[SOLVED] Upgrading my 2013 Built PC: Help?!?

Aug 27, 2019
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There was a time in my life (high school) where I was much more into tech and computers than I am now. After graduating college, I took back my desktop and realized that I need to upgrade some of the components. Unfortunately, after trying to mess around with RPCS3, I realized that my graphic card is quite out of date and does not support Vulkan. Likewise, I am quite out of date these days with computers, and barely know how to fix or upgrade my build and I'm damn worried about compatability. Side note, is this what getting old feels like?

I'm primarily thinking I am going to upgrade the video card and the memory only. I really don't do much on my PC other than occasional emulation (RPCS3, zSNES, little Dolphin) and some old PC games from the early 2000's which is always a challenge to get to work with to begin with. I occassionally use Photoshop for light editting.

Here are some maybe relevant stats from my old PC:
Processor: I7 2700k @ 3.5Ghz
Memory: DDR3-1600 2x4GB PC3-12800H by Crucial
Video Card: EVGA GeForce 560
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3
Power Supply: 550W

Here are my questions:
  1. What video card should I get for sub-$150, hell, sub-$100 that should be able to handle emulation, old games, and maybe the very rare Steam game, knowing I am not an intensive gamer? Are there any compatibility requirements I should be aware of?
  2. Is a memory upgrade worth it from 8GB to 16GB? I do tend to open a lot of tabs and work with very large Excel files. If so, how do I best pick out memory that will be compatabile with what I got? Do I need to ditch the old memory sticks, or do I just need to buy an additional 2x4GB that are compatabile?
Sorry for feeling like a n00b here (do people still say that?).
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
There are people running cards all the way up to 1080 TI's with 2700k's, happily. Seeing no need to upgrade STILL to this day. And I mean HERE, among many of the veteran members. So that system, so long as everything is still working correctly, is certainly capable of moderately supporting a high end graphics card if you wanted to install one, or any of the lower end cards since you don't have a requirement for a high end card.

Would it perform as well with one as say, a 9700k? No, of course not, but that doesn't mean it is not worth using until it's not not, at least to you.

I agree that the number one upgrade if you don't already have one should be an SSD for the operating system to live on.

Bumping up the memory to 16GB is a good idea as well.

Graphics card upgrade is entirely up to you and your preference, and also whether or not your old card is still doing what you need it to or not, but keep in mind, that card doesn't support a lot of the software architectures used today or most of the GPU acceleration or compute features that many software applications can utilize to boost productivity and performance, so an upgrade to something with a newer architecture might be a good idea even if you don't have plans to do any extensive gaming. I'd think this might be a good option if you don't need something more capable.

PCPartPicker Part List

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon RX 570 4 GB PULSE Video Card ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $119.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-08-27 23:29 EDT-0400



The question that maybe SHOULD be asked however, is what the exact model is of your current power supply, because depending on what that model is, and how old it is, it might be a very good idea to look at upgrades in that area first, before anything else is even considered.
 

gn842a

Respectable
Oct 10, 2016
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  1. See if you can get ahold of an R9-380 with 2 gigs of vram. Not to be confused with the newer ones with 8 gigs.
  2. 16 GB is not considered excessive these days. For spreadsheets it may not matter. I don't know. I do know that I used three computers at work and it was painful how slow they are compared to the one I built at home (32 gigs). But I think most of the speed at home is in the gpu, not the RAM.
  3. In my view, the best single thing you can do is get a SATA ssd and use it to replace the HDD which I am guessing is what you have. That is the single best thing you can do to improve speed. Better than RAM, better than GPU. GPU is probably second.
My 2c don't sink a lot of money into this build.

  1. Best priority, new build.
  2. Second best priority, SSD.
  3. Third best priority, gpu
  4. Forth best priority, more RAM
Greg N
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
There are people running cards all the way up to 1080 TI's with 2700k's, happily. Seeing no need to upgrade STILL to this day. And I mean HERE, among many of the veteran members. So that system, so long as everything is still working correctly, is certainly capable of moderately supporting a high end graphics card if you wanted to install one, or any of the lower end cards since you don't have a requirement for a high end card.

Would it perform as well with one as say, a 9700k? No, of course not, but that doesn't mean it is not worth using until it's not not, at least to you.

I agree that the number one upgrade if you don't already have one should be an SSD for the operating system to live on.

Bumping up the memory to 16GB is a good idea as well.

Graphics card upgrade is entirely up to you and your preference, and also whether or not your old card is still doing what you need it to or not, but keep in mind, that card doesn't support a lot of the software architectures used today or most of the GPU acceleration or compute features that many software applications can utilize to boost productivity and performance, so an upgrade to something with a newer architecture might be a good idea even if you don't have plans to do any extensive gaming. I'd think this might be a good option if you don't need something more capable.

PCPartPicker Part List

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon RX 570 4 GB PULSE Video Card ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $119.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-08-27 23:29 EDT-0400



The question that maybe SHOULD be asked however, is what the exact model is of your current power supply, because depending on what that model is, and how old it is, it might be a very good idea to look at upgrades in that area first, before anything else is even considered.
 
There was a time in my life (high school) where I was much more into tech and computers than I am now.......... barely know how to fix or upgrade my build and I'm damn worried about compatability. Side note, is this what getting old feels like?
Yes. Yes it is.

The best way to not get old is to build a brand new computer from scratch and spend hours studying parts and compatibility. We will help you because we don't want you to get any older.
 
Reactions: C.wolf
There are people running cards all the way up to 1080 TI's with 2700k's, happily. Seeing no need to upgrade STILL to this day. And I mean HERE, among many of the veteran members. So that system, so long as everything is still working correctly,................

I agree that the number one upgrade if you don't already have one should be an SSD for the operating system to live on.

Bumping up the memory to 16GB is a good idea as well.

The question that maybe SHOULD be asked however, is what the exact model is of your current power supply, because depending on what that model is, and how old it is, it might be a very good idea to look at upgrades in that area first, before anything else is even considered.
Agreed on the 2700K. That guy is still pretty good. I would roll with it.

DDR3 is still pretty reasonably priced right now, but that will not last forever. I would bump it all the way to 32GB while the prices availability are still strong. Sooner or later, DDR3 availability and pricing are going to go south.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
For new memory, probably. But if he is able to pretty much do whatever he needs with only 8GB right now, then 16GB will give him a bit more breathing room and likely take him to the end of that system's life expectancy anyhow.
 
Aug 27, 2019
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Wow, thanks everybody for the quick responses! I'll try and respond to all of the main points:

  1. I have both HDD and SSD memory on this computer. I believe all of my more memory intensive (ie: emulation) is on my SSD drive, and it still appears to work great.
  2. I don't think I'm looking to do a fresh build quite yet. I think my goal would be to have this build carry me another 2-4 years depending on where I am at in life, and then I will do a fresh build that reflects my lifestyle closer to then. (number one: get a less bulky and gamer like case, lol).
  3. Someone asked about power supply: I am rocking an XFX 550W Pro Core Edition (http://www.xfxforce.com/en-us/products/pro-series/pro-series-550w-psu-p1-550s-xxb9)
  4. I agree with probably doing 16GB. I think 32 GB is overkill given #1, but it wouldn't hurt and is not overly expensive, especially if I just need to buy 2x4GB. My concern is still compatibility. Can I essentially put any memory into my motherboard, or are there any constraints I should be aware of? (for whatever it is worth, this is the memory currently in my PC: https://www.amazon.com/Ballistix-Single-PC3-12800-240-Pin-Memory/dp/B006WAGG14
---------------

UPDATE:

Here's the plan: I'm going to upgrade the video card and the memory. Here is what I plan on buying:
VIDEO CARD: One of these three https://pcpartpicker.com/products/compare/6hKhP6,bxM323,tJvbt6/
MEMORY: One of these three https://pcpartpicker.com/products/compare/LzTmP6,6hzv6h,nBCwrH/


Can you guys recommend a graphics card and memory (and double check compatibility)?
 
Aug 27, 2019
3
0
10
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Great, that's two suggestions for this card so that's good enough for me.

Are there any differences I should be aware of between the previously mentioned Sapphire and this one (https://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-11266-04-20G-Radeon-Backplate-Graphics/dp/B06ZY21842/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=sapphire+radeon+rx+570&qid=1567119243&s=electronics&sr=1-2)? I'd rather get the card before Labor Day weekend and this works out to be cheaper.

I'm also thinking this RAM: https://www.amazon.com/Patriot-PSD38G16002H-Signature-PC3-12800-Heatshield/dp/B007URNIBE
 
Last edited:

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
If you're going to buy an AMD graphics card, you want it to be Sapphire. Just like if you buy an Nvidia card, I always recommend EVGA. Both companies have excellent customer service and product support and tend to have fewer instances of NEEDING it, in any case. Performance is good on their cards as well. While it is sometimes true that another company might offer a card with marginally better performance, that performance doesn't mean much if you're one of the unlucky number of people with a failure. Those numbers tend to be a lot fewer on Sapphire and EVGA cards, respectively.
 
I agree with probably doing 16GB. I think 32 GB is overkill given #1, but it wouldn't hurt and is not overly expensive, especially if I just need to buy 2x4GB. My concern is still compatibility. Can I essentially put any memory into my motherboard.......
I have never had a situation where I look back on an upgrade 5 years later and thought that I purchased TOO much memory. In fact, I always wish I had maxed my system out. So that is what I do these days. But everyone uses their systems differently. If your experience is different than mine, then go with 16gb.
 
Reactions: C.wolf

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Well, that might be true, but in some cases budget definitely dictates the final decision. If there is no budget, then maxing out the memory is a no brainer. For some people though, in some regions, the options might be quite a bit different than what they are for you or I.
 
Apr 20, 2019
15
1
15
0
There was a time in my life (high school) where I was much more into tech and computers than I am now. After graduating college, I took back my desktop and realized that I need to upgrade some of the components. Unfortunately, after trying to mess around with RPCS3, I realized that my graphic card is quite out of date and does not support Vulkan. Likewise, I am quite out of date these days with computers, and barely know how to fix or upgrade my build and I'm damn worried about compatability. Side note, is this what getting old feels like?

I'm primarily thinking I am going to upgrade the video card and the memory only. I really don't do much on my PC other than occasional emulation (RPCS3, zSNES, little Dolphin) and some old PC games from the early 2000's which is always a challenge to get to work with to begin with. I occassionally use Photoshop for light editting.

Here are some maybe relevant stats from my old PC:
Processor: I7 2700k @ 3.5Ghz
Memory: DDR3-1600 2x4GB PC3-12800H by Crucial
Video Card: EVGA GeForce 560
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3
Power Supply: 550W

Here are my questions:
  1. What video card should I get for sub-$150, hell, sub-$100 that should be able to handle emulation, old games, and maybe the very rare Steam game, knowing I am not an intensive gamer? Are there any compatibility requirements I should be aware of?
  2. Is a memory upgrade worth it from 8GB to 16GB? I do tend to open a lot of tabs and work with very large Excel files. If so, how do I best pick out memory that will be compatabile with what I got? Do I need to ditch the old memory sticks, or do I just need to buy an additional 2x4GB that are compatabile?
Sorry for feeling like a n00b here (do people still say that?).
I would not buy any of the items you want new. Your rig is old but still quite capable. Nonetheless it is not worth much money and upgrading it will not make it worth much more so buy used stuff unless you can find very cheap new stuff.

The #1 upgrade (like everyone in here recs) and which you did not list, is a SATA SSD. I would go a bit further and rec a large new drive (500GB-1TB), because large drives are usually faster than smaller drives in the same series, and the bigger any drive is, the more future-proof it is. A larger drive will also spend less time-out trimming itself and can be over-provisioned without seriously cramping disk space. This should cost between $50 - $100 for new brand name SATA drives. SSDs can be graduated to your next PC should you decide to go beyond DDR3.

2. Living with only 8GB RAM is torture and has been since WinXP went to the great bit-bucket in the sky. Adding 2x4GB is about $20/up on ebay. Adding 2x8GB is a better idea but cost more. If you really want to open a LOT of tabs, pony up for MaxRAM - 4x8GB sticks for ~$75/up. Chrome frequently uses upwards of 15GB on my PC with 48GB RAM.
There is very little future on the Desktop for DDR3.

3. I still have an EVGA GTX560 on the shelf, and it's a pretty pathetic and inefficient card in today's 3D environment. While almost anything would be an upgrade, your 550W PSU limits your choice a bit - you probably shouldn't get anything likely to draw more than ~200W. Compare possibilities based on power consumption vs performance. AMD cards tend to use more Watts than Nvidia's to accomplish the same level of performance, but AMD colors are better (IMHO) To add to the fog, they don't measure things like TDP with the same yardstick. So it can get tricky. I'd save a few extra $ and shoot for a GTX 1070 <$200 or GTX1080 =<$300 used prices. They really are worth the difference over a new cheapo video card and simply blow the doors off AMD's RX580,,, and not just for games, everything is smoother, crisper, faster. Nvidia cards also have higher resale value.. If you plan to use your new card and the GTX560 together (Not recommended), you must also upgrade the PSU. You can probably sell your GTX560 for $30-$40.

4. Whatever video card you get make sure your monitor isn't some obsolete antique and is at least as good as your new video card.. Since your new card will support 4K video, something to consider is the availability of Samsung (and other brands) 32" 4K @ 60FPS monitors for under $300, delivered. Even if you don't go there now, it's probably something you will want in the future
 
Last edited:
Apr 20, 2019
15
1
15
0
Wow, thanks everybody for the quick responses! I'll try and respond to all of the main points:

  1. I have both HDD and SSD memory on this computer. I believe all of my more memory intensive (ie: emulation) is on my SSD drive, and it still appears to work great.
  2. I don't think I'm looking to do a fresh build quite yet. I think my goal would be to have this build carry me another 2-4 years depending on where I am at in life, and then I will do a fresh build that reflects my lifestyle closer to then. (number one: get a less bulky and gamer like case, lol).
  3. Someone asked about power supply: I am rocking an XFX 550W Pro Core Edition (http://www.xfxforce.com/en-us/products/pro-series/pro-series-550w-psu-p1-550s-xxb9)
  4. I agree with probably doing 16GB. I think 32 GB is overkill given #1, but it wouldn't hurt and is not overly expensive, especially if I just need to buy 2x4GB. My concern is still compatibility. Can I essentially put any memory into my motherboard, or are there any constraints I should be aware of? (for whatever it is worth, this is the memory currently in my PC: https://www.amazon.com/Ballistix-Single-PC3-12800-240-Pin-Memory/dp/B006WAGG14
---------------

UPDATE:

Here's the plan: I'm going to upgrade the video card and the memory. Here is what I plan on buying:
VIDEO CARD: One of these three https://pcpartpicker.com/products/compare/6hKhP6,bxM323,tJvbt6/
MEMORY: One of these three https://pcpartpicker.com/products/compare/LzTmP6,6hzv6h,nBCwrH/


Can you guys recommend a graphics card and memory (and double check compatibility)?
The RAM is fine. Go with the best price.
The PSU is also fine.

The GPU choices are pathetic. For a few dollars more you can get a used GTX 1070 and at least have a card that will survive your next CPU/MOBO upgrade.
 
Last edited:

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Don't buy a used card, ever, unless you are a universally lucky person or are buying it from somebody that you know well enough that you would have no issues inviting them to your mother's house for the holidays.

Used graphics cards are far riskier than other forms of used hardware because they are far more often either abused or modified, in ways that tend to not offer positive results. CAN you get a good deal on a used card? Sure. Of course you can.

Can you also get a damaged pile of crap that "works" but "doesn't work", or "Works" but doesn't work well in games because it was modified for mining? Especially from that series of cards that were popular during the height of the mining craze? Yes, yes you absolutely can. And a lot of people DO.

Plus, aside from a very small number of EVGA cards, the majority of graphics cards do not have warranties that are transferable, and even those are only transferable if you've jumped through the right hoops. For most of them, what you get is whatever you get and if there is a problem then unless the person you bought it from is willing to give you the original purchase information or deal with any warranty concerns for you, you're out of luck. Graphics cards can tend to have high failure rates, so that's a risk I wouldn't be willing to take on a part that is going to cost you several hundred dollars even used.
 
Don't buy a used card, ever, unless you are a universally lucky person or are buying it from somebody that you know well enough that you would have no issues inviting them to your mother's house for the holidays.......
I'm not a big fan of buying used hardware. The price difference just doesn't usually justify the purchase and you don't usually know the history of the part.
 

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