Question Upgrading old but still kicking PC, need advise on parts

Jan 21, 2021
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Dear members, I like to upgrade my PC and wondering what new parts are compatible for my built,

PC birth : Year 2015

Processor : Intel Ci5 3.50Ghz 4690K (4th Generation)

Motherboard : Gigabyte Intel Z97X-SLI (Intel Z97 Express Chipset, 4 x DDR3 DIMM sockets)

Ram : Kingston 4GB DDR3 1866Mhz CL10 HyperX Fury Single x2

GPU : VGA Gigabyte GTX970 G1 Gaming 4GB GDDR5 PCI-E

PSU : Cooler Master 600W

HDD : 3.5" Seagate 1TB 7200 64MB SATA3
SSD : 2.5" Samsung 120GB 840EVO

Others : DVD-RW Asus 24X SATA DRW-24D3ST INT

Casing : BitFenix Shadow ATX

This PC is doing well in latest gaming at med-high 1080p settings, I intend to improve the performance but I'm lost at the compatibility of the parts and I want to avoid a bottleneck. I'm looking at a minor upgrade because if I'm changing too much parts - I might just buy a new rig altogether :D

Please advise, thanks!
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Let's start with what's most important, which is the PSU.

WHICH Cooler master 600w PSU do you have and how long has it been in service?

As far as any upgrades are concerned, there are really only two options here.

One of them is to replace the graphics card with something more capable, and likely, the PSU as well. That offers instant performance gains for any game that is primarily GPU bound. You will of course still be limited in any CPU bound games AND will likely be frame rate limited in any light games or at lower settings if you are trying to hit high frame rates to match a high refresh rate monitor.

The other option is a full platform and graphics card upgrade. Upgrading the platform itself, and not the graphics card, probably doesn't make a lot of sense unless your only problem is frame rates and you simply need a more capable CPU. If you are able to reduce game settings and NOT see an increase in frame rates, then your CPU is likely problematic in that regard.

Buying a new rig is probably the worst of all options as you are likely to get things you don't need like a case and drives, plus prebuilt machines are usually not good quality. They skimp everywhere they can and the result is usually much less than you'd get by simply upgrading yourself.

Right now though, is a REALLY bad time to look at upgrades because the cost and availability of just about everything other than drives and memory is through the roof and slim.

How much were you thinking to put towards any upgrades?
 
What is your budget?

If improved gaming is your objective, then run this simple test:

Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
This makes the graphics card loaf a bit.
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.

Your i5-4690K is really a decent processor for gaming.
If you think your cpu is limiting you, first try to overclock a bit.
Your Z97 might allow you 25% more performance if you have a decent cooler.

If graphics is what needs improving, make it a good jump or you may be disappointed if you do not see magical results.
One of the new 3000 series cards would be great, but they are scarce and are being scalped at more than MSRP.
Of current cards, look at a GTX1660 super or better.
Here is a handy chart as to the power requirements of graphics cards:
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

Your 8gb of ram is somewhat limiting.
There is no guarantee that adding 8gb of ddr3 is going to work. ram must be matched.

If you have a budget of $250 or so, you can buy a stronger i3-10100, a lga1200 motherboard and 16gb of ddr4 ram. It goes up from there.

No telling if your 600w coolermaster psu can deliver what is advertised.
Find your unit on this quality list:
If you replace it, consider a quality psu as a long term investment. 750w would be ok. a psu will only use the wattage demanded of it, regardless of the max capability.
Look for a unit with a 7 or 10 year warranty.
 
Jan 21, 2021
13
0
10
0
Let's start with what's most important, which is the PSU.

WHICH Cooler master 600w PSU do you have and how long has it been in service?

As far as any upgrades are concerned, there are really only two options here.

One of them is to replace the graphics card with something more capable, and likely, the PSU as well. That offers instant performance gains for any game that is primarily GPU bound. You will of course still be limited in any CPU bound games AND will likely be frame rate limited in any light games or at lower settings if you are trying to hit high frame rates to match a high refresh rate monitor.

The other option is a full platform and graphics card upgrade. Upgrading the platform itself, and not the graphics card, probably doesn't make a lot of sense unless your only problem is frame rates and you simply need a more capable CPU. If you are able to reduce game settings and NOT see an increase in frame rates, then your CPU is likely problematic in that regard.

Buying a new rig is probably the worst of all options as you are likely to get things you don't need like a case and drives, plus prebuilt machines are usually not good quality. They skimp everywhere they can and the result is usually much less than you'd get by simply upgrading yourself.

Right now though, is a REALLY bad time to look at upgrades because the cost and availability of just about everything other than drives and memory is through the roof and slim.

How much were you thinking to put towards any upgrades?
Dear Darkbreeze, thank you for the reply. I'm considering going for option 1 - changing the GPU. But first I need to make some test if my frame rate is limited by my processor, by the same token GPU is really expensive and I agree with you - it is a really bad time! The test will let me know what are my priorities.

I'm running some cost-benefit comparisons now, if the upgrade is marginal by replacing few parts, I dont mind building a new one from scratch - but again, it is the current cost of the parts made me look at just upgrading my current rig.
 
Jan 21, 2021
13
0
10
0
What is your budget?

If improved gaming is your objective, then run this simple test:

Run YOUR games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
This makes the graphics card loaf a bit.
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.

Your i5-4690K is really a decent processor for gaming.
If you think your cpu is limiting you, first try to overclock a bit.
Your Z97 might allow you 25% more performance if you have a decent cooler.

If graphics is what needs improving, make it a good jump or you may be disappointed if you do not see magical results.
One of the new 3000 series cards would be great, but they are scarce and are being scalped at more than MSRP.
Of current cards, look at a GTX1660 super or better.
Here is a handy chart as to the power requirements of graphics cards:
http://www.realhardtechx.com/index_archivos/Page362.htm

Your 8gb of ram is somewhat limiting.
There is no guarantee that adding 8gb of ddr3 is going to work. ram must be matched.

If you have a budget of $250 or so, you can buy a stronger i3-10100, a lga1200 motherboard and 16gb of ddr4 ram. It goes up from there.

No telling if your 600w coolermaster psu can deliver what is advertised.
Find your unit on this quality list:
If you replace it, consider a quality psu as a long term investment. 750w would be ok. a psu will only use the wattage demanded of it, regardless of the max capability.
Look for a unit with a 7 or 10 year warranty.
Thanks Geofelt, appreciate your inputs very much and I will run the test. Besides, when I'm gaming I don't run other programme except for that game - does that mean more processing power is focused on the game? I'm making a hunch that it is my current GPU being the bigger factor, and I can only try it once I return to my home (I'm stuck at another district due to Covid19 lockdown, no inter-district travelling).

I also intend to add 2 more ddr3 ram, is that necessary?

Besides, does PSU goes worse overtime? I dont have any power issue so far, but I agree with your good advise on a quality 750w PSU - if I am to replace my PSU. Thanks for the good list too!
 

DSzymborski

Polypheme
Moderator
Thanks Geofelt, appreciate your inputs very much and I will run the test. Besides, when I'm gaming I don't run other programme except for that game - does that mean more processing power is focused on the game? I'm making a hunch that it is my current GPU being the bigger factor, and I can only try it once I return to my home (I'm stuck at another district due to Covid19 lockdown, no inter-district travelling).

I also intend to add 2 more ddr3 ram, is that necessary?

Besides, does PSU goes worse overtime? I dont have any power issue so far, but I agree with your good advise on a quality 750w PSU - if I am to replace my PSU. Thanks for the good list too!
PSUs do age. And the thing is, you can't visually test for power issues outside of the most dramatic one. Many low quality power supplies damage parts slowly over months or years before one can notice anything and by the time you see symptoms, the damage has been going on for too long. So it's always good to hedge against this by having a good quality power supply.
 
Reactions: registersano
Jan 22, 2021
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Dear members, I like to upgrade my PC and wondering what new parts are compatible for my built,

PC birth : Year 2015

Processor : Intel Ci5 3.50Ghz 4690K (4th Generation)

Motherboard : Gigabyte Intel Z97X-SLI (Intel Z97 Express Chipset, 4 x DDR3 DIMM sockets)

Ram : Kingston 4GB DDR3 1866Mhz CL10 HyperX Fury Single x2

GPU : VGA Gigabyte GTX970 G1 Gaming 4GB GDDR5 PCI-E

PSU : Cooler Master 600W

HDD : 3.5" Seagate 1TB 7200 64MB SATA3
SSD : 2.5" Samsung 120GB 840EVO

Others : DVD-RW Asus 24X SATA DRW-24D3ST INT

Casing : BitFenix Shadow ATX

This PC is doing well in latest gaming at med-high 1080p settings, I intend to improve the performance but I'm lost at the compatibility of the parts and I want to avoid a bottleneck. I'm looking at a minor upgrade because if I'm changing too much parts - I might just buy a new rig altogether :D

Please advise, thanks!
hi registersano

first off all, sry4bad english i try my best ;)

im agree with geofelt...

you have some potential left with the "z" board and the "k" cpu so lets drain them to the last drop!
even the ram can bost your peprformance too ( deend on youur budget )

my first tipp would be to delid the cpu ( i would recommend this for every intel cpu because you get min. 20-25% c° less temp dosnt matter if you oc or not because less temp is always good for any cup)
all what you need is a bit manual skill and the right tools ( you can rent these tools on ebay #classifieds/kleinanzeigen ( incl. liquid metal and sealing) , search for der8Bauer oder delid tool or use a service if you have two left hands ^^ )
after delid , the cpu become more cooler and get much more oc potential ( +400-800mhz are common up to +1ghz if you have luck with the silicone of the chip)
buy a good cp cooler ( Air or a all iin one Water Cooler) only instead of a new cpu ;)


change your psu and get a fresh 550-650w with 80plus gold ( i prefer platinum psu's )

possible ram upgrade:

your board support up to 3000mhz (OC) thats almost +100% possible more performance even f you not oc the ram 2400mhz are 30% more pperformance and btw. you rly should upgrade the size of your ram from 4gb to min 16gb
maybe you will find some used andd cheap ram bars on ebay you dont have to buy new ones... i buy used rams only and had never any issues with ;)

udgrade gpu:

you will figure it out ( only what i recomment is to get a nvidia )

for example my 8years old i7 3770k backup pc : https://valid.x86.fr/je9yy7

watch the single core power ( wich are still most importand for games ) and compare to cpu's from 2017-2020 xD
even the multi-core power match up with the i7 8700 stock wich are from 2018 and still one of the best gaming cppu's
and compare the money/effort ....^^

delid cpu ~ 25€
ram ~ 85€ ( 16gb gskll ddr3 2400mhz tidendt-x dual kitt ) its importand to use dual-kit! never use quad-kit for oc ! the tident-x ram are able to run stable on 3000mhz with some voltages adjustments
cppu-cooler ~ 50-80€ depent on air or water c. all in one but i recomment a air cooler when you extreme oc the ram because the fan are closer to the ram @airflow

160-190€ for a noticeable iincrease in performance even if yoou stay with the gtx 970 wiichh still pperforme nice on 1080p 60hz ( get a second 970@SLI are an option too and can bypass the slower 512mb ddr5 if the game use less than 6976mb vram and be able you to 120hz/fps, and be honest no current game use much more than 5gb vram on 1080p)

dont buy a complete new rig.... its the worst time to do that

sry for umgak english :(
 
Jan 21, 2021
13
0
10
0
hi registersano

first off all, sry4bad english i try my best ;)

im agree with geofelt...

you have some potential left with the "z" board and the "k" cpu so lets drain them to the last drop!
even the ram can bost your peprformance too ( deend on youur budget )

my first tipp would be to delid the cpu ( i would recommend this for every intel cpu because you get min. 20-25% c° less temp dosnt matter if you oc or not because less temp is always good for any cup)
all what you need is a bit manual skill and the right tools ( you can rent these tools on ebay #classifieds/kleinanzeigen ( incl. liquid metal and sealing) , search for der8Bauer oder delid tool or use a service if you have two left hands ^^ )
after delid , the cpu become more cooler and get much more oc potential ( +400-800mhz are common up to +1ghz if you have luck with the silicone of the chip)
buy a good cp cooler ( Air or a all iin one Water Cooler) only instead of a new cpu ;)


change your psu and get a fresh 550-650w with 80plus gold ( i prefer platinum psu's )

possible ram upgrade:

your board support up to 3000mhz (OC) thats almost +100% possible more performance even f you not oc the ram 2400mhz are 30% more pperformance and btw. you rly should upgrade the size of your ram from 4gb to min 16gb
maybe you will find some used andd cheap ram bars on ebay you dont have to buy new ones... i buy used rams only and had never any issues with ;)

udgrade gpu:

you will figure it out ( only what i recomment is to get a nvidia )

for example my 8years old i7 3770k backup pc : https://valid.x86.fr/je9yy7

watch the single core power ( wich are still most importand for games ) and compare to cpu's from 2017-2020 xD
even the multi-core power match up with the i7 8700 stock wich are from 2018 and still one of the best gaming cppu's
and compare the money/effort ....^^

delid cpu ~ 25€
ram ~ 85€ ( 16gb gskll ddr3 2400mhz tidendt-x dual kitt ) its importand to use dual-kit! never use quad-kit for oc ! the tident-x ram are able to run stable on 3000mhz with some voltages adjustments
cppu-cooler ~ 50-80€ depent on air or water c. all in one but i recomment a air cooler when you extreme oc the ram because the fan are closer to the ram @airflow

160-190€ for a noticeable iincrease in performance even if yoou stay with the gtx 970 wiichh still pperforme nice on 1080p 60hz ( get a second 970@SLI are an option too and can bypass the slower 512mb ddr5 if the game use less than 6976mb vram and be able you to 120hz/fps, and be honest no current game use much more than 5gb vram on 1080p)

dont buy a complete new rig.... its the worst time to do that

sry for umgak english :(
No worries on your English, I appreciate your advises. Thanks!
 

madmatt30

Titan
Ambassador
Psu upgrade while not being beneficial to performance itself would be very sensible.

Due to the age of that system and the fact that coolermaster NEVER made a decent 600w psu model (anything decent platform wise, like corsair, comes in +50w increments) I wouldn't trust that psu for much longer and would certainly not trust it to run upgraded components.

The simple fact is a good quality psu is the one component that will ALWAYS carry over into a completely new system with no issues, it will never ever be wasted money.

That old gtx 970 is generally limiting you to medium settings on newish games, high on older games.
It is infact a decent pairing still with that old i5 with regards to fps being fairly limited by both components.

As stated a gpu upgrade at the moment would be hard work, you could upgrade with the intention of running at ultra settings but fps wise you're pretty much going to be limited by the i5 anyway.

Ram would absolutely be a beneficial upgrade, most games will top 8gb usage nowadays, 16gb is pretty much the recommended minimum amount for any gaming setup.

You would be better advised to swap the 2 x 4gb out entirely for a matching 2 x 8gb kit, it's less hassle and removes any pitfalls from mismatched ram issues.

The only issue with the ram is it is a wasted money upgrade if ypu ever decide to upgrade the entire system, all new components are ddr4 now.

Re the reply above regarding deliddinf and introducing a second 970 for sli?
No absolutely not, not worth the time, hassle or risk delidding and sli does not work at all in many current game titles.
The extra power draw and temps are just not worth it.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Both delidding AND getting a second 970, or any SLI configuration for that matter, are non-starters. They won't solve anything and they'll probably create problems that don't currently exist. Besides which, they just aren't sensible suggestions, like Matt suggested.
 

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