Update Needed

Kiladyn

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Kiladyn
So I know I need an update on a lot of my parts. I built the majority of this computer back in 2012. The graphics card was updated about a year ago. I could really use some suggestions on which parts to upgrade first. Also unfortunately the cheaper the better because I have a toddler. My wife wants to get me something for my birthday in a few months and I told her computer parts so this forum will be used to give her ideas. Any help is appreciated.

 

Scape

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SCAPE-TEL
Definatly swap out a 1 Harddrive for an SSD, you'll take a hit on storage but SSD is a must these days. Also i think windows 10 is free??....someone can correct me.
I went for a cheap and plain case to save money, then bought some cheap rgb fans to 'game' it up a bit.
 
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Vavrik

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Motherboard and CPU is a good place to start, but isn't the only place to start. You might find that the 2012 CPU is capable of a lot more performance than you knew, just because you started to use SSDs. Some advice:
  • Keep an HD too. They're useful for backup drives.
  • Don't skimp on the capacity of the SSD. That 256 Gb may be cheap, but you'll get a lot more mileage out of a larger size.
 

Montoya

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Also i think windows 10 is free??....someone can correct me.
Win 10 is a free download, it will have a "Activate Windows" watermark in the bottom right, but will offer full functionality asides from being able to change the default wallpaper.

I made my daughter a budget PC and it had that, until I realized that I had a windows key on the actual case itself after 6 months! :D
 

supitza

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I was told motherboard and CPU by others. But SSD is a good idea!
If there isn't a particular game that you're upgrading for, I'd suggest the SSD as well. The CPU could be a priority as well, but then you'd have to also upgrade the MoBo and RAM (DDR3 -> DDR4), and your wife might not be happy with the price of your birthday gift.
 

DarthMunkee

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So there are a few ways you could go about upgrading this. I would start with getting rid of the 500 GB HDD and going for a decent SSD of similar or higher capacity. You will still be limited to SATA speeds since you can't use NVMe but it will be a huge boost over the 5400 RPM HDDs that are in there now. Keep the larger drive that you have for storage. You could ditch both drives for one larger hybrid drive that has an integrated SSD and faster HDD too, but personally I would only go that route if I were going to put 2 drives in there in RAID.

The next option you could look at is upgrading your 4x4 GB RAM to 4x8 GB, I know a lot of people say that 16 GB is plenty and most of the time it is, but having that extra overhead is not a bad thing if you want to do things like run Star Citizen and Discord at the same time. But this would definitely be after an SSD or hybrid drive upgrade.

Lastly on the cheapest end, depending on what cooler you have for the CPU you could overclock. If you don't know what you are doing with that read up on it or use the automatic settings that should be in your system BIOS. That CPU is unlocked and the MoBo has an OC utility you can use to make life a little easier. If you still have the stock cooler though, do not OC the CPU. Get a better cooler like a Hyper 212 Evo from Cooler Master. You need to have adequate cooling before going down the OC path and that is a good air cooler to get started with. If you want to spend a little more money on cooling and your case supports it, get an AIO water cooler like a Corsair H60 and you can take your OC a little further. If you go this route, whatever cooling option you go with, make sure you use a really good thermal paste like Arctic Silver 5.

Ok, so that covers your cheapest options, what about if you can find some good deals or buy second hand? Look for a Ryzen 3 1200 and a motherboard that would support it. You will have better thermals, the TDP is like 30W less, the stock cooler can handle OC, support for DDR4 RAM, NVMe slots, and SLI/Crossfire support. In other words, you will have more expansion options down the road, but you are going to have to shell out more money up front.



EDIT: I forgot to add that if you are going to overclock, then in addition to good CPU cooling you need to make sure that you have good airflow through the case to make sure the VRM on the motherboard is cooled well too. That is something that can often be overlooked but it is just as important that it is cooled adequately too, because if you fry you VRM it won't matter how cool you can keep your CPU you'll be out a motherboard!

I also found this post on Tom's Hardware that is answering a question specifically about the FX-4100 but is good advice overall for how to overclock a CPU. It can be time intensive to make sure things are stable, but can really bring older CPUs back to life so to speak.
 
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Bambooza

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Yes, unfortunately adding a SSD drive and possibly overclocking is really the only cheaper options left at the moment. Adding more memory might help if you find yourself hitting the current memory cap but it’s a questionable enhancement.

Beyond that your system looks to be at the point where the next step forward would be a core upgrade of motherboard, CPU and memory.
 

Kiladyn

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Thank you for all the tips and advice!

Are there any specific parts/brands you would recommend? I want to make life easy on her so she has it laid out in front of her. I saw @DarthMunkee recommended the ryzen 3 1200. What would be a good mobo? Or other parts?
 
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DarthMunkee

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Personally I generally stick to Asus and Corsair for the majority of my components, with Samsung and Western Digital for storage options. As for recommendations, I like:
- Corsair for AIO water coolers, Cooler Master or Noctua for air coolers
-Corsair or G.Skill for RAM
-Asus or Gigabyte for Motherboards. MSI is an option too but I have heard mixed things about them recently.
-Corsair or Seasonic for PSU
-EVGA for pretty much anything because of awesome customer service.

To get a little more specific with the motherboard, you want something with a B350, X370, or X470 chipset. The A320 doesn't support things like overclocking and would be very basic. Beyond that pick a brand and look for the features that you want such as built-in WiFi and whatever extra bells and whistles you want. When it comes down to MoBo selection, the socket and the chipset are the important parts the rest are just extras. If you think you might want to go with a multi-GPU setup in the future stick to the X370 or X470, the B350 doesn't support SLI/Crossfire.

Also check out the Linus Tech Tips sponsors thread to find some discount codes and stuff that might help if you're buying new. LTT Sponsor Thread
 
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