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Old 01-07-2013, 11:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Default Build Advice - Upgrading Core Components

I've been considering upgrading the core components of my PC seeing as it's 3+ years old now. I'm wanting to stay under $400, but can't seem to find pieces I like while staying in that range.

This system is used almost entirely for gaming. I run a 3-monitor setup (recently upgraded to a GTX 660 SC). Two are 21" and the main, center monitor is 24". I game in 1920x1200. I live in the US and I'm an Amazon Prime member, so if Newegg doesn't have free shipping I'll generally buy over there. I want to stick with Intel and am fond of, but not married to G.SKILL and EVGA parts.

Here's what I have right now:
Intel Core i5 750 - overclocked to 3.6ghz
G.SKILL Ripjaw 8gb DDR3 1333

My goal with the new system is to continue overclocking, so I was wanting components that are friendly to that. I've pretty much settled on the CPU being the Intel Core i5 3570K as I think that's the best bang for the buck with overclocking in mind. It's $220 normally, but can be found for around $205 at times. I have a large aftermarket HSF that I'm using and plan to continue to use, I can't remember the model but it's a Thermaltake from a few years ago. Considering a Corsair H80 water cooling kit, but that's not relevant right now.

The motherboard I've been looking at is the ASUS P8Z77-V Pro, but that's $200 and right there is my entire budget. Based on reviews, this mobo is overclocker friendly and I trust ASUS products, so that's why I was looking there. I also want to make sure the mobo has at least 2 SATA 6.0gbps slots. I do NOT plan to SLI/Crossfire so that isn't important to me.

I'd really like to make the jump to 16gb of RAM (2x8gb sticks) at minimum DDR3 1600 speeds. Would prefer CAS timing of 9 as well. The G.SKILL Sniper 16gb or the G.SKILL Ripjaw X 16gb both fit that mold and are roughly the same price ($85 and $88 respectively).

With that total I'm looking at just over $500. Can you guys suggest some more affordable options that could shave around $100 off?

Last edited by mphartzheim; 01-07-2013 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:02 PM   #2
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NOTICE - PC builders, when asking for input on YOUR projects Please Tell us...
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #3
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What do you use the computer for? I take it that since you're looking to upgrade the i5 750 is too slow for your current work load?

If you're planning to overclock you probably also want to factor in the cost of a cooler unless you have one that can be reused.

You could shave $100 off just by going with a less expensive motherboard. Almost any Z77 board should have 2 SATA 6Gb/s ports. A base-level Z77 motherboard is capable of just about any overclock you'd manage on a basic air cooler. If you're trying to squeeze every last MHz out of the board it might be a different story, but if you're just trying to get a stable performance boost and have some fun tinkering I would keep your motherboard in the $90-110 range.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:09 PM   #4
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I added the info from the stickied thread. Apologies for not including it right off.

Overclocking is a hobby for me, just to see what I can get away with. I previously had my i5 750 at 4.0ghz stable, but for some reason after a BIOS update I couldn't get it stable past 3.6ghz.

In other words, yes, I do want to try to squeeze out as much as I can... but budget is more important.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:00 PM   #5
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A few questions that you should answer:
  • You've confirmed that LGA1156 coolers will work on LGA1155? I think that the two boards should be perfectly compatible, but I'm not immediately sure. You may want to check with the manufacturer to make sure.
  • You aren't willing to wait 4-6 months for Haswell for any reason? Haswell is the next Intel chip, and it should be somewhat faster and much more power efficient.
I would personally recommend the Asrock Extreme4 at most. Pretty much every single major motherboard manufacturer makes perfectly usable, overclock capable Z77 boards. I'm assume that you don't necessarily need the Wifi included in the Asus board; even then, a PCIe or USB Wifi card is only around $20.

On the memory side, I think you should go with the Sniper set only because it has much lower profile heatsinks. Intel CPUs don't really care about memory speed, so if you find a lower priced low-profile set of RAM you should probably go for it (I'm running at 1.4V 9-9-9-24 DDR3 1600 myself, but couldn't notice the difference from 10-10-10-24 DDR3 1333). I found this set of Corsair RAM for only $66.99 on Newegg (and free shipping).
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:10 PM   #6
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You have a very well-balanced system. If all you do is game, there isn't much sense in putting $400 into a new CPU and motherboard. If you were about to buy a second GTX660, that would be different, but that would also require at least a $500 budget.

Your description suggests that you really just want to overclock for the sake of overclocking, not necessarily because you have any application that needs more speed. It's hard for us to give advice based on price/performance if it's just a hobby and you're looking for the highest overclock to bench synthetic tests at. If that is in fact your goal, then yes, you probably want a $200 Asus board and an H100i: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...q320,3380.html

But if I'm reading this wrong and you actually want better game performance, you're going to need more GPU power too.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sleepingforest View Post
  • You've confirmed that LGA1156 coolers will work on LGA1155? I think that the two boards should be perfectly compatible, but I'm not immediately sure. You may want to check with the manufacturer to make sure.
1155 and 1156 have the same mounting holes and clearances, so any 1155 cooler will work with 1156 no problem.

OP, as Sleepingforest mentioned, Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge don't really care about memory speed. I would just keep your current RAM, especially since gaming is the primary concern. You're just not going to see a big jump by going to 16GB.

Core i5 3570K $205 AP
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 $128

I agree with Termie that the GTX 660 is kind of weak for 1920-wide resolutions. Save the rest of the money to put towards a replacement (you want to be looking in the $300-400 range for the GPU alone).
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