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Potential upgrade (Skylake/DDR4/R290X) — where?

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NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
Hi, guys. This is my current setup:

Asrock K6 Z70 ('Fatality')
i5-6600 (yes, non-K) @ ultra120 (115- mounting kit)
Ripjaws DDR4/3200/15 16GB (2x8)
Samsung SM951 256GB (NVM/PCIE4)
R9 280X 3 GB (Sapphire Dual-X)
X-fi Titanium (PCIE)
PSU: OCZ ZS 650W (several years old, bronze-rated, nothing fancy)
Monitor: Iiyama ProLite X2483HSU (1080p) (won't be upgrading to 4K any time soon)

Use: work: heavy-duty document editing and tons of browser tabs; games

More power at work would be good. +10 fps in games would be much welcome.

Budget: not destitute but still quite conscious, $300 for +5 fps would be way off limits

So:

  • Disk: I'll probably need to get a larger hard drive. Probably sooner than later. Probably a bit of a headache deciding between adding a SATA SSD for storage and replacing the sys drive with something bigger. Replacing the sys drive would probably be too small an upgrade for the cost, though it would certainly be convenient in the minimalistic sense of having just one drive, not using SATA etc.
  • Mobo: May need to replace anyway. Warranty expired, some minor issues, not a priority. This said, I might as well skip a generation, get a newer chipset, perhaps two M.2/PCIE4 ports (or whatever's newer) to address disk capacity.
  • CPU: Need a K obviously (got impatient and chased a bargain), but perhaps not right away, and by a larger difference than is currently possible in the midrange. This could be combined with #2 obviously.
  • GFX — CF: Another 280X wouldn't the bank, but the price was already near breaking point when I bought this one. The plus side is (1) I'd avoid the hassle of selling my stuff, and (2) free MSAA is something I would like. But I'm skeptical about several things: (1) paying almost the same money so much later; and (2) so late for Tahiti (2012) anyway; (3) temps + more noise; (4) power drain and power bill; (5) not sure this old PSU could handle full loads; (6) whole new range of CF issues, glitches, microstutter etc. that I've so far been able to avoid by always having a single card.
  • GFX — replacement: Can't see a sensible replacement in the market right now. Anything midrange, whether red (~80) or green (~60/~70), would probably be only a small upgrade and very expensive for the small gain. The same applies to the lower end of the higher end — slightly more performance gain but a lot more expensive, like +10 fps for $400 or something. Or maybe I'm jaded. What do you think?
 
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ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
So... budget? What's your current SSD size? What are you putting on the drive?
Are you using this for gaming? What games? What monitor?

If you're upgrading the CPU and motherboard, go for Kaby Lake with Z270. If not, leave it alone.
Unless you're doing something CPU intensive, you'll never notice that change.
 
OP
N

NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
So... budget? What's your current SSD size? What are you putting on the drive?
Are you using this for gaming? What games? What monitor?

Thank you. I've edited the OP to include that information.

Monitor: I'm looking forward to 4K at some point, but right now monitors are too expensive for me. I'd also need a graphics upgrade to avoid compromising other aspects of quality than just the high resolution, I guess, though I suppose with 4K you don't need so much (MS)AA any more.

Games: What I play right now is Dragon Age: Inquisition, next in line is Pillars of Eternity plus expansions, Dirt Rally (the new one), and a bunch of older games like Crusader Kings II, Anno 1404, Civ IV (will go straight to VI if at all), Grid 1 and 2, Witcher 1–2. Will want to get Mass Effect: Andromeda when it comes out, may want to get Witcher 3. Perhaps something from the Total War series.

SSD: The 256GB sysdrive is awfully small, and 30 GB free space won't do. I'll probably need to add a drive or replace this one quite soon. I'd be meh about replacing 256 with 512 (could probably sell the 256 to a friend at a bargain because he still boots from a 128GB SATA drive), and the cost of fast NVM at 1TB is prohibitive. So I might as well grab a 512 on SATA to have ~768 total and last me a while.

If you're upgrading the CPU and motherboard, go for Kaby Lake with Z270. If not, leave it alone.
Unless you're doing something CPU intensive, you'll never notice that change.

Given the cost of Kaby + Z270, there's a strong chance I'd be better off getting a beefier GFX card for the money, nope?

Speaking of which. Just checked and, unless I found a real bargain, buying another 280X would cost me as much as buying a NIB 480 and selling my own 280X, leaving me with all the benefits of a NIB card plus lower electricity bill plus room for CF. Probably the better path, nope? For comparison, nVidia 1060 would be about 10–20% cheaper and 980 about 10–20% more expensive than the 480X, and either of them would probably be stronger in games than the AMD card. 1070 or Fury is out of my reach financially.
 
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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
How much of your current SSD is occupied by programs and OS vs. data? One cost efficient solution that many people use is to put the OS and programs on an SSD and move the data over to a large spinner hard drive.

The $300 budge limit is not going to allow for the kind of upgrades that will give you significantly better performance. And I think you already realize that from what you yourself have said.
 
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NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
How much of your current SSD is occupied by programs and OS vs. data?

238GB total
23GB OS
82GB Users (desktop, documents etc. — this includes anything from work projects to game saves)
46GB games
15GB pagefile
13GB recyclebin
4GB drivers & stuff
30GB free



The $300 budge limit is not going to allow for the kind of upgrades that will give you significantly better performance. And I think you already realize that from what you yourself have said.

Yes, $400 tops maybe. And yes.
 
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Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
I'd totally await to see what Vega will end up costing and any release date depending on the timeframe for the upgrade we are looking at at this point.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
I'd totally await to see what Vega will end up costing and any release date depending on the timeframe for the upgrade we are looking at at this point.

I don't think we'll get that info in Q1, honestly. It'll likely be Computex when that gets announced.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Gotcha, that's too bad if that's the case. But rumors say the 1080ti is getting pushed back too, no reason to launch with no competition besides your own product to cannibalize.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Gotcha, that's too bad if that's the case. But rumors say the 1080ti is getting pushed back too, no reason to launch with no competition besides your own product to cannibalize.

Yep, I'm almost certain NVIDIA will wait for Vega to launch before tipping their hand with any 1080 Ti information.
 
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NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
Know you dont want to sell, but that would very much be your "best" option while staying under budget.

I guess I could sell it under strict conditions or just suck it up and hope for the best. I have some other junk to unload anyway. I could swap with my friend for his HD6950 hair dryer with a cash premium and sell that one.

I could probably sell the 6600 for almost as much as I've seen 6600K's or 6700's go for on a lucky day. Or just undersell it a bit on Buy Now for fast cash. Either way, I'd need to buy and test a new CPU first anyway, and after that I'd have all the time in the world.

I also have a damaged 280X to sell, which could probably still net more than 0 as damaged with no returns.

Would this be a good time for a 1060, though? Or would a 980 make any sense this late? I'd probably prefer to skip AMD at this time, as I no longer trust them after the affair with selling to resellers above the recommended retail price, lying about it, deleting complaints on Facebook etc., plus a couple of other things. I know nVidia isn't blameless either, but it's probably time to change for me.

Yep, I'm almost certain NVIDIA will wait for Vega to launch before tipping their hand with any 1080 Ti information.

Looks like all they could achieve releasing it right now would be cause the prices to drop in general, but waiting too long could age it.

***

EDIT: I've done some more research of my local market (have to buy locally because shipment + customs would still make even the best bargain bad from Newegg), and, long story short:

  • CPU: Bad time right now, probably have to wait a couple of months.
  • GPU: Given the price range, I can't afford to gamble, so NIB/refurb only. Leaves me literally with either 480 or 1060. My 280X would probably sell for half the price.

The longer story about CPUs is that NIB Skylakes are more expensive than they were on release and apparently a NIB 6600K costs as much as a NIB 7600K. This means either NIB Kaby or used Sky. Used Sky seems to be an extinct species right now, unlike summer. Also means bidding wars would get it close to NIB price, so there's no point buying used. Theoretically this means I could sell mine well, but I don't really know how much I'd get without warranty (can't be 100% sure the CPU is 100% good). Bottom line, too much hassle unless I get a fat contract out of the blue for a cash injection (oh joys of a bachelor freelancer's life), in which case I may be tempted to get an unlocked Kaby, but in which case the same money would probably be better spent on the GPU anyway.
 
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NewbieOneKenobi

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Location
Warsaw/Poland
Update time.

Looking at the Green Team:

(1) Palit GeForce GTX1060 StormX (3GB)

Between retailers' prices and shipment costs, this is by far the cheapest option for me.

For a whooping 20–25% more dough the quietest card ever:

(2) MSI GTX 1060 GAMING X 3G with its delicious 30 dbA or less under peak load. And better VRMs and stuff, but it's the silence that matters. Its price, however, is almost within the 6GB range.

And from the Red Team:

Same quiet deal from MSI but 7% more expensive than its 1060 version and also just a bit less quiet:

(3) MSI RX 480 Gaming X 4G

But, surprise of surprises, at about 5% more than the cheapest 1060 (i.e. the Palit):

(4) Sapphire RX 480 Nitro OC of all Radeons seems to be the cheapest 480 I can find right now because it's 20% off with a major retailer and ships Tuesday or Wednesday. But can be loud, so I'm meh.

And at the exact same price:

(5) Gigabyte Gaming G1 4G, not as impressive as Nitro, coming from a company I don't trust (too many Gigabyte cards have died on me), but one of the quieter 480s if not as quiet as the MSI. Still, it costs 20% less than the MSI.

Both of these cost about 5% more than the Palit 1060.

Whether red or green, doubling the RAM costs like 20–25% extra, which I'm not enthusiastic about forking out just for RAM capacity.

I suppose 6GB vs 8GB makes less difference, but from what I've read 4GB does seem to win out against 3GB, hence in a way a 480 4GB could be the middle ground between GF 1060 3GB and 6GB. On the other hand, except for DX12 the GeForce's GPU seems to be stronger than AMD's, even though new red drivers seem to be bridging the gap these days.

Not looking at 470 or 1050ti because the market's a mess and they cost about just the same as a good deal on a 480 or 1060.

So far, well, the superiority of MSI Gaming X over the rest, either red or green, is pretty obvious, but the 20–25% price difference for different cooling on the same chip is hard to justify. Going with something cheaper and an aftermarket cooler plus two 12cm fans might very well end up costing less, only you'd lose warranty.

So far leaning 1060 > 480, based on brand sympathies (or rather AMD disappointment overflow) and DX11 benchmarks. Just wonder if it wouldn't be a better idea to keep using my existing 280X for one year more and then switch to 2060. It may be a Pascal refresh, but apart from probably ending up with a faster GPU and probably 4GB RAM in the cheaper version, it's reportedly going to aim for lower suggested prices. Then again, we know how well that works out sometimes. I'm hesitating a little because of the option to Crossfire on the 480X, which is probably a bunch more future-proof than Pascal, hence simply adding another 480X for some raw horsepower later could put me in a better position than having to swap single cards on nVidia. This said, I'm not really confident my old bronze Corsair 650W PSU can handle two of those with no issues under peak game load.

Also leaning MSI Gaming X > other/cheaper versions simply because of the comfort. I figure if you distribute the premium over days on days of hearing less fan roar, then it becomes easier to justify what is a pure comfort premium.
 
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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Newbie* just a little housekeeping detail . . . In your first post I think there is a typo about your CPU. You have it down as an i6. I think you meant i5.