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03-10-2013, 07:51 AM #1
A challenge! How little of an upgrade can I get away with?
Curious whether anyone here would have any thoughts. I kiiinda need to be thinking about a substantial upgrade for my ageing PC - I've no doubt many people here would recommend a new build entirely but I can't afford that (I'll be selling things to fund this as it is, but stuff I'm happy to get rid of).
It's an old AMD Phenom X4 940 Black, at 3 gig I think? Perhaps a notch below? 8GB of cheap DDR2, an M4A79 Deluxe mobo and a 1GB Radeon 6870. Some things still run surprisingly well with most details turned up to full, though not at 1080, and other things judder (though it helps my standards for "playable" are far, far south of 60FPS).
I realise there's nothing more I can really do with that motherboard unless I found an X6 that wasn't going for ridiculous sums second-hand or something, so I'm thinking new mobo + new CPU + new RAM? I'm hoping the PSU (Thermaltake Toughpower 1000W), hard disk and video card could stay? Hopefully the case, too (Thermaltake M9), though I'm not sure how you check if that's big enough.
I'm not looking for anything remotely cutting edge, just a step up from what I've got that'd let me cling to the bottom of the next gen for a bit. I'm not at all tech-savvy but I wondered if an AMD A10 6800, 8 GB of reasonably fast DDR 3 and the right motherboard could swing it? Add a new fan for the CPU and that would be around £300 (that's just going off a quick look at eBuyer and PCPartPicker)? If anyone's got any ideas, or even just wants to explain why I'm fooling myself, that'd be much appreciated. (Seriously, I'd rather have internet persons tell me I'm out of my depth than some local salesman fleecing me for the privilege.)
03-10-2013, 09:31 AM #2
For the money of the A10 you can get the FX-8320, which is an octocore. You can even drop down to the FX-6300 which is pretty much the same but "only" has 6 cores. It'll save you a tenner or two.
For a motherboard, you could look at the ASRock 970 Pro3 R2.0. Stick 2x 4GB sticks of 1600 MHz DDR3 on there.
You can keep the PSU. The biggest thing for a PSU is to see if it has all the connnectors you need. Generally the problem is the 6 or 8 pin connectors that supply power to the video card. You're not changing that, so no worry there. Also, since it's a 1kW model, it probably has all the connectors you'll ever need and a few more.
You can keep the case. To see if a case is big enough you generally need to look at 2 things: The case form factor and the depth at the PCIe slots. The form factor is easy to look up. Yours is ATX, which means it will take ATX sized motherboards no problem. Most motherboards are ATX sized. A few are smaller and even fewer are bigger.
The depth at the PCIe slot is for the video card. If you have a long card, it could block off a drive bay or just not fit. However, since you're not upgrading video cards and it fits now, it'll fit then as well.
233 pounds with the octo core. You can save 20 with the 6-core if you want. I also added a cheap CPU cooler.
03-10-2013, 09:49 AM #3
I game at 1600x1200 and can play at high or max settings in games like Battlefield 3, Football Manager 2013, F1 2012, Shogun 2 Total War absolutely fine. If you're into real number crunchers (Civ 5 is supposed to be pretty CPU intensive,) then a CPU upgrade may benefit but I found MOAR SHINEYS was what most of my games were after and the increased I/O speed of an SSD made the difference on load times and Football Manager.
03-10-2013, 11:22 AM #4
Get a good CPU cooler and overclock the CPU, and add in a new graphics card. A Radeon HD 7950 for example, or their upcoming R9 270X or 280X.
03-10-2013, 12:28 PM #5
Some interesting suggestions, and very much appreciated. I do play some strategy/RTS titles every now and then but I suppose I do go for shinies more than heavy CPU load - I'm not absolutely 100% dead set on mobo/CPU/RAM, and did wonder whether just getting a new videocard again would help (the 6870 was a relatively recent budget replacement for a 4870). So that plus an SSD might be an option... I usually use 1680x1050 - I'd certainly like to shoot for 1080, but my current monitor can't support it anyway (the 4870 used to be able to force it, but the new card can't, for some reason, and frequently hard locks if I try).
(For some context, Shogun 2 runs terribly no matter what. GTA IV isn't too great even on low, though Gay Tony was playable enough I finished it. Sleeping Dogs and Tomb Raider ran fine pretty much maxed out, though I usually drop vsync and turn AA down low or even off. The Witcher 2 and Crysis 2 run fairly well pushed up close to maximum - very playable, though a noticeably low framerate and Crysis occasionally hitting some slow-motion. Bioshock Infinite ran pretty well maxed out bar vsync and AA, though it would occasionally grind or very briefly freeze.)
I just picked the A10 because budget, and specifically that AMD line because I thought the FX chips weren't supposed to be that good (plus what needs an octocore other than specialised stuff?)... I guess if the A10s don't offer that much more performance, though, it might be better for me.
Not going to overclock, though, I think. I know it's a lot more foolproof now than it used to be but sorry, I just get really paranoid about that kind of thing. I haven't rooted my Android tablet or jailbroken my iPod, either, it's just not my scene.
Many thanks for the suggestions either way. I'll have a think about it - not going to be buying anything right this second, whatever I do - and maybe revise my decisions again if anyone else posts. Cheers.
03-10-2013, 02:19 PM #6
All the A10's offer over the FX series is an integrated GPU. You're not using that, because you have a discrete GPU. They're pretty similar otherwise.
You can look into overclocking as well. With a decent cooler, the X4-940 appears to go to 3,6GHz (20% more) for a lot of people.
03-10-2013, 02:45 PM #7
04-10-2013, 06:48 AM #8
They run at higher stock speeds (well, that model does vs the one I suggested), which helps counter that somewhat. I said pretty similar, not identical. :)