Question Help upgrading this machine for gaming

Jul 19, 2019
4
0
10
0
I'm a dad trying to build a gaming PC for my son on a budget. I have a spare PC I can upgrade, but need advice on the best bang for buck upgrades. I have built many PCs over the years, but I am not savvy in terms of what makes a gaming PC a top performer - cpu, gpu, ram, etc. He is interested in emulation as well as current games, so I'd like a machine that can cover all the bases as much as possible. I could use some friendly advice on where to put my money.

The machine is a Dell Optiplex mini-tower. It has a microATX Dell 0GY6Y8 motherboard and can handle a full size video card. It has a Core i3 3220 @ 3.30 Ghz. I understand it will support up to a 3rd generation quad core i5 or i7. It has 16 Gb dual channel DDR3 @ 798 MHz. It has an Asus brand 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4300/4500 Series card in it. It has a 1 TB WD spinning disk HDD right now. I have decent enough resolution monitors I can use, but no 4K or anything fancy like that.

I would really like to keep the costs under about $300, but if that is unrealistic I will adjust my expectations. Also will note that I work in IT, so I generally have access to parts for free from failed or recycled machines, if that helps.

Would greatly appreciate advice regarding this.
 

Quanticriver

Commendable
Jul 1, 2017
192
17
1,615
5
Hello, welcome to the forums

For gaming purposes GPU matters most, so i would allocate most of your money towards a decent gpu (e.g. nividia 1660 or 1600 6gb) - if you have a monitor for 1080p that's fine - your budget won't or barely allows you to play in 4k

ramwise you are fine 16gb is plenty
i would also opt for an ssd to boot from and to run the most played games from (128gb minimum)
Using the 1TB as a secondary drive

cpu wise i would opt for as good a cpu as you can scavenge from your work, atleast an i5 or even better an i7
I also checked your mobo and it should support 2nd and 3rd gen intel cpu's as you stated

You may also have to upgrade your psu (this too can be scavenged if need be) as a beefier cpu and especially a gpu will extract more juice then a OEM psu can probably deliver

i'd say it's doable with your budget, but it depends on how much you can scavenge
 
Reactions: breid7718
Jul 19, 2019
4
0
10
0
Is the Nvidia gpu what I need to buy? Are Radeon GPUs out of the game these days?

How much of a difference does the memory on the GPU make? There are big price differentials between 2, 4, 6 GB cards.
 

ConanLock

Notable
May 22, 2019
1,025
198
990
30
Also will note that I work in IT, so I generally have access to parts for free from failed or recycled machines, if that helps.
This part could make your task a lot easier than for most people ;)
If you can get a 4th generation i5 or i7, then definitely snag one of them. If not, then 3rd gen i5 and i7 would still be an upgrade.
If you do not manage to find such, then take a look at the list below. The CPU is just for the price of any 4th Gen i5 that you can find on the second hand market, primarily eBay. You've also got yourself an RX 580 GPU, which should be pretty decent.
You might find that you also need a PSU, if the one the PC comes with is inadequate. Take a look at this and see what you think:
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel - Core i5-4570 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($60.00)
Storage: Crucial - BX500 240 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($28.85 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: XFX - Radeon RX 580 8 GB GTS Black Edition OC+ Video Card ($199.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair - CX (2017) 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($40.50 @ Newegg)
Total: $329.34
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-19 11:46 EDT-0400
 
Jul 19, 2019
4
0
10
0
It looks like I have another option - I have a new machine that's become available!

i7 3770 quad core @ 3.40 GHz
Dell 0YXT71 motherboard
12 GB RAM DDR3, but I can swap this with the other machine's 16
5 TB WD spinning HDD
NVidia GeForce GT 730

I do have a spare 120 SSD that I can put in as the boot drive to speed at least that part up

The downside - this machine is a low profile desktop with a 250 watt power supply, so I will need a video card that is low profile and doesn't take up a ton of space. I can probably wedge a double width card in there, but the fans will be right up against the CPU. What's the best call for a half height gaming video card that will fit in a compact case?
 

Rogue Leader

Titan
Moderator
This part could make your task a lot easier than for most people ;)
If you can get a 4th generation i5 or i7, then definitely snag one of them. If not, then 3rd gen i5 and i7 would still be an upgrade.
If you do not manage to find such, then take a look at the list below. The CPU is just for the price of any 4th Gen i5 that you can find on the second hand market, primarily eBay. You've also got yourself an RX 580 GPU, which should be pretty decent.
You might find that you also need a PSU, if the one the PC comes with is inadequate. Take a look at this and see what you think:
PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel - Core i5-4570 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($60.00)
Storage: Crucial - BX500 240 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($28.85 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: XFX - Radeon RX 580 8 GB GTS Black Edition OC+ Video Card ($199.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair - CX (2017) 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($40.50 @ Newegg)
Total: $329.34
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-19 11:46 EDT-0400
While I generally like the CX450 its not a good choice for a RX 580 which is power hungry, it will work, but you really want to spend the money on the 550w model to give it a cushion.

It looks like I have another option - I have a new machine that's become available!

i7 3770 quad core @ 3.40 GHz
Dell 0YXT71 motherboard
12 GB RAM DDR3, but I can swap this with the other machine's 16
5 TB WD spinning HDD
NVidia GeForce GT 730

I do have a spare 120 SSD that I can put in as the boot drive to speed at least that part up

The downside - this machine is a low profile desktop with a 250 watt power supply, so I will need a video card that is low profile and doesn't take up a ton of space. I can probably wedge a double width card in there, but the fans will be right up against the CPU. What's the best call for a half height gaming video card that will fit in a compact case?
The only LP video card out there thats in any way "Gaming" is MSI makes a LP 1050. Its ok in terms of playing like esports games. But if you want to be playing AAA titles with any details its awful. And you'll have cooling problems.

These Dell low profile prebuilts are pretty awful for turning into decent gaming machines, if you have a better budget than that I highly recommend against it.
 

ConanLock

Notable
May 22, 2019
1,025
198
990
30
Unfortunately none for a 250w PSU. However, the motherboard is also MicroATX. This means you could just swap things around so that you have the case that supports full sized graphics cards, and the i7 (if possible), as well as the 16GB RAM and the SSD.

PCPartPicker Part List

Video Card: MSI - GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6 GB VENTUS XS OC Video Card ($254.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - S12II 520 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($50.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $305.98
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-19 16:53 EDT-0400

The 1660 Ti should matched with the 3770 should be able to handle anything you want it too. It won't be a $$$$ super gaming PC, but it will even play the newest AAAs such as Metro Exodus at high graphics preset.
 
Jul 19, 2019
4
0
10
0
Unfortunately none for a 250w PSU. However, the motherboard is also MicroATX. This means you could just swap things around so that you have the case that supports full sized graphics cards, and the i7 (if possible), as well as the 16GB RAM and the SSD.

PCPartPicker Part List

Video Card: MSI - GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6 GB VENTUS XS OC Video Card ($254.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - S12II 520 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($50.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $305.98
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-19 16:53 EDT-0400

The 1660 Ti should matched with the 3770 should be able to handle anything you want it too. It won't be a $$$$ super gaming PC, but it will even play the newest AAAs such as Metro Exodus at high graphics preset.
I think this is going to be the path to pursue. I also saw that some of the included power supplies have an extra 6 port power cable, which might open up some other graphics cards as well. I need to crack the case and see what's there.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS