[Misc] What to upgrade on my desktop?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by neonkillah, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Hello everyone. I've come here partially because I've seen lots of people with know-how on computer components, but mostly because it's been a welcoming community for all four years I've been here!

    My current PC is nice for my purposes. It certainly reaches the minimum along the lines of a gaming desktop. But I plan on investing for upgrading it over time; the only issue is, I have no idea which ones need upgrading.

    Here's my specs (I went medium-price range on this build, originally):

    CPU: AMD FX-4300 Quad-Core Processor
    GPU: AMD Radeon R7 200 Series
    Motherboard (no idea if this needs an upgrade.. suits my needs for ports): 970A-DS3P
    PSU: Cooler Master V650 (650w)
    SSD: Corsair Force LX (128GB, main booter, stores essential programs)
    HDD: ST3000dm001 (3 TB, 6 GB/sec, stores most of everything, including games)
    RAM: 8 GB, dual-channel, DDR3
    System: Windows 10, OEM version.

    I don't know if one of these components is making a bottleneck for the others currently, or would for an upgrade. I also don't know what I should upgrade first.

    Any help would be fantastic. Thank you
  2. first upgrade is the cpu, with a water cooling system
  3. What kind of games do you play, and do you also use your computer for video editing or other weird cool programs? :p

    no lol, that won't help much at all
  4. Well I play some.. pretty weak games lols. The ones that eat the most resources are sykrim, witcher 3, minecraft (for some reason this is usually the worst, FPS-wise), GTA V, and Warframe. No video editing, though I do use Roblox Studio for programming. I didn't mention it, but I've got 8 gigs of ram, which is a fair amount for my purposes.

    Also, I have a non-stock CPU heatsink. The thing is huge and keeps my CPU pretty cool, so I don't think I need any water cooling :p
  5. Athough you are saying its a non issue, what are you running for hdd/ssd's? If combo, where are your games running from and where is your OS installed etc. Although this will not upgrade your graphical abilities, I find a lot of comps are bottlenecked from other upgrades due to slow hdd's.

    Also, Im not the biggest fan of Gigabyte mobo's, especially with the older AM3+ sockets. I have a PhenomII that I thought was a waste of money until I upgrade to an ASRock 970 extreme 3. Im not knowledgeable with bios enough to understand why its so much more efficient, but I do recognize the hardware is a big improvement over the Gigabyte. I overclock this cpu with a GTX 750 TI gpu and it runs well as an overkill htpc setup.

    For upgrades it would be best to put a $ number to your budget. Even if its not all at once, you coupd work towards upgrading over a few months.
  6. You havent given us a lot to go on. The main thing is budget. Without that I go straight to $3-4000 worth of components.

    Also specs, is it a R7 240 or 265, big difference between them. How much RAM and what speed? And yes, take into account the drives, they are your biggest bottleneck in a system.

    The 4 year old processor and mobo (and most likely RAM) would all be replaced. We had DDR3 RAM for quite a long time compared to previous generations but we now have DDR4 with its faster speeds. That means if you want a faster cpu and mobo you will cripple it by staying with DDR3.

    As a standard I would go for the intel core processors over AMD any day. And i5 is a minimum for any gamer but it has to be the fastest model. If you can throw money at it, get an i7. 8GB RAM is a min for anyone now but 16 is pretty much gamer min but overkill for anyone not a gamer. Make sure you go for a single 8GB stick now if thats all you can afford, you can add another 8 later for dual channel boost (2x4's now would suck).

    If you are using Windows you will need a new copy of it for a new motherboard. The free Win 10 upgrade will take any other hardware change but the motherboard is the thing it is really tied to.

    For a machine that age I think the main boosts to speed are
    1. SSD
    2. RAM (if it has only 4GB) Add another 4 if your system gets low or add 8gb of faster RAM if the mobo can take it. note that any stick of RAM will only run at the slowest RAM's speed and can sometimes not work properly.
    3. Graphics, if it is a low end 200 series.
  7. You say the RAM/storage isn't an issue, but that's probably the first thing you should upgrade. An SSD can make your computer run much faster. 8 gb of RAM might be enough, but adding more could increase your speed too if you are using most of that 8gb.

    Next you should upgrade your GPU. That's what will give you much better performance in games than your current one.

    Your CPU is a little old and it couldn't hurt to upgrade, but you should probably spend that money on an SSD.

    How much money do you want to spend? I can't really say much more than this without knowing.
  8. There's a program for this that will make you able to switch motherboards, without having to get a new key and install. :) (yes, it's legal :p)
  9. Alright, update! It has come to my attention that I really need to give ALL the specs, lol.

    SSD: Corsair Force LX (128GB, main booter, stores essential programs)
    HDD: ST3000dm001 (3 TB, 6 GB/sec, stores most of everything, including games)
    RAM: 8 GB, dual-channel, DDR3 (Can't find the serial number, I'll get it later if it's a must)
    System: Windows 10, OEM version. Motherboards can be switched and the same licence can be kept.

    Budget: I'd like any new component to be reasonable for its type, but $300 is likely the maximum I'll go for any of them (with the exception of a graphics card. I'll say 500 for that, because they're ridiculously higher)

    Anything else I should elaborate on? Are my hopes of an upgrade for that price range unrealistic? :p
  10. That price is very realistic :p for $500 you can get a very nice graphics card. You can get a gtx 970 for around $300.

    For RAM you will have to stay with DDR3 unless you want to buy a new motherboard that supports DDR4. You can get 16gb of new RAM sticks for $50 - $60.
  11. how would a better cpu not be the first step to getting a monster computer?

    or am i mistaken when it is literally the most integral part of your computer?
    TromboneSteve likes this.
  12. To me you made it sound like you mean to ONLY upgrade the COOLER of the cpu to a watercooler ;)

    But fair enough, when people already have the OS on an SSD, generally upgrading the CPU or GPU gives the biggest performance increment.
  13. oh ok lol i was just confused.

    i was like...are cpus not important anymore? is my whole life a lie? am i even alive?
    TomvanWijnen likes this.
  14. I don't think he is trying to make a monster computer, just upgrade a little :p His current CPU is fine for gaming. The graphics card is what needs an upgrade most.
  15. Seeing your proposed budget, here is what I would build:

    CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($338.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.89 @ OutletPC)
    Motherboard: Asus Z170-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($137.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($69.88 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card ($299.99 @ Newegg)

    May be a bit overkill now, but you will have that setup for a loooong time. Ive build a few of this setup for buddies and the 650w PSU works, but if you want to really treat yourself, get a Corsair RM750 (full modular bliss).

    So as you can see, a more or less complete core rebuild is my suggestion. No, I didnt want to hear it either, but this is essential what I ended up doing. I rebuilt my old comp into a smaller mini itx platform and use it as an htpc. I would go with the cpu, cooler mobo and memory first, then go after the 970 after if you want to spread it out.
    TomvanWijnen likes this.
  16. Not always true, depends on wich windows version you have. And mabye depends on the country.
    Here you can install windows oem on new mainboard. and reactivate it. after 3 times you need to call microsostf and just enter the numbers from the screen to activate it. But this is for versions before windows 10. Windows 10 is going to be a problem i think.

    And off course do not use the windows anymore on the old system.

    Also memory can be a big issue ! 4GB is tight for games.
    Then the point that it sounds you can better replace everything. because replacing one bottleneck creates a new one. Only SSD and mabye HDD you could reuse.

    Also ask yourself if you want to do things with Virtual Reality in a while, when HMD sets get cheaper ? That make hardware requirements complete different. Robbie_j have for me good specs for system. Only would replace the GF970 for GF980.

    Also Nvidia just released the GF1070 and 1080. That means in some months the 970 and 980 possible going to drop in price.

    Be carefull if you use existing case that new components fit inside and that the cooling is suitable. Especially with mini desktop towers i have some bad experiences with cool systems that are silent. I anyway preffer a tower on the floor :)
  17. If you're looking at cases, I recommend the HAF912 by Cooler Master. Its an awesome case and makes it easy to hide/route wires.

    So there, aside from a new mouse and keyboard, we pretty much got ya covered lol.
  18. Thank you everyone for putting in the time for responses. Instead of upgrading my current PC, I think that I will take what I've learned here, and apply it to when I make another PC in the future. Thanks again errybuddy