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Specific Upgrade path advice

So I finally got my Oculus Rift in the mail, and haven't upgraded my PC yet. What I didn't forsee was the lack of GTX 1080 available as I was waiting for that. I have a 2 part question, but I'll start with my specs:

ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3 890FX Mobo
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition 3.2GHz CPU
Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB GPU
2x4GB DDR3 1333 RAM
Corsair TX 650W PSU

I didn't realize most of my rig is over 5 years old now. I power all the games I want at pretty high settings on 3x 1960x1200 monitors. So, really my current system is 3 monitors instead of the 2 that is needed for VR, however, I'm not getting the required 90FPS.

I can order the MSI Vapor GTX 1080 and do the waiting game... https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GXOWUDQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1TSN35NIS24VZ

Or, I found a Zotac Founder's Edition card at retail locally. They have ONE left.

The MSI is overpriced and I REALLY don't want to wait any longer. Plus I travel extensively for work, and I only have a week or two at my gaming rig before I have to hit the road for a month or two again. So I want to play.

1st question. As I have decided to go ahead and splurge on a GTX 1080 for the VR system, is a Zotac Founder's Edition card acceptable? I have no experience with Zotac, but I've never strayed from the well known solid brands. I've also heard that the Founder's Edition cards have overheating issues. I don't plan on overclocking the GPU, the MSI would be a safer bet, but I feel wrong paying over retail, or THAT much over retail, and still waiting. I could probably find a similar deal locally right now on Craigslist. Would you buy a Zotac if it was the only thing available immediately, with a return policy, and warranty?

2nd question. Assuming I secure a GTX 1080, I know my ageing system is underwhelming at this point. My CPU is highly overclock-able. I can pump it up to 3.9GHz or so easily. My MOBO only has PCI-e 2.0 x16 slots, but I've read that I won't see any issues with a PCI-e 2.0 vs 3.0 on the MOBO. I can pump up the RAM if needed. I'm trying to determine if I can be easier on the pocketbook than a whole system rebuild, at least for now, and get the full quality VR experience.

I guess the question is, is it possible for me to buy the latest and greatest GPU to get VR Ready, or am I going to have to convince my wife I need a lot more. I'm concerned that I'm lacking throughput on the MOBO rather than just the CPU clock speed. How intense is the MOBO requirements of VR?

Thanks in advance.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about specific upgrade path advice
  1. Your Phenom is going to bottleneck the GTX 1080. Even AMD's top of the line CPU's at the moment bottleneck lower tier cards, like the GTX 970. You most likely won't reach the 90 FPS you are looking for, without serious over clocking. Even then, expect serious limitations.

    1. Zotac is a great company, and the founder's edition cards are built by Nvidia. They're distributed by their board partners, so you're just getting Nvidia's card.

    2. It's very unlikely you'll get the full quality experience for VR with your current CPU.
  2. StormBrew said:
    Your Phenom is going to bottleneck the GTX 1080. Even AMD's top of the line CPU's at the moment bottleneck lower tier cards, like the GTX 970. You most likely won't reach the 90 FPS you are looking for, without serious over clocking. Even then, expect serious limitations.

    1. Zotac is a great company, and the founder's edition cards are built by Nvidia. They're distributed by their board partners, so you're just getting Nvidia's card.

    2. It's very unlikely you'll get the full quality experience for VR with your current CPU.


    That's what I feared. I found a Craigslist guy wanting to unload a MSI Armor GTX 1070 for close to retail, so I may opt for the 1070 savings so I can upgrade MOBO/CPU/RAM without breaking the bank. Thoughts? Would this be a better approach?

    I have the money, so I can stretch it out and buy the 1080 and still upgrade the CPU/MOBO/RAM, but I would probably go with some budget MOBO instead of the higher end. I'll probably switch to Intel, even though I've never had a complaint to offer AMD processors. But it seems like the 1070 will get me an enjoyable experience right?
  3. Best answer
    The upgrade path you suggested with the 1070 is a great plan, but I would also recommend upgrading the PSU at some point. This setup will run the GTX 1070 with no bottleneck, offers great onboard features, and will keep you running for the next 5 years:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B150M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($57.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory ($31.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $287.96
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-06-26 12:02 EDT-0400
  4. StormBrew said:
    The upgrade path you suggested with the 1070 is a great plan, but I would also recommend upgrading the PSU at some point. This setup will run the GTX 1070 with no bottleneck, offers great onboard features, and will keep you running for the next 5 years:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($197.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B150M-D3H Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($57.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory ($31.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $287.96
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-06-26 12:02 EDT-0400


    Took this advice, I met the guy from Craigslist and was able to get the MSI GTX 1070 Armor for about $20 over retail.

    Haven't got the rest of the upgrades, but this saved me over $450 from the price of the 1080 I found, so I might go ahead and get a more powerful i7 processor and a better Mobo... Thanks for helping me work through this. And I'll get a better PSU too.
  5. If you have more cash to burn, I would go with an unlocked i5, and overclock it.
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: CRYORIG H7 49.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($43.53 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI Z170A SLI ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($99.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory ($31.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Antec TruePower Classic 750W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $455.49
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-06-26 22:16 EDT-0400
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