Question Cheap upgrade or wait?

Isaac Zackary

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Aug 11, 2020
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Approximate Purchase Date: Not sure if some day soon or in three years (See "Why Upgrading" below).

Budget Range: $250

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Video Conferencing, file managing, emails, Arduino and similar projects, web browsing

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Mobo, CPU, RAM, PSU

Do you need to buy OS: I don't think I do. (Personal Windows 7 Key)
Please note that if you're using an OEM license of Windows, you will need a new one when buying a new motherboard.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Newegg
Location: Colorado Rocky mountains, 4-5 hours from Denver or Grand Junction in middle of nowhere.

Parts Preferences: Prefer Intel

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: Dual 1600x1200 monitors (HDMI, DVI or VGA)

Additional Comments: I use a lot of drives (6 SATA), use an old PS2 keyboard with integrated PS2 trackpad and have 4 USB 2 ports and two USB 3 ports on the front. Ethernet is fine, I don't need Wi-Fi.

The current comptuer is a Origin case with 4 x 3.5" removeable hard drive bays and two 2.5" drive bays and a DVD drive I still use on occasion. I only use one of the 2.5" bays for a Sata SSD. The rest I do use quite regularly. There are a couple USB 3 ports and three USB 2 ports with a card reader that goes to the forth USB2 port on the MOBO. I do use the SD card reader often.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: The current setup (ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme with Core i7-2600K, 16G RAM and dual GeForceGTX 590's) keeps crashing every once in a while. That and USB devices stop being recognized properly randomly until I not only restart the computer but unplug it for a while before plugging it back in. If not, it may crash once or sometimes twice a day if I don't restart it for USB problems first. It seems to be much less of a problem if I hibernate the computer and leave it unplugged all night. It's just enough to make me feel like maybe I should upgrade, but then I get into the habit of unplugging it every night and feel maybe it'll be fine until Microsoft retires Windows 10.

I was thinking of doing a cheap upgrade of the latest Intel MOBO and CPU. I thought this might work:
  • $115 Open box ASUS PRIME B660M-A AC D4 board would work (can fit an extra large extended ATX board if I wanted in this case).
  • $40 Celeron g6900
  • $55 Samsung Memory M378A2K43BB1-CPB 16GB DDR4 2133MHz Unbuffered Bare
  • $35 EVGA W3 450W 80+ for good measure.
Or do I figure what keeps crashing it and fix that and keep the computer as long as possible, perhaps saving up for a better CPU or something?
 

DSzymborski

Titan
Moderator
Wait, what is all your current hardware? I'm not sure what you accomplish by this upgrade. I'm hoping you're not running a GTX 590 on something as awful as that EVGA W3 PSU you want to upgrade to.

This would perform worse than your current rig. And it's not useful as a base for upgrading anyway; three of the four parts basically become e-waste in that scenario.

It would help to actually figure out the current problem. For example, the GTX 590 or the PSU (again, you don't specify and this is crucial information) may be failing, in which case you'd either remove the GTX 590 and run on integrated graphics or replace the PSU. Both the scenarios leave you a better PC than the one you would upgrade to.
 
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Celeron G6900: 2 cores; 2 threads; 3.4 ghz clock; Passmark benchmark score 3612


2600K: 4 cores; 8 threads; 3.4 ghz clock; Passmark benchmark score 5496

Looks to me like your 10 plus year old 2600K would thump the current generation Celeron.

You might be OK with that because you would presumably eliminate your crashing problem. I don't know if Arduino would be happy.

Sounds like a bad idea, but maybe you have an extreme budget issue.

Another 150 bucks would go a long way; 100 of it to a CPU (maybe an i3-12100) and 50 to a better PSU. About 400 total rather than 250.
 
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Isaac Zackary

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Aug 11, 2020
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Wait, what is all your current hardware? I'm not sure what you accomplish by this upgrade. I'm hoping you're not running a GTX 590 on something as awful as that EVGA W3 PSU you want to upgrade to.

This would perform worse than your current rig. And it's not useful as a base for upgrading anyway; three of the four parts basically become e-waste in that scenario.

It would help to actually figure out the current problem. For example, the GTX 590 or the PSU (again, you don't specify and this is crucial information) may be failing, in which case you'd either remove the GTX 590 and run on integrated graphics or replace the PSU. Both the scenarios leave you a better PC than the one you would upgrade to.
Current setup:
PSU: Silver Stone ST-SST-1500
MOBO: ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K
GPUs: dual EVGA GeForce GTX 590 cards, with 2 GPUs each hooked up in quad SLI
SSD: (Boot): 500GB Samsung 840 PRO series
HDD: (the most used): Western Digital Blue 2TB 5400RPM WD20EZRZ
RAM: Crucial CT2K51264BD160B (4GB x 4 = 16GB)
CPU COOLING: Some sort of triple fan AIO.
CASE: Very large Origin tower with screen filter on bottom, PSU in bottom cavity, two fans that pull from the bottom cavity, one into the MOBO area and one that blows over the HDD's. HDD's are removeable, designed to be hot swappable. The triple fan radiator is in the top. And there's a 6th case fan in the rear.
Monitors: Dual Samsung T-260 hooked up via DVI.

Anything I'm missing?

Sound: Logitech speakers via 3.5mm jack.

Someone was throwing this computer away a couple years ago, It had W7 on it. I wiped it clean, but it crashed a lot. I took apart the GPU cards and they were packed with dust, so I cleaned them out and the whole case. I put new thermal past on the CPU and lowered the radiator and tried to get all the air bubbles out of it and topped off the water. I also ended up replacing the three radiator fans with lower end Noctuas since the previous ones were stopping, vibrating and sometimes even falling out of their bearings.

This MOBO doesn't have any video ports, so I can't use integrated graphics on it. But I was thinking for what I do I don't need a graphics card.

I realize the water block will probably not work on a newer CPU/MOBO. But I was thinking of using whatever stock cooler the CPU came with for frugal reasons.

Celeron G6900: 2 cores; 2 threads; 3.4 ghz clock; Passmark benchmark score 3612


2600K: 4 cores; 8 threads; 3.4 ghz clock; Passmark benchmark score 5496

Looks to me like your 10 plus year old 2600K would thump the current generation Celeron.

You might be OK with that because you would presumably eliminate your crashing problem. I don't know if Arduino would be happy.

Sounds like a bad idea, but maybe you have an extreme budget issue.

Another 150 bucks would go a long way; 100 of it to a CPU (maybe an i3-12100) and 50 to a better PSU. About 400 total rather than 250.
Ya, I'm very frugal. After all, this computer was basically getting thrown away. I was thinking a Core i3 might be better too. What kind of PSU would be better?

By Arduino I mean projects I do via USB. The Arduino boards aren't left hooked up to the computer after they're programmed.
 
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If you get a new motherboard and CPU with integrated video like the i3 and don't use a video card, any decent PSU circa 450 to 550 watts would be fine.

Power supplies have gone up in price a lot in the last 2 or 3 years. Used to be able to get a good lower power one for 75 or so. Tougher nowadays.

Decent brands would be Corsair (some models), Seasonic, Super Flower, some EVGA, and others I can't recall.

Prowl around at Amazon or Newegg and see what you can find in your budget and get some confirmation it is decent before you lay the money down.

I have no idea at all about Arduino. Sounds like a pasta dish to me.
 
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Isaac Zackary

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just adding in a little info.

my Asus Prime B560M-K where a 10600k cpu is installed, has one PS2 port.
it's a surprise for me too. Was able to use Ps2 keyboard again. hehe
This is the new MotherBoard I was referring to and it has a PS2 port:
ASUS PRIME B660M-A AC D4 LGA 1700 (Intel 12th Gen) mATX Motherboard (PCIe 4.0, DDR4, 2x M.2 PCIe 4.0 slots, Wi-Fi 5, front USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A) - Newegg.com

Not that the PS2 port is absolutely necessary as I can use a couple of PS2 to USB dongles. But it does come in handy for a cleaner setup. The MOBO I have now only supports one PS2 device at a time on the PS2 port, so I have to use a USB dongle for one of them.

EDIT: I like this old PS2 keyboard a lot because it has a confortable erogonomic design and some cool mouse keys that make precision movment of the cursor very easy.
 
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Isaac Zackary

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The other thing too is, what if 1) I can't repair this computer and it becomes unbearable and 2) the cost to upgrade it is in the several hundred dollar range? At what point do I go get a new tower computer and throw a couple of my hard drives in there?

I mean, an HP ENVY Desktop TE01-2250xt PC with a 6 core 11th gen Core i5 11400 and 16GB of RAM costs $560 (or $460 if I only get 8GB of RAM). The only thing that I can think of that would be weird about a computer like that is I'd have to run HDMI to one monitor and VGA to the other.
 
The other thing too is, what if 1) I can't repair this computer and it becomes unbearable and 2) the cost to upgrade it is in the several hundred dollar range? At what point do I go get a new tower computer and throw a couple of my hard drives in there?

I mean, an HP ENVY Desktop TE01-2250xt PC with a 6 core 11th gen Core i5 11400 and 16GB of RAM costs $560 (or $460 if I only get 8GB of RAM). The only thing that I can think of that would be weird about a computer like that is I'd have to run HDMI to one monitor and VGA to the other.
I'd try to steer you away from an HP pre-built.

Maybe OK if you would regard it as a disposable appliance that you would never try to upgrade if individual internal parts fail.

It's a mini-tower case. It has a 310 watt power supply of unknown pedigree and quality. It could have proprietary parts that vary from industry standard and therefore interfere with later upgrades. It has only 1 drive....a 256 GB NVMe. A charge of an extra 100 dollars to move from 8 RAM to 16 is laughable.

12 inches deep and 13 inches tall. It's likely to be cramped if you wanted to work inside the case. I don't see any indication of case fan situation in the specs.

I assume your current case functions OK and is industry standard rather than proprietary.
 
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Isaac Zackary

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How old is your current PSU? If quite old, it very well could be a part of your problem. I would also remove one of the GTX 590's. SLI is dead.
I have no idea of how old the PSU is. I guess it's the original from circa 2011. It's a 1500W PSU. I wonder what would be a good replacement for it. Hopefully that's the problem.

Okidoki on the GTX removal! I could probably get some $$ for it if I do.
 

Isaac Zackary

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Aug 11, 2020
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It would help to actually figure out the current problem. For example, the GTX 590 or the PSU (again, you don't specify and this is crucial information) may be failing, in which case you'd either remove the GTX 590 and run on integrated graphics or replace the PSU.
How old is your current PSU? If quite old, it very well could be a part of your problem. I would also remove one of the GTX 590's.
So it sound like either the PSU or one or both of the Graphics cards could be the issue.

You guys gave me an idea. Since I have two graphics cards and apparently only need one, I think I'll try it with just one graphics card and see if it crashes again. And if it does, I'll try the other one by itself too and see what happens.

Any way of making sure it's the PSU before replacing it?

Any idea why the USB ports stop working randomly?
 

Isaac Zackary

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Using a calculator, it looks my system could draw 900W if I remove a graphics card?!

A good 1000W PSU looks like it could cost some $140!?

Well, if that's what it takes.
 

Isaac Zackary

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According to this review...
Power, Noise, And Air Temperatures - Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 3 GB Review: Firing Back With 1024 CUDA Cores | Tom's Hardware (tomshardware.com)
... the GeForce GTX 590 draws 413W average! So with two of them that's over 800W just for graphics cards! That's a lot of power and heat! I better take one out!

I also found some tests googling that the I7-2700K may use up to 400W in certain specific circumstances! I wonder how much I could save in electricity by upgrading??? I guess I need a watt-hour meter to find out.
 
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Isaac Zackary

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Dummy me. I have an i7-2600K...

So, possibly up to 413W on a single graphics card and it looks like the CPU might use up to 90W by itself, depending on overclocking settings. So I'm guessing the system might use a maximum of 550W, deleting a graphics card of course. So should I get a 650W PSU???

Would a $100 CORSAIR RM RM750 750 W ATX 80 PLUS GOLD Certified work?
CORSAIR RM RM750 750 W Power Supply - Newegg.com

Or should I look for a different, less powerful graphics card that has dual DVI or HDMI ports and try to sell these? I might play Portal or Portal 2, but that's about it for graphics needs other than office type stuff, if I even get back around to playing those that is.
 
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Isaac Zackary

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Aug 11, 2020
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Have you given up the idea of a motherboard/CPU/RAM/PSU major upgrade?

I guess you are speculating that a new PSU will solve your crashing issue. That may or may not be correct.
That's the thing. I feel like I'm punching in the dark. The problem could be MOBO or CPU related. Who knows. It's an 11 year-old system. It would be nice to throw $100 at it and get another three years out of it. It would be a shame to throw $100 at it and get nothing out of it.

On the other hand, a newer PSU would be nice for whatever becomes the next build of it, so maybe it wouldn't be technically thrown away.

But would a 650W be a good middle ground PSU for a future "office" style computer? It would seem that my idea of a computer would need much less. But maybe having a 650W PSU wouldn't be the end of the world either.
 
An "Office style" computer wouldn't need a video card at all...and would be fine with any decent PSU of say 450 to 550 and using integrated graphics.

I haven't used a video card in over 10 years.

Your PSU needs are dependent to some extent on exactly what GPU setup you will have going forward.

No GPU at all?

1 GPU that might boost overall PSU requirements to say 650?

2 GPUs?

What specific GPU or GPUs?

Decide on the GPU setup before you take the plunge on the PSU if possible. If you can't or won't decide on the GPU arrangement, then I guess you have to plan for worst case scenario and go up to 850 watts or higher because you can't decide.

Many would say you are living on borrowed time with your stuff all being over 10 years old....but it could last another 10 years. Or another hour.
 

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