Budget Upgrade Path, Advice Please

Hi all;

It may be time to upgrade my creaking system, as I fear the motherboard is starting to fail; I couldn't connect to my modem until I gave the case and heat sink a huge hoovering out, and I've finally seen a game I want but probably can't run... Elite: Dangerous!

I'm considering one of these two barebones systems;

AMD A6-6400K - 1x 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz - AMD A88X Chipset Motherboard

Or, and I lean towards...

AMD Richland A8-6600K - 1x 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz Memory - Intel A88X Chipset Motherboard

Novatech are an awesome company so I have no worries about them; my questions are as follows though...

1.) Will the Quad over Dual core be noticeable and will it matter long term do we think?

2.) Am I correct in thinking the on board GPU is equivalent to a Radeon HD8470 or HD8570D?

3.) And what ever it is, would it be an improvement over the 4670HD with 512mb I currently have?

4.) I don't believe this card is crossfire capable, and is only DX 10.1, so even though it would carry more memory, it's days are probably numbered then?

5.) I'd be swapping in a 500w PSU and my hard drives etc, but is there anything else you'd like to comment about? I like to make informed decisions ;)

Thanks for your time and in advance for your answers.
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  1. Best answer
    1) most games are running primarily on single core, with any overlap being spread to a second or even third, so dual core is OK. But thats right now. With the advent of things like 4k, bf4, watchdogs etc games especially are headed mainstream quad core minimum or you will start to suffer performance loss. While i3's can overcome some of this loss due to hyperthreading, true dual cores are fast becoming obsolete as far as gaming goes. They simply can't keep up with the demands from the gpu. Recommend quad core to keep options more open.
    2.) yes, but consider this. That entire igpu is housed in 1/2 the die. It's tiny compared to a full dedicated gpu. It also needs use of system memory, so running any game with intense graphics will sick the life out of the cpu, and ram, which is already taxed just running Windows. 8Gb would definitely be a performance increase. Also, since the APU uses system memory, a certain amount of speed is necessary. 2133MHz is optimum, working at almost 2x the speed of similarly timed 1600MHz.
    3,4) yes, that card is low end, and the igpu is more powerful, but it will use up whatever is left of the system memory that Windows isn't using. I believe there is a setting somewhere for minimum/maximum ram usage for the igpu, so you could set minimum for at least 512,though 1Gb would be better.

    Thoughts: figure out what you want from the pc, do some research, find out what it takes to get the results, then start doing the math to figure where that figures in your budget and just how many sacrifices are you willing to live with, whether price or performance
  2. Thank you for the thoughts so far Karadjgne; memory usage for the onboard was something I was considering... I might install across the 4670hd and then just stress test it enabled and disabled to see which gives the better short term performance before buying a dedicated card in the next spending round.

    It's good to have the technical reasons for a Quad rather than just 4 is greater than 2! In my experience getting the board down for upgrading first has proven wise, as it's usually the bottleneck, and can be worked around by upgrading components on top of it. So thanks again!
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