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Build Advice 2500K platform overhaul - upgrade now?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by abezors, 8 Jul 2014.

  1. abezors

    abezors Lurking since '08

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    Morning chaps,

    I've got new-build fever, or at least fancy a complete overhaul. Everything is going strong now that I've added a 290 to it, but while I'm at this stage I'd like to get it all "future proof" as possible since I no longer have the free time to tinker or rebuild on a whim.

    Coming from a 2500K platform I am considering a total upgrade of my gaming PC. For your background info, I used to keep on top of the upgrade cycle and sell parts before they dropped in value too much -- these days I don't have enough time or inclination to do this, so I'm thinking about the next 2 years.

    Firstly, would any of you strongly urge an upgrade from the 2500k to Haswell? I'm not convinced it's worth the upgrade for me, since this cpu still handles all the games I throw at it (on a 4ghz OC). Haswell leads on 10-20% FPS, but I'd only really consider this upgrade if I can do it NOW whilst the 2500K retains some market value. Leaving this decision any later and I'd just hold on to this cpu. This PC is solely used for gaming btw.

    Moving on to the case: I'm thinking about moving to ITX (I have a spare Z77n-wifi that I could move to and keep the 2500k) by getting either a Bitfenix Prodigy or alternative case. It's all currently stuffed into a Lian Li A05NB, which is a lovely little case but suffers from a lack of cooling options (I haven't had the doors on since I put the 290 in it). Additionally it was never designed for WC either - so things are modded in there or lashed down with elastic so it's a faff to work on.

    Finally, I've only added a universal GPU block to the 290 (plus a Gelid heatsink kit for the VRMs) -- which keeps the core temp down to 65C from stock 93C and throttling.. Now despite reading that the "GDDR is cool running enough to not need heatsinks provided fans keep them cool" I will dispute that; I burned my fingertips last night doing some testing and they easily reached 60 deg C. I wanted to avoid buying a full cover block at 70 quid hence re-using my universal block, but in this case I think I need a full cover. Annoyingly there's not room to mount RAM sinks on a few of the chips that surround the water block. Does anyone know if there is any market for universal GPU blocks? Cos I know full-covers lose tremendous value over time. Koolance GPU-210 which was £45. I don't want to sell it for a huge loss, hence holding on to it for successive builds.

    Your advice on any of these points would be welcome!

    TL;DR version:
    • Keep i5 2500K - or sell now whilst it still has value?
    • Move to ITX? - sell existing P67a-UD4-B3 CF/SLI mobo
    • Best option for R9 290 watercooling.
    • Do universal GPU waterblocks sell at all?
    • I don't really fancy dropping any more cash on this PC, but I'm leaning towards an ITX case and one designed for watercooling.

    Specs:
    i5 2500k at 4ghz (WC)
    R9 290 (WC)
    P67a-UD4-B3 Crossfire/SLI mobo
    12GB RAM (mixed speeds...)
    30GB system SSD
    120GB game SSD
    500GB game storage HDD
    CPU + GPU single loop is cooled by a 240 slim rad, want more but only in a better case.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jul 2014
  2. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Assuming you only really game on the system there is very little reason to switch out your current CPU for any Haswell one. The performance increase (what little there is) just doesn't justify the cost.

    As you already have a mITX MB then it makes the case even stronger for staying with your current CPU, given you want to switch to an mITX build.

    In terms of case also consider the Corsair 250D. It has plenty of cooling options and a decent amount of space considering its overall size (not dinky but not as big as the prodigy either).

    You can also fit a custom look into it if you want to. You would be limited to a 240 & 120 rads but this is more than enough for the components being cooled. I am actually considering this if I stay with my 290X (Eyefinity issues are starting to really get on my nerves).

    Universal blocks arn't really my area but I would consider a full cover block in a case where air flow may be restricted (mITX cases in general). The core will be fine but the VRM's might get a bit toasty otherwise.
     
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  3. abezors

    abezors Lurking since '08

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    Yes solely gaming - for everything else I use Mac/Linux. Thanks for confirming my thoughts re: Haswell!
    I'm not desperate for ITX really, but yeah it does make sense since I already own it.

    Assuming I go the ITX route I'd rather have the extra internal space of the Prodigy; whilst the 250D could squeeze in these parts I'd rather go for something simpler to work on. Appreciate the suggestion though!

    Inclined to agree with you there, now I'll start looking for a good deal on a FC block.
     
  4. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    No problem. :)

    Given the amount of thumb screws on the back of the 250D you could probably, buy, plan & build the system in the prodigy before you get the top and sides off the corsair case.
     
  5. Shirty

    Shirty W*nker! Super Moderator

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    Keep i5 2500K - or sell now whilst it still has value?

    Try overclocking that 2500K as close to 5GHz as you can. Can you tell the difference in real world performance? No? Well upgrading to Haswell will net you far less than that, so there you have your answer.

    Move to ITX? - sell existing P67a-UD4-B3 CF/SLI mobo

    ITX cases are awesome (coming from an ex-Prodigy user now in a Node 304). However, they introduce new challenges - particularly the more compact ones! Suddenly your PSU choices are limited by size, most air coolers don't fit any more, there's hardly any space for a watercooling setup, AIO coolers might not work, and if your GPU dumps heat intot he case it is likely to heat everything up a lot.

    Best option for R9 290 watercooling.

    Your favourite full cover block, something like a DDC pump and at least a 180 rad with one or two good static pressure fans. Easy in a Prodigy/Phenom/Colossus Mini, a pain in most other retail ITX cases.

    Do universal GPU waterblocks sell at all?

    They are generally cack.

    I don't really fancy dropping any more cash on this PC, but I'm leaning towards an ITX case and one designed for watercooling.

    If it's just for tinkering purposes, I dare you to unleash hell on your bank account and try out the Hadron Hydro :rock:
     
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  6. abezors

    abezors Lurking since '08

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    That's a good way of putting it, thanks. My only real concern was whether I'd miss the boat on selling the 2500k in a year and be wishing I'd taken the Haswell route.

    I'm also considering the Fractal Node 804 (ITX / mATX dual chamber goodness). It should give me plenty of room and WC options, despite a fairly compact footprint. Only problem is they're quite new to the market and I don't like being the guinea pig on these things :lol:

    Node 804 on the left; the white 304 is a cute little thing!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. donok

    donok Every Little Helps .....

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    I wouldn't upgrade the cpu it would be a waste at this point in time.

    I would however change case and mobo and go ITX just to satisfy build fever

    you can pick up a mobo and case for nearly as much as you would get for your current case and mobo therefore avoiding causing banking chaos and satisfying your itch.

    if you dont like ITX then you can move on up for the next upgrade. variety is life
     

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