Upgrade question with only a $600 budget

By Gholam
Jul 16, 2014
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  1. Hello,

    I am looking to upgrade my current pc (will post specs below) and am wondering what will give me the most bang for my buck as my budget is limited ($600), and I may not have the funds to upgrade again for a while.
    Current PC specs:
    Intel Core i7 LYNNFIELD 860 @ 2.8GHz, 4GB ram, and a Geforce EVGA GTX 660 ti 2GB.


    I was set to order a new MB, ram, cpu, and another GTX 660 ti to run sli.

    My new pc would have been (this was all within my $600 budget):

    Intel Core i5-4690K Processor 3.5GHz
    8GB ram
    ASUS Z87 PRO LGA 1150 Motherboard
    Geforce GTX 660ti 2GB x2


    Ive had some people recently tell me the most bang for the buck would be just spending almost all of it on a video card as thats where the bottleneck for most games is. I can see that being true but my cpu/ram/and mb are about 4 years old... I still think id get more performance for the overall package but im far from an expert and could use any advice and/or suggestions.

    Also im a but hung up on going from a I7 to a I5 but the newer cores have to make up for whatever difference there may be right?

    Thanks, and sorry if I put this in the wrong spot.
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,423

    Does your current system not support SLI?

    And does you PSU provide enough power for the two 660Ti?
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,317   +117

    I don't think that spending any money on a CPU would be worth anything with two 660Tis.
  4. Gholam

    Gholam Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    My current ps is 1000watt so It should be ok. Back when I originally built it I actually had alot of disposable income so I went a bit overboard.

    Hellokitty: You are saying just do 2 660ti's? nothing else? Or are you saying the 660ti's are garbage, and theres no point upgrading anything else with that video card?

    Thanks for the responses!

    *edit* My current system would support SLI
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2014
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,423

    Then I'd say just get the extra 660Ti and save the rest of your money. If your system didn't do SLI, that would have been a deciding factor to upgrade. Since you wouldn't be gaining much with performance with the i5, I'd stick with the i7. Now if you change your mind and decide to get the i7 instead, I could see upgrading the whole system.

    I didn't think to ask about RAM earlier. Surely your system also supports the new memory you were thinking about getting (2x4GB DDR3).
  6. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 2,133   +495

    Well in short the lynnfield i7 processor is starting to show age with a clock speed of 2.8, however this would not completely bottleneck your setup currently but with a budget of $600, it might be a nice chance to upgrade because we are actually with recent processors finding that sandy bridge+ offer excellent overclocking and will last you many many years right now.

    I would not worry about an i7, the hyper threading in reality is not worth the extra expenditure except in scenarios you use heavily threaded apps and game. So here is my recommendations based on your current specs and system.

    i5 4690K

    Gigabyte Z97MX Gaming

    Gskill Ripjaws 8gb DDR3 1866 2x4gb

    Now for the video cards it honestly comes down to a tough choice in all honesty mostly because by the sounds of things you will not have the money to upgrade for quite some time. Which means you want your machine to last as long as possible. Now a GTX 660ti is a good video card, but running SLI/CFX on lower cards runs into the issue of "When SLI works its great" meaning if your game does not support it then you end up with a lower experience. I am assuming your running at 1080p so I can safely say that my suggestion would be to do the following:

    A: Grab a Hyper212, overclock the CPU to like 4.2-4.5, and then just role with what you have and pocket the cash for now until you find that the card is to low for 1080p gaming and then see if you can scrounge up 200 bucks for a GPU
    B: Sell the GTX 660ti and buy yourself a higher single GPU like a GTX 760, R9 280/X, or GTX 770 (Depends on how much you get or what not).
    C: Go with the original plan and grab a second one to SLI and stay with that for a few years. I do not know where you plan to buy but on most sites I look at if they still have a 660ti its 200 bucks.

    Either way, I think you can end up with a nice system upgrade for 600 bucks. I would suggest a processor upgrade as that processor is considered lower than an i5 2500k which means it can harm your gaming experience in CPU intensive games especially as the years go on.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
    Gholam likes this.
  7. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,317   +117

    I am doubtful that the processor is holding back two 660Ti except in very rare cases, not really worth a slanted 'sidegrade' imo.
    Gholam likes this.
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,423

    I say go ahead and get the RAM and GPU for your current rig. Then if you are not completely satisfied, get the motherboard and CPU later on.
  9. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 2,133   +495

    Well I guess the other option could be overclocking the lynnfield processor, but I would say based on the performance charts that processor does show its age especially if kept at the 2.8ghz its at.
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,423

    To be honest, I'm questioning if SLI is the way to go here.
  11. Gholam

    Gholam Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Yea I havent heard very many positive things about sli for whatever reason.

    What about upgrading my ram to 8 or 16gb and and then 400 on a video card? Only problem with that scenario is it leaves me with a 1 year old 660gtx ti with no use but if thats really the best bang for my buck Id still do it.
     
  12. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 2,133   +495

    SLI or CFX depending on the camp is fine when the game supports it. Most (if not all) AAA titles will generally support one or the other (or both in most cases) at least in some form or another. The only issue is that the lower the card, the more chances for trouble you run into in terms of scaling or things like that. Its a general consensus to buy the best single GPU you can first then add a second one down the road if you need more power.

    I still stand by what I said earlier, I believe you should get a new CPU and motherboard setup mostly because of how dated your processor is and it would be nice to have a new generation processor and feature set which by the looks of things would give you many years of performance in games. You would also see a performance increase with your current card if you do so (not by a ton but you would probably have some higher averages). In all honesty the 660Ti is a good 1080p card for now but I would say getting your whole rig more up to date might be better then cramming a new GPU in the machine. The processor you have at that clock speed according to passmark rates it at the same level stock to stock as an FX 4350.

    I think if I was in your shoes I would upgrade the processor, motherboard, ram and buy a nice aftermarket cooler then overclock the machine. Your 660ti will still hold up pretty well in 1080p games and this would remove any potential bottnecks and leave you room to later in a year or so grab a new GPU as needed.
    Gholam likes this.
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,280   +23

    These are excellent suggestions.

    There will be negligible performance gain from upgrading your CPU (and consequently your motherboard);I don't see any game that won't run well enough on your current CPU, if paired with a high-end GPU.

    Get a single-GPU card like the ones suggested above; dual-GPU solutions like SLI are far too driver-dependent for good performance. Resolution is probably the deciding factor here; the higher the res you're going to be gaming at, the more cash you're going to have to put down.
    cliffordcooley likes this.


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