Question GPU upgrade or system upgrade?

katonda

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Hi all,

Long story short. I've been considering a system upgrade for the last few years. GPU and other component prices are finally coming down and I'd like to think about my options.

I currently run a single BenQ PD3200u (4k IPS with max refresh rate of 60 fps). I'm considering adding a second panel like the LG C2 42 inch. That way I'll have the IPS for productive efforts and the OLED for my unproductive hobbies.

My current setup (built in 2015):

EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz
2 x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 8GB 2.133MT/s
Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
2 x HGST HUH721008ALN600 8 TB
Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64-bit

I haven't currently overclocked anything, but I could.

Ideally, I'd like to upgrade the GPU and nothing else.

Is there a GPU out there with HDMI 2.1 for a panel like the LG C2 that can run 4K at decent frames that won't be bottlenecked by my other components?

Or, in general, is there a good value GPU out there that would allow me to squeeze a few more years out of the rest of my components?

Any other comments or questions?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
So, just retired my 6700k last year, because it was definitely time. No looking back. The difference is literally like night and day.

My advice is that you need to do both. If you get a modern mid tiered graphics card like the GTX 970 was when it was new, you are going to be sorely hamstrung by that 6700k, HOWEVER, it might be something you can live with and even if it isn't you don't lose anything by first upgrading the graphics card and seeing how you do in the games you most play and if it turns out you can't get away with just doing the card, which is likely, you've lost nothing by only doing the graphics card first because you can still upgrade the platform at that time. You'll still get the benefit of a better card in the meantime.

What is your budget fora new graphics card and what country are you in?
 

katonda

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Thanks for the quick reply @Darkbreeze. That makes some sense.

Somewhere in the 400-800 euro range. (bang for buck is good, but so is future compatibility). At the time that I bought the 970, it balanced budget and performance well and it's been very good to me. I'd like to get a card like it, that will get me through the next 5 years or so.

I live in NL, but could ship to DE or LT where I have relatives.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
What motherboard?
What PSU?
Agreed. Knowing what your exact power supply model is would be pretty important to any kind of upgrade, as well as knowing how long that power supply has been in service. If your current PSU has been in use since you built that system in 2015 then it would probably be a very good idea to assume it needs to be replaced. It's generally a bad idea to run a new graphics card or platform on a very old power supply even if was a really good model when it was new.
 
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You live in the Netherlands, but can get shipped to Germany or Lithuania?

Something like this might do:

PCPartPicker Part List

Video Card: Palit Dual GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB Video Card (€422.00 @ Amazon Netherlands)
Total: €422.00
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-11-11 18:19 CET+0100


Although it will be slightly held back by your current system. But, if you're not after the absolute fastest FPS, will give you good performance at 1080p 60-100hz.

I'd agree with the other, that a new system along with this GPU, would give you a huge difference over what you have currently.
 

katonda

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I'm sorry to be dense, but I'm a not-well-traveled American and I have no idea where NL, DE or LT are. Was thinking Newfoundland, but that wouldn't be Euro I don't believe. So, little more clarity. Thanks.
Ah, those are ISO-2 country codes. Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania - all EU. That's a few miles East from where you are or a few more miles West. :)

I can shop around myself though, if you get me started with a few models to look into based on your local prices.

What motherboard?
What PSU?
Apologies,

Asus Z170-A
Corsair TX650W
The PSU is still from my 2008 build and could get replaced. Especially if I'm fueling expensive new components.
 

katonda

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You live in the Netherlands, but can get shipped to Germany or Lithuania?
Yes, NL is easiest for shipping time and warranty but DE is usually cheaper. LT is normally most expensive, but sometimes there are some great deals that beat both DE and NL.

Something like this might do:

PCPartPicker Part List

Video Card: Palit Dual GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB Video Card (€422.00 @ Amazon Netherlands)
Total: €422.00
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-11-11 18:19 CET+0100


Although it will be slightly held back by your current system. But, if you're not after the absolute fastest FPS, will give you good performance at 1080p 60-100hz.

I'd agree with the other, that a new system along with this GPU, would give you a huge difference over what you have currently.
Thanks.

I haven't heard of Palit before. How do they measure up to EVGA in terms of reliability and performance? I'm not a fan boy but I've owned two EVGA cards and they each lasted me 5+ years (8800T before the 970).

Is the 3060 the card to get, even if I upgrade the rest of the system in a year or two?
 

katonda

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3060 will not drive 4k screen at acceptable fps.
You're looking at 3070 or 3080 class cards minimum.
Okay, so I'll set the floor at the 3070 then. I think my budget is now 600-800.

How do AMD cards compare at those prices?

Are there steps up from the 3070 that offer anything special?

Which manufacturer of the 3070 are especially sought after?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
EVGA stopped making graphics cards, just recently. Ended their relationship with Nvidia, so, no more EVGA cards.

AMD beats Nvidia at this price point, but if you prefer to stick with Nvidia you can still get a card within that budget that will drive that 4k monitor, especially if you are willing to lower some settings on especially demanding games. Not sure about also including a power supply for that price though. Possibly. Certainly with an AMD card. The question though is are you ok going with an AMD card or do you prefer to stick with Nvidia?

And are you looking to do Ultra settings, because mainting 120fps at 4k with any of these cards that fall within that budget is going to be impossible at Ultra settings.
 
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katonda

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AMD beats Nvidia at this price point, but if you prefer to stick with Nvidia you can still get a card within that budget that will drive that 4k monitor, especially if you are willing to lower some settings on especially demanding games. Not sure about also including a power supply for that price though. Possibly. Certainly with an AMD card. The question though is are you ok going with an AMD card or do you prefer to stick with Nvidia?
600-800 excluding the PSU. I consider that a separate long term investment. Just out of interest, what would you consider a good value PSU for the kind of rig I (will) have?

I'm, indifferent between Nvidia and AMD. Whatever does best at a given price.

Is the AMD card you have in mind at this price point, the 6800 XT?

It compares favorably to the 3070?

And are you looking to do Ultra settings, because mainting 120fps at 4k with any of these cards that fall within that budget is going to be impossible at Ultra settings.
I've been playing most games at medium settings around 45-55 fps at 1440p (downscaled for my 4k monitor) for the past years, so my standards are relatively low. I've never worried about ultra settings, but I do like things like shadows and decent textures, especially when they help with identifying things.

I also tend to buy games a few years after they come out. They're cheaper and have had plenty of patches/mods.

Having never owned a monitor faster than 60hz I can't speak to the refresh rate requirements, though I read on the internet that once you try high fps, it's very hard to go back. So I reckon that I will eventually value high fps over graphic settings.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
It performs BETTER than the 3070. Better even than the 3070 ti. And is less expensive. And actually we could do a 6900xt and remain within your budget by about 50 euros.

What case do you have? Because cards have gotten considerably bigger in some cases, since your GTX 970 days. Length or slot width can be a problem for some older cases sometimes.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Wow, that's a pretty old case, ~2007 or so. But it looks like it can support a longer card if the middle drive cages are removed. Is that something you are willing to do or have done already, or is that middle removeable drive cage assembly being used to house drives that are essential?

The 6800xt and 6900xt outperform the 3080 in a lot of games, again, for less money. Plus, the 3080 is more like 850+ Euros.

 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Something like this would get you where you want to be and will actually even outperform a 3090 in some games at 1440p or 4k.

PCPartPicker Part List

Video Card: XFX Speedster SWFT 319 Radeon RX 6900 XT 16 GB Video Card (€756.00 @ Amazon Netherlands)
Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (2018) 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply (€139.01 @ Amazon Netherlands)
Total: €895.01
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-11-11 20:22 CET+0100
 

katonda

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Wow, that's a pretty old case, ~2007 or so. But it looks like it can support a longer card if the middle drive cages are removed. Is that something you are willing to do or have done already, or is that middle removeable drive cage assembly being used to house drives that are essential?

The 6800xt and 6900xt outperform the 3080 in a lot of games, again, for less money. Plus, the 3080 is more like 850+ Euros.

Yeah the case and PSU are still from my 2008 build and going strong in 2022. As I said, I will be getting a new PSU, but I like the case. It's sturdy, quiet and dark.

I can remove the trays.

Don't judge me for the dust and mess:



I think the 6800 xt or 6900 xt might be the way to go, since they're smaller.

The 970 in there currently measures 121 mm by 215 mm
the 6900 xt is120 mm by 267 mm

Is there anything special to consider with AMD cards? All I've had up til now are nvidia ones.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Cards from all families are various lengths and slot widths. Any 267mm 6900 xt is likely an ITX version of that card or something. Most of them are three fan models. Might also be just the reference card model length. The one I listed above is like 310mm, so you might have to move a couple of drives around and remove that middle cage.

Different drivers, that's about it. If using it with the current OS installation you'll want to DDU the Nvidia drivers and then fresh install the latest AMD drivers for your card.
 

katonda

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Ah okay, I was just looking at a random image from google of the 3080 next to a 6900.

I'll be sure to measure out the case and do some quik maffs before buying.

Are there any families or specs of the 6800 xt 6900 xt I should especially look out for?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
That model of 6900 xt that I posted above is the only one I see that falls within your budget, and XFX makes very decent graphics cards. They are generally about equal to Sapphire, which for AMD cards is usually my go to brand but are a bit more expensive. XFX is totally fine.

If you wanted to go with a different brand and stay within budget you'd need to drop down to a 6800 xt from what I see.
 

katonda

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That model of 6900 xt that I posted above is the only one I see that falls within your budget, and XFX makes very decent graphics cards. They are generally about equal to Sapphire, which for AMD cards is usually my go to brand but are a bit more expensive. XFX is totally fine.

If you wanted to go with a different brand and stay within budget you'd need to drop down to a 6800 xt from what I see.
6800 xt from a nice manufacturer vs 6900 xt from a basic one?

Safe to say all 6900xt > any 6800xt?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Pretty much, yes. But XFX isn't a "basic one". They are a premium tier manufacturer. PNY, Galax, Colorful, Club3d, these are more "budget" or "basic" manufacturers, although even most of them can make good cards if they want to. PNY for example probably makes the best workstation cards out there.
 

katonda

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Hi all, so a few weeks have passed and I've spent tens of hours reviewing components and checking prices and now consider myself to be a bit more savvy than when I first started this post. It's been great reading through all of your input a second time, now that I know more.

I've come up with two builds, one with the i7-13700k and another with the 7700x which aren't final, but I'm fairly happy with. However, I can't help the itchy feeling that waiting just a few more months for more CPUs, GPUs and ATX 3.0 PSUs to be released might be the smartest option in the long run. As some of you correctly pointed out, I build my towers with the intention of using them for 5+ years.

So, with that in mind, I'm thinking of giving my old system a complete once-over; cleaning, reformatting, updating, overclocking (everything's been running stock), etc. I would squeeze another 6 months - 1 year out of it before sending it into retirement in my mom's house. Let's call it one last hoorah.

Here's the full list of components in the desktop as it stands:

Antec P182 Case
EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz
NOCTUA NH-D14
4 x Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 8GB 2.133MT/s (2 separate sets, 1 bought used last year)
Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
Asus Z170-A
Corsair TX650W
Fenvi FV-AX3000 (Wifi 6/BT expansion card from AliExpress)
Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64-bit

There are a few things I'm considering doing, if there's enough value in them:
  • Upgrading the GPU - from what I've read, the 6700k pairs well with GPUs up to around the RTX 2060 - 2070 (RX 6600 - 6700) mark without being too imbalanced/bottlenecked.
    • If you have any specific model recommendations in this range, I'll add them to my list of GPUs and keep a look out in my local market. Bang for buck w.r.t. CPU is key here. Also if there are cards best avoided, let me know.
  • Upgrading the 32GB of 2.133MT/s to something faster. I need to see what the best fit is for the 6700k and Z170-A.
    • From the spec sheet, it seems the Z170-A supports up to DDR4-3466. So maybe I should be looking for a set of 32GB of 3200MT/s? 4x8GB is better than 2x16, right? Would sinking money into a RAM upgrade be worth it or should I just keep what I have?
  • Installing an NVMe in the PCIe 3.0 M.2 slot (I will eventually carry this over to the next build, so I may just get a PCIe 4.0 SSD like the SN850X and run it at lower speeds).
    • I plan to re-install a clean version of Windows and the programs my mom wants, to the 850 EVO and then disconnect it, for her to use when the time comes. Does this make any sense?
Before making any purchases, I'll weigh the scenarios against each other and try to make what I think is the most sensible choice. What are your thoughts?
 

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