Gaming computer - Need advice!

Hi guys, i could really use some help from someone knowledgable!
I have an AMD Phenom II x 4, 8gb RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450. It's a decent set up and runs most modern games on high, some on very high, but i have some money to spare and would love to be able to play all current games on the highest settings.
I'm guessing its my graphics card that's the weakest link - any suggestions as to what I should consider buying? My budget is basically anything up to £300, around £200 would be ideal.
Also.. can anyone recommend any good fans/cases to cool the thing down? Preferably not too expensive but i'm perfectly willing to pay for quality, especially if it's quiet as my computer is very loud at the moment!

23 Comments

Banned

another GeForce GTS 450 and run them SLi

Save it, wait 2 months, build totally new system. With the recent cpu releases and etcccc, just seems best to me xD

Original Poster

easypeel

Save it, wait 2 months, build totally new system. With the recent cpu … Save it, wait 2 months, build totally new system. With the recent cpu releases and etcccc, just seems best to me xD



there is no way i can afford to do that! i only got the setup at christmas! besides, as far as i am aware the AMD phenom II quad core is more than capable of handling modern games, the 8GB memory is more than enough too.

i am tempted to take the SLI option because it wouldn't cost too much and would be a huge improvement, although i could just buy a very powerful single graphics card instead...

Original Poster

slamdunkin

another GeForce GTS 450 and run them SLi



Just realised my motherboard only has the one slot for a graphics card, gutted!

Few questions

- What CPU model is it?
- What PSU do you currently have? (Brand, wattage)
- What Case do you have

You’ve got a few routes you can take, depending on the answers to the above. I’m assuming you have around a 400w PSU and a bog standard case with these options:

1)

Upgrade to the following:

- 560 Ti
- Branded 700w+ modular PSU

This will give you a quite substantial boost in graphics, plus increased airflow due to a modular PSU.

£280 (ish)


2)

Upgrade to the following:

- ATI 6870
- Branded 700w+ modular PSU
- Coolermaster HAF 912

This again will give you quite a substantial boost in graphics, it is only a faction slower than the 560 Ti but will save you around £40-£45. I personally have a 6870, fantastic card.

In terms of airflow, you’re going to see a massive difference. This of course depends on whether you need that, since it's only really required if you intend to overclock your CPU at some point.

£300 (ish)
Edited by: "spritey" 29th Mar 2011

Original Poster

spritey

Few questions- What CPU model is it?- What PSU do you currently have? … Few questions- What CPU model is it?- What PSU do you currently have? (Brand, wattage)- What Case do you haveYou’ve got a few routes you can take, depending on the answers to the above. I’m assuming you have around a 400w PSU and a bog standard case with these options:1)Upgrade to the following:- 560 Ti- Branded 700w+ modular PSUThis will give you a quite substantial boost in graphics, plus increased airflow due to a modular PSU.£280 (ish)2)Upgrade to the following:- ATI 6870- Branded 700w+ modular PSU- Coolermaster HAF 912This again will give you quite a substantial boost in graphics, it is only a faction slower than the 560 Ti but will save you around £40-£45. I personally have a 6870, fantastic card.In terms of airflow, you’re going to see a massive difference. This of course depends on whether you need that, since it's only really required if you intend to overclock your CPU at some point.£300 (ish)



This is the exact computer i have: http://****.co.uk/PR-…79d
the only difference is the case which is: http://****.co.uk/CR-…aa0
The case is pretty awful, i've had to remove one of the side panels because it was getting too hot, it runs fine with the side open but it is obviously not too great and is something i need to sort very soon!
I thought i was fairly experienced with computers but seriously, when i look at the specs of cases/fans/graphics cards it makes me feel like an idiot! Basically, i just my computer to be cool (temperature-wise) and run modern games on the highest settings.

Thanks for your advice btw, it is much appreciated! Any more suggestions related to the details of my computer i've just provided would be awesome.

Original Poster

that's ebay *'d out btw!

Can't see what PSU you have but a 6870 would be a good card to go for. The suggestion of 700w is far too high. You could run 2 6870s with a 700w PSU.

Original Poster

If I'm looking in the right place, it's 450W. Apologies for my ignorance but if i was to buy a 6870, could i just plug it in & play or would i require any other upgrades?

Original Poster

PSU brand is 'Win Power' btw

gamestraderjames

If I'm looking in the right place, it's 450W. Apologies for my ignorance … If I'm looking in the right place, it's 450W. Apologies for my ignorance but if i was to buy a 6870, could i just plug it in & play or would i require any other upgrades?



Look at the +12v output as thats likely to be the main limitation for the PSU.

Original Poster

GAVINLEWISHUKD

Look at the +12v output as thats likely to be the main limitation for the … Look at the +12v output as thats likely to be the main limitation for the PSU.



Again, apologies for my ignorance! I'm not sure what i'm looking for in regards to +12v, this is what's written on a sticker:
output - +12V +25A MAX
input - 115VAC

Original Poster

the URL's start with cgi then . then ebay, btw. hotuk is blocking all ebay links

gamestraderjames

Again, apologies for my ignorance! I'm not sure what i'm looking for in … Again, apologies for my ignorance! I'm not sure what i'm looking for in regards to +12v, this is what's written on a sticker:output - +12V +25A MAXinput - 115VAC



Well your about as far as you would want to be with that power supply. So a new PSU will be required if you want a big jump in performance. Your probably best to look at a 560ti or HD6950.

As for the PSU look for something with 80plus certification (so you are getting something of reasonable quality) with a minimum of 36A (combined available output) on the 12v+ rail(s). I would advise use 2 or 3 psu calculators just to give you a second opinion (most PSU sellers have a calculator on their site).

As for cases a larger case can (generally) accommodate more fans (better airflow) and larger fans (generally quieter as they can run slower). I'm using a xclio blackhawk at the moment as I don't like fancy cases (I turn all the lighting off). It has great airflow and I can adjust all the fan speeds from the dials on the case so when in normal use I turn them right down so they are hardly audible and up when gaming. At £70 it's not cheap but it does often on Scan's today only at less than £50.

gamestraderjames

Thanks dude, i think you've just about settled it! The 560ti & HD6950 … Thanks dude, i think you've just about settled it! The 560ti & HD6950 look sweet, perfect for the job. Which would you go for? They look v similar in specs & price.I'm looking around for PSU's, which brand/s would you recommend? I've heard Coolermaster and Corsair are decent.With the case.. is that something worth waiting for a good deal or would it be a requirement if i were to get the graphics card and PSU?



Well as for which gpu will depend on what games you play some seem to favor nvidia and some ATI (sorry AMD!). I think it's worth paying extra for a premium cooler but only if its a little more, but thats just a personal choice.

It's hard to say on brands as many branded ones are made by different companies depending on the what range it's from.
Bar Scan nobody seems to cut prices down drop the prices much on PSU so look out for deals on their today only page. My friends who game lots love the NZXT Hale90 series but they are pricey. I have a be quiet BN117 which got from scan for £46 which was a great deal. But as said if it's 80plus certified then it wont be rubbish.

The case you have should be fine and if leaving the side off like you have better so, but you will be much happier with a better case in the long run and if using the stock cooler on the 965BE upgrading it will help too.

Original Poster

GAVINLEWISHUKD

Well your about as far as you would want to be with that power supply. So … Well your about as far as you would want to be with that power supply. So a new PSU will be required if you want a big jump in performance. Your probably best to look at a 560ti or HD6950. As for the PSU look for something with 80plus certification (so you are getting something of reasonable quality) with a minimum of 36A (combined available output) on the 12v+ rail(s). I would advise use 2 or 3 psu calculators just to give you a second opinion (most PSU sellers have a calculator on their site).As for cases a larger case can (generally) accommodate more fans (better airflow) and larger fans (generally quieter as they can run slower). I'm using a xclio blackhawk at the moment as I don't like fancy cases (I turn all the lighting off). It has great airflow and I can adjust all the fan speeds from the dials on the case so when in normal use I turn them right down so they are hardly audible and up when gaming. At £70 it's not cheap but it does often on Scan's today only at less than £50.


Thanks dude, i think you've just about settled it! The 560ti & HD6950 look sweet, perfect for the job. Which would you go for? They look v similar in specs & price.

I'm looking around for PSU's, which brand/s would you recommend? I've heard Coolermaster and Corsair are decent.

With the case.. is that something worth waiting for a good deal or would it be a requirement if i were to get the graphics card and PSU?

Edited post and deleted what i had written by accident, cba to rewrite
Edited by: "spritey" 29th Mar 2011

spritey

See, i'd completely disagree with GAVINs advise in terms of PSUs.Headroom … See, i'd completely disagree with GAVINs advise in terms of PSUs.Headroom is something you need to consider.. With your current system, new case with some extra fans and a 6870 / 560 Ti / 6950.. You're looking at around 450-500w being required...What happens at your next upgrade? It will no doubt be the motherboard and CPU which needs the next update (Which will give you dual PCI-E slots).. Perhaps you'd want a little bit of GFX performance on top at the same time.. With the way ATI cards scale in crossfire currently, a second 6870 is going to give a significant bump and which will accompany and give you more value for money in the future. By investing more in a good PSU now, you leave yourself more options in terms of future upgrades. Two 6870s in crossfire hover around the 580 in terms of performance, so you can appreciate the longevity you'll be getting if you keep that upgrade path open to you. As you will require around 650-700w to a crossfire setup like that.Thankfully PSUs are a great investment.. Once you buy a good one with a decent amount of wattage, you rarely need to change it.The 6950 gives you a slight bump over the 6870, if you unlock it, some more.. Personally i believe a 6870, case with good airflow and a 700w PSU is going to be a far better investment.



Well I'll agree if he is looking at a crossfire based system in the future, but as he has just bought it not long ago I think he is just looking at single card setup.

Thank god you quoted it

I think it's leaving yourself the path open for the future...

I've had a 500w PSU, i know how frustrated i was when i wanted to go for an upgrade i was not able to do as it meant also buying a PSU at the same time..

PSU are one of the only things (apart from a case) that you can buy and use for 3/4 years quite happily without ever needing to upgrade. It's silly not to buy something with extra headroom, because it's such a good investment.

Upgrades should always be approached with the mindset of "What is the best system i can get in terms of performance, value for money and longevity". Is the extra 5 fps really going to matter long term when looking at a 6950 over a 6870? Sure, you can unlock it to a 6970.. But there are long term risks to that route aswell..

I'd also personally go for a 560 Ti over a 6950 anyway... Same with a 570 over a 6970.. The only real competitive ATI GPU at the moment is the 6870.
Edited by: "spritey" 29th Mar 2011

Original Poster

Cheers guys. I think I'm going to go for a 560 Ti over a 6870, then get another for SLI in the future (purely because nvidia seems to be the preference for gamers) and a 700W PSU. The case i think i will leave until i find a nice deal.

spritey

Thank god you quoted it :)I think it's leaving yourself the path open for … Thank god you quoted it :)I think it's leaving yourself the path open for the future...I've had a 500w PSU, i know how frustrated i was when i wanted to go for an upgrade i was not able to do as it meant also buying a PSU at the same time..PSU are one of the only things (apart from a case) that you can buy and use for 3/4 years quite happily without ever needing to upgrade. It's silly not to buy something with extra headroom, because it's such a good investment.Upgrades should always be approached with the mindset of "What is the best system i can get in terms of performance, value for money and longevity". Is the extra 5 fps really going to matter long term when looking at a 6950 over a 6870? Sure, you can unlock it to a 6970.. But there are long term risks to that route aswell..I'd also personally go for a 560 Ti over a 6950 anyway... Same with a 570 over a 6970.. The only real competitive ATI GPU at the moment is the 6870.



Yes it's a consideration, but you have to take into account that most people wont have a multi gpu set up as when its time to upgrade they sell their old one and buy a faster, lower power and cheaper (performance per GBP). From this generation the most likely build will be Ivy bridge or bulldozer/2 both will offer more performance and use less power. What the GPU will be then who knows but it's almost certainly going to provide better performance per watt used.



Original Poster

Went for a 6950 in the end and a silent gold 700w psu. Got a good deal on the card, should be a while until I need an upgrade! I really appreciate the advice guys! Cheers!

GAVINLEWISHUKD

Yes it's a consideration, but you have to take into account that most … Yes it's a consideration, but you have to take into account that most people wont have a multi gpu set up as when its time to upgrade they sell their old one and buy a faster, lower power and cheaper (performance per GBP). From this generation the most likely build will be Ivy bridge or bulldozer/2 both will offer more performance and use less power. What the GPU will be then who knows but it's almost certainly going to provide better performance per watt used.



See, you're incorrect. It's the stupid people who enjoy wasting money who keep going the single GPU route on every upgrade. Aside from power consumption, you're going to see little benefit in performance and loss more money long term.

Lets look at two possible upgrade paths an average PC gaming would take, upgrading slightly every year as most will.

Route 1 (Single GPU upgrade):

Now, imagine a year ago on launch you purchased a 470. Setting you back around £280.

Skip forward to now, you want to make an upgrade.. Your next logical single GPU set would be a 570. Setting you back around £250. With the view to keep this an additional year?

So over 2+ years, your total spend is £530.

Route 2 (SLI upgrade):

Now, lets go the SLI / more performance per £ over time.

You buy a 470 on launch, £280. You also buy a 700w+ branded modular PSU, around £90.

Skip forward to now, you buy another 470. around £150.

Over 2+ years you've got a total spend of £520.. Around the same mark as upgrading a single GPU each time. But instead, you get the following benefits:

- 470 in SLI will outperform a 580, the fastest single GPU card on the market currently. Making your second step upgrade an absolute bargain in terms of performance to price.

- A 700w+ PSU

In order a acheive the same performance using the single card upgrade route, you'd have to spend an additional £150 on top to get the 580.

Even if i was to assume that going the single GPU route you were able to sell the 470 for around £100, you're still roughly £50 away cost wise in terms of performance against the SLI upgrade. In addition, you still lack the 700w+ PSU which is the added bonus. You also will also see no performance difference. Infact, you'll see less. Since 470 in SLI actually outperforms the 580 by around 5-10fps.

With scaling the way it is now, the best way to go is Single GPU > SLI / Crossfire > Single GPU > SLI / Crossfire.

What james has done going for the 6950 and 700w PSU is left him with some great options.

In a 10-12 months he can upgrade the CPU and motherboard.

If he then wants a graphics card bump, he can unlock the 6950 to a 6970, buy an additional 6950 and do the same (Probably for £100-£140 by then). Which will give him a 40-50% increase in performance.

At which point, judging by the incremental steps single GPUs make in performance over each year.. He'll have a crossfire setup which will outperform the fastest current single GPU.
Edited by: "spritey" 30th Mar 2011
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