New motherboard or new graphics card or both?

Associate
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19 Jan 2015
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I have an MSI z97 gaming 5 motherboard with 8 meg of RAM with a Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-4670K CPU @ 3.40GH. I have an MSI Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 gamming 2g graphics card. I've upgraded the hard drive a few years ago and now boot from an SSD hard drive. I have my data on a secondary but huge sata drive. My Corsair power supply is fairly new. I use my computer for everything and run three monitors for online training, use it for photo editing as well as some PC gaming. I'm not an expert but have built a couple and fixed a few PC's.

So should I invest in a new motherboard and processor, or a new graphics card? Or, would upgrading one but not the other immediately limit my choices and it really would be best to bite the bullet and replace both at the same time? I suppose if I was able to upgrade in stages this would spread the pain and enable me to spend more money in total. I don't have a specific budget but wouldn't want to spend more than 1,300 in total.
 
Soldato
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If your priority is gaming then I'd go for the graphics card first. Something like a RX 6600 is way faster than what you have. It will be held back by the CPU, but you'll still see a benefit in any significantly GPU-bound game. The cheaper cards (6400 and 6500 XT) only have two outputs, unless you daisy chain (though I don't know if they support this), so three monitors won't be supported.

For productivity use, I suspect you'd notice the difference going from 8GB to 16GB, but it probably isn't worth buying more DDR3 when you could put the money towards to e.g. a 12400F with 16GB of DDR4. If you only have one stick, perhaps the most reasonable option is to try and get a second identical second hand for less than £20.
 
Associate
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I'm going to be brave and provide a different view than Tetras.

Your work is waaaay more important than gaming as you can then earn more money for better gaming hardware. Everyone knows that upgrading your PC is far more fun than actually playing the games the PC runs - plus as a bonus your work will be easier on a faster machine, which means you can get a better machine, and so the positive feedback loop continues.

Your work will likely benefit more from a CPU and RAM upgrade than a GPU upgrade. GPUs are coming down in price hard right now, and this may continue when new cards come out later this year.

I am not convinced the same will be true of CPUs. I'd be inclined to go AM4 because the motherboards are a LOT cheaper than Intel.

So - maybe a B450 board for around £60ish (MSI Tomahawk MAX II is a good one) and a 5600 (not the 5600g or 5600x) for <£200, you'll need some DDR4 - I'd aim at 16GB 3200Mhz-3600Mhz for ~£50 to £60 now, and then look again at GFX cards around November Black Friday time would be my bet.
 
Associate
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Both arguments have merits, and seeing as op has 4th gen Intel PC, guessing whatever he gets he'll keep for a long time. He also put in a £1300 ballpark figure, so why not get both. The CPU will be a massive boost to what he's used to, he uses his PC for everything including gaming, so this is a massive plus. But hell be held back via the gpu, and so upgrading that will be a massive boost too.
Seeing as he uses computer for everything, added 32gb of ram, as can have a game on one screen, while still have work on other screens without having to worry about shutting down other programs.
Did an Intel and AMD build. Used a z690 board as takes 4 nvme drives, so if you keep for another 8 generations you'll have plenty of storage options, and used a 12600k. Has onboard gpu AZ a backup in case gpu fails and performs as well as a 5800x for productivity. Put arctic aio in there as well to keep everything cool. Put a 3070ti in there as highest I could go without breaking budget. Could drop to 12400 and b660 board, loose 2nvme slots but then get a 3080, but personally like the expansion potential on z690
With AMD used a 5700x so still 8 cores, so can game and still have work on go, same ram and gpu. Used an air cooler, and to be fair, could use the same on the 12600k and save a bit. You could go up to a 5800x and use arctic aio..end result will be prob within £10 of each other.
AMD build only 2 nvme slot though

Both will be a massive upgrade for you, my pref the Intel as you'll get more nvme slots. It will also take 13th gen CPU so slightly better upgrade path

There is an argument for waiting as new generation of cards not that far off, but still a few months away. The release of next gen gpu will have downward pressure in current gpu, so I do think that they have room to fall a bit more. But decision is yours really...if you're struggling, upgrade now and enjoy, if you're coping I'd maybe wait a couple of months

My basket at OcUK:

Total: £1,300.97 (includes delivery: £11.10)​

My basket at OcUK:

Total: £1,227.96 (includes delivery: £11.10)​

 
Associate
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12 Apr 2020
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Sorry, late last night and typed on my tablet

You could skew one way or the other also. Below managed to get a 3080 so more powerful gpu in your basket and put with a 5600 amd cpu...seen the 5600X for £190 now with free next day delivery so basically the same price as below, you'll have to shop around a bit. I'm assuming your work/photo editing works on current system, so should work fine with the below also, hence skew towards gaming)

For intel, seen the Asus Strix B660-A wifi for £167(atx)(ocuk£200) or the MSI B660M mortar for £158(matx)(ocuk£170) and you could pair it with a 12400 for £182, 12500 for £198 or 12600 for £215. both boards are good, capable taking more power cpu's..would just change the below cooler for the intel version(same price)..so with 12400 and strix would be 1286, 12500 £1302 and 12600 £1319.

My basket at OcUK:

Total: £1,275.86 (includes delivery: £0.00)​

 
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