At Low Specs, is Graphics Card or Processor More Important?

Jun 8, 2018
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I just upgraded a computer with a new motherboard (the old one died) and 8 gigs of RAM. I still have the older processor and the motherboard has integrated graphics. The processor is an AMD Athlon II X2 dual core at 1.6 GHz, the graphics are ATI Radeon HD 3000 graphics. Which should I upgrade first?
 
Jun 8, 2018
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Right now it has very low frames in game, and during usual tasks it runs at about 20-40% CPU usage. I just want it to run at a better speed and I use it for gaming.
 

volkgren

Distinguished
You're system is old. You'd be spending the same money on old parts that are much slower than new parts.

If you were goin to keep your motherboard and upgrade your CPU, you'd want to find out if Phenom II X6 are compatible. THen you'd want to find a GTX 750 Ti on the used market, or a GT 1030, or even better a GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti. You may need a power supply upgrade.

That would give you a low-end, basic gaming system to play games on low settings without it being a stutter-fest. But do know the Phenom II X6 is also old and slow compared to some newer dual-core CPUs that would cost the same new as the Phenom does used. (Pentium G5400 is a new CPU that is much faster than the Phenom II X6, but requires new motherboard and RAM.)
 
Jun 8, 2018
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I've been researching which parts I would get for each category, and it looks like my best bet would be the AMD FX-8350 rather than the Phenom. If I upgraded both parts, what would be holding me back? Considering that I'm not looking for ultra settings, and most of my games are less intensive in the first place. Also, I have a 500w power supply, would that cause me any trouble?

 

volkgren

Distinguished
If your board supports FX-8350 that might be an option, but motherboards play a big role in running the CPU efficienctly. Some motherboards' VRMs overheat when running that CPU.

500W is enough, but quality matters more than quantity.

Go ahead and list your exact motherboard and PSU model.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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The more I go over this, the more I start to regret,, haha. I also definitely made a mistake when I was looking, the PSU is actually only 300w. I'm really new to this and I apologize if I'm causing too much trouble.

Motherboard: Gigabyte 78LMT-USB3 R2
Power Supply: Delta Electronics DPS-300AB-39 C

This is turning out worse than I expected.
I guess my biggest question at this point is: Are the motherboard and DDR3 RAM I just bought actually worth anything to me?
 

DSzymborski

Illustrious
Moderator


You've got one of the better OEM PSUs at least. Mainly in pre-builts, you see these minimal power supplies, but Delta tends to be the best among those you see frequently.

The bad news is that's a very low-end AM3+ motherboard and not appropriate to use with any 125W CPUs. So FX-8350 isn't an option. The best combination you could practically do with this build is an FX-6300 and you should be OK running a 750ti.

As far as worth, the RAM might have more use in a PC overhaul if you had a Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge/Haswell built that can still be made into viable 2018 PCs with an i7. On AM3+, not so much. The FX generation fumbled away a lot of the goodwill AMD earned from their Athlon 64s and Phenom IIs as the platforms turned out to be hot, inefficient, and generally mediocre performers. Generally speaking, when a CPU or a motherboard in an AM3+ goes, it's recommended to not put more money into the platform.

There was a minority theory that CPUs like the FX-8350, with eight threads, would age better than some of the four-thread Intel i5s as games went to more cores, but that didn't actually happen, mainly because while games take advantage of more cores than they did five years ago, they want more, *faster* cores and the instructions per cycle in AMD CPUs were essentially stagnant for 6-7 years. Which is why Ryzen was such a big deal.

 
Jun 8, 2018
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So with 120$ spent on the motherboard and RAM, would it be more realistic to settle for a better DDR3 motherboard to keep the RAM, or should I just upgrade altogether? And would the PSU or 750 GB 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda be salvageable in a new build?
 

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