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Upgrade path on a very limited budget.

viceroy

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About 4 years ago I donated my old gaming PC to a friends kid who was having some tough times (Dad up and left them, blah blah, not really relevant here), but in my view showed a lot of promise with respect to a decent career in programming.

The PC was basically an i5-2500K, 16GB DDR3, RX 480 8GB, and some old 250GB drives striped together to give a bit of IO performance.
Over the years, I've helped out here and there with HDD replacements, new PC case, an AIO, and helping reload Windows when he screwed something up.

He's now 15, and complaining about how slow the PC is when gaming.
There is no way I'm able to (nor want to) splash out on any sort of decent performance upgrade for him.
He's at the age where I believe he needs to start learning a bit of accountability, so we've been chatting about him getting a job to pay for this upgrade he wants.

We think about R6k should be sufficient to upgrade either the CPU/Mobo/Ram to something more modern, OR to upgrade his GPU.

I think he could probably sell his current CPU/Mobo/Ram for R1k giving us R7k
I was thinking of something like a 10600K CPU, B460 Mobo and 16GB G.Skill 3000Mhz CL16 Ram.

Or he could sell his GPU. Not sure what a Powercolor RX 480 8GB would go for these days, but that would hopefully give us R8k or R9k to work with, and he get either something like a 1080 Ti, or go a bit more modern and try push for a RX 6600XT or 3060.

A CPU upgrade will give him a better gaming experience, and we could OC the CPU to 4.0Ghz as well, but a decent CPU upgrade is probably better on balance.

Any other options we should consider?

In the meantime, he still needs to get a job and earn some bucks.
 

igg

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Based on the spec, imo, first and most worthwhile upgrade is an SSD. It's also pretty cheap, and you can find 500GB ones at bargain prices.
I can't imagine going back to spinny disks for OS.
 

goldfritter

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Hmm. Tough one, because that CPU would almost definitely limit any more powerful GPU to quite a strong degree.

The "logical" decision is to spend the current budget on a modern CPU/Mobo/RAM combo, then start saving up again from scratch while waiting for the GPU market to cool down. By the time he has saved enough again then hopefully GPUs will be reasonably priced again. Although who knows.

That said... Even though a new GPU would be limited by the CPU, it would probably still give a more tangible improvement in the experience of gaming than a CPU upgrade.

Tough one.
 

viceroy

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"HDD replacements" = SSD, so he's already sorted in that dept.

I'm not inclined to suggest he just go for a 3770 either. Yes, it's cheap, but hardly much of an upgrade when his current platform is over 10 years old.
 

viceroy

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Even though a new GPU would be limited by the CPU, it would probably still give a more tangible improvement in the experience of gaming than a CPU upgrade.
This is the dilemma. By all accounts, a beefy GPU upgrade would get him more FPS in games where he's not CPU limited, but my feeling is that the 1% lows would be quite bad.

I'm leaning towards a CPU/Mobo/Ram upgrade, even if the max FPS gain is limited compared to a GPU upgrade.
 

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"HDD replacements" = SSD, so he's already sorted in that dept.

I'm not inclined to suggest he just go for a 3770 either. Yes, it's cheap, but hardly much of an upgrade when his current platform is over 10 years old.

Ja agreed, don't bother with an incremental CPU upgrade.

This is the dilemma. By all accounts, a beefy GPU upgrade would get him more FPS in games where he's not CPU limited, but my feeling is that the 1% lows would be quite bad.

I'm leaning towards a CPU/Mobo/Ram upgrade, even if the max FPS gain is limited compared to a GPU upgrade.

A 10600K would probably still improve his gaming experience noticeably. And putting a brand new GPU with a 10 year old CPU just feels... Wrong :ROFLMAO:
 

TheJudge

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What games is he trying to play? An RX 480 isn't a bad old GPU. Together with something like an older Ryzen 5 or a gen 8/9 i5 would give a healthy boost to performance I imagine.

EDIT: Xbox Series S?
 

viceroy

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What games is he trying to play? An RX 480 isn't a bad old GPU. Together with something like an older Ryzen 5 or a gen 8/9 i5 would give a healthy boost to performance I imagine.

EDIT: Xbox Series S?
Mostly Apex Legends I think.
Some Borderlands 3, RDR2, Cyberpunk 2077.
Minecraft.
Bunch of free/cheap indie type games.

Xbox Series S is a no go. As he's limited by funds, buying console games is not something he can really afford. He tends to borrow from my Steam library, and the odd game donated to him.
 

ThatGuyJD

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Even a older 7th/8th gen should give him plenty of uplift especially for stuff like apex. Cyberpunk will make an 3090 the bottleneck in his current system as would minecraft RTX. The 480 should do him well for some time with a better CPU with most listed games. The 11400/f is also not a bad option as they sometimes go for less than the 10600k and deliver about identical performance.
 

TheJudge

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Mostly Apex Legends I think.
Some Borderlands 3, RDR2, Cyberpunk 2077.
Minecraft.
Bunch of free/cheap indie type games.

Xbox Series S is a no go. As he's limited by funds, buying console games is not something he can really afford. He tends to borrow from my Steam library, and the odd game donated to him.
I could see some performance gain going from a 480 to something like a 1070 without too much outlay.

That would then leave a few grand for CPU/mobo/16Gb and if he flogs his old CPU etc for some extra cash he'd be able to probably afford a solid second hand system.
 

Whoozycomic

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so question ?? what does he mean by slow ? load times ? boot up ? FPS ?

and what screen does he play on 1080p @ 60Hz ?

I had the same dilemma, and had a 3770 and it was paired with a GTX 1080ti and it was an improvement, but the FPS were like very low, like maybe like 45% lower because of the bottle neck, so I wouldn't go out and get a high end GPU if the screen will still tear at 60fps.

See my findings :


I have a mate as well with a 7700 and a GTX 1080ti and a 60fps screen, and that's not playable at all. so the GPU upgrade wouldn't be a smart move.

I personally would try get a i5 8400 or push to get a 8700k with a Z390 board and 16gb 3200Mhz Ram and then push for a GTX1070 as a middle ground, because up until he upgrades the screen he wont see any noticeable difference over 75fps...
 

Neo_Geo

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so question ?? what does he mean by slow ? load times ? boot up ? FPS ?

and what screen does he play on 1080p @ 60Hz ?

I had the same dilemma, and had a 3770 and it was paired with a GTX 1080ti and it was an improvement, but the FPS were like very low, like maybe like 45% lower because of the bottle neck, so I wouldn't go out and get a high end GPU if the screen will still tear at 60fps.

See my findings :


I have a mate as well with a 7700 and a GTX 1080ti and a 60fps screen, and that's not playable at all. so the GPU upgrade wouldn't be a smart move.

I personally would try get a i5 8400 or push to get a 8700k with a Z390 board and 16gb 3200Mhz Ram and then push for a GTX1070 as a middle ground, because up until he upgrades the screen he wont see any noticeable difference over 75fps...
I had this exact same upgrade path but from an I7 3770 to 8700K worth the money if you can find it for about +-R5500-R6000 for both CPU and board. A 1070 with that Will basically ensure 60Fps + on all game at high except games like cyberpunk cuz the game shit optimization. However pricing on 1070 still fluctuating so maybe just upgrade platform with some good ram and SSD then hold off till you get a good price GPU. I'm sure the RX can still get it going for a few months.
Hope you snatch a lekker deal. All the best
 

aiccc

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a Powercolor RX 480 8GB

Dont sell the gpu until you have another in hand

powercolor 480 review in 2021

recommend you upgrade the cpu and mbboard and ram and hdd then gpu last.

6 core with a 480 4gb card (10400f)


Recommended Spec

imho the 10400f will be similar to the 10600k for a budget gamer.


CPU 10400f ZAR 2799
Mboard varies < ZAR 2000 (there is one below 1200 (i would not recommend it))
RAM DDR4 3200 16 GB ZAR 1129

Cheapest cpu upgrade = ZAR 5087

Links
CPU

M/Board
Woot has some under ZAR 2000.

RAM
DDR4 3200 16 GB ZAR 1129


Note the memory limts

Other

Comp


m/board issues 560


 
Last edited:

Yasin

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RX480 is proper DX12 gpu. It should be able to play every title out there. Especially if he only has a 60Hz panel.
 

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