I am in the throws of upgrading my MB, CPU and, GFX card.
I intend to replace; M3N78-VM, Phenom 9550 Quad, Geforce 8800 GTS.
I am limited to around £300 = $476. I would be grateful if someone
could advise on a suitable list of replacements.
Although things run just fine I am considering not having a micro mb
as the Creative sound card sits up against the gfx card.
Not knowing the physical size of a standard mb I can say I have an
extra 1.5 inches of room beyond the micro board in the case. So I am
hoping a standard size mb will sit in there?
I lean towards AMD but it is not critical. (I believe equivalent
Intel CPU's top AMD at the moment?)
PC uses; Photoshop, SketchUp, and Race Driver Grid -using Fraps to
record online while racing-.
Thank you for your potential advice :-)
Learn why we are suffering..
> Hi :-)
> I am in the throws of upgrading my MB, CPU and, GFX card.
> I intend to replace; M3N78-VM, Phenom 9550 Quad, Geforce 8800 GTS.
> I am limited to around £300 = $476. I would be grateful if someone
> could advise on a suitable list of replacements.
> Although things run just fine I am considering not having a micro mb
> as the Creative sound card sits up against the gfx card.
> Not knowing the physical size of a standard mb I can say I have an
> extra 1.5 inches of room beyond the micro board in the case. So I am
> hoping a standard size mb will sit in there?
> I lean towards AMD but it is not critical. (I believe equivalent Intel
> CPU's top AMD at the moment?)
> PC uses; Photoshop, SketchUp, and Race Driver Grid -using Fraps to
> record online while racing-.
> Thank you for your potential advice :-)
ATX 12" x 9.6" , microATX 9.6" x 9.6"
The height spec is usually adhered to. The width spec (right-most 9.6" number)
is variable. The more expensive the board, the more junk on it, and the wider
it gets. In some cases, a really cheap board will have only two DIMM slots,
and that helps the manufacturer make the board more narrow. A cheap board
might be 12" x 7", and the right-most edge of the motherboard dangles
without adequate support. (Placing an insulating, supporting object under
that edge, may make you feel better if that happens. You shouldn't really
bend the fiberglass PCB too much, if it isn't supported underneath - a solder
joint can crack.)
So you're going to need 2.4" more height, and have standoffs in the
computer case, to properly support the larger motherboard.
In a bygone era, you also needed to check the distance from the center
of the CPU socket, to the bottom edge of the power supply. Some cases
mount the power supply too low, to allow a large CPU cooler.
Some of the modern retail processors, come with perfectly adequate
coolers for non-overclocked operation, and those coolers tend
to fit within the board profile, without hanging over. For example,
a backup computer here, uses the Intel retail cooler, and there isn't
really an issue with it bumping into the power supply, no matter how
close the power supply is to the top edge of the motherboard.
Intel covers the high end, and has to some extent left the
low end to AMD. AMD covers up to the midrange. The AMD hex core
processors function pretty well in some server situations, and
then you might get the most value from the processor. On a
desktop, it really depends on the software, how often you use
that software, as to whether you really get all you can from it.
The AMD hex core "half shuts off" under light load, so has
an operating mode where three of the six cores are working.
For Photoshop, you can work with tiny images, in which case the
program isn't too resource hungry. If you stress a photo editor,
by working on billboard sized images, not only does it take a
lot of RAM, but the program may swap to the pagefile, or even
store undo operations on the primary storage device (scratch disk).
In which case, a faster disk may make more difference to you, than
a new processor.
I suppose if you were gaming, and running a second data intensive
program like Fraps, more cores would come in handy. Again, there
might be some benefit to better storage, depending on how Fraps writes
out stuff. If Fraps is compressing on the fly, then it'll be
compute intensive. If Fraps is lazy, and just writes each frame to
disk, then it'll be data intensive. In such a case, perhaps a RAID0
array is all that is required, for fast operation and no dropped
Say we worked backwards, using your price. A 1090T is $230. From
$476, that leaves 246 for motherboard and RAM.
You can get an AMD motherboard for $100 or so. Or a bit more.
I'd probably try to get a 140W rated motherboard, just to try to
get a quality design. In terms of slots, if you have a monster
video card, it's hard to arrange it such that you use more than
three slots, and have good cooling. You'd select a motherboard
with the slot types you're looking for. Some of the AMD
chipsets have more PCI Express lanes (and more PCI Express slots
on the motherboard), which is good if you envisage adding PCI
Express cards in the future. I have a lot of older PCI junk
cards (things like my WinTV tuner, which still works where I live).
It means I like to see two usable PCI slots on my systems, but
$50 will buy you 2x2GB of DDR3 memory. Now our total is about $380.
Shopping by price, this would be a recent Intel product. It's a quad.
Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz $225
2500K is not the top of the line, and is 4 core 4 thread. Another
$100 buys a 4 core 8 thread processor (Hyperthreading). Hyperthreading
only adds a bit to performance, as it fills in the gaps, when the
processor is waiting for data to come from main memory. It extracts
just a bit more performance, rather than being a doubling over what
a 4 Core 4 Thread processor would offer.
You can see here, it's faster than an AMD 1100T Thuban hex core, in
some situations. You have to review the various benchmarks, to see how
your situation lines up, with what the processor is good at.
The motherboards for it might be a bit more expensive. There are
probably on the order of about 50 motherboards to choose from.
This one has a decent slot mix (for me), as it has PCI down one end.
GIGABYTE GA-H67A-UD3H LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX $135.
My price ends up at around $410 when I include $50 for RAM.
There is a lot more info here, as long as you don't place too
much weighting on the Quick Sync feature. That's a gimmick where
it's uncertain how much benefit and how mainstream it will become.
It could be very useful, to some small percentage of owners.
Due to the unevenness of the benchmarking process, it's really the
responsibility of the buyer to make the decision. You can see in
some situations, the AMD is ahead, in others, the Intel is ahead.
It's pretty hard to make sure my choice is a perfect fit for you.
Thanks for the quick reply, Paul.
Ram is not a problem :-)
As for gfx cards, I have been told to aim towards 740's(?) There are
ones way out of my price range apparently render photo quality on the
fly. Now that sounds good but, As I said, not in my needs/price range.
I think my main concern is finding a CPU that out performs my Phenom
9550 x4 and the mobo I mentioned.
As I said, my current system isn't so bad. I work with 15Mb Sketch-up
files and 500Mb photo files with out too much lag. I just want better.
During my electronics days, circa 82 (cough) comps were simple and
when pc's arrived they were no problem to upgrade. These days things
change so fast I gave up trying to keep up.
So, while there was a time when I was re writing shadow roms and I was
ahead in the field(local), I now get cramp in my forehead.
Thanks again Paul...
Learn why we are suffering..
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