Upgrade advice for son's gaming PC

immoody

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Jan 9, 2018
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My son's birthday is coming up soon. I looking for some advice on upgrading his system. Looking for advice that would give the best performance upgrades. I would not have a clue where to start and would like to surprise him. Could spend up to $500 but would prefer to keep it under $300. Any help with recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Current build specs:
• ASRock Z97 Extreme6 LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
• Intel Core i5-4590 Haswell Quad-Core 3.3 GHz LGA 1150 84W BX80646I54590 Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics
•G.SKILL Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-1866C9D-8GAB
•SAMSUNG 850 EVO 2.5" 250GB SATA III 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-75E250B/AM
•WD Black 1TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive - 7200 RPM SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch - WD1003FZEX
•MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G
•Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan
•CORSAIR CX-M series CX600M 600W 80 PLUS BRONZE Active PFC ATX12V & EPS12V Modular Power Supply
•NZXT Phantom 410 Series CA-PH410-B1 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
•Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Red Switches
•Acer Predator XB271HU bmiprz 27-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) NVIDIA G-Sync Widescreen Display
 

Mark RM

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Jul 16, 2014
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Wish it was a K series, get a Haswell to 4.5+ GHz and there's really no reason to upgrade one unless you get into content streaming.

Really, only the 8th gen CPU's are worth upgrading to imo and that will get pricey quickly.

I guess the single biggest impact you could make on that machine is moving to a GTX 1070 to match up with that monitor. By pushing the higher res of the 1440p monitor more to it's limit you'll get smoother gameplay even with a lower end CPU. If you can shop the local classifieds and find a used i7 or unlocked i5 from that gen, you could get quite a little bump in gaming performance.
 
Son has a very competent gaming PC.
It might be best to ask him what he needs.

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.

If he favors fast action shooters, a stronger graphics card is reasonable.

But, make it a significant jump, like to a $550 GTX1080 or a $700 GTX1080ti
If the jump is not big enough, the small difference will disappoint.

If he favors sims, strategy or mmo types, then a faster cpu is in order.
The I5-4590 runs at 3.3. It can not be overclocked.
A very good cpu upgrade would be replacing it with a I7-4790K which can be overclocked past the stock 4.0 speed.
In addition, the extra threads from the I7 will be useful if Son favors multiplayer games.



 

jmckinney28

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Jun 23, 2016
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My vote would be a CPU upgrade to the I7-4790K, a 16 gb RAM kit, and a decent CPU cooler that would allow him to overclock. This would be on the upper end of your price range though. If you want to keep the price down, just the CPU and cooler upgrade would be awesome.
Throw in a GPU upgrade in the future and the system is still a beast.
 

immoody

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Jan 9, 2018
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He plays mostly shooters I guess. Currently he has been playing a lot of PlayerUnknowns Battleground. He plays- League of Legends, Fallout, Rainbow Six, Far Cry, Overwatch......

Graphics card prices seem insane at the moment and everything seems to be out of stock.

Looks Like I could get a 4790K for ~$375.
What CPU cooler would you recommend?

If I want to upgrade the ram 16 gb would you recommend adding 2 more 4gb modules or just get 2 new 8gb modules?
 

jmckinney28

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There's always that the ram sticks won't work together, so going for 2 8gb modules would be best. But you can always try to get another 2x4gb of the exact same modules you have and see if they work.

For good coolers, look here http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-cpu-coolers,4181.html
 

jtabb1256

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Jan 4, 2014
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Another possibility is a larger ssd. I don't know if it's something he'd like or not, but 250GB might be getting small.
500GB Samsung 850 evo is around $140.
 

Mark RM

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Jul 16, 2014
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If there's enough room for the OS, that's really all that matters. What I did to improve game loading speed between cut scenes is just stripe a couple 1TB drives. They only hold games so if (when) an array fails you just load whatever you're playing again on the new one. (or in my case I load the game files across the LAN from the other kids PC first).

So they each have a couple 1TB drives in RAID 0, definitely improved loading time. You just can't store anything critical on there.
 
I like the I7-4790K option.

The case has provision for coolers up to 160mm.
One of the best available coolers that will fit would be the noctua NH-D15s which is about $80
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835608072

On ram, it must be matched.
If you buy a second 2 x 4gb kit, your odds of it working properly are about 85%
I suggest you buy a 2 x 8gb kit that matches what you now have as to voltage, speed and cas numbers.
You will get 16gb which is a good idea.
Then, try the old kit to see if it plays nice with the 16gb. If it does, fine, you have 24gb.
If it does not, keep the 8gb kit as a spare or sell it.
 

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