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Old 09-29-2008, 03:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

Hi, I'm about to upgrade my current gaming rig. Previous specs here: Soul Savage

Although that page is slightly out of date, the only modifications since then have been a rhoebus and an aftermarket GPU cooler and some GPU overclocking.

I just ordered an additional 2 gigs of G.Skill's D9GMH, a 1.5TH HDD, a Rosewill SATA controller and Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition. Once they arrive, I plan on converting my 500GB RAID10 into a 1TB RAID0 and using the 1.5TB HDD as a backup drive, since I don't entirely trust the onboard RAID controller to not be the weak link in my data security.

The upgrade process will be rather convoluted, but I plan for it to go something like this:
1) copy all of the data from my 400GB data partition to the 1.5 TB HDD, leaving unpartitioned space
2) copy all of the data from my 300GB external storage drive to the 1.5TB HDD also
3) install Windows XP on the unpartitioned portion of the 1.5TB HDD, installing the RAID drivers from a removable floppy drive, and install Acronis.
4) make an image of the remaining 100GB system partition on the array and store it on the 300GB external HDD.
5) clear and rebuild the Array as a 1TB RAID0
6) restore the image using Acronis from the 1.5TB HDD
7) expand the system partition to 200GB, add an additional 100GB partition and a 650GB partition, leaving 50GB unpartitioned to add a Linux distro later.
8) install Vista x64 on the 100GB partition,
9) combine and move the data from the 400GB and 300GB partitions stored on the 1.5TB drive to the 650GB partition on the Array
10) wipe and repartition the 1.5TB drive, configuring Acronis to backup all partitions of the array to it, excluding the folders containing tons of raw multimedia that I don't care if I lose.

Sounds pretty straightforward, no?

Once I add in the extra 2GB of D9GMH, I plan on going into the BIOS and changing the clock from 1:1 FSB to 3:2 FSB, since I know it has a lot more speed potential than I'm using right now (currently clocked down to 750 or so MHz)... might even be able to push it higher, but don't want to end up with dead memory... wondering if anyone knows if the claims that it can be pushed above 1600MHz are true, because then I might shoot for 2:1.

I'm also looking to upgrade the 8800GTS I have now... simply because it's only the 320MB model, and some games *require* more than that.

That said, the 8800 GTS is plenty fast in my opinion, especially once overclocked with the cooler, the way I have it. I guess what it boils down to, is if I'm going to spend money on upgrading my GPU, I may as well try to get something faster than what I have, to futureproof it... the problem there, is that none of nVIDIA's modern GPUs are as fast as mine, unless I want a GX2 or SLI, and by then I'm spending a whole lot of money.

The 9800GX2 has come down to under $300 in price, so that alone is somewhat tempting... except for the fact that it runs *hot* and has a ****** stock cooler, and if I wanted to keep it cool, with, or even without, overclocking, I would need to spend $300-$400 on a water cooling system and a waterblock for the card.

On the other hand, I could always get another 8800GTS 320 and SLI it with my current card, but then I would have to cut down the overclock to the point where there's no gain in speed, OR invest another $70 in an aftermarket cooler for the new card... plus there's the issue of the SLI eclipsing the PCI slot where my wireless card resides, meaning I would have to either switch to USB wireless or upgrade my mainboard.

Right now though I'm looking at the new Radeons, and comparing to the latest from nVIDIA, they're looking pretty good, if pricey.

So, does anyone have an opinion on these? Here are the ones I'm considering, and what I know:

nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX/G92 (512MB) $160
Newegg.com - EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX(G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Easily the cheapest of the bunch... though from what I understand, it actually has lower performance than my current overclocked card, apart from the increase in video memory.

nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 (1024MB) $280
Newegg.com - EVGA 01G-P3-N891-AR GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB (512MB per GPU) 512-bit (256-bit per GPU) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Price has come down a long ways since they came out, so it's finally worth considering, and should outperform my current card by a fair margin... there's just that heat issue.

ATi Radeon HD 4870 (1024MB) $300
Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE 100243-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Kinda pricey, and there's some argument over whether it outperforms the GX2, though nVIDIA must be worried, considering how quickly their GX2 prices came down to match once this card was released... or, and it sounds like a jet engine.

ATi Radeon HD 4870 X2 (2048MB) $550
Newegg.com - MSI R4870X2-T2D2G-OC Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Extremely expensive, drivers still in early stages, but easily outperforms anything else on the market. This one's the OC Edition @ 780MHz, though I have to wonder about heat, cooling and power. Is a Corsair HX 620W PSU going to be enough?

Will post progress pictures once I start.

EDIT: does anyone know where I can find an actual comparitive benchmark of the video cards I listed?
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

First off, you have the 320mb version. Basically a standard 8800GT 512mb would outperform it. Second, for ease, I would upgrade to a 9800GTX+ or 9800GX2. I have used the 9800GX2, and while it does run a bit hot, all it would need is upping the fan speed. Or if you value quiet, just get an aftermarket cooler like you have on your 320mb 8800GTS. No need for watercooling on a 9800GX2.

Also, I am not sure that the 620hx has enough connectors for anything higher than a 9800GX2. I can't tell from the specifications on NewEgg, but it just lists it at 2x PCI-E connectors. A 9800GX2 requires a 6-pin AND an 8-pin, so if the 620hx just has 2x 6-pin you will need an adapter.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

Quote:
Originally Posted by surgeVel View Post
First off, you have the 320mb version. Basically a standard 8800GT 512mb would outperform it. Second, for ease, I would upgrade to a 9800GTX+ or 9800GX2. I have used the 9800GX2, and while it does run a bit hot, all it would need is upping the fan speed. Or if you value quiet, just get an aftermarket cooler like you have on your 320mb 8800GTS. No need for watercooling on a 9800GX2.

Also, I am not sure that the 620hx has enough connectors for anything higher than a 9800GX2. I can't tell from the specifications on NewEgg, but it just lists it at 2x PCI-E connectors. A 9800GX2 requires a 6-pin AND an 8-pin, so if the 620hx just has 2x 6-pin you will need an adapter.
A GTX maybe, but I thought the GT was slower than my current card (currently at 680MHz). The additional 192 MB of memory alone doesn't quite justify the cost of upgrading.

How exactly would you fit an aftermarket cooler on a GX2 without water cooling? I'm interested to know, since the last time I looked, the only blocks they made for those things were $250 water blocks... there's just no room for a conventional copper heatsink and fan.

I was unaware it took an 8-pin. I can check and see if I have a connector for it or not, but that does complicate things... how about the 4870?
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

if i were you and had the money i would go 9800gx2. always wanted one..... and yes the 9800xxx series usually have good cooling. all they need is upping of the fan speed. ohh and yes a 8800gt 512mb will out preform your card. the gt has 112 stream processors and a better architecture G92 vs G80
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Old 09-29-2008, 04:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

The clock "speed" doesn't mean it is a faster/better card. Just because the core clocks are lower, does not mean it would perform slower or less efficiently. The 8800GT with it's added memory, larger 256-bit interface, more stream processors, and newer architecture make it much faster.

As far as air cooling, I think people have used 2 of these coolers:
Newegg.com - Thermalright HR-03 / R600 VGA Cooler - VGA Cooling

Here is a pic of it in the 4th message down:
Aftermarket 9800gx2 cooler? - XtremeSystems Forums

That would be like a $100 cost though, just to cool a 9800GX2. I would say if the 4870 at $280 is in your range that would be best:

1. HD4870 X2
2. GTX 280
3 9800GX2
4. HD4870
5. GTX 260
6. HD3870 X2
7. 8800Ultra
8. HD4850
9. 9800GTX+
...
12. 8800GTS 512MB (G92 Revision)
13. 8800GT 512MB
...
17. HD3870 512MB
18.9600GSO 768MB
19. 9600GT 512MB
...
22. 8800GTS 640MB
23. HD3850 512MB
24. 9600GSO 384MB
25. 8800GS 384MB
26. 8800GT 256MB
27. 8800GTS 320MB

That shows where your GTS 320mb card stacks up.
In some cases the 4870 performs better than the GX2, so I would get either that or the HD 4850 since it performs better than the 9800GTX+. Although, if you need Nvidia, get the 9800GTX+.
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

IMO your best bet will be either the 4850 or 4870, unless you want to sli. As far as OC goes, dude you have a 650i, don't blow it up.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

Quote:
Originally Posted by zmatt View Post
IMO your best bet will be either the 4850 or 4870, unless you want to sli. As far as OC goes, dude you have a 650i, don't blow it up.
well aparently my 750i ftw mobo is a 650i nb but i cant beleive that i think most 750i boards are but this is probably just a lower bined 780i/680i nb chip. but ya ud need to upgrade your mobo, preaty much u go nvidia its a 750i ftw, for valeu to performence, if you go intel its gonna be a biostar p45 board. i would get the 4850 ot 9800gtx+ and upgrade your mobo along with the rest.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

Considering the cost and benefits involved you would be wise to choose Intel. The Nvidia boards can only begin to compete with the more expensive models, and even then they are about as good as a $130 Intel board.

I put my vote for a Biostar P45, depending on your budget either the $100 TP45 or the higher end I45. The I45 has the world record for OC right now and the TP45 isn't that dissimilar.
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

Okay,seems I've hit a snag... I can't get Acronis True Image to install and work on my PC. The installer hangs at 100% complete, and the application then hangs at the beginning of the backup wizard. I'm not sure if it's a problem with the application, software, or with my RAID and SATA drivers. In any case, it's not letting me proceed.

I'm going to try running it in safemode, but beyond that I don't know where to start.
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cunjo's Official Savage Upgrade Thread (opinions wanted)

I don't use RAID for that very reason. it's a nice idea, but unless your using a server with enterprise level software it just doesn't work with stuff. It's one of those things that they made available to consumers without developing any good support for.
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