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Question Looking to upgrade my PC, need help deciding what parts need upgrading first, and what to upgrade them to

condxlences

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Jun 24, 2015
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So I’ve had my PC for a good number of years now, and it’s noticeably starting to struggle with new AAA games. So I’m looking to find out what parts of my PC are holding me back, so I know what I should prioritise upgrading first, and what to upgrade it to.

The main focus of upgrading would be to run most (if not all) more recent games on high settings and at 1440p and at at least 60 FPS (ideally more though). I know this will most likely be expensive but any ideas people have would be great!


Anyway, my specs at the moment are:

GPU: GeForce GTX 970 (4GB)

CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K @ 3.5 GHz

Ram: 8GB

Motherboard: MSI Z97 GAMING 5

Monitor: 2560 x 1440, 144Hz
edit:
HDD: WDC WD20EZRX-00D8PB0
SSD: SanDisk SDSSDA240G

Thanks in advance.

I’m also in the UK if that makes a difference.
For budget, I’m not 100% sure, just give me some ideas first, thanks.
 
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huss987

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Mar 9, 2014
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The build you have at the moment isn't terrible. I would first have task manager, or a different systems resource manager open while gaming, and see whats maxing out. Might be a good idea to get a new graphics card, given its only 4gb vram
 

condxlences

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Jun 24, 2015
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The build you have at the moment isn't terrible. I would first have task manager, or a different systems resource manager open while gaming, and see whats maxing out. Might be a good idea to get a new graphics card, given its only 4gb vram
I know it’s not terrible but I can’t really utilise my 1440p monitor, if I want a stable frame rate >60 I need to play on 1080. When gaming, my CPU is usually maxed out on most pretty intensive games, however I don’t know if that’s the best thing to upgrade? I’m not too sure when it comes to this stuff. However I do think my GPU is starting to struggle too as I’ve not changed my build in about 5 years.
 
Lets see...new AAA games @1440p/144hz. That's pretty demanding terrain. If you say its struggling, that means you are not ready to compromise on settings, because one thing I know for sure, your setup although not powerful enough, is capable of running any game as I have seen worse builds run new AAA games fine at lower settings. Your current build is pretty well balanced for 1080p/60hz. So to reach that next level territory you have to get both, a better platform(cpu/mobo/ram) as well as a better card.

Typically I would start with a platform upgrade with something like this...

PCPartPicker Part List

Type|Item|Price
:----|:----|:----
CPU | AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8 GHz 6-Core Processor | £183.61 @ Senetic
Motherboard | MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard | £104.97 @ Box Limited
Memory | Crucial Ballistix 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 Memory | £92.99 @ Amazon UK
| Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts |
| Total | £381.57
| Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-04-13 02:34 BST+0100 |


And then upgrade to a better card down the line.
Also , Intel, AMD and NVidia are all scheduled for new product launches in a few months time possibly. So you might consider waiting or spacing it out for better products at same price ...
https://www.techpowerup.com/review/future-hardware-releases/
 
Last edited:

condxlences

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Jun 24, 2015
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Lets see...new AAA games @1440p/144hz. That's pretty demanding terrain. If you say its struggling, that means you are not ready to compromise on settings, because one thing I know for sure, your setup although not powerful enough, is capable of running any game as I have seen worse builds run new AAA games fine at lower settings. Your current build is pretty well balanced for 1080p/60hz. So to reach that next level territory you have to get both, a better platform(cpu/mobo/ram) as well as a better card.

Typically I would start with a platform upgrade with something like this...

PCPartPicker Part List

Type|Item|Price
:----|:----|:----
CPU | AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8 GHz 6-Core Processor | £183.61 @ Senetic
Motherboard | MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard | £104.97 @ Box Limited
Memory | Crucial Ballistix 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 Memory | £92.99 @ Amazon UK
| Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts |
| Total | £381.57
| Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-04-13 02:34 BST+0100 |


And then upgrade to a better card down the line.
Also , Intel, AMD and NVidia are all scheduled for new product launches in a few months time possibly. So you might considering waiting or spacing it out for better products at same price ...
https://www.techpowerup.com/review/future-hardware-releases/
thanks for the reply. Yes when I say struggling, that’s if I try whack up the settings, most of the time I do compromise to bump up my frame rate.

For the CPU, why do you recommend switching to an AMD one? What’s the advantage over a newer intel model? As I genuinely don’t have a clue, I’m really not too well educated on this sorta thing!

Also this is probably a stupid question, but does an AMD CPU work with a NVIDIA GPU?
 
thanks for the reply. Yes when I say struggling, that’s if I try whack up the settings, most of the time I do compromise to bump up my frame rate.

For the CPU, why do you recommend switching to an AMD one? What’s the advantage over a newer intel model? As I genuinely don’t have a clue, I’m really not too well educated on this sorta thing!

Also this is probably a stupid question, but does an AMD CPU work with a NVIDIA GPU?
AMD processors now are as good as Intel but usually have a lower price tag when compared core to core. Apart from being better value, they also come with better upgrade path. Here are some benchmarks...
https://pcper.com/2019/08/amd-ryzen-5-3600x-review/

These days any CPU can work with any GPU. No issue there.
 

condxlences

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Jun 24, 2015
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AMD processors now are as good as Intel but usually have a lower price tag when compared core to core. Apart from being better value, they also come with better upgrade path. Here are some benchmarks...
https://pcper.com/2019/08/amd-ryzen-5-3600x-review/

These days any CPU can work with any GPU. No issue there.
Ah okay that makes sense then! Thanks.
Also that’s good to know.

With regards to graphics cards then, do you recommend to wait and see what new ones come out in the next few months? And what sort of price range will I be looking at for a significant improvement from my current GPU? Also how much Vram would you recommend?
 
Ah okay that makes sense then! Thanks.
Also that’s good to know.

With regards to graphics cards then, do you recommend to wait and see what new ones come out in the next few months? And what sort of price range will I be looking at for a significant improvement from my current GPU? Also how much Vram would you recommend?
Your 970 can still hold fort for a while if you are willing to wait. To max out most games @1440p/144hz you will need something like a NVidia 2070 Super or AMD RX 5700 XT or anything above that with around 8gb VRAM...
https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-970-vs-AMD-RX-5700-XT/2577vs4045
So, basically you are looking at 350 quid price range minimum.
 

condxlences

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Jun 24, 2015
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Your 970 can still hold fort for a while if you are willing to wait. To max out most games @1440p/144hz you will need something like a NVidia 2070 Super or AMD RX 5700 XT or anything above that with around 8gb VRAM...
https://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-970-vs-AMD-RX-5700-XT/2577vs4045
So, basically you are looking at 350 quid price range minimum.
Okay, makes sense then, waiting seems like a better idea. For the other upgrades you suggested (CPU, motherboard, RAM), will I see much difference by upgrading them first? (eg higher frame rates, better multitasking etc.) or am I better just to wait and upgrade everything at a later date?
 
Okay, makes sense then, waiting seems like a better idea. For the other upgrades you suggested (CPU, motherboard, RAM), will I see much difference by upgrading them first? (eg higher frame rates, better multitasking etc.) or am I better just to wait and upgrade everything at a later date?
You will definitely find a lot of improvement in performance, specially multitasking. As for games, they are mostly GPU driven, so the only improvement will be in CPU intensive games like GTA 5, Witcher, etc.
 

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