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I will understand if this is off-topic, I couldn't really understand the rules, but I saw some similar questions. I'll delete this if you consider it to be off-topic.

This is my current PC:

  • Motherboard: Asrock 970 Extreme3 R2.0
  • CPU: AMD FX 4350
  • Video: AMD R9 270 2GB
  • RAM: (1x) Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3
  • SSD: Kingston 128GB
  • HDD: WD 500GB 7200RPM

My idea is to upgrade my computer so that it allows for further modification but in such a way that I don't get bottlenecks. The GPU is pretty new so I won't be changing it for now. I use my computer mostly for gaming and work (Visual Studio + Hyper-V with a Windows Server 2012 instance), and because of this an upgrade to 16GB RAM is needed (8GB runs short sometimes).

These are the upgrade paths I've been able to identify which could provide me a nice performance gain for at least some time.

Upgrade1 (current CPU is given as part of the price)
This path has two downsides: RAM keeps being DDR3, so upgrade to DDR4 will be required in some time; and the FX8350 is basically the top of what AM3+ will get.

  • New CPU: FX8350 = USD270
  • New RAM DDR3 8GB stick = USD110
  • Total: USD380

Upgrade2 (current CPU and motherboard are given as part of the price)
This path has the same RAM downside as Upgrade1.

  • New Motherboard: Asus Z97-C = USD200
  • New CPU: i5 4590 = USD300
  • New RAM DDR3 8GB stick = USD110
  • Total: USD610

Upgrade3 (current CPU, RAM and motherboard are given as part of the price)
This path allows for DDR4 RAM, many CPU upgrades if/when required and the motherboard has 2 PCI-E 3.0 slots for many different GPU setups, when an upgrade is required.

  • Motherboard: MSI Z170a = USD220
  • DDR4 16GB = USD200
  • CPU: i5 6400 = USD280
  • Total: USD700

What I'm wondering is if the Upgrade3 path is really worth the USD700 (without taking into account that the final price will be around USD450 upon giving my components). Also, I'm not from the USA, that's why prices will probably seem much higher than they should be (and importing is not an option).

  • It would be great for you to provide more information as to what you're doing. Your country would help too:that way we can look at local prices. DDR4 isn't really that much better than DDR3. – timuzhti Jan 10 '16 at 22:37
  • @Alpha3031 I understand that DDR4 isn't too much better than DDR3, but we'll probably have some 5-10 years before upgrading to DDR5. I'm from Uruguay, and importing isn't gonna be cheaper because of taxes (60%). I mostly develop in Visual Studio (small stuff), do some windows server administration learning, and play games – Camilo Terevinto Jan 11 '16 at 1:06
  • Oh, and would you be willing to overclock if you feel your performance is unsatisfying? – timuzhti Jan 11 '16 at 9:19
  • @Alpha3031 I'm, but I was unable to find the i5 6600K in my country. I was only able to find the i3 6100 and the i5 6400 – Camilo Terevinto Jan 11 '16 at 13:04
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For your computer, besides the extra RAM you need, I recommend an upgrade to your CPU cooler (something like the CoolerMaster V6 would be very nice) so you can overclock your current CPU. While the FX 4350 is only a two module CPU, it should handle most tasks well, and applications requiring more than 4 threads are rare. Only when you feel that your CPU is performing inadequately even with an overclock should you upgrade. If more cores will help, a AMD FX 8320 will perform just as well as an 8350 when lightly overclocked. If you need single threaded performance, you will need to go with Intel.

For Intel, since you can't find a K series CPU, there isn't much point getting a Z series chipset. A H97 or B85 would do just as well. Skylake doesn't really offer much in terms of increased performance. Unless you need the features of the newer platform, my advice would be to stick with Haswell.

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  • My main problem is that I love some old CPU-intensive games that use 1-2 cores and the FX performs extremely bad there, creating huge bottlenecks for my GPU. I decided to drop the Z170a and go for a cheaper B150-m Pro-vdh which is only USD120. DDR3 is just as expensive as DDR4 (both are around USD100 for a 1x8GB stick) but DDR4 should generally perform better and last longer, since it will be a lot of time until we see DDR5 or need more than 64GB DDR4. Thanks again, this is solved. – Camilo Terevinto Jan 13 '16 at 11:53

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