Looking for some general hardware recommendations

Started Dec 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
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sacentre Senior Member • Posts: 1,782
Looking for some general hardware recommendations

I just wanted to ask if anyone had any general recommendations about replacement PC hardware such as motherboards, graphics cards etc. My apologies in advance if I'm a bit long winded.

My current system bought in 2009 is

Dell Studio XPS 435T, Intel Core i7 920 2.67GHz, 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066Mhz

ATI Radeon HD 4870 + 1024 Mb RAM running 2 monitors

Dell U2711 Ultrasharp and Dell 2209WA

Windows 7 Home Premium x64bit

which I use for photo editing with DPP, Adobe Photoshop etc and also for general computing. I've been quite happy with the performance of this system as I don't do gaming. I like to watch HD movies with surround sound and have been happy with the 2560x1440 res I get from the U2711.


Two nights ago, a bolt of lightening right outside my window took out 3 channels of the embedded 5.1 surround sound on the motherboard as well as 2 of the 4 Ethernet ports on my modem. I was lucky that this was the only damage. Anyway, with Christmas and all, I thought I'd take this opportunity to upgrade the system a bit.

My first thought was to just buy a replacement motherboard from Dell but this turned out to be very expensive and had a 4 to 6 week wait so I've given that idea up. Anyway, why buy an obsolete component if there are better or more up-to-date alternatives? I'm very experienced DIY system builder but have had some disappointments with MB reliability in the past which is one reason I opted for an off-the-shelf DELL last time. I might have considered a new Dell this time but don't really like what they have on offer at the moment.

My thinking now is to buy

1. a good quality motherboard which will accept my exiting RAM modules and CPU. I hear good reviews of Gigabyte MB's so I thought I might start there. I'd be grateful for any recommendations or suggestions or even just some DO's and DONT's about MB's. I'm quite happy to ditch the DELL tower casing and buy a new one so I don't need to worry about the new MB fitting the old DELL tower (although I think the footprints are very similar these days).

2. use my existing ATI Radeon HD 4870 for the time being or replace it with something newer. The replacement product for the one I have seems to be the AMD Radeon R9 270.

HOWEVER, I plan to buy a 4K monitor, hopefully in 2014, when they are more mainstream so it may not make sense to replace my graphics card now. If there is such a thing as a 4K ready card, I'd be very happy to have any recommendations about this.

Sorry for the long story but my thanks in advance for any help.


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