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Advice need for $700 worth of upgrades for an old gaming PC

I have just been given an old PC and I would really appreciate a little advice to work out if it's worth upgrading for my girlfriend and what my options are. I have a $700aud budget and these are the current specs:

Motherboard: MSI 2AB4
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 5450
CPU: Intel Core i5 650
RAM: 6GB of DDR3

Thanks very much for your consideration.
Reply to dreaminofsurfing
13 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about advice 700 worth upgrades gaming
  1. what for a computer would be used for ?
    if it's just a "office/web", just add some RAM (so the total would be 8-12GB) and SDD (~240GB). may be a bit cleanup and replacing fans and or CPU cooler if it's too loud.
    Reply to n0ns3ns3
  2. For office stuff only/web browsing, the above would be the best, and probably cost less than 700 bucks.

    But if you want to play games on it, you'll have to swap almost everything out. In that case I'd opt for a Ryzen 3 CPU with 8GB of DDR4 and a RX 560 or GTX 1050 Ti as a graphics card, should be able to stay below 700$ with it. You may be able to re-use the case, hard drive(s), PSU and optical drive from the old PC to save a bit.
    Reply to ZRace
  3. Thanks for the quick replies! It would be for gaming. It certainly doesn't need to be amazing but I'd be aiming for it to be able to play The Witcher 3 and comparable games. Would the old motherboard still be usable?
    Reply to dreaminofsurfing
  4. No, you'd need to buy, motherboard, RAM, CPU and GPU anew at the very least. For the rest we'd need to know what case and PSU you have to see whether it makes sense to continue using them.
    You'll want to add a SSD if the PC doesn't have one for faster boot, the windows license key can be used again.

    I'd go for a Ryzen 3 1200, 8 GB of DDR4-2400 or -2666 (G.Skill Trident Z seems to work pretty well with Ryzen for example), an AM4 mainboard with a B350 chipset, and a RX 560 or GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB. Should definitely be less than 700$
    Reply to ZRace
  5. if you want to play modern games, you are looking at building a new system.
    IMO, a 700$ gaming rig should be built around the new quad core i3-8100, 8GB of RAM and a card like 1060 or RX 570/580.
    though to fit the budget, you'll have to wait a couple of months for the cheaper H and B motherboards to be released.
    Reply to n0ns3ns3
  6. n0ns3ns3 said:
    if you want to play modern games, you are looking at building a new system.
    IMO, a 700$ gaming rig should be built around the new quad core i3-8100, 8GB of RAM and a card like 1060 or RX 570/580.
    though to fit the budget, you'll have to wait a couple of months for the cheaper H and B motherboards to be released.


    Can you even get by an 8000 series Intel CPU by now? In my country, you'd be lucky to get one... and as you already imply, using an i3-8100 on a Z370 motherboard would exactly be cost effective, and you'd have to wait.

    The GTX 1060 (6GB) and the RX 570/580 would be a better choice (compared to mine), obviously, but it remains a question whether his PSU could handle them and whether he needs to buy any additional components...
    Reply to ZRace
  7. ^ the CPU choice is very important as it is upgraded not that frequently. with it comes the cost of MB and sometimes RAM that can not be reused.
    for gaming, intel is the king of the hill in any price range. and coffee lake actually tops the ryzen in price to gaming performance ratio all the way to i5-8400 that delivers better performance at lower price compared to ryzen 1600. that's true that to squeeze the max a cheaper H or B MB would be better. but even now a Z370 could be found for 120$ or even lower. so spending a bit more for i5 build is not an issue. but with i3 it's not logical.
    and honestly, up to ryzen 5 1600, AMD delivers very poor gaming performance. so IMHO, a ryzen 3 build is wasted money. even last gen i3 can do better job in gaming.
    so yes, to wait a bit is a good idea IMHO.
    Reply to n0ns3ns3
  8. For it's price, the i3-8100 is definitely better at gaming than Ryzen 3, and the i5-8400 also beats a Ryzen 5 1600 (at stock clocks, that is).

    But the 8100 for example costs a tad more than the Ryzen 3 1200 (which can be overclocked to R3 1300X levels using the stock cooler, hence why I ignore the 1300X), and the motherboard will cost a little more again. So in this case, it's about how much you want to spend. If you're willing to pay the extra cash for the i3, then go and get it, but if the budget doesn't allow it, Ryzen 3 is better than the Pentiums (and only like 5% slower than the i3).

    And the i5-8400 does deliver more performance at stock clocks, but the Ryzen 5 1600 can be overclocked, and it's better at computing workloads. For gaming I'd still go with the i5 over the R5, but for everything else/ mixed computing and gaming workloads, Ryzen 5 would stay my personal favourite.
    In the end, both are very decent CPUs.
    Reply to ZRace
  9. Thanks guys. I’ll get more info on the PSU and case and get back to you after work.
    Reply to dreaminofsurfing
  10. New info. The PSU says 250watt output and the case has a sticker that says Compaq Presario CQ3000 Series. It sounds like I need to do a whole new rebuild to play anything high end. But in the mean time, while I am ordering parts, can I put in 8GB of RAM in and change the graphics card to a GT 640 which I have laying around. Will this be enough to play some decent games?
    Reply to dreaminofsurfing
  11. you are absolutely correct - new build form scratch
    Reply to n0ns3ns3
  12. Best answer
    If you have the 8GB and the GT 640 lying around already, and the PC can fit them, you can of course use them. You should be able to play older titles at low settings with that..

    But other than that: No, that PSU won't let you upgrade anything, and I wouldn't exactly recommend using the case either, those OEM cases are usually very cheap. You can take the optical drive and the hard disk drive to your new PC though.

    This is 20 AUD over budget, and I already left out the SSD. Personally, I think this is the best you can do with that budget. A decent entry-level 120GB SSD will cost you 100 AUD upwards, but it would only give you (much) shorter system boot and program starting times, and I think it's worth putting that money into gaming performance instead at this price point. Perhaps, if you sell the reamining computer parts, you can add that SSD. The below list was checked for compatibility by me:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD - Ryzen 3 1200 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($138.00 @ Shopping Express)
    Motherboard: MSI - B350 PC MATE ATX AM4 Motherboard ($138.00 @ Shopping Express)
    Memory: Kingston - FURY 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2666 Memory ($125.00 @ Scorptec)
    Video Card: Sapphire - Radeon RX 560 4GB PULSE Video Card ($182.60 @ Skycomp Technology)
    Case: Corsair - 100R ATX Mid Tower Case ($68.00 @ Shopping Express)
    Power Supply: Corsair - CX (2017) 450W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($69.00 @ Shopping Express)
    Total: $720.60
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-10-17 22:05 AEDT+1100
    Reply to ZRace
  13. Intel is better at gaming. But it is not bad for gaming by any stretch, especially overclocked. With that 1200 you should be able to run a GTX 1060. Might struggle with a 1070 or higher, but why would you pair a 100 dollar CPU with a 400 dollar graphics card?

    Also rumors are that AMD is set to release new CPUs early next year if the same socket, so you may have a nice upgrade path if you decide you want to go that way.
    Reply to ohiou_grad_2006
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