Question Need Upgrade Advice for my Gaming PC (First time upgrading)

Jan 18, 2021
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PC Specs -

CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-6400 Processor
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series
Motherboard: ASUS Z170-P
Installed RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR4 Vengeance LPX 2133MHz Memory Kit 2x 4GB
PSU: Corsair CX430
Cooling: Intel DV12v 0.17a
Storage: 1TB HHD

I am completely new to upgrading and I don't have great knowledge around the subject matter. Could someone recommend what some upgrades I could do with my current setup and what I should prioritize first? Budget wise I'm open to suggestions as I want to get an idea of the price ranges.

My current setup really struggles to cope with modern games and often I find them unplayable or I have to play on the lowest quality settings. One of my most recent purchases is Escape from Tarkov and I can't even get into a game and my PC slows right down to the point where I would have to restart my PC.

As a starter some friends suggested I install an SSD and upgrade my RAM to 16BG. I wasn't sure whether to double up on my current RAM or swap my current ones with these - https://www.corsair.com/uk/en/Categories/Products/Memory/VENGEANCE-LPX/p/CMK16GX4M2A2666C16
 
PC Specs -

CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-6400 Processor
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series
Motherboard: ASUS Z170-P
Installed RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR4 Vengeance LPX 2133MHz Memory Kit 2x 4GB
PSU: Corsair CX430
Cooling: Intel DV12v 0.17a
Storage: 1TB HHD

I am completely new to upgrading and I don't have great knowledge around the subject matter. Could someone recommend what some upgrades I could do with my current setup and what I should prioritize first? Budget wise I'm open to suggestions as I want to get an idea of the price ranges.

My current setup really struggles to cope with modern games and often I find them unplayable or I have to play on the lowest quality settings. One of my most recent purchases is Escape from Tarkov and I can't even get into a game and my PC slows right down to the point where I would have to restart my PC.

As a starter some friends suggested I install an SSD and upgrade my RAM to 16BG. I wasn't sure whether to double up on my current RAM or swap my current ones with these - https://www.corsair.com/uk/en/Categories/Products/Memory/VENGEANCE-LPX/p/CMK16GX4M2A2666C16
You have lots of options to upgrade with that setup - I gather getting better performance in games is the goal?

Firstly with respect to the ram - your original kit is fairly slow, and as you have a Z series motherboard memory should be unlocked so you can use a faster kit. I had a look at the kit you linked - I wouldn't go for 2667 ram like that as it's only a little faster than your current kit. I would instead look at a 3200 Mhz kit (which only cost another £5) or potentially a bit faster, although I'm not sure what frequency a 6400 will go to (3200 typically works fine on most systems).

In terms of other upgrades, yes an SSD will really help (ideally you would want to install a fresh copy of WIndows on the SSD for best performance, although there are tools that can migrate data from an HDD to an SSD if installing from scratch isn't practical). The main benefits of an SSD is much faster windows performance (boot times, program opening etc) as well as better load times in games. It can also help reduce stutter and visual pop in large open world games, which often load data off the drive on the fly and tend to struggle with HDD.

That said, your main bottleneck for games is that HD 7770 - it was a good card in it's day but it's pretty old now, upgrading to a newer gpu would give you a big boost (even if going for something fairly modest). Your motherboard will support any gpu, although if you want to keep your current cpu / power supply then you will need to stick with some of the low to mid tier graphic card. The current cards in this segment are the GTX 1650 Super and 1660 cards or the Radeon RX 5500 and RX 5600 XT (all these are 'last gen' - the new gen entry and mid range cards haven't been launched yet). All these cards are a big setup up from an HD 7770. I think that would be a sensible and cost effective upgrade which should allow your machine to handle current titles well at 1080p.

That said, if you want to aim a bit higher you also have the option of upgrading the cpu - you can upgrade to an i7 7700 / 7700K with that motherboard (note the i5 should still be able to run current games but some of the most recent titles struggle with only 4 threads so will get a good boost from the i7). That (plus a PSU upgrade) would allow you to look at faster gpu's, anything up to ~ RTX 3070 (or a top end last gen card like a 2080 Super or RX 5700 XT) would be feasible. That said I would probably only look at spending that much if you want to game at higher resolutions (1440 p / 4K) as that level of card is a bit overkill for 1080p.
 
Your i5-6400 is decent, up to a point.
The weak part is the graphics; your 7700 graphics is not suitable for gaming.
Your gpu upgrade options will be limited by your 430w psu.
Here is a handy chart:
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm
Unfortunately graphics cards today are overpriced because of demand and scarcity.
About the strongest upgrade would be a GTX1660 of some sort.
A GTX1650 is in the $250 range.
A GTX1050ti is a tad slower, but would be reasonably priced in the $150 to $200 range.
I would do the gpu first.

You may or may not be limited by ram.
If you are, the ram you linked would be a good upgrade.

How much of your 1tb HDD is actually being used?
One of the best performance upgrades is a ssd.
Not so much for gaming, but everything gets noticeably quicker.
If you buy a samsung 860 evo large enough to hold the used contents of your HDD, the conversion is trivial using the samsung ssd migraion app:

As a plus, if you are a bit short on ram, access to the page file will be some 40x faster.
 

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