Build It: Upgrading an X58 Rig into a Gaming Powerhouse

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Tedd

Just started upgrade plans on a pretty similar computer the day before I picked up MaximumPC so the article was very timely and appreciated. Too bad it's a two parter article...

My first purchases were an Apricorn Velocity Solo pci-e ssd card with additional SATA3 port, and an OCZ Agility3 240G ssd card. I'll pair this with a 2TB SATA2 hard drive for storage. Toying with the idea of hosting Windows' swap file on a SATA2 60G ssd.

I'd like usb 3.0 ports on the case front, so I opted for a Corsair 300R. Next step is a H100 for overclocking an Intel 930.

I'm not a gamer and the computer has a 5850 so I'm on the fence about a video card upgrade. The ram will also be upgraded to 12GB.

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JeffroKill

I recently made some upgrades to my Gateway FX6800-01e

Stock Configuration:
Windows Vista Home Premium x64 Bit
Ati Radeon HD 4850 with 512MB Ram
Intel Core i7-920 @ 2.67GHz
Samsung 3GB DDR3 Triple-Channel Ram 1066MHz
Seagate 750GB HDD 7200 Rpm

Current Configuration:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 bit
Ubuntu 12.04 x64 bit
XFX Radeon HD 5770 w 1GB GDDR 5 Ram
Intel Core i7-920 @ 2.67GHz
Samsung 3GB DDR3 Triple-Channel Ram @ 1066MHZ
Kingston 12GB DDR3 Triple-Channel Ram @ 1333MHz
Seagate 750GB HDD 7200 Rpm
Seagate 1TB HDD 7200 Rpm

Any ideas what I should improve next? I am open to suggestions :)

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Ilander

It depends a lot on your usage model. If you're a heavy gamer, then I'd say a Radeon HD 7850 would be in line. If you're a shut-it-down-at-night user, then I'd say an SSD, for sure. I will say, though, that I'd pull the Samsung RAM out, and run just the Kingston at its native speed, since you probably don't use 15GB of RAM. I had 16GB in my system for a bit, and other than using a RAMDisk, I couldn't figure out a way to use it.

Probably the most fun thing you could upgrade, if you've got "Build Fever" as I like to call it, would be your case. That would give you a chance to improve cooling, clean all your parts, and you can make that into as big or small of a project as you like; plus, it gives you the chance to add an aftermarket cooler, and while you can't overclock with it, you could, at least, keep the thing running insanely cool and quiet.

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Ilander

Nice rebuild!

My x58 system is now a media-pc. I'm actually really impressed with how a i7-920 can be frugal with power when it wants to be. I'm running an HD 5450 as the GPU, but that's soon to change to a spare HD 5750 I have at the moment. All on a 350W power supply, with Win8 Consumer Preview, and a collection of old spare drives (first gen Sandforce SSD boot drive)

Works great! No relative is getting these parts yet!

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slynn12

The X58 boards should have no problems what so ever being compatible with the newest generation of graphics cards? All of the features and speeds will not be throttled in any way? I'm looking to upgrade from my HD4870 to something new and a co-worker of mine said there'd be compatibility issues with the newer cards, and I wouldn't see the performance with leaving my CPU stock and not OC'd. I was skeptical of that but I'm not positive.

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Ilander

So long as you have an x58 board with FULL x16 lanes, and you aren't running 3 premiere GPUs, you're fine. the 7970 and GTX 680 can saturate PCIe 2.1x16, but only in uncommon circumstances, so you're fine unless you have a cheap board that only did x8 slots. With a single card, though, those were usually x16, and as such, no problem at all.

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Jon_Antonsen

I want to upgrade my rig now:

i7-930 CPU (2.78GHz)
XFX Radeon HD6850 graphics card (before price drop)
Gigabyte X58-UD3r mobo
6GB DDR3 1333mhz Corsair Dominator RAM
Samsung 22x CD/DVD burner
750W Black Widow PSU
Cooler Master Elite 430 case
WD Caviar Green 500GB
Windows 7 Enterprise

Yay... Prob wait for a GTX 580, i7-980, more RAM, and a new PSU.
I don't need a new Hard drive, screw dat bro, although an SSD would be nice

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cmasupra

I upgraded my X58 rig just 3 months ago. Went from:

Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R
i7 920 at stock speed
6GB DDR3 1600 (8-8-8-24-1T)
GTX 480
1kW Rosewill PSU
3 hard drives (2.28TB total space)
Corsair Obsidian 800D

to:

Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R
i7 920 OC'd to 3.9GHz
18GB DDR3 1600 (8-8-8-24-1T)
GTX 480
1kW Rosewill PSU
1 120GB SSD
5 hard drives (5.28TB total space)
Corsair Obsidian 650D

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davidm71

I agree with the first poster that you made a serious mistake not going for a ssd drive. In your article you passed on them due the price but these days you get a really fast high quality 120gb SSD for $120! I seriously doubt you gained much performance wasting a 2gb module so you could have 12gb ram (article says 16gb and is misleading). Should have left the ram alone and got a SSD drive for boot and your old WD drive for data!

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oldobamaliar

as soon as you did not make the ssd the most important upgrade you lost credibility

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Insula Gilliganis

Nathan is probably waiting for faster SSDs and/or he needs something significant to add for the 2nd part of his rebuild. There could be some debate on whether the SSD should have gone in first, then wait for the video card as then the GTX680 could have been used.

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nedwards

Since this is a two-part upgrade, I saved the SSD for the second part. 

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Insula Gilliganis

Nathan on pg. 74 says "check back in a few months when I do the second half of this upgrade".. translation: perhaps by Jan 2013 ;-)

Just curious Nathan.. was this rig still in the lab and intact with all it's original equipment?? Thought all your builds were dismantled and the parts sent back to the manufacturers. Is this different for Dream Machines? I almost can't believe the lab contains previous builds just sitting around collecting dust. Was the "Budget Surplus" actually being used by someone and you "borrowed" it off their desk when they weren't looking or it was being used by a former colleague who now no longer is employed by Future?

hyb43 - Since Nathan wrote this article before the GTX680 was released, he couldn't use it.. but I am sure he NOW would pick it over the 7950

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nedwards

It was actually being used for monitor testing with a different GPU, but we still had the original GPU lying around. The lab contains a lot of weird stuff, despite regular cleanups.

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Insula Gilliganis

Mmmm.. weird stuff huh?? Sounds like a video tour of the lab would be awesome to view!! I seem to remember, back in the early 2000s during one of those "regular cleanups", a video card was found frozen in the freezer!

BTW.. bring back the blue surgical gloves!

Nathan, thanks for responding.. and fixing the title :-)

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hyb43

Should be X58 as Insula stated...

I'd personally use an nVidia GTX 680 if they're available (not an nVidia fanboy, I have the Sapphire OC 7950 myself and love it, but might as well get the best part available now.)

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Kaldor

QFT

Im also not a Nvidia fanboy, but the 680 is one hell of a card right now.

Im in a similar situation with a 930, 12 gigs of RAM, 500 gig HD, but I run a pair of ATI 6970s that I got cheap so no real reason to update anything here. The only logical update is an SSD.

An SSD should be the primary update! Yes the GPU change will help you game faster, and the RAM will help a bit, but a 256 gig SSD will make the machine feel much faster, and thats the reality of it. Benchmark all you want, if the machine is a dog because your waiting for stuff to load, then it will "feel" slow.

The RAM upgrade will not really help anything other than some inane benchmark that serves no real world purpose.

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bautrey

So what do you do with the old parts after you finished upgrading?

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Insula Gilliganis

Think your title is wrong.. should b "X58" if this is the same rig that you started upgrading on pg 70 of the May issue.

BTW.. just a friendly reminder.. you promised a podcast today!!

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nedwards

Fixed, thanks! And yeah, we recorded the podcast yesterday and we'll put it up just as soon as it's done being edited.

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