Question Advice on desktop upgrade

itm

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My desktop motherboard has just died, so I'm looking for advice on good price/performance options for replacing it. It's an Asus P8Z68-VLX with an i5 processor from about 5 years ago.
I will probably keep my existing tower case and PSU, as I tend to load my cases with drives and will also want to keep the two HDD's and BD-R drive that I already have. I may also keep the 256GB SSD on which the (Windows 10) O/S is currently installed, but have not made a final decision.
Other than general internet/MS Office/admin use, the PC is used for multi-track audio recording (using Reaper and an external USB audio interface), other music software (e.g. Band-In-A-Box), home video editing from time to time (Vegas Video), photo editing using Photoshop, and music/video playback. I'm a very occasional gamer (only F1 or Pro Evo), but probably don't use it for gaming for whole months at a time. I also do a little Android app development using Android Studio.
I have a 3 monitor setup (2 monitors plus an HDMI TV), but could probably keep my existing Asus GTX 550 TI graphics adapter which offers 2 video ports, so a motherboard with a single graphics port would probably be fine in conjunction with the Asus card.
The only other "special" requirements that I have are:
  • Ideally alot of USB ports - I currently have 10 USB devices connected, either directly or indirectly (via a powered hub)
  • ALOT of RAM 32GB? - I often run one or two Windows or Linux VMs concurrently, each of which have at least 4GB RAM allocated. My existing machine has 16GB RAM, and usually runs at 100% RAM usage.
If I keep my existing case, drives and graphics adapter I guess I'm looking for a motherboard with CPU/cooling and 32GB RAM. Also something which will allow me to use the onboard graphics in parallel with the 2 displays on the GTX 550 TI. My budget isn't fixed, but I was thinking around £500-600 (without O/S).

I believe that Ryzen now competes well with Intel for price/performance, and have had a quick look at Ryzen 7 3700X based solutions - for example this:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CCL-4-4GHz-AMD-Ryzen-7-3700X-Bundle-32GB-RAM-Gigabyte-B450M-DS3H-Motherboard/113812599027?hash=item1a7fc270f3:g:iyoAAOSw3Dtdyy-I
...but would really appreciate any recommendations (and places to buy for a good deal).
 

greigm78

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Just be aware that only Ryzen designated G have iGPU. 3700X does not have iGPU so would fail your use case.

3200/3400G do have iGPU but are lower tier APUs versus the 3600/3700 both X and non X.
 

itm

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Just be aware that only Ryzen designated G have iGPU. 3700X does not have iGPU so would fail your use case.

3200/3400G do have iGPU but are lower tier APUs versus the 3600/3700 both X and non X.
Sorry could you please elaborate - are you saying that the absence of iGPU on the 3700x means that I can't use the on board graphics in parallel with the gtx550 for a 3 monitor setup?
 

greigm78

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Sorry could you please elaborate - are you saying that the absence of iGPU on the 3700x means that I can't use the on board graphics in parallel with the gtx550 for a 3 monitor setup?
There are no onboard graphics.

Something like this would be my upgrade path, B450 gives you upgrade to 3000/4000 series CPU later but for your purposes, the 8 core/16 thread 2700X would be a good fit IMO without breaking the bank AND let you upgrade the GPU so you don't have to use iGPU, you can just connect 3 monitors up to the one card.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7 GHz 8-Core Processor (£151.90 @ More Computers)
Motherboard: MSI B450M GAMING PLUS Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard (£84.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory (£141.18 @ Aria PC)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6 GB Twin Fan Video Card (£202.23 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £580.30
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-02-10 09:33 GMT+0000
 
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itm

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So is it the case that the 2700X doesn't have onboard graphics either, but you're recommending it because the lower price would allow more budget for a video card which supports 3 displays?

I notice that the Zota has 3 display ports. My monitors only have DVI/VGA/HDMI ports - is that easy to address using adapters?
 

greigm78

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So is it the case that the 2700X doesn't have onboard graphics either, but you're recommending it because the lower price would allow more budget for a video card which supports 3 displays?

I notice that the Zota has 3 display ports. My monitors only have DVI/VGA/HDMI ports - is that easy to address using adapters?
I would recommend the 2700X as a good CPU for productivity tasks and for gaming too. The 2400G/3400G would be the closest to the 2700 but way behind in performance overall (4 core/8 thread vs 8 core/16 thread)
Using an upgraded GPU would give you a considerable performance jump on where you are at the moment, coupled with 32GB of DDR4 3200MHz RAM.

None of the higher end Ryzen CPUs have iGPU so would need a GPU so that was my thinking behind the 2700X plus 1660 Super to keep you in budget but meet your use case needs.

You can get DP to HDMI adaptors for a few quid on Amazon (I use the "Snowkids" ones at work for my laptop and they are fine)
 

itm

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I've just realised that my GTX550 will also support 3 displays. While I realise that it's a lower spec than the Zota that you recommend, will I notice much performance difference outside of gaming and video editing if I keep the GTX550 and drive 3 displays from it? F1 and Pro Evo run fine on it at the moment.
 

itm

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...or to put in another way, would I be better off spending the extra cash on the 3700X or on the Zota, given that gaming and video editing are a small part of my workload?
 

greigm78

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...or to put in another way, would I be better off spending the extra cash on the 3700X or on the Zota, given that gaming and video editing are a small part of my workload?
This will come to personal preference. But for me, I would go the best spec CPU and GPU that I could get in budget if video editing as well as gaming.

The GTX550 Ti is a 1GB card with a 900Mhz base clock and 192 CUDA cores. The 1660 Super is 6GB with almost double frequency and 1408 CUDA Cores. So a much, much faster card.

That said, the 3700X would give you a performance bump over the 2700X but your GTX550 might not "keep up".

For me, personally, I would upgrade the GPU if you are upgrading the CPU and RAM and can do so in budget. But, as I say, it's personal preference,

I think you'd see a bigger % performance improvement from 550 to 1660S [c. 562%] than you would going 2700X to 3700X [c. 14%](you would also need a B450 board with BIOS updates for the 3rd Gen chips (some do have this already) or a X570 board. Usually a little, to a lot more expensive).
 

itm

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As a matter of interest, would something like Vegas Video offload rendering work to the GPU?

Also, what benefits would a X570 board bring (over the B450) for my activities (i.e. outside of gaming)?
 

greigm78

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As a matter of interest, would something like Vegas Video offload rendering work to the GPU?

Also, what benefits would a X570 board bring (over the B450) for my activities (i.e. outside of gaming)?

Re the bold bit, none whatsoever in my view. It offers slightly better VRMs for overclocking and PCIe 4.0. But I don't see a huge difference going from B450 to X570, personally (I have 3600X CPU) but it's primarily gaming in my use case.

I don't know a lot about Vegas Video. But, again (and it's personal preference), I wouldn't want a system being held back by an ages old GPU with a spanking new CPU and RAM if I could possibly avoid it.
 

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