Component Advise - Help me rebuild my PC

May 4, 2020
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Hi All,

First post here! I was looking for some advice on upgrades to make to my PC and where I would see my best performance increases. As a backstory, I built this PC about 4 years ago on a VERY tight budget. Basically everything internal was pretty cheap except I had a friend give me a really good graphics card. At the time ( and for the most part today) my main gaming was lesser graphically intense MMOs such as WoW and SWTOR, and this PC has held up extremely well. To this day I am playing WoW with settings all the way on max and I am still seeing 100+ FPS most everywhere with drops to ~60 FPS occasionally in major cities and raids...not bad at all.

Well now that we are in week 8 of quarantine, I am kinda looking for a project at the same time as expanding my gaming library. Lately, I have been really into COD but playing on my console and would love to start playing Halo and a few others on PC that might be a little bit more graphically intense than WoW. I think that it would be great to tear down my current PC and rebuild with some newer components and have an almost new rig that can handle some additional games.

In doing some research, I have learned that my graphics card still holds up decently well, and was hoping that perhaps upgrading the components around it would be beneficial. Also, for fun, I want to put everything into a newer, cooler case. With that being said, I was hoping to see what everyone thought about swapping out certain components and what type of performance increases I might see. Was hoping to stay around $500 for all upgrades. Please see my parts below and let me know what you think would be best!

Gigabyte R9 290x Graphics Card
Intel i3 4370 CPU
Cheap AsRock mini-ITX mobo
8gb DDR4 RAM
Intel 128gb SSD
EVGA Bronze 650 Watt Power Supply
Crappy Mini-ITX case

*I can get details on my mobo and ram if needed but am away from that PC right now
 

Inspireless Llama

Community Contributor
Dec 20, 2019
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So to make it a bit shorter, you have a budget of 500$ available for everything except the videocard?
Quite honestly I don't think we need to know the exact motherboard, if you do decide to upgrade your PC, you're going to need a new one anyway.

And maybe it would help if it got narrowed down a bit,
- is it the remastered Halo Combat Evolved? Quickly looking at system requirements on Steam your current PC should already be able to run it.
- Which COD do you want to play? There's a huge different in PC requirements if you want to play the first COD or the lastest one :)
- (stealing a question from Oussebon) but what monitor do you play games on / plan to play games on? (Resolution / framerate)
- Do you have some concrete examples on what you want to play? Do you want to play new AAA releases that come out this year or came out last year or do you mean to focus on the somewhat older games?
 
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WoW on max is actually quite graphically intensive.

Halo Reach on the other hand you could pretty well run at 4k high-max settings on your GPU:

COD: Modern Warfare isn't too bad with hardware demands either.
You'd be looking at ~high or better settings most likely, while keeping at ~60fps

You can't realistically afford both significant CPU and GPU upgrades together, besides which if you're playing at 1080p, there wouldn't necessarily be much point anyway in the GPU upgrade.

You could add more RAM, but when you don't have much money, pouring some of it into an obsolete platform (modern platforms use DDR4) doesn't sound great either. Besides which in most games with the rest of your hardware you'd not see much benefit.

There are plausible upgrades. A Ryzen R5 3600, a B450 (or if a wait a little, B550) motherboard, 16gb 3600MHz RAM, and a new ATX case for it all.

But most games you listed wouldn't see much of a performance uplift - possibly WoW, but if you're happy with current performance you don't really need more. If you suddenly took up Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or The Division 2 though, then that's another story and a CPU upgrade would be well on the cards.

Ultimately if your current gaming performs satisfies you, keep the money back for such a time as it doesn't.
 
Last edited:
May 4, 2020
3
1
15
So to make it a bit shorter, you have a budget of 500$ available for everything except the videocard?
Quite honestly I don't think we need to know the exact motherboard, if you do decide to upgrade your PC, you're going to need a new one anyway.

And maybe it would help if it got narrowed down a bit,
- is it the remastered Halo Combat Evolved? Quickly looking at system requirements on Steam your current PC should already be able to run it.
- Which COD do you want to play? There's a huge different in PC requirements if you want to play the first COD or the lastest one
- (stealing a question from Oussebon) but what monitor do you play games on / plan to play games on? (Resolution / framerate)
- Do you have some concrete examples on what you want to play? Do you want to play new AAA releases that come out this year or came out last year or do you mean to focus on the somewhat older games?

Yes to make it shorter...$500 to upgrade everything other than GPU and I would prioritize bigger performance increases first.

Halo would would ideally be both the new remastered Combat Evolved as well as Reach.

COD would mostly be Warzone TBH but I would like to be able to run the newest.

Honestly the monitor will be upgraded soon as well (seperate budget) but right now it is a 23" Samsung 1080p 60hz.

As far as games, basically what I already mentioned. No specific new releases that I am building for, but would like a PC that can handle most new releases decently well without having to upgrade if one that interests me comes along.
 
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WoW on max is actually quite graphically intensive.

Halo Reach on the other hand you could pretty well run at 4k high-max settings on your GPU:

COD: Modern Warfare isn't too bad with hardware demands either.
You'd be looking at ~high or better settings most likely, while keeping at ~60fps

You can't realistically afford both significant CPU and GPU upgrades together, besides which if you're playing at 1080p, there wouldn't necessarily be much point anyway in the GPU upgrade.

You could add more RAM, but when you don't have much money, pouring some of it into an obsolete platform (modern platforms use DDR4) doesn't sound great either. Besides which in most games with the rest of your hardware you'd not see much benefit.

There are plausible upgrades. A Ryzen R5 3600, a B450 (or if a wait a little, B550) motherboard, 16gb 3600MHz RAM, and a new ATX case for it all.

But most games you listed wouldn't see much of a performance uplift - possibly WoW, but if you're happy with current performance you don't really need more. If you suddenly took up Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or The Division 2 though, then that's another story and a CPU upgrade would be well on the cards.

Ultimately if your current gaming performs satisfies you, keep the money back for such a time as it doesn't.

Thank you for this! I had already kind of I.D.ed the Ryzen R5 and a Mobo and Ram as the direction that I probably would go so you definitely confirmed that. I do understand that I might not need to upgrade if I am happy with performance, but I am also bored and want a project. Just out of curiosity, with the RYZEN/Mobo/Ram upgrades, would this PC be able to handle the games like Assassins Creed and The Division that you mentioned?
 

Inspireless Llama

Community Contributor
Dec 20, 2019
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I just checked the recommended system requirements for the Division 2, and with a R5 3600/ B450/R9 290 you would be able to play it, but from certain resolutions your card might become a bottleneck though. Even though system requirements usually are higher than you actually need I think it's something to keep in mind.

For The division 2 at 1080p @60fps you'd need a Ryzen 1500 (a Ryzen 3600 is [/i]much[/i] faster, I don't know how much right now. For memory you'd need 8GB, so 16gb is plenty. As GPU, the recommended videocard is an RX 480. Keep in mind, this is recommended, so you might get away with the R9 290 but possibly not at high settings.

Would you want to play a game like AC:Origins, it's the same, but then the RX290 would be able to hold up at 1080p in high settings.

I think generally I wouldn't really recommend getting a different monitor without upgrading your videocard, unless you plan on staying on 1080p@60hz and just go bigger. I think your videocard might really start to struggle would you go for 1440p.
 
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Zoid

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Jan 13, 2020
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Thank you for this! I had already kind of I.D.ed the Ryzen R5 and a Mobo and Ram as the direction that I probably would go so you definitely confirmed that. I do understand that I might not need to upgrade if I am happy with performance, but I am also bored and want a project. Just out of curiosity, with the RYZEN/Mobo/Ram upgrades, would this PC be able to handle the games like Assassins Creed and The Division that you mentioned?
While I'm normally pretty staunchly against upgrading before there's an actual need, I definitely understand the desire to have a fun project during quarantine :) and upgrading will open up the field of games that would previously have been too demanding to run on your i3, so that can also help with boredom.

With an upgrade to a Ryzen 5 3600 and 16GB of DDR4 3200/3600 you will be able to play games like the Division and AC Odyssey. Like @Inspireless Llama says, you might need to tweak settings a little. Assassin's Creed Odyssey in particular is a pretty demanding game even at 1080p.

In your spec list in your first post you only list one 128GB SSD. I'm assuming you had an HDD for bulk storage? If you are looking for meaningful upgrades to make, that would be another one. Upgrading to a 1TB NVME SSD wouldn't give you better framerates in games, but it would allow you to have a good chunk of your game library installed and would cut down on load times.
 
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The R9 290x is more or less at RX 480 level, so would be fine for The Division 2. A GTX 970 (also in the same sort of broad area, or a bit weaker) is fine in The Division 2. Give or take how well AMD bothered to optimise the pre-Polaris GPU drivers. And an R5 3600 will handle more or less any game you care to throw at it, even the Ubisoft CPU brutes I mentioned.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey in particular is a pretty demanding game even at 1080p.
Indeed. It devours GPUs, and CPUs alike. it's a title I'm holding off playing on my i7 3770k as there is very real CPU-related chop and stutter at 1440p on my 2060. An R5 3600 would handle it capably. Certainly more capably than that old i3, on account of having 3 times as many cores and threads (!) as well as higher IPC, being paired with modern, fast RAM, and all the rest of it.

Do note this though:

The long-awaited B550 motherboards are almost here. As you don't upgrade hardware very often (which is sensible), you may want to wait for those so you can get PCIe 4.0.
 
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