Question Should I upgrade my rig or plan to build a new one?

Aug 29, 2021
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Hello world! This is my first post on the forum but over the years I've relied on the site for great information form the vast pool of knowledge here.

my Build:

CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3770 CPU @ 3.40GHz 3.40 GHz
Mainboard: ASRock DDR3 1333 Intel - LGA 1155 Motherboard H77M
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 ti
RAM: G. Skill Value 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800)
PSU: Corsair CX430M
Tower: Rosewill Dual Fan MicroATX Mini Tower
Monitor: Acer H6 series, H236HL 23.5" IPS Panel

I originally built this rig back in 2013 on a very small budget. I installed an i3 3220 processor, a Sapphire Radeon 7870, and 8 GB or ram since this was my first build and I was not really doing any real gaming. Over the years I've upgraded the rig to the specs listed above. I still am very happy with the performance of the computer, however, I would like to get some better frames while gaming. I am running 1080p resolution and do not plan on changing over to 1440 or 4k. I may upgrade my monitor to a 144 Hz if I am able to consistently run higher frames but that is not really the question today.

The only game that I currently play is Rust. With optimized settings I am getting about 60-70 fps on low pop servers but that drops to 40-50 fps on mid pop servers when around a lot of people (I don't usually play high pop). I would like to increase my frames but I don't know if I've reached the limits of this rig (meaning upgrading the motherboard, cpu, ram, cooler, power supply unit, etc...) or if I could get some extra frames from a better gpu. Is the 3770 going to be the bottleneck if I try a better gpu? Should I just buy a better gpu anyways and see how it performs and if I'm still unhappy then upgrade everything else? In which case is there ever the possibility of upgrading to a too high performing gpu? Or should I upgrade everything else and run the 1660 ti since the gpu market is still pretty insane right now and then find the best performing gpu I can?

I would gladly take some suggestions for a gpu upgrade! I do not have a strict budget anymore. More so I am looking to optimize my frames with the current build since it works pretty well and has some sentimental value. Otherwise I don't mind building a completely new rig after this holiday season for a serious performance machine. That is one reason why I am considering finding a good gpu upgrade now and if I not satisfied I can build a new rig and throw the gpu in the new build. I do understand that upgrading the gpu will most likely necessitate upgrading the PSU as well.

What are your thoughts and suggestions?!

(***If this is the wrong forum please move it or let me know)


-Qwelve
 
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Especially since you are gaming at 1080p, I would go for a new CPU/Mobo/RAM setup (keeping your current GPU until pricing/availability get better). You could see some serious gains with a current-gen CPU and some fast DDR4 RAM. It's also time to upgrade that power supply. All those components can be had at good prices. GPU prices and availability are absolutely abysmal at the moment.
 
Reactions: spentshells
Aug 29, 2021
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That does sound pretty sensible. I was thinking something like a 5600 or 5600x (need to research the value of the x).

Now let's say I know a local guy selling a EVGA 3080 ti FTW3 Ultra for $1600, would that be a option? And is that a bad price? I see scalpers selling them for over 1800 but the msrp seems to be around $1400.
 
Reactions: spentshells

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I agree with @MrN1ce9uy, and I'll expand on a few things.

1. Your power supply should probably be replaced regardless of what you do next. The CX series aren't the most robust and the wattage is quite low. I'd recommend that you replace it with a Corsair RM650x.

2. Your GPU is quite good for 1080p gaming at reasonable settings. Seeing as how it's relatively suitable for your needs and the GPU market is so nuts right now, you should probably hang onto it for now.

3. If your goal is to increase your frame rate, your CPU is what is primarily responsible for holding you back right now. You mentioned that your frame rate drops significantly when switching from low population servers to medium population servers; this is due to your CPU. While adequate for simpler games, your 4 core / 8 thread CPU doesn't have the horsepower to deal with the many draw calls that are made when drawing in higher population densities. Because of this, your CPU can't keep up and your frame rate drops. Thus, you should upgrade your CPU (and by extension, your motherboard and RAM).

5. What CPU you upgrade to depends on your budget:

If you only have $300 or so to spend, the budget pick is an inexpensive B560 motherboard, a kit of two 8 GB sticks of DDR4 RAM (16 GB total), and an Intel i5-11400 (which has 6 cores and 12 threads). This type of build is valued for it's surprisingly good performance to value ratio and it's low power draw & CPU cooling requirements.

If your budget is higher and you don't mind spending more to ensure you can play with higher draw distances and crowd densities, you should go for an AMD setup instead. Depending on your budget, you could go with either a Ryzen 5600x or 5800x, a X570 motherboard, and two 8 GB sticks of RAM with a speed of 3600 MHz (AMD platforms are very sensitive to RAM speed, much more so than Intel). You'll also need an aftermarket cooler to go with it.

So yeah, with an upgraded CPU and power supply, you'd be good to bring your existing storage drive(s) and GPU over and enjoy a significantly more stable frame rate, even with high population servers. Then you can enjoy it as is until the GPU market cools down and you can buy something that lets you play at even higher graphical settings and frame rates.
 
Reactions: ecolcpu

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That does sound pretty sensible. I was thinking something like a 5600 or 5600x (need to research the value of the x).

Now let's say I know a local guy selling a EVGA 3080 ti FTW3 Ultra for $1600, would that be a option? And is that a bad price? I see scalpers selling them for over 1800 but the msrp seems to be around $1400.
The 3080 Ti is a great GPU (I want one too lol) but your GPU is the very last thing in your build that needs upgrading and wouldn't significantly increase your performance and stability due to the slowness of your CPU (see my previous post for more details).
 

mxnty

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Mar 4, 2021
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I have the same FTW3 Ultra 3080 Ti. It's a beast of a card. Great thermals, amazing performance. MSRP is $1400. I snagged it from a Micro Center, so that would be preferable considering it is at MSRP. but yes, that is the last part you should be worrying about. After the other parts have been chosen, you can buy that 3080 Ti.

5800X - $450
ASUS TUF Gaming X570 Plus (WiFi) - $200
Crucial Ballistix 3600 Mhz 16 GB (2 x 8) - $85

and then you can look at some more parts or keep some from your old build. I'll compile a fresh parts list in a day.
 
Reactions: ecolcpu
Aug 29, 2021
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I appreciate all the feedback! I do like the idea of keeping the card for now and upgrading the rest of the components first. This way I can benchmark the card before and after to see how it performs. And if the frames are still lacking I can think about upgrading to a beefier card next year.

I'll start poking around the other threads but I was already looking down the 5600 route. If anyone has experience with a micro itx build please let me know. I know it's not very common because of the cpu cooling requirements but I did see this mobo is the only option for that build:

https://www.newegg.com/asrock-x570m-pro4/p/N82E16813157887

Thanks for the suggestions!
 
Aug 29, 2021
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I like the smaller form factor. Fits better in the space. Right now I have a mini atx but I would be open to build a mini itx also. (Sorry for the confusion, I confused the two case sizes earlier in the post)
 

mxnty

Proper
Mar 4, 2021
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Depends if you want AMD or Intel. And what’s your budget? I would go with AMD if you plan to do other things or run different things in the background.
 
Aug 29, 2021
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The 5600s seem to be in stock again and at msrp so I think I'll go with that. I don't have a budget for the build. Honestly, I originally built my last rig on a tiny budget and upgraded slowly over 8 years. This build I don't care about cost seeing as how many great years I've gotten from the last one.
 
Aug 29, 2021
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Just home computing. Meaning streaming, lite work (.ppt, word), and some gaming (just rust for now). But I'd like some really good frames and very high resolution (staying 1080p)
 
There is always a limiting factor to game performance.

My stock approach to this perennial question:

Some games are graphics limited like fast action shooters.
Others are cpu core speed limited like strategy, sims, and mmo.
Multiplayer tends to like many threads.

You need to find out which.
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To help clarify your CPU/GPU options, run these two tests:

a) Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
This makes the graphics card loaf a bit.
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.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.
Conversely what a 30% improvement in core speed might do.

You should also experiment with removing one or more cores/threads. You can do this in the windows msconfig boot advanced options option.
You will need to reboot for the change to take effect. Set the number of threads to less than you have.
This will tell you how sensitive your games are to the benefits of many threads.
If you see little difference, your game does not need all the threads you have.



It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system,
and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
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Today, it is hard to buy a good graphics card ta decent price.

Processor upgrade options are there.
But with the launch of Alder lake soon and new amd processors, I would defer the cpu upgrade until the need is urgent and you see what is coming.
I fear that some rushing to upgrade today will suffer buyer's remorse next year.
 
Aug 29, 2021
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I've narrowed down my selection to the following:

-- CPU -- AMD Ryzen 5600X
-- CPU Cooler -- Noctua NH-U12A
-- MOBO -- ASUS ROG Strix X570-I (or the B550-I if it becomes available again)
-- Memory -- Crucial Ballistix 32 GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3600 CL16
-- Storage -- Samsung 980 1 TB M.2-2280 NVMBE SSD
-- Case -- Cooler Master N200
-- PSU -- Corsair SF 600 W 80+ Platinum SFX

** I will retain my 1660ti for this build and keep my peripherals since I'm staying at 1080p **

Some notes:

-- The 5800x is a bit over $100 more than the 5600x but I don't think it's worth the upgrade especially since the 5600X has the lower 65W power requirement and smaller cooling requirements. I think using the 5800X would mean I would want to run a 750W psu and probably switch to a 240-80 AIO which would add another $300 or so to the build.

-- I've opted for 32GB of RAM simply because it is an $80 increase for longevity and the benefit (whatever it may be) of dual rank memory

-- I'm not sold on the Strix X570, if the Stix B550-I becomes available again soon I think I prefer that board. Although really any of the B550-I boards are pretty good options. And since the NR200 doesn't have a front USB-C I don't care if the board is missing the header.

-- Although I have a decent 500GB SSD now (and a great 1TB HDD), I'm going to switch to the M.2 for the ease of installation and to remove components/wires from the build. I considered up'ing the 1TB to a 2TB and I still may when I order everything.

-- I'm sure I could save a few bucks by downgrading the RAM to 16GB or using a less expensive board or going micro-ATX and re-use my current drives but I built my previous rig in 2013 so I obviously don't upgrade often so I don't mind spending more now to have a bit better longevity.

Please let me know what you all think!
 

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