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Advice on Upgrading Desktop

#1
Howdy guys,
So with Christmas coming up soon, my younger brother has already got his gift of pre-ordering an Ipad 4.
My parents wanting to be fair are allowing me an allowance of $549 to spend on Christmas.
With that much money I am considering upgrading my desktop.

Here's a link to what is it-http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/dell-studio-xps-7100/4505-3118_7-34117339.html

I am considering upgrading the graphics card and increasing the memory in order to improve it's performance.
Any suggestions of what graphics card and RAM I should get?
Or should I instead focus more on my processor?

What are your thoughts?
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#2
Build your own computer, that's my tips, I saved something like 2000SEK(about 150$ ?) by doing so. My suggestion is, buy AMD processor, NVIDIA video card, 1600MHz ram and a budget motherboard. Smile
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#3
[Image: GNA2x.png]

the $528 build will run crysis 2 at 30-40 FPS 1080p ultra settings


I would recommend you go with the nVidia card if you're running linux. Since nVidia has much better support and doesn't drop 2-3 year old cards from their drivers.



The prebuilt computer you linked has a ATI radeon hd 5000 series card which may be dropped from linux AMD drivers next year ;_;
also way overpriced.

If your nervous about building a computer know that it's trivially easy.

EDIT: fixed giant image.
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#4
(11-26-2012, 03:01 PM)s1lence Wrote: [img]giant image[/img]

Who on earth thought that was a good idea... :X
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#5
@s1lence: Holy... !!! You broke the forum!

s1lence Wrote:I would recommend you go with the nVidia card if you're running linux. Since nVidia has much better support and doesn't drop 2-3 year old cards from their drivers.
I can´t confirm that. For me, nvidia drivers are far away from being stable or even able to run properly. The best thing is to check the compatibility for each graphics card individually, no matter if it´s nvidia or AMD. There are tons of arguments out there which company has better driver support. In my oppinion, nvidia drivers worked way better than those from AMD; at least that was the situation some years ago. But things seem to have changed and AMD probably delivers a better future. At least that may count for Linux OSs.
Now if you are running Windows, nvidia is the better option but still, AMD works fine too.

@squigger: My advice is not to build a whole new computer (though generally it is the best thing you can do) as you already have some pretty neat components. The CPU is fine, same for the RAM. If any I would change the graphics card and if you haven´t already: a SSD! Wink
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#6
Cool stuff... I will look into all this

I forgot to mention that I plan to wipe my computer and dual boot it with Windows 7 and Linux Mint 14.
I had a lot of issues with it partition wise (long story short, Windows crashed and messed everything up when I reinstalled it) so I was wanting to fix that while at the same time make it more powerful.
Of those two versions shown I have the AMD version so would I need to get a better Radeon Card or is it possible for me to look into a Nvidia card?
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#7
If you've already got 6Gb RAM then I really can't see more being useful with Xonotic. Xonotic simply isn't RAM intensive and my testing with 2Gb, 3Gb and 4Gb showed no statistically significant difference. For graphics card, any new mid range card will seem like an improvement. The GTX660 seems about right as it keeps a small enough TDP for a single 6-pin power connector and can be cooled passively with the right aftermarket cooler.

Something I would suggest you get because it will give you a MASSIVE real world speed boost is an SSD. Prices are coming down more and more but just buy a small one to put your OS's on and keep your data on the HDD.

Quote:[img]giant image[/img]

Yes, that is quite annoying. Can't say I agree with all of it either, as normal for 'enthusiast' material.
I'm at least a reasonably tolerable person to be around - Narcopic
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#8
(11-26-2012, 04:14 PM)Squigger Wrote: Of those two versions shown I have the AMD version so would I need to get a better Radeon Card or is it possible for me to look into a Nvidia card?

Get an Nvidia card because AMD is being a bitch about drivers, dropping support after only 5 years for their cards.

* s1lence regrets purchasing an AMD card

(11-26-2012, 03:23 PM)Mr. Bougo Wrote:
(11-26-2012, 03:01 PM)s1lence Wrote: [img]giant image[/img]

Who on earth thought that was a good idea... :X

The falcon guide is mainly distributed across 4chan's technology and video gaming image-boards. Since formatted HTML isn't possible there Th !e.FaLconO6 distributes his guide as an image. (s)he been maintaining the guide for more years that I can count. It's pretty solid.

I would have posted the falcon light guide which is about half the length, but it's not been kept as up-to-date as the standard guide.
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#9
Note that there is only ONE guy working on AMD's GPU drivers, I THINK Nvidia at least got a small team. AMDs CPU's are great not their GPU's IMHO.
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#10
I don't like Wintel, but propping up a dying company has no point now. Intel is king on the desktop and this won't change. It's surprising enough AMD survived the x86 series in the early 90s (all other competitors were eliminated), but now that's going to the shits as well.

So basically, the fact is, there is little financial benefit for AMD in improving Linux drivers so they focus on where the market share is. Either way, they're very much screwed. So get Intel. Also, all of Intel's Linux drivers (definitely the HD graphics ones, don't know about processor) are open source as far as I know, and I very much approve. Smile
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#11
(11-27-2012, 07:56 AM)Evropi Wrote: It's surprising enough AMD survived the x86 series in the early 90s (all other competitors were eliminated)

Not exactly true about the early 90s there. AMD was producing 386 clones under licence for many years as was Cyrix. They only really launched their own CPUs in the mid 90s and for a while in 1996 Cyrix was selling a lot more than AMD. Then in 1997 things changed some more with Cyrix pretty much dropping out of the market after their initial MMX offering, IDT WinChip coming and then going (backed by MS, the IDT agreement was the end of Wintel if ever there was such a thing) and the K6 carving out quite a market share. The Athlon was the big important one though in 1999 leading on to everything since. Remember that before Intel launched the Core processor it really was Intel on the backfoot for some time.

(11-27-2012, 07:56 AM)Evropi Wrote: Either way, they're very much screwed. So get Intel.

Since when has it mattered if a CPU manufacturer isn't able to offer support? There is no reason not to buy an AMD processor just for the fear of them going out of business and no longer offering support. So may be they can not compete at the high end on performance or performance/watt (this is what matters to me) but if they have to drop their pants on pricing and you can get a bargain, why not?

(11-27-2012, 07:56 AM)Evropi Wrote: Also, all of Intel's Linux drivers (definitely the HD graphics ones, don't know about processor) are open source as far as I know, and I very much approve. Smile

Intel's drivers are open source but Intel graphics can not compete with discrete graphics still. They are not however without their problems. They are very suitable for getting normal everyday work done, server use, media centre use and in fact just about everything that isn't gaming but for gaming the discrete graphics card market will continue to exist.

This bification does have the downside of graphics cards becoming too 'enthusiast' orientated (who on earth ethuses about their computer?!?) so that within 5 years a high end card will weight 50kg, use 3kW, be rated at 102dB, require a crew of 20 men to install it and be so overwhelmingly expensive that only the 5 richest monarchs of the world will be able to afford one.
I'm at least a reasonably tolerable person to be around - Narcopic
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#12
AMD drivers are not bad - for the past few years I am using an AMD gpu with proprietary drivers and it's completely ok. The only bad thing is the dropping of support, I got a radeon hd3850 and it's already dropped from the current drivers, but my distro provides the legacy drivers also. Either way I'll need to look for a new GPU next year.

On the other hand AMD is really awesome by providing docs for the FLOSS drivers, which are getting better and better (not for 3d games yet though).

Apart from drivers - AMD GPUs have a lot better performance/price ratio than nVidia.
My contributions to Xonotic: talking in the forum, talking some more, talking a bit in the irc, talking in the forum again, XSkie
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#13
(11-27-2012, 07:56 AM)Evropi Wrote: I don't like Wintel, but propping up a dying company has no point now. Intel is king on the desktop and this won't change. It's surprising enough AMD survived the x86 series in the early 90s (all other competitors were eliminated), but now that's going to the shits as well.

So basically, the fact is, there is little financial benefit for AMD in improving Linux drivers so they focus on where the market share is. Either way, they're very much screwed. So get Intel. Also, all of Intel's Linux drivers (definitely the HD graphics ones, don't know about processor) are open source as far as I know, and I very much approve. Smile

Who said AMD was dying? Also, who made Intel king of the desktop? Last I checked AMD CPUs were better than Intel ones when they were tested in real-world (like actually using the things rather than just look at a spec sheet) uses. As far as GPUs are concerned, AMD has been in the process of turning around what used to be ATI (who were in disarray before AMD acquired them) and from what I've read, been doing a damn good job.
ECKZBAWKZ HUGE LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS GOES HERE....


Oh wait.
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#14
Not having the latest driver doesn´t mean that your graphics card will be useless. You can still use it for a long time. I don´t understand why people panic about not getting the latest software. I use a very old driver for my graphics card which works way better than any of the new ones. (@ Cyber Killer: As long as you are comfortable with the card´s performance you shouldn´t bother about buying a new one.)
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#15
Running old proprietary drivers on a new kernel and/or Xorg is a pain. Hence after a while after the support is dropped the FLOSS driver is the only way. And I need a new GPU wither way :-).

BTW: on CPU's... a fun fact that surprisingly not many ppl know, the current dominating CPU architecture, referred to usually as x86_64 (or badly as x64 :-P ) is in reality called amd64. Why? Because AMD invented it, that's why :-). For each and every CPU that Intel manufactures, they have to send a payment to AMD for the CPU architecture license. So AMD is basically unkillable for the next decade or so, even if their own products don't do so good in the market :-).

Plus what I said before - AMD has a lot better price/performance ratio than Intel. They might not have anything that is better in pure performance than the i7, but for the price of a single i7 you can get nearly 2 AMD CPU's. And most ppl don't need the high end CPUs anyway. AMD should just kick out their marketing staff and get some ppl that know their shit in advertising and they would be on the roll. There's a reason AMD is expanded as 'Absolute Marketing Dump' :-).
My contributions to Xonotic: talking in the forum, talking some more, talking a bit in the irc, talking in the forum again, XSkie
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#16
(11-30-2012, 07:12 AM)Cyber Killer Wrote: Running old proprietary drivers on a new kernel and/or Xorg is a pain. Hence after a while after the support is dropped the FLOSS driver is the only way.

I would disagree with you here. Having compared Nouveau with the old propreitary driver on Geforce FX (discontinued as of 175.xx), the propreitary driver is far better. What is unneccessary is running the latest kernel. Such a system simply has no use for it and is far more likely to cause problems.

(11-30-2012, 07:12 AM)Cyber Killer Wrote: BTW: on CPU's... a fun fact that surprisingly not many ppl know, the current dominating CPU architecture, referred to usually as x86_64 (or badly as x64 :-P ) is in reality called amd64. Why? Because AMD invented it, that's why :-).

No, it is not 'in reality called amd64'. Before launch AMD were referring to the K8 as supporting x86-64. AMD64 is the marketing term they came up with for it. That same marketing that you hate so badly.

(11-30-2012, 07:12 AM)Cyber Killer Wrote: For each and every CPU that Intel manufactures, they have to send a payment to AMD for the CPU architecture license.

No, not for the architecture but for the instruction set. That's very different and a whole different level of money involved. Licencing of technology is nothing new though. AMD will still be paying Intel for MMX!

(11-30-2012, 07:12 AM)Cyber Killer Wrote: Plus what I said before - AMD has a lot better price/performance ratio than Intel.

However they massively miss out on performance/watt which has become of increasing importance. The fact a 3770k has a TDP of 77W is a big step. It brings it back in line with where CPUs were 10 years ago.

I am by far not an Intel fanboy (I tend to alternate between them with what I buy, I even used to have an AMD 386 40MHz, a speed that Intel didn't offer the 386 in, feast on that fanboys and spread it on forums everywhere as a little known fact!) but I do get more than a slight hint that you might be an AMD fanboy.
I'm at least a reasonably tolerable person to be around - Narcopic
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#17
AMD is very good CPU's, especially(but not only) from a price perspective.
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#18
Hmmmm, seems to be a lot going on back and forth between AMD and Intel.
I was wondering just based off this site what should I get?
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html

edh I see that your suggestion for the Nvidia Gefore GTX 660 is on the list at $219, but there is a GeForce GTX 480 for about $199 that according to the benchmark is more powerful. Should I get that one instead, or are there better reasons to stay with the one that you suggested?

What are your guys thoughts, also does anyone know a good place to learn how to use SSDs for the OS?
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#19
GTX660 is most likely to have longer driver support, very important if you are running GNU/Linux for example.
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#20
That benchmark also lists the 9600GT as outperforming the 9800GTX+. Something fishy there. I wouldn't believe those numbers so much and what you will find moving forward is that the newer card will outperform the older card more and more with newer games. So if you want to run GLQuake at 2000fps, yes the GTX480 might make more sense but for future games the GTX660 will be ahead.

The GTX660 is also substantially smaller than the GTX480 and has a TDP of 140W versus 250W. Hence you don't need an industrial HVAC system to cool it, making it much more suitable for people with ears. With a bit of work it can even be run passively.
I'm at least a reasonably tolerable person to be around - Narcopic
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#21
(11-30-2012, 12:14 PM)Squigger Wrote: What are your guys thoughts, also does anyone know a good place to learn how to use SSDs for the OS?

You use them just like any hard drive. Install the OS on the drive and you're golden.
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#22
(11-30-2012, 01:13 PM)JayWalker Wrote: You use them just like any hard drive. Install the OS on the drive and you're golden.

Actually you're not golden because you had to spend everything you own to get one.

Do you really use an SSD like any hard drive? I wouldn't store my backups on a SSD, what's the point in that. SSD is for people who desire or need high performance reading and writing and have money to spend on this. But I can't see why it would suddenly make SATA an old clunky undesirable thing.
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#23
Ummm, what? You can get 128GB one for just over $100:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...6820148442

I got that one in 64GB version (over half a year ago, not much cheaper than current price for 128GB one), and lovin' the speedup. In fact, whenever I have to go back to a computer with OS on HDD, I get horribly impatient over its sluggishness.
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#24
Thanks for the information EDH and Machine, I will definitely go with the GTX 660 then.

Jaywalker, I am wondering how it would work if I used the SSD for the OS while still using my 1 terabyte drive for the files? Would I have to configure it? Or is it still relatively simple to set up?
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#25
(11-30-2012, 03:40 PM)Mr. Bougo Wrote: SSD is for people who desire or need high performance reading and writing and have money to spend on this.

Plus the massive benefits in noise, power consumption, size, heat output and physical robustness. Makes them more of an obvious choice for laptops and for anyone interested in any of these areas.

(11-30-2012, 05:49 PM)Squigger Wrote: I am wondering how it would work if I used the SSD for the OS while still using my 1 terabyte drive for the files? Would I have to configure it? Or is it still relatively simple to set up?

While you can do it by copying the OS across, I would do it as a complete reinstall on the SSD. Take your old HDD out completely, put the SSD in on SATA channel 1, get your OS's up and running correctly, installing updates and software. Only then do you connect up the HDD on SATA channel 2. If you're just running Windows you should be able to boot it and it'll appear as D:, if you're running Linux or another OS then you may need to set up mount points. Under Windows something to watch for is changes in drive letters which may screw somethings up, hence the reason for completely reinstalling. Once you have your system up and running with both disks you can start deleting the old Windows system files from the HDD and changing things like the My Documents path (globally, for all users) to point to where they were on your old HDD so that all of your files are present.

Oh, and you might want to tune things for the SSD, Google should bring up a few guides for this, things like disabling defrag.
I'm at least a reasonably tolerable person to be around - Narcopic
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