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Thread: upgrade thoughts

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    upgrade thoughts

    I currently have the below PC spec and i've been thinking about updating it, my dilemma is what to do with the limit funds available, i've listed some of my thoughts below.

    Current spec

    intel Q9550 cpu
    6GB DDR2
    AMD HD6950 2GB
    LG 22" 1680x1050

    my ideas for the xmas present budget of £300 ( or a little more if required but the less the better)

    GTX 960 4GB & 24" or 27" 1080 monitor = around £270-£280

    or

    intel G4500, ASrock Z170A-X1 motherboard, 8GB DDR4 = £197.26

    or

    intel G4500, ASrock Z170A-X1 motherboard, 8GB DDR4 & GTX960 4GB = £360.41

    or

    intel i3 6300 , ASrock Z170A-X1 motherboard, 8GB DDR4 ( GTX960 4GB ) = £247.84 (£410.99)

    or

    intel i5 6500, ASrock Z170A-X1 motherboard, 8GB DDR4 ( GTX960 4GB ) = £291.06 (£454.21)

    obviously if you have any thoughts on the spec i'd appreciate them

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    None of the above. For the first option the R9 380 4GB is far better on your budget because you can afford it alongside a variable refresh rate monitor like AOC's G2460VQ6. A variable refresh rate monitor for the 960 (G-sync) would cost £300 on it's own.

    The others apart from the last are all spending a lot of money on a motherboard that would give you far better returns spent on the CPU unless you need specific features on the board.

    You don't say what you're using the machine for. I'm guessing gaming at least, anything else that's likely to have an impact on component choice?

    I would say you're either looking at R9 380 4GB + Adaptive Sync Monitor for £280-300 or an i5+motherboard+memory for £200-300. I'd probably lean towards the CPU, but they're closely enough matched that the graphics card and monitor may be a better choice if you don't tend to play CPU intensive games.

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    the plan is to game more than I currently do and run StarWars Battlefront.

    the motherboard is only £89 and has usb 3 which is what i wanted as a minimum as i dont play updating for a few more years again.

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Currently Pixmania are doing MSI Z170A PC Mate mobo for £64.49 and Corsair Vengeance LPX 2 x 4 GB 2133MHz RAM for £27.45. That delivered will set you back £98.84, then I'd couple it with an i5 6600 via Amazon for £155, so grand total £253.84.

    The i5 6600 config vs i3 6300 is only an extra £6, vs the i5 6500 config you save £37.22. Only thing lacking on the MSI board vs the Asrock I noted was 1x USB 3.1 Type-C.

    Bare in mind the Amazon i5 6600 is a pre-order I know of HUKD members waiting 7-14 days for one, to me worth the wait for decent price/chip.

    IIRC from something I read I wouldn't consider anything below the i3 for gaming, also noted people who jumped on G3258 swapping out due to say stuttering in game.
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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    IMNSHO Q9550 is still is a decent CPU. Any overclock on it? For gaming a GPU upgrade is probably going to see the biggest immediate return, but the relatively low single-thread performance of a stock-clocked Core 2 Quad may become an issue. If you can get a decent overclock on the Q9550 I reckon it'll last you a bit longer.


    Have you taken account of any return you can get from selling your old components when setting the budget? Q9550 + 6GB of RAM should be worth something to someone - that's still a decent bit of kit to a non- or casual gamer! It might stretch the budget nearer to a complete upgrade.

    One other consideration - although it's always a slightly suspect one when thinking about upgrades - is what's coming up in the next 6 months or so. usually it's not worth considering, but there are rumours of a new platform from AMD, possibly with Zen CPUs, in the next 6 months, which could change the picture quite a bit. If you can make do with your existing kit for a bit longer it might be worth seeing what happens with that...

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    If you can get a decent overclock on the Q9550 I reckon it'll last you a bit longer.
    Depends what OPs expectations / settings for gaming are.

    My Q6600 is OC'd to 3.555GHz using the default multiplier of 9x395 (FSB effectively 1580MHz), my RAM is clocked at 1058MHz. I'd get stutters and hitches in newer games with higher settings, if I lowered the settings IMO I was wasting newer GPUs potential, res I was using was 1080P.

    When I did place my Q6600/RAM/MOBO/HSF on ebay the money I was getting in my view was way too low for decent set of hardware, so I kept it.
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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    I didn't think there were any rumours of Zen CPUs in the next six months, I was under the impression that we'd see the AM4 platform with some entry level excavator-based CPUs in the spring and then Zen towards the end of the year at a similar time to Kaby Lake. AMD have got such a gap to make up that Zen Mk1 isn't likely to be anything more then competitive, I wouldn't expect you to be able to get substantially more performance for your money after it releases.

    The Q9550 is pretty slow by today's standards, in the best case it'll keep up with a £30 G1820, in the worst case it's half the speed:
    http://www.techspot.com/article/1039...red/page5.html

    I think the 6950 is somewhere around R7 360 level isn't it?

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Thanks for all the ideas so far :-)

    looking at the performance of my current spec it seems to be limiting with any CPU intensive games, I just built a PC for my son within a £420 budget inc OS (base & screen) and it got me thinking along this path, I managed to get a Skylake G4400 build for him ( last year his sister was Haswell G3220) it seems both these machine if fitted with a decent GFX card would beat my old Q9550 hands down ( looking at the last post from EndlessWaves link) a Celeron wins most the tests LOL

    I've bought Starwars Battlefront for the PC and have to run it in a window in order to play it ( it fails to meet minimum spec across all parts )

    I want to be able to play more going forward and was looking for a place to start, be it just graphics card and a new 1920x1080 24" or 27" monitor to replace the old 1680x1050 22" screen or to replace the guts to a new Skylake build and hold off on the graphics (not sure if i can stretch to all in one go) I don't understand all the AMD formats etc and would like to get DDR4 having pretty much missed the DDR3 era as my days of money to burn on 6-12 monthly updates are well and truly gone, this could be another 7/8 year lifespan machine.

    looking at it all above i can get it all slightly over budget albeit with a G4500 CPU and not an i3 or i5, is this worth it or should i hold off the graphics until later when i can afford it and get the i5 build for now?

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Boon72 View Post
    my days of money to burn on 6-12 monthly updates are well and truly gone, this could be another 7/8 year lifespan machine.
    This was my exact scenario when I built my i5 4690K in Q1 2015, so if I was in your shoes currently I'd go i5 6600.
    i5 4690K @ 4.9GHz CPU@1.255v 4.4GHz Cache@1.10v - Archon SB-E X2 - Asus Maximus VII Ranger
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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaves View Post
    ... The Q9550 is pretty slow by today's standards, in the best case it'll keep up with a £30 G1820, in the worst case it's half the speed ...
    That'd be stock clocked, which I did say might be an issue The Q9550 is a better CPU than a Q6600 (larger caches being the most important difference) but yes, it would need a decent overclock to catch up the IPC gains made in the 5 generations since it was released

    There's no reliable news about what AMD's plans are with AM4/Zen. I wouldn't rule out Zen appearing in the first half of next year, but realistically no-one outside of AMD knows. But a new platform launching, and possibly new CPUs, might make it worth waiting if the OP can put up with their current machine for a bit longer. Always worth consideration, even if the decision is not to wait.

    The 6970 is generally a bit ahead of an R7 260X: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/product/1061?vs=1044 so the 6950 ~ R7 360 comparison is probably about right. It's not really going to handle 1080p that well in modern games at high detail settings.

    Personally I wouldn't buy a cheap processor now only to upgrade it again in the future; that's just spending money twice for no benefit. If you can only afford one upgrade now then pick either the GPU or the sub-system and get something that'll last.

    You don't seem to be choosing k-series unlocked processors so why not go for an H110 motherboard? They start at nearer £40 for DDR4 supporting boards, all seem to have USB 3.0 (some have 3.1) and SATA 3 (6Gbps): the only real compromise is only getting 1 DIMM slot per channel but an H110 board + 16GB (2x8GB) is no more expensive (and probably cheaper) than a Z170 board + 8GB, if you want some level of future proofing. An H110 board, 16GB of DDR4 and an i5 6400/6500 will come in at well under £300 and should cover pretty much all the bases for 5+ years...

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Boon72 View Post
    I don't understand all the AMD formats etc
    Same as usual, and same as nVidia, really. It's all in the second number. A 380 is faster than a 370. Ignore the R# bit at the start, that was supposed to be some sort of category (entry level, mid-range etc.) but it didn't work out that way and half the cards in the range ended up being R9s.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boon72 View Post
    and would like to get DDR4 having pretty much missed the DDR3 era as my days of money to burn on 6-12 monthly updates are well and truly gone, this could be another 7/8 year lifespan machine.

    looking at it all above i can get it all slightly over budget albeit with a G4500 CPU and not an i3 or i5, is this worth it or should i hold off the graphics until later when i can afford it and get the i5 build for now?
    There have been a few benchmarks lately showing oddly low results in Intel Celeron/Pentium processors as well as DDR4-2133. As most of the hardware sites these days have their head in the clouds reviewing £300+ CPUs there hasn't been much investigation and I've yet to come across an article that offers an explanation why or a prediction whether the problem will get worse or better in the future.

    Generally the finger on the processor issue seems to be pointed at their lack of SMT (hyper-threading) but I haven't seen any tests using an i3 with SMT turned off to see if that is correct.

    Either way, it is something to be aware of.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    That'd be stock clocked, which I did say might be an issue The Q9550 is a better CPU than a Q6600 (larger caches being the most important difference) but yes, it would need a decent overclock to catch up the IPC gains made in the 5 generations since it was released
    Although now that FSB overclocking is back for Skylake all of the other processors would get a similar boost.

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    Personally I wouldn't buy a cheap processor now only to upgrade it again in the future; that's just spending money twice for no benefit.
    That depends on how much cheaper and how soon you upgrade. Half the lifespan at half the price favours the cheaper processor because you spend the same amount per year and get the newer technology thrown in for free when you upgrade.

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaves View Post
    ... now that FSB overclocking is back for Skylake all of the other processors would get a similar boost. ...
    True, but that would require buying a Skylake processor My point was that a decent overclock on the Q9550 might allay the need to upgrade the CPU/Mobo/RAM for a few months while more money is saved up. I imagine any stock-clocked Skylake would beat any overclocked Core 2 Quad - although the possibility of FSB overclocking definitely increases the desirability of Skylake.

    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaves View Post
    ... Half the lifespan at half the price favours the cheaper processor because you spend the same amount per year and get the newer technology thrown in for free when you upgrade. ...
    That only works if you have any confidence in new CPUs being available on today's socket in 3 years' time. Given Intel's recent history of socket changes I'm somewhat cynical about that possibility...

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    That only works if you have any confidence in new CPUs being available on today's socket in 3 years' time. Given Intel's recent history of socket changes I'm somewhat cynical about that possibility...
    Yeah, I meant total price (CPU & Motherboard) rather than just CPU price alone.

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaves View Post
    Same as usual, and same as nVidia, really. It's all in the second number. A 380 is faster than a 370. Ignore the R# bit at the start, that was supposed to be some sort of category (entry level, mid-range etc.) but it didn't work out that way and half the cards in the range ended up being R9s.

    it was more the AMD processors rather than the graphics cards, reading various places the AMD Zen platform & DDR4 might not make it until 2017.

    There have been a few benchmarks lately showing oddly low results in Intel Celeron/Pentium processors as well as DDR4-2133. As most of the hardware sites these days have their head in the clouds reviewing £300+ CPUs there hasn't been much investigation and I've yet to come across an article that offers an explanation why or a prediction whether the problem will get worse or better in the future.

    I saw reviews with the i3's using 2133mhz and then the 2666mhz an that makes quite a big different on its own, Ive already decided on the faster ram as it only a few £'s more per stick and Ive chosen 1 x 8Gb so i can add more later

    Generally the finger on the processor issue seems to be pointed at their lack of SMT (hyper-threading) but I haven't seen any tests using an i3 with SMT turned off to see if that is correct.

    Either way, it is something to be aware of.



    Although now that FSB overclocking is back for Skylake all of the other processors would get a similar boost.

    Ive seen this and that's why i chose the Z170 over the H170 or lower

    That depends on how much cheaper and how soon you upgrade. Half the lifespan at half the price favours the cheaper processor because you spend the same amount per year and get the newer technology thrown in for free when you upgrade.
    interesting thoughts

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    Re: upgrade thoughts

    my best advice is to get a skylake [more pcie lanes ] or at least a broadwell/haswell motherboard and buy a low power socket-compatible cpu for the time being. then you can upgrade to a better cpu/gpu in the future without being afraid of your setup being bottlenecked or lacking modern features

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