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Best CPU upgrade path for gaming?

Hello,
I'm trying to help upgrade my friend's PC to be able to play Overwatch to at least a similar performance level as a PS4. We have a low budget, somewhere around $150 but preferably lower, so I'm trying to pick just one thing to upgrade. I think the CPU is the limiting factor, and the mobo limiting that on top. Here are some specs:

CPU: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+
MOBO: ASUS M2N-E
GPU: MSI AMD Radeon HD 6850 1024 MB
RAM: 6 GB DDR2
Not sure the PSU, but I think it's somewhere around 400 W

What is the best path to upgrade? I love my i3 Sandy Bridge and i3 seems to be the go-to entry level gaming processor. Do we give in and replace mobo and buy an Intel? Is there a good value AMD cpu that could fit on this mobo? Thanks for any help provided
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More about cpu upgrade path gaming
  1. Socket AM2 has some minor upgrade options, but I don't think they're worthwhile.

    My thoughts: Either a socket 1150 (4th gen) Pentium G3258, H81 motherboard, and 8GB DDR3, or a socket 1151 (6th gen) Pentium G4400, H110 motherboard, and 8GB DDR4. The G4400 system will be a little more expensive, and can't overclock, but is faster at stock clocks and has a better upgrade path.
  2. If you could raise your budget to $200 you could get a Skylake i3-6100, H110 board and 8GB DDR4 memory that would set you up for years to come with the option to drop in an i5 or i7 at any time. That's what you call an upgrade path. ;)
  3. Ecky said:
    Socket AM2 has some minor upgrade options, but I don't think they're worthwhile.

    My thoughts: Either a socket 1150 (4th gen) Pentium G3258, H81 motherboard, and 8GB DDR3, or a socket 1151 (6th gen) Pentium G4400, H110 motherboard, and 8GB DDR4. The G4400 system will be a little more expensive, and can't overclock, but is faster at stock clocks and has a better upgrade path.


    I'm looking at the G3258 vs. the G4400 and the G4400 is cheaper but the boards seem more expensive. Would a B150 mobo work? Seems a bit cheaper than H81 or H110 and I don't think he'll ever need more than one GPU and more than 16gb RAM.
  4. Archaic59 said:
    If you could raise your budget to $200 you could get a Skylake i3-6100, H110 board and 8GB DDR4 memory that would set you up for years to come with the option to drop in an i5 or i7 at any time. That's what you call an upgrade path. ;)


    Haha yeah I think I mis-used the term upgrade path. A skylake i3 would be awesome and set him up for a long time but convincing the wife to spend the extra money may be difficult. If only sandy bridge had a steep discount due to age I would do that.
  5. B150 is a better chipset than H110, and is generally more expensive.

    H110 < B150 < H170 < Z170.

    Any of these would work fine, really. B150 adds more RAM slots and things like onboard RAID. H170 often has a lot of goodies like improved sound, more LAN ports. Z170 allows for overclocking when paired with an i5 6600K or i7 6700K, but would offer no advantage over H170 for a Pentium.
  6. Dralsi said:
    Archaic59 said:
    If you could raise your budget to $200 you could get a Skylake i3-6100, H110 board and 8GB DDR4 memory that would set you up for years to come with the option to drop in an i5 or i7 at any time. That's what you call an upgrade path. ;)


    Haha yeah I think I mis-used the term upgrade path. A skylake i3 would be awesome and set him up for a long time but convincing the wife to spend the extra money may be difficult. If only sandy bridge had a steep discount due to age I would do that.


    You could use the same setup I listed with a G4440 and upgrade the CPU later. This would bring you more on budget and preserve the upgrade path.
  7. Best answer
    geez, limited $150 with such an old base. You need to build a new cpu, motherboard and ram. Hoping the 6850 could hold against the current game. I used to have a 6850, so I know how limited it is.
    For $150, nothing i could recommend because it would only hurt you in the long run.
    For $200, you have 2 route to choose.

    First is this combo:
    Intel Core i3-6100 3M 3.7 GHz LGA 1151 BX80662I36100 Desktop Processor $124.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=2MN-0004-00002
    ASUS H110M-A LGA 1151 Intel H110 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 uATX Intel Motherboard $49.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813132646
    2x(Team Elite Plus 4GB 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2133 (PC4 17000) Desktop Memory Model TPD44GM2133HC1501) 2x ($15.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313509

    Second route are:
    AMD FX-6300 Vishera 6-Core 3.5 GHz (4.1 GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W FD6300WMHKBOX Desktop Processor $99.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819113286
    ASRock 970M Pro3 AM3+/AM3 AMD 970 + AMD SB950 6 x SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130815 $64.99
    $49.99 after $15.00 rebate
    G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-8GAB $31.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231546

    Technology wise, intel is the one you should go. Here some comparison of both i3-6100 and Fx-6300 on some popular games
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2015-intel-core-i3-6100-review
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5ejBlynOV8
    Please pick as best answer if your question has been answered
  8. The second set of parts is compatible and has the upgrade path you need. That's the one. ;)
    The board supports DDR4 2133 so the 2400 you picked will run at 2133. Here's a list-

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Pentium G4400 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($59.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: Asus H110M-A Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill NT Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory ($33.98 @ Newegg)
    Total: $143.96
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-30 02:41 EDT-0400
  9. Don't get your first choice. Get the second choice. For the same price, why would you take the older model? It just not make sense. For ram, i suggest you take what i have suggested. For $4 difference, the heatsink will help you in the long run. I know ram has lifetime warranty, but a heated ram will slow performance although only a bit.
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