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ptsant
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Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:41 am

I need to build a cheap gaming PC for a friend. I usually build all-round systems and I'm usually playing slightly older games (for example, currently BF1 and Dark Souls 3) but my friend needs a pure gaming system and one that can handle the latest stuff.

Will the following do nicely for 1080p?
Intel 8350K ~ $200
16GB DDR4 3000 ~ $100-120
Asus Prime B360-PLUS ~ $100-110
Nitro Sapphire RX580 8GB ~ $230 (not aware of competitive nVidia offering at this price)

This strains the budget to the absolute max. Would you replace anything above?
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Chrispy_
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:15 am

Get an RX 570 instead of a 580, I've seen them as low as $135 and they're about 90% the speed of a 580. Yes, 4GB less VRAM sounds like it could be an issue, but no current game is going to need more than 4GB at 1080p and by the time that games don't run acceptably on 4GB, the 570 won't have the fillrate to cope with it anyway.

There's no point buying a K-series i3 if you're not going to buy a Z-series motherboard to go with it, and I'm loathe to call 4 cores enough for serious gaming any more without at least hyperthreading. Don't get me wrong, the i3 is fine for now, just like the 570/580 is going to be - but unlike replacing a graphics card further down the line, replacing a processor needs a whole new board and the best part of a system rebuild. It's a lot more effort and a lot more money.

I would personally save up to $90 on a 570 over a 580 and swap to a CPU with more cores. Ryzens aren't quite as fast as the 8350K in single-threaded gaming but there's plenty of review/video evidence that 4C/4T CPUs are starting to struggle in several game engines. I would suggest a Ryzen 2600 and B450 board, should be about the same price as that i3/B360. In games that don't use more than 4 threads, the i3-8350K is about 10% quicker, but that difference only manifests if you run at 720p on a high-end graphics card. In those sorts of games at normal resolutions with lesser GPUs, the GPU is always the bottleneck anyway. In games that use more than 4 threads, the i3 struggles, like the rest of the 4-thread processors. That is how more and more game engines are being coded - bear in mind that a lot of benchmarks are using 2-3 year old games based on DX11 still, and even in this light, the i3's four threads are starting to show cracks against even older i7 quad cores with hyperthreading.

I reckon the drop to an RX 570 and swap to Ryzen 5 2600 will save you $50-100 on your stretched budget and result in a machine that is better prepared for a future GPU upgrade. Put that money into a 2600X if there's room in the budget, or if you're happy to put all the money saved on a graphics card into the processor, you might be able to find a deal on an i5-8400 and motherboard.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:47 am

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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:52 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
There's no point buying a K-series i3 if you're not going to buy a Z-series motherboard to go with it...


To expand on this point, is your friend planning to overclock? If yes, then as Chrispy_ says you need a Z series motherboard. If not, then a K series chip is extra expense with little benefit as compared to a non-K chip.

I would also tend to agree that a RyZen 2600 or 2600X will have better longevity in this price range than the 8350K will. The 8350K will probably perform acceptably now, but may be thread constrained in 2 - 4 years. The 2600 chips with more threads are likely to remain viable longer.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:57 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
I would personally save up to $90 on a 570 over a 580 and swap to a CPU with more cores. Ryzens aren't quite as fast as the 8350K in single-threaded gaming but there's plenty of review/video evidence that 4C/4T CPUs are starting to struggle in several game engines. I would suggest a Ryzen 2600 and B450 board, should be about the same price as that i3/B360. In games that don't use more than 4 threads, the i3-8350K is about 10% quicker, but that difference only manifests if you run at 720p on a high-end graphics card. In those sorts of games at normal resolutions with lesser GPUs, the GPU is always the bottleneck anyway. In games that use more than 4 threads, the i3 struggles, like the rest of the 4-thread processors. That is how more and more game engines are being coded - bear in mind that a lot of benchmarks are using 2-3 year old games based on DX11 still, and even in this light, the i3's four threads are starting to show cracks against even older i7 quad cores with hyperthreading.

I reckon the drop to an RX 570 and swap to Ryzen 5 2600 will save you $50-100 on your stretched budget and result in a machine that is better prepared for a future GPU upgrade. Put that money into a 2600X if there's room in the budget, or if you're happy to put all the money saved on a graphics card into the processor, you might be able to find a deal on an i5-8400 and motherboard.


I just built a system with a Ryzen 2600, ASRock mITX B450, and a RX 570, and honestly can't be happier. A lot of the older games I have run extremely well. Even threw in a WD Blue SSD.

Planning to upgrade it in the Fall/Winter with either a 3600 or 3600X, maybe even a 3700.
AMD Ryzen 2600 (stock)
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Sapphire RX 570
 
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:44 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
Get an RX 570 instead of a 580, I've seen them as low as $135 and they're about 90% the speed of a 580. Yes, 4GB less VRAM sounds like it could be an issue, but no current game is going to need more than 4GB at 1080p and by the time that games don't run acceptably on 4GB, the 570 won't have the fillrate to cope with it anyway.

There's no point buying a K-series i3 if you're not going to buy a Z-series motherboard to go with it, and I'm loathe to call 4 cores enough for serious gaming any more without at least hyperthreading. Don't get me wrong, the i3 is fine for now, just like the 570/580 is going to be - but unlike replacing a graphics card further down the line, replacing a processor needs a whole new board and the best part of a system rebuild. It's a lot more effort and a lot more money.

I would personally save up to $90 on a 570 over a 580 and swap to a CPU with more cores. Ryzens aren't quite as fast as the 8350K in single-threaded gaming but there's plenty of review/video evidence that 4C/4T CPUs are starting to struggle in several game engines. I would suggest a Ryzen 2600 and B450 board, should be about the same price as that i3/B360. In games that don't use more than 4 threads, the i3-8350K is about 10% quicker, but that difference only manifests if you run at 720p on a high-end graphics card. In those sorts of games at normal resolutions with lesser GPUs, the GPU is always the bottleneck anyway. In games that use more than 4 threads, the i3 struggles, like the rest of the 4-thread processors. That is how more and more game engines are being coded - bear in mind that a lot of benchmarks are using 2-3 year old games based on DX11 still, and even in this light, the i3's four threads are starting to show cracks against even older i7 quad cores with hyperthreading.

I reckon the drop to an RX 570 and swap to Ryzen 5 2600 will save you $50-100 on your stretched budget and result in a machine that is better prepared for a future GPU upgrade. Put that money into a 2600X if there's room in the budget, or if you're happy to put all the money saved on a graphics card into the processor, you might be able to find a deal on an i5-8400 and motherboard.

I'll mostly echo what Chrispy_ is saying. Replacing a GPU (and PSU, if needed) is easy. Making sure you have a solid foundation NOW is the best use of your budget. Starting with a good CPU gives the system longevity to accept better GPUs as performance rises (and prices fall).

You might also peruse the System Guide. Latest entry was mid-January, and the "Econobox Gamer" was estimated at ~$625. And that accounted for an SSD, PSU, and enclosure. If you already have your case, PSU, and system drive covered, you definitely have some wiggle room to stretch the budget and performance of this system.
On second thought, let's not go to TechReport. Tis a silly place.
 
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:50 am

new Nvidia cards (slotting below the 1660 Ti) purportedly coming soon at ~190ish, maybe wait a bit on the GPU to compare?
 
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:30 am

I got my RX 580 for $200 a couple of months ago. I've seen 570 deals at $135 recently.

I would look at SlickDeals and watch for some low prices on your components. RAM, SSDs, and Video Cards have all seen heavy discounting recently.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:48 am

TPU has a pretty decent number of cards tested per review.
The performance/$ of an RX570 is outstanding, but this review was from October 2018 and RX 570 cards are almost $50 cheaper now than they were then!

Image

If you look at the idividual game tests for that card, 1080p 60fps is a reasonably expectation for an RX570 in most games.

Ryzen 5 2600 gaming results (720p removes the normal graphics bottleneck):
https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Ryzen_5_2600/12.html

I'd love to be able to link to TR articles but it's been years since TR had that many CPUs and GPUs to compare in a single chart :(
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ptsant
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:53 am

K-L-Waster wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
There's no point buying a K-series i3 if you're not going to buy a Z-series motherboard to go with it...


To expand on this point, is your friend planning to overclock? If yes, then as Chrispy_ says you need a Z series motherboard. If not, then a K series chip is extra expense with little benefit as compared to a non-K chip.

I would also tend to agree that a RyZen 2600 or 2600X will have better longevity in this price range than the 8350K will. The 8350K will probably perform acceptably now, but may be thread constrained in 2 - 4 years. The 2600 chips with more threads are likely to remain viable longer.


Wow, thanks to everyone, especially you and Chrispy_ who made a very detailed post. I did not realize that you could not overclock without a Z-series MB and, frankly, the 8350K is more expensive than I thought it would be.

I was also afraid that the 570 would be insufficient, but after looking at the TR review it seems you are right: the difference is about 10% and it can probably be shrunk if you are willing to overclock to the same freq as the 580. Saving 30% of the price for 10% perf seems like a good deal. Furthermore, I realize that the 580 might be too much for his PSU, which is quite old.

So I have the following prices (my friend does not live in the USA):
570 --> 160 E
Ryzen 2600 -> 160 E
16GB --> ~120 E
MB --> ~100E for something like MSI Pro B450
Total 540E
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ptsant
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:56 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
TPU has a pretty decent number of cards tested per review.
The performance/$ of an RX570 is outstanding, but this review was from October 2018 and RX 570 cards are almost $50 cheaper now than they were then!
If you look at the idividual game tests for that card, 1080p 60fps is a reasonably expectation for an RX570 in most games.

Ryzen 5 2600 gaming results (720p removes the normal graphics bottleneck):
https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/Ryzen_5_2600/12.html


You convinced me, 570 it is.

The 2600 vs 8350K chart was also eye-opening. Intuitively I expected the Intel 8350K (which is significantly more expensive!) to be at least 10-20% faster in 720p. Intel is so much better for gaming in the high end, but the gap in the low/mid seems to have almost disappeared.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:58 am

llisandro wrote:
new Nvidia cards (slotting below the 1660 Ti) purportedly coming soon at ~190ish, maybe wait a bit on the GPU to compare?


I thought about this, but I don't know to what extent this has already been priced into the current market situation. I don't expect 570/580 to fall much lower and it appears that even Vega is now close to $350 or so. It's definitely worth waiting if the new cards are coming in a couple of weeks or so, but my friend can't wait more than a month.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:18 am

AMD and Nvidia are both trying to clear old inventory at the moment, according to plenty of news regarding poor market conditions in China, poor reaction to the faster decline in Cryptocurrency mining than expected, and a lot of last-generation stock both in the channel and sitting on retail shelves.

Nvidia have picked a terrible time to launch the 2000/1600 series (their last quarterly earnings reflect this with a half-billion dollar write down!)
AMD have supposedly delayed Navi by six months to let the storm blow over. Perhaps they found a bug in Navi and are re-spinning, but either way they need to clear inventory of Polaris first, hence the fire-sale pricing on 570/580 and rumoured price cuts on 590.

The TL;DR is that new Nvidia products are not going to drop in price until all the old gen stocks have dried up, and only then if there's still insufficient demand.
Expect the 1660 and 1650 to offer exactly the same price/performance ratio as the rest of their lineup, which means it'll be likely be a fraction faster than a 1060 and needs to be priced higher otherwise Nvidia will utterly cannibalise their 1060/1070 sales and fail to clear inventory. It's bad business to do anything else and comes with added cashflow constrictions.

Regarding the PSU, a Ryzen 5 2600 and RX570 are going to be best served by a modern 80-Plus-certified 450W at stock speeds, and probably 550W if you overclock both. Provided the original PSU was good quality 500W or higher it should be fine, unless your friend is the sort of person who has been running his PC 24/7/365 for half a decade already. Link the PSU model and age if you can and we can let you know whether it's fine, potentially a problem, or a serious risk.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:48 pm

As much as I hate telling people to spend money, if the PSU really is marginal it might be a good idea to budget replacing it. You'd hate for your friend to buy all this new gear then have some of it get damaged by a PSU failure.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:13 pm

K-L-Waster wrote:
As much as I hate telling people to spend money, if the PSU really is marginal it might be a good idea to budget replacing it. You'd hate for your friend to buy all this new gear then have some of it get damaged by a PSU failure.


^^ This

If it's a modern 80+ PSU then he's likely fine. Even when they do go pop, they have internal fuses that let go, rather than damaging everything plugged into them.
On the other hand, if it's a no-name PSU that came "free" with a case purchase, it's potentially going to kill anything directly plugged into it (so motherboard, graphics card, and drives) if it fails. I've seen fire, smoke, and fried everything. Admittedly, that's less common these days with 80+ having been an affordable standard a decade ago, but I still occasionally get given a ten-year-old PC with a non-certified PSU that stopped working one day. Chances are good that when I test the PSU and find it dead, the board is also dead and it's even money on whether the graphics card survived too.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:15 pm

K-L-Waster wrote:
As much as I hate telling people to spend money, if the PSU really is marginal it might be a good idea to budget replacing it. You'd hate for your friend to buy all this new gear then have some of it get damaged by a PSU failure.


^^ This

If it's a modern 80+ PSU then he's likely fine. Even when they do go pop, they have internal fuses that let go, rather than damaging everything plugged into them.

On the other hand, if it's a no-name PSU that came "free" with a case purchase, it's potentially going to kill anything directly plugged into it (so motherboard, graphics card, and drives) if it fails. I've seen fire, smoke, and fried everything before.

Admittedly, system-death by PSU failure is less common these days with 80+ having been an affordable standard since over a decade ago, but I still occasionally get given a ten-year-old PC with a non-certified PSU that stopped working one day. Chances are good that when I test the PSU and find it dead, the board is also dead and it's even money on whether the graphics card survived.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:46 am

K-L-Waster wrote:
As much as I hate telling people to spend money, if the PSU really is marginal it might be a good idea to budget replacing it. You'd hate for your friend to buy all this new gear then have some of it get damaged by a PSU failure.


Well, I am a fan of top-quality PSUs (I have a Seasonic Prime Titanium 750W and a Seasonic Platinum 750W) so I absolutely agree with your point. My friend has a PSU that I gave him a decade ago. It's probably from 2005 or so, because I had it on an AMD Phenom (not Phenom II!) system. But I believe, without being sure, that it is a Seasonic 550W 80+ (one of the first "energy rated" PSUs). If true, it should be enough for a 570 and a 2600. I don't know if it has PCIe 8pin, it might be 6pin only, so that's another point to consider.

My friend currently has a Radeon 7850, so I am almost certain there is a PCIe connector on the card, but it probably is 6pin.

Anyway, I'll ask him to open the case and look just to make sure.
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Tue Mar 05, 2019 8:46 am

14-year old PSU is definitely up for replacement, simply because I doubt the capacitors are in good shape at this point.

On the plus side, that's the sort of PSU that is unlikely to fail catastrophically when it dies, it'll likely just start shutting off the PC or randomly rebooting because it can't supply the current the PC needs during peak loads.

A few sites have retested older power supplies and of the two I can remember, voltage ripple became worse (but still well within spec) and they each lost about 15% of their rated peak power delivery. Those were 7 and 8 year old high-end PSUs respectively. I'm pretty sure the dropoff is exponentially worse towards inevitable death, so I'd be surprised if that 14 year-old PSU can do 385W now which is what it would likely be based on a 30% drop due to age.

Technically, the 2600 peaks at around 115W and the GPU will peak at 225W, with averages much closer to 65W and 150W respectively. A lot of factors will influence how fast the capacitors wear, but once it starts rebooting randomly that means that the 550W PSU is failing to deliver ~350W. (115+225+10 for fans and drives)
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Tue Mar 05, 2019 1:53 pm

In case you missed it, today's Deals article may be of interest:

https://techreport.com/news/34501/barga ... 0-and-more
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Re: Cheap gaming pc upgrade

Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:28 am

K-L-Waster wrote:
In case you missed it, today's Deals article may be of interest:

https://techreport.com/news/34501/barga ... 0-and-more


Mmm yeah, save $75+ with the RX 570, save $50 with the front page combo, and throw some of that money at a new PSU and even an SSD if there's spare change; Win-win.

That's a good deal for Newegg but I'm a bit jealous I don't live near a Microcenter. Those in-store deals are crazy!
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