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jamulons
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Upgrading my old i5-2500 machine

Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:29 am

Hi, so I've been holding off upgrading for ages and ages and ages and now I'm thinking perhaps I should take the plunge. Except I'm confused.

My current build is:
i5 2500
Asus P8Z68 M-Pro mATX motherboard
Prolimatech Megahalems cpu cooler with Noctua fans
16Gb Corsair LPX DDR3 1600
Asus 1070Ti
660W Seasonic X-Series Gold power supply
Fractal Design Node 804 mATX case
240Gb Sandisk Extreme II SSD
plus a WD disk reused from another machine and still holding up ok.

I use the machine for all kinds of stuff really, but gaming (at 1080 or 1200) is the only performance-critical one. I don't stream or do enough media-crunching or rendering to really mind if it could've been a bit faster if I had Moar Cores I spose. The current build has managed to be *fairly* small as well as *fairly* quiet and that's helped with spousal approval so if possible I don't want to compromise on that. Also if I can reuse some bits that helps, I'm not hell-bent on having total new and shiny. Mostly I'd like to match cpu a bit better with the 1070ti I found on sale.

So, reading about the new Ryzen 3 3600 it sounded like it might be exactly what I needed. Except then I read some more and thought I needed some advice.
- it sounds like I should be able to buy a b450 motherboard and use that, which is good. There aren't any mATX x470 or x570 boards in stock where I usually buy bits, and also they look like they'd be more expensive (and I don't know how I feel about an extra fan on a x570, if I read that right?)
- except a b450 is going to need a bios update
- and for me that probably means buying an MSI board that supports usb bios flash
- and (anecdote - I acknowledge this does not count as data but am now prejudiced) I had a bad previous experience with an MSI motherboard (admittedly a long time ago now)
- and I read about possibly some of the bioses being a bit fresh and could do with some bugs getting squashed for a bit anyway
- and I read other stuff about needing to tweak memory timings
- and I might need to find a new (not too tall but still quiet) cpu cooler anyway, as the megahalems isn't listed as compatible

So, advice and opinions and things. Is this a reasonable time to think about an upgrade or am I better to hold off? It felt like we were sort of in a lull between cpu launches so jumping in now might work! Although there haven't been any system guides anywhere for a while, it feels like everyone's sort of waiting for things to settle down. Is the whole b450-bios update thing not all that bad? Are the new bioses mostly dumb-consumer-ready now, or is a 3600-on-b450-from-scratch still only for the slightly-adventurous? (My last build all just kind of worked when I plugged it in, I was looking for a broadly similar non-hair-pulling build experience this time too). Am I being completely unreasonable about avoiding MSI motherboards? (I don't like that I'd be railroaded into going with one, I guess). Is building around a 3600 a good bet or should I stick with something like an i5 9400F (approx NZ$90 cheaper than a 3600 at the moment, could maybe also reuse my cpu cooler) instead? Advice would be welcome anyway. Thanks!
 
JustAnEngineer
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Re: Upgrading my old i5-2500 machine

Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:13 am

Welcome to the Tech Report!

If you've been using a Core i5-2500 for the past 8 years, then you have gotten plenty of value out of that CPU and motherboard. It would be easy for us to suggest spending more of your money on more cores to get a US$329 Ryzen 7 3700X (8 cores, 16 threads) rather than a US$198 Ryzen 5 3600 (6 cores, 12 threads). The additional cores would likely allow the CPU to keep up with future software demands for a longer period, but you probably know your needs better than we do. Back in January 2011, the top desktop CPUs had 4 cores and SMT. You got one with 4 cores and no hyperthreading. In September 2019, the top desktop CPUs have 8, 12 or soon-to-be 16 cores and SMT. The 8-core Ryzen 7 3700X is further from the top than your Core i5-2500 was in its time.

The CPU coolers included in the box with the AMD processors are generally well-reviewed by folks that don't overclock their CPUs.
1: i7-9700K, NH-D15, Z390M Pro4, 32GiB, RX Vega64, ½TB 960Pro +2TB MX500, Define Mini-C, SSR-850PX, LG 32UD99 + UltraSharp U2410, RK9000V2-BR
2: R5-3600X, Wraith Spire, B450M Steel Legend, 32GiB, RX5500XT, 2TB SX8200Pro, P160, SS-660XP2, TV, G610
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Upgrading my old i5-2500 machine

Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:48 am

Agree with the AMD CPU recommendation. Also, RAM can affect the AMD CPU's performance. Do your research, or just get lower latency CL14 3200 or CL16 3600 and you should be fine.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHJ16hD4ysk (Note: this is more about overclocking if you're into that thing)

I don't think the BIOS thing is as bad as people make it out to be. Purportedly AMD will lend you a CPU to upgrade it if you need it. Honestly, I wouldn't get an X570. There really are not many consumer work loads that will benefit from having PCIe gen 4. Sure you can get more out of an SSD, but the real world difference just isn't there.
 
The Egg
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Re: Upgrading my old i5-2500 machine

Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:21 am

The Ryzen 3600 is a solid chip and priced well, but I have a few nitpicks with the Ryzen platform as it currently stands (all related to the motherboards/chipsets). For starters, the older 300/400 series were designed by Asmedia, with whom I've had only awful experiences. Even though those chipsets are more tried and tested at this point, the combination of being Asmedia and having less features drives me away. The X570 is AMD designed, but draws about twice the power and requires a cooling fan. That just flat-out doesn't work for me. I'm not opposed to installing my own cooling solution for a chipset (I used to do it all the time), but there also seems to be quite a few BIOS and driver issues cropping-up, which need to be knocked-down.

Especially if you're prone to keeping a system for 8 years, you don't want to be dealing with an annoying/quirky motherboard for that length of time. If it were me, I'd wait another 3-4 months and see if they release a cooler-running 500-series variant. Barring that, at least it will give some time for all the software/firmware kinks to be ironed out, and maybe some boards with better stock cooling solutions.
 
K-L-Waster
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Re: Upgrading my old i5-2500 machine

Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:37 am

If you're going 3600 (which makes loads of sense, I agree with everyone on that), you're unlikely to get much benefit out of the x570 vs. the B450 chipset. The only things you really get are PCI 4 and multi-GPU support, neither of which it sounds like you need.

On the "can I trust MSI" front, from what I can tell all board manufacturers make some very good board models and some very bad models and everything in between. So rather than make the decision based on the brand, you really need to research specific models. From what I can tell, the MSI b450 Carbon is a good board in the ATX form factor that includes support for USB BIOS flashback.

There was a good video on Gamer's Nexus about a month ago on which motherboards to look at for RyZen 3000 CPUs, so I would recommend looking that up.
Main System: i7-8700K, ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-E, 16 GB DDR4 3200 RAM, MSI GTX 1080 TI, 1 TB CRUCIAL MX500, Corsair 550D

HTPC: I5-4460, ASUS H97M-E, 8 GB RAM, GTX 970, CRUCIAL 256GB MX100, SILVERSTONE GD09B
 
JustAnEngineer
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: The Heart of Dixie

Re: Upgrading my old i5-2500 machine

Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:35 pm

Since NVidia quit blocking FreeSync on their GeForce GTX10?0 and RTX20?0 graphics cards, you can look for FreeSync and a high refresh rate as very desirable features on your new monitor. The Pixio PX329 and LG 32GK650F-B look like good values.
1: i7-9700K, NH-D15, Z390M Pro4, 32GiB, RX Vega64, ½TB 960Pro +2TB MX500, Define Mini-C, SSR-850PX, LG 32UD99 + UltraSharp U2410, RK9000V2-BR
2: R5-3600X, Wraith Spire, B450M Steel Legend, 32GiB, RX5500XT, 2TB SX8200Pro, P160, SS-660XP2, TV, G610

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