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Budget gaming upgrade build, bottleneck question

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February 21, 2013 3:43:46 PM

years ago, upon installing Everest i realize my ram is severely bottlenecking my current rig, but was still satisfied with performance, so it went ignored until recent... turns out there's not much RAM upgrading to be done when my current mobo supports only DDR2, and is currently far more expensive than much faster DDR3 because of obsoletism. i'd have to upgrade my mobo to upgrade my RAM. within that, i can't find worthwhile mobo that supports my AM2+ socket CPU, so i add this to my list. my PSU has sub-par wattage for any newer components, and GPU is the last remaining core component, so it gets upgraded, too. the rest are parts i'm fine continuing using(including recently purchased SSD, so no bottleneck there), especially considering i've got a ~$400 budget to work with.

Approximate Purchase Date: very soon, within next week

Budget Range: $450 maximum, shipped

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: GPU, CPU, PSU, RAM, mobo (my OCZ Vertex 3 SSD should continue to be solid for gaming as it has been, and have plenty of older SATA HDD auxiliary space)

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: very likely once cooling is upgraded later

SLI or Crossfire: not likely

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: the only thing that matters to me for this build is price/power tradeoff. looking for the biggest bang for my limited bucks.
will play anything... racing, (MMO)RPGs, FPS, etc.. currently playing NFS Shift 2, Blur, NFS MW, Darksiders 2, DmC

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: it's time. currently using:
Phenom X4 9550@stock 2.2ghz
ASUS M3N-HD/HDMI
4gb worth of random, mismatched sticks of 333-400mhz =\
nV GTS 250


mobo, PSU, CPU
RAM, GPU
the Bluetooth dongle is a necessity as well

after doing much research and price deliberation, i've cut the original ~$500 price tag down to $419. was especially easy after heavily considering what parts could bottleneck, and what parts would be overkill for the rest of the rig. however on other builds i've been seeing, the parts are all sub-$100 except for the GPU which is $160+. is this proportionate to how contemporary builds are? i've been custom building PCs for over a decade now but have been out of the loop in the newest generation of hardware, which leads me to my closing:

i need to know if there will be any foreseeable bottlenecking within the parts i've selected, or if any suggestions can be made to lessen the overall cost/swap for better parts within said budget.

thanks in advance
February 21, 2013 4:17:35 PM

If your willing to raise the budget by $50, you should be able to get a more than capable build with this

CPU:Intel Core i3-3225
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB:MSI Z77A-G41
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus RS500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total comes to $487 before shipping and tax on newegg.
You might be able to get a better deal on amazon. Usually it works out to about the same price, but if you have amazon prime its free 2 day shipping.

I use newegg to find better feedback and parts, then amazon to order.
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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
February 21, 2013 4:18:43 PM

That is a very decent build for the price

I think the motherboard is a little suspect though . The G46 is an update of the G45 which had lots of voltage regulator failures with a few even catching fire.
Supposedly the problem is fixed ... but this is still a board I would avoid if I could
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February 21, 2013 5:25:06 PM

tator_80 said:
If your willing to raise the budget by $50, you should be able to get a more than capable build with this

CPU:Intel Core i3-3225
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB:MSI Z77A-G41
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:COOLER MASTER eXtreme Power Plus RS500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total comes to $487 before shipping and tax on newegg.
You might be able to get a better deal on amazon. Usually it works out to about the same price, but if you have amazon prime its free 2 day shipping.

I use newegg to find better feedback and parts, then amazon to order.


sadly, that GPU and also CPU were both parts i had considered before the reality and strictness of the minimal budget had set in. if bills didn't prevail, the build would be at least on-par to your suggestions. i've found some better prices on Amazon, among others, but the combined shipping is primarily what i had in mind to cut down on total costs.

as far as the PSU goes, do you think the two 18a 12v rails will provide adequate power for the GPU? a $20 price cut will help substantially if it can hold up. i appreciate the input

Outlander_04 said:
That is a very decent build for the price

I think the motherboard is a little suspect though . The G46 is an update of the G45 which had lots of voltage regulator failures with a few even catching fire.
Supposedly the problem is fixed ... but this is still a board I would avoid if I could


big thanks for the heads up, i was slightly weary picking the board to begin with, but price is king so it went on as placeholder if nothing else for the time being. although surprised i've not seen it earlier, seems THIS board (which was one of my original 3 picks) is an upgrade and a price cut thanks to the "open box" discount from newegg.
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Best solution

February 21, 2013 10:56:18 PM

The MSI board was just one i found on newegg. Didn't have horrible reviews on newegg. I would have personally would go with the AS Rock Extreme 4 motherboard, but that would raise the budget by around $50.

You could try this build for a processor and motherboard. Better processor and motherboard but no GPU.

CPU:Intel Core i5-3570K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB:ASRock Z77 Extreme4
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Same as i listed before

RAM:p atriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total was down to $457

The I5 Graphics would hold you for the time being until you could maybe get a GPU later.
They aren't great, but they are adequate
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February 22, 2013 1:36:22 PM

at that rate, i was heavily considering the A10 5800k, seems to hold up decently well for non-heavy gaming but that was my only reason for not choosing it, i'll be doing mostly nothing BUT gaming with this machine, so i'm trying to tap into the most power i can.. but futureproofing is kind of out of the question with an FM2 board.

is the difference between 1600 and 1333mhz RAM really that miniscule? would that bottleneck on a system like that? same goes for the built-in GPU on that processor, would it not bottleneck there at the 4000 instead of a 7000+ separate card?

have read a lot on people with CPU/GPU combo processors saying it's usually more trouble than it's worth between the issues as well as headaches from performance lacking that of a standalone CPU and standalone card, which made me question whether i'm getting the full value for the money
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February 22, 2013 5:07:44 PM

Lynxvi said:
at that rate, i was heavily considering the A10 5800k, seems to hold up decently well for non-heavy gaming but that was my only reason for not choosing it, i'll be doing mostly nothing BUT gaming with this machine, so i'm trying to tap into the most power i can.. but futureproofing is kind of out of the question with an FM2 board.

is the difference between 1600 and 1333mhz RAM really that miniscule? would that bottleneck on a system like that? same goes for the built-in GPU on that processor, would it not bottleneck there at the 4000 instead of a 7000+ separate card?

have read a lot on people with CPU/GPU combo processors saying it's usually more trouble than it's worth between the issues as well as headaches from performance lacking that of a standalone CPU and standalone card, which made me question whether i'm getting the full value for the money



Ahhh.. Sorry for that RAM.. I had 2 different in my cart on newegg. One was at 1333mhz other at 1600mhz. Sorry for that
Here's the ram i ment to put down.

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

An I5 processor would do you better i believe, if at a later point you decide to add on a discrete card. An A10 with a discrete card would not do you any good when you get into a higher end cards. To take advantage of a higher end card, processors need L3 cache, which none of the APU's come with. It would be a better investment to grab an I5 and get a card at a later point.
With an I5, you would see a huge improvement in your computer's speed regardless of if you have a GPU installed to begin with or not.
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February 22, 2013 5:31:51 PM

so i guess that means the 1600 is a major upgrade over the 1333, instead of marginal? lol

that ram ends up being 50 even after the promo code right now($4 cheaper) , and i'm planning on purchasing parts tonight. very nice. always wanted Corsair, but never had the coin to flip on it til now.

would the i5 still fit into my budget? i've heard great things about the z77 board you mentioned earlier and would definitely be my top pick if nothing better for the price catches my eye. i'll crunch some numbers and shop a bit, haven't looked too far into going Intel, as it'd be my first Intel since the family first's 333mhz P2 in our '98 Gateway. which, surprisingly enough, is still alive and kicking to this day lol

i'll let you know my findings, thanks for the insight thus far, you've been great help
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February 22, 2013 5:40:44 PM

so according to this article written under 12 hours ago, the integrated HD 4000 is quite a few tiers below my current GTS 250, so if i do end up going i5 this card will be recycled if i can't find a GPU within my price
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February 22, 2013 7:11:37 PM


Yes.. there is a big difference between 1600.The I5 is a great processor, its also the unlocked version so it can be overclocked. If your using this computer for gaming, its the best you can go for really. The I7 is of course better, but only if you truly need hyper threading for video editing and that sort of things(only real difference between I7 and I5), but for $100 more, not worth it if your not using it.

Also, your budget was $450, the total for the RAM, CPU, PSU, and MB was $471, so only $21 over what you wanted, isn't bad.For me I'd rather spend a little extra on quality parts that i know work, than a cheaper part that fits my budget that could fail without warning.

For your GPU question:
That would be wise. I didn't realize the GTS 250 was high on hierarchy chart. If your current CPU was in anyway holding the card back, you wont have that problem anymore.
Usually recommended that when you upgrade GPU's you try to upgrade up around 6 tiers, which your case would be around 660 ti or 7870. 660ti and 7870 are awesome cards at that.
Upgrading by only 1, 2 or 3 tiers, the performance isn't worth the money. So try saving up for the 7870. it's cheaper than the 660ti for the same performance, if not a little better with the new drivers out
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February 22, 2013 9:14:11 PM

as much as i'd absolutely love to push it up to $500 and get higher end parts, i have to remain budgeted to the 450.. which needs to include shipping as well. debt sucks.

i combed through the build one more time with futureproofing in mind and ended up going with this, which after promo deals and comboing the ram/cpu, ends up at $430... yeah the GPU is probably a waste of money, but for how cheap it is with new hardware compared to my current, should still be a good jump in performance. without a new GPU in this build, it'd feel like i'm trying to carbeurate a new car lol. but i do plan on picking up a newer, much higher end card to match the rest of the system around summer, i just need a stepping stone until then
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February 22, 2013 10:25:51 PM

are you comboing the I5 with a set of Ram?
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February 22, 2013 10:26:31 PM

so i've decided to go the route you originally intended, which my current wishlist now reflects. waiting and using my current GTS 250 until i can get a bit up to pick up a nicer card. thanks for the help, it's much appreciated tator =]
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February 22, 2013 10:27:55 PM

oh and the 3570k was over 6 tiers of improvement from my current CPU, instead of getting a card that was only 3 tiers over my GPU... that was the last straw of Intels tempting me. =p
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February 22, 2013 10:30:06 PM

forgot to check, was looking at the 3350 and tried comboing but minimal choices. looking into it now w the 3570k

after checking: can't seem to find any Vengeance sticks at 1866mhz paired with the CPU, but i did find this combo that makes it worthwhile
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February 22, 2013 10:38:38 PM

if your not going to overclock, don't worry about the k edition of the 3570, you can save about $15 just by choosing the locked core

the 3350p is a processor that doesn't have an on board graphics engine on board, so you would have to go with a discrete card
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February 22, 2013 10:49:52 PM

i've read about people taking these, with proper cooling, OC'd to be almost 5ghz.. i think i'll pay the $15 for the great performance gain once i can spend another $30 on a better HSF than stock lol

although only has Intel HD 2500, but again, my recycled card will outperform anything integrated anyway, so this works. i appreciate the help, gonna wait til the gf gets home to order these parts, then bite my fingernails for a week. lol
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February 22, 2013 10:52:04 PM

1866mhz is gonna be more expensive 1600mhz, which was be plenty fast for your setup. Save a little bit more by going down to 1600mhz ram.
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February 22, 2013 10:55:11 PM

Lynxvi said:
i've read about people taking these, with proper cooling, OC'd to be almost 5ghz.. i think i'll pay the $15 for the great performance gain once i can spend another $30 on a better HSF than stock lol

although only has Intel HD 2500, but again, my recycled card will outperform anything integrated anyway, so this works. i appreciate the help, gonna wait til the gf gets home to order these parts, then bite my fingernails for a week. lol



So what is the final cart looking like for you if you don't mind me asking? I'll review your choices if you want
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February 22, 2013 11:06:19 PM

couldn't bundle the RAM you linked with the CPU, but everything else is verbatim to this, CPU/RAM are combo'd for a nice 13buck savings though lol
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February 22, 2013 11:07:49 PM

*** i put the wrong RAM up. guess they don't make any 1866mhz in "low voltage" mode. lol
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February 22, 2013 11:29:14 PM

Lynxvi said:
*** i put the wrong RAM up. guess they don't make any 1866mhz in "low voltage" mode. lol


That ram still runs at 1866

I have my doubts about that board since it said open box on it.
Also, there were huge improvements from the pro 3 to pro 4.
The As rock Pro 4
here's a link
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It comes with a free stick of 8gig ram at 1600mhz

How about this cart. I added your PSU, your ASUS bluetooth dongle, and the processor with that motherboard above

For a grand total of
Wait for it.....
$422.96
$20 less than your cart, with a better motherboard(not an open boxed one)
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February 22, 2013 11:43:30 PM

i've read the differences between the pro3 and pro4 and didn't see anything i was going to make great use of.. still heard they're both great boards though, even for OCing.

i've also read many, many people get nothing BUT open box motherboards that have worked great every time. i've gotten plenty of open box/refurb items from newegg before and had no gripes, especially with cost cut by usually 25% or more. and the 1 stick of 8gb, i'd have to get another stick of 8 in order to run dual channel.. wouldn't that hurt performance quite a bit?
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February 22, 2013 11:56:14 PM

could be the pro3 vs extreme 4. as far as the dual channel concern, i don't think it would, but then again, every slot on my motherboard has ram in it, so i never have known the difference

Edit:
Did some reading, supposedly a single stick vs 2 sticks in dual channel would only show around 5% at 4gig per stick.
so at most you would only get around a 10-15% boost by buying another stick.

Just save the money and when you decide to buy another GPU, just add a stick of the exact same kind of ram you have now if you want that 16gigs of RAM
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February 23, 2013 12:22:28 AM

yeah i compared pro3 vs extreme4 as well, only true difference i saw was price =p extreme4 seems to have bells and whistles i'm not that concerned with, of course for more money.

and i read the same 5% difference between single and dual chan, so i think i will go with the better board for less mula. good call =]
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February 23, 2013 12:35:11 AM

the extreme 4 has an extra PCI 3.0 slot, different LAN chip set,few more rear panel ports compared to the pro3, other than, yea pretty much the same board. The pro 4 should do you more than good though.
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February 23, 2013 5:47:46 AM

parts are ordered, and decided to tack on one of these at the last minute for good measure, i heard a few people talking of stock cooler being ...sub-par, which i believe, as stock HSFs have always been shoddy at best. hopefully i can get the money up to grab a nice 660ti to make this rig truly shine. thanks again for all your help, much appreciated
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February 23, 2013 5:48:25 AM

Best answer selected by Lynxvi.
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February 23, 2013 4:53:55 PM

that's a nice cooler. Never heard anything bad about those.They are rather tall though. If you have any other questions or if you want to tell how the build went just post it up. always like seeing a build go well
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