Solved

Advice on upgrade path for older system.

I have an older computer system, and I would like to upgrade, but I am unsure of the direction I should take. The computer is used primarily for gaming. No Multi-player FPS, but games like Tomb Raider, Civ V, Far Cry 3 (Single player), Skyrim

I currently have a Pentium D 950 3.4GHz in a D946GZIS motherboard (3 Gb memory out of 4 Max - PCI Express 1.1) with a HD4770 GPU (512Mb GDDR5 memory - PCI Express 2.0).
I recently replaced my power supply with a EVGA NEX750B (750W).

I was thinking of either replacing my cpu/motherboard with a i5-4590 in an ASUS H97 motherboard (8 Gb memory PCI Express 3.0) or
Replace the graphics card with a R9 290 (4Gb GDDR5 memory - PCI Express 3.0)

Both are about the same price, but I would like to know which would give me better performance in the games, I know that generally GPU upgrades are better than CPU, but in this case the CPU is nearly 10x more powerful and 2.5x the memory vs a theoretical 4.5x increase in the GPU performance but possibly limited due to using a PCI Express 1.1 slot for a PCI Express 3.0 card.
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about advice upgrade path older system
  1. Best answer
    i would go for the cpu upgrade first. you will need new ram as well for the ram you have now is ddr2 and the new i5 will use ddr3. something like this would be a good solid build.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.98 @ OutletPC)
    Motherboard: ASRock H97 PRO4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($83.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $326.96
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-05 12:43 EST-0500

    you could argue for a better mobo but for non oc and non sli, the h97 is plenty enough features. paired with the psu you have and this, just about any gpu will work and work well.
  2. I'm thinking the CPU/motherboard BUT... you've likely got DDR2 ram, if so, that'll need to be changed also. If you are using an OEM version of Windows 7, you will need to purchase a new license from Microsoft (if a retail version that doesn't apply). I'm just saying, there may be two more expenses there to consider. I would still suggest that route though
  3. You'll need to upgrade both the video card and the CPU for good performance in modern games (and possibly the PSU). Upgrading either by itself will give you very disappointing results.

    What is the make/model of your PSU and what is your upgrade budget?

    Cheers!
  4. C12Friedman said:
    I'm thinking the CPU/motherboard BUT... you've likely got DDR2 ram, if so, that'll need to be changed also. If you are using an OEM version of Windows 7, you will need to purchase a new license from Microsoft (if a retail version that doesn't apply). I'm just saying, there may be two more expenses there to consider. I would still suggest that route though


    Thanks C12Friedman, the old memory is DDR2, and I was putting the new RAM in the price comparison. I am running windows 8.1, I should have probably mentioned that.
  5. quilciri said:
    You'll need to upgrade both the video card and the CPU for good performance in modern games (and possibly the PSU). Upgrading either by itself will give you very disappointing results.

    What is the make/model of your PSU and what is your upgrade budget?

    Cheers!


    Thanks for your response quilciri. I don't want to upgrade both right now, as I would be facing the same question in 9 months, I would prefer to upgrade one side to a good level, and then upgrade the other later rather than having some compromised blended system having upgraded both.
    As I said in my post, I have a EVGA Supernova NEX750B power supply (Tier2B) which should be good for both upgrades. My budget is about $350
  6. $350 is what i guessed considering the options you were looking at :) i agree with your upgrade idea and still would go the cpu rout first as your current one is just so outdated. a good solid foundation is what you need for the future gpu upgrade.
  7. Math Geek said:
    i would go for the cpu upgrade first. you will need new ram as well for the ram you have now is ddr2 and the new i5 will use ddr3. something like this would be a good solid build.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.98 @ OutletPC)
    Motherboard: ASRock H97 PRO4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($83.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $326.96
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-05 12:43 EST-0500

    you could argue for a better mobo but for non oc and non sli, the h97 is plenty enough features. paired with the psu you have and this, just about any gpu will work and work well.


    Thanks for the solution Math Geek. Is there any particular reason you selected the 4460 over the 4590?
    I selected the motherboard primarily as it has 6 SATA ports and 14 USB ports, and I currently have a ST1000DX (Hybrid disk/SSD) for boot and a pair of mirrored ST2000DM for data. Having only 4 SATA ports would limit expandability. Is there a different mother board you would recommend?
  8. changed the mobo to one with 6 sata ports. few bucks more but a solid motherboard and put the 4590 in as well.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($187.88 @ OutletPC)
    Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Performance ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($97.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $348.86
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-05 13:45 EST-0500

    and i chose the 4460 simply for budget concern. it's only $10 more for the 4590 and an extra 100 mhz but the performance will be much the same. i was working with no budget so i kinda went for the old standby 4460 :) knowing the budget now, i still made it with the 4590.
Ask a new question

Read More

Computers Graphics Cards CPUs Components PCI Express