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Upgrading PC For Under $500 (Excluding the GPU)

Tags:
  • GPUs
  • Nvidia
  • Tom's Guide
  • Customization
  • PC gaming
Last response: in Systems
May 10, 2014 12:56:14 PM

I am looking to have a custom built PC with the budget of under $500 since I am currently using my nVidia GTX 750 Ti. I will need an upgrade for my processor (current: Intel Core i5-3330S) and I am fine with any motherboard as well as 8 Gb of any RAM. I won't need a monitor included this this build but I will also prefer Windows 8 as my OS. I will mostly use this system for Gaming as well as video editing. Any case is fine as well as the power supply, I will also need a Wireless LAN Card if not included. Storage doesn't matter as long as I have at least 1TB of space.
Oh, and I forgot to mention where I prefer to get the parts at.. I'd rather have them on NCIX Canada, Canada Computers, and probably Newegg

Thanks.

More about : upgrading 500 excluding gpu

a b Î Nvidia
May 10, 2014 1:04:52 PM

what is this computer for?
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May 10, 2014 1:07:53 PM

Building a computer for $500 is very cheap, and it will be very tight.
I would recommend you just stick with your current processor and not upgrade, it's a 3rd-generation i5 and is still viable in today's standards.

I think your system will only ever pull about 400W, but I'll include a 450W+ for possibility to upgrade the GPU or CPU later on.

Considering now that you have the GPU, CPU, MOBO and RAM, we can focus on building the other components with a now, decent budget.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Storage: Western Digital RE3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($55.00 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Window ATX Mid Tower Case ($50.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($57.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN725N 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($8.88 @ Amazon)
Total: $262.83
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-05-10 16:04 EDT-0400)

This includes a great Hard Drive, Power Supply and has the Windows 8 you wanted.

You still have lots of money though, to upgrade your other components. Since your i5 currently is still a great processor, we should be looking to put the extra money into a nice graphics card. I know that you already have your 750ti, but for the money you've saved you can invest in a GPU which is much stronger than it.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital RE3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($55.00 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X 2GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($194.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Window ATX Mid Tower Case ($50.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($57.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN725N 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($8.88 @ Amazon)
Total: $485.81
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-05-10 16:07 EDT-0400)

In this build I've added a R9 270X, which is a much stronger card than the 750ti, and also a CPU cooler.
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a b Î Nvidia
May 10, 2014 1:08:58 PM

what motherboard do you have now....... what ram do you have now?
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May 10, 2014 1:14:47 PM

AgentTran said:
Building a computer for $500 is very cheap, and it will be very tight.
I would recommend you just stick with your current processor and not upgrade, it's a 3rd-generation i5 and is still viable in today's standards.

I think your system will only ever pull about 400W, but I'll include a 450W+ for possibility to upgrade the GPU or CPU later on.

Considering now that you have the GPU, CPU, MOBO and RAM, we can focus on building the other components with a now, decent budget.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Storage: Western Digital RE3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($55.00 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Window ATX Mid Tower Case ($50.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($57.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN725N 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($8.88 @ Amazon)
Total: $262.83
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-05-10 16:04 EDT-0400)

This includes a great Hard Drive, Power Supply and has the Windows 8 you wanted.

You still have lots of money though, to upgrade your other components. Since your i5 currently is still a great processor, we should be looking to put the extra money into a nice graphics card. I know that you already have your 750ti, but for the money you've saved you can invest in a GPU which is much stronger than it.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($27.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital RE3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($55.00 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X 2GB WINDFORCE Video Card ($194.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: NZXT Source 210 Window ATX Mid Tower Case ($50.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($57.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ OutletPC)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN725N 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter ($8.88 @ Amazon)
Total: $485.81
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-05-10 16:07 EDT-0400)

In this build I've added a R9 270X, which is a much stronger card than the 750ti, and also a CPU cooler.


For the CPU, it doesn't have to be and upgrade for my i5 since I want to keep my current system and just replace the GPU. The CPU can be anything around the same performance.
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a b Î Nvidia
May 10, 2014 1:20:39 PM

i only see one 95watt sandy bridge at newegg, 2600k and it's $340............
another site needs to be looked at. ( has to be 95 WATTS OR LESS ).

16gigs of ddr3 1600 ( video editing )

this is going to take more time than I have right now. will try and look, into this more later. thanks for the link.

trying to figure out if we can salvage your current mobo/case to save a little. so far so good. back later.
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May 10, 2014 1:21:38 PM

In that case, then I would recommend the i5 4440 or 4570.
If you have the money then you should look for the i5 4670K.
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May 10, 2014 1:23:16 PM

swifty_morgan said:
i only see one 95watt sandy bridge at newegg, 2600k and it's $340............
another site needs to be looked at. ( has to be 95 WATTS OR LESS ).

16gigs of ddr3 1600 ( video editing )

this is going to take more time than I have right now. will try and look, into this more later. thanks for the link.

trying to figure out if we can salvage your current mobo/case to save a little. so far so good. back later.


Alright, thanks for your help, I won't need this system ASAP so I am fine to wait about a few months since I will actually start buying parts and assembling it later on this year.
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May 10, 2014 2:31:29 PM

AgentTran said:
In that case, then I would recommend the i5 4440 or 4570.
If you have the money then you should look for the i5 4670K.


Alright, I will keep that in mind, thanks!
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May 10, 2014 2:32:19 PM

MalakiArtook said:
what is this computer for?


Gaming, and light video editing
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a c 156 Î Nvidia
June 4, 2014 7:28:13 AM

The system you have now with the 750 Ti is fine for playing games. Exactly why are you wanting to upgrade aside from just having $500 lying around? For $500 you won't really get a good upgrade over what you have now. You'd probably need $7-800 to really notice any difference in performance and to allow you to run games on higher settings and resolutions.
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June 4, 2014 12:37:42 PM

hang-the-9 said:
The system you have now with the 750 Ti is fine for playing games. Exactly why are you wanting to upgrade aside from just having $500 lying around? For $500 you won't really get a good upgrade over what you have now. You'd probably need $7-800 to really notice any difference in performance and to allow you to run games on higher settings and resolutions.


Well, right now I'm not really looking for an upgrade then, but I want something that is equivalent or something close to the performance to my old PC since I will be giving that to someone else. I have also considered the prices and will probably bump my budget up to 600.
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a c 156 Î Nvidia
June 5, 2014 9:44:19 AM

ArticFox said:
hang-the-9 said:
The system you have now with the 750 Ti is fine for playing games. Exactly why are you wanting to upgrade aside from just having $500 lying around? For $500 you won't really get a good upgrade over what you have now. You'd probably need $7-800 to really notice any difference in performance and to allow you to run games on higher settings and resolutions.


Well, right now I'm not really looking for an upgrade then, but I want something that is equivalent or something close to the performance to my old PC since I will be giving that to someone else. I have also considered the prices and will probably bump my budget up to 600.


Ah, for NOT an upgrade but a new system, $600 would get you about in the same range as yours is now, maybe a bit faster on the video side. Plenty of systems to look at in the systems section sticky posts.
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June 8, 2014 6:56:14 PM

hang-the-9 said:
ArticFox said:
hang-the-9 said:
The system you have now with the 750 Ti is fine for playing games. Exactly why are you wanting to upgrade aside from just having $500 lying around? For $500 you won't really get a good upgrade over what you have now. You'd probably need $7-800 to really notice any difference in performance and to allow you to run games on higher settings and resolutions.


Well, right now I'm not really looking for an upgrade then, but I want something that is equivalent or something close to the performance to my old PC since I will be giving that to someone else. I have also considered the prices and will probably bump my budget up to 600.


Ah, for NOT an upgrade but a new system, $600 would get you about in the same range as yours is now, maybe a bit faster on the video side. Plenty of systems to look at in the systems section sticky posts.


Alright, so let's say I choose the AMD FX-8320 as my processor, will I have the same performance as my i5?
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Best solution

a c 156 Î Nvidia
June 9, 2014 6:17:01 AM

ArticFox said:
hang-the-9 said:
ArticFox said:
hang-the-9 said:
The system you have now with the 750 Ti is fine for playing games. Exactly why are you wanting to upgrade aside from just having $500 lying around? For $500 you won't really get a good upgrade over what you have now. You'd probably need $7-800 to really notice any difference in performance and to allow you to run games on higher settings and resolutions.


Well, right now I'm not really looking for an upgrade then, but I want something that is equivalent or something close to the performance to my old PC since I will be giving that to someone else. I have also considered the prices and will probably bump my budget up to 600.


Ah, for NOT an upgrade but a new system, $600 would get you about in the same range as yours is now, maybe a bit faster on the video side. Plenty of systems to look at in the systems section sticky posts.


Alright, so let's say I choose the AMD FX-8320 as my processor, will I have the same performance as my i5?


You should not lose performance, if any games run slower it should not be enough to notice.
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June 9, 2014 6:45:54 PM

hang-the-9 said:
The system you have now with the 750 Ti is fine for playing games. Exactly why are you wanting to upgrade aside from just having $500 lying around? For $500 you won't really get a good upgrade over what you have now. You'd probably need $7-800 to really notice any difference in performance and to allow you to run games on higher settings and resolutions.


hang-the-9 said:
ArticFox said:
hang-the-9 said:
The system you have now with the 750 Ti is fine for playing games. Exactly why are you wanting to upgrade aside from just having $500 lying around? For $500 you won't really get a good upgrade over what you have now. You'd probably need $7-800 to really notice any difference in performance and to allow you to run games on higher settings and resolutions.


Well, right now I'm not really looking for an upgrade then, but I want something that is equivalent or something close to the performance to my old PC since I will be giving that to someone else. I have also considered the prices and will probably bump my budget up to 600.


Ah, for NOT an upgrade but a new system, $600 would get you about in the same range as yours is now, maybe a bit faster on the video side. Plenty of systems to look at in the systems section sticky posts.


hang-the-9 said:
ArticFox said:
hang-the-9 said:
ArticFox said:
hang-the-9 said:
The system you have now with the 750 Ti is fine for playing games. Exactly why are you wanting to upgrade aside from just having $500 lying around? For $500 you won't really get a good upgrade over what you have now. You'd probably need $7-800 to really notice any difference in performance and to allow you to run games on higher settings and resolutions.


Well, right now I'm not really looking for an upgrade then, but I want something that is equivalent or something close to the performance to my old PC since I will be giving that to someone else. I have also considered the prices and will probably bump my budget up to 600.


Ah, for NOT an upgrade but a new system, $600 would get you about in the same range as yours is now, maybe a bit faster on the video side. Plenty of systems to look at in the systems section sticky posts.


Alright, so let's say I choose the AMD FX-8320 as my processor, will I have the same performance as my i5?


You should not lose performance, if any games run slower it should not be enough to notice.


Oh, okay, thanks for your input :) 
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