Contrathetix

Considering an upgrade, open for thoughts

Hello,

It is always interesting to hear what other people think about computer thingies, mainly hardware, especially when I am not an expert myself. The thing is, my current gaming computer is starting to show its age with newer titles. Or... well... it is not really a gaming computer, just my father's old machine I have been allowed to use. I bought a new graphics card for it last year, too. So I am considering buying a new case and moving my graphics card into it, together with some normal HDDs. The rest is open for suggestions. The current machine has an i3-2120 @3.3GHz for processor, R9 290 for graphics card, 12 GB of DDR3 at 1066 (I think), separate sound card, 550W PSU and normal HDDs. Cannot remember the motherboard at the moment.

So the main thing I am wondering is the processor, buying a new one would make little sense unless it makes a notable difference. But then again, I do not want to buy any SSDs, normal HDD is just fine for me, so that might limit the speed a bit, maybe? I am not a huge gamer, and real life has taken its toll on the time I can spend playing (I have not played anything for like four months now). Also making mods really murders my gaming completely. But I still enjoy it, and when I finally have time for it, I would like to be able to play some newer titles, as well, like maybe Fallout 4, without worrying about the performance of the computer. So, to sum it up (I am bad at writing):

  • I am not a huge hardcore gamer, I just like playing games, and do it whenever I have the time
  • I do not have a ton of money laying about, so keeping the budget reasonable is my dream
  • I do not want SSD or liquid cooling, air cooling is enought for me
  • normal HDD will be used, but I will be buying new memory, processor and apparently a new motherboard, too, also PSU maybe and whatever else is needed that cannot be found laying about here unneeded
  • the new processor should be a noticeable improvement over i3-2120 @ 3.3GHz and should not cost too much (I think 400 Euros is alread a lot for one, but then again, all the good ones seem to cost that much and more)

Also, now that Intel has this new Skylake set of processor on its way, with the "new platform" they talk about, with DDR4, would it make any sense to wait for better Skylake processors, and DDR4, for cheap, to make the thing more futureproof? Is there such a thing as futureproof? Would it make any sense for someone not willing to pour thousands of Euros into a gaming computer? Waiting is fine by me, I would not want to rush.

So if anyone has ideas, I would love to hear them. Does not mean I will necessarily use them, I just like to hear what people think. Also, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Thank you.

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That's a second gen i3, so, it won't be hard to improve on that. The problem you run into, is wanting to play Fallout 4. Talk about a demanding game....... It want's an i7 processor, (4th gen, no less.... I think we are up to gen 6? at the moment??) 8 gig of ram, which implies a 64 bit O/S, and a vid card with 2gig VRam.....

Now, keep in mind, I run FO4 on an AMD 965 Black, at 3.4 ghz (quad core), 8 gig or RAM, and an older HD 6850 vid card, with only 1 gig of VRam.... the game runs ok..... but, not as smooth as say, Skyrim. In 'busy' areas (lots of textures, AI, and other suchlike to process) I can some pretty heavy lag, and stuttering. I would LOVE to upgrade, but, find myself in the same boat as you. Lack of funding. :)

Just exactly how much are you willing to spend? You *might* be able to get away with doing mainboard, processor, and RAM, and keeping the vid card until games get even more demanding..... (the 290 looks pretty good, even for an older card..... :) It should do just fine for a while yet.) ((which would also mean re-using your current case, and power supply, along with the sound card.))

Do you have an O/S for a new machine? Or were you planning on transferring the license from the existing machine, to the new one? (Might be possible, might not.....)

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The video card is something I intend to keep for a while, it works wonders, I have had no issues with it thus far. The last one was an HD 5570 with 1 GB vram, so the new one is more than enough for me at the moment. I think. The budget would probably be somewhere between 400 and 900 Euros, nothing above that. I still live at home, so I think I can squeeze that much of my savings for the computer, I do not buy much anything else at all. Also I do not use the whole student allowance thingy I receive monthly, only like half of it. All the material is 'electronic' and we get it for free, so no need to buy any books, either, also the university has an overly extensive library service, and the student union owns a small restaurant 'chain' that also hosts a couple of restaurants at the university, so food costs almost nothing there (an eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet with real quality food for 2.80 Euros hooray!). I live cheap, no alcohol for me, no car, no anything, just computer stuff. But then again, I do study computer science.:pc:

Also, as computer science students, we get the professional versions of all Windows OS for freeeheheee! Among other stuff, just need to download it from Microsoft. Including Win 7. And I cannot take my father's Win 7... that would be rude. It is not sold anywhere anymore, I think. :P

We even have an old machine here, too, in the corner. It is really ancient, only accepts DDR2, no one will have any use for it. That case would be available for me to refurnish, it is a normal size case, with plenty of holes for air cooling. It even has a PSU, though I would not really think it is enough if I buy a new processor and everything... it is a bit smaller than that of the current machine.

I really want to give the current PC back to my father (excluding my graphics card), the current one he uses is more of a joke, really. But it works for him... umm... acceptably. :blush:

So, to sum it up, I have thought about the budget as follows (everything is expensive here, starting all the way from food and toilet paper, mind you, excluding bananas that are always on sale, because food stores can never make an affordable business out of them anyway, so they just sell them at a loss and use them to lure people in so they would buy other random things while there):

  • processor, around 400 Euros (the good ones, at least)
  • motherboard, around 125 Euros (maybe?)
  • at least 8 GB of DDR3 (around 100 Euros, maybe?)
  • probably a PSU (around 100-200 Euros, maybe?)
  • new sound card, maybe (not necessary straight away, though, I think, no idea about the prices)

And the following is alread here, sort of:

  • some HDDs, the ancient case has a few
  • OS, just need to download one from Microsoft
  • graphics card, already have the one
  • normal size case and some fans, also cables

And that is it. It would probably be somewhere around 700-900 Euros... ? Makes me jealous looking at the recommended customer prices on Intel ARK. For example, for the i7-6700k it says 350 Dollars, and it is sold here for something like 450 Euros. Same for every processor with recommended price of something above/around 300 Dollars. Which means all the good processors. And that is what I call unfair. :thumbdown:

You have a much better selection of smileys than the Nexus forums, I think. Go TESA!  :loveTESA:

Edited by PhilippePetain
fixed typos
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Got a link to a good hardware site that sells in, or ships to, where you live? I am in the US.... So, I don't have a clue on that particular aspect of things. :)

In any event, I would go with an i7 4790K processor, ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 2 mainboard, and as much ram as you care to stuff into it. :) (max is 32 gb,) It has onboard sound, which, without external (third party) utilities, is pretty much as good as it gets. (don't get me started on the whole "removal of directsound from directx......)

 

Since you can get your O/S for free, go with win 7 pro, 64 bit.

 

Decent power supply. 650 watts, or better. (better to have too much, than not enough, and a bit of headroom is never a bad thing.)

 

Combined with your vid card, you will have a machine that will play anything you want for at least a couple years.

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Yup, what HY has said above. When they helped me build Bessie one thing that was pointed out was not to go cheap on the psu ... You want good quality caps and plenty of connectors. I went with Corsair and will never go otherwise.  I have an older Asus (I`m an Asus fanboy) mobo, and the onboard sound was awsome. I only went with a dedicated sound card to take some load off the cpu and such. The thing about the Corsair H100i liquid cooling is that it blows the heat out of the case. A tower  type, radiator cooler blows the hot air from the cpu  ( and an i7 creates lots of heat) around inside the case.

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Okay, thank you for the ideas. :thumbsup:

I will continue browsing the Internet. There are not many companies that sell computer stuff here, but there is one online store, yet it is still a bit expensive. But what can I do, there are pretty much no other places (with a relatively fine reputation) to buy parts from. Unless foreign companies ship to Finland at a reasonable price. But warranty stuff might be frustrating the farther the seller is located.

https://www.verkkokauppa.com/

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Excluding the technical details of everything here PhilippePetain, just a quick question. I know you said that there are not that many local places in your area of Finland to buy the physical product. However, if possible, if you could get what you needed there for a bit more money without having to pay the ridiculous international shipping costs; customs/and all other applicable taxes, would it not be worth it? You are not to far from Netherlands, I have some friends who live there that I had the pleasure of meeting a few times when they came to the United States, and even the laptop that Marianne had was a better machine than my desktop at the time. Could you order something from over in that area?

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Not really, no. I mean the price difference is ridicilous. The few stores that do it even wait for the customer to order it, then order it somewhere themselves, deliver to the customer and put a hefty price tag on it. It really is that silly here.

But I need to think about it. Shipping costs are can indeed be huge. I would love to have a local shop that sells computer parts at acceptable prices but there are not really any. :(

Edited by PhilippePetain
fixed a typo
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Have you tried Amazon? Sometimes you can find parts that are cheaper than anywhere else. I find amazon.co.uk is the best, and even with the insane euro->sterling exchange rate right now, it still works out cheaper than most other places. Just factor in the VAT. The prices on the site include the UK VAT rate (20%). I'm not sure what the delivery charges to Finland would be like though.

Ordering anything from outside the EU is a no go. You just get killed by the customs charges.

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Then too, since newegg.com does most defiantly not ship overseas, you may try Tigerdirect.com they at least seem to have options available to you. I have dealt with both in the past, and have not had much trouble with either. Return policies are good for both, but I don't know how that would work overseas. You can look into a full system, or a bare bones kit, or just the certain parts that you want; your choice. Just trying to help bubba! :salute:

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I'd normally say that an i7 4790K would be overkill for a game like Fallout 4, but I have an i7 4790K, along with a GTX980, and I've experienced significant slowdowns while travelling through the most intricate urban areas so I can't really recommend much, since it's obvious the game has some optimization issues, but it's not clear to me whether the team at Bethesda plans to solve them. As far as I know, all that has been released for the game is a single patch that fixed some quests and a problem related to the Launcher, they took their time to release that, so there's no telling when we might expect those performance oriented fixes.

Furthermore, I've read Radeon cards seem to have issues with Tessellation and they offer no support for GameWorks nor PhysX features (obviously). ATI technologies, like TressFX, are opensource while NVIDIA ones are closed, which means that the latter will always have the opportunity to implement performance improvements over new Radeon's features while the former can't even afford compatibility with the more advanced closed-source offerings of its competitor. It's obvious NVIDIA are the real villains here, but that doesn't change the fact that they offer a better package overall. Just sayin'.

 

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From my observations, and some hardware changes..... stuttering, and crappy frame rates in the urban areas is mostly due to harddrive speed. I got tired of long loading times, and heavy stuttering in the intricate areas (to borrow a term from you. :) ) so, I upgraded my HDD that my games were installed on to an SSD, and DRAMATICALLY improved things. I am still limited by my vid card, (only 1 gig VRAM), so, I think that is going to be the next upgrade.

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It could come from there, I've the game running on a 1TB WD Caviar Black drive. It seems to me it should be good enough for a game like Fallout 4 since they're designed for performance as far as I know, and it's not even a year old. It bears mentioning that I don't have any problems with other games released this year.

I've read that god rays in the game have a significant impact that could cause the low frame rates I've been experiencing, but I like having things maxed and the game never goes below 30FPS. What bothers me, is that I get worse performance with Fallout 4 than what I get with Witcher 3 (even with Hairworks enabled) which is technically more impressive, or at least it is in my opinion.

Edited by ASnakeNeverDies
Spacing.
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With an HDD, the RPM is significant . A 5600 RPM Hdd could react slower than a 10.000 + RPM HDD. Of course an SSD is the best solution.

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Right you are, the Caviar Blacks I've are 7200RPM ones. I do have two 256GB Samsung 850 PRO SSDs in this same build but use those for OS, Main Apps and Caching only. The way I see it, I shouldn't be experiencing this massive frame drops with my current configuration, although I will run it on an SSD in the future when people start uploading massive HD texture compilations and similar stuff.

In any case, I finished the game already and enjoyed it to the point where it has become one of my favorite Bethesda games ever, even if I disliked a lot of the changes they made to the formula and the fact that my character's pre-war background was already set in stone by the devs. But right now, I'm waiting for them to release their new GECK software and see if I can (hopefully) do something worthwhile for the community with it. :good:

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You can see it that way all you want, but, it isn't going to change the fact that this game is loading a LOT more "stuff", especially in the cities...... A 7200 RPM HDD, even SATA 3, is going to give long load times, and probably stuttering at cell borders in very dense areas. I still get a bit of stuttering even with the game installed on an SSD in Boston proper.... but, my vid card is below spec too, so, that is probably a contributor.

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Great suggestions here, also ideas! Sorry to be so late to respond! My current GPU should do relatively well for a few years to come. And when I buy another one, that one will probably also be AMD. NVIDIA feels a bit... well... odd. Maybe they offer some marginally (?) better performance or such, and also their GameNotWorks stuff and all that, but if the prices are close to 2x the AMD ones here, it is not worth it to me. :P I am not a huge gamer, most of my time goes into making mods.

I did build a (partially) new machine at the beginning of the year! The case, as well as all the HDDs, are from an old one. I did buy a 400GB WD Caviar as the system disk, because it was only 20 Euros. I have managed to fit three operating systems on it, after moving my Steam Library and other games to another disk. So that I can still keep partition backups on yet another disk.

Not sure how smart a pucrhase I made, but the thing seems to be running just fine now. This is what I bought (and yes, I am not an expert, just bought something I thought might make sense):

  • motherboard: Asus Z170-K
  • processor: Intel i5-6600k
  • processor cooler: Arctic 13 Freezer CO
  • power supply: Corsair CS650M (modular 650W)
  • memory: 16 GB DDR4 2400MHz

And like I said, that is probably not the best purchase available, but I am not an expert, and it all cost only around 730 Euros or so (VAT included), which I found relatively cheap. I mean relatively cheap, here where I live. And I have no complaints thus far. The GPU is still the old Asus R9 290 DC2OC one, and my monitor is still 1680x1050. Not going to buy a new monitor, this one does its job just fine. And it was free (from the electronics recycling container of my father's employer). I can now play The Witcher 3, too, and Fallout 4 runs relatively fine (framerate drops here and there, but overall just fine). Now the only thing I need to do is play the games. When I find the time. :P

Also, it seems the food at the university is actually a lot more complicated. Not really a buffet, and I am not sure how it works, exactly. But it is still cheap, and includes dessert. Usually. Ugh. I have only eaten there like twice, and it was horrible (as a process, not knowing how it works, exactly). Maybe I need to start eating there regularly at some point, currently I just wait until I get home to eat... :sour:

Edited by Contrathetix
Fixed typos.
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Not too shabby for what you paid. :) That system should keep ya goin' for a while. Of course, SSD's are getting dirt cheap, so, that's still a possible future upgrade.

I LIKE pushing the power button on my machine, and less than a minute later, windows is ready to rock and roll....... installing all my games on another one increased performance across the board.

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I have not really counted how long it takes to boot the thing up to an OS... it does not really matter to me, being an all-round slow-ish person with usually little to no hurry anywhere. Maybe, as was mentioned, it could help with games. Maybe one day.

It took some digging to find a place to buy from. There actually was this new chain (small one) that opened a shop here. I could order online, they delivered it to a local store and I picked them up + paid there (for no extra cost, as in, added to price, though they probably have it hidden in the product prices themselves already). Handy. One thing that drives me nutters are the recommended customer prices on Intel website! The i7-6700k says $350 but it costs like 450 Euros here. I would have bought it if it were closer to 350 Euros, but over 400 is just a bit too much for a processor, I think. I can spend the money on a new GPU in a few years. The i5-6600k I bought says $243 on Intel website, and I bought if for about 290 Euros. Perhaps it is about the VAT rates we have here in Finland... or maybe all retailers are just milking customers. Or both. The 16 GB of memory is 2x8 Gb Kingston HyperX, so I have two slots left on the motherboard! Chances are I will never need them, though. Already 16 is a lot, I think. I have never seen it use 8GB... yet. Maybe one day. But the memory still only cost around 80 Euros in total, it would have been 50 for just 8 GB.

It is not a huge gaming PC, I might have gone a bit cheap, but it does its job, as I am not a huge gamer, either. Lots of people have a lot better (and a lot more expensive) thingies, I think. As long as it works, it is fine by me. :P Thank you for the tip, maybe I will one day see about trying SSD. I have my system on one disk, my games on another, and my mods on yet another (I use Mod Organizer).

Edited by Contrathetix
typo extermination
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