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I want to upgrade my PC and I don't know which path should I choose. I want raise performance in games and be able to OC my PC which is not possible now because I have blocked CPU (without K). All my parts were bought to fit Rajintek Metis case but it was to hot inside and I changed my case to Phanteks Enthoo Evolv Itx which is much larger, has better air flow and can fit bigger GPU.

Additional info:

  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 but I may buy 4K monitor in near future
  • what do I play: newest titles without first person shooters
  • budget: ~$400 but I want to choose upgrade which will give best performance per spent dollar

My actual setup:


Which of paths listed below will be the best choice ?


PATH 1:

Cheapest way. Only upgrade GPU & RAM. No OC possibility.

Sell:

  • GPU: ~$200
  • RAM: ~$30

Buy:

SUM: ~$250


PATH 2:

It's the most probable upgrade for me. It will upgrade my GPU and give me possibility to overclock my CPU with upgrading it to i7.

Sell:

  • CPU: ~$180
  • GPU: ~$200
  • RAM: ~$30

Buy:

SUM: ~$360


PATH 3:

Upgrade only GPU but to GTX 980. Will my not overclocked i5 4690 be a bottleneck for this card ?

Sell:

  • GPU: ~$200

Buy:

SUM: ~$400


PATH 4:

Upgrade to Skylake it will be the most expensive, so I'm not sure if this upgrade is worth this price. To fit budget range I have to resign from i7 (to i5) and 16 GB RAM (to 8GB) and it's still $45 more expensive than Haswell upgrade.

Sell:

  • CPU: ~$180
  • MOBO: ~$90
  • GPU: ~$200
  • RAM: ~$30

Buy:

SUM: ~$405


It's really hard choice for me which path will be the best for spent dollar? In addition I have to ask if my PSU will be enough for all this configurations or should I add PSU with more power to this four paths ?


Edit:

PATH 5

So if the best solution is to save more money and wait for new architecture (GPU), I will do it but still my setup won't give me possibility to OC when it will be needed. My last idea is to sell CPU and RAM and upgrade it with better (but used, when they are still on market and people are changing them to Skylake) CPU and better RAM memory which won't be so expensive like other upgrades but will give me possibility to raise performance of my setup when it will be needed.

Sell:

  • CPU: ~$180
  • RAM: ~$30

Buy:

SUM i7: ~$190

SUM i5: ~$110

Does this solution have sense ?

  • 1
    Upgrading your build is not really necessary. Playing at 4K is too demanding at the moment and very expensive. Even a GTX 980ti struggels with 4k. I don't see the point of gaming in 4K and lowering your graphical settings to maintain a reasonable framerate. Consider getting a 1440p monitor and a R9 390. This graphics card will give you equal performance to a GTX 970 but has 8 GB VRAM and costs pretty much the same. 8GB RAM is enough for gaming. My advice is - upgrade your gpu and wait until the new Graphics card generations hit the market. Maybe we can expect some improvements in 4K perfomance – benjamin Feb 18 '16 at 13:39
  • @benjaminS Thank you for comment. What do you think about changing CPU and RAM is it not needed too ? Maybe I should change my i5 4690 to used 4690k or 4790k ? It would be much cheaper and I would have possibility to OC it when it will be needed ? – ivaan Feb 18 '16 at 13:49
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    Your CPU is fine and will be fine for several years most likely - having more ram won't drastically improve your performance but 16 GB is good to have (even though not really needed in most games and applications). Overclocking isn't that much of a help nowadays. It's mainly for enthusiasts who want to fiddle with it. The performance increase it not big and it can cause stability issues. You don't need to overclock in my eyes. If a CPU is a bottleneck, overclocking won't do wonders. Your build is very good for 1920x1080 - when you want to push higher framerates/resolutions then buy a GPU :) – benjamin Feb 22 '16 at 7:11
  • @benjaminS Your comments are very helpful I will use them and Journeyman Geek answer as a full answer to my questions. I will stay with what I have and upgrade GPU when next generation will be on the market. Thank you for help. – ivaan Feb 22 '16 at 8:25
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I'm currently doing 4k gaming - a 980TI is probably the most sensible option - its 90% of the performance of this generation's titan at 75% of the cost stock but I'd wait for the next generation if possible. On one hand they promise massive improvements. On the other hand, last gen hardware is cheaper.

What do I base this on?

I'm running a ivy bridge core i7 with 16 gb of ram. I'm rarely ram or CPU throttled. I do have a 980ti which performs adequately for my needs. That said I don't seem to think I hit the limits of my video card ram, and I seem to have some headroom with my GPU with most games, and I usually turn it up past the nvidia recommended settings. .

My advice would be to do a video card upgrade, but to wait a bit. If you must buy one now, while its pricy, a 980TI is likely your best option for dx11, single card gaming. That said, the next generation should have similar performance or better, and there's a few new interesting technologies - smaller process sizes and Ram varients that might make it worth the wait. Don't get me wrong, my current card is glorious but we should be seeing things like HBM this year on most cards.

That said, things may change soon - AMD's cards are doing really well at dx12 (and there's big price cuts on the high end R9s), and vulcan's coming out. And of course new cards promising more performance.

| improve this answer | |
  • Just to add an update to this answer (which I upvoted because in the main it's true): now there are GTX 1070s and 1080s which are indeed a big advance, just as Journeyman Geek suspected - even though they don't yet feature HBM or DDR5X. The same is true for AMD - their newer cards don't feature HBM. However they currently don't have a card out to compete with the 1070 or 1080, so I recommend Nvidia at this time for maximum single-GPU performance. Again, if you wait, I'm sure AMD will have something out shortly. But then you have to wait, which sucks. – Adam Wykes Jul 22 '16 at 15:31

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