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Upgrade old rig or go i5-2500k?

Last response: in Systems
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What would you do?

Total: 11 votes (3 blank votes)

  • New AMD CPU, then (much later) GTX 560 Ti (or better)
  • 0 %
  • GTX 560 Ti, then i5-2500k, motherboard and RAM
  • 38 %
  • i5-2500k, motherboard and RAM, then a GTX 560 Ti (or better)
  • 63 %
December 30, 2011 3:02:11 PM

Hi. So here's my current build:

MOBO ASUS M4A78-E AM2+
CPU AMD Phenom II x3 720BE + Scythe NINJA 2 Rev.B
GPU ASUS HD4890 1GB
RAM CORSAIR XMS2-6400 2X2GB DDR2 (TWIN2X4096-6400C5)
HDD WD CAVIAR BLUE 640GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB (WD6400AAKS)
PSU CHIEFTEC 650W (CFT-650-14CS)
Monitor LG W2220P 1680x1050

It's more than 3 years old, and it's starting to show. Saints Row The Third, NFS: The Run are unplayable for me. I never got into GTA IV because of bad framerates... And I'm not sure it's worth upgrading the CPU to X4 955BE or something like that, I recon getting a i5-2500k is a better, more "future-proof" approach. In the graphics department I'm thinking about no less than GTX 560 Ti.

I'll have to upgrade in two phases, because I don't have the money for a full upgrade. So I have 3 options:
A: get a new AMD CPU, then (much later) get a GTX 560 Ti (or better).
B: get a GTX 560 Ti, then (much later) an i5-2500k, motherboard and RAM.
C: get an i5-2500k, motherboard and RAM, then (much later) a GTX 560 Ti.

I think A is just wasting money on an old rig, 2500k would be better. What would you suggest?

More about : upgrade rig 2500k

December 30, 2011 3:14:38 PM

How much later are you talking?

Might as well wait for Ivy Bridge and GTX 6XX in coming months to get everything together.
December 30, 2011 3:17:47 PM

To be honest, I'm surprised you're running into issues at 1680x1050, but I think option B is best. What's your budget?

In the graphics department, the Radeon 7000 series is going to drop in the next couple weeks, so you may want to wait and see how that impacts prices. Personally, if I were upgrading from a 4890 I'd go for a little bit bigger jump than a 560Ti, like a 570 or 6970.

To what extent is your 720 BE overclocked?
Related resources
December 30, 2011 5:46:46 PM

steadywaters said:
How much later are you talking?

Might as well wait for Ivy Bridge and GTX 6XX in coming months to get everything together.



I'd say phase 1 a month or two from now, phase 2 in 4-6 months.


ultimabeam said:
To be honest, I'm surprised you're running into issues at 1680x1050, but I think option B is best. What's your budget?

In the graphics department, the Radeon 7000 series is going to drop in the next couple weeks, so you may want to wait and see how that impacts prices. Personally, if I were upgrading from a 4890 I'd go for a little bit bigger jump than a 560Ti, like a 570 or 6970.

To what extent is your 720 BE overclocked?


The budget, well, it's not really fixed. i5-2500k costs about $260 (was $250 two weeks ago) where I'm from, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600 about $60, and I'm willing to pay about $150 for the motherboard. In total about $470. 560 Ti is about $300.

Yes, the 560 Ti is the minimum I'm aiming for. If I choose option B, I might go 560 Ti 448, or even 570... One can dream.

Now overclocking didn't go well. I mean it didn't get me the desired result. I OC'd it from 2.8 to 3.5 by just upping the multiplier, but I haven't noticed a performance bump in BC2. It was a bit better in BF3, but it still wasn't enough, the framerate in some SP missions still dipped to <30, so either my HD4890 hit it's max or the CPU bottlenecked it. Too bad I didn't mark my FRAPS benchmarks, so I can't tell which is which now, but the minimum fps ranges from 25 to 40. I just want a more stable FPS, preferably without dips to <30.
January 3, 2012 8:20:17 AM

Selfish bump.

Any more opinions? I really think A is a bad option, but deciding either B or C is where I need your help.
January 3, 2012 10:23:37 AM

You should also factor in a better power supply. Chieftecs are close to junk.

Total upgrade - you are talking about $800. I would not trust $800 of new components to a junky PSU.
January 3, 2012 10:38:38 AM

jsc said:
You should also factor in a better power supply. Chieftecs are close to junk.

Total upgrade - you are talking about $800. I would not trust $800 of new components to a junky PSU.


Well, I read this: http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4962
And there's really no money for a new PSU in my budget.
January 3, 2012 11:09:26 AM

jsc said:
You should also factor in a better power supply. Chieftecs are close to junk.

Total upgrade - you are talking about $800. I would not trust $800 of new components to a junky PSU.

Well, I have one, and believe me, it is far far away from junk.
You using one too so can state otherwise?
January 3, 2012 11:43:30 AM

now we're already in january... and it is very close to the launch of intel ivy-bridge desktop platfrom... if not mistaken... it should launch in april... it's 4 months from now... in the graphics department... amd radeon hd 7970 should available by january 9th depending on region... and hd 7950 maybe delayed to early feb... on the nvidia camp it is known will be available sometime in q1 2012... and that's very close time frame so you might want to wait... so my suggestion is... save money from now and get a pair of ddr3 ram first because i'm not sure about the dram prices in coming six months... then get a new build by june to august timeframe.... by then everything i mentioned above should be available in the market... i know your pc is starting to show its age... but since you are about to go for almost everything new it's not hurt to wait....
January 3, 2012 12:14:42 PM

xelario said:
Now overclocking didn't go well. I mean it didn't get me the desired result. I OC'd it from 2.8 to 3.5 by just upping the multiplier, but I haven't noticed a performance bump in BC2. It was a bit better in BF3, but it still wasn't enough, the framerate in some SP missions still dipped to <30, so either my HD4890 hit it's max or the CPU bottlenecked it. Too bad I didn't mark my FRAPS benchmarks, so I can't tell which is which now, but the minimum fps ranges from 25 to 40. I just want a more stable FPS, preferably without dips to <30.


Your GPU is almost certainly the limiting factor. I'd upgrade to a 560Ti or 570 first, see where that gets you, and decide if you need to update your mobo/CPU later.
January 3, 2012 12:24:49 PM

By the by I think your pricing might be high. I grabbed a 560ti for 180the recently.

Id for for anything but A. Preferably a mobo forward compatible for pcie 3slot so you can upgrade your graphics again in a year or two without dropping another bundle.

January 3, 2012 2:13:06 PM

phenom90 said:
now we're already in january... and it is very close to the launch of intel ivy-bridge desktop platfrom... if not mistaken... it should launch in april... it's 4 months from now... in the graphics department... amd radeon hd 7970 should available by january 9th depending on region... and hd 7950 maybe delayed to early feb... on the nvidia camp it is known will be available sometime in q1 2012... and that's very close time frame so you might want to wait... so my suggestion is... save money from now and get a pair of ddr3 ram first because i'm not sure about the dram prices in coming six months... then get a new build by june to august timeframe.... by then everything i mentioned above should be available in the market... i know your pc is starting to show its age... but since you are about to go for almost everything new it's not hurt to wait....


That's good advice, thanks. I'll wait at least until the end of January to make some kind of a decision.

ultimabeam said:
Your GPU is almost certainly the limiting factor. I'd upgrade to a 560Ti or 570 first, see where that gets you, and decide if you need to update your mobo/CPU later.


I'm itching to get a new graphics card, it will be a bit cheaper than the CPU+MOBO+RAM combo, but will get me a performance increase and time to save up for other parts.

sagma0 said:
By the by I think your pricing might be high. I grabbed a 560ti for 180the recently.

Id for for anything but A. Preferably a mobo forward compatible for pcie 3slot so you can upgrade your graphics again in a year or two without dropping another bundle.


Welcome to my world, the cheapest one I can see costs $260 right now :( 

Btw, I read that current cards can't even use full bandwidth of PCIe 2.0, so it made me think 3.0 isn't such a big thing...
January 17, 2012 5:45:30 PM

Not sure if it makes any difference, but I would just upgrade the video card for now and see how it works. I am also currently running a 720BE. Overclocked it is still a good performer in my experience so I think you should revisit that after installing a new gpu. I agree with others that your current 4890 is the limiting factor with your current setup. I would get the 560 and see what kind of a bump it gives you. Unless you really want to put money in a whole new system, upgrading that gpu is by far your best bet. No use in wasting money if that will get you closer to where you want to be.

Worst case, you can resell the 560 or have it later to put towards your new system if you are unhappy with performance.

January 17, 2012 6:58:36 PM

red6698 said:
Not sure if it makes any difference, but I would just upgrade the video card for now and see how it works. I am also currently running a 720BE. Overclocked it is still a good performer in my experience so I think you should revisit that after installing a new gpu. I agree with others that your current 4890 is the limiting factor with your current setup. I would get the 560 and see what kind of a bump it gives you. Unless you really want to put money in a whole new system, upgrading that gpu is by far your best bet. No use in wasting money if that will get you closer to where you want to be.

Worst case, you can resell the 560 or have it later to put towards your new system if you are unhappy with performance.


Yeah, I'm kinda leaning toward this option...
!