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Upgrading a 2-year old PC. Grateful for any advice or opinions.

Two years ago I built a PC with the extensive help of this website and it has served me beautifully during that time. However, not for any specific hardware reason or particular need, honestly, just because I can, I'd like to upgrade. I'll include the PCPartPicker link to both the original build and the upgrade parts below.

The PC was built predominantly to be a gaming rig, that could function solidly as a workstation. I'm continuing that trend with the parts I'm considering. That said, one of the biggest reasons I'm coming here for advice is the necessity for certain upgrades. I'm set on the 1080 ti. In my research, it's pretty clear that if you want sheer power, without dropping over a thousand dollars on the new Titans, the 1080 ti is the way to go.

The Kraken x62 and X42 I'm also pretty much set on. I've had great experiences with NZXT and their products. The one currently installed is working fine, but I've been hearing some grinding noises from in there for months. Since there are three rads in there thanks to the Kraken G10s, I'm not sure which pump is huffing and puffing, but I've heard the lifespan of these kinds of coolers are about two years, so their time is pretty much up regardless. That leads me into another question: the Kraken G10, I have an older version, does anyone know if the newer rads are still compatible? Or if the older model would work with the 1080 ti? After I write this, I'll send NZXT an email, just thought I'd ask here as well.

Okay, all of that said, the remainder is what bids me to make this post. I'm not sure at all that I need any of the of the other upgrades. Part of me really wants to go for broke and just upgrade everything, but the 4790k has never let me down at all and I just don't know how much improvement I'd see with the 7700k. Better performance, sure. Whether that increase would be noticeable at all is my question.

And one last thing. Assuming that is turns out I'd might as well upgrade the entire thing from the ground up, critiques and potentially better part suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I would just like to note, I'd like to keep the build a black/gunmetal/electric blue color scheme and the price must stay below $2,000. The closer it is to $1,500 or lower, the better.

https://pcpartpicker.com/user/Delnilas/saved/#view=RkPsJx
That is the link to my saved builds. You should be able to see the original build and upgrade there.

P.s. My current pair of speakers are crapping out on me and I need a new pair. Almost every pair of speakers I've found either come with a subwoofer, (which I definitely don't want) or are very expensive for just being speakers. I have a pair of cheap Logitech speakers in the upgrade, but if anyone has a suggestion for a pair of functional, no frills, relatively cheap speakers, that would be fantastic. Also, good quality fan recommendations would also be nice. Total of 6 140mm fans. 1 for rear exhaust, 1 for the 140mm rad, 4 in push-pull for the 280mm rad.

P.p.s. To avoid any confusion, the power supply will be carried over regardless of what happens. I see no reason to change it. Any parts that are missing from the upgrade, just assume they will be carried over from the original.


Thanks in advance,
- Nick
Reply to Delnilas
12 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrading year grateful advice opinions
  1. Titans are stupid. The GTX1080Ti gets about the same performance anyway.

    In fact, I think EVGA has a new card with 1200MHz memory which would help in some games SLIGHTLY (may not be worth the cost). I like the Asus Strix or EVGA cards.

    LIQUID COOLER lifespan is estimate at closer to FIVE years, though obviously some fail before.

    Kraken G10?
    You would not be replacing the GPU cooler so that's a non-issue.

    i7-4790K
    still a great CPU. plus most games are GPU bottleneck, and there's minimal gain for games that aren't too justify an entire MOTHERBOARD etc upgrade.

    I've got an i7-3770K at 4.4GHz and rarely have a CPU bottleneck (even when I do it doesn't affect me much, just a slightly lower FPS than I could have got)

    Speakers?
    I'll think on that.

    SUMMARY:
    So far, I can ONLY recommend you upgrade the graphics card.

    I don't know what graphics card you have, though I'd guess a GTX980Ti or lower so you'd gain at least 2x the FPS or so.

    Also not sure of your monitor. If it's good, great, but maybe consider a GSYNC, 2560x1440, IPS, 144Hz or similar at some point.
    Reply to photonboy
  2. I suggest you hold out for about a month and get the i7-8700k 6 core with a Z370. An i7-7700k isnt much of an upgrade over the i7-4790k. Also you could sale those 290X's for a good price to bit miners once you have the 1080ti.
    Reply to elbert
  3. photonboy said:
    Titans are stupid. The GTX1080Ti gets about the same performance anyway.

    In fact, I think EVGA has a new card with 1200MHz memory which would help in some games SLIGHTLY (may not be worth the cost). I like the Asus Strix or EVGA cards.

    LIQUID COOLER lifespan is estimate at closer to FIVE years, though obviously some fail before.

    Kraken G10?
    You would not be replacing the GPU cooler so that's a non-issue.

    i7-4790K
    still a great CPU. plus most games are GPU bottleneck, and there's minimal gain for games that aren't too justify an entire MOTHERBOARD etc upgrade.

    I've got an i7-3770K at 4.4GHz and rarely have a CPU bottleneck (even when I do it doesn't affect me much, just a slightly lower FPS than I could have got)

    Speakers?
    I'll think on that.

    SUMMARY:
    So far, I can ONLY recommend you upgrade the graphics card.

    I don't know what graphics card you have, though I'd guess a GTX980Ti or lower so you'd gain at least 2x the FPS or so.

    Also not sure of your monitor. If it's good, great, but maybe consider a GSYNC, 2560x1440, IPS, 144Hz or similar at some point.


    Have an, "Asus - PB278Q 27.0" 2560x1440 60Hz Monitor". It's not the greatest monitor in the world, but it gets the job done. I'll definitely keep that monitor in mind, but at the time, this one was the most affordable.

    Also, I have two Radeon R9 290x's in crossfire.

    Is the 1080 ti's GPU cooler not removable? Or is it just good enough that I wouldn't need a G10?
    Reply to Delnilas
  4. 1) as for the GRINDING, I'd install the GTX1080Ti first after removing the other card/cards, so if its a pump for those then problem solved.

    as I said you would NOT mess with the cooler for the GTX1080Ti. The Asus Strix cooler is very, very good and liquid cooling won't give you better performance.

    2) FANS:
    Push-pull won't necessarily help much. Corsair has some good fans, so does NOCTUA but make sure they are optimized for radiators. (high static pressure), and have the correct RPM range (i.e. 600RPM to 1800RPM)

    I wouldn't change anything if it works, and the X62 Kraken would work great as is (if you need a new liquid cooler) so I'd change NOTHING for it other than to setup an optimal fan profile.

    3) Speakers?
    Don't cheap out on those. I'd get something like this for medium budget speakers:
    https://pcpartpicker.com/product/svBv6h/logitech-speakers-980000402

    If you don't want a SUBWOOFER I suggest at least 4" woofers for the desktop speakers to get more bass, though these 3" models are pretty good value:
    https://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-10-Watt-Compact-Monitor-Speakers/dp/B00X741TKG/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1506054316&sr=1-1&keywords=m-audio

    The M-Audio speakers have good sound, but don't have the best reliability.

    THESE 4", $150USD speakers look very interesting. I got great sound out of similar M-Audio AV40 speakers until they died:
    https://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-DJ-DM-40-PAIR-Excellent/dp/B01DW36BO0/ref=sr_1_10?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1506054417&sr=1-10&keywords=4%22+speakers+desktop

    There's a volume knob and headphone jack. You'd just use the 3.5mm stereo connector which usually goes to the green stereo output on the motherboard or sound card.
    Reply to photonboy
  5. "Is the 1080 ti's GPU cooler not removable? Or is it just good enough that I wouldn't need a G10? "

    The Asus Strix cooler is amazing. DO. NOT. TOUCH. IT.

    https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GTX_1080_Ti_Strix_OC/28.html

    It's only 33dBa under load!!

    And the fans turn OFF in idle so it's DEAD SILENT, which the rad fans don't, nor would a PUMP.
    Reply to photonboy
  6. Monitor: yours is almost IDENTICAL to mine. I have a Dell U2711 which is also 2560x1440, IPS, 60Hz.

    I will NOT upgrade until it either DIES or GSYNC monitors get a lot cheaper. I also want deeper BLACK LEVELS as well. Preferably 3000:1 native or better (but not current VA panels as they aren't quite good enough).
    Reply to photonboy
  7. Best answer
    Here's a summary of my advice (and other comments):

    1. do NOT upgrade the CPU, motherboard etc.

    2. buy and install the GTX1080Ti Asus Strix

    3. SELL the AMD cards (and attached coolers) ASAP while cryptomining is still profitable. Once that stops the market will be FLOODED with similar cards.

    4. If the CPU liquid cooler pump is fine, and cooling is good then keep the cooler until it has issues.

    5. Speakers - I'd get either the 2.1 (subwoofer) I linked, or the PIONEERS if you don't want a subwoofer

    6. FANS - wait and see if you need any. it seems like you're good now likely
    Reply to photonboy
  8. photonboy said:
    "Is the 1080 ti's GPU cooler not removable? Or is it just good enough that I wouldn't need a G10? "

    The Asus Strix cooler is amazing. DO. NOT. TOUCH. IT.

    https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GTX_1080_Ti_Strix_OC/28.html

    It's only 33dBa under load!!

    And the fans turn OFF in idle so it's DEAD SILENT, which the rad fans don't, nor would a PUMP.


    Great. Doesn't have the bright green logo to screw with my color scheme and I can throw out another rad for less power draw. I'll just order the Kraken X62 separately if needed. Once I've got the TI installed, we'll see if I still get any grinding.

    (Just got the email notice of your post about the monitor) Again, great. I'll have to keep an eye on those monitors over the next few years. One last thing, I initially intended to overclock both the CPU and the GPUs. I never ended up doing it, because I was getting some software and graphical issues whenever I attempted a overclock. Is the Strix cooler strong enough for that? Though, I'm far more inclined to just leave the TI alone to do it's magic. The 4790k, though, once I'm done with my upgrades, I'll try to overclock again and see if I get problems. Would you mind if I contacted you if/when it acts up?
    Reply to Delnilas
  9. Asus strix takes to OC like a duck to water. Most of your graphical errors from trying to OC those 290x was due to them being 290x. Aftermarket OC versions were about as high as could be gotten, there was very little if any headroom at all.

    I'd do as photonboy suggested especially concerning the sale of those 290x quickly. Right now they'll be bringing premium prices, it's not going to be much longer before crypto-mining comes to an end mostly, and then there'll be so many amd cards available, you'll only get 1/3-1/2 the price.
    Keep your core components for now, see how the 1080ti works out. If you still are not satisfied, then go for CoffeeLake, but honestly my 3770k /970 has yet to see any issues. Cpu plays a large role in Hz, but very little in resolution, the gpu is the opposite, so with a 1440p/60Hz, most of the emphasis will be on the gpu, cpu will see much lower usage. Part of any bottleneck in your current system is due mainly to crappy crossfire support in many games. Moving to a single gpu will eliminate that.
    Reply to Karadjgne
  10. Karadjgne said:
    Asus strix takes to OC like a duck to water. Most of your graphical errors from trying to OC those 290x was due to them being 290x. Aftermarket OC versions were about as high as could be gotten, there was very little if any headroom at all.

    I'd do as photonboy suggested especially concerning the sale of those 290x quickly. Right now they'll be bringing premium prices, it's not going to be much longer before crypto-mining comes to an end mostly, and then there'll be so many amd cards available, you'll only get 1/3-1/2 the price.
    Keep your core components for now, see how the 1080ti works out. If you still are not satisfied, then go for CoffeeLake, but honestly my 3770k /970 has yet to see any issues. Cpu plays a large role in Hz, but very little in resolution, the gpu is the opposite, so with a 1440p/60Hz, most of the emphasis will be on the gpu, cpu will see much lower usage. Part of any bottleneck in your current system is due mainly to crappy crossfire support in many games. Moving to a single gpu will eliminate that.


    Any idea of how far I could push the OC? My system already runs cool and quiet. Abnormally so, from what other experts I've spoken to on here have said. So I don't want to push it so far that it would be running overly hot, at least by my standards. 60c is pretty much my comfort zone.

    Also, might be an odd question but I'm just trying to grab any info I can. Is there any particular site you know of for selling used PC components? Or are you just thinking Ebay?
    Reply to Delnilas
  11. I built the entire rig in my profile from ebay parts, cost less than $600 and that was when the Haswells were relatively new. Took some time but it payed off. Nobody gets $50 for an i7-3770K, even today. Selling your gpus on eBay is fine, it will be a bidding war for sure, the 290x is still in high demand. Look to see what's selling on buy it now then put a price lower, so if the bin cards are $250, you start at $200, you'll get $240+ etc. Could even do a reserved price of $230 and start at $100. For instance. Your cards will sell.

    As for OC, I've pushed my 3770k to 4.9GHz @1.32v, which is pretty decent, but that's Ivy-Bridge, so has a 1.4v cap. Your cpu is 4th generation Intel, and has a 1.3v cap. So boundaries will be set by the cpu lottery and voltage limits. You might get 4.4GHz solid or 4.8GHz, there's simply no way to tell, it's all dependent on your particular cpu and its cooling.

    As far as OC on the gpus goes I've pushed both my Asus strix 660ti and 970 to 124% OC, that's 24% higher than the Asus factory OC, not the reference clocks. So I'm looking at @130-132% higher than reference. Which isn't too shabby considering they are the Asus cards and therefore were designed with a lower power profile. Pretty much they ranked last out of the big brands. The new Asus strix ranks #1 in OC ability, although stock clocks are somewhat lower out of the box than the Zotac Amp Extreme which is #1 stock.
    Reply to Karadjgne
  12. Delnilas said:
    Karadjgne said:
    Asus strix takes to OC like a duck to water. Most of your graphical errors from trying to OC those 290x was due to them being 290x. Aftermarket OC versions were about as high as could be gotten, there was very little if any headroom at all.

    I'd do as photonboy suggested especially concerning the sale of those 290x quickly. Right now they'll be bringing premium prices, it's not going to be much longer before crypto-mining comes to an end mostly, and then there'll be so many amd cards available, you'll only get 1/3-1/2 the price.
    Keep your core components for now, see how the 1080ti works out. If you still are not satisfied, then go for CoffeeLake, but honestly my 3770k /970 has yet to see any issues. Cpu plays a large role in Hz, but very little in resolution, the gpu is the opposite, so with a 1440p/60Hz, most of the emphasis will be on the gpu, cpu will see much lower usage. Part of any bottleneck in your current system is due mainly to crappy crossfire support in many games. Moving to a single gpu will eliminate that.


    Any idea of how far I could push the OC? My system already runs cool and quiet. Abnormally so, from what other experts I've spoken to on here have said. So I don't want to push it so far that it would be running overly hot, at least by my standards. 60c is pretty much my comfort zone.

    Also, might be an odd question but I'm just trying to grab any info I can. Is there any particular site you know of for selling used PC components? Or are you just thinking Ebay?


    1) a modern Intel CPU's optimal temperature for long life is no more than 75degC.

    2) A modern GPU is closer to 85degC

    The Asus Strix runs pretty quiet, and it's likely the FREQUENCY (the GPU itself) would be the limiting factor not temperature.

    I gave the Asus Strix link already and they discuss OC of that card, and as per the CPU the above temp is all you need to know aside from how to overclock.
    Reply to photonboy
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