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Where to start on an upgrade

PNM_JenningsPNM_Jennings Member UncommonPosts: 1,093
So right now I'm running an i5-2500k oc'ed to 4.0Ghz, an GTX 560Ti, with 8GB DDR3 RAM, on a 650W PSU. Obviously this is all pretty alright. Like only recently have I started to run into games that I can't run at max settings or just don't run well for some reason. So this isn't a pressing upgrade, but I am beginning to think about where to start. It really comes down to the GPU or CPU, and whichever is the weakest link. Does anyone have any thoughts?

And I understand this could be a bit of a domino effect, so once I get going I'll probably go over the whole thing within a year.

On a related note: could a 650W PSU handle higher end graphics cards? Like I saw even the GTX 980Ti has a system requirement of 600W, so by the numbers I'm fine, but if I did decide to go all out on a GPU, would it be a good idea to upgrade the PSU too?

Thank you!

Comments

  • booniedog96booniedog96 Member UncommonPosts: 289
    A 650w PSU is plenty enough for the latest of the nVidia line up.


  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,380
    A couple of points for you.

    A CPU upgrade from the model you currently have to a newer generation will mean a new motherboard cause Intel likes to change the pins with every new chip.  Must be nice to get those kickbacks from the motherboard manufacturers for doing that every couple of years.

    A GPU upgrade may get bottle-necked by your current CPU.  Honestly, I haven't done any research on the matter, but I personally like to keep my CPU and GPU no more than three generations apart.

    As the other person said, 650W is plenty for you unless you plan on some massive overclocking and a dual or triple GPU setup.  Personally I use this site to determine what PSU I will need.  http://powersupplycalculator.net/
  • KazuhiroKazuhiro Member UncommonPosts: 582
    edited August 2015
    Great news, all you really need is a new GPU. I had a similar build (same processor/ram, 800watt psu, and slightly better gpu)

    1. After extensive research I learned that the 2500k overclocked to 4-4.4ghz or so is "almost" the same performance-wise as the newest skylake processor. (5-10% difference), so you don't need a new cpu at all. Intel has become lazy over the past 4 years, and hasn't really improved processors much (power wise).

    2. PSU-wise your golden, as long as you don't want more than one gpu.

    3. 8GB of ddr3 ram is still fine for now, in a year (or two) or so 16gb will become more the norm most likely, but you still have a year (maybe 2) before that happens. Also DD4 ram isn't really all that good yet, and you likely won't see much performance difference while gaming.

    4. You GPU is quite dated, I upgraded from a 670 4gb edition to a 970 myself. The best that money can buy is the 980ti currently, but that is $300-350 or so more.

    All you really need is a new GPU, and don't worry about having an older motherboard, I didn't need to upgrade that either since I only use a single gpu. (If you want dual gpus you'll need a whole new pc sadly. As PCIe 2.0 isn't good enough for 2 modern gpus.)

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  • booniedog96booniedog96 Member UncommonPosts: 289
    edited August 2015
    Honestly, if your only problem is that you can't play at maxed out settings with what you have right now, I would hold off. At least till Arctic Islands and Pascal come out (sometime next year) to spend your hard earned money on a brand new high end GPU.  Plus, with DX12 API coupled with Freesync/G-Sync giving buttery smooth game play at 30Hz-144Hz, your next GPU should last quite a long while.  It's the beginning of the end for GDDR5.
    Post edited by booniedog96 on
  • yaminsuxyaminsux Member UncommonPosts: 973
    Looking for your specs, I would say you need GPU upgrade. If you are tight on budget OR somewhat unconvinced get GTX 760. Otherwise go for 980 (970 is enough tbh but hey, if you want to spend...go big).
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,095
    Exactly which power supply do you have?  Give the exact brand name and model, not just a nominal wattage.  If you don't know, then open up the case and read the label.  A high quality 650 W power supply will handle any reason single-GPU upgrade you want, but if it's a junk power supply, it should be replaced regardless of the nominal wattage.

    There's not that much to be had by upgrading your CPU, as Intel hasn't made that much progress in the last four years, while AMD still doesn't have a CPU even as fast as what you have now unless you need more than four cores.  Especially if your games run well at lower settings but only struggle when you turn settings up, that usually means your current CPU is fine.

    A new video card could be a much worthier upgrade, however.  I generally advise against doing small upgrades, but a GeForce GTX 970, 980, 980 Ti or a Radeon R9 290, 290X, 390, Fury, or Fury X (basically, anything that uses either of the top two GPU chips from either Nvidia or AMD) would all be plenty large enough upgrades to justify the cost, and I think you'd be happy with the results.

    I'd also make sure you get a good SSD if you don't already have one.  That will rarely improve your frame rates in games, but it will make everything else that happens on the computer (including loading and zoning within games) so much faster.  If you already have a good SSD, you're fine, but if you shied away when building a computer because of the cost, look what it costs to get plenty of capacity now:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820721108
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226679
  • PNM_JenningsPNM_Jennings Member UncommonPosts: 1,093
    @H0urg1ass The whole new CPU needing a new MB is what I meant by the domino effect. It's so annoying. lol But at least I can get silly amounts of RAM out of the switch.

    @booniedog96 I wasn't planning on upgrading for a while, but I would like to cash in on Black Friday sales, and I don't want to hold off for another year.

    @Quizzical This is my PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020 I've actually been ogling the 980Ti this whole time, but it really comes down to if I can find a good sale. I could technically afford it as is, but it's still a good chunk of change. And lastly, yeah, getting an SSD is the other upgrade I plan on making. Pretty excited for decent boot times.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,060
    Whatever card you get, do get the SSD - even if that means dropping down to ~only~ a 980 or 970. It's not like you'd notice the GPU difference between a 980Ti and 970 on a single monitor at 1080 anyway, but you will most definitely and immediately notice the SSD.
  • PNM_JenningsPNM_Jennings Member UncommonPosts: 1,093
    Ridelynn said:
    Whatever card you get, do get the SSD - even if that means dropping down to ~only~ a 980 or 970. It's not like you'd notice the GPU difference between a 980Ti and 970 on a single monitor at 1080 anyway, but you will most definitely and immediately notice the SSD.
    I'm not even at 1080p yet. lol Another thing I'm hoping to change, but that's also probably why I've been getting away with cranking the graphics up to max.
  • Viper482Viper482 Member EpicPosts: 3,132
    edited August 2015
    I agree, gpu. Don't buy into the cpu bottleneck myth, it really is not as much of a concern these days as it used to be. Only a certain few games will use so much cpu that it is a concern. Don't let anyone talk you into 16GB of ram either, 8GB is more than enough. I can run three games and surf the net on 6GB. I tested it.

    And SSD's are awesome, but only after you upgrade your gaming power first. You will not notice any difference in game with an SSD except for load times. For me the SSD is a nice to have but not a must for gaming by any means. Your in game performance will not be affected. So if you are good on your cpu/gpu/ram/monitor, go for it.
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  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,095
    atticusbc said:
    @H0urg1ass The whole new CPU needing a new MB is what I meant by the domino effect. It's so annoying. lol But at least I can get silly amounts of RAM out of the switch.

    @booniedog96 I wasn't planning on upgrading for a while, but I would like to cash in on Black Friday sales, and I don't want to hold off for another year.

    @Quizzical This is my PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139020 I've actually been ogling the 980Ti this whole time, but it really comes down to if I can find a good sale. I could technically afford it as is, but it's still a good chunk of change. And lastly, yeah, getting an SSD is the other upgrade I plan on making. Pretty excited for decent boot times.

    In that case, you're set on the power supply.  You should be able to get whatever single GPU you want and the power supply will handle it fine.  It will handle the SSD fine, too, as those barely use any power.  I wouldn't be willing to push that power supply with multiple GPUs, but that isn't a meaningful restriction for most people.

    I wouldn't count on price drops on the GTX 980 Ti until next year.  It's probable that it costs AMD more to build its competing Radeon R9 Fury X than it costs Nvidia to build a GTX 980 Ti, not to mention that the Fury X is the top bin and the GTX 980 Ti isn't, so don't count on AMD to provide downward pressure on prices.  Next year, GPUs move to 14/16 nm, which means you'll be able to get faster GPUs than are available today, at which point, what you'd want is one of the new GPUs, not a then-older GeForce GTX 980 Ti.
  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,380
    atticusbc said:
    Ridelynn said:
    Whatever card you get, do get the SSD - even if that means dropping down to ~only~ a 980 or 970. It's not like you'd notice the GPU difference between a 980Ti and 970 on a single monitor at 1080 anyway, but you will most definitely and immediately notice the SSD.
    I'm not even at 1080p yet. lol Another thing I'm hoping to change, but that's also probably why I've been getting away with cranking the graphics up to max.
    I was going to come back and ask how a 500 series card was able too push any modern game at max settings, but I guess this is why. lol

    I can push 3x 1080p monitors running Witcher 3 at nearly max graphics on a GTX 970, so if you're still running a lower resolution than 1080p, then you can probably get away with an x60 series card.  Like a 760 or 960 easily.

    Your PSU is perfectly fine.  The Corsair TX-650's are rebranded Seasonic PSU's which are the best mass produced PSU's on the market.

    Honestly, all you need is a new video card.  Your rig is solid.  SSD's are phenomenal once you have one, but they're also still really a luxury item.  If you don't mind taking an extra slow sip of vintage whiskey during loading screens, then it might be a blessing not having one.
  • bone15bone15 Member UncommonPosts: 52
    H0urg1ass said:
    atticusbc said:
    Ridelynn said:
    Whatever card you get, do get the SSD - even if that means dropping down to ~only~ a 980 or 970. It's not like you'd notice the GPU difference between a 980Ti and 970 on a single monitor at 1080 anyway, but you will most definitely and immediately notice the SSD.
    I'm not even at 1080p yet. lol Another thing I'm hoping to change, but that's also probably why I've been getting away with cranking the graphics up to max.
    I was going to come back and ask how a 500 series card was able too push any modern game at max settings, but I guess this is why. lol

    I can push 3x 1080p monitors running Witcher 3 at nearly max graphics on a GTX 970, so if you're still running a lower resolution than 1080p, then you can probably get away with an x60 series card.  Like a 760 or 960 easily.

    Your PSU is perfectly fine.  The Corsair TX-650's are rebranded Seasonic PSU's which are the best mass produced PSU's on the market.

    Honestly, all you need is a new video card.  Your rig is solid.  SSD's are phenomenal once you have one, but they're also still really a luxury item.  If you don't mind taking an extra slow sip of vintage whiskey during loading screens, then it might be a blessing not having one.
    i find it horrible when people lie like u are doing. a gtx 970 can't run 3x 1080p in witcher 3. that means u are effectively running 5760x1080p which means your gpu has to render 3 times more then 1 monitor. and also witcher 3 max requires alot. i am getting around 60 fps with one monitor. while 2 monitors will most likely slash my fps by 30-40%
  • bone15bone15 Member UncommonPosts: 52
    atticusbc said:
    So right now I'm running an i5-2500k oc'ed to 4.0Ghz, an GTX 560Ti, with 8GB DDR3 RAM, on a 650W PSU. Obviously this is all pretty alright. Like only recently have I started to run into games that I can't run at max settings or just don't run well for some reason. So this isn't a pressing upgrade, but I am beginning to think about where to start. It really comes down to the GPU or CPU, and whichever is the weakest link. Does anyone have any thoughts?

    And I understand this could be a bit of a domino effect, so once I get going I'll probably go over the whole thing within a year.

    On a related note: could a 650W PSU handle higher end graphics cards? Like I saw even the GTX 980Ti has a system requirement of 600W, so by the numbers I'm fine, but if I did decide to go all out on a GPU, would it be a good idea to upgrade the PSU too?

    Thank you!
    btw you need to replace all things. that Cpu is getting old and so is the gpu. if u switch to a high end gpu like 980 ti your Cpu will drag it down by alot.
  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 8,967
    I would agree with gpu upgrade.  It's the easiest upgrade to make at this point.  SSD would be nice.  Also it depends on the types of games you play.  Some are gpu intensive and some cpu intensive.

    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,380
    bone15 said:
    H0urg1ass said:
    atticusbc said:
    Ridelynn said:
    Whatever card you get, do get the SSD - even if that means dropping down to ~only~ a 980 or 970. It's not like you'd notice the GPU difference between a 980Ti and 970 on a single monitor at 1080 anyway, but you will most definitely and immediately notice the SSD.
    I'm not even at 1080p yet. lol Another thing I'm hoping to change, but that's also probably why I've been getting away with cranking the graphics up to max.
    I was going to come back and ask how a 500 series card was able too push any modern game at max settings, but I guess this is why. lol

    I can push 3x 1080p monitors running Witcher 3 at nearly max graphics on a GTX 970, so if you're still running a lower resolution than 1080p, then you can probably get away with an x60 series card.  Like a 760 or 960 easily.

    Your PSU is perfectly fine.  The Corsair TX-650's are rebranded Seasonic PSU's which are the best mass produced PSU's on the market.

    Honestly, all you need is a new video card.  Your rig is solid.  SSD's are phenomenal once you have one, but they're also still really a luxury item.  If you don't mind taking an extra slow sip of vintage whiskey during loading screens, then it might be a blessing not having one.
    i find it horrible when people lie like u are doing. a gtx 970 can't run 3x 1080p in witcher 3. that means u are effectively running 5760x1080p which means your gpu has to render 3 times more then 1 monitor. and also witcher 3 max requires alot. i am getting around 60 fps with one monitor. while 2 monitors will most likely slash my fps by 30-40%
    Do you know what 60 - 40% is?  It's 36, which is still perfectly playable.  People who think you can't play games unless they're running at 60 FPS have no clue what they're talking about.  Especially slow moving fantasy RPG's.  It ain't exactly driving a Williams F1 car around Silverstone at 200kph in iRacing, which I can do at 60FPS on three monitors too.

    I also said "near max".  I have hair works turned off cause that shit is really poorly optimized and it gobbles GPU performance like a lion on a fat tourist.

    I also turned foliage view range down one notch because it's the second greediest GPU performance eater in Wticher 3 behind hair works.  The foliage difference between ultra and high is hardly noticeable, but the performance difference is absurd.  About 20 FPS when tested on a Titan and about 15 FPS when I tested it on my 970.

    So yes, I play Witcher 3 at near max settings on 5760x1080 all day long, and it's fucking beautiful.
  • PNM_JenningsPNM_Jennings Member UncommonPosts: 1,093
    bone15 said:
    btw you need to replace all things. that Cpu is getting old and so is the gpu. if u switch to a high end gpu like 980 ti your Cpu will drag it down by alot.
    Haha yeah. If I can't find good deals during Black Friday though, I'm going to start with one part and fill in the rest as I go.

    @H0urg1ass 1600x900! Woo! Yeah I'm honestly still surprised the amount of oomph my current setup can give. My goal though is to get a good monitor somewhere down the line though, so I want get a high end GPU to be ready for that.

    Over time I think the only things that are going to stick around are the PSU, the case, and the HDD.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,095
    Some people think 30 frames per second average with occasional dips into the teens is acceptable.  Some people think that mostly 60+ frames per second with occasional dips into the 40s is not.

    Different people also have very different ideas of what constitutes "max" settings.  Ultra preset with nothing else added is not at all similar to also going into drivers and setting 8x SSAA.  I once argued with someone who insisted he could run games at max settings on some ancient Intel graphics, where by "max", he meant "the highest settings that the GPU could handle"--and what most other people would call "low" settings.

    Personally, I think anyone who typically tries to max all settings for any purposes other than benchmarking is nuts.  At least for the more demanding things, it's more sensible to check individual settings to see which make a game look better to your eyes and which don't.  If something bogs down your frame rates without making the game look better--or in some cases, even makes the game look worse--then turn it off.
  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,380
    Quizzical said:
    Some people think 30 frames per second average with occasional dips into the teens is acceptable.  Some people think that mostly 60+ frames per second with occasional dips into the 40s is not.

    Personally, I think anyone who typically tries to max all settings for any purposes other than benchmarking is nuts.  At least for the more demanding things, it's more sensible to check individual settings to see which make a game look better to your eyes and which don't.  If something bogs down your frame rates without making the game look better--or in some cases, even makes the game look worse--then turn it off.
    Yeah, maybe I'm old fashioned but I'm one of the people that thinks 30fps with occasional hiccups is perfectly acceptable.

    I'm more of a "It looks great to me!" kinda of person when it comes to tweaking settings.  For instance, I also turned off motion blur, vignetting and a couple of other annoying post processing effects in Witcher 3, however almost all of them have very little effect on FPS according to the testing.  It's just a quality of life issue for me; I don't like those effects.
  • FlyByKnightFlyByKnight Member EpicPosts: 3,967
    I always read these types of threads and skip to Quizzicals responses.  Please get this person their own column. Very informative and helpful.
    "As far as the forum code of conduct, I would think it's a bit outdated and in need of a refre *CLOSED*" 

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,095
    edited August 2015
    H0urg1ass said:
    Quizzical said:
    Some people think 30 frames per second average with occasional dips into the teens is acceptable.  Some people think that mostly 60+ frames per second with occasional dips into the 40s is not.

    Personally, I think anyone who typically tries to max all settings for any purposes other than benchmarking is nuts.  At least for the more demanding things, it's more sensible to check individual settings to see which make a game look better to your eyes and which don't.  If something bogs down your frame rates without making the game look better--or in some cases, even makes the game look worse--then turn it off.
    Yeah, maybe I'm old fashioned but I'm one of the people that thinks 30fps with occasional hiccups is perfectly acceptable.

    I'm more of a "It looks great to me!" kinda of person when it comes to tweaking settings.  For instance, I also turned off motion blur, vignetting and a couple of other annoying post processing effects in Witcher 3, however almost all of them have very little effect on FPS according to the testing.  It's just a quality of life issue for me; I don't like those effects.
    If you're turning some things off, it's not max settings anymore.  It might still be high settings, and even be more sensible than max settings.  But it's not really max settings.  But what really matters is not if you can run a game at max settings, but if you can run it at the settings you like.  It sounds like you can, so good for you.

    I don't think "old fashioned" is the appropriate term for being okay with lower frame rates.  The NES ran games at a steady 60 frames per second about 30 years ago.  There are trade-offs between higher frame rates versus each individual frame looking better, and I personally lean heavily toward preferring the former.  But where to set the balance is a matter of opinion, and there are good reasons why games allow you to adjust graphical settings.

    Still, how high of frame rates are really needed varies considerably by game.  Low frame rates is a serious disadvantage in twitchy games, but much less important in turn-based games--and much less noticeable if the game doesn't change much from one frame to the next as with a lot of 2D games.
  • PNM_JenningsPNM_Jennings Member UncommonPosts: 1,093
    Well I suppose I should say that I like quite high settings then. And the settings I like to crank up tend to be hogs. But in general I like to have the frame rate above 30. 60 isn't required, but I do like it, and upper 20s at least (depends on the game). 

    @Quizzical The concenus seems to be my current PSU is fine. As the resident expert do you agree?
  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 12,175
    I always read these types of threads and skip to Quizzicals responses.  Please get this person their own column. Very informative and helpful.
    Indeed. Having his fantasy posts moved to column/blog would be much more suitable since they are just for the lulz more than anything and potentionally harmful.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,095
    atticusbc said:
    Well I suppose I should say that I like quite high settings then. And the settings I like to crank up tend to be hogs. But in general I like to have the frame rate above 30. 60 isn't required, but I do like it, and upper 20s at least (depends on the game). 

    @Quizzical The concenus seems to be my current PSU is fine. As the resident expert do you agree?
    As I said above, your power supply is fine for whatever single-GPU setup you want to get, at least within reason.  (Liquid nitrogen overclocking, for example, is not "within reason".)
  • PNM_JenningsPNM_Jennings Member UncommonPosts: 1,093
    Alright. Thanks everyone for the help!
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