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Mobo/CPU upgrade? Need advice please.

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Epynom

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Hello all,
I am newer to the forums but frequently visit this site for news and tech help. I'll try not to make this over complicated but I could really use some advice. This was my first build i put together 2-3 years ago and even used advice I found here to run a successful 24/7 OC since then. I've been really happy with my results but am thinking it may be time for a change.

First, the build.

Case: Cooler Master HAF 932 full tower.
Cpu: AMD Phenom II X6 Black 1090T @ 4GHZ
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-890XA-UD3 AM3 AMD 790X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
PSU: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro RSA00-AMBAJ3-US 1000W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Cooler: CORSAIR Hydro series H50 High Performance CPU Cooler
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100311-2SR Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 x2 in Crossfirex
SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III
HDD: TOSHIBA PH3200U-1I72 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s
HDD: Western Digital WD Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s

This all started a few days back when I purchased this RAM kit: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231460

I thought that I could squeeze a bit more performance out of some faster RAM. After I spent the entire day yesterday trying to get it to run at 1866 I realized that maybe my system has some other limitations then I had previously thought. It seems that taking my CPU above 4GHZ is not an option. I max out @ 1.5v which I believe is the highest it can be pushed and can't seem to run anything stable beyond that. my OC is here: http://valid.canardpc.com/2722484

Is this a limitation of My CPU? My Board? Or my own limited knowledge? I do not use my PC for video editing/rendering, Graphic design, or any other sort of "work". It's for gaming, watching movies, browsing the web etc. I look forward to playing new releases like Bioshock Infinite, FFXIV Realm Reborn, Crysis 3 and the like. It's not that I have any trouble gaming now. But working with PC's is also a hobby. One I'm trying to get better at. I'd like to not just run these games. I'd like to destroy them. Within my budget of course.

So my questions are as follows. Is my system at it's current peak? What's holding me back at this point? Should I upgrade my Mobo/CPU or both? If upgrading is the answer I would like to spend in the range of $200-$300 on each piece. What's going to be the best bang for my buck to get the gaming results that I want? I would like to tap into the wealth of knowledge that can be found here. Please help.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Not being able to run the memory at 1866 was probably a limitation of the CPU's IMC (integrated memory controller) the Thuban core processors will happily run 1600 MHz ram but the IMC is very borderline for running 1866 ram. Just not quite stout enough. Oh, you may be able to do it if you increase the CPUNB voltage some and relax the ram timings but it's just not worth the fight. The FX CPUs (Bulldozer and Piledriver) like 1866 ram.

Really, the only options if you want to stay with AMD would be either the Crosshair V and Sabertooth motherboards by Asus or the Fatality by ASRock coupled with an FX-8350. Some of the very highest end Gigabyte 990FX (UD5, UD7) boards are said to also be able to stand up to the power demands of an overclocked 8 core FX CPU. If you go with Intel you can get even more performance but at a higher cost that sounds like it could still fit within your budget.
 
Last edited:

manu2b

Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
I believe your [email protected] would not bottleneck a 7970.

If you use your PC for gaming mainly, upgrade the GPU: you'll roughly double the FPS from a 6970 to a 7970, for a merely $350.

EDIT: sorry, I've been a bit optimistic. It's more like 50 to 80% increase
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/509?vs=508

EDIT 2::bang head F..k me! Just awake, no coffee yet. I didn't see you had 2 6970's...

EDIT 3: If you play @1080p, sell the 6970's and buy ONE 7970. I you do Eyefinity, sell the 6970's and buy 2 7970's:D You'll upgrade CPU/MoBo next year.
 
OP
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Epynom

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Not being able to run the memory at 1866 was probably a limitation of the CPU's IMC (integrated memory controller) the Thuban core processors will happily run 1600 MHz ram but the IMC is very borderline for running 1866 ram. Just not quite stout enough. Oh, you may be able to do it if you increase the CPUNB voltage some and relax the ram timings but it's just not worth the fight. The FX CPUs (Bulldozer and Piledriver) like 1866 ram.

Really, the only options if you want to stay with AMD would be either the Crosshair V and Sabertooth motherboards by Asus or the Fatality by ASRock coupled with an FX-8350. Some of the very highest end Gigabyte 990FX (UD5, UD7) boards are said to also be able to stand up to the power demands of an overclocked 8 core FX CPU. If you go with Intel you can get even more performance but at a higher cost that sounds like it could still fit within your budget.

Thanks so much for the quick reply. I found it very informative. I'm glad that the problems i was having weren't just me. I tweaked with NB voltages and timings for a little while and that's the same conclusion that I came to. That it's just not worth the trouble.

With that in mind, I'd still like to produce some substantial gains. I am familiar with the FX chips as my wife builds as well and her rig has the 990 FX UD5 board and the 8150 CPU. I contemplated going there myself but really don't like the feeling like that's the end of the line. So my interest has really started to drift to Intel. The problem there is that while I'm very familiar with AMD for both CPU/GPU's, I'm not as informed on Intel. I know they make the best and fastest chips, my mind just gets bogged down with all the different types.

Could you make a good recommendation for CPU/MOBO? I don't mind spending $300 or so on each, but I would like a large gain over what I have right now. Thanks in advance!
 
OP
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Epynom

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
I believe your [email protected] would not bottleneck a 7970.

If you use your PC for gaming mainly, upgrade the GPU: you'll roughly double the FPS from a 6970 to a 7970, for a merely $350.

EDIT: sorry, I've been a bit optimistic. It's more like 50 to 80% increase
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/509?vs=508

EDIT 2::bang head F..k me! Just awake, no coffee yet. I didn't see you had 2 6970's...

EDIT 3: If you play @1080p, sell the 6970's and buy ONE 7970. I you do Eyefinity, sell the 6970's and buy 2 7970's:D You'll upgrade CPU/MoBo next year.

I have often thought of the 7970. However the price for that GPU is still hovering right at $400.00. My first priority is to run FFXIV and possibly some other MMO's in the near future. Correct me if I'm wrong but it's my understanding that many MMO's are more CPU reliant for playing smoothly? I figured at the time that 2 6970's were comparable to at least a single 7970 or at least close. I haven't read any benchmarks or tests to uphold this theory lately however.

I would like to run in Eyefinity for both Bioshock Infinite and FFXIV so the cost for 2 7970's would be $800.00+. I guess what I'm asking here is what would give me the largest gains for the money spent? Would I get much more out of a new Intel CPU and Mobo for probably less then $800.00 using my existing 6970's?
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Epynom, are you in the states and do you live near a microcenter? Also why this statement I'm confused by the end of the line?
I am familiar with the FX chips as my wife builds as well and her rig has the 990 FX UD5 board and the 8150 CPU. I contemplated going there myself but really don't like the feeling like that's the end of the line.
 
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Epynom

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Epynom, are you in the states and do you live near a microcenter? Also why this statement I'm confused by the end of the line?

Sorry Mandrake. I Probably typed that in a hurry. Yes I live in the states but there is no microcenter near me. I usually Newegg for my parts. What I meant by that line is that my wife's PC build is a GA 990fX-UD5 mobo and the AMD FX 8150 CPU. While it's very nice I don't feel like it's enough of an upgrade from my current setup to merit a change. Also other then the FX 8350 that's as good as it gets with AMD. The top of the line. I hope that clarify's a bit?
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Ok it's clear now, thanks. For the money you really can't beat a I5-3570k + Asrock Z77 extreme 4 as an upgrade. Reason for the microcenter question is they have a walk in deal on a I5-3570k + a z77 mobo combo $50.00 off. You can get the combo I mentioned above for around $290.00. The new Piledrivers are much better then the Bulldozers but if overclocking you need a board with a strong VRM section, which raises the $ for performance ratio greatly. I also agree with Conumdrum, you will probably be better served with a gpu upgrade.
 
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Epynom

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Wow. You guys really think just new GPU all across the board eh? I've been spending the afternoon reading up on the i5-3570k and it's really piqued my interest. How much of an upgrade over my current CPU would you guys say it is? I mean, I'm taking your advice on the 7970's either way. I just have to sell my 6970's now lol...
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
I really have no experience with either processor, but take this for what it is. I have a I5-2500 k Oc'ed on air 24/7 @4.7 comparing it to my old 955be clock for clock it is an absolute slaughter. The 2500k destroys it in every comparison I threw at it. You can expect about 3-6% increase in performance clock for clock comparing the I5-2500k vs the 3570k. I'm not sure if there are any games out there that take advantage of all 6 cores of the 1090t yet. So you'll probably get some improvement in games that are cpu dependent but I still believe the GPU is the way to go.
 
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Epynom

New Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
I really have no experience with either processor, but take this for what it is. I have a I5-2500 k Oc'ed on air 24/7 @4.7 comparing it to my old 955be clock for clock it is an absolute slaughter. The 2500k destroys it in every comparison I threw at it. You can expect about 3-6% increase in performance clock for clock comparing the I5-2500k vs the 3570k. I'm not sure if there are any games out there that take advantage of all 6 cores of the 1090t yet. So you'll probably get some improvement in games that are cpu dependent but I still believe the GPU is the way to go.

Hey thanks so much for the continued information and support. I had also made a post on Tom's hardware and got almost no replies. So thank you to all here that have helped to answer my questions.

I got out of work early today due to bad weather and was able to come home and do some research. It seems my exact question about the i5-3570k vs my CPU has been asked many times. It's 60/40 but the common consensus is that updating your entire platform isn't worth the gains cost wise. So it seems that all your advice has been more then sound. Dollar for dollar it seems that my best bet really is a GPU update.

With that in mind, is there a 7970 you guys recommend over another? I've always been a huge Sapphire fan but the reviews on both of their 7970's were very bad. MSI seems to have the best press this time around. I was thinking about this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127677

It seems to be the closest thing to the Lightning edition they made which received much praise from the gaming community.

Thoughts?
 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
With that in mind, is there a 7970 you guys recommend over another? I've always been a huge Sapphire fan but the reviews on both of their 7970's were very bad. MSI seems to have the best press this time around.
Reviews where, hope you weren't looking at newegg reviews for information! There are a few reviews in here. As far as individual cards go I'm still working with my oldie but goodie, Ati 5850 and haven't had any experience with the newer ones. So I really cannot comment, other then, I feel the 7970's are the best bang for the buck for their level of performance.