Question Upgrade advice for a gaming PC

Velorien

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Jul 23, 2010
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I'm a dedicated gamer, and with more recent games my PC's been starting to hit its limit in terms of graphics quality and loading times. What should I upgrade in order to get the best performance boost?

My current specs are:

Intel i5-4460 3.2 GHz CPU
ASRock H97M Anniversary motherboard
8 GB DDR3 RAM
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
Samsung SSD 850 Evo 250 GB primary hard drive (I want to replace this anyway because it's just too small)

My budget is £300-500.

Thanks in advance!
 
Last edited:

tennis2

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I'd guess your CPU is limiting.

Do a test: use an overlay software of your choice to monitor GPU usage while playing your games. If the GPU usage isn't above...85% pretty consistently, then it's being held back by the CPU. (also tell us what resolution, video quality settings, and FPS you're getting)
 
Reactions: Prad_Bitt
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100% for certain upgrade your motherboard RAM and CPU. I upgraded a client's system a couple months ago that was very similar: i5-4670k 3.4Ghz, 16GB DDR3, RX 570 4GB.

The $400(at the time..) upgrade: B550 board w/wifi module, AMD Ryzen R5 3600, 16GB DDR4 (vengeance lpx 3600)

Results: Mind-blowing. Double to quadruple+ FPS in virtually every recent game.

Your GPU is OK for now and should be upgraded after the rest. You'll be very surprised at how much better it performs with a current-gen CPU, and won't likely feel it needs upgrading for a bit. I'd suggest a ryzen 5 3600 or i5 10400 build as your best two options that fall within your budget. They are both 6-core/12-thread, and will not disappoint. Decide which CPU you prefer, choose your RAM accordingly, and find a well reviewed motherboard using roughly the rest of your budget. Get a tube of good thermal paste as well so you can have decent temps with the stock CPU cooler.

I or anyone here can recommend parts if you know which specific CPU you'd like but are unsure about the rest.
 

ocer9999

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You're going to need to upgrade the motherboard/RAM/CPU all at the same time, and as the new RAM will be DDR4, your old 8GB DDR3 stick is incompatible & should just stay w/it's motherboard and CPU in case you want to build another system with it, or pass it on/sell it
 
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Prad_Bitt

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PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: Intel Core i5-10400F 2.9 GHz 6-Core Processor (£139.99 @ CCL Computers)
Motherboard: ASRock B460M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1200 Motherboard (£116.49 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Patriot Viper Steel 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory (£60.32 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £316.80
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-12-23 02:47 GMT+0000
I really like this combo. But I'd suggest getting 2666mhz if it's cheaper. Also a 1TB MX500 or 860 evo or what I would prefer, WD Blue NVMe would serve you well for about £90 I think, nor sure about the price.
 
A lot depends on the types of games you play.
Some are cpu limited like sims,strategy and mmo.
Some are graphics limited like fast action shooters.
Some need many threads like multiplayer with many participants.

Run this simple test:
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.

If you need a stronger cpu, the best upgrade your motherboard supports is a i7-4790K which is about £150 used on ebay.
I would not go that route.
A simple 10th gen intel i3-10100 is even stronger at £110
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Intel-i3-10100-3-60GHz-Socket-LGA1200/dp/B0883MTJSR/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=i3-10100&qid=1608820327&sr=8-1

Any lga1200 motherboard will do.
Here is an example for £100:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gigabyte-B460M-AORUS-PRO-Motherboard/dp/B08BZWJDYT/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=lga+1200+motherboard&qid=1608820902&sr=8-3

8gb of ram is not sufficient these days. Buy a 2 x 8gb ddr4 kit. About £50.
2666 speed is fine, no value in stronger.

If you need faster graphics, now is a tough time to buy.
There are shortages, particularly of the good new products.

One of the GTX1660 class cards are still reasonable, about £200
 

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