[SOLVED] Upgrading i7-3770/750ti/280w -- what are my options?

AlanC9

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A few years back, I basically ran the strategy from that $350 gaming PC article. Found a used Lenovo m92 (MT) for $200 or so, grabbed a 750ti, and I was good to go. Worked fine for years, but it's showing its age now.

I've got cash in hand, but given current uncertainties I'd really rather not put more than, say, $600 or so into a new rig if I can help it. And I'm not impressed with what I can put together in that price range. The i7-3770's holding up well enough that maybe I should keep it for a bit longer. (Kind of weird I got it that cheap in the first place.)

So, what to do with the rest? Upgrade from 8 GB RAM, obviously. An SSD too, I suppose.

The big issue is graphics. I'm not planning to go higher than 1080p anytime soon; I can't relaly fit a bigger monitor into that corner anyway. I'd just like a decent RDR2 experience, plus a bit of future-proofing. But of course, my PSU sucks. Should I resign myself to upgrading the PSU and then go with, say, a 1650 Super?
 

tennis2

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Your GPU is by far your biggest performance-limiter. To give you GPU recommendations, we're going to need to know about the PSU in your machine (brand/model/wattage). If the PSU doesn't have any 8-pin cables that plug into GPUs, then you'll need a replacement. How much length is available inside the case for a GPU?

Is your 8GB ram a single stick or 2x4GB? Looks like your mobo has 4 RAM slots.

SSD would be a big improvement to general system responsiveness.

PCPartPicker Part List

Memory: Crucial 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 CL11 Memory ($37.00 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial MX500 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($57.99 @ Adorama)
Video Card: MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT 8 GB MECH OC Video Card ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12III 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($63.99 @ B&H)
Total: $348.97
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-09-30 16:11 EDT-0400
 

tennis2

Honorable
Your GPU is by far your biggest performance-limiter. To give you GPU recommendations, we're going to need to know about the PSU in your machine (brand/model/wattage). If the PSU doesn't have any 8-pin cables that plug into GPUs, then you'll need a replacement. How much length is available inside the case for a GPU?

Is your 8GB ram a single stick or 2x4GB? Looks like your mobo has 4 RAM slots.

SSD would be a big improvement to general system responsiveness.

PCPartPicker Part List

Memory: Crucial 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 CL11 Memory ($37.00 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial MX500 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($57.99 @ Adorama)
Video Card: MSI Radeon RX 5500 XT 8 GB MECH OC Video Card ($189.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12III 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($63.99 @ B&H)
Total: $348.97
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-09-30 16:11 EDT-0400
 

AlanC9

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Apr 17, 2013
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The PSU is Lenovo's standard FSP280-40EPA. About what you'd expect from corporate-aimed product. 280 watts is low, but there are no spare power connectors anyway, so keeping it rules out a lot of things. (I use the optical drive from time to time for legacy gaming and DVDs of stuff I can't stream.)

RAM is 2x4GB. While there are 4 slots, there's an issue. Looks like instead of mounting the CPU cooler properly, they glued it down at a weird angle, and the corner of the housing blocks one of the slots. Grrr...

As for GPU size (didn't even think of this, thanks), looks like I've got maybe 200 mm before running into the MB's SATA ports.

It's not like this system was designed for what I'm doing with it, so I suppose I can't complain about this stuff. Although that cooler thing is just weird.
 

tennis2

Honorable
The GPU will pass over the SATA ports. No mobo limits GPU length. What we're really concerned about here is the case. What length before you run into the case (likely hard drive bays).

Is the plan to KEEP said stock Lenovo PSU even though the parts I listed are barely over half your total given budget? If that's the case, you're looking at a GTX1650 (one of the models without external power connectors), which isn't a bad performer by any means, but that's the most performance you can buy that gets all its power from the PCIe slot.
 

AlanC9

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Apr 17, 2013
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Whoops! Just discovered that my response never posted.

So, yeah, I was keeping the idea of doing a low-end vidcard/RAM upgrade in the back of my mind, but that doesn't seem to make any sense after looking at the performance numbers. I'd just end up having to upgrade again much sooner.

I've got about 240mm before the vidcard would run into the lower drive bay, so that 5500 should fit . And the RAM actually does fit under the CPU fan; it's just a bit awkward getting it in there.

I'm considering this solved. Thanks.
 

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