Upgrade time for CB's main PC

CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄ƷDer Millionendorf- Icrontian
edited December 2017 in Hardware

So, It's been at least 2 years since I put any money into this PC, and closer to four since the last real upgrade, so it's time.

Here's what I have now:

Mobo: Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H
Proc: Intel i7-2700K @ 3.5GHz
VC: NVIDIA GeForece GTS 450 1GB
Monitors: Asus VS197DE 18.5-inch Widescreen & Acer P244w 24-inch Widescreen
PSU: I don't even know anymore, some kind of modular thing I got from EPIC one year, I think? I'll go down to the basement and check the box in the morning.

What I'd like to upgrade:
I AT LEAST need/want to upgrade my video card. I would like to stay in the GeForce family, but get something with more speed and RAM.
Secondarily, it would be nice to replace the lesser of my two monitors, probably to something that matches the newer primary more suitably. Having two monitors of approx the same size for once would be nice.
Tertiarily, I would like to consider switching to water cooling. I've done some wonders with getting this PC to be quiet, but it's still not perfect, and if I go putting in new bits, it might increase the fan noise, which I don't need.
Of course, these changes may lead to other changes? If my mobo or power supply need to be replaced to support other changes, or if my RAM should also be bumped up, or whatever...

What I do:
I game, of course. It'd be nice to run the latest Assassin's Creed game without lag (right now, I can't even run AC:Unity on 'low' without some lag). My writing doesn't need a powerful machine, but the A/V creation stuff does, and I've been noticing some slow-downs when rendering and such. Also, I need as little noise as possible for the voice acting projects.

What I'm currently thinking:
I like the stats/€ ratio of this card, but I don't know anything about that brand.
ZonDE doesn't have the Acer P244w, but it has this one. But... It seems a little too expensive? I don't know how much monitors are supposed to be anymore? I feel like I didn't pay that much for the 24in that I have...
If I can get away with just those things, that might be enough, but I have the budget to do more if I need to to make it all work right, and get some future-proofing for this machine. Also, I don't even know where to start with water cooling. Would I need a new case and everything?

I'd like to keep the operation under 800€, but could go as high as 1200€ if it's worth it to get more future out of the upgrades. Everything needs to be able to be shipped to Bavaria.

Any thoughts?


  • The i7 2700k isn't a bad chip. Still should game decent if given a good card, not too inefficient given it's relative age. I think your head is in the right place starting with the GPU.

    The problem is that the GPU market is a little inflated. That said if a GTS 450 has gotten you this far, maybe your demands are not too high for what you enjoy playing.

    Zotac is a decent brand, but if silence is a concern, I'm not sure that single fan card will do it best? I'd have to look at some reviews but keep that in mind, your GPU can be the loudest component under load and it's one where it's hardest to change the stock cooling. Unhappy with a case, radiator or heatsink fan, no big thing, swap it at some point, GPU fan sucks, not saying you can't do anything about it, it's just harder and usually more expensive. You will really want to think about who has the most silent operating GPU's if you want it quiet.

    Also keep in mind, water cooling isn't always more quiet. My loudest component is the pump on my AIO cooler. It's not bad, and it looks super rad in my rig but the pump can make some noise when it gets going. https://community.amd.com/thread/215415

    The monitor you picked supports G Sync which is an expensive adaptive sync technology. Is running two monitors a must for your workflow or would a single larger display be suitable?

  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    Two monitors is a must, but I've been doing okay with one nice monitor in the middle, and a relatively cheap, smaller monitor next to it. I was partly thinking of upgrading the monitor because it's still VGA, which I'm not sure it ideal anymore with a modern card, but it's not a necessary part of this operation. If my proc is okay, and my mobo and PSU will support a new video card, than the video card is the only thing I consider a _must _right now. The rest could wait.

    If water cooling is not a good way to get quieter, then it's not helpful. :D

    Thanks for taking the time to look, Cliff. Is there a list somewhere of the relative quietnesses of the various Graphics cards?

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited December 2017

    Keep in mind: if you intend to spend more than around $200 on your next GPU, your processor is so old that it will hold back the performance of that purchase.

    For creative work, a processor upgrade is the single biggest upgrade you can make. That will require a new motherboard and new RAM.

    And no modern GPU will support VGA. Graphics chips got rid of support for analog connections in 2014.

    Best thing you can do for the silence of a GPU is to buy the physically largest model with the graphics chip you want. The larger cooling mass will allow a lower fan velocity, and allow for larger fans that naturally spin at lower speeds to reach useful airflow. And along this line of thinking: monster CPU air coolers still out-perform (acoustically and thermally) all available AIO water cooling solutions. Thermal mass wins.

  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited December 2017

    Man, if I had two displays that didn't match on my desk something would break in my fragile psyche. Monitor features and specs have gone pretty wild. It used to be, I got to store, pick a size, am I a graphics pro that needs perfect color, yes / no, this is the one... Now refresh rates, G Sync, Free Sync, IPS, TLS, TN, pixel response rate, trying to figure out if anyone reports a true contrast ratio. Shopping for a monitor can be a challenge.

    G Sync will inflate the monitor price. It's an NVidia proprietary technology. It works well in situations where you have a variable framerate and screen tearing that you would usually remedy by turning on V Sync in the game properties. G Sync and Free Sync on the AMD side takes that idea and gets the monitor and the GPU talking to each other to sync frames so you don't need to enable it in software, and it eliminates certain stutter issues that make playing in V Sync sometimes feel jerky. Just depends how serious you are about the 3D titles that are going to push your hardware. If you are, it may be a worthwhile feature, if your more casual about it, you could save a few euro skipping that feature. A lot is said about higher refresh rate, resolutions past full HD, but for a two display setup on that card, I'd run two 1080P monitors at 60Hz and it will be great. 4K makes more sense on a large single display. I'm not sold on 144 Hz monitors changing the world, I've seen it in action, I'm sure if you were an ultra competitive gamer you might see a marginal benefit, for guys like us, a screen that can adequately refresh itself 60 times a second is plenty. IPS monitors tend to look better, have much better off center color performance and generally speaking are the panels vendors pay a little more attention to, they respond a tad slower, but unless you are a tournament gamer you are not going to notice. If you can budget it, IPS will give you a better panel. TN panels respond faster and can be a pretty good value. If I were you, I'd really think about treating myself to a pair of displays. Get two, nice and evenly lit and uniform looking going across your desk. I work in an environment where we recently did a life cycle of users displays. #1 complaint is when we leave the old one on the right and don't give them two at once. It looks weird, you can't ever match the brightness, the look of the screen, once you have two nice uniform monitors you will never go back, and seriously, it's a ten year investment now, the current crop of LCD monitors never seem to fail so it's a good solid investment.

    Yeah, Water cooling isn't always quiet cooling. It can be, but my experience is the pump noise will be the loudest thing going once you start loading it. For me, it was about achieving a look. It was a shallow selection because I thought it looked pretty cool. It does a good job, the pump does not bother me much, but something to keep in mind. I had a corsair unit that could raise hell when it got a little warm. I might look for a super quiet air cooler. Noctua makes some premium stuff, if you don't mind brown in your PC (I do). I have used a ton of coolers from Arctic over the years, typically what I go to for friends and family builds and I swear they have this nice kind of nice sound signature, hard to explain, you can hear them a little when they reach load, but they don't vibrate, cause any hum of any kind, they just move air. Cheap and good - https://www.amazon.de/ARCTIC-Freezer-Prozessorkühler-Multkompatibel-voraufgetragener/dp/B0048F64DU/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1514740406&sr=1-1&keywords=arctic+freezer+13

    My experience with GPU coolers is that the single fan configurations are rarely the most quiet under load. There are some exceptions, NVidia has actually made a few decent low sound reference blower style coolers, but typically what's quiet and dissipates heat away from the GPU best is usually an open shroud double fan cooler of some kind. Asus makes some really great quiet designs. Honestly, any 1060 should not be too bad, that card is fairly efficient, they have done a good job to tune the software fan curves to try and keep the noise levels down. There are so man variants, just have to look online. Tomshardware and pcper.com both do some sound testing. What case is your gear living inside?

  • @Thrax he is running a Sandy Bridge i7. That bottlenecking the GPU will be in some limited scenarios. I think some frostbite engine games do take advantage of a heavier thread count, but most of the time I'm pretty confident a 1060 is going to purr compared to the GTS 450 he is running now. I'd love to sell the idea of an RX 580, love mine, plays everything but the price on AMD stuff is still out of whack because of the pretend money market. AMD why you so good a making play money?!?! Gamers need to buy @Thrax shit to!!

    Now, if @CB were to build, I can't say enough about my Ryzen 1600X build. Priced reasonable, it's a stud, a workhorse, does everything. Last week I was studying for an exam, I had my OS, two virtual machines going and a windowed game I'd break to from time to time and not one stutter or spit the entire time. I'm not saying value can't be gained from a platform upgrade, just depends on your mission. I'm sure the Sandy Bridge has headroom for far more than a GTS 450 though.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I was coming in here just to recognize the fact that Ryzen is a workhorse of a CPU platform that would tick all your boxes, CB

  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    edited December 2017

    Cliff, Sandy Bridge is older and slower than you might think. Mid-range GPUs have outstripped its performance this year. There's been some recent testing to this effect in the media. No architecture lasts forever, and SNB's time is over.

    IMO Ryzen 1600X is the ideal CPU for you, CB. It'll burn through creative workloads at warp speed. Pair with an MSI B350 Tomahawk and some good DDR4.

    Throw in a GTX 1070 or Vega56, and you're good.

  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    Started by just trying to upgrade the video card and psu. Got a corsair 750w, and a msi gtx1060.

    Installed them today. System turns on, did on the Mobo splash screen for a minute or so, then goes dark.


    Maybe I have to upgrade the whole system after all...

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited February 2018

  • Cliff_ForsterCliff_Forster Icrontian
    edited February 2018

    Are you running the current BIOS? If so, load it and restore defaults, try to boot again.

  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    I couldn't get a reaction from the keyboard while the splash was up. Wrong kind of keyboard maybe? I remember one once needed a ps2 keyboard for that stuff, but my motherboard only has USB.

    Will the mobo manu website have the info I need to see if my BIOS is up to date?

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian


  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    That was It! Thanks guys! :D

    My BIOS was last updated in 2013, but my version was still a few months behind the latest, which was a hardware compatibility update.

    Now to go play some games and see how much better they look. :O

  • Yeah let us know how you fare on the hardware combo. I think you are going to be okay to feed that card for a bit, not to say that a shiny new Ryzen isn't desirable, but I think your 2700K will have enough to get you to a really nice spot, most things should go great in 1080P now.

  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian

    So far so good. I'm playing Overwatch on Ultra and still getting 60+FPS. I turned up CivVI to the Max settings, but it actually doesn't look much different frankly :/. The big deal though is that I can Play Assassin's Creed Syndicate and there are no skips or lags in the character movement (I can actually time my blocks!), and the video keeps up with the audio in the cut scenes. :D

Sign In or Register to comment.