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crazyjediman24
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Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:52 am

Howdy all,

I have had the below system, with minor tweaks, such as the "new" GPU, hard drive, and a couple of sweet Noctua spinners, since 2011. It has served me well, but due to the scarcity of funds, I have been unable to upgrade for quite some time.

Fallout 76 is coming, and my CPU is listed as the minimum spec. My GPU is below the minimum spec. Would like to be able to play it in 1080p at reasonably high settings, if at all possible. Otherwise, primarily a gamer, no video editing or anything like that.

If you had only $200, would you:

1. Buy a fancy CPU cooler, OC the nuts off that processor, and hope for the best?
2. New video card?
3. Something else entirely?

Thanks in advance!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($300.97 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Intel - BXXTS100H CPU Cooler
Motherboard: ASRock - Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair - Vengeance Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($99.89 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: Asus - Radeon R9 270X 2GB DirectCU II Video Card
Case: Lian-Li - PC-K59 ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: Corsair - Enthusiast 650W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply
Total: $400.86
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-10-09 12:40 EDT-0400
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dragontamer5788
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:09 pm

Fallout 76 is a console port, so it will not require a strong CPU.

As such, I'd buy a GPU. RX 580 seems to be coming into the $200 area (~$220 right now), so I'd push for that.
 
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:18 pm

For your use case I'd also say go for the GPU. Second to that a bigger SSD, or maybe an AIO that lets you overclock your CPU as much as you can easily do so. An overclocked 2500k is still a pretty good choice for a 1080p gaming machine.
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Pville_Piper
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:03 pm

There's a sweet RX 570 on sale today at Newegg... You could grab that and a decent aftermarket cooler and hit both nails on the head.
Last edited by Pville_Piper on Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:13 pm

Definitely throw all the budget at the GPU.

Yes, your CPU is old but it's fine. It'll get 80% or more of the potential out of a new GPU, whilst dropping your GPU budget to spend on CPU cooling will hurt the performance far more.

If funds are scarce and you are patient, there will probably some more GTX 1070 cards appearing on the used market very shortly - they're currently bottomming out at about $230 used, but I suspect they may take a price hit when more 2070 and 2080 card start to sell.
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:32 pm

That R9 270X is roughly equivalent to an RX 560 with all of its pieces enabled, maybe a little faster. There's a big difference between that and an RX 580, so I'd consider that. But if you're still using the stock Intel cooler I'd also look at something like a Cooler Master Hyper 212 tower heatsink and turn the screws to the CPU. That 570 8GB that's on the front page will be slower than a 580, but still a lot faster than what you have, even at 1080p.
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dragontamer5788
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:37 pm

There's also a rumor that AMD will release the 600-series (which is nothing more than a minor update to the 500-series. So don't get any hopes up).

Still, if AMD releases a new series of cards, you might be able to buy the 500-series cheaper. Its just a rumor though. It doesn't really check-out because AMD is supposed to be working on Navi for 2019, so I'd be surprised if they released something soon.
 
crazyjediman24
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:16 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
That R9 270X is roughly equivalent to an RX 560 with all of its pieces enabled, maybe a little faster. There's a big difference between that and an RX 580, so I'd consider that. But if you're still using the stock Intel cooler I'd also look at something like a Cooler Master Hyper 212 tower heatsink and turn the screws to the CPU. That 570 8GB that's on the front page will be slower than a 580, but still a lot faster than what you have, even at 1080p.


For this, I'm sort of looking at it as an either/or. So either spend a few bucks and get a really nice cooler OR blowing the full $200 on a graphics card; going for best horsepower for buck, it sounds like upgrading my GPU is going to net me more returns than turning the screws to CPU. Though that is something I want to do eventually (I know, it's already been seven years, but I do wanna do the thing!)

Thanks, all! My hunt for an RX 580 (8gb, not 4 gb, yes?) will commence in earnest.
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DPete27
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:27 pm

I suspect this to drive a lot of contention, but for 1080p gaming, what about an RX580 4GB for $180 after MIR? Otherwise, I bet you'll find an RX580 8GB for around $200 during the week of Black Friday.

If you're looking for an upgrade to the CPU, check out your local E-Waste recycling center. The key is going to be to re-use your RAM to keep prices in check, but the store down the street from my work has Sandy and Ivy i7's on hand and it looks like your mobo supports Ivy. Also, you can OC locked Sandy and Ivy chips by 400MHz (that ended with Haswell) and you can lock all cores at max turbo, so technically you could have an i7-3770 running at 4.3GHz on all cores.
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:39 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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crazyjediman24
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:32 pm

DPete27 wrote:
I suspect this to drive a lot of contention, but for 1080p gaming, what about an RX580 4GB for $180 after MIR?


Haha, I'm sure it will. My thing with that card is I'm worried about being hamstrung by the 4 GB bit in a couple of years; the reading I've done leads me to believe that, as much as it is possible to future proof (which ain't much), it's best to go for 8 gigs. But I've been known to be wrong/confused!

That's why I posted at all; I've done a ton of reading, and I think I'm now more confused than when I started.
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Redocbew
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:36 pm

Probably no more than the GPU its self would be. If you stay at 1080p, then I wouldn't expect the difference of 4GB vs. 8GB to make a huge difference a few years from now. I'm not a game developer, but I have a hard time seeing how games could become that much more memory intensive without an increase in resolution.
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:48 pm

crazyjediman24 wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
That R9 270X is roughly equivalent to an RX 560 with all of its pieces enabled, maybe a little faster. There's a big difference between that and an RX 580, so I'd consider that. But if you're still using the stock Intel cooler I'd also look at something like a Cooler Master Hyper 212 tower heatsink and turn the screws to the CPU. That 570 8GB that's on the front page will be slower than a 580, but still a lot faster than what you have, even at 1080p.


For this, I'm sort of looking at it as an either/or. So either spend a few bucks and get a really nice cooler OR blowing the full $200 on a graphics card; going for best horsepower for buck, it sounds like upgrading my GPU is going to net me more returns than turning the screws to CPU. Though that is something I want to do eventually (I know, it's already been seven years, but I do wanna do the thing!)

Thanks, all! My hunt for an RX 580 (8gb, not 4 gb, yes?) will commence in earnest.


To be honest the 4GB models are fine for 1080P and really, I don't think 8GB gets you anything unless you go over 2560x1440p, but then the RX580 isn't really a card you want to play on higher resolutions than that. It is kinda game and setting dependent some games with lots of mods and Ultra+ 4+AA might push you over 4GB.

You can probably get a RX580 4GB for $100-150 on ebay. I have a couple I'd sell for $100, but they have been used for mining for about 6 months undervolted to keep down the heat. I'd even consider shipping it to you for a month for a trial.
 
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:03 pm

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DPete27
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:51 am

Voldenuit wrote:

It's an attractive price, but as an RX480 owner I have to recommend NOT buying an RX580 with a single fan cooler. Especially with a fan that small.

The RX580 is simply an OC'd RX480, and my RX480 voltage increases exponentially after 1250MHz. If anything, the fact that nearly all of the newegg reviews of that card say it runs hot and loud should be a red flag.
That said, my RX480 will peacefully hum along at stock 1235MHz and 20% fan drawing only 90W while undervolted. AMD's WattMan driver utility makes undervolting very easy and convenient, but, like OC'ing, it's a labor of love to test and retest for stability depending on how close to the edge you want to run. And of course, due to the chip lottery, YMMV.
Last edited by DPete27 on Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:39 am

I actually like the single-fan reference cooler design with one fan. Is it better? Depends. If you have a small case or poor air flow it may be preferable. If you do go with a single fan I strongly encourage under volting and maybe even lowing clocks a little bit. The Polaris chips are actually pretty efficient if run with reasonable volts and clocks. All that said, that doesn't appear to be a reference blower style and yuck!
 
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 10:03 am

CPU upgrade at this point would entail new motherboard and RAM, so GPU is the only way to go, really.

Sold listings on Ebay suggest your old 270X will go from anywhere between $40-70, add that to the $200 and you could comfortably find yourself an 8GB RX580 or 6GB GTX1060.
 
crazyjediman24
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:23 am

jihadjoe wrote:
CPU upgrade at this point would entail new motherboard and RAM, so GPU is the only way to go, really.

Sold listings on Ebay suggest your old 270X will go from anywhere between $40-70, add that to the $200 and you could comfortably find yourself an 8GB RX580 or 6GB GTX1060.


I hadn't even considered that my 270X would be worth anything; thanks for that!

Speaking of a 580, does this seem like a scam? Right at 200, shipped, seller has good feedback and many years on Ebay. May still wait for the Egg to throw something up, just to be on the safe side.
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BIF
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:29 pm

crazyjediman24 wrote:

If you had only $200, would you:

1. Buy a fancy CPU cooler, OC the nuts off that processor, and hope for the best?
2. New video card?
3. Something else entirely?

There's no way $200 will really make a significant difference (just my opinion), so if that's all I had, I'd just make another donation to Tech Report (because isn't Tech Report giving us great informaion?), then I would save up enough to make a major upgrade. :D
 
crazyjediman24
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:37 pm

BIF wrote:
crazyjediman24 wrote:

If you had only $200, would you:

1. Buy a fancy CPU cooler, OC the nuts off that processor, and hope for the best?
2. New video card?
3. Something else entirely?

There's no way $200 will really make a significant difference (just my opinion), so if that's all I had, I'd just make another donation to Tech Report (because isn't Tech Report giving us great informaion?), then I would save up enough to make a major upgrade. :D


I see what you did there. :lol:

I actually was a supporter, years ago. Need to re-up that! Thanks for the reminder.
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ozzuneoj
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:00 pm

If you are currently using the stock Heatsink for your CPU, definitely get a decent aftermarket one that doesn't cost much (~$20) and spend the rest on a GPU. Through overclocking you should be able to get a 30% increase in CPU performance without much effort which will definitely be noticeable with a faster GPU in many situations. You could probably overclock a bit with the stock cooler as well but when a much better cooler can be had for so little, it seems like a no-brainer.

Spending $200 on a CPU cooler would probably only get you another 10%-15% increase in clock speed for 10 times the cost of an entry-level air cooler.
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:02 pm

Has OP considered the second hand market?

If not, that ebay 8 GB 580 looks pretty tempting at $200.

eBay and Paypal have buyer protection programs, it's not entirely risk-free, but safer than meeting up in a parking lot over Craigslist.
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crazyjediman24
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:04 pm

Voldenuit wrote:
Has OP considered the second hand market?

If not, that ebay 8 GB 580 looks pretty tempting at $200.

eBay and Paypal have buyer protection programs, it's not entirely risk-free, but safer than meeting up in a parking lot over Craigslist.


He's considering it! But as you say, that card at $200 is awfully tempting.
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cmm05089
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:45 pm

I picked up an evga b-stock 1060 6GB for $200 and am very happy at 1080p
https://www.evga.com/products/productli ... X+1060+6GB
 
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:16 pm

cmm05089 wrote:
I picked up an evga b-stock 1060 6GB for $200 and am very happy at 1080p
https://www.evga.com/products/productli ... X+1060+6GB

For that matter there's a GTX 970 on there for only $129. That's a really nice deal as well!
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:41 pm

I have a roughly similar system to yours (Mac Pro - westmere xeon 3.4 ghz, 16gb RAM), so I can tell you that the Geforce 1060 6gb will run pretty much any game at 60fps (no antialiasing) unless you're loading up on tons of graphics mods. The RX580 8gb is basically its equal in performance, but it runs much hotter (I was looking into getting one since Apple recommends them for MacOS Mojave).

Anyway, I sold my 1060 and upgraded to a 2nd-hand geforce 1080 founder's edition, which runs most of my games at 4k without a problem. Mind you, I play slower-paced games (XCOM2, Battletech) where FPS is less of a concern (I'm fine with 30-40 fps). I got mine off a craigslist guy whose startup was selling off their computer stuff (I think they had a stack of 1080s mining coins).

So if you're looking second hand, I can give you a rough estimate for 2nd-hand prices - this is in San Francisco, so your prices may be lower/higher based on how many sellers are competing around you:
  • Geforce 1060 6gb: wouldn't pay more than $200
  • Geforce 1070 (non-Ti): no more than $250
  • Geforce 1080: ~$300
  • Geforce 1080 ti: ~$500

Radeon 580s are going for about $150 for the 4gb, $200 for the 8gb, so it's not really worth buying second-hand around here. Vega 56 and 64s are super rare around here and everyone seems to think they're worth near-MSRP.

I'd go for a 2nd-hand Geforce 1070 or 1080 if you can swing it, they're significantly faster than the 1060/RX580 and everyone's trying to dump their cards before RTX becomes widely available. Personally, I'd rather buy from a miner or machine-learning geek (usually undervolted/stock clock, on an open bench) than a gamer (probably OC'd and stuffed in a miniATX case for all you know).
 
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:49 am

tu2thepoo wrote:
Vega 56 and 64s are super rare around here and everyone seems to think they're worth near-MSRP.


That's because they probably bought then at significantly higher prices than list... :lol:
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:44 am

ozzuneoj wrote:
cmm05089 wrote:
I picked up an evga b-stock 1060 6GB for $200 and am very happy at 1080p
https://www.evga.com/products/productli ... X+1060+6GB

For that matter there's a GTX 970 on there for only $129. That's a really nice deal as well!

FWIW, my B-stock 970 spent most of it's life in my 2500k system, and it was quite a decent pairing at 1080p. A 970 with 3.5GB would be bit longer in tooth than a 580 or 1060, but give you the majority of their performance for a decent amount less.

If it were me, I'd probably wait to see this next round of AMD cards.
 
crazyjediman24
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:46 am

The Egg wrote:
ozzuneoj wrote:
cmm05089 wrote:
I picked up an evga b-stock 1060 6GB for $200 and am very happy at 1080p
https://www.evga.com/products/productli ... X+1060+6GB

For that matter there's a GTX 970 on there for only $129. That's a really nice deal as well!

FWIW, my B-stock 970 spent most of it's life in my 2500k system, and it was quite a decent pairing at 1080p. A 970 with 3.5GB would be bit longer in tooth than a 580 or 1060, but give you the majority of their performance for a decent amount less.

If it were me, I'd probably wait to see this next round of AMD cards.


I mean, I've already waited three years with my 270X, and would LOVE to keep waiting. But as it stands, my system is now too outdated to run Fallout 76, which I've already preordered (Power Armor FTW!) and will arrive on 11/14. So I sorta need to upgrade in the next month or so.

As an NB, that's what my typical upgrade cycle looks like: upgrade only when I absolutely have to. Money is tight these days, but I still love PC gaming!
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crazyjediman24
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:50 am

Update: went with a crazy cheap MSI RX 580 8gb Armor OC I found on Ebay, which will also represent my first foray into undervolting in order to get the fan noise to an acceptable level.

Thanks again for all of your help!
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DPete27
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Re: Have $200, Will Upgrade

Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:14 pm

Not to gloat, but I did a pretty in-depth explanation of Polaris undervolting in this thread. That should get you started.

Since that initial article, I've become a fan of AMD's "Chill" feature. Game support has largely been solved, and it's another step toward only using the GPU power you need. My monitor's 48-144Hz FreeSync range certainly allows Chill to do its thing without me noticing, but may not be as fantastic on monitors with tighter ranges (ie 40-75Hz)

Also, my 1235MHz voltage setting was not as stable as I wanted at 925mV. It's rock solid at 940mV though. By comparison, my brother's exact same card (MSI RX480 8G GamingX) needs 960mV at 1235MHz. I recommend testing States 7, 6, and 4 then interpolate 5 and leave 1-3 where they were at stock.

I've been doing Folding @ Home for TRFrankenbot and using it to stress test the voltage curves on both mine and my brother's machines. Testing for 1+ days on a given Freq/Voltage really helps iron out any little instabilities in your curve (just like CPU overclocking) that a 30 minute run of FurMark doesn't bring to light.
Last edited by DPete27 on Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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