So my kit isn't the worst, and it's far from the best. I'm wondering for myself personally as well as generally, what would be the best component to prioritise upgrading?

I have no SSD, only 1TB HDD 7200RPM and I know that a computer's storage can be a huge bottleneck for games that must fetch lots of files, RPGs like the witcher 3 for example.

My CPU is the Intel Core i5-3350P @ 3.1GHz - A poor CPU by todays standard, I often find myself having 100% CPU usage while gaming.

My GPU is the Nvidia GeForce GT 640 1GB - Another poor component by todays standard.

I've 8GB of DDR3 RAM, plentiful however not DDR4...

It's a prebuilt, full specs are found below. It was not intended for gaming however that is what I wish to turn it into.


Is it worth turning it into a gaming rig? At the moment I can and have been using it as so, it can hold a solid 60 on many games. MOBAS, FPS multiplayer games and anything else runs fine on it - low to mid settings. However now I wish to use it on high settings, especially with some RPGs i own.

Should I start from scratch or can I make some wise yet frugal upgrades to make it into what I want. Any advice or comments on what you would do is welcomed!

P.S. I have low income working part time as I am a student.

Edit: Games I'd intend to play are newer RPGs such as The Witcher 3, Kingdom Come, Far Cry 5. Also PUBG, Arma 3 and the likes...

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    An SSD and a new(er) graphics card would be a significant improvement. I would suggest a card with at least 2 GB as a starting point for your budget. SSDs are relatively cheap. For a proper recommendation, we should know what games specifically you intend to play and what your budget is. – user1691 Apr 2 '18 at 20:26

Here are your two main issues:

My CPU is the Intel Core i5-3350P @ 3.1GHz - A poor CPU by todays standard, I often find myself having 100% CPU usage while gaming.

My GPU is the Nvidia GeForce GT 640 1GB - Another poor component by todays standard.

The i5-3550p is a locked (i.e. can't overclock normally) processor, though your motherboard may allow you to force it to its full turbo speed (around 3.3 ghz). This is adequate for gaming, but a new processor couldn't hurt. Except your wallet, as the newest processors use DDR4 and a different chipset socket, which means new motherboard. If you want to avoid buying new RAM, you can get an i7-3770k; it's the same socket, uses the same RAM, and is unlocked for overclocking. Get yourself a Noctua D-15 cooler and you can really crank the speed on it.

The video card is hands-down your biggest issue. That's not just old, it's also slow for its own generation. The GT *n*40 series was effectively the minimum discrete video card nVidia sold per generation. You can compare it to its modern replacement here. For about $100 more, you can probably get a GTX 1060, or a second-hand GTX 970. With almost all games, the video card is the most taxed component, and your old card just doesn't have the texture memory (1GB) that newer games need to load all of their textures.

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I would be looking at the graphics card as priority #1, your CPU could always benefit from an upgrade but it is running 3.1ghz with 4 cores and a 6mb cache (not a slow processor), the bigger bottleneck here is definitely the GPU.. I would advise going with the latest gen 10X0 series of Nvidia cards, the 1080 would be a great addition. Make sure your motherboard takes PCI express so the card will be compatible. For the small saving I dont see it worth going for a 970/980, also the EVGA 1080 looks to be the best buy.

Next I would install a SSD, then 8gb more ram, DDR3 is fine.. Only then would I look at upgrading your CPU :)

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    Is there a specific reason you push for the the high end and not a 1050ti? OP doesn't specify budget but does say "low income college student." I'd have a hard time telling someone to spend that kind of scratch. – user1691 Apr 4 '18 at 13:22
  • Fair enough and agree that a 1050ti would be a big improvement, though you do get what you pay for and a 1080 vastly out performs the former. If the OP could focus the budget on one thing I recommend spending large ($750USD) on a 1080 – astro8891 Apr 4 '18 at 20:58

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