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Build Advice Upgrade path: ~£300

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by sleepygamer, 6 Jun 2010.

  1. sleepygamer

    sleepygamer More Metal Than Thou

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    Okay, I don't have a lot of money to spend, but I want to get this rig as far out of the way as possible.

    My current specs are:

    Mobo: Biostar 7025-M2 TE AM2
    CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.0ghz (w/Freezer 7 Pro)
    RAM: 2x1GB Kingston DDR2 800mhz
    GPU: PNY Geforce 9800GT 512MB (w/Vortexx Neo Cooler)
    PSU: 700W Silverstone Strider
    HDD: 250GB WD Caviar
    Case: NZXT M59
    Optical: DVD-RW + DVD-ROM drives. IDE connection.

    Righto, so this rig is currently unstable. It keeps exploding power supplies when under load. I'm fairly certain it's the CPU/mobo, but that's beside the point, I want to ditch this CPU/mobo combination, and move to something new. For preference, I'd like to move to LGA1156, but the cost of an i3 530, a decent P55 mobo and 4GB of DDR3 runs me really on the edge of my budget.

    I'm certainly salvaging the PSU and case, but I'd like to ditch the hard drive (Everything's backed up in case of emergency, as I have started to notice the beginnings of a click of death. It's slow, too.) and the mobo and CPU. Moving somewhere new means I have to ditch my RAM, too.

    So here's the deal, I have about £300, maybe more. I could probably squeak it up to £400 if I am patient. I know that just over £500 could net me a 5770, the i3 530, a P55-UD5 and 4GB of DDR3, as well as a shiny new 500GB Sammy HDD, but I want to hear what you guys think is the best upgrade path. I'd rather not stick with AMD, but if it works out as a better deal, I won't argue.

    It is in your hands! :rock:
     
  2. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    I'm not sure if £300 is going to cut it to be honest :( Its a pain with the PSU's, where they generic ones? Do you have a surge protector?
     
  3. sleepygamer

    sleepygamer More Metal Than Thou

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    Yeah, £300 is a tight as hell budget. If I can stretch to £500, I will, but £300 is the low end, to see how much I can get.

    The first PSU to pop was an old (about 5 years old) Winpower 440W thing. Absolutely terrible, but ran my system flawlessly for a long time. It went bang in the middle of DiRT 2 one day. I got a fairly cheap 650W EVO labs PSU as a replacement, along with a surge protector, and only ran the computer from that, nothing else. Again, 2 hours after getting the system running, and doing a stress test it went bang. RMA'd it, claiming a DOA, and hooked up the new one, checking everything. Reassembled from scratch, checked for shorts, everything. It seemed fine for about a month, but went bang in the middle of Assassin's Creed. Each time it's done this has been under heavy CPU load, which makes me suspect that the 129W 6000+ is too much of a power drain for the terrible CPU power circuit on the cheapo mATX mobo. If anyone's got a lower wattage CPU going spare, I'd be happy! XD

    But that's where I traced my problem, I think. I'm using a much more reliable PSU now, but I don't dare push it until I've gutted the system of everything I think could be the issue.

    Ideally, I'd like to have closer to £700 to play with, and I might be able to manage that if I am lucky, as that would land me in LGA1366 territory. But if £300 is too tight, work from a £450 budget. :D
     
  4. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    Firstly, it could also be your graphics card causing the PSU blowouts under load...just a thought.

    Secondly, I just checked the following on Scan...

    Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H, Intel H55, 1156, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR3 1600/1800/2133, SATA 3Gb/s, VGA, uATX - £75.85

    BX80616I3530 - Intel Core i3 530 Dual Core Clarkdale 32nm, 2.93GHz, 4MB Cache, 73W, Integrated GPU @ 733MHz, Retail - £98.91

    CMX4GX3M2A1600C9 - 4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24, XMP, 1.65V - £98.84

    500GB Samsung HD502HJ Spinpoint F3, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ, OEM - £38.72

    AX5770 1GBD5-MDH - 1GB Powercolor HD5770, PCI-E 2.0(x16), 4800MHz GDDR5, GPU 850MHz, Cores 800, 2x DL DVI-I/HDMI - £122.87 (currently out of stock though)

    Grand Total = £435.19

    A few more posts and you qualify for free delivery from Scan as well.

    I am sure with some harder hunting around that total price can come down some more. You could always use the on-CPU GFX for a month until you had enough for the 5770?
     
  5. sleepygamer

    sleepygamer More Metal Than Thou

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    I also suspected the graphics card for a while, but it ran fine in the system for a good year before any of this happened. The blowouts only occurred after I upgraded the CPU (The old, 95W, 5200+ really didn't want to leave the stock cooler. The thermal paste was closer to cement. In removing the cooler to put the Freezer 7 Pro on, the CPU decided that it wanted to come along too. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem if all of the CPU decided to come out of the socket. Instead, one half remained in the socket, the rest came along with the cooler. Helloooooo bent pins.) that the issues came about.

    That's some solid hunting you did there! I would, for preference, use a full ATX sized board, as I run out of expansion slots in a hurry, and I would like the option of Crossfire later. I will likely jump to an i5-750 at the first chance I get. On my current board I just have my 9800GT (with the dual slot cooler) and a Creative PCI sound card. I notice that the mobo does have a Firewire slot though, which is handy for a few audio interfaces.

    Thanks for the hunting! If I have to, I can use the 9800GT until I get enough for the graphics card. And I forgot about the free Scan delivery, too! :D
     
  6. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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  7. sleepygamer

    sleepygamer More Metal Than Thou

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    Yeah, that was my main thought. The only reason I would choose the i3 530 is because it's the cheapest LGA1156 CPU around. I will keep bargain hunting, cause purging this damn thing of all possible faults and being able to play games without having to worry about PSU poppage will be bliss.
     
  8. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    You now qualify for free delivery from Scan :D
     
  9. sleepygamer

    sleepygamer More Metal Than Thou

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    Awesome! :D

    I should have about £350 (ish) a week on tuesday. Some of this is going to be used for standard stuff (band practice, alcohol, little gifts for the girlfriend etc) but I will keep saving, and in no time at all I should have about £500 or so.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Edit: After some messing around, I could do a budget of £450-ish, and lop off the 5770 for now. This would net me some chunky Corsair RAM, a P55-UD5, a core i5-750 and the Sammy hard drive. Or I could cut back the motherboard to something a bit less awesome and add the 5770 back in, and have it come in at just over £500 or so. The temptation to add a little more is always too much. I'm going to see how my money plays out the week after next! :D
     
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2010
  10. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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  11. sleepygamer

    sleepygamer More Metal Than Thou

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    So, you know how I said that my rig was unreliable? Guess what happened.

    That's right! I shut the computer down, and when I booted it up, I was greeted with some fans spinning up and others not, and no POST beeps! Upon opening and looking for faults, I found that the 24-pin connector had come a little loose. I looked over and reseated everything else to be sure, and attempted to boot the system again. This time, however, I was greeted by everything spinning up, and no POST beeps. This was grave. Nothing came up on the screen, I couldn't get to the BIOS, and the system seemed to have got itself stuck in a loop of lighting up, pausing as the IDE drives were starting up, and going into a restart and repeating all over again.

    Blarg.

    I am beginning to think of ditching everything that actually does anything in this box and starting afresh. I seem to have the worst luck when it comes to this damn computer.
     
  12. sleepygamer

    sleepygamer More Metal Than Thou

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    Also: The smell of a dead motherboard makes me die a little inside.
     

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