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Antias
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Upgrade path suggestions please

Sun Feb 24, 2019 11:10 pm

i5 3570k, Asus p8z77 V LK, Samsung 850 EVO SSD, GTX 970...
I'm not a high performance gamer, very happy with consistent frames between 40 and 60 fps... (I mostly play solo games like Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Skyrim, and I also play Elder Scrolls Online (generally solo or with a couple of friends) and Elite Dangerous (generally solo).
So I'm reaching a point where considering upgrade path moving forward... Especially as I've just been given a beautiful 40" 4K (60hz max) Philips BDM monitor as a gift... VERY nice screen.
I'm finding my current rig is capable of playing my above games in the middle graphics settings fine, but it I want to really use that monitor at its best, then I need better. I have been advised my CPU is still considered a very capable CPU..
So, do I upgrade to a 1660 Ti now, and start putting away money for a system upgrade 6 months from now, or do I buy the first component (motherboard?) for a new system and deal with the 970 for next 6 months..?
(Note: Aussie tax here, so looking at $500 AU just for a new 1660 Ti...)
YOUR THOUGHTS PLEASE...
 
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:55 am

There would be no point in purchasing a new motherboard if you did not also purchase a new processor and new memory at the same time. After six years of small performance improvements dribbled out from the January 2011 Sandy Bridge release (starting with its April 2012 Ivy Bridge die shrink that you own), CPU bang for the buck has taken a huge turn upwards since AMD's Ryzen arrived on the market in February 2017. Intel CPUs still provide top performance for gaming, but they're offering a lot more performance now than they did in those years when there wasn't any competition. Things should get even more interesting when Ryzen 3rd generation processors arrive later this year. I would argue that you should delay an upgrade for five months until those CPUs are available. Even if you still choose Intel, increased competition will be good for the consumer, either in lower prices or in higher performance.

While newer and faster 8-core CPUs do outperform your old quad-core Ivy Bridge processor, the change that has recently forced you to reduce graphics settings in your games is a massive increase in the number of pixels to be rendered, which depends most heavily on your graphics card. A US$280 GeForce GTX 1660Ti 6GB might be enough if you play at lower resolutions, but it will struggle at 25-45 frames/second in modern games with all of the eye candy turned up at 3840x2160. The GeForce GTX 1660Ti is more suited to 2560x1440 at 60Hz. AMD's new Navi GPU (due later this year) is also expected to be a mid-range performer. Your 2160p60 resolution really wants a GPU in the class of the GeForce GTX 1080Ti or RTX 2080.

Unfortunately, since AMD lacks a competitive GPU at the high end, NVidia has been free to increase prices on their top three gaming GPU tiers to painfully high levels (US$700 for GeForce RTX 2080, US$1300 for GeForce RTX 2080Ti and US$2500 for Titan RTX). If a GeForce GTX 1660Ti is good enough to get by for 1½ to 2 years, we can hope that smaller chip fabrication technology and possible competition could reverse the trend of NVidia raising the prices of gaming GPUs even higher. That may make the stop-gap solution a wise one in the long run. The no-cost option would be to run your games at 1920x1080 on your existing GeForce GTX 970.
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:16 am

If you intend to play at native res with 45+ FPS and all the eye candy turned on, you're likely looking at a GTX 1080 TI (assuming you can still find one), an RTX 2070, 2080, or 2080TI, or a Radeon VII.

Sadly, none of those are cheap.
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:01 am

Native 4K in AAA games is a lot to ask of any graphics card!

I'd be tempted to say that the Vega56 is your best bet for 4K performance on a budget, expecially with the recent price cuts, but you'll need to spend 2080 or 1080Ti money to get 4K@60fps in most modern titles.

A combination of reduced detail settings and/or resolution scaling for the latest games will likely be needed on something with 2060/1070Ti/Vega56 levels of performance at 4K. Older games and indie games will likely run fine on those cards though. Witcher 3, for example, is a demanding older title and the 2060/1070Ti/Vega56 will get about 50fps at 4K with the details turned up.
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Antias
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:46 am

Thanks all for the replies, i'm seeing a trend here that meets my own experiences with the 970...
Also I had hoped I implied I was looking at a complete new build around a motherboard but I obviously was not obvious enough, my bad ;)

After much reading and looking at performance reviews of the new 1660 Ti, I estimate i'll get approx 50% performance boost going the 1660 Ti route...
(purely cosmetically, not necessarily in FPS) but is that enough to justify the expense now?
OR
Do i look at AM4 motherboard this month, Ryzen 5 next month & RAM the month after that, etc...
Eventually i'll have to do the latter most certainly, but i'm kinda thinking the 1660 Ti would be a decent stop gap measure,
while i save for a better complete system and observe the 4K capable middle-ground graphics card market mature more ...
(hopefully something like a 1770 Ti with 2070 like performance???)

So I've decided on the stop gap solution of going ahead with the 1660 Ti with a plan of watching the market mature over the next 6 months,
Then likely building a new system around the Ryzen platform (I'm not into overclocking or insane fps, just solid and reliable system performance with detail set to high or more).
As Ryzen 3rd Gen is supposed to support the AM4 socket also, I could theoretically start the stealth purchases soon enough and leave the CPU to last.

So, thank you everyone for the feedback...
and if your wondering, the non-gaming Minister for Finance and War (aka The Husband) is the reason for the proposed monthly stealth purchases.. :)
 
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:04 am

Yeah, 4k requires a crapload of GPU horsepower. You've actually got a fairly well-matched setup, but it doesn't really make sense to do a big GPU upgrade without doing the whole thing. I would wait for Navi and Zen 2 before going that route (hopefully later this year). Worst case scenario, it still pushes down prices.

In the meantime, I believe 1080p divides evenly into 4k, so no weird scaling issues, and it might actually look........okay. Well, as good as 1080p is going to look on a 40" screen at least.
 
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:16 am

Normally I would recommend to get a CPU + Mobo + RAM in one purchase so that you don't get into any gotchas. For example, RyZen 3 is supposed to work in existing AM4 motherboards, but that doesn't mean there won't be reasons to prefer putting it in the anticipated chipset refresh that should come at the same time. Similarly, existing DDR4 RAM *should* work just fine, but again, there may be specifics to RyZen 3 that make some RAM kits preferable to others. It's likely safer to wait until RyZen 3 is released and see what the lay of the land is at that time rather than purchasing yourself into a corner.
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Antias
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:25 am

KLW - very good point, i'll hide the money until i can purchase a well received and tested combination of components!
1660 Ti as a stop-gap measure, then complete new build when things get warmer in the market,
thanks guys :)
 
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:45 am

As with home theater, I would argue that after the first few minutes of "wow" factor of intense clarity on a monitor, your brain gets tired and no longer "sees" it. 4K is great for still images, but your brain is wired for noticing changes in moving images, not static details. Simply upscale and save yourself a lot of $$$ in games.
 
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:21 am

The Egg wrote:
In the meantime, I believe 1080p divides evenly into 4k, so no weird scaling issues, and it might actually look........okay. Well, as good as 1080p is going to look on a 40" screen at least.


You would think, but having tried it, it's really not that great. A 4K monitor running at 1080 looks fuzzier than a similarly sized 1080 monitor does at 1080. Counter-intuitive, but that's what I've observed.
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:53 pm

For the 40-60fps you're talking about, the i5 really isn't holding you back that much.

Unless you have some itching desire to blow several hundred dollars on a new CPU/Motherboard/DDR4/Cooler, you're much better off putting some of that money into a better graphics card.

The latest processors really only help if you're chasing smooth 144Hz gaming; An Ivy Bridge i5 is still going to be fine for 60fps gaming.
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Antias
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:56 am

Thanks Chrispy - that's actually a good point and relevant to know...
Is it hampering the MMO's I play?
I have been advised the CPU is a larger factor in online gaming and while I don't generally engage in much multiplayer combat aspect of the MMO's I play (except for some stupid reason I have a good reputation as a combat healer and i keep getting head hunted for 12 person raids... I only have 9 variations of healers, not that many :wink: ) I do hate walking into a city etc, ESO as an example, and watching the FPS plummet.
I am aware that is also a graphics card issue but have been advised the CPU is very important for those situations in most MMO's?
 
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Re: Upgrade path suggestions please

Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:29 am

Yes, heavy population areas in MMOs, as well as large 64-player fps maps, do ask more of a processor. Whether the game in question needs single-threaded performance or multi-threaded performance is very much down the game in question.

If you don't know the answer for your MMO of choice, an easy way to find out is to set your screen resolution as low as it will go, but keep the graphics detail as you want it - and find out your approximate framerate by wandering around a consistently heavily populated area in the MMO. The low resolution takes the bottleneck off the graphics card, but the high details keep the associated graphics burden on your CPU.

You can underclock/overclock your CPU to see if CPU performance has a big effect on framerates
You can use task manager to set affinity for your CPU to simulate having fewer cores/threads.

For what it's worth, WoW only really loads up two main threads. You will likely get the best WoW performance by overclocking your CPU and disabling hyperthreading for WoW (use the affinity setting) so that the two threads it loads up are both on independent physical cores at the highest possible clockspeed. ESO is also an MMO that is heavily dependent on a single thread, so the same approach may help.

If you really have money burning a hole in your pocket, an unlocked and overclocked 9600K that can reach 5GHz+ will offer a small improvement in both clockspeed and IPC, and it will give you the opportunity to upgrade from 1866MHz DDR3 to 3200MHz DDR4. Don't expect miracles though - maybe 25% gains in those rare CPU-limited areas.
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