My son has a 6 year old system. It's a ASUS Desktop PC CM6431-US-2AA Intel Core i5 3450 (3.10 GHz) 16 GB DDR3. Is there any real benefit to upgrading his motherboard and CPU to a newer gen speed wise? I'd probably stick with a newer gen i5 as he mostly games on his system.
He's running an Gigabyte AMD R9 380 256 Bit GDDR5 4GB, back in 2015 when I bought it it was $220, Now Amazon Re-sellers want $380, which doesn't make much sense to me (maybe it's a crypto-mining animal!). I've been holding off to see if the GPU prices drop back down, they seem to have started to.
I'd like to keep any upgrades to $500 or under.
Tp run a R9-380, you probably also replaced the psu with one in the 500w or higher range.
For a significant graphics boost, you are looking at a GTX1070 class card which is some three tiers higher on tom's gpu hierarchy chart. https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gpu-hierarchy,4388.html
Your $500 budget should handle that.
As a test,
Run HIS games, but lower the resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
If your FPS stays the same, you are likely more cpu limited.
If you are cpu limited, The best you could do would be to replace the cpu with a I7-3770K.
I would not do that, the new 8th gen processors are so much better
Yeah cheapest thing you can do is just upgrade the CPU to an i7-3770(k) $150-$200 on ebay, sometimes less if you get lucky. But do geofelts test first to see where the bottleneck is.
If you deiced to move to a whole new generation CPU then the cost is much more as you'll need a new CPU, Motherboard and RAM. All new CPUs are DDR4 only so you can't reuse to your old DDR3 RAM to keep the cost down in a new build situation.