Question Advice on making upgrades to gaming PC for someone who isn't the smartest when it comes to computers

May 5, 2020
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Hi everyone,

I am currently thinking about making some upgrades to my gaming PC as I have recently began streaming a bit. When I am playing intricate games like Modern Warfare, I have high CPU and Memory usage. My current PC specs are as follows:

i3-6100 3.7 GHz Dual-Core CPUI
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler
Asus Z170-A ATX LGA1151 Mobo
8 Gbs of RAM
MSI Radeon RX 480 8 GB GPU
EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650 W 80+ Power Supply
1 SSD and 1 HDD

I was thinking about upgrading my CPU to start as I am not looking to spend money on everything all at once. I figure if I could upgrade the CPU and maybe get 8 GB more RAM, that would be a start. I was looking at the I5-9600k as an upgrade for the CPU because I hear that 6-core gaming is where we are heading. However, I know that would require an upgrade for the Mobo as well because the Z170 only supports up to 4 cores. Would it be worth it to get a 6-core CPU and have to buy a new Mobo? Or do I stick with the Z170 Mobo and try to find something with 4-cores that performs really well? Or does someone else have a different recommendation with the direction I should go in?

Thanks!
 
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I would look at this two ways.

You could look around for a 6th gen i5 or 7 which would certainly help performance. Add 8GB more RAM (this could vary according to current config).

Invest that same money, plus some, in a modern build. (Ryzen, cough, Ryzen)

Either way, upgrade the GPU would likely be worthwhile as well, but could wait based upon your desired settings.

You would likely be able to find an inexpensive 6th gen i5 used. Likely not to give stellar uplift. An i7 would be notable as far as performance. My concern with that is the price premium on even used i7, and new puts you into the other category, price wise.
You could readily do a CPU/mobo/RAM upgrade for nearly the new price of an i7.

If you swap motherboard and such you will likely have to consider Windows license.
 
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King_V

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Well, before that, maybe we should look at where the weak points lie.

It would help to know your monitor specs: Resolution, refresh rate, and whether it has GSync, FreeSync, or neither?

Then, what you plan to use it for, and/or what games you intend to play on it.

It may be useful to know what speed your RAM is. It's DDR4, but what is the MHz speed rating on it? Am I correct in assuming that it's a matched 2x4GB kit?
 
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May 5, 2020
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I would look at this two ways.

You could look around for a 6th gen i5 or 7 which would certainly help performance. Add 8GB more RAM (this could vary according to current config).

Invest that same money, plus some, in a modern build. (Ryzen, cough, Ryzen)

Either way, upgrade the GPU would likely be worthwhile as well, but could wait based upon your desired settings.

You would likely be able to find an inexpensive 6th gen i5 used. Likely not to give stellar uplift. An i7 would be notable as far as performance. My concern with that is the price premium on even used i7, and new puts you into the other category, price wise.
You could readily do a CPU/mobo/RAM upgrade for nearly the new price of an i7.

If you swap motherboard and such you will likely have to consider Windows license.
I have heard about these Ryzens but I do not know much about them. I've always just heard about Intel, but lately everyone is talking about how Intel is overpriced and how you can get a Ryzen that performs the same, for a lower price. Care to give your opinion and insight?
 
May 5, 2020
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Here is the go to combination that I use at my shop for clients on a budget that want a nice gaming rig without breaking the bank: Ryzen 3600, 1660 gtx ti, MSI Tomahawk Max mobo, 16 gigs of DDR4 3600.
I'll take a look at those specs! Do you think that would be a major upgrade from the specs I currently have posted above?
 
May 5, 2020
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Well, before that, maybe we should look at where the weak points lie.

It would help to know your monitor specs: Resolution, refresh rate, and whether it has GSync, FreeSync, or neither?

Then, what you plan to use it for, and/or what games you intend to play on it.

It may be useful to know what speed your RAM is. It's DDR4, but what is the MHz speed rating on it? Am I correct in assuming that it's a matched 2x4GB kit?
I will have to look into the specific monitor specs. I know the resolution is 1920x1080 but not sure about the other stuff. I plan to use it to play games, mainly a lot of first person shooters like Modern Warfare Warzone. I also plan to stream on the PC as well. For your final point, it is actually one 8GB stick of the DDR4 RAM.
 

ttower2020

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I agree with kwikgta, and would like to add that a second stick of RAM can give you extra benefits, since you would be running is Dual Channel mode, increasing performance.

However, depending on how big you get into streaming, you might want to consider the Ryzen 7 3700X, as its extra cores and threads can be useful while streaming or editing.

The Ryzen CPUs are relatively new to the market, with many less years than the equivalent Intels. Intel had almost no competition for a long while, when AMD had little or nothing to offer for years. Because of this, Intel made very slow improvements to their CPU line, and got a bit complacent, it seems. When AMD came back, with Ryzen, as their modern CPU, with some new features and faster improvements, it caught Intel in a situation where they no longer have the unchallenged best CPU, and the market has been rocked pretty hard. AMD is defiantly the best budget option at the moment, with their new CPUs being cheaper to buy, motherboards cheaper to buy, and easier to upgrade, while maintaining equal or better performance, has left little reason for most people to go the Intel route. The Ryzen series have more cores, and run on a smaller node size (smaller=better) than Intel, and make them a great option.

TL:DR - Intel is good still, but their CPUs are getting old. Ryzen is newer and provides much better value for equivalent performance.
 
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King_V

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a second stick of RAM can give you extra benefits, since you would be running is Dual Channel mode, increasing performance.
Agreed - that single stick of RAM is a hindrance, because it's running in single channel mode. You MIGHT be able to get away with buying another stick of the exact same brand, model, and specs, and it'll work fine in dual channel mode, but the safe bet is usually to get a pair of matched sticks sold in a single kit. At this point, since you'll be able to carry the RAM over to a new system if you do upgrade in the future to a modern platform, might as well get a 2x8GB kit, with 3000Mhz or 3200MHz speed being the sweet spot of price/performance.

I guess we do need to know what your budget is, and what your intent is. But for now, the RAM, and the video card, would be things you could do which WILL help, and will also be able to be carried over to a new platform.
 

kwikgta

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To be completely fair here....single core speed on that 6th gen i3 isn't "user feel" away from the 3600. When you start getting into multi thread it's a totally unfair comparison....but if you throw a $150 used i5 6600K at it, then suddenly you are right back at probably couldn't tell much difference outside a benchmark. Assuming you could score a cheap used i7 and the difference is basically gone.

How much did that build run?
 
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King_V

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The OP didn't say anything about $$$. The system I posted is a very budget oriented Ryzen gaming build.
Ah, sorry, my bad, I was looking at the system in your sig! I see what you mean now:
  • Ryzen 3600
  • 1660 gtx ti
  • MSI Tomahawk Max mobo
  • 16 gigs of DDR4 3600
If I were to tweak that, I'd probably say:
  • go with a 1660 Super (since it performs like the 1660Ti, but for less money)
  • or the RX 5600 XT, which is generally 2060 performance at 1660Ti price.
  • the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU or Ryzen 5 1600AF CPU, which both offer way better bang for the buck vs the 3600 (but do give up a little performance)
  • I might go with 3000Mhz or 3200Mhz RAM, again, more bang for the buck. Unless 3600Mhz is available for only a little more.
Except, of course, between the tariffs and the pandemic, prices are all over the place.

Still, we'll need @oddj0bb to tell us what the expectations are, budget, etc.
 
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IMO based on what we know right now...

If you have about $200 to spend I would first look for a refurb business class Dell or HP with Win 10 and an i7 6700. Swap in your processor and resale. Use that money to then buy a matched kit of low latency 2400 speed DDR4. Save the rest towards a new GPU.

If you have any significant amount more money than that, the new build suggested by kwik is solid and not a dead end. You could delete the GPU to save money for now.

EDIT- as a "for instance" I quickly found a Dell OptiPlex 7040 with an i7 6700, 8GB of RAM, drive, and Win 10 for $275 by it now, and it's a tower size. SFF would go cheaper. IDK about your area but a working 4th gen Optiplex SFF loaded and ready with 10 and a cheapo SSD is easily $100 every day on CL.
 
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kwikgta

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To be completely fair here....single core speed on that 6th gen i3 isn't "user feel" away from the 3600. When you start getting into multi thread it's a totally unfair comparison....but if you throw a $150 used i5 6600K at it, then suddenly you are right back at probably couldn't tell much difference outside a benchmark. Assuming you could score a cheap used i7 and the difference is basically gone.

How much did that build run?
  • Ryzen 3600
  • 1660 gtx ti
  • MSI Tomahawk Max mobo
  • 16 gigs of DDR4 3600
This set up is around $645. He could reuse his case, psu, ssd and hdd. Sell off the leftovers.
 
May 5, 2020
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To be completely fair here....single core speed on that 6th gen i3 isn't "user feel" away from the 3600. When you start getting into multi thread it's a totally unfair comparison....but if you throw a $150 used i5 6600K at it, then suddenly you are right back at probably couldn't tell much difference outside a benchmark. Assuming you could score a cheap used i7 and the difference is basically gone.

How much did that build run?
TBH, it's a 3 year old build but if I remember correctly, it had to have been at least $600-$700. Obviously with other items like monitor, keyboard, etc. it was more. But just the internal parts for the PC was $600-$700.
 
May 5, 2020
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Ah, sorry, my bad, I was looking at the system in your sig! I see what you mean now:
  • Ryzen 3600
  • 1660 gtx ti
  • MSI Tomahawk Max mobo
  • 16 gigs of DDR4 3600
If I were to tweak that, I'd probably say:
  • go with a 1660 Super (since it performs like the 1660Ti, but for less money)
  • or the RX 5600 XT, which is generally 2060 performance at 1660Ti price.
  • the Ryzen 5 2600 CPU or Ryzen 5 1600AF CPU, which both offer way better bang for the buck vs the 3600 (but do give up a little performance)
  • I might go with 3000Mhz or 3200Mhz RAM, again, more bang for the buck. Unless 3600Mhz is available for only a little more.
Except, of course, between the tariffs and the pandemic, prices are all over the place.

Still, we'll need @oddj0bb to tell us what the expectations are, budget, etc.
My bad! I would say that as of now, I am really looking to upgrade the CPU/Mobo and then maybe get one more 8 GB stick of RAM. If I could keep that in the $300-$350, that'd be nice but maybe too unrealistic..
 
My bad! I would say that as of now, I am really looking to upgrade the CPU/Mobo and then maybe get one more 8 GB stick of RAM. If I could keep that in the $300-$350, that'd be nice but maybe too unrealistic..
Not at all. Used i5 6600K, couple of sticks of used RAM, and a 1660 variant could easily come in around $300. Might could pull an i7 for a little more (see above).
 
Reactions: oddj0bb
May 5, 2020
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Not at all. Used i5 6600K, couple of sticks of used RAM, and a 1660 variant could easily come in around $300. Might could pull an i7 for a little more (see above).
Could I incorporate a Ryzen instead of the i5? If so, what would you recommend top stay in that price range? Something above that someone has already recommended?
 

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