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Should I upgrade my HD 5770s, CPU/Mobo, or is there a way to have both on my budget?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 14, 2014 9:10:25 AM

I'm looking for some advice on either upgrading my graphics cards, upgrading my Core components, or both. I'm looking to do this within the next month or so and my budget is around $500. I got a PS4 for christmas and have decided to return it as I don't see myself getting much use out of it. I'm not sure how much they paid for it, but I'm assuming either $399 or $499. Whichever it is I am willing to go about $100 higher than that or $150 at the most. I mainly use newegg.com for all my parts, however, I currently live in the UK so shipping is not as good a deal for me anymore and if there is a site which is UK based offering the same components for the same price or less I would probably consider it.

Currently my PC has the following Specs:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE; Socket AM3; 3.4Ghz non-overclocked
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

12GB Corsair Dominator/XMS3 DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(I am aware my RAM is not in optimal configuration; I noticed some apps performed better this way and there was no performance hit overall)

2x ATI HD 5770 pci-e crossfire
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

750Watt Antec Truepower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec 900 Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4 HDD Sata 2-3
1 SSD Sata 3
1 CD/DVD Sata ?

Now the big question I guess is if my current CPU is holding back the rest of my system. I have been told that it is even though I still feel like the computer itself is solid for nearly everything I want it to do. My PC is the media hub for my entire house. I want to have better performance for everything, but mainly multimedia and gaming.

I do the occasional photo editing using photoshop and some audio/video editing when the mood hits and I like this to go as smooth as possible. Everyday use, however, consists of home-theater usage and medium gaming. I currently use two displays (one monitor and a TV from my choice of room) both running at 1920x1080 resolutions. I do not need to go bigger than this, but I will be getting a 1920x1200 monitor to either replace my current one or add as a third display within the next week. My GPU must have a HDMI port with audio for movies and be able to handle playing games such as Starcraft2, LoL, Simcity 5, WoW, DayZ, and possibly GTA V while simultaneously playing an HD movie on a second monitor without much issue. I would enjoy playing games like tomb-raider and Assassin's Creed Black flag without multi-monitoring, but that would almost be considered a bonus. (Currently I can play Tomb Raider on Medium"ish" with a desireable framerate) The biggest fear I have is not being able to play GTAV when it is finally released for PC.

I have been considering an AMD r9 280(x) or Nvidia 770 for the price points. My main concern with the 280 line is the size of the card and the amount of heat it produces. Noise isn't much of a concern as my computer is already pretty loud, but if possible I don't want to "add" to the noise level. There is also the concern I have that my computer in its current state will not see a huge benefit from this card. Although I have only owned AMD products to this point I don't really care which brand it is as long as it works and I am still open to thoughts on a better card for my needs.

The parts I have been considering for the CPU/Mobo are the following

ASUS Motherboard (2 Sata III ports and USB 3.0)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel i5 3570 Ivy Bridge 3.4 ghz socket 1155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I did my research and the i5 seemed to always be in the top of the benchmarks and it is a good price. I don't plan to overclock so I did not opt for the "K" version. The motherboard I picked because it is a good price and offers 2 Sata III ports for my higher-speed drives and enough for the rest. If there's any other cheaper boards that offer this I would consider them. I can use my existing RAM with these pieces as well. They cost me about $360 in the end leaving a little room for a cheaper graphics card.

Which route should I take and what components would give me the best upgrade for my budget?
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January 14, 2014 9:24:48 AM

personally i would suggest the cpu/mobo combo rather than the video cards, as with that motherboard, you can always upgrade to the i5 k version, or the i7 cpu when the time to upgrade again rolls around. Also your current cards are pretty good, but can be upgraded as you need (the newer cpu will give you quite a bit higher min fps in games (so better average). You can always upgrade your gpu later
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January 14, 2014 9:25:33 AM

http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/1Nubw

Keeps you AMD, but gives you a good boost in performance all around with the 6300, 270x, and ability to crossfire in the future.
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January 14, 2014 9:27:59 AM

The 280x and 770 are neck and neck in terms of performance, and if you get an aftermarket card, you can cut down the noise, and heat. They are also pretty much the same size (with the biggest aftermarket ones being about 12 inches
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January 14, 2014 9:45:12 AM

I tend to avoid dual card solutions, mainly due to power consumption inefficiency vs the performance (important if you pay for power) a single card solution will also always have better frametime variance and provide a less jittery gaming experience

at the moment, nvidia high end cards (760,770, and 780) are the better high end cards in north america. I ONLY say this because of the price increase the amd side has undergone since the mining craze took off. In many other countries the amd cards are still cheap, and so are a better buy as far as the 280x vs the 770, or the 290 vs the 780.

I would love to recommend amd products more, but the fact is, there is a lot of negativity towards the company recently. Their marketing schemes are borderline dirty (mantle promise to sell cards more effectively, but then delaying it now over 2 months and no real world gaming performance numbers...and i don't mean demos made with mantle, i mean actual games that can be measured between a mantle amd card and a nvidia card). They did the same thing with the generation before last's cpus, by releasing the motherboards nearly 6 months before the CPUs, promising great performance, but not delivering upon release.

This has just been my personal "being burnt" by amd. Their products are by no means "bad", but you tend to have to do much more research to find out the truth in terms of performance. For the money, Amd can be great, but you need to make sure you are buying the appropriate product for your needs. (the same can be said for intel and nvidia of course, but honestly, they just seem to be more up front about performance and easier to determine what you are getting (i3 is basic, i5 is pretty all around good, and the i7 is top teir).

This is ALL personal preference and is obviously not cold hard truth. Hope you get your build up and running to the best ability your money can buy :) 
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January 15, 2014 10:09:03 AM

HiTechObsessed said:
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/1Nubw

Keeps you AMD, but gives you a good boost in performance all around with the 6300, 270x, and ability to crossfire in the future.


Thank you for the recommendation. I am considering what those pieces, but I might be able to squeeze in the i5 3570. The price difference is almost exactly $100. If I can manage that, in your opinion, do you think the i5 would be worth it?

Also I am between these two versions of the 270x. The main difference being 2gb vs 4gb. I saw some people say not to get the 4gb if there was no plan to x-fire so would that be overkill? I would probably end up with a second 270x down the line at some point, but would the 4gb be more beneficial to me because of my multi-monitor setup or the 2gb with its higher clocks.

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January 15, 2014 11:14:48 AM

bayates826 said:
HiTechObsessed said:
http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/1Nubw

Keeps you AMD, but gives you a good boost in performance all around with the 6300, 270x, and ability to crossfire in the future.


Thank you for the recommendation. I am considering what those pieces, but I might be able to squeeze in the i5 3570. The price difference is almost exactly $100. If I can manage that, in your opinion, do you think the i5 would be worth it?

Also I am between these two versions of the 270x. The main difference being 2gb vs 4gb. I saw some people say not to get the 4gb if there was no plan to x-fire so would that be overkill? I would probably end up with a second 270x down the line at some point, but would the 4gb be more beneficial to me because of my multi-monitor setup or the 2gb with its higher clocks.



The i5 would be more beneficial, if the extra price is good for you. Going up from what I said about $100, you could get the 8-core 8320 and a GTX 760 and get better CPU and GPU performance also.

About the 2GB vs 4GB question, don't listen to the people who tell you 4gb is not worth it. It may not be able to physically use all 4, but it is capable of using over 3gb, so still an upgrade. Although, unless you're gaming on multi-monitors or a 1440-1600p monitor, the extra VRAM won't mean much for you.
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January 15, 2014 12:07:38 PM

Typically any card under the 280x and the gtx 770, there is no reason to get an upgraded memory variant
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January 15, 2014 12:07:58 PM

except for dual card solutions of course
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January 15, 2014 12:19:47 PM

Brantyn Gerik said:
except for dual card solutions of course


Right, I just wanted him to know that although the card can't use the full 4gb, it is NOT worthless. I hate seeing people on here or elsewhere telling someone they were stupid and should return the worthless 4gb card.
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January 15, 2014 12:26:57 PM

well a lot of people do buy the 4gb variant assuming it will be faster, and so for the most party, actually have made a misinformed purchase. i know when i first started out i totally wanted the higher memory model, but quickly found out that they really have a specialized purpose.
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