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Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
11-28-2015, 02:06 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-28-2015, 02:11 PM by fillasophy.)
Brick  Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
Hey all,

So, I was pretty active here for a few months about 3-4 years ago, but haven't done really any building since then, so I have no idea what's what anymore. Your help figuring out the best I can work with starting with what I have would be appreciated. Smile

Anywho, so I have two rigs I've built: one for gaming, one HTPC. The home theater PC has been replaced by my XBOX (due to issues with the HTPC and the upcoming Xbox TiVo update) so it's parts are all fair game. My goal with this is to build the best SINGLE computer I can from the parts I have, while possibly upgrading the GPU and/or CPU to run newer games at high or better settings. I have a max $200 budget for upgrades (less if possible), so I'd like to avoid purchasing a new power supply or mobo (I imagine what I have should be good enough anyway).

I play bigger multi-platform games (eg: Titanfall, Star Wars Battlefront, etc) on console, so this rig is/will be running mostly lower-demand games and one or two bigger ones so it doesn't need to be a complete monster... My current target is ARK: Survival Evolved.


Current Gaming Rig:
CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 455
CPU Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm
PSU: SeaSonic S12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3
RAM: 12GB total: G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333
--------------------G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600
Storage: Samsung 1 TB Spinpoint 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.5 inch
Case: Antec 300 Illulsion Case w/ custom mod (cannot mount fan to door)

Mobo: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M FM2 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) Micro ATX
APU: AMD A6-5400K Trinity Dual-Core 3.6 GHz Socket FM2 65W
CPU Cooling: Stock
PSU: SeaSonic 80 Plus SS-350ET Bronze 350W ATX12V V2.31
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1866
Storage: Boot: Samsung 840 Series 2.5 inch 120GB SATA III SSD
---------General: Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EZRX 1.50 TB 3.5"
Case: SilverStone Aluminum/Steel Micro ATX Media Center/HTPC Case ML03B (does not have clearance for standard-sized GPU or large cooling fans)

S!@#s and giggles:
Optical: Optical: 3 total: 1x Blu-Ray Reader and 2x CD-RW multi-drives
Peripherals: Redragon Karura K502 USB Gaming Keyboard
Redragon M601 CENTROPHORUS-2000 DPI Gaming Mouse

Basically I'm thinking I should swap the storage between the two rigs, giving my gaming rig more space and a SSD, while upgrading the GPU via cyber monday deals to get the most bang for my buck. I don't overclock really at all (though I suppose I wouldn't be against learning around the holidays) if that makes a difference to anything...

Thanks in advance!! Smile
11-28-2015, 04:11 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-28-2015, 04:14 PM by PwnBroker.)
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
the problem with those 2 setups is the weak dual core and older weak 3 core cpus and the stripped cache of those cpus. for 160 bucks you could upgrade the gpu on the gaming rig to a gtx 950 or r7 370 for 140 bucks but that athlon is still going to be bottlenecked severely.

if running lower end games the gaming rig is still relevant (upgrading the cpu only to an fx8320/fx6300 would get you by on about low to medium settings on some newer games) but if you want to add some current titles at 1080p and depending on what cyber monday deals you can get, i would probably look at an fx 6300/r7 370 combo on the gaming rig upgrade. price today for that combo would be around 230 bucks but you may be able to shave some off on monday, depending. ARK had a dx12 patch that might alleviate the cpu bottleneck some so you could try the r7 370 first and see what it does(dx12 isnsupposed to alleviate cpu bottlenecks if coded correctly butna game like ARK itnmay still bottleneck quite a bit). note: it appears that nvidia cards perform worse under dx12 in this game than dx11.

the psu should still work but you may have to purchase some pcie cable adapters to work with newer gpus.

nice to hear fro you again, has it really been 3 years? man how time is flying.
11-28-2015, 05:36 PM,
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
Thanks for the suggestions (and I know, it's been a while...)!

Honestly I'm not sure I ever really had a great handle on what causes bottle-necking (lol?), but I figured that might be an issue. I've been fairly well surprised that most of the game I currently play are running well on medium (ARK not so much... and granted many/most of them are simple indie or slightly older games...).

Looks like I can pull a FX6300 for about $90, and a FX8320 for about $120.
The GPU is a little harderfor me to decipher due to slight model (and brand) variations that I'm finding, but it looks like I can get a r7 370 for $100

or a GTX 950 for $130-135

(sorry in advance if I forgot the posting regs....)

Also, I'm pretty sure there are a number of PCIe ports on my PSU already, so I should be good there...

So, looks like I can pull off the upgrade for about $190 if I go for the lower end... I was reading up on it, and apparently ARK is more GPU focused than CPU focused, so I'm more debating going 950 vs r7 370...

Side note: the in-game info states that Low settings are doable on a 660, medium on a 770, high on a 970, and ultra on a titan x... How does a 950 (or r7 370) compare to a 970, and how much is my cpu likely to limit this if I go with the 6300...?

Thanks again!
11-29-2015, 01:03 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-29-2015, 01:15 PM by PwnBroker.)
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
the 950 (basically a cripple 960) is a bit faster than the 370 but you will still be on low settings. something comparable to the 770 would be something like an r9 280x(faster than the 960).

as far as bottlenecking a 6300, generally no but there are games that will favor an intel platform and can appear as a bottleneck but very playable frame rates still.(nothing to lose sleep over)

also if you upgrade the cpu make sure to check the bios revision, it should be F3 or higher. if not update bios before you pull the athlon or it wont boot up after you seat the fx cpu.

sorry for the late reply and hope u didnt miss out on a deal.

good luck
11-29-2015, 02:05 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-29-2015, 02:23 PM by fillasophy.)
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
So the game loads really slow. I actually thought it was crashing, so I opened the task manager and found out the CPU was running full tilt the entire was just taking forever to get it going, so yea, bottlenecking like crazy...

My ideal is to run on high settings, but my main goal is to get up to Medium with smaller load times (ie, the CPU is a must upgrade), so what would I need at minimum to pull that off? I'm seeing a r9 280x is around $170 if I use a kinda weird brand.... does that look like a winner?

Also, my 6850 seems to be handling the game fairly well already on low, it just has some weird pauses and skips every once in a while... Maybe I should just start with the CPU and see where this goes?
11-29-2015, 03:22 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-29-2015, 05:47 PM by PwnBroker.)
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
i dont particularly care for power color cards. the 280x is gonna be limited as is discontinued.

check this out, very good deal.

factory refurb though but with 1 year factory warranty.

with a 960 you might hit medium settings. remember they are continuously optimizing that game so it may get better with time. there was supposed to be a patch to fix some of the high cpu usage problems.

also look for deals for the r9 380 its about the same speed as the 960, and a little faster in some games.
11-29-2015, 11:47 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-29-2015, 11:53 PM by fillasophy.)
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
I've always disliked the premise of a refurb ("if you didn't make it right the first time, why should I trust that you can fix it?") but that IS a really good deal... plus, checking some benchmark data shows the 960 is roughly comparable to the 770, so that should get me to medium pretty well I should think Smile I'll need to think about it some more.

That said, I have one last question...I know there are different versions of the same card by the same manufacturer, and I now know that it's because the clock speeds are a little different on the different models. Should I be focusing on any particular model/speed, or will the most budget friendly still work for me?

I ask because I've found a variation on the 960 that's new but about the same price, so I avoid the refurb issue...

I just pulled the trigger on the 6300 (amazon will have it to me by tomorrow) so I'll start the rebuild now, then add in the new card if I get one/when it arrives.

PS - I nearly forgot, but leaving the 6850 in there won't do anything but add load to the PSU since I can't use a bridge on it and the new card, correct?

In general thanks a ton for all the advice! Smile

Oh, and by the way...good call on checking the BIOS... mine are set at F2, so I'll need to take care of that first Smile
11-30-2015, 03:32 AM,
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
Well carp...just double checked after checking out some of the CM deals...and the link I included is no longer on sale... *sigh* (but the refurb is still I might go that way still...)
That said, my question still I want/need to aim for the higher clock speeds?
11-30-2015, 08:37 AM,
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford?
correct take the 6850 out and place the new gpu in its slot(should be the slot closest to the cpu).

those overclocked cards can yield a few more frames but can be finicky sometimes, whatever the best deal you can get for your budget go for it whether overclocked or not.
11-30-2015, 04:54 PM,
RE: Upgrading rig - what's the best GPU/CPU I need/my rig can handle/I can afford? part because by the time I really got to take a look during my break at work, the refurb you'd shown me and a pretty good r9 380 deal had sold out, and in part because it was a little cheaper after a rebate (even with this cheaper one I'm around $40 over my pre-tax budget, which is doable), I went with this model of the 960. Of course I'll share how the whole upgrade goes. Added bonus, I feel like it's got an Aperture Science vibe, which my case has too Big Grin

As always, thanks for all the help Smile

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