Thinking about an upgrade

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Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Silkie on Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:05 pm

My current main PC is in pieces but I was thinking about an upgrade anyway. I want to return to gaming so I need a new GPU and was looking to add a SSD drive while keeping the existing one as storage.

The current spec.

Intel I7 1155 2600k
G Skill Ripjaws F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL 8GB DDR3 (1333MHz,Cas 9) x4 (16gb total)
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache

I don't need mega performance but my current idea is add to this a Samsung 840 EVO Basic 2.5" 120GB SATA III SSD for about £55 and then find a good GPU which will fit the case.

It had a MSI ATI Radeon HD 6950 Twin FrozR II 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card but a fan problem may mean I may never get it working again and a newer chip set would be nice.

I'm doing a fresh OS install and have no preference about AMD or Nvidia. Due to the case being SFF the length of the card is an issue. The old one was 270mm but I may be able to squeeze a slightly bigger card in there.

All ideas welcome.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Silkie on Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:16 pm

"I prefer the company of animals more than the company of humans.
Certainly, a wild animal is cruel.
But to be merciless is the privilege of civilised humans."
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby coldandtired on Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:28 pm

I would think about 250 GB rather than 120. After formatting and the OS you'll be well below 100 already.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Kaelan002 on Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:30 pm

As far as value for money goes, the GTX 970. You can get a basic card for £250, with the usual 'premium' designs all around the £270 mark.

Arguably MSI seems to have the best value card, with Asus and then EVGA following. All three should be fine lengthwise, but the first two are pretty tall, the MSI Especially.
Otherwise, the basic Zotac card is pretty cheap and mini, but it's a not amazing.

Saying that, you are still spending £250 - £270.

EDIT: I'd second what CnT posted, you'd get a decent random read/write performance boost from the higher capacity too.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Silkie on Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:09 pm

Money is the catch. Nice as they are that sort of card is out of my price range.

On the SSD it wouldn't actually have much beyond the OS and one or two games. Unless the 250gb drops soon it might be a bit too expensive. I may need a new monitor as well unfortunately. I wouldn't be running anything too new or for that matter at a very high resolution so the extra GPU speed would be a bit of waste.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby coldandtired on Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:52 pm

Silkie wrote:On the SSD it wouldn't actually have much beyond the OS and one or two games.

That's what I said at the beginning too :)

I bought a 64 gig one and all it could fit was Windows + the necessary programs (Visual Studio, NetBeans, TF2, etc.) and almost nothing else.

It was so painful waiting for the non-SSD things to load that I had to grab another and now my previous one serves as my documents partition.

Just checking now it seems the one I bought is now almost a third cheaper than when I bought it a few months' ago so you might want to consider doing something similar.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Silkie on Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:57 am

I'm in no great rush as right now I barely have time to do anything but college ends in December and then I might have some time to myself. I'm a bit out of touch so I figure start looking now and catch up on where hardware stands.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby hagz on Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:49 am

what os you using silkie?

I run my win 7 rig off a 120 gb SSD which leaves me about 45 gig free, have all my games on a 2 tb hard drive. I have a few bits on my ssd also like office etc.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Silkie on Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:46 pm

Windows 7 at the moment. I may be able to extend the budget a bit.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Silkie on Thu Nov 27, 2014 10:41 pm

Hmmm no to that Sapphire card as there are way too many reports of noisy and failing fans. Shame.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Security on Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:00 pm

Going for a 250GB SSD is indeed recommended, they aren't that much more expensive (should be around 20 Pounds more), I learned that lessen back in the day of the WD Raptor HDD's (74GB meant I had 20GB left after XP, drivers and updates).
The speed boost is the biggest difference you can and will notice if you install the OS and your most used software on it.

Personally I went for the Crucial M500 2,5" 240GB due to it having protection against power loss (so data doesn't get lost or corrupted) over most other brands which go for a bit more performance which you don't notice unless you are copying large files all the time. :P

The R9 280X is a good upgrade from the HD6950, you could also look at the 2nd hand market if you or someone here knows a good place to find 2nd hand GPU's in the UK. I got a cherry picked (which means it is a beast when being overclocked) R9 290 for €200 with 2 years of warranty a couple of weeks back that way.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Little_Devil on Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:38 pm

No idea why you are going for an SSD at this time, when SSHD can be had for lower prices with greater capacity.

Even if you did get an SSD, how many times do you boot your computer up in a day ? Pretty pointless sticking your O.S. on an SSD when the file sizes you actually access during operation are pretty small, and take little time to access. If you really feel the need to have (for some reason) an SSD, get an SSHD for the O.S. and stick your games on the SSD.

tbh, unless its a laptop, I would knock the SSD into touch and just get an SSHD. A 1TB drive will cost you around £50 - £60, and access time is not slow.

Seagate Desktop SSHD 1000GB 64MB Cache SATA 6 Gb/s 8GB SSD Cache Hybrid HDD £50.81 Ebuyer

Basically the 8GB SSD holds files that are accessed regularly, like system functions and current program files, sporadic data being lifted from the HDD.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby coldandtired on Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:56 pm

SSHDs only make sense if you have a tiny OS and a large media library.

Everything except films and music benefits hugely from being on an SSD and I would cry if I had to install anything on a spinning platter again! :)
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Little_Devil on Sun Nov 30, 2014 7:50 pm

Sorry without meaning to be insulting in any way. I find that statement to be nonsense and shows a lack of understanding of the SSHD operation.

In repeated trials with comparison tests done on Microsoft Windows, there is very little difference between the SSHD and the SSD on repeated boot up after the initial install boot.
In comparison tests, many of which you will find on the net between SSD, SSHD and 7200 rpm drives, show the difference you can expect to see. In practice I can attest to the fact the SSD does not even show any difference with many programs. and in programs where it does show an improvement, it makes little difference to the program operation.
Everything except films and music benefits hugely from being on an SSD


Films and music are usually streamed anyhow, and even a 7200 spin HDD can perform this task admirably.

This is untrue and again having a variety of different drives in my system, I can honestly state that the SSHD is far superior in terms of size and performance taken as a whole over any SSD.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby coldandtired on Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:20 pm

That's quite a unique opinion. I can't ever remember seeing SSHDs recommended over SSDs unless you desperately need the space (i.e. laptop) or to save money (less useful with SSD prices dropping).

As I posted upthread, it might be better to stick with a current HDD and add a smaller SDD, which is more or less what the SSHD does but with extra benefits.

For a desktop an SSHD alone makes little sense unless you only run a few programs often.

EDIT: To clarify, Silkie's updating his desktop PC which already has at least one HDD. If this HDD is too small, or getting old, then yes, it might be worth trading for an SSHD. Otherwise, small SSD + existing HDD or new big SSD is a better choice.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Little_Devil on Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:03 pm

Its not actually a unique opinion as the SSHD was designed for desk tops, with a view to faster access times than a standard drive.

We are talking about a desktop computer here and not a laptop which needs to have something more sturdy than a spinning disc. Hence the need for SSD, and the reason SSD's are small physically sized drives.

Even were you to compare the dropping prices of SSD's it makes no sense when you compare them to the price of the SSHD. The relative difference in speed, does not warrant paying out a large price discrepancy for something with far less capacity, little difference in speed in real application running terms, and a limited amount of space on a desktop PC.

I have at no time recommended SSHD over SSD, however in this particular instance Silkie has already implied he has limited funds, and for the price discrepancy between a 7200 Spin HDD and an SSHD, the SSHD is far superior in terms of access times and certainly miles cheaper than any SSD of a decent size.

Since an SSD was suggested, I merely stated that for a desk top machine I thought it was a waste of money, given if speed was required, this could be achieved more efficiently and less costly, than paying through the nose for something that does not bring a lot of benefit.

If you look at the size of game files to be stored on the HDD, an SSD makes absolutely no sense at all, unless you have no regard for money.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby krzje on Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:34 pm

I've bought the 840 evo 250gb yesterday and must say it works like a charm. Not too expensive, and everything runs so much smoother. Have the OS and steam with a few games and apps like office running on it, and it runs smooth as silk..

Wont know how i feel about it in a few weeks though, but thus far im pretty satisfied with it :mrgreen:


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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Kaelan002 on Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:09 pm

By that argument, buy a proper SSD and set that as cache. No point replacing a perfectly good HDD to gain a meager 8GB of flash.

You can debate all you want about boot times (meh), but having the benefit of the near instant access time of flash makes a massive difference in overall system responsiveness. In my opinion well worth the money, even more so if it is only to store the OS on.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Silkie on Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:09 am

TBH fund are based on me needing to budget for Christmas and the possible need to fork out a currently unknown sum over my laptop. I may try to sell off one or two things surplus to requirements first to give me some more options.

The existing drive is a bit of a puzzler as although no test reveals it as faulty I always felt it's performance was never quite what it should be for a relatively high spec. traditional HDD.
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Re: Thinking about an upgrade

Postby Little_Devil on Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:46 am

Kaelan002 wrote:By that argument, buy a proper SSD and set that as cache. No point replacing a perfectly good HDD to gain a meager 8GB of flash.


Hmm, so you have a cached SSD acting as cache to a HDD without any software algorithms to make sure it all works efficiently. That would certainly be a sight to see.

Clearly you are mistaking the principles behind the SSHD memory and cache memory, which all drives have including SSD and SSHD.


The existing drive is a bit of a puzzler as although no test reveals it as faulty I always felt it's performance was never quite what it should be for a relatively high spec. traditional HDD.

I have seen HDD's suffer in this way on a MS based system. Removing the drive, reformat and put on a different system, the HDD performs as expected. I have had drives that appear to be slow when loaded with the O.S. but when swapped out, perform far better, despite the drive being exactly the same as the one with the now transferred O.S. Mind you, a friend did a study at one time on cache sizes for the company he worked for, to determine the optimum size. What he found was ever increasing sizes of cache memory made the drive less efficient, because of the cache access times, and that the optimum (and borderline usefulness) was 64 MB. Even at this size access times would vary quite a lot, depending on types of data indexing stored in the cache. The disc O.S. plays are large part in this, because of the way it stores data, large files may or may not be contiguous. Cached memory addresses to many different places on a fragmented drive also slows down what could be a decent spec drive. The analogy could be the difference between a 1 page index in a book and a ten page index, where the same topic is not all in one chapter. The actual access time to read the index becomes long and this is before the drive is actually accessed.
All drives suffer in this way no matter what the technology, and SSD has added timing problems by way of the fact that data has to be stored in a different way to a normal HDD, so access times can vary quite a bit depending on the type of operation being performed.

Whenever I look at making up a new system I try to prioritise on parts, and what gives the most benefit for the lowest cost. HDD's are never high on my list, given that those can be purchased at any time as an add in, unlike main system components, like the Mobo and CPU. I go for SSHDD as these give the highest benefits for the least cost, however when choosing components for a new system, I can make do with any one of the multitude of drives I currently have, as I really don't consider the drive as being high priority compared to other components.

I think you are brave going for a new system, at this time of year, however you can always ask for components as Christmas presents. :)
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