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Upgrading Budget Gaming PC, Change CPU or Graphics Card

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September 27, 2013 8:56:26 PM

Hello, Im a newbie. I plan to upgrade my old PC but on very tight budget so I can only upgrade my CPU or GPU first.

I currently have:
CPU: intel E5200@3.6ghz 4gb ddr2 800 ram
Graphics Card: GTX 460 768mb
PSU: Hec Cougar RS 650w

Plan to upgrade:
CPU: i5 4670k 16gb ddr3 ram
or
Graphics Card: Radeon HD 7870

My main goal is Gaming, higher fps, higher graphics settings for current and future games.

Would my current cpu be a bottleneck if I upgrade my graphics card? I'm not sure if my current cpu is a bottleneck to my current graphics card.

CPU upgrade would generally increase overall performance but if a Graphics card upgrade would increase my fps and my gaming experience then it would be a cheaper upgrade for now and maybe adding a ssd for faster booting.

Or would replacing my PC with other setup be a better option? I mean replacing my cpu and graphics card with in my budget. My budget would be $400-$500

I wish you guys could help me, or any other suggestion would be great too.
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September 27, 2013 9:05:41 PM

You'll need a CPU/mobo and DDR3 RAM. I would go for those. The GPU would help more immediately, but your CPU is definitely a bottleneck, and your platform could fail for other age-related reasons.
What is the brand and model, not just wattage, of your PSU?
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September 27, 2013 9:11:13 PM

you don't need a 4600 cpu. a $179 quad core (1155 ) would be plenty. get a 50-75 mobo and 60 ddr3 1600 ram ( 2x4 )............ then you could get a $175 7950 and you're set and under budget.

as stated above .............. 4600 won't fit your board.
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September 27, 2013 9:12:21 PM

iceblast_01 said:
Hello, Im a newbie. I plan to upgrade my old PC but on very tight budget so I can only upgrade my CPU or GPU first.

I currently have:
CPU: intel E5200@3.6ghz 4gb ddr2 800 ram
Graphics Card: GTX 460 768mb

Plan to upgrade:
CPU: i5 4670k 16gb ddr3 ram
or
Graphics Card: Radeon HD 7870

My main goal is Gaming, higher fps, higher graphics settings for current and future games.

Would my current cpu be a bottleneck if I upgrade my graphics card? I'm not sure if my current cpu is a bottleneck to my current graphics card.

CPU upgrade would generally increase overall performance but if a Graphics card upgrade would increase my fps and my gaming experience then it would be a cheaper upgrade for now and maybe adding a ssd for faster booting.

Or would replacing my PC with other setup be a better option? I mean replacing my cpu and graphics card with in my budget. My budget would be $400-$500

I wish you guys could help me, or any other suggestion would be great too.


Well honestly I would upgrade the GPU first. That 460 only has 768MB of RAM, which is no where near enough. However I am thinking that CPU would do alright in about half of the games out right now.

Plus your 7870 can easily carry over to your future upgrade when RAM prices are not insane anymore.

However you really should just do a full upgrade at this point. Though personally, I would stick it out till AMD releases the R-200 series and Steamroller later this year. Prices will drop big time!
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September 27, 2013 9:17:17 PM

I edited my Post and added my PSU, I think it's 80plus bronze but upon reading reviews I think it pops when it exceeds 650 watts consumption, but i currently don't have any plans to have a dual GPU setup or a 650 watt consuming machine.
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September 27, 2013 9:17:25 PM

Based on this review: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cougar-RS-650-W-... I'd treat that PSU as good for no more than 550W. That is still enough for the upgrades suggested by Swifty_Morgan. Of course, your prices may be different, so it will be useful to know where you can shop.
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September 27, 2013 9:59:32 PM

It was very unfortunate for me buying that PSU as I was able to read the review few months after buying the PSU since the PSU I was looking was not available, and the shop suggested that crappy PSU.

I will also upgrade my motherboard, but I'm thinking of sticking with intel since they consume less power and I'm thinking of having the latest socket 1150 even though intel keeps on changing the socket every generation. also I think 3rd gen and 4th gen intel cpu have little difference in cost. Also considering a K series for overclocking and more future proofing as I also have a coolermaster v8 and plans to upgrade for water cooling in the future.

And yes the aging of my currently cpu worries me too but it would be instant upgrade for cpu for me if it fails.

CaptainTom said:

Well honestly I would upgrade the GPU first. That 460 only has 768MB of RAM, which is no where near enough. However I am thinking that CPU would do alright in about half of the games out right now.

Plus your 7870 can easily carry over to your future upgrade when RAM prices are not insane anymore.

However you really should just do a full upgrade at this point. Though personally, I would stick it out till AMD releases the R-200 series and Steamroller later this year. Prices will drop big time!


Thanks for reminding me of that R-200 series, also considering their $200 range for that series instead of the 7870 if they would have better performance.

Even though not maximizing the GPU due to my CPU but would uprading my GPU first increase my fps for current games?

As upgrading my GPU first would save me $200 for now and that would be alot.

I plan to upgade both with 6-8 months gap.
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September 27, 2013 11:04:07 PM

iceblast_01 said:
It was very unfortunate for me buying that PSU as I was able to read the review few months after buying the PSU since the PSU I was looking was not available, and the shop suggested that crappy PSU.

I will also upgrade my motherboard, but I'm thinking of sticking with intel since they consume less power and I'm thinking of having the latest socket 1150 even though intel keeps on changing the socket every generation. also I think 3rd gen and 4th gen intel cpu have little difference in cost. Also considering a K series for overclocking and more future proofing as I also have a coolermaster v8 and plans to upgrade for water cooling in the future.

And yes the aging of my currently cpu worries me too but it would be instant upgrade for cpu for me if it fails.

CaptainTom said:

Well honestly I would upgrade the GPU first. That 460 only has 768MB of RAM, which is no where near enough. However I am thinking that CPU would do alright in about half of the games out right now.

Plus your 7870 can easily carry over to your future upgrade when RAM prices are not insane anymore.

However you really should just do a full upgrade at this point. Though personally, I would stick it out till AMD releases the R-200 series and Steamroller later this year. Prices will drop big time!


Thanks for reminding me of that R-200 series, also considering their $200 range for that series instead of the 7870 if they would have better performance.

Even though not maximizing the GPU due to my CPU but would uprading my GPU first increase my fps for current games?

As upgrading my GPU first would save me $200 for now and that would be alot.

I plan to upgade both with 6-8 months gap.


Oh certainly it would improve framerate. Like I said, 50% of games are so GPU dependent that modern Celerons can run them fine with a great GPU. 6-8 months will be just fine...
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September 27, 2013 11:47:09 PM

Thanks very much!! I've just checked and compared Fire strike scores on the same CPU and the 7870 do have higher scores than that of gtx 460, and most of the gtx 460 there has 1gb ram.

Is 3dmark's firestrike a good benchmark tool for games?

I think my e5200 won't be retiring soon as I have thought initially and I think I'll wait for the R-200 series.

Thanks for all the guys who replied and gave their opinions, It's greatly appreciated.
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