Question Upgrade GPU or CPU first??

Dec 11, 2019
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I recently got into PC gaming and took my brothers old rig. I am a little confused as to which item should be upgraded first as to maximize the bang for the buck.

Specs:
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3
GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 660 ti
CPU: AMD FX 8350 Eight-Core
RAM: 16 GB ddr3

Just looking for general guidance in how to boost my performance, thank you for any advice!!!
 

tplay2003

Prominent
Dec 29, 2018
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I recently got into PC gaming and took my brothers old rig. I am a little confused as to which item should be upgraded first as to maximize the bang for the buck.

Specs:
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3
GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 660 ti
CPU: AMD FX 8350 Eight-Core
RAM: 16 GB ddr3

Just looking for general guidance in how to boost my performance, thank you for any advice!!!
You will need to spend a little bit of money if you want to upgrade the CPU because yeah you have to buy a lot of things, and yeah the GPU is something you can move in a new system later so i say you should buy GPU and then start collecting money for CPU, RAM and Motherboard then you wont have to worry your GPU that you will buy now will be able to work with the new stuff perfectly without the need of changing it too.
 
Reactions: jasonmiller1616
Dec 11, 2019
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Thanks for your reply's, I feared that would be the issue but it does make sense that a new GPU could easily be moved over to a new setup in the future while the other components generally need replacement.

Would this be the reason that a new 500GB SSD I picked up is under performing? Quoted at ~500 MB/s speeds, when using benchmark software it shows I am getting ~200 MB/s.
 

tplay2003

Prominent
Dec 29, 2018
54
3
535
0
Thanks for your reply's, I feared that would be the issue but it does make sense that a new GPU could easily be moved over to a new setup in the future while the other components generally need replacement.

Would this be the reason that a new 500GB SSD I picked up is under performing? Quoted at ~500 MB/s speeds, when using benchmark software it shows I am getting ~200 MB/s.
Yes it is possible for SSD to underperform if you but it among weaker components than expected but there are a lot of factors that can cause SSD to be slower so i wont go in details about it just because i don't know that much like i said.
 
Well, the GPU MIGHT still be usable, but it depends on your monitor. ie: if you're running 720p or something, that might be fine, and you can continue to use the GPU for now in a newer system.

But, say, 1080p? It's going to struggle a bit.
 

R_1

Judicious
Herald
Thanks for your reply's, I feared that would be the issue but it does make sense that a new GPU could easily be moved over to a new setup in the future while the other components generally need replacement.

Would this be the reason that a new 500GB SSD I picked up is under performing? Quoted at ~500 MB/s speeds, when using benchmark software it shows I am getting ~200 MB/s.

the reason for that is the ports are SATA 2.0. 3.0Gbps or around 300megs per second. subtract overhead and you will get your numbers.
that SSD paired with a SATA 3.0 port will double your current performance.
that is an old board and at the time SATA 2.0 was plenty fast for HDDs.

point being when you upgrade the CPU, RAM, and mobo, keep that SSD and the new GPU.
 
Dec 11, 2019
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This all is helpful and makes sense, I really appreciate it. One last question I had was whether the PSU would also require an upgrade to support "mid-budget" upgrades to the CPU, MOBO, RAM, and all that stuff.

I absolutely realize these things are more complex than just whether or not it will work and is dependent upon the upgrades that I get, however, I am just looking for general guidance.

I have attached the specs of the PSU, any chance its salvageable? Or at the least, should it be the last to be upgraded?

https://ibb.co/hghHxZ7
 
The maximum GPU I'd pair with your current setup is an RX 590 or GTX 1060 6GB. Actually a great bang for the buck GPU that would be a good fit is the GTX 1650 Super. To save some bucks the RX 570 isn't too bad either. Any of them will get you up to 1080p with good settings and reasonable frame rates. All that said, these aren't bad GPUs. They will serve you well even after a CPU upgrade.

The FX-8350 is an old CPU, but will still play games well enough that the GPU should be your first choice. I'd suggest getting literally anything Zen+ or Zen 2 based. Literally an Athlon 200GE, the weakest Zen based chip AMD has is equal to the 8350. So, if you wanted to get on the AM4 platform it'd be a cheap way to go. I just got my wife an Athlon 200GE with a B450 motherboard and 16GB of RAM for about $250... but not a lot more money would get you much better performance from a 2200g or a 2600.

As for your PSU, it isn't horrible, and it is battle proven, but I'd recommend an upgrade regardless. It probably wouldn't hurt to keep it for a while, but peace of mind is often worth it.
 
One thing to note on the SSD, while a SATA 2 connection might limit its maximum throughput, you will still get the biggest advantage of an SSD, the random access times, which should still be far faster than what you would get from a hard drive. Those can significantly improve performance when accessing lots of small files (such as when loading windows, or an application like a web browser, or certain games installed to it) where small file accesses can slow a hard drive to a crawl, but an SSD should maintain a lot more of its available performance. So, the 200 MB/s maximum sequential speed is probably not quite as much of a limitation as it may sound.
 
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.
------------------------------------------------------------
To help clarify your CPU/GPU options, run these two tests:

a) Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
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.
-------------------------------------------------------------

My guess... cpu/mobo/ram
What is the make/model of your psu?
If it is of decent quality you might make the easier upgrade to graphics first.
 
Reactions: King_V
its an FX CPU so i would recommend a CPU upgrade first. you will have to get a new motherbord for it too if you go that way but sytill a new motherbord a CPU combo will help update your core PC build

that way you won't have to worry about a modern GPU or an SSD issue when it comes to compatibility with old hardware
 
its an FX CPU so i would recommend a CPU upgrade first. you will have to get a new motherbord for it too if you go that way but sytill a new motherbord a CPU combo will help update your core PC build

that way you won't have to worry about a modern GPU or an SSD issue when it comes to compatibility with old hardware
Why?

The CPU isn't horrible. It can still run games fairly well. The current lead weight on his system is that geriatric 660 Ti. He'd see way more of a boost from a GPU upgrade than a CPU one. The GTX 1650 Super (or RX 580, or 1660, or GTX 1060 6GB) is going to be more than 80% faster. He isn't going to see that kind of boost unless he gets something like a Ryzen 5 3600X. The GPU upgrade will give him a good boost in gaming and hold him over nicely until he can afford a reasonable CPU upgrade.

You know, I've never understood the flak the FX CPUs get. Sure, they aren't as good as Intel CPUs, but they are far from the useless garbage that people have portrayed them. They process well enough, and while a little power hungry and hot, it isn't like they are failures at what they do.

I mean, the FX-8350 is on par with a very low end chip that is on sale right now, it is called the Athlon 200GE, and people get that to play all kinds of games just fine when it is paired with a reasonable GPU. I owned a Phenom II x3, and up until a couple years ago I could still get it to play then modern games acceptably and it was paired with an R9 270X, a decent, now a bit lower end, video card. The FX is way faster than that. Now, I wouldn't recommend buying one today, but if you have one there is nothing wrong with trying to get more out of it till you can upgrade.

Besides, it can handle driving a good 1080p GPU with playable frame rates, so it isn't like the GPU will be useless with the new CPU. Getting the GPU first is a sensible upgrade path. If he upgrades the CPU first he get no gains in games. That 660 Ti is already maxing out. More CPU won't get anything more out of it. Better to get an upgrade where he can see a change.
 

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