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Should I upgrade?

Last response: in Systems
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February 10, 2013 5:53:54 PM

Hi all, long time reader first time writer!

I built my current system for £850 two years ago (with small additions since). Currently it is:

i7 950 @ 3.2GHz
1.28GB GTX 570
8GB DDR3 1333MHz RAM
MSI X58A Motherboard
128GB SSD3 via SATA2 (as the motherboard has that dreadful Marvell chipset for SATA3) (backup 250GB regular HDD)
Windows 8
Coolermaster 650W PSU

Used for games, performance is so-so: less taxing games can be run at any detail but demanding games such as Crysis 3 hover around 40-50fps on medium settings. (I'm super fussy about low-to-average frame rates, struggle to enjoy a game when it's almost-imperceptibly less responsive)

I believe the CPU is a bottleneck. Even with a beastly cooler that makes a huge amount of noise when working hard (Arctic Cooler Freezing 13), I've found 3.2GHz to be as far as I can go (and even then, heavy stress can see the CPU push 80deg. (CPU was mounted with a fresh, thin layer of grease))

Although I don't follow hardware tech unless I'm upgrading, I believe the GTX 570 is still an okay card? The only issue with the card is that the manufacturer (Inno3D) under-volt it, which means I have to have MSI Afterburner running the card at an extra 25mV, which is pushing the limits of my understanding about maintaining a system. I've checked tomshardware's GFX card hierarchy chart, and the GTX 570 is (off the top of my head) around the 5th tier, and the article only recommends upgrading to at least 3 tiers higher- pointing to out-of-my-price-range cards.

A quick 10 minute scout on ebuyer has me looking at:

- i5 3570k @ 3.4GHz
- Be Quiet Shadowrock Top Flow cooler
- MSI Z77A-GD65 motherboard

So would marring those upgrades to the GTX 570 + 8GB DDR3 RAM (as well as allowing the O/S-mounted SSD to operate at SATA3 speeds) be a worthwhile investment? I'd probably look at pushing the CPU to 4GHz.

Your thoughts, please! :) 

More about : upgrade

February 10, 2013 6:36:32 PM

The i5-3570k is the most performance any gamer could need, but I think your i7 is nothing to sneeze at. What games are you dissatisfied with performance-wise - there are games that need the additional CPU muscle (RTS/MM680 ORPG) and there are games that need the extra GPU muscle (FPS/Action).

In your shoes, I would try to find a buyer for your 570 and let that determine your GPU budget. A 670/680 is going to be more than enough power to get you through all current gen games on Max settings including AA/motion blur.

Getting your SSD connected to a SATAIII port will be a difference maker in terms of day to day performance (typically doubles read/write access times) but it won't be a game changer for gaming performance so it's not an immediate need. I think a processor and mobo swap can be on the back burner.
February 10, 2013 7:50:19 PM

It is the FPS games that I struggle with. I'll keep your advice in mind- maybe see how much 2nd hand GTX 570's are fetching on ebay.

Thanks!
!