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Which part should I upgrade in my gaming PC?

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June 9, 2013 12:25:06 PM

Hi all,

I've had some luck on here before when first creating my system a few years back, however recently I've noticed some issues with it, FPS and the like in certain games.

I'm not 100% whats causing it as I've had the Rig tested and went with a clean install to no avail.
In any case, I'm hoping an upgrade will solve my problems, and I quite like the idea of having a top tear rig regardless.

My current specs are as follows:

Motherboard: Assus Sabertooth X58
GPU: MSI GTX 580
CPU: Intel i7 950
RAM: (Corsair XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 SDRAM Memory ) x2 ---> 12Gb of Ram
PSU: XFX 850W
Case: Silverstone Fortress FT02B-W
Heatsink: Thermaltake Frio CLP0564 CPU Cooler
Soundcard: ASUS Xonar
Wls Network Cd: TP-Link TL-WN781ND

SSD: OCZ VERTEX 80Gb
HD: 1TB Samsung HD103SJ SATA F3


My thought is that my graphics card should be upgraded, or possibly my CPU as it was one of the first (relatively speaking) i7s.

Does anything stand out in regards to conflicting parts? And if not, which graphics card or CPU would you recommend?
My budget is around £250 to £300.

My thanks in advance.

More about : part upgrade gaming

a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 12:35:34 PM

chronochaz said:
Hi all,

I've had some luck on here before when first creating my system a few years back, however recently I've noticed some issues with it, FPS and the like in certain games.

I'm not 100% whats causing it as I've had the Rig tested and went with a clean install to no avail.
In any case, I'm hoping an upgrade will solve my problems, and I quite like the idea of having a top tear rig regardless.

My current specs are as follows:

Motherboard: Assus Sabertooth X58
GPU: MSI GTX 580
CPU: Intel i7 950
RAM: (Corsair XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 SDRAM Memory ) x2 ---> 12Gb of Ram
PSU: XFX 850W
Case: Silverstone Fortress FT02B-W
Heatsink: Thermaltake Frio CLP0564 CPU Cooler
Soundcard: ASUS Xonar
Wls Network Cd: TP-Link TL-WN781ND

SSD: OCZ VERTEX 80Gb
HD: 1TB Samsung HD103SJ SATA F3


My thought is that my graphics card should be upgraded, or possibly my CPU as it was one of the first (relatively speaking) i7s.

Does anything stand out in regards to conflicting parts? And if not, which graphics card or CPU would you recommend?
My budget is around £250 to £300.

My thanks in advance.


I wouldn't recommend a CPU upgrade. Most likely, it would involve the purchasing of a new motherboard, which is a pain, as well as quite a bit of money. If I were you, I would sell my 580 on ebay, and then put that money towards a great graphics card. From what I have seen, 250 pounds can nearly buy you a GTX 770, and with the money from the sale of your 580, you could almost certainly reach that goal.
Overall, in a system like this, the only way to go is either a). upgrade only the GPU, or b). save your money and do a completely new build. :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 12:40:01 PM

personally I think the 580 is good enough, but then so is the 950. I'm running a 580 and an i5-3570k, for 250-300 you could get a nice mobo and cpu, but you'd be struggling to fit the ram in that price range, and your ram is 1.65V which is not ideal for anything beyond your range of core processors.

Dannys suggestion of selling the 580 and getting a 770 or something is a good one, but not if you are cpu limited. which you may be.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 12:45:51 PM

13thmonkey said:
personally I think the 580 is good enough, but then so is the 950. I'm running a 580 and an i5-3570k, for 250-300 you could get a nice mobo and cpu, but you'd be struggling to fit the ram in that price range, and your ram is 1.65V which is not ideal for anything beyond your range of core processors.

Dannys suggestion of selling the 580 and getting a 770 or something is a good one, but not if you are cpu limited. which you may be.


True... I feel like if he may encounter bottle-necking with a 770 and his CPU, then he should perhaps simply save up his money and buy all new parts... Or perhaps (like you said) get a MoBo/CPU/RAM upgrade, and then later on upgrade his GPU (since his PSU can most definitely support it) :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 12:54:19 PM

I wouldn't think the cpu is bottlenecking the graphics card at all. That card should still give you good performance in games right now though. It's slightly over your budget, but if you turn around and sell your current set-up, you'll recoup that money easily enough. Not the latest and greatest either, but still very relevant performance:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£167.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£101.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.39 @ Dabs)
Total: £315.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-09 20:51 BST+0100)

I have the same cpu cooler you own, and one thing I'd like to point out as you think about upgrading; watch out for cheaper motherboards. I bought the Asus P8z77-V LK board and that cooler is too heavy for it. It caused the motherboard to flex which shorted out something and prevented me from booting my pc till I swapped out the cooler for the stock Intel one. Major disappointment for me there.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 12:56:21 PM

Swordkd said:
I wouldn't think the cpu is bottlenecking the graphics card at all. That card should still give you good performance in games right now though. It's slightly over your budget, but if you turn around and sell your current set-up, you'll recoup that money easily enough. Not the latest and greatest either, but still very relevant performance:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£167.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£101.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.39 @ Dabs)
Total: £315.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-09 20:51 BST+0100)

I have the same cpu cooler you own, and one thing I'd like to point out as you think about upgrading; watch out for cheaper motherboards. I bought the Asus P8z77-V LK board and that cooler is too heavy for it. It caused the motherboard to flex which shorted out something and prevented me from booting my pc till I swapped out the cooler for the stock Intel one. Major disappointment for me there.


At this point, go Haswell. Similar prices, improved performance and upgradability.
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June 9, 2013 1:07:28 PM

I have an identical rig to yours but with 570 sli. I just upgraded to a 780 and I'm very happy with the performance. I would only upgrade the 580 if I was you.

A 950 does not bottleneck a a 780 so keep it.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 1:08:59 PM

bumnut53 said:
I have an identical rig to yours but with 570 sli. I just upgraded to a 780 and I'm very happy with the performance. I would only upgrade the 580 if I was you.

A 950 does not bottleneck a a 780 so keep it.


Don't do a 780! If you're going to go that far, then buy a single 770. Then, later on, you can buy a second 770. SLI 770's is $150 more than a 780 for GREATLY improved performance. Plus, it allows you to pay in two increments of $400, not one increment of $650.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 1:21:55 PM

dannyboy2233 said:
Swordkd said:
I wouldn't think the cpu is bottlenecking the graphics card at all. That card should still give you good performance in games right now though. It's slightly over your budget, but if you turn around and sell your current set-up, you'll recoup that money easily enough. Not the latest and greatest either, but still very relevant performance:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£167.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£101.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.39 @ Dabs)
Total: £315.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-09 20:51 BST+0100)

I have the same cpu cooler you own, and one thing I'd like to point out as you think about upgrading; watch out for cheaper motherboards. I bought the Asus P8z77-V LK board and that cooler is too heavy for it. It caused the motherboard to flex which shorted out something and prevented me from booting my pc till I swapped out the cooler for the stock Intel one. Major disappointment for me there.


At this point, go Haswell. Similar prices, improved performance and upgradability.


There is a 60 to 80 dollar price premium for going with Haswell over IB at this time. The performance gains are negligible at this time, not even matching the gains going from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge. Haswell also draws more power, and isn't seen to overclock as well as IB. Socket 1150 is a brand new socket however, but I doubt most people who upgraded to that socket and Haswell would buy the brand new cpu for their board once it's released in the future anyways.

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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 3:27:13 PM

Swordkd said:
dannyboy2233 said:
Swordkd said:
I wouldn't think the cpu is bottlenecking the graphics card at all. That card should still give you good performance in games right now though. It's slightly over your budget, but if you turn around and sell your current set-up, you'll recoup that money easily enough. Not the latest and greatest either, but still very relevant performance:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£167.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£101.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.39 @ Dabs)
Total: £315.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-09 20:51 BST+0100)

I have the same cpu cooler you own, and one thing I'd like to point out as you think about upgrading; watch out for cheaper motherboards. I bought the Asus P8z77-V LK board and that cooler is too heavy for it. It caused the motherboard to flex which shorted out something and prevented me from booting my pc till I swapped out the cooler for the stock Intel one. Major disappointment for me there.


At this point, go Haswell. Similar prices, improved performance and upgradability.


There is a 60 to 80 dollar price premium for going with Haswell over IB at this time. The performance gains are negligible at this time, not even matching the gains going from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge. Haswell also draws more power, and isn't seen to overclock as well as IB. Socket 1150 is a brand new socket however, but I doubt most people who upgraded to that socket and Haswell would buy the brand new cpu for their board once it's released in the future anyways.



Haswell draws LESS power. That was the whole point of the upgrade... Haswell is primarily for use in mobile computing, so they have made them draw less power. I'm not sure where you're finding your information, but I'd take a second look...
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 5:12:31 PM

dannyboy2233 said:
Swordkd said:
dannyboy2233 said:
Swordkd said:
I wouldn't think the cpu is bottlenecking the graphics card at all. That card should still give you good performance in games right now though. It's slightly over your budget, but if you turn around and sell your current set-up, you'll recoup that money easily enough. Not the latest and greatest either, but still very relevant performance:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£167.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£101.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.39 @ Dabs)
Total: £315.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-09 20:51 BST+0100)

I have the same cpu cooler you own, and one thing I'd like to point out as you think about upgrading; watch out for cheaper motherboards. I bought the Asus P8z77-V LK board and that cooler is too heavy for it. It caused the motherboard to flex which shorted out something and prevented me from booting my pc till I swapped out the cooler for the stock Intel one. Major disappointment for me there.


At this point, go Haswell. Similar prices, improved performance and upgradability.


There is a 60 to 80 dollar price premium for going with Haswell over IB at this time. The performance gains are negligible at this time, not even matching the gains going from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge. Haswell also draws more power, and isn't seen to overclock as well as IB. Socket 1150 is a brand new socket however, but I doubt most people who upgraded to that socket and Haswell would buy the brand new cpu for their board once it's released in the future anyways.



Haswell draws LESS power. That was the whole point of the upgrade... Haswell is primarily for use in mobile computing, so they have made them draw less power. I'm not sure where you're finding your information, but I'd take a second look...


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-4770k-haswe... Got the information from Tom's naturally.

The lower power consumption are for the mobile sku's. The 3770k actually draws less power while in use than the 4770k. Idle it draws less power, but who cares? Here's another link for ya: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7003/the-haswell-review-i...
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 5:28:42 PM

Swordkd said:
dannyboy2233 said:
Swordkd said:
dannyboy2233 said:
Swordkd said:
I wouldn't think the cpu is bottlenecking the graphics card at all. That card should still give you good performance in games right now though. It's slightly over your budget, but if you turn around and sell your current set-up, you'll recoup that money easily enough. Not the latest and greatest either, but still very relevant performance:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£167.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£101.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.39 @ Dabs)
Total: £315.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-09 20:51 BST+0100)

I have the same cpu cooler you own, and one thing I'd like to point out as you think about upgrading; watch out for cheaper motherboards. I bought the Asus P8z77-V LK board and that cooler is too heavy for it. It caused the motherboard to flex which shorted out something and prevented me from booting my pc till I swapped out the cooler for the stock Intel one. Major disappointment for me there.


At this point, go Haswell. Similar prices, improved performance and upgradability.


There is a 60 to 80 dollar price premium for going with Haswell over IB at this time. The performance gains are negligible at this time, not even matching the gains going from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge. Haswell also draws more power, and isn't seen to overclock as well as IB. Socket 1150 is a brand new socket however, but I doubt most people who upgraded to that socket and Haswell would buy the brand new cpu for their board once it's released in the future anyways.



Haswell draws LESS power. That was the whole point of the upgrade... Haswell is primarily for use in mobile computing, so they have made them draw less power. I'm not sure where you're finding your information, but I'd take a second look...


http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-4770k-haswe... Got the information from Tom's naturally.

The lower power consumption are for the mobile sku's. The 3770k actually draws less power while in use than the 4770k. Idle it draws less power, but who cares? Here's another link for ya: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7003/the-haswell-review-i...


Anandtech is completely biased towards Intel... I wouldn't take everything they say completely seriously...
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 5:47:22 PM

That's an Intel vs. Intel article though. Tom's says the same thing as well. Under load, Haswell draws more power, which will ultimately affect the max stable overclocks.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 6:49:40 PM

Swordkd said:
That's an Intel vs. Intel article though. Tom's says the same thing as well. Under load, Haswell draws more power, which will ultimately affect the max stable overclocks.


But wasn't the whole point of Haswell to decrease power consumption on ALL processors, especially mobile (but still with desktop)?
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a b 4 Gaming
June 9, 2013 7:43:41 PM

Apparently idle it draws quite a bit less power. How that benefits the desktop market IDK. I do know that the mobile cores are getting a different revision, and presumably they will draw less power even under load.
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June 11, 2013 3:52:15 PM

Swordkd said:
I wouldn't think the cpu is bottlenecking the graphics card at all. That card should still give you good performance in games right now though. It's slightly over your budget, but if you turn around and sell your current set-up, you'll recoup that money easily enough. Not the latest and greatest either, but still very relevant performance:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£167.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£101.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.39 @ Dabs)
Total: £315.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-09 20:51 BST+0100)

I have the same cpu cooler you own, and one thing I'd like to point out as you think about upgrading; watch out for cheaper motherboards. I bought the Asus P8z77-V LK board and that cooler is too heavy for it. It caused the motherboard to flex which shorted out something and prevented me from booting my pc till I swapped out the cooler for the stock Intel one. Major disappointment for me there.



Hey All,

Thanks For getting back to me, though it did seem to spark a Haswell / IB Discussion :) 
If I was to save up, which would probably be until around christmas, do you think the parts I would be getting would differ greatly from i5/Z77 combo you've suggested?
Though from looking I'm not 100% that I'd be able to fit in my soundcard or wireless card in that board...

I wondering how much I could take from my current build to a full upgrade, and weather it would be worth working my way there in increments of parts. Ultimately I do want to end up with a top tier gaming PC... Just like this build was a few years back.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2013 3:58:48 PM

chronochaz said:
Swordkd said:
I wouldn't think the cpu is bottlenecking the graphics card at all. That card should still give you good performance in games right now though. It's slightly over your budget, but if you turn around and sell your current set-up, you'll recoup that money easily enough. Not the latest and greatest either, but still very relevant performance:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£167.99 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£101.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.39 @ Dabs)
Total: £315.37
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-09 20:51 BST+0100)

I have the same cpu cooler you own, and one thing I'd like to point out as you think about upgrading; watch out for cheaper motherboards. I bought the Asus P8z77-V LK board and that cooler is too heavy for it. It caused the motherboard to flex which shorted out something and prevented me from booting my pc till I swapped out the cooler for the stock Intel one. Major disappointment for me there.



Hey All,

Thanks For getting back to me, though it did seem to spark a Haswell / IB Discussion :) 
If I was to save up, which would probably be until around christmas, do you think the parts I would be getting would differ greatly from i5/Z77 combo you've suggested?
Though from looking I'm not 100% that I'd be able to fit in my soundcard or wireless card in that board...

I wondering how much I could take from my current build to a full upgrade, and weather it would be worth working my way there in increments of parts. Ultimately I do want to end up with a top tier gaming PC... Just like this build was a few years back.


No, it wouldn't. Unless AMD releases a new chipset/processor generation between now and then, the same exact products will be out (most likely), with the exceptions of perhaps new AMD GPU's and HDD's, other things of that nature.
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a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2013 6:31:35 PM

The next AMD Cpu will still be a socket AM3+. Since Intel just release Haswell, they are sitting on that for at least another year. Haswell is a better Cpu than IB, but it's not worth the price premium right now. Around Christmas it will most likely be worth getting Haswell over IB, much like it was worth getting IB over Sandy Bridge six weeks ago.

Your video card is still very good. I'm not so sure about your sound card because I stopped following that part of the PC market once the onboard sound solutions started be more than adequate, and they stopped killing Cpu performance. Used to be the onboard sound drew heavily on Cpu resources, so it just made sense to get a separate sound card. With how cheap wireless network interface components are, I wouldn't worry about it. If you need to, just buy another one.
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