Build Advice MB, CPU and Memory upgrade advice

Nov 6, 2020
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I bought a gaming PC about 13 years ago, still in use only drives and graphics card upgrades so far. It's been great!

The current graphics card I think is fine for now but may upgrade in a year or two, it's a 1060 3GB.

The current hardware that I'm looking to change is:
Gigabyte ga-x58a-ud3r (Rev 1)
I7 920 (D0)
3x 2GB Corsair triple channel C7

I could try to buy another 3x 2GB and overclock the processor a bit but is it really worth keeping this going or is it worth buying some newer hardware e.g.

Gigabyte Intel H410M S2H mATX Motherboard

Intel Core i5-10400F (base stroke: 2.90 GHz; socket: LGA1200; 65 watt) box BX8070110400F

Corsair CMK16GX4M2B3200C16 Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3200 MHz C16 XMP 2.0

Links are to Amazon UK, though I'm not fussy where I buy from, total is about £270 at the time of posting this, possibly lower on Black Friday??

Currently playing NMS and would like to play Cyberpunk 2077 at some point too, I'm thinking this upgrade would get me there but would really appreciate any suggestions or advice, happy to spend £100-150 more if it's worth doing.

Thanks for reading :)

Editing to add: Note, my previous build was also for work as well as gaming so I was running multiple VMs. That requirement isn't there anymore which simplifies things.
 
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I bought a gaming PC about 13 years ago, still in use only drives and graphics card upgrades so far. It's been great!

The current graphics card I think is fine for now but may upgrade in a year or two, it's a 1060 3GB.

The current hardware that I'm looking to change is:
Gigabyte ga-x58a-ud3r (Rev 1)
I7 920 (D0)
3x 2GB Corsair triple channel C7

I could try to buy another 3x 2GB and overclock the processor a bit but is it really worth keeping this going or is it worth buying some newer hardware e.g.

Gigabyte Intel H410M S2H mATX Motherboard

Intel Core i5-10400F (base stroke: 2.90 GHz; socket: LGA1200; 65 watt) box BX8070110400F

Corsair CMK16GX4M2B3200C16 Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3200 MHz C16 XMP 2.0

Links are to Amazon UK, though I'm not fussy where I buy from, total is about £270 at the time of posting this, possibly lower on Black Friday??

Currently playing NMS and would like to play Cyberpunk 2077 at some point too, I'm thinking this upgrade would get me there but would really appreciate any suggestions or advice, happy to spend £100-150 more if it's worth doing.

Thanks for reading :)

Editing to add: Note, my previous build was also for work as well as gaming so I was running multiple VMs. That requirement isn't there anymore which simplifies things.
I think a platform upgrade is a better idea than trying to upgrade that machine - you might squeeze a little more out of it but you aren't going to get much (it's done really well though!)....

Personally I would look at an AMD AM4 build rather than going Intel - for a budget a B450 motherboard + an R5 3600 is a really good option. It offers similar gaming performance to the 10400F but allows for overclocking (which you wont get with an H410 motherboard) and faster memory speed (also locked on the H410) and is generally a more flexible platform overall. B450 should even be getting a bios update for the new Ryzen 5000 series processors. If you can stretch your budget a little further a B550 series motherboard might be worth the extra as it adds PCIe 4.0 support.
 
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Nov 6, 2020
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I think a platform upgrade is a better idea than trying to upgrade that machine - you might squeeze a little more out of it but you aren't going to get much (it's done really well though!)....

Personally I would look at an AMD AM4 build rather than going Intel - for a budget a B450 motherboard + an R5 3600 is a really good option. It offers similar gaming performance to the 10400F but allows for overclocking (which you wont get with an H410 motherboard) and faster memory speed (also locked on the H410) and is generally a more flexible platform overall. B450 should even be getting a bios update for the new Ryzen 5000 series processors. If you can stretch your budget a little further a B550 series motherboard might be worth the extra as it adds PCIe 4.0 support.
Thanks for the advice, I hadn't looked at the AMD alternatives so this has been really helpful!

From what I've worked out, I could get:
ASUS TUF Gaming B450-PLUS ATX Motherboard
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor
Corsair CMK16GX4M2B3200C16 Vengeance
Which would be £335 (£65 more expensive that the Intel build). I'd need to spend about an extra £60 for a B550 Motherboard, would this be worth stretching to for PCIe 4.0 support (and possibly newer processor support) as it sounds like a possible gamble what with PCIe 5.0 standards out now? Or if I did stretch a bit more the 3600X or 3600XT is (currently) only £40 more than the 3600?
 
Thanks for the advice, I hadn't looked at the AMD alternatives so this has been really helpful!

From what I've worked out, I could get:
ASUS TUF Gaming B450-PLUS ATX Motherboard
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Processor
Corsair CMK16GX4M2B3200C16 Vengeance
Which would be £335 (£65 more expensive that the Intel build). I'd need to spend about an extra £60 for a B550 Motherboard, would this be worth stretching to for PCIe 4.0 support (and possibly newer processor support) as it sounds like a possible gamble what with PCIe 5.0 standards out now? Or if I did stretch a bit more the 3600X or 3600XT is (currently) only £40 more than the 3600?
There is not much point opting for the 3600X / XT parts over the 3600, as you can match the performance of those parts with a bit of manual tuning on the 3600 (as all Ryzen cpu's are unlocked). The pricing has varied quite a bit - at times the 3600X came down to same price as base 3600 (in which case may as well get the X but the performance difference is between 1 and 2% and 0 once all 3 are tuned).

I'm surprised it's costing more than the Intel build actually - in games the 10400 vs the 3600 is pretty even. The main advantage of going the AMD route is how much more flexible the AMD platform is. I guess if you don't want the option to upgrade the system you may be better off with the 10400 just to save a bit of cash (as performance wise it's pretty even) - the faster memory on the AMD setup might afford it a bit of an advantage though as most tests of the 10400 are done on an expensive Z series motherboard which permit higher speed memory, it's difficult to find benchmarks of the Intel setup with DDR4 2666 ram (although the difference isn't going to be much).

I terms of PCIe support - Intel currently only have PCIe 3.0 support on the desktop (they have added PCIe 4.0 to their latest laptop parts, and apparently the next gen Intel cpu's / motherboard will add PCIe 4.0 support). I don't think a jump to PCIe 5.0 is likely very soon - the specs get approved several years before they are implemented. On the AMD side it looks like the 500 series of motherboards are the last iteration before they move to a whole new platform (presumably AM5) which is likely to coincide with the release of DDR5 ram for the desktop - so B550 / X570 look to be it motherboard wise for whatever cpu's AMD release until then. In terms of CPU support though, it has been confirmed by AMD that they are going to be back porting Ryzen 5000 cpu's to the 400 chipset boards in the new year - so the only thing you are missing out on with the B450 board is PCIe support and possible future cpu's (AMD has stated the 400 series boards won't get updated beyond Ryzen 5000, although my guess is this is likely the last gen on AM4 anyways, aside from an updated APU or a refresh, it looks like the real next gen parts won't come until the new socket is released).

Given where you are coming from you can't really go wrong with either setup.

Edit: Just thinking - given you have a 1060 3gb card - that is going to be your limit in games once you've updated the platform, you could save a bit of cash and get something inexpensive like an older Ryzen 5 2600 and not loose any performance . For reference I'm running a first gen Ryzen 5 1600 with a GTX 1070 and it's ideal for 1080p, 60fps ultra settings in everything I play on it. The only downside to that is the 2600 might not be fast enough to keep pace with a much faster gpu if you decide to upgrade down the line, although by then you may well be able to get hold of a Ryzen 3000 or 5000 cpu for cheap once newer parts are out and the demand has dropped off.
 
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Reactions: Chooibah2
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There is not much point opting for the 3600X / XT parts over the 3600, as you can match the performance of those parts with a bit of manual tuning on the 3600 (as all Ryzen cpu's are unlocked). The pricing has varied quite a bit - at times the 3600X came down to same price as base 3600 (in which case may as well get the X but the performance difference is between 1 and 2% and 0 once all 3 are tuned).

I'm surprised it's costing more than the Intel build actually - in games the 10400 vs the 3600 is pretty even. The main advantage of going the AMD route is how much more flexible the AMD platform is. I guess if you don't want the option to upgrade the system you may be better off with the 10400 just to save a bit of cash (as performance wise it's pretty even) - the faster memory on the AMD setup might afford it a bit of an advantage though as most tests of the 10400 are done on an expensive Z series motherboard which permit higher speed memory, it's difficult to find benchmarks of the Intel setup with DDR4 2666 ram (although the difference isn't going to be much).

I terms of PCIe support - Intel currently only have PCIe 3.0 support on the desktop (they have added PCIe 4.0 to their latest laptop parts, and apparently the next gen Intel cpu's / motherboard will add PCIe 4.0 support). I don't think a jump to PCIe 5.0 is likely very soon - the specs get approved several years before they are implemented. On the AMD side it looks like the 500 series of motherboards are the last iteration before they move to a whole new platform (presumably AM5) which is likely to coincide with the release of DDR5 ram for the desktop - so B550 / X570 look to be it motherboard wise for whatever cpu's AMD release until then. In terms of CPU support though, it has been confirmed by AMD that they are going to be back porting Ryzen 5000 cpu's to the 400 chipset boards in the new year - so the only thing you are missing out on with the B450 board is PCIe support and possible future cpu's (AMD has stated the 400 series boards won't get updated beyond Ryzen 5000, although my guess is this is likely the last gen on AM4 anyways, aside from an updated APU or a refresh, it looks like the real next gen parts won't come until the new socket is released).

Given where you are coming from you can't really go wrong with either setup.

Edit: Just thinking - given you have a 1060 3gb card - that is going to be your limit in games once you've updated the platform, you could save a bit of cash and get something inexpensive like an older Ryzen 5 2600 and not loose any performance . For reference I'm running a first gen Ryzen 5 1600 with a GTX 1070 and it's ideal for 1080p, 60fps ultra settings in everything I play on it. The only downside to that is the 2600 might not be fast enough to keep pace with a much faster gpu if you decide to upgrade down the line, although by then you may well be able to get hold of a Ryzen 3000 or 5000 cpu for cheap once newer parts are out and the demand has dropped off.
I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write all that, it clears a lot up. I'd be happy to send some beer money your way or to donate something to charity.

From the info you provided I think a B550, R2600 (or 2600X, only a £10 difference on Amazon UK atm) and the 2x 8GB RAM is the answer. This would give scope to upgrade the graphics card at some point, overclock the CPU, throw in an extra 16GB if wanted at some point, and/or move to an R5000 when the time is right. I think that'd potentially give me a lot of options to keep eeking it out without another major change for quite some time.

I suppose that leaves me with two questions:

Is there a recommended B550 motherboard if I do want to keep it for a while (not too fussed about external connectivity)? Being able to run a CPU fan, intake and outtake fans would be preferable though (I'm using a Silverstone Raven RV02B-W, I'm guessing it doesn't matter as it's a ATX case that fits 10.5" cards (11" at a push))
Some possible, popular, ATX boards I've found, ranging between £130-£190 are:
  • MSI B550-A PRO Motherboard ATX - £130
  • Gigabyte B550 AORUS ELITE - £140
  • ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS - £150
  • MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Motherboard ATX - £160
  • ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING AMD Ryzen AM4 - £190
I heard really good things about the ROG STRIX and the TOMAHAWK but I don't know if the extra money is worth it?

I've think I've actually answered the second question while researching, I'm running at 3440x1440 (happy to run windowed where I can't), so I think an an RTX 2070 would probably be the minimum upgrade, if not an RTX 3070 (as you mentioned I'd need to bear in mind CPU bottlenecks) but that won't be for a year or so I think so I can cross that bridge at a later date and who knows what'll be on the market then!

Thanks again for all your help!

Edit: A quick look at those motherboards and it looks like the ASUS TUF is the best value for money, this is mainly based on the external connections (which I'm not particularly concerned about (LAN is always a given))
Gigabyte B550 Aorus Elite: No type C, only 4xSATA 3
MSI B550-A Pro: Only 2xUSB 2.0, No S/PDIF Out
MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk: Only 2xUSB 2.0 (assuming that features like 8 fan headers, 2xRJ45, PS/2 (not a clue why!?) and 5100MHz RAM overclock would be the plus points... none of which are important to me)
ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING: Most expensive, unsure on the benefits, but it's interesting given the popularity

I'll keep looking but any advice welcome :)

Edit 2: 2600 isn't compatible with B550, even less so with Radeon graphics, though there is speculation it is which is confusing! So the 3600 may be the better option, and then I may need to make a platform change at a later date unless the Zen 3 is a worthwhile step up from the 3600 at a later date.
 
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I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write all that, it clears a lot up. I'd be happy to send some beer money your way or to donate something to charity.

From the info you provided I think a B550, R2600 (or 2600X, only a £10 difference on Amazon UK atm) and the 2x 8GB RAM is the answer. This would give scope to upgrade the graphics card at some point, overclock the CPU, throw in an extra 16GB if wanted at some point, and/or move to an R5000 when the time is right. I think that'd potentially give me a lot of options to keep eeking it out without another major change for quite some time.

I suppose that leaves me with two questions:

Is there a recommended B550 motherboard if I do want to keep it for a while (not too fussed about external connectivity)? Being able to run a CPU fan, intake and outtake fans would be preferable though (I'm using a Silverstone Raven RV02B-W, I'm guessing it doesn't matter as it's a ATX case that fits 10.5" cards (11" at a push))
Some possible, popular, ATX boards I've found, ranging between £130-£190 are:
  • MSI B550-A PRO Motherboard ATX - £130
  • Gigabyte B550 AORUS ELITE - £140
  • ASUS TUF Gaming B550-PLUS - £150
  • MSI MAG B550 TOMAHAWK Motherboard ATX - £160
  • ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING AMD Ryzen AM4 - £190
I heard really good things about the ROG STRIX and the TOMAHAWK but I don't know if the extra money is worth it?

I've think I've actually answered the second question while researching, I'm running at 3440x1440 (happy to run windowed where I can't), so I think an an RTX 2070 would probably be the minimum upgrade, if not an RTX 3070 (as you mentioned I'd need to bear in mind CPU bottlenecks) but that won't be for a year or so I think so I can cross that bridge at a later date and who knows what'll be on the market then!

Thanks again for all your help!

Edit: A quick look at those motherboards and it looks like the ASUS TUF is the best value for money, this is mainly based on the external connections (which I'm not particularly concerned about (LAN is always a given))
Gigabyte B550 Aorus Elite: No type C, only 4xSATA 3
MSI B550-A Pro: Only 2xUSB 2.0, No S/PDIF Out
MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk: Only 2xUSB 2.0 (assuming that features like 8 fan headers, 2xRJ45, PS/2 (not a clue why!?) and 5100MHz RAM overclock would be the plus points... none of which are important to me)
ROG STRIX B550-F GAMING: Most expensive, unsure on the benefits, but it's interesting given the popularity

I'll keep looking but any advice welcome :)

Edit 2: 2600 isn't compatible with B550, even less so with Radeon graphics, though there is speculation it is which is confusing! So the 3600 may be the better option, and then I may need to make a platform change at a later date unless the Zen 3 is a worthwhile step up from the 3600 at a later date.
If you want to go with a 2000 series processor, you want to either look at a good B450 motherboard, or an X570 (the latter has the broadest support for AM4 cpu's - Hardware Unboxed used an X570 board and were able to test all 4 generations of Ryzen cpu in it, despite X570 not officially supporting first gen).

B450 (and X470) boards are getting Ryzen 5000 support with a bios update in the new year, so if you are happy to go with something slower for now shouldn't limit your options in future. The only downside to them is the lack of PCIe 4.0 support, although that doesn't appear to impact performance in any meaningful way even with cards like the 3090. It's perhaps more relevant for NVMe storage but again, PCIe 3.0 dives are still fast and the real world difference between the two standards is negligible.

In terms of motherboards, the MSI Tomahawk boards get a lot of praise mainly for their very strong VRM circuit which tends to rival setups on much more expensive boards. This means something like a B450 Tomahawk has no issue running the higher core count Ryzen cpu's without running into thermal throttling under heavy loads. Some of the cheaper 450 (and even 470 / 570 boards) have pretty poor VRMs and cant handle above 65W parts without additional cooling or aftermarket heatsinks on the VRMs.

Edit: Also no beer money necessary :beercheers:
 
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If you want to go with a 2000 series processor, you want to either look at a good B450 motherboard, or an X570 (the latter has the broadest support for AM4 cpu's - Hardware Unboxed used an X570 board and were able to test all 4 generations of Ryzen cpu in it, despite X570 not officially supporting first gen).

B450 (and X470) boards are getting Ryzen 5000 support with a bios update in the new year, so if you are happy to go with something slower for now shouldn't limit your options in future. The only downside to them is the lack of PCIe 4.0 support, although that doesn't appear to impact performance in any meaningful way even with cards like the 3090. It's perhaps more relevant for NVMe storage but again, PCIe 3.0 dives are still fast and the real world difference between the two standards is negligible.

In terms of motherboards, the MSI Tomahawk boards get a lot of praise mainly for their very strong VRM circuit which tends to rival setups on much more expensive boards. This means something like a B450 Tomahawk has no issue running the higher core count Ryzen cpu's without running into thermal throttling under heavy loads. Some of the cheaper 450 (and even 470 / 570 boards) have pretty poor VRMs and cant handle above 65W parts without additional cooling or aftermarket heatsinks on the VRMs.

Edit: Also no beer money necessary :beercheers:
Thanks for the info, again. I think the B550 might be the better choice. Currently no graphics card really takes advantage of the B550 tech but as this is the likely bottleneck in future I think it may be best to allow that headroom.
The 3600 seems like a great choice.
I'll go for a motherboard with good VRM preference to hopefully support better CPUs and overclocking in future, so I'll look into that.

Your advice has been really helpful, thanks!

I donated £15 towards www.woodlandtrust.org.uk as you didn't specify and I like trees :)
 
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Thanks for the info, again. I think the B550 might be the better choice. Currently no graphics card really takes advantage of the B550 tech but as this is the likely bottleneck in future I think it may be best to allow that headroom.
The 3600 seems like a great choice.
I'll go for a motherboard with good VRM preference to hopefully support better CPUs and overclocking in future, so I'll look into that.

Your advice has been really helpful, thanks!

I donated £15 towards www.woodlandtrust.org.uk as you didn't specify and I like trees :)
Trees are good!

Here is a video by Hardware Unboxed looking at different B550 motherboard options which might be useful:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuPH9pCCK-E
 
Reactions: Chooibah2
Nov 6, 2020
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Trees are good!
Agreed! Though in hindsight I think a local animal related charity may have been better given the current situation, so I'll put a donation to one after this.

I got ended up with:
ASUS ROG Strix B550-E Gaming - link
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 3200 C16 - link

I have some heat concerns but I suppose the are better addressed in the forums separately. It's definitely better though, faster load time, bottleneck is def GPU and graphics memory now, CPU performance is great! (Memory is overkill for gaming but it'll help me with work)
 
Reactions: cdrkf
Agreed! Though in hindsight I think a local animal related charity may have been better given the current situation, so I'll put a donation to one after this.

I got ended up with:
ASUS ROG Strix B550-E Gaming - link
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 3200 C16 - link

I have some heat concerns but I suppose the are better addressed in the forums separately. It's definitely better though, faster load time, bottleneck is def GPU and graphics memory now, CPU performance is great! (Memory is overkill for gaming but it'll help me with work)
Sounds like a really nice setup now - probably best to raise a separate thread for the temp issue (just as that way it can be found be others), although happy to comment here if you want?
 

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