Advice for System Upgrade

I built a system for my son about 2 years ago. It was a decent rig but is obviously a little older now. He loves to game and uses the rig for some video stuff too. I think he hits some limitation on the video card in some games and has complained about some crashing/overheating over time, but I have not had time to troubleshoot it yet.

So I am considering upgrading some of this thing for him so I am looking for advice. I would rather upgrade than build a whole new one, but don;t want to waste time or money if it doesn't make sense.

Here is list of the main parts he has now:

Crucial MX100 256GB SATA 2.5" 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive CT256MX100SSD1

ASUS M5A99X EVO R2.0 AM3+, AMD 990X, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0, ATX, AMD Motherboard

AMD FD8350FRHKBOX FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition Processor

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL11D-8GBXL

Rosewill Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case Cases BLACKHAWK Black

EVGA 02G-P4-3757-KR G-SYNC Support GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 FTW w/ ACX Cooling Video Card

EVGA SuperNOVA 750 B1, 80+ BRONZE 750W, Semi Modular, 5 Year Warranty, Includes FREE Power On Self Tester, Power Supply 110-B1-0750-VR


I thought about just upgrading the video card, but am unsure if upgrading that would be worth it with this board and config. What do you guys think?
Reply to djtech2k
24 answers Last reply
More about advice system upgrade
  1. It depends on how much you plan on spending.
    The 750ti is still a decent GPU. The rest of the system is "ok". Not good, but OK.
    If your PSU is good enough a gtx 1060 would give him a nice boost, a 1050ti would give a mild boost but you wouldn't have to worry about if your PSU is up to the task.. The CPU will bottleneck some, but not in every game and rarely very much. The CPU won't bottleneck more because of the new GPU it might just be more obvious where that bottleneck is.
    You didn't list the PSU, so check that before you upgrade anything.
    Reply to bjornl
  2. Games are limited by the cpu or the graphics card.

    In your case, there is no cpu upgrade available, the FX line is slow and dead.
    You are looking at a new processor, motherboard, and ddr4 ram.
    Ryzen has been popular, but new intel releases would steer me toward an intel 8th gen upgrade.

    On the graphics side, GTX750ti is a nice card, and you can upgrade to a variety of cards, subject to the capability of your psu.
    Here is a chart:
    http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

    Here is my stock approach to which is a more rewarding cpu/gpu upgrade:
    Some games are graphics limited like fast action shooters.
    Others are cpu core speed limited like strategy, sims, and mmo.
    Multiplayer tends to like many threads.

    You need to find out which.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    To help clarify your CPU/GPU options, run these two tests:

    a) Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
    If your FPS stays the same, you are likely more cpu limited.

    b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
    Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
    This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.
    Conversely what a 30% improvement in core speed might do.

    You should also experiment with removing one or more cores/threads. You can do this in the windows msconfig boot advanced options option.
    You will need to reboot for the change to take effect. Set the number of threads to less than you have.
    This will tell you how sensitive your games are to the benefits of many threads.
    If you see little difference, your game does not need all the threads you have.


    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system,
    and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Reply to geofelt
  3. geofelt said:
    Games are limited by the cpu or the graphics card.

    In your case, there is no cpu upgrade available, the FX line is slow and dead.
    You are looking at a new processor, motherboard, and ddr4 ram.
    Ryzen has been popular, but new intel releases would steer me toward an intel 8th gen upgrade.

    On the graphics side, GTX750ti is a nice card, and you can upgrade to a variety of cards, subject to the capability of your psu.
    Here is a chart:
    http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

    Here is my stock approach to which is a more rewarding cpu/gpu upgrade:
    Some games are graphics limited like fast action shooters.
    Others are cpu core speed limited like strategy, sims, and mmo.
    Multiplayer tends to like many threads.

    You need to find out which.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    To help clarify your CPU/GPU options, run these two tests:

    a) Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
    If your FPS stays the same, you are likely more cpu limited.

    b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
    Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
    This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.
    Conversely what a 30% improvement in core speed might do.

    You should also experiment with removing one or more cores/threads. You can do this in the windows msconfig boot advanced options option.
    You will need to reboot for the change to take effect. Set the number of threads to less than you have.
    This will tell you how sensitive your games are to the benefits of many threads.
    If you see little difference, your game does not need all the threads you have.


    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system,
    and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
    -------------------------------------------------------------



    Thanks for the info thus far. I updated my original post with the PSU:

    EVGA SuperNOVA 750 B1, 80+ BRONZE 750W, Semi Modular, 5 Year Warranty, Includes FREE Power On Self Tester, Power Supply 110-B1-0750-VR

    As for budget, I do not really know for sure. I mean if I can upgrade for a few hundred or less, then I would consider doing it. If I need to spend a lot more or something, then maybe he will need to wait a while for a new system. This is just a thought I had to see if its worth trying to improve the system or if its a waste of money and the only upgrade is a rebuild.

    Just out of curiosity, what would a decent cpu, mb, and ram look like now?
    Reply to djtech2k
  4. It is likely that a new graphics card will do lots of good.
    Particularly if Son is partial to fast action games where graphics is most important.
    If you buy a new graphics card, make it a biggish jump so it makes a difference.
    Three tiers or better on tom's gpu hierarchy list.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gpu-hierarchy,4388.html
    GTX1050ti at least, but GTX1060 would be better.
    GTX1060 comes in 3gb and 6gb versions. There is more to it than just the difference in vram, the 6gb version has more cuda cores.
    You will get what you pay for with either.
    If graphics seems a good choice, go ahead, it can be easily moved to a new cpu/mobo/ram update.

    I would consider a 8th gen I5-8600k for about $260, Z370 motherboard for $150, and 16gb DDR4 ram for $200 to be as good as it gets for gaming. 8th gen processors are in short supply.
    Reply to geofelt
  5. For "a few hundred" you have lots of choices..
    Here is a list of close to ideal choices:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
    CPU: Intel - Core i5-8400 2.8GHz 6-Core Processor ($199.89 @ B&H)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte - Z370 HD3 (rev. 1.0) ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($111.49 @ SuperBiiz)
    Memory: Patriot - Viper Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($59.99 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: EVGA - GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB GAMING Video Card ($259.99 @ Amazon)
    Total: $631.36

    If "6" is not a few, here is a cheaper option:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
    CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 1400 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($134.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock - AB350M Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Patriot - Viper Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($59.99 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: MSI - GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Video Card ($142.29 @ Amazon)
    Total: $397.26

    If "4" remains too large, consider:
    Video Card: EVGA - GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB GAMING Video Card ($259.99 @ Amazon)

    Both of the builds contain recent parts, likely to last for a while. The Intel build is a good deal faster, especially in games.
    Reply to bjornl
  6. Thanks for the great suggestions.

    Just out of curiosity, what is the current standard for the key components now. For example:

    CPU: Socket/Bridge
    RAM: DDRx? Speed?
    Video/MB: Video slot? eg PCIE version? Slot speed?
    Any other spec/slot/speed/etc that I should make sure I have or not have?

    I realize the cutting edge stuff will be very high priced, but I am looking for the current stuff that is still very good and will be viable for a couple years. I definitely do not want to buy something that's ancient out of the box. I have not kept up with things for a while, so I am not sure what I should stay away from or try to stay closer towards.
    Reply to djtech2k
  7. djtech2k said:
    Thanks for the great suggestions.

    You're welcome.
    djtech2k said:

    Just out of curiosity, what is the current standard for the key components now. For example:

    CPU: Socket/Bridge
    RAM: DDRx? Speed?
    Video/MB: Video slot? eg PCIE version? Slot speed?
    Any other spec/slot/speed/etc that I should make sure I have or not have?

    CPU:
    There is a new Intel and new AMD cpu generation. The Intel is referred to as coffeelake or 8th gen. The AMD is referred to as Ryzen. The Intel is confusing because it uses the same socket name as the previous two generations but it not compatible (the pin locations are the same, but the functions are not). You just have to get a z370 chipset motherboard. The AMD RYZEN is not as fast as the coffeelake CPUs but they counter with being cheaper, and so are generally a better bang for the buck. They use an AM4 socket.

    RAM:
    Every new motherboard is going to be ddr4 (for both AMD and Intel). Which speeds are supported vary slightly. In general get 2400 or faster. If in doubt, go to the motherboard companies web site and check their supported ram.

    Video slot:
    It is still PCIe 16x. The current standard is version 3.0. 4.0 was standardized a few weeks ago and no one will be using that for a while. The difference between 2 and 3 was tested and the differences were around 7% or less. Every current motherboard will have a 16x 3.0 slot and so you don't really need to worry about this.

    Other:
    I found that USB 3.1 is useful. Not all motherboards have this.
    Similarly a wifi card (particularly one with an add-on antenna and 802.11ac support.
    Not huge deals, as the add-on cards are super cheap.
    Look for a motherboard with m.2 support. There are two types of m.2 devices, sata and pcie. pcie is faster Some motherboards only support 1 (typically SSD). Others support both, but have different sockets for each. Others have sockets which can support both (but only 1 at a time). Right now these devices seem too expensive to me. But it is important if considering a new system to check for this on your motherboard.

    All of the above is true for highend and more moderate PC builds.
    Reply to bjornl
  8. Great, thanks.

    Isn't the M.2 stuff for the higher speed HD interface? I remember seeing something about it a while ago but never sorted out the differences. How much better performance is an M.2 vs say a standard SATA 3/6? Is an M.2 SATA better than a standard SATA?
    Reply to djtech2k
  9. m.2 is a size format.(about the size of a stick of gum)
    m.2 devices can come as sata devices, or pcie x4 devices with higher sequential performance.
    Sata sequential speeds is on the order of 550MBps, pcie devices have sequential speeds in the 2000MBps and higher.
    Truth to tell, the random performance is similar, and that is what windows does most.
    Reply to geofelt
  10. djtech2k said:
    Great, thanks.

    Isn't the M.2 stuff for the higher speed HD interface? I remember seeing something about it a while ago but never sorted out the differences. How much better performance is an M.2 vs say a standard SATA 3/6? Is an M.2 SATA better than a standard SATA?


    Geofelt more or less covered this.
    A couple of corrections. It is not a size format. It is a interface. What defines if a device is m.2 compliant is if it has a m.2 connector. They come in different speeds (pcie does not mean 4x), sizes and functions. They even include non-storage specifications like networking products.

    As the M.2 standard requires the SSDs (or, other types: WiFi, Bluetooth etc) only have chips on the upward facing side, this means that greater capacity drives are usually longer since they require more storage (NAND) chips. Generally there are up to five lengths of M.2, however not every motherboard or notebook can accommodate them all.
    2230
    2242
    2260
    2280
    22110
    The numbers are decoded as width-length, so for 2242, this is 22mm wide and 42mm long. The most common supported form factors are 2242 and 2280 (42mm and 80mm long). For example, the Maximus VI series with mPCIe Combo II card can support up to 2242 M.2 SSDs.

    Mostly lifted from here:
    https://rog.asus.com/articles/maximus-motherboards/buying-an-m-2-ssd-how-to-tell-which-is-which/
    Reply to bjornl
  11. Ok, so I am planning to do this now. I am looking at those parts. It looks like the memory has gone up a lot. I cannot find the memory for less than double or sometimes triple the price. I see the Gigabyte board will do all the way up to DDR4-4000. I'd like to be able to 16GB or RAM, but cost is probably not going to allow it.

    Any good options on memory or anything else that isn't on the list? If I can stay in the $600 ballpark I am ok with that.

    Also for the memory, I keep seeing mentions of Intel X99 or Intel Z170. Which would I need for this?
    Reply to djtech2k
  12. djtech2k said:
    Ok, so I am planning to do this now. I am looking at those parts. It looks like the memory has gone up a lot. I cannot find the memory for less than double or sometimes triple the price. I see the Gigabyte board will do all the way up to DDR4-4000. I'd like to be able to 16GB or RAM, but cost is probably not going to allow it.

    Any good options on memory or anything else that isn't on the list? If I can stay in the $600 ballpark I am ok with that.

    Also for the memory, I keep seeing mentions of Intel X99 or Intel Z170. Which would I need for this?


    For ram, I like the Corsair LPX (non-rgb) version. They are samsung chips (the best). I believe the LPX RGB are Hynix chips. The regular LPX are also shorter. This means they fit under large coolers that I like (Noctua) and generally allow for better in-case air-flow.
    Newegg has LPX 4000 at 260
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820236197&cm_re=vengeance_lpx_4000-_-20-236-197-_-Product
    Amazon has LPX 3200 for 200
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0143UM4TC/?tag=pcpapi-20&th=1

    You do not need to worry about x99 or any other comments about compatibility on the ram. Those date back to when much of the ram was ddr and/or there were compatibility issues with some. These are resolved. The only platform with some issues are those based on the Ryzen CPUs. And even there these are mostly resolved (or significantly reduced) by getting the most recent bios for those boards.
    Reply to bjornl
  13. Wow ok. The ram on that original list was $60z. Now it’s over $200. That’s a good way to kill the budget. Ugh....
    Reply to djtech2k
  14. djtech2k said:
    Wow ok. The ram on that original list was $60z. Now it’s over $200. That’s a good way to kill the budget. Ugh....



    You could consider some budget ram. 2666mhz ram can be had for around 155.
    https://www.amazon.com/Mushkin-REDLINE-PC4-21300-Dual-Channel-MRA4U266GHHF8GX2/dp/B01LZYQNNZ/
    Reply to bjornl
  15. Ok, so I have the following lined up:

    Gigabyte Z370 HD3 $125
    EVGA GTX 1060 6GB $260
    Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 4000 $127
    Intel i5-8400 $200 (Backordered)

    So I need to find the CPU before Christmas. Also, what else will I need? What about a better cooler for the CPU or GPU? I have built a lot of computers over the years for gaming and I have had overheating issues with several of them, even when not overclocked. Maybe I am doing something wrong lol. Should I get a liquid cooler or something so this thing won't get hot when my son is gaming?
    Reply to djtech2k
  16. djtech2k said:
    Ok, so I have the following lined up:

    Gigabyte Z370 HD3 $125
    EVGA GTX 1060 6GB $260
    Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 4000 $127
    Intel i5-8400 $200 (Backordered)

    So I need to find the CPU before Christmas. Also, what else will I need? What about a better cooler for the CPU or GPU? I have built a lot of computers over the years for gaming and I have had overheating issues with several of them, even when not overclocked. Maybe I am doing something wrong lol. Should I get a liquid cooler or something so this thing won't get hot when my son is gaming?


    The 8400 can use a better cooler, and you can then kinda sorta overclock it (get it to run at it's turbo speed all the time). But the tests I've seen where they compared this to running it stock showed little if any benefit. If you want, you can just run it on the stock cooler and so long as your case is decent, it should be good enough. If you want a mild upgrade, the the 212. $20 after mail in rebate.
    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

    If you are considering a liquid cooler, I suggest instead you get a wide case (such as the Fractal Design Define r5) and when use a top of the line air cooler such as the Noctua nh-d15s. I don't trust the AIO water coolers as I have seen quite a lot of complaints about the pumps suddenly dying.

    The r5 is also exceptionally quiet and exceptionally good at cooling. It comes bundled with 3 very quiet 140mm fans.

    If you are having trouble keeping things cooled, remember airflow through the case is better when the case sides are on. (some open the case thinking it will be lower temps that way). Sometimes just adding adding another case fan will help. If he games in a dusty environment, then having positive pressure (more intake fans than exit ones) will help keep the dust out.

    If you can't find the 8400 intime, the 8600k is overclocking friendly, faster and $75 more. Also has the hidden cost of needing a cooler.


    These guys say they have the 8400 in stock, but I have never used them.
    http://www.nextwarehouse.com/item/?2786461_g10e
    Also in stock at many Fry's and Microcenters (mostly require pickup).
    Reply to bjornl
  17. Thanks.

    That nextwarehouse.com place says they expect them in on Dec 14th. BH says coming soon. So far nobody has it in stock. My total looks over $500 without buying the CPU, so I am going to go over and I am not sure about the CPU yet. Hopefully I don't get any other surprises and can get the cpu soon, at least for Christmas.
    Reply to djtech2k
  18. I am having a terrible time finding the 8400 in-stock. I am afraid I am going to run out of time before Christmas, which I guess I could do it, but would rather not.

    The 8600 will be almost another $100, plus I need to buy a cooler, which will be a good $50 or more.

    My sons case is a Rosewill Nighthawk. It seems like a decent case for a low price. My plan is to just pull out his old mb, ram, cpu, gpu and put in the new stuff. Keeping his SSD, hybrid drive, psu, and case. His PSU is an EVGA Supernova 750w BTW.

    I know you suggest air cooling, which I am fine with. Not sure if his case is great for air cooling or not. I saw someone suggest the Coolermaster MasterLiquid Lite 120 as a liquid cooler. I have never seen one, but read someone OC the 8600 to 5ghz at 60c temp with just that MasterLiquid cooler. Seemed good to me. I am not saying I want to OC, because frankly I do not have time to do the hours of testing and measuring to tune it perfect. I will be going for the 15-30minute tune. I just want it to perform well, but my top priority is to make sure it never gets hot.
    Reply to djtech2k
  19. I just looked at that Fractal case you mentioned. The last rig I built for myself was more than a few years ago, but I had an Antec P180 case. That fractal looks a lot like the P180. BTW, I still have that rig in a box somewhere....Hows this for old...

    MB: DFI NF4 SLI-DR
    GPU: EVGA GTX280

    LOL. I cant remember the rest, but needless to say its old.
    Reply to djtech2k
  20. djtech2k said:
    I just looked at that Fractal case you mentioned. The last rig I built for myself was more than a few years ago, but I had an Antec P180 case. That fractal looks a lot like the P180. BTW, I still have that rig in a box somewhere....Hows this for old...

    MB: DFI NF4 SLI-DR
    GPU: EVGA GTX280

    LOL. I cant remember the rest, but needless to say its old.

    The p180 does look quite a lot like the r5. I still have a few older Antec PCs around the place. None were built as well as the r5. But then I never saw a p180, so who knows.
    Reply to bjornl
  21. In order to get everything before Christmas, I went ahead and ordered the 8600k and the 212 Cooler, with Arctic silver 5. I have everything else here so this should be good to go.

    I waited for a long time for the 8400 and it never came in stock long enough for me to buy, even with email notification.
    Reply to djtech2k
  22. Ok, so I just started to build this rig with my son. When I opened the 212 cooler, I knew we had a problem. That cooler is so big!! His case is a Rosewill Blackhawk. It has a fan on the case cover, which hits the top of the cooler when its in its place. I removed the case fan from the door and it will close without the fan, but it has very little room. The 212 cooler is 160mm tall. The fan on the case is 25mm. I do not know how much room it needs, but at a safe minimum, 160 - 25 = 135mm. That seems like it might be difficult to find a cooler that size.

    So my dilemma is should I send the cooler back and get a shorter one or go without the fan on the case door? My gut tells me that we need good air in the case so we need to keep the fan on the case door.

    Should I wait for a new cooler or run with it? If so, what cooler should I get? Or should I remove the door fan and roll forward with the 212. If I do that, would you recommend putting another fan in the case? There is room on the top I believe.
    Reply to djtech2k
  23. I decided to roll with it. I removed the case door fan and installed the 212 cooler. All done. Running on all default settings now.
    Reply to djtech2k
  24. djtech2k said:
    I decided to roll with it. I removed the case door fan and installed the 212 cooler. All done. Running on all default settings now.


    use the fan on a spare empty location on the case

    either blowing into the case from the front

    blowing air out the top of the case or blowing air out the back
    Reply to maxalge
Ask a new question Answer

Read More

Games Graphics Cards