Question What part of this build needs to be refreshed the most?

SystmOveRide

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Apr 28, 2014
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So I've had this build since like, well I'm pretty sure the GPU I got back in 2014 but not sure about the rest. I think it could definitely do with a refresher somewhere. I do use the desktop for gaming, however, I generally get most of the AAA games on my PS4, with my PC being reserved more for games from the Blizzard or Paradox games catalogue, though I have also been recently getting into playing a lot of the upcoming game Escape from Tarkov. But I think now that university is wrapping up I'll most likely be sinking equal gaming time into my PS4 and my PC.
I play with two 1080p monitors, nothing really special about them.

I guess the reason I'm asking for advice is that I have a few concerns regarding my system:

- My GPU, the 4GB XFX R9 290 (stock cooler model), regularly gets to at least 90 degrees celsius. During winter this is no problem, but as we're now getting into summer my room does start getting quite warm, and even times such as last night when at most I was watching a YouTube video and browsing Reddit it was sitting at 92 degrees. Back in 2014 I paid around $530AUD for this card and it has honestly served me very well and still continues to do so, but I know graphics tech has come a long way and has had various generations in the last 5 years and I'd really like to look for a card that still performs well while being more efficient. I have a browse and compare some cards against the 290 over at HW Compare but I've lost touch with the computer parts scene so I'm not really sure what I'm looking at. I'm impartial to brand, I just want something that's reasonable for its price and ideally, I don't really want to pay more than I did 5 years ago for my 290.

-I'm aware RAM is now out as DDR4, though I know my motherboard probably can't handle that newer RAM, and if I'm going to have to upgrade my motherboard I'll most likely need a CPU due to different socket. What is a cost-efficient remedy for this? I think I'm happy sticking with an i5 (do I really need an i7?), likewise I'm sure I'd be happy with a Ryzen 5 over a Ryzen 7. I don't need something drastically powerful, but just powerful enough. I don't do overclocking so I don't need that fancy of a motherboard (just one that competently does the job), but I think if I'm going to be picky about something I guess I've wanted to get some RGB RAM just for the hell of it and to make use of my window desktop case. Honestly budget for this I'm not really sure. I've looked at some Australian parts stores and on one website you can get a bundle including a Ryzen 5 2600, ASUS Prime B450M-K board, and 16GB Team T-Force Dark 3200MHz DDR4 RAM for $419 (non-bundle price would be $443). So I guess I wouldn't want to spend more than $500 on these 3 items? I know the bundle doesn't include RGB RAM, but if push comes to shove and I really wanted to I would stretch the budget to be able to afford it.

-Cooling. As stated above my 290 gets to around 90 degrees normally, most other parts in my case (as per speccy) stay around the high 30s, low 40s. I assume that aside from just idling this would be in part also due to the ambient heat from the GPU. Would adding more air cooling to the case help rectify this? And are AIO CPU coolers really that much more beneficial? My case is a Corsair Carbide 400c with a window so it has some decent space for fans or radiators. I'm a little uncertain if this is the build I want to water-cool, though perhaps someday in the future I'll build one.

Any purchases would most likely occur over the next few months as I'd like to also see what sales happen around Christmas. Keeping sales in mind, if you recommend something that's within budget at the time of writing, though there's something a bit better out of budget, feel free to drop that recommendation too and I'll keep my eye on the prices over the holiday season.

Build summary:
CPU: Intel Core i5 4460 @ 3.2GHz
RAM: 8GB DDR3 @ 799MHz
Motherboard: MSI H97 Gaming 3
Graphics: 4GB XFX AMD Radeon R9 290
Case: Corsair Carbide 400c

Any help or tips would be appreciated :)
 

clutchc

Titan
Herald
Yes, get the i7. The fastest you can find within your budget. i7-4690 or i7-4790. The latter may require a BIOS update. Let me know the current BIOS version you have and I'll verify for you.
The R9-290 is still a good card for 1080p gaming, but they really get hot, and it sounds like yours is in need of some cleaning or thermal paste replacement. You didn't list your PSU (make/model), but if it handles the R9-290 it can handle most any modern card out now. The RX-570 is about the equivalent of yours today. So, if you can't get the GPU to run cooler, you might want to opt for a new card as well.
8GB system RAM is 'enough' as long as all you do is game. Nothing else running. 16GB is the new minimum now.
 

SystmOveRide

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Apr 28, 2014
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Yes, get the i7. The fastest you can find within your budget. i7-4690 or i7-4790. The latter may require a BIOS update. Let me know the current BIOS version you have and I'll verify for you.
The R9-290 is still a good card for 1080p gaming, but they really get hot, and it sounds like yours is in need of some cleaning or thermal paste replacement. You didn't list your PSU (make/model), but if it handles the R9-290 it can handle most any modern card out now. The RX-570 is about the equivalent of yours today.
I'm currently at univeristy and won't be home for a while, but when i do I can check the BIOS.
The PSU has been recently upgraded and I believe it's an 800W PSU from CoolerMaster.

Are those CPUs not outdated by todays standards though? Would I not be better off overhauling the CPU and motherboard together with RAM to something newer/faster/more efficient?

I'll have a look for guides for refreshing the 290, but otherwise the RX580 8GB is quite cheap at a local place here, would that be a worthwhile upgrade over the 290? As it's only around $300AUD
 

clutchc

Titan
Herald
A rebuild would indeed be the way to go, but I thought you were interested in spending the least possible. And for 1080p/60Hz gaming you still have a viable system.
The RX 580 8GB would be a small step above the RX 570/R9-290, but still a good choice. I have a RX 570 and RX 590, and like them both. 8GB VRAM is also needed in some games for better performance and higher settings (textures especially) if you're like me and prefer to play with all the eye candy turned on.
 

SystmOveRide

Honorable
Apr 28, 2014
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10,530
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A rebuild would indeed be the way to go, but I thought you were interested in spending the least possible. And for 1080p/60Hz gaming you still have a viable system.
The RX 580 8GB would be a small step above the RX 570/R9-290, but still a good choice. I have a RX 570 and RX 590, and like them both. 8GB VRAM is also needed in some games for better performance and higher settings (textures especially) if you're like me and prefer to play with all the eye candy turned on.
I guess the problem is I don't want to spend too much, but I also like building :( I've also been looking to find the i7s in question and as assumed they're all refurbished, which I'm not sure if I trust as they'd be unknown condition, plus the price for all of them is roughly the price of say a Ryzen 5 2600, though obviously without associated cost of additionally a new mobo/RAM
Do you think there's any benefit in upgrading the RAM to faster DDR3?

Just watched a video on disassembly of a 290 reference card so I think I will just go that route first and see how my temps go, are there recommendations for thermal paste or it really doesn't matter?
Will the 290 handle a 1080p 144Hz monitor? That was something I have been contemplating for a while, as I've been considering dropping two monitors for a single wide/curved one
 

clutchc

Titan
Herald
The used non-K i7s would be less likely to be abused since they can't be OC'd.
But yes, I too would prefer to go with a new board. CPU, RAM. If cost isn't an issue, go that route. You'll want to/need to do a clean install of Win and your programs once you change the motherboard. And Win (10?) will no longer be activated.
Do you have a SSD yet? Another option idea if you start fresh.
 

SystmOveRide

Honorable
Apr 28, 2014
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10,530
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The used non-K i7s would be less likely to be abused since they can't be OC'd.
But yes, I too would prefer to go with a new board. CPU, RAM. If cost isn't an issue, go that route. You'll want to/need to do a clean install of Win and your programs once you change the motherboard. And Win (10?) will no longer be activated.
Do you have a SSD yet? Another option idea if you start fresh.
I think if I'm just refreshing the GPU I may see what I can get regarding a new CPU/board/RAM.

Is there any way to transfer the Win 10 I have currently? But yes I have an SSD with my OS/important stuff and a SATA with everything else
 

clutchc

Titan
Herald
I think if I'm just refreshing the GPU I may see what I can get regarding a new CPU/board/RAM.

Is there any way to transfer the Win 10 I have currently? But yes I have an SSD with my OS/important stuff and a SATA with everything else
You can try. Sometimes it works fine to boot from the same Win installtion to the new platform, sometimes not so good.
If you were going from recent Intel platform to a later Intel platform, chances are good that Win would install the needed drivers during boot and end up at the desk top all ready to go. But moving from an Intel platform to an AMD platform, might not go as smoothly. If you don't want to do a clean install, it is worth a try.
Either way, when you're done run disk cleanup to help rid your drive of un-needed files and crap. You'll still have to re-activate Win, tho.
 

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