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I have an old ITX PC. The essentials of the spec are currently:

  • Cooler Master Elite 130 case
  • Corsair 850w PSU
  • ASUS® H81I-PLUS: Mini-ITX
  • Intel® Core™i5 Quad Core Processor i5-4570 (3.2GHz)
  • 8GB DUAL-DDR3 1600MHz RAM
  • Gigabyte Geforce RTX2060 Video card
  • Samsung 1TB SSD

The video card and PSU are recent upgrades. The rest is around 10 years old.

Since replacing the PSU it has run reliably, however the fan is a bit louder than I would like. I believe the noise comes from the CPU fan which is the original. (I replaced the case fans with quiet models and it made no difference). That said, it isn't unbearable (maybe 25-30dB).

I am looking to upgrade the motherboard, CPU and memory for much improved performance. I am considering:

  • ASUS ROG Strix B760-I
  • Intel i7 13700F
  • Corsair Vengeance DDR5 32GB (2x16GB) 6400MHz C32

I would also upgrade the video card in the future, but not right now.

So, this is pretty high end (which is what I want) without going crazy.

What I am wondering is how the heat generated would compare with the current configuration. On paper, the new CPU has a lower power consumption than the old one (65w vs 84w) and probably better power management, so I am hoping the fan would be quieter. I am not sure how the motherboard will compare (I guess it is not a big factor) or the memory (possibly more, because there is more of it, but again, not a big factor).

The PC will have various uses from running AI models to reading emails. So my ideal system would be able to handle the former case whilst being almost silent in the later case. I'd also want some headroom to slap a bigger video card in later.

Any advice on what difference the proposed upgrades would make (if any) would be much appreciated.

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Upgrade Effectiveness

Without more context usually I would assume that a GPU, then CPU upgrade would be the most effective at handling ML proccessing than anything else. While being a slightly older GPU by today's standards, I would not consider an RTX 2060 to be anything to sniff at. My estimation is that CPU/GPU upgrade effectiveness would largely depend on the AI/ML model's software implementation to exploit the hardware.

GPU future proofing

As far as future proofing upgrades of the GPU, you can check a resouce like pc part picker to perform what-if scenarios as it automatically filters by GPUs your motherboard are compatible with, if you decide your GPU isn't up to your standards. Perhaps you may want to consider the possibility of leaving spare slots for SLI, though I'm not familiar enough with the latest AI/ML standards to know how effective that is for your context.

Regarding Memory

In the case of your memory upgrade it's likely you'd already know if you were bumping up against a 8 gb limit assuming you monitor your system at all. If you're not coming close enough to the upper limit of that where your operating system is writing to the page file (on HDD), or using memory compression (increasing CPU load) you'll probably not see that much of a performance upgrade in that respect besides possibly some slight increase due to longer life of main memory caching.

The largest performance gain you'd see from your memory is that fact that it has a significantly higher operating frequency than your former memory which will increase the over operating throughput of the system.

Fan noise

As far as your concerns with fan noise, higher end components tend to have a better chance of having fan speed control software through vendor applications which you could control directly to run at a slower quieter speed, at the cost of overall performance.

It sounds like your PSU is the most noticable component in the system so without direct control over these fans, assuming there is some sort of software/bios avenue for it, would be to decrease the power consumption of the overall components, thus leading to less thermal dissipation. There are a couple ways to do this, which mostly involve utilizing overclocking tools to limit your maximum frequencies, or voltages. Note that thermal dissipation is a function that scales linearly with frequency but has a squared relationship with voltage.

Your easiest bet outside of fan control software would be underclocking via software overclocking tools like Intel XTU or Asus's GPU overclocking software. If you're capable of dealing with overclocking from the BIOS more power to you. Otherwise, I'd be remiss to mention that messing with voltages is going to be more difficult than limiting maximum frequency.

Lastly if the individual components are giving you trouble with sound you have the option to switching to water cooling (like an AIO (All-in-one) water cooling kit for you CPU for example) which will allow you to have minimal sound without sacrificing performance.

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  • Thanks for all that and the link to pcpartpicker.com: it's very useful.
    – rghome
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 12:50

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