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Old 09-29-2014, 04:29 PM   #1
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Post Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revisions

Good day fellow CFians,

Its been some time since I posted in these parts - not sure if many vets are still around, but if so hello again. To those who are new, nice to meet you!

So I've been getting 'the itch' to upgrade my system and thought I'd query y'alls thoughts on my upgrade options just for some fresh perspective. Below are my current specs:

Intel Core i5 2550K overclocked to 4.6Ghz, ASROCK Extreme4 Gen3 Mobo, 8GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM, OCZ Vortex 3 120GB SSD, 3x 640GB WD SATA II Blacks in a RAID 0 (not currently, had to break down the RAID for a drive going bad, so currently running on the replacement 750GB WD gave me), NVidia GeForce 560Ti, Corsair 850W PSU. I think that's everything important.

Anyway, the debate I'm ultimately looking at is if I should upgrade a couple of components (such as adding 8GB of RAM and upgrading the video card) or if I should go ahead and do what equates to a full system overhaul, upgrading to Haswell-E i5, new mobo, 12-16GB RAM, and a new video card. Cost does play a role, but efficiency is also important to me. If upgrading my RAM and Video card on my current system won't keep my system up to par for a good while then I'd rather just go ahead and do the overhaul. That said, I also want to make sure that making the platform upgrade is also worth the money, i.e. significant performance boost over my current setup.

From what I can remember from past readings, processors (Intel, in particular) are generally above the curve of processing power needed for nearly all current games. Assuming this is correct, I'm not under the impression that I am really in a strong need to upgrade my processor, but I'm curious of your thoughts on this concept as well.

One final thought: I'm interested in upgrading my monitors sometime not too far down the road. Specifically, I'm hoping to move up to at least 2k if not 4K monitors in a dual or potentially even tri-monitor setup. I've been reading into this area to a degree, and it sounds like current HDMI and Display Port revisions don't fully support 4K screen's to their full potential (i.e. unable to run at 60Hz or aren't able to run two at 60Hz, something like that). So I'm debating if I should even get a new video card yet if a new revision to HDMI or Display Port is on the way that would resolve these issues.

So...discussion time!

EDIT: For context, I'm primarily using my system for general purposes + Gaming. I'm not doing any photo editing, video editing, or other hardcore tasks except for gaming. Therefore, benchmarks alone don't carry a whole lot of weight unless they are also paired with real world gaming performance.
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

The CPU you have currently would still be able to play most games, Its GPU power you need most. Adding more ram would be good too. Have you got a budget or limit?
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

Thanks for the input BK. I'm willing to spend up to about $400 on the video card. The RAM is around $70 I believe for the same model to fill up my motherboard.

This is the RAM that I'd be purchasing since its the same kit I have installed already: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231311
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

With 400 dollars to spend on a graphics card you could upgrade to a 780ti. Thanks to the price drop they can be found in non reference form for about 440 bucks on Newegg and cheaper elsewhere so I've heard. Or you could go with a GTX 970 for insane power efficiency leading to insane overclocking. But don't upgrade your whole system. Just add ram and a new graphics card and you are good to go.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:44 AM   #5
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

Jarl,

I was looking primarily at the R9 290, but I will admit I do prefer NVidia, do you know how those two cards compare to the 290? I haven't really pushed the overclocking envelope on video cards since in my experience I haven't been able to get any notable boost in performance - the cards I've bought are already overclocked from the manufacturer.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

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Jarl,

I was looking primarily at the R9 290, but I will admit I do prefer NVidia, do you know how those two cards compare to the 290? I haven't really pushed the overclocking envelope on video cards since in my experience I haven't been able to get any notable boost in performance - the cards I've bought are already overclocked from the manufacturer.
Both cards trounce the R9 290. The 970 is a bit closer in performance to the 290 then the 780ti but it has 3 new features that make it an appealing card over others. 1. MFAA. Antialiasing that gives you the same graphical fidelity and quality as MSAA but a far lower performance hit. Its like having 4x AA that performs like you are running 2x AA. 2. DSR (dynamic super resolution). Basically it upscales textures to 4K resolution while keeping the total resolution to whatever your screen natively puts out (for example 1080p with 4K textures, makes it look way better). Good for older games that aren't as graphically intense. 3. Voxel lighting. Increases the quality and realism of light effects in games (sun rays look more realistic, lighting is more accurate and realistic). So I would go 970 personally (and I will be at some point).
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

I'll definitely have to look into the 970. I wouldn't be totally against spending a bit more, but it looks like the 970 is an excellent card and it has a great price point. I'm sure it'd destroy my 560Ti and make games like Company of Heroes 2 run much smoother.

One thing I have realized is that I can't run PCI-E 3.0 with a Sandybridge processor (my 2500k, as apparently Sandybridge is limited to 2.0). Do you know how much of an impact that will have?
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Old 09-30-2014, 12:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

Oh yeah. The 970 is a huge upgrade over the 560Ti. I have a 670 and I can run COH2 maxed out (well physics is set to medium and AA isn't maxed but still). PCI-E 2.0 will make no difference whatsoever. Maybe a frame or 2 at the most but no tangible difference. Graphics cards are just barely beginning to fully saturate PCI-E 2 let alone PCI-E 3. So no worries there.
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

Hmm. I may just buy the video card for now and upgrade the whole platform here in a year or so once Haswell-E and DDR4 prices come down. Though, I did notice that CoH2 was using 80% of my 8GB with just steam and raidcall running in the background...hmmm...decisions decisions.

What about the 4K display future proofing? Do you know how well the 970 will handle 4K displays, and if it'll be able to display at 60Hz? I heard the current revisions of HDMI/Display port are limited to 30Hz on a 4k display, or something to that effect.
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Old 09-30-2014, 03:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

COH2 is a ram hog. No secret there. As for 4K no single card is going to give you a great experience. Sli and crossfire are a must. So if you were to go 4K I would get two 970's, OC the crap out of them, and you should be fine.
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

If you want true 4K gaming, the most powerful GPU is the 295X2 from AMD. However it's a bit pricy even after the $500 price drop.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

Quote:
Originally Posted by MooseMan View Post
Jarl,

I was looking primarily at the R9 290, but I will admit I do prefer NVidia, do you know how those two cards compare to the 290? I haven't really pushed the overclocking envelope on video cards since in my experience I haven't been able to get any notable boost in performance - the cards I've bought are already overclocked from the manufacturer.
If you were looking at the 780 then here is a benchmark GPUBoss did on itvs the R9 290 Radeon R9 290 vs GeForce GTX 780 Ti, The 780 beats it but they come close to one another in most tests. Like you said before you could just upgrade the GPU or go for a whole new build altogether and get some new goodies..
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

Craig: I'm definitely not looking to spend that much up front. I'd probably be more interested in buying the 970 now and buying a second one later should I move to 4k gaming since I don't currently have a 4k monitor, or even a 2k for that matter. Wishful thinking Plus, the 970 has some of the nice new tech to help future proof it some.

BK: You're right, the 780Ti and the R9 290 are similar in performance, but the 970 seems to be nearly as powerful as the 780 (if not more powerful in several instances) and its far more efficient for less money. Unless there is a price drop that comes in the next 2 weeks or sooner then I doubt the 780 would be something I'd be looking at too closely. I'm pretty sold on the 970 architecture, especially since it supports HDMI 2.0 and has the other future proofing features. I imagine adding a second one to SLi would be a good upgrade a 6 months down the road or so if I end up getting a 4k display.

The problem now lies in which brand to purchase. EVGA was initially my first choice, but I've read quite a few reviews that suggest the cooler is cheap/flimsy and loud, and its output connections are not nearly as good as the reference output (only 1 DP instead of 3). The Gigabyte is the only card I've seen that has the 3 DP connections but the card is...wait for it...15.9" long! That wouldn't fit in my case unless I removed the HDD cage, and I've got 4 drives in the bays so I'd have to buy 4 5.25" adapters or buy a new case. While I'm not 100% against a new case, that'd be a lot of extra money that I don't really need to spend - money that I'd rather save for a second 970 or a beautiful display ;D
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:01 AM   #14
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

Yeah, hardly any reason to purchase a 295X2. Unless someone has like duel 4K monitors it has very little purpose. Still funny to think it's better then the Titan Z and it's a third the price.
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Old 10-01-2014, 05:10 PM   #15
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Default Re: Upgrade Time, Perhaps? Discussion of Haswell-E Desktop Platform and Display Revis

While we're on the topic, any recommendations on 4k monitors? I've only just started to look into them a bit.
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