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Question General gaming PC. Build vs. upgrade my 3rd gen i5.

Blue_Max

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2011
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Let's do this right! ;)

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. Gaming! interested in Star Citizen, Civ6, Space Engineers, just most games in general.

2. What YOUR budget is. Appx. $400US / $500 Canadian.

3. What country : Canada.

4. IF you're buying parts OUTSIDE the US, please post a link to the vendor you'll be buying from: Favorite store is MemoryExpress.com

5. IF YOU have a brand preference. Would prefer AMD processors, but will still go Intel if the price/performance is there.

6. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.
Current sys: Dell Optiplex w/ i5-3450, 4x4GB DDR3-1600, Radeon RX-570 4GB, brand new 1TB SATA SSD, various ATX cases and good 500W Bronze power supply.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds. Will only overclock if it's VERY easy!

8. What resolution, not monitor size, will you be using? 1080P @ 75hz w/ Freesync.

9. WHEN do you plan to build it? ASAP!

Okay, here's the dilemma. Budget's not big enough to buy everything all at once. My options are:
A) Upgrade CPU to the Xeon equivalent of an i7-3770 for about $80C then another $300-500+ into a faster video card like the GTX 1660 Super or Radeon 5600 XT (Problem with the AMD route is it may demand too much power and the cards are usually too large to fit the interior of the Dell system. Might even upgrade that RAM to 24-32GB if I find a good deal.
I could even sell the RX-570 for $150C given the current market.

...or...
B) Keep the RX-570 a bit longer and REPLACE the CPU/mobo/RAM to a current generation. The Dell will make a backup gamer for guests with another old card I have. Best contenders are likely the AMD 3600 or the Intel i5-10400. I recall the Intel 10th-gen is quite the power-sucker though, meaning I'd need a better power supply if I wanted much more video in the near future.

Even with the i7-3770 (which I had before but just gave to my kid), Star Citizen was just as pokey, even on LOW setting! Kingdom Come Deliverance sure ran faster on the i7 though...
Just got Civ6 and considering how much I've played Civ4, I'll probably love it and want turns to go by quickly.

so... your thoughts? Video + 3770 or modernize the CPU/mobo/RAM and keep my RX-570 a while longer?

(You can see here the drive cage preventing large cards. It's riveted in so removing it will be quite the undertaking...)
7010.jpgThanks, gang! ;)
 
Last edited:
Feb 4, 2009
27,883
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Oh boy a Star Citizen build question.

My on topic two cents
Wait on the video card, between generations is a tough time to buy.
Your machine is decently at the moment.
I loaded Star Citizen around Jan 2020 and it looked pretty but ran sluggish on my 3800x/1660ti/32GB ram machine. I am saying if Smooth playing Star Citizen is the goal that may be unobtainable at this time.
 
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Blue_Max

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2011
4,227
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That's a good point. When you look at the charts, barely anything gives "good" performance in the nowhere-near finished game. Maybe I should edit the top post to reflect "ALL GAMES ON AVERAGE" as opposed to just the one. ;)

Part of me just doesn't want to sink $100-200 in old tech like the 3770 CPU and DDR3.
There are performance gains for upgrading CPUs. There are performance gains for upgrading video card.
It's tough to weigh out which one I'll "feel" more and appreciate... ;)
 
Last edited:
Feb 4, 2009
27,883
8,366
136
That's a good point. When you look at the charts, barely anything gives "good" performance in the nowhere-near finished game. Maybe I should edit the top post to reflect "ALL GAMES ON AVERAGE" as opposed to just the one. ;)

Part of me just doesn't want to sink $100-200 in old tech like the 3770 CPU and DDR3.
There are performance gains for upgrading CPUs. There are performance gains for upgrading video card.
It's tough to weigh out which one I'll "feel" more and appreciate... ;)
Without knowing you finances or how urgent this is to do.
I think your machine is more than capable of running Civ 6 and most modern games at lets say medium settings.
A new graphics card would help but that is end of the line for your machine.
Ryzen processors are very affordable now, I’m sure in a month or two we will have more info on what AMD plans in the graphics card space, memory is affordable and motherboards are affordable.
Really this comes down to what you expect out of games ultra vs medium vs low settings and what you are willing to pay or how long you are willing to wait.

Really keep in mind Star Citizen runs slow for everyone and god knows when that will change.
 
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MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
391
30
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Heya,

I would rebuild a better core system and keep using that 570 GPU for now. A new architecture with faster memory and all that would be a good thing for all games. That 570 should handle most games fine at 1080p except for games that nothing can run great at the moment (StarCitizen).

Very best,
 

Blue_Max

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2011
4,227
152
106
Makes me wish I'd grabbed that AMD 3300X when it arrived at my local shop. That batch lasted a DAY and they were all gone again! Very hot item and I can see why! ;) Still, if I'm going to upgrade I might as well go to the i5-10400 or 3600 as kind of a minimum. Still leaning AMD for a few bucks more but save power and a little overclocking.
 

Blue_Max

Diamond Member
Jul 7, 2011
4,227
152
106
Okay, I found a screaming deal on a used 3770 chip (and he threw in a free 8gb stick on top!) bringing me back up to i7 and 20GB DDR3-1600.

What. A. Difference! I'd only gone back down to i5 for a few weeks (gave my previous 3770 to my kid) but the difference is so noticeable!
Kingdom Come Deliverance went from ~45FPS to ~70.
Elite Dangerous didn't get those awful frame dips.
Even Star Citizen didn't get those long pauses and frame time is definitely better.
... the difference is so huge I'd almost think the i5 was a slow low-voltage variant or downright defective!

So, with $400 saved from not upgrading mobo/cpu/ram for maybe one more year, I can see if the new technology is enough to make the leap. In the meantime, I'm definitely back in "good enough to have fun" territory.

Hope my findings help anyone else in the same boat. I've got a buddy at work with a 6th/7th-gen i5 I've encouraged to find a cheap used i7 for. Jeez-a-loo he's got a GTX 1080 that's just crippled by that CPU!
 

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