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What is my best upgrade path?

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April 7, 2012 1:59:50 AM

Hello all,

First off, here is my rig. It was a pre-built ASUS but the GPU and PSU were changed:

i5-650 dual-core @3.2 GHz
BFG 450 Watt PSU
Stock ASUS mobo with only 1 PCI-e slot
EVGA 256-bit GTX 460 1gb
1TB 7200 RPM Seagate drive
Logitech g930
Stock ASUS case
8gb ddr3 RAM

I have several questions. First, what is my best upgrade path? I probably won't be able to build a completely new system for at least a year as I am only in eighth grade and my budget is extremely limited. Second, what do you guys think is bottlenecking me? I am having trouble determining if it is my rather sub par processor or my graphics card. I sort of suspect my processor , especially at a low resolution like this one. Lastly, would it be worth it upgrade my case form this stock ASUS one? This is it: http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/asus-essentio-cm5675-0... I am hitting alarmingly high temperatures and cable management is atrocious. If I do purchase a new case, I need to keep it under $100. Thanks!

More about : upgrade path

April 7, 2012 2:41:25 AM

Hi! Welcome to the forums.

It's hard to say what the bottleneck is, since you didn't post a screen resolution. I do however think your suspicion is right. The processor is most likely the problem. If your mobo has an 8-pin CPU power connector, an i5-760 would be a good upgrade. The GTX 460 is still an excellent GPU.

I also agree that a new case may be in order. There's various low-cost options, such as the NZXT Source 210: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Also in black.

What temps are you hitting? What are your bottlenecking symptoms? What IS your budget?

Hopefully this will give you an idea of what to look for. Cheers!
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April 7, 2012 2:58:57 AM

Honestly, at under $100 you are not going to fix your bottleneck. You should start saving for a bigger upgrade later.

Are you overclocking/can you overclock anything in that build?

I'm not sure its worth upgrading the processor -- not unless you can find the 760 very cheap.. Its a lot of money for not that huge a boost (and its still old hardware).

Upgrading the case seems like a good step since the case you started with wasn't designed for heat. This is a good value for not that much money: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you can find an Antec 300 for a low price consider that as well. (or really anything with good ventilation). Put lots of fans in it. :-)
The case is a good step that will translate into your next build.
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April 7, 2012 3:11:46 AM

striker410 said:
Hi! Welcome to the forums.

It's hard to say what the bottleneck is, since you didn't post a screen resolution. I do however think your suspicion is right. The processor is most likely the problem. If your mobo has an 8-pin CPU power connector, an i5-760 would be a good upgrade. The GTX 460 is still an excellent GPU.

I also agree that a new case may be in order. There's various low-cost options, such as the NZXT Source 210: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Also in black.

What temps are you hitting? What are your bottlenecking symptoms? What IS your budget?

Hopefully this will give you an idea of what to look for. Cheers!



Sorry, I thought I had posted the resolution but my thoughts didn't flow very well to the keyboard. I am at 1600*900. I was concerned about my temps because with Furmark my GTX 460 was hitting 90+ degrees, which is obviously too high. At idle my card is 40 degrees. My budget is very tight, I have $100 right now and can probably procure another $200 by July because of my birthday (yep, I still have those, I'm thirteen :D ). I was going to get BF3 but I am concerned about my computer being able to run it very well, especially at my likely processor limited resolution. Thanks! If I forgot to answer a question, sorry :/ 
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April 7, 2012 3:16:21 AM

deadlockedworld said:
Honestly, at under $100 you are not going to fix your bottleneck. You should start saving for a bigger upgrade later.

Are you overclocking/can you overclock anything in that build?

I'm not sure its worth upgrading the processor -- not unless you can find the 760 very cheap.. Its a lot of money for not that huge a boost (and its still old hardware).

Upgrading the case seems like a good step since the case you started with wasn't designed for heat. This is a good value for not that much money: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you can find an Antec 300 for a low price consider that as well. (or really anything with good ventilation). Put lots of fans in it. :-)
The case is a good step that will translate into your next build.


How much could I overclock seeing as my processor is not unlocked? Just curious. What good aftermarket coolers are there for my socket. I have tried to overclock my GPU, but after doing an extremely modest bump in the core clock I was already hitting 90 degrees in Furmark... after a minute and a half. I have a Fry's, Microcenter and Tigerdirect nearby and I prefer to purchase in person so whenever we're out I'll check the prices on cases. Thanks!

Also... after a quick search on ebay (I'm the states) I found that the cheapest used 760 is still a tad over $150. How futile of an upgrade would this be?

Edited for grammar
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April 7, 2012 3:25:23 AM

you should be able to play bf3 with that. your complaining about your gpu temp running furmark, remember that is absolute worst case scenario, no game will tax your video card like furmark will and it is some what normal for video cards to get that high especially if it has standard cooling setup (all hot air pumped out the back of the card). if you wanna get temps down get an antec 300 they are awesome for 50 bucks and a coolermaster hyper 212 evo about 40 bucks for your cpu (which you can move on to your next upgrade) and overclock it. i would think 3.8ghz would be quite attainable out of a first gen i5 (i never used one of em) a bit of overclocking on your 460 and i would think you would have very playable fps in bf3. under 100 bucks problem solved
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a b Ĉ ASUS
April 7, 2012 3:36:40 AM

not sure you need to upgrade anything......... maybe case if you want. the video card will get hot if there are dust build ups on the heat sink impeding air flow. take it out of the case, blow canned air or blow through it yourself through the exhaust ports and see what come out. clean up the heat sink and fan on the processor ( q-tips work great ) and clean the case fans and vents and anything else you8 see that has dust on it.
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April 7, 2012 3:40:12 AM

Thanks for the information OP. 13? Impressive. Your knowledge and skills with computers are excellent for your age.

The case is a must. Your GPU is likely very starved for air in that case, it wasn't designed to support a high power GPU. I don't recommend the Rosewill Challenger, little to no cable management space. (I know this from first hand experience) The Antec 300 is an excellent case however.

You probably won't be overclocking your CPU because you have an OEM motherboard. Most of those rock custom BIOS versions to lock down the options available.

You still haven't mentioned where you are seeing the bottleneck. Is it a real drop in performance or is it an imaginary bottleneck? Your system seems fine, the i5-650 is a decent CPU. Should play BF3 just fine at 1600x900.
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