pretty much since I built the beauty and I need some advice on which parts are the weak points that I could easily get more performance by replacing with newer but within a budget tech upgrades.

System Information:
OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Version 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601
Other OS Description Not Available
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Name NICK-PC
System Manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
System Model EP45-UD3P
System Type x64-based PC
Processor Intel® Core™2 Quad CPU Q9400 @ 2.66GHz, 2667 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Award Software International, Inc. FB, 5/20/2009
SMBIOS Version 2.4
Windows Directory C:\Windows
System Directory C:\Windows\system32
Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.1.7601.17514"
User Name Nick-PC\Nick
Time Zone Pacific Standard Time
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 8.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 8.00 GB
Available Physical Memory 4.05 GB
Total Virtual Memory 16.0 GB
Available Virtual Memory 11.9 GB
Page File Space 8.00 GB

Display: GPU NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX/9800 GTX+ Adapter RAM 512.00 MB (536,870,912 bytes)

Power Supply: Cooler Master 550w

Motherboard: SLI Capable

Cooling System: All fans. Total of 5 fans, 1 aftermarket 50cm copper sync fan for motherboard/processor.

Case/Tower: Medium Cooler Master.

My Budget $250-$350
Even if you think your advice wouldn't be within my budget, feel free to throw in your opinions.

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I'll build you a system in just a bit...

Will you please raise your budget to 500, though? That makes it immensely easier.

Are you willing to buy used parts? I can make you a killer deal on a motherboard...!

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Just throwing some known-good stuff together for you.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rPW1

The Z68 will get you some room in the future if you'd like to go with an unlocked CPU for overclocking.

The heavy money is on the GPU, the 660TI is a great choice for new gaming.

This build is using your case, your hard drive, and moving away from that coolermaster PSU.

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http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rPX2

This drops you to the non-TI version of the 660...

this rig will still run everything on pretty high settings, with great frames per second.

What monitor do you use? what resolution?

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[color=#ffa500][size=4][font='comic sans ms', cursive]Stan,[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#ffa500][size=4][font='comic sans ms', cursive]Your system is still pretty decent for gaming. Your Quad core Q-series CPU, 8GB RAM, 550W PSU should get you decent performance provided you have a good graphics card to go with it, so that is where I would put my money if I were on a tight budget. Here are two cards I recommend based on cost versus performance: At the low end, I recommend the Radeon HD 7870 2GB (about $250 new). At the very top of your budget, you may be able to snag a GTX670 (about $370 new). I have a GTX 670 myself and it is a great card, but the 7870 would also provide you with a huge increase in performance over the 9800 GTX you are using now (VRAM alone is quadrupled!).[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#ffa500][size=4][font='comic sans ms', cursive]Hope this helps![/font][/size][/color]

[color=#ffa500][size=4][font='comic sans ms', cursive]war[/font][/size][/color]

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[quote name='s0ck37' timestamp='1355163137' post='59004']
His cooler master PSU, even rated at 550watts will have issues with a newer card.
[/quote]

[color=#ffa500][size=4][font='comic sans ms', cursive]Yeah, it's possible. Not OC'ing the CPU (to keep its heating down) may help. I am a big fan of getting the best PSU you can afford, and the more overhead you have the better (at least through 750W if you're not running SLI). That way, you can be reasonably assured of having clean, stable power throughout your operating range, even if ambient T's creep up on you during the summer or if your PC is near a heat source in the winter).[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#ffa500][size=4][font='comic sans ms', cursive]war[/font][/size][/color]

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[quote name='=ADK= warspite' timestamp='1355169200' post='59030']
[color=#ffa500][font=comic sans ms', cursive]Yeah, it's possible. Not OC'ing the CPU (to keep its heating down) may help. I am a big fan of getting the best PSU you can afford, and the more overhead you have the better (at least through 750W if you're not running SLI). That way, you can be reasonably assured of having clean, stable power throughout your operating range, even if ambient T's creep up on you during the summer or if your PC is near a heat source in the winter).[/font][/color]

[color=#ffa500][font=comic sans ms', cursive]war[/font][/color]
[/quote]

I agree, and I know you'll agree, going off the "Rating" on the box is hardly ever correct.

I have a corsair that will easily do 100+ watts over it's rating. While the junk psu's will barely do a 100 less than their rating. Unfortunately, cooler master PSU's are widely considered junk.

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[quote name='s0ck37' timestamp='1355159928' post='58981']
I'll build you a system in just a bit...

Will you please raise your budget to 500, though? That makes it immensely easier.

Are you willing to buy used parts? I can make you a killer deal on a motherboard...!
[/quote]

I use a LG HDTV 1080p 42'' for my monitor in 1920x1080
I could possibly go up to $450 maximum, would I be able to stick with my CPU or are the new intel processors just that much more of a bang? What PSU brand/watt?
I am an Nvidia GPU kind of person, as AMD always seems to have a little less of an edge, but my options are open for my budget. I just need a setup that will get me by for the next 2-3 years. I am very picky on used GPU's, but as far as PSU goes I'll buy one used.

And why isn't a 550w coolermaster any good? I know its not the most widely accepted brand but for the watts I couldn't pass it up. Would downgrading the watts for a better brand be worth it? Edited by Stancide

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Solid advice from everyone. With only a $250-$350 budget I would recommend going with a newer GPU. A 550 PSU is plenty for a single card. the new GPUs use less power and produce less heat than the older ones.

Now with that said large scale multiplayer games like BF3 are both CPU for processing all the other player and environment information and GPU heavy for high graphics. With a solid quad core processor and solid GPU you should see a nice bump in performance.

My older machine runs BF3 fine on medium settings and gets 30 fps using an intel q8300 and 560ti medium settings. I think a GPU would be your best bet for a noticeable performance gain.

Another thing to check is your connection speed.

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[quote name='s0ck37' timestamp='1355171742' post='59040']
I agree, and I know you'll agree, going off the "Rating" on the box is hardly ever correct.

I have a corsair that will easily do 100+ watts over it's rating. While the junk psu's will barely do a 100 less than their rating. Unfortunately, cooler master PSU's are widely considered junk.
[/quote]

I have to agree on the CM PSUs being crap but the 660 card only requires 140 watts where the 660ti 150 watts. Figure a power hungry computer using 280 watts on everything else even if he is running at 100 less than 550 he still has plenty of power for a single card.

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As far as my PC's speed goes, 2.66ghz core duo quad, GPU 9800gtx factory OC 738-740, 8g ddr2 ram, 1080p 42'' tv is supposed to be nonchalant about refresh rates, and the only back breaking connection is my wireless but with a full signal. So my best options would just be a new GPU that is compatible with my PCIE 2.0 x16 VGA connection even though most newer GPU's require PCIE 3.0 x16 VGA.

If I get a cheap mobo would it require ddr3 ram and a PCIE 3.0 GPU?

I don't run SLI, so my best options would be a new PCIE 2.0 GPU/PCU?

The weird thing that I can't figure out while playing PS2, I first jump into action with 35-50 fps, then all the sudden about 20 minutes into battle my fps drops to a dead 8-15 fps Edited by Stancide

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[url="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006662+4017&QksAutoSuggestion=&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&Configurator=&IsNodeId=1&Subcategory=-1&description=550ti&hisInDesc=&Ntk=&CFG=&SpeTabStoreType=&AdvancedSearch=1&srchInDesc="]http://www.newegg.co...h=1&srchInDesc=[/url]

Would this be able to handle current games on medium-high settings at 60+fps? Edited by Stancide

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[quote name='Stancide' timestamp='1355176978' post='59054']
[url="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006662+4017&QksAutoSuggestion=&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&Configurator=&IsNodeId=1&Subcategory=-1&description=550ti&hisInDesc=&Ntk=&CFG=&SpeTabStoreType=&AdvancedSearch=1&srchInDesc="]http://www.newegg.co...h=1&srchInDesc=[/url]

Would this be able to handle current games on medium-high settings at 60+fps?
[/quote]

A buddy of mine who is here right now has a 550Ti and gets 45+ on high settings with an i-5 2400

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[quote name='Stancide' timestamp='1355172345' post='59043']
I use a LG HDTV 1080p 42'' for my monitor in 1920x1080
I could possibly go up to $450 maximum, would I be able to stick with my CPU or are the new intel processors just that much more of a bang? What PSU brand/watt?
I am an Nvidia GPU kind of person, as AMD always seems to have a little less of an edge, but my options are open for my budget. I just need a setup that will get me by for the next 2-3 years. I am very picky on used GPU's, but as far as PSU goes I'll buy one used.

And why isn't a 550w coolermaster any good? I know its not the most widely accepted brand but for the watts I couldn't pass it up. Would downgrading the watts for a better brand be worth it?
[/quote]

Yes and Yes.

The coolermaster is a good company, but the people that build it for them do not make a good brand.

Stick to corsair and antec, Seasonic's are great also, but they are $$$

That build I did for $478 will be something that will last you easily 2-3 years with all the current games; It will be VERY close to maxing BF3 on ultra everything.

Your core 2 quad is a good processor, but yes, they've come a long way.

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[quote name='Stancide' timestamp='1355174077' post='59049']
As far as my PC's speed goes, 2.66ghz core duo quad, GPU 9800gtx factory OC 738-740, 8g ddr2 ram, 1080p 42'' tv is supposed to be nonchalant about refresh rates, and the only back breaking connection is my wireless but with a full signal. So my best options would just be a new GPU that is compatible with my PCIE 2.0 x16 VGA connection even though most newer GPU's require PCIE 3.0 x16 VGA.

If I get a cheap mobo would it require ddr3 ram and a PCIE 3.0 GPU?

I don't run SLI, so my best options would be a new PCIE 2.0 GPU/PCU?

The weird thing that I can't figure out while playing PS2, I first jump into action with 35-50 fps, then all the sudden about 20 minutes into battle my fps drops to a dead 8-15 fps
[/quote]

Burn in, your computer can only handle so much at this point.

[quote name='Stancide' timestamp='1355175372' post='59052']
Would I be able to put a 3.0 into a 2.0 VGA slot in my mobo? thats my main concern
[/quote]

Yes.
[quote name='Stancide' timestamp='1355176978' post='59054']
[url="http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006662+4017&QksAutoSuggestion=&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&Configurator=&IsNodeId=1&Subcategory=-1&description=550ti&hisInDesc=&Ntk=&CFG=&SpeTabStoreType=&AdvancedSearch=1&srchInDesc="]http://www.newegg.co...h=1&srchInDesc=[/url]

Would this be able to handle current games on medium-high settings at 60+fps?
[/quote]

Your processor then becomes your bottle neck with a newer GPU, and you won't see what your GPU is able to do when the processor is lagging behind so badly.

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This is what I put together given some much needed research about my PC's hardware and what it can handle. Which in return doesn't require me to spend $500 to break in a new generation pc. Given my piece of **** 550w coolermaster PSU is running an nvidia 9800gtx+ that uses 302 watts at peak load. I fine combed through the price breakdown, performance and wattage peak of each GPU to get the best results using anandTech website as well as multiple forums from general internet search.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rYiA

My open options were between these cards and then narrowed down to 1 card with all my research.
Radeon: HD7770, HD6850, HD6870
Nvidia: Gtx 550ti, Gtx 650ti, Gtx 470

Tell me what you would have done?

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[quote name='Stancide' timestamp='1355175372' post='59052']
Would I be able to put a 3.0 into a 2.0 VGA slot in my mobo? thats my main concern
[/quote]

[color=#ffa500][size=4][font='comic sans ms', cursive]In a word, yes. The 3.0 spec is backward compatible with 2.0. As was said earlier, the difference in FPS (especially with a single GPU) is hardly noticable.[/font][/size][/color]

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[quote name='Stancide' timestamp='1355225868' post='59220']
This is what I put together given some much needed research about my PC's hardware and what it can handle. Which in return doesn't require me to spend $500 to break in a new generation pc. Given my piece of **** 550w coolermaster PSU is running an nvidia 9800gtx+ that uses 302 watts at peak load. I fine combed through the price breakdown, performance and wattage peak of each GPU to get the best results using anandTech website as well as multiple forums from general internet search.

[url="http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rYiA"]http://pcpartpicker.com/p/rYiA[/url]

My open options were between these cards and then narrowed down to 1 card with all my research.
Radeon: HD7770, HD6850, HD6870
Nvidia: Gtx 550ti, Gtx 650ti, Gtx 470

Tell me what you would have done?
[/quote]

[color=#ffa500][size=4][font=comic sans ms', cursive]Some things to consider...[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#ffa500][size=4][font=comic sans ms', cursive]- A bigger frame buffer (video RAM) is always better if you are gaming at 1920x1080 or better. Try to get a card with a 2GB frame buffer if you are able.[/font][/size][/color]
[size=4][font=comic sans ms', cursive][color=#ffa500]- After that, get the card that performs the best. From the list you have above, I recommend the 650ti. From the chart [/color][url="http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/536?vs=680"][color=#ffa500]here[/color][/url][color=#ffa500], it looks like a clear winner, although they are close.[/color][/font][/size]

[size=4][font=comic sans ms', cursive][color=#ffa500]Another advantage to the 650ti (over some of the older cards) is that it will hold its value a little longer if at some point you want to ebay it.[/color][/font][/size] Edited by =ADK= warspite

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[quote name='Stancide' timestamp='1355276859' post='59349']
[url="http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jQdo"]http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jQdo[/url]

Found a 2G version for $10 more.

My Q9400 CPU will be good for another year, for CPU would you recommend i3 or i5 series for the money?
[/quote]

No overclocking?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116782

For overclocking, you can't beat the 3570K.

For bare minn price, the i3 will get you by.

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[quote name='s0ck37' timestamp='1355281366' post='59353']
No overclocking?

[url="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116782"]http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819116782[/url]

For overclocking, you can't beat the 3570K.

For bare minn price, the i3 will get you by.
[/quote]


Well i'm a sketch on overclocking, I've never messed with it and I don't have a coolant system, only fans. Edited by Stancide

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Over clocking a lot of the medium to high end CPU's with (I5-I7) along with the GPU you seem to be leaning towards wouldn't do you any good gaming wise. yes, you might get another 10FPS, but you will lose that 10FPS when in a high action area with spike loss anyways.

Keep your system (depending on what else you do) with in it's self.. Running a I7 extreme top end with a 650Ti is a complete waste of the cash on a I7 for example.

A lot of experts around and mostly with a different point of view. Most peeps should be able to figure our who maybe more their style of "expert".

War and I have (older guys) have built and configured PC's from ultra budget to ultra expensive and a lot in between, showing the technology that gets hyped by the manufactures doesn't always pan out. Just as every other player is a noob, there are 1,000's of misconceptions out there, ask questions you know the answer too to see if someone is educated or just rolling with the hype.

The meaning of Ping and FPS are HUGE misconceptions the average person thinks they know but in reality have no clue on the real use/tool. Any monkey can assemble a PC but the components must compliment each other for max performance, some one suggest you buy a $30-50 case, run for the hills man!!!!

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