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Help me build / upgrade

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I'm running on a machine that's about 5 years old and it's time for an upgrade.


What I've got: Intel Core2 Duo, 4GB, 500GB, Radeon HD 4850, Windows 7.


I'm not sure whether or not to upgrade this PC or just go for an entirely new one and sell what I have now. Honestly, this rig is holding up great.


Here's what I want/need:

  • A solid state drive. I'm using about 400GB of my 500GB drive right now, and that's all backed up nightly to an external drive of the same capacity. I don't know whether or not to go for a large solid state drive to meet that entire need, or to go for a smaller drive as my Windows/software partition and then store my data on a secondary drive.
  • 8GB ram. This is probably the easiest part; but 8GB is pretty future-proof right now and would let me run a VM or two.
  • Not sure on the processor. This is my biggest issue...I feel like I could get away with just getting a SSD and some more ram, but then I'm bummed about my older CPU. Maybe it's not so bad? Edit: Are there any decent modern processors for the LGA 775 Intel P45? I'm not seeing anything but I'm so far out of the loop I'm just not sure.
  • I need at least two video outputs as I use dual screens. Would probably prefer HDMI out.
  • I don't do a lot of gaming and don't see that I would do a whole lot in the next 5 years. Perhaps after that when my son is older that may be a concern, but not right now.
  • Thinking about using Windows 8 as well.
  • If I get a new PC, I'd like a quiet one in an "industrial" case...maybe brushed metal or something cool like that. No need for fancy lights or clear panels or plastic facades. Would also prefer something a little smaller than what I have now with quality USB ports on the front...it's an ATX mid tower.

So should I just upgrade or go for a new PC?


Actually, here's a screenshot of my original order. I was more interested in gaming back then.



Edited by bacterozoid
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I would not get a flash drive, at least not for storage, it would be a waste IMO, as to which way to go, an upgrade would certainly be noticeable, and would be worth the money if you're after performance, an i7 CPU will be far superior to what you have (I had a similar set up but with an e6600 CPU, and the difference was great when I got my i7), so there is a big enough jump in performance to warrant an upgrade IMO.


That said if you happy with your current set up, and storage is your only issue, then just get a 3TB hard drive and use that, they are so cheap now it is by far the low cost solution for you (compared to a new system), and if you still went for a new system I would still say get a 3TB drive for storage, for the same reasons as if you stick with what you have, I am not sure a flash drive would make that much of a speed difference in your current build as you have a WD Black which is high end already, and the cost of an SSD for the size you appear to be looking at would be very expensive at this time.


If it was me, and I had the money, and ability to physically put a system together (actually build it), I would get a new system, purely because there is a big enough difference to make it worth it, and if you wanted to keep costs down, you could just take the motherboard (leaving everything in it, eg ram etc), and get a new set of this and put it in what you have, only point to note would be check out if the case has USB3 ports (unlikely with it's age), as pretty much all new boards come with this now, so it would be a waste if the case couldn't use it, and you could sell the rest as is, that's my thoughts anyway, hope it helps.

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Thanks, 8210!


I haven't given them much thought until now, but the USB ports on my desktop are terrible...the ones on the front are low quality and I don't think any are USB3...I'd like USB3 or eSata or something to improve my backup speed so that would be a nice upgrade to have.


I was thinking of potentially just upgrading to a 100GB solid state + more ram + processor if a Core i5 will work on my motherboard. I just wanted to use the solid state for Windows/Software and use my mechanical HD for storing my media. Do you really think that a solid state wouldn't be that much of a performance boost? I've never really used one to know what to expect, but everything I read about them says that the speed increase is incredible.

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in my opinion, just get a fast 250GB ssd, you really have no need for a faster pc from what your saying and this one does you just fine, so the increase in speed an ssd gives you will be something you WILL notice and make you happier to carry on using this system.


save money and don't get the extra ram either, you won't really notice any speed difference with 8gb over 4gb and if your still not happy with the speed even after installing an ssd at least with the ssd you can use it in a new pc unlike the ram which is probably ddr2 where as new ram for newer pc's is going to be ddr3 or maybe even ddr4 which should be out this year and don't buy a new cpu for that motherboard i really think it is a waste of money for the tiny gains you'd get compared to a new motherboard/cpu/ram combo.


nothing to be done with your backup speed either, because i wouldn't recommend buying anything like a plug in pci-e card to give you usb3 transfer speeds just because your pc is getting on a bit and your better off upgrading both the motherboard and cpu for best bang for the buck which will then have much faster input/output ports like usb3 built in, saying that tho it might be something to consider if the ssd is enough to keep you happy for another couple of years and of course your backup drive is usb3 compatible.


so my opinion is buy the ssd see where you stand after that, if still not happy then get a new motherboard and cpu and ram combo .




install your os to the ssd and use that for your os and programs, use your current hard drive for your data, video/music files etc.


example of ssd i'd consider :- http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-250GB-Basic-Solid-State/dp/B00E391OX6/ref=dp_ob_title_ce


example of pci-e usb3 card :- http://www.dabs.com/products/startech-com-2-port-pciexpress-usb-3-0-card-6LB2.html?src=2

Edited by terry1966
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That is certainly a good drive terry suggests, and a good size, it should comfortably handle all the installations you use, I have 2x60gig SSD's in raid0, and space is tight for what I use, but as to speed, I really haven't noticed enough of a difference to warrant the cost I paid when I got them, but prices are substantially cheaper now, I paid more than that for a single SSD when I got mine, don't get me wrong, they are worth getting, but if you already have fast drive(s) (as you have a WD Black that's high speed already), I don't think you will see much of a difference, but that's based on my setup, the time you should seriously see an increase is if you have a low performance drive, but as I said this is purely based on my own experience doing this with 3x150gig Raptors in raid0 as a baseline.


But the beauty of hard drives is you can use them time and time again, just move them to the new build each time, so it certainly won't hurt to get an SSD, it will serve you well without doubt, but speedwise it will be limited from it's full potential by the board, as it won't support the speeds the drive can handle, but it's not going to hurt trying it, if you decide after it's still not as fast as you want then go for the new system, and use the drive with that to get it's full performance, if you click on my TechExpress link under my user name, you will see what I had before upgrading, and the speeds are from my Raptors, then follow This Link to a test I just ran, it may help you see the difference between my old system with the e6600, and what I have now with an i7 and SSD's in raid0.


But terry has said clearly about upgrading, whereas I may not have been as clear (sorry for that), upgrading anything more than the drives would not be a way I'd suggest doing, that is indeed DDR2 for that board, and to give an idea why we are saying it's not worth it, DDR3 ram is cheaper than DDR2 ram, crazy lol, but still get a 3TB for storage, again it will serve you well, and can be used on any system, and it will give enough space to keep you going with ease, hopefuully my tests will help a bit in seeing what you may expect, as my old system wasn't that much different to what you currently have, hope you get the results that you want.

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