Build Advice Upgrade my CPU or GPU

Oct 21, 2019
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Hello all,

At the moment I'm looking to upgrade. But I'm not sure what to upgrade.

At this moment I am running a 6600k (stock) and an 980ti (stock).

It's all 4 years old. I might save up some more and just do it all together as I also want a new case.

If were to upgrade I'd be looking at a 9700k or a 2070 super. But I would like to get the opinion of others to be able to make a good decision that makes me last a while.

I mainly use the pc for gaming so there is no editing or streaming involved.

Cpu: i5 6600k
Motherboard: MSI z170a Gaming M5
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16gb 2133mhz ddr4
SSD: Samsung m.2 960 evo 500gb
Gpu: msi gtx 980ti
Chasis: corsair air 540
Psu: ax860i

Monitor: ASUS Rog swift pq278 1440p 144hz (165hz)
 
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Okay this is a fairly tough one but the 6600K is still not to bad and a RTX 2070 Super will be a nice performance improvement but it all depends at what resolution you play at and whether high refresh matters to you.

The 9700K is a great gaming CPU but that would mean a complete platform revamp in a Z390 Motherboard and DDR4 3200 (at least RAM)...

Depends on budget and resolution you wish to play at...
 
Oct 21, 2019
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I added all the relevant information that I usually forget to mention.

I would like to game at 1440p and 75+ fps. I do like higher quality graphics.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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I added all the relevant information that I usually forget to mention.

I would like to game at 1440p and 75+ fps. I do like higher quality graphics.
Thank you for that.
i did a quick check on your CPU and Motherboard since the other parts are already familiar to me, and i will also say that if you want to do upgrades, you will need to start from the motherboard first. The motherboard and the chipset on it don't sit well with CPU's past 6th generation and even though a graphics card upgrade will be good, it will not be of good use on your system.
If you ask me, i would suggest you start planing on a new build from scratch depending on your budget,
Your PSU is good to go with a high end build as it is, the NVME SSD is also good, but i think you need more than just 1 upgrade if you want to go on the next level.
 
Reactions: XpRsSn
Oct 21, 2019
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Yes, I've been afraid of that. Getting a current cpu will bottleneck it probably. And if I get a current GPU it will also get a bit bottlenecked.

I have been leaning more towards a completely new build as I also want to get a new case.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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Yes, I've been afraid of that. Getting a current cpu will bottleneck it probably. And if I get a current GPU it will also get a bit bottlenecked.

I have been leaning more towards a completely new build as I also want to get a new case.
I am doing the exact same thing right now, building a new pc with brand new stuff. Considering my old 2500k and the new addition of GTX 1050 TI couple of years ago are still fine for low end games, i want to go few levels ahead and make something that will last for quite some time
 
Oct 21, 2019
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I am doing the exact same thing right now, building a new pc with brand new stuff. Considering my old 2500k and the new addition of GTX 1050 TI couple of years ago are still fine for low end games, i want to go few levels ahead and make something that will last for quite some time
I'm thinking of getting a 4 year plan going. Fully upgrading my system every 4 years. Should be doable but I do need to upgrade this first.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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I'm thinking of getting a 4 year plan going. Fully upgrading my system every 4 years. Should be doable but I do need to upgrade this first.
Well, i think upgrading this build should be your start of the 4 years plan by making a new one. Still, it all depends on your budget.
 
Oct 21, 2019
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Well, i think upgrading this build should be your start of the 4 years plan by making a new one. Still, it all depends on your budget.
With the parts I mentioned I'm around 1200 so I need to save some more. But if I set aside 50 euros a month after that it will become 2400 euro's to play with every 4 years. That's a decent budget.
 
Oct 16, 2019
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With the parts I mentioned I'm around 1200 so I need to save some more. But if I set aside 50 euros a month after that it will become 2400 euro's to play with every 4 years. That's a decent budget.
My current build doesn't exceed 2400 euros, and i am making it all top-notch with some of the best parts used. I am quite sure that money will be more than enough to build a very good computer.
However, i cannot say that 1200 is a small amount either, you can build a good computer with it. If you ask for recommendations, i am sure a number of people would have good suggestions for your new build with the current budget.
 
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.
-------------------------------------------------------------

6600K, particularly with an overclock is still a very good processor.
My guess is that for fast action games, a graphics card upgrade would be easiest and get you more right now.

If/when you need a processor upgrade the 8 cores and high clock of the 9700K will be as good as it gets for gaming. 8 cores is more than enough for any game.
You will want a z390 based motherboard to use the intel performance maximizer utility to oc.
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-cpu-auto-overclock-performance-maximizer,6179.html
 
Reactions: XpRsSn
Oct 21, 2019
8
0
10
0
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.
-------------------------------------------------------------

6600K, particularly with an overclock is still a very good processor.
My guess is that for fast action games, a graphics card upgrade would be easiest and get you more right now.

If/when you need a processor upgrade the 8 cores and high clock of the 9700K will be as good as it gets for gaming. 8 cores is more than enough for any game.
You will want a z390 based motherboard to use the intel performance maximizer utility to oc.
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-cpu-auto-overclock-performance-maximizer,6179.html
OK that's pretty clear to me.

I can do both tests pretty easily but I'm unsure about the threads one. No that I doubt your reasoning but I'm not that good with that sort of stuff. Also I believe most games don't yet use the amount of threads to their full potential. One of the games I play, Escape from Tarkov even favors it when you turn off hyperthreading.

I play a large variety of games. FPS, mmo, sims and big citybuilders. So the first test would depend on the game but I know that I do get an increase in fps. I've noticed this before in games like the Division.

What would you recommend? The main type of game I play is FPS. Would an OC on the 6600k with a new gpu work out better for me or should I get a new well rounded pc?
 
For a fps type game, a stronger graphics card is always good.
Buy the strongest one your budget and conscience will allow.
If in doubt, go stronger or you will forever second guess yourself.
A graphics card is the easiest first upgrade.

With a Z170 motherboard, you can overclock your 6600K.
At stock, you are at 3.5 with a boost of 3.9.
You have a reasonable expectation of an overclock in the 4.6 range.
Give that at least a mild try.
Just give the all core multiplier a boost gradually from the default of 35 to a higher number.
Leave voltage on auto.
Keep the vcore under 1.4. Monitor with cpu-z.

I suspect, though, that a 9700K with 8 threads and an oc around 5.0 is going to be the very best gaming processor you can buy. A 9900K will not be significantly better for just gaming.
 
Oct 21, 2019
8
0
10
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For a fps type game, a stronger graphics card is always good.
Buy the strongest one your budget and conscience will allow.
If in doubt, go stronger or you will forever second guess yourself.
A graphics card is the easiest first upgrade.

With a Z170 motherboard, you can overclock your 6600K.
At stock, you are at 3.5 with a boost of 3.9.
You have a reasonable expectation of an overclock in the 4.6 range.
Give that at least a mild try.
Just give the all core multiplier a boost gradually from the default of 35 to a higher number.
Leave voltage on auto.
Keep the vcore under 1.4. Monitor with cpu-z.

I suspect, though, that a 9700K with 8 threads and an oc around 5.0 is going to be the very best gaming processor you can buy. A 9900K will not be significantly better for just gaming.
I have an AiO watercooler so I'm going to OC and possibly get that GPU upgrade. Although I'm still very much in doubt. But I do have some food for thought at the moment.

Thank you all for contributing to this topic!
 

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