Author Topic: It's Spec-Me-Up time!  (Read 22698 times)

  • Offline Eagle

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It's Spec-Me-Up time!
on: March 18, 2023, 22:35:30 PM
Long time no see!  How is everyone? :cheers:

Eight years ago I asked for build advice here: http://www.tekforums.net/computing-technology-web-communication/fallout-4/msg206241/#msg206241 and it's been going strong ever since.  It still runs MS Flight Sim (my current game) like a champ with Windows 10.

Quote
Intel Core i7 6700k
16GB Kingston DDR4 (2x8GB) 2666Mhz
GIGABYTE GA-Z170XP-SLI Intel Z170 (Socket 1151) ATX Motherboard
MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING TWIN FROZR V OC 4GB GDDR5
Corsair RM Series RM750 ATX Power Supply 750 Watt Modular PSU


In Dec 23 I'll be looking to build a new rig to see me for the next ten years, hopefully.  Budget will be around the 2k mark.

I won't be going for a 4k monitor or anything like that.  Just a simple 27" HD one will do me just fine as I no longer do graphic design (therefore colour fidelity no real issue).

Bit stuck on what I should be going for though - should I just keep my existing full size Case and Motherboard and just swap out the CPU, GPU, Memory and maybe the PSU?  Or will I need to upgrade everything?  Of concern is the motherboard - it's a bit old now isn't it?  Will modern components fit and even work?

 8)

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  • Offline Clock'd 0Ne

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #1 on: March 20, 2023, 17:21:34 PM
Sorry for anyone that wasn't able to open this thread before, it turns out the pretty-url generator doesn't like apostrophes and/or exclamation marks in topic titles!

There's no TL;DR here so apologies for the wall of text, I hope its helpful. I actually just replaced my basically decade-old rig before Christmas (and I'm still not using it fully yet as it's taking me an age to migrate my setup and data over onto new drives and such). Hard to believe it, but my last full build was back in 2012! Just upgrading the graphics and SSDs, that's good innings.

Your motherboard will definitely need to be replaced if you want some future-proofing, in fact there's probably little that you might want to salvage other than any SSDs and your PSU, as that's beefy enough. Cases now are lighter, better and cheaper generally too, I would just build a new rig. I actually don't have the time to build one, so I haggled a deal on a prebuilt system from Palicomp. I've not been dissatisfied with their service as despite being absolutely swamped with build orders over Christmas they did a very good job and all the parts were correct, though a few accessories were missing when everything was delivered - like the case screws for mounting HDD/SSDs - as they don't supply you all the original packaging; I got the motherboard box with bits in but that was it really. I emailed them and they sent me out some generic screws, I've also contacted GameMax to see if they can source the case accessories from their UK disty for me, waiting to hear back...

My new rig (approx £1500):
GameMax F15 case - very well reviewed and affordable case with excellent cooling
Asus Prime Z690-P DDR5/PCIe 5
Intel Core i5-13600K Raptor Lake
BeQuiet! Pure Rock 2 air cooler (BeQuiet! are highly regarded for coolers and cases)
32GB 6000Mhz DDR5 (2x16GB - dual channel is a must)
1TB PCI-E NVMe boot drive
nVidia RTX 3070 8GB graphics card

It came with a 650W ATX 2 PSU that I will be swapping out for a 1kW one I bought some time ago on a deal. I plan on swapping out to 64GB RAM soon too.

Personal findings/reasoning for me, from what I read up on getting back into the upgrade loop:
  • Everything now is RGB Gaming something or other, it's almost unavoidable in the premium line components. People are taking that sh*t real serious again :lol: Some components will be a bit cheaper without all the RGB stuff.
  • There are some crazy expensive super premium motherboard options available, honestly this was the biggest minefield for me. Have a baseline of what you need in mind and maybe don't get sucked in by cool sounding stuff like 2.5GB Ethernet unless you really can or plan to make use of it.
  • Between Ryzen and Intel there are great chips from both vendors and performance is generally solid across the board. Though people were favouring Ryzen systems berfore for value/gaming - especially their new X3D line which has a huge cache layer benefitting certain games - I went Intel because they are on beast mode with the latest Raptor Lake CPUs and they are pricing really aggressively to win back market share. Intel's Raptor Lake chips drop into the same LGA 1700 interface as the previous-gen Alder Lake chips, and Intel has one more generation coming to market for this platform, while thee latest AM5 platform is expected to be supported past 2025. I plan to keep my rig for a long time again so will probably be moving to a new platform when that happens anyway.
  • You might want to start using NVMe drives instead of SSDs, especially for your boot drive. They are 3x faster or more and the prices have dropped to the levels now where they are very affordable, nearly the same price as SSDs, so really if you're upgrading and your board supports them there's no reason to use SSDs unless you're moving them over from an old system. Between NVMe drives themselves though, you don't have to go for uber spec ones as in real world terms you will hardly ever get the max performance out of them unless shifting massive files like 4K movie rips around. More important is making sure an NVMe that you buy has DRAM cache!
  • Same for memory, its been dropping in price across the board. DDR5 is the latest standard and can be much more expensive but the latest AMD Ryzen chips demand it and perform better with the fastest memory possible. Its less crucial for Intel CPUs (which can still support DDR4) but there can still be performance gains. I opted for a Z series modern mobo with DDR5/PCIe 5 anyway to pair with my 13th gen Intel chip, because I see a bit more future-proofing in it. I plan to upgrade to 64GB soon as it can now be had for around £250 for high performance 6000Mhz DDR5 RAM. You might see RAM listed in MT/s instead of Mhz but the two terms are basically interchangeable. We will be looking at 8000Mhz RAM hitting the market in the coming year!
  • With graphics, 4000 series nVidia cards are hugely overpriced, the market on these is awful. I'd stick with 3000 series, 3070 or less if not doing 4K max everything gaming. The 3070 seems to be a price/performance sweet spot and should have some longevity, hence I opted for it. I haven't mentioned AMD cards because I don't really rate them these days. They're power hungry, missing features like RTX raytracing and their drivers are still flaky/dire, so colour me an nVidiot
  • The new ATX 3 PSUs are in their infancy, more expensive and are pretty unnecessary unless you want a monster top end graphics card. My new system, although its DDR5, PCIe 5, etc is still using ATX 2. The new cables the ATX 3 PSUs require have been causing issues if not connected properly, drawing too much power through arcing and melting. Very unlikely to happen, but I just wouldn't bother with one right now. I have a 1kW Platinum Plus PSU so wasn't going to replace it and you can get adapter cables for them if you really need to. It's worth reading up on the new spec and making your own decision though.

My screen of choice is an Ultrawide, I've just bought an LG 38GL950G 37.5" 3840 x 1600 144Hz Nano IPS with G-Sync to replace my old Dell Ultrawide as it had developed dead pixels, so its going to be grand for both gaming and productivity. The 3070 in my system is going to be able to push the pixels on most games for that with very high settings for a long time I reckon. Not that I get to game that often but I don't want to be upgrading the graphics card in a year's time, regardless. So you will be fine with a lower end graphics card if only gaming in Full HD or thereabouts.

Whatever you buy on a modern platform is going to feel so much faster than your current rig even if you don't go top spec, and if you're not gaming heavily you don't really need to.

Happy to try and help with more specifics if you have some direct questions, as I say I've not been keeping up on hardware like I used to so couldn't tell you specific makes and models of things worth buying off my noggin' but I don't mind looking up and dropping a few ideas down if no one else more knowledgable comes along.
Last Edit: March 21, 2023, 10:30:32 AM by Clock'd 0Ne #187;

Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #2 on: March 21, 2023, 12:18:15 PM
I keep thinking about upgrading.... but don't think there's that much extra performance to gain?

ryzen 7 1800x
16gig
1080ti
whatever fast nvme drive I bought at the time

I can;t really ne arsed with a full rebuild for neglable returns.... unless you guys think different?

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  • Offline Clock'd 0Ne

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #3 on: March 21, 2023, 13:07:26 PM
I'm not sure tbh but I have my doubts, I mean I'm making a leap from 10 year old architecture which doesn't actually feel sluggish most of the time, its mainly wait times for things to process like zipping/unzipping, loading/data transfers. The difference in the new rig is that things feel super snappy, almost instantaneous so far whatever I'm doing though I've not pushed it yet, but your rig is much newer so I think unless you find yourself thinking "Come on" in your head more often than not, its probably not worth it yet, especially if you already have NVMe and I'm assuming thats DDR4 RAM. If the 1080ti is still doing you fine for games, there's little reason to upgrade that either.

On paper the difference between your CPU and the one I've got now is huge, but I wonder if that really translates into a meaningful performance feel:
https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i5-13600K-vs-AMD-Ryzen-7-1800X/4134vs3916

One other thing to consider, a lot of things are looking to be coming down in price more rapidly now supply chain and chip production issues are being resolved post-COVID shenanigans, SSDs, memory, etc are all dropping in price. I'd probably wait until at least the end of the year like Eagle is doing before thinking about it again
Last Edit: March 21, 2023, 13:15:32 PM by Clock'd 0Ne #187;

  • Offline Eagle

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #4 on: March 22, 2023, 13:18:13 PM
Many thanks for your detailed reply.  A lot to take in (as usual) but I'll get my head around it.  I'll probably tap you for a quick update towards the end of the year.

I'd be more than happy to build a new rig, tbh.  Given that I already have one up and running (this one) I wouldn't have any time pressures or lack of proper internet like I would with a build without a working PC.

Tempting to get a pre-built rig but... cost savings and all that.  Also they never seem to have precisely what I have in mind even with re-specing.  I built this one and it's been rock solid performance-wise and never had a single issue with it, even with Windows - so I trust me to do it again!  ;D 

Novatech is local to me so I might swing by and tell them precisely what I want/need when the time comes and balance their quote against buying components from Scan etc and building it myself.

  :)

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  • Offline Clock'd 0Ne

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #5 on: March 22, 2023, 18:05:09 PM
I always forget that Novatech is just down the road from me too, so I didn't even consider it! Palicomp really did a good enough job, not as much attention to detail as if you DIY but they did do some cable routing, I could customise the parts I wanted and such. I didn't have to install Windows or anything like that either, so in terms of time saved I feel quids in, as I just don't have the time or inclination for a self-build with the kids taking up time (and actually not even some decent free worktop space to do so either at the moment).

  • Offline neXus

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #6 on: March 22, 2023, 22:48:59 PM
Long time no see!  How is everyone? :cheers:

Eight years ago I asked for build advice here: http://www.tekforums.net/computing-technology-web-communication/fallout-4/msg206241/#msg206241 and it's been going strong ever since.  It still runs MS Flight Sim (my current game) like a champ with Windows 10.

Quote
Intel Core i7 6700k
16GB Kingston DDR4 (2x8GB) 2666Mhz
GIGABYTE GA-Z170XP-SLI Intel Z170 (Socket 1151) ATX Motherboard
MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING TWIN FROZR V OC 4GB GDDR5
Corsair RM Series RM750 ATX Power Supply 750 Watt Modular PSU


In Dec 23 I'll be looking to build a new rig to see me for the next ten years, hopefully.  Budget will be around the 2k mark.

I won't be going for a 4k monitor or anything like that.  Just a simple 27" HD one will do me just fine as I no longer do graphic design (therefore colour fidelity no real issue).

Bit stuck on what I should be going for though - should I just keep my existing full size Case and Motherboard and just swap out the CPU, GPU, Memory and maybe the PSU?  Or will I need to upgrade everything?  Of concern is the motherboard - it's a bit old now isn't it?  Will modern components fit and even work?

 8)


I have a 3080 and I do not see the blistering FPS you may see on youtube tech channels because I have that ultrawide. If you go for the 27 inch monitors, even 4k ones you have less pixels to push so you will naturally get and FPS boost.

The main thing is for bang to buck AMD is the king at the moment. Single core Intel are still there but AMD is on the up and Intel is on the down.
In terms of GPU for price AMD again may be what you look at if your not caring about needing G-sync vs Free Sync. You may save again there because Free Sync monitors do not need the G-Sync license and therefore cheaper.


But then you can pick up a 3080/3090 and they will still do well for games and last and not pay the 40 series prices.

Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #7 on: March 24, 2023, 11:38:54 AM
I'm not sure tbh but I have my doubts, I mean I'm making a leap from 10 year old architecture which doesn't actually feel sluggish most of the time, its mainly wait times for things to process like zipping/unzipping, loading/data transfers. The difference in the new rig is that things feel super snappy, almost instantaneous so far whatever I'm doing though I've not pushed it yet, but your rig is much newer so I think unless you find yourself thinking "Come on" in your head more often than not, its probably not worth it yet, especially if you already have NVMe and I'm assuming thats DDR4 RAM. If the 1080ti is still doing you fine for games, there's little reason to upgrade that either.

On paper the difference between your CPU and the one I've got now is huge, but I wonder if that really translates into a meaningful performance feel:
https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i5-13600K-vs-AMD-Ryzen-7-1800X/4134vs3916

One other thing to consider, a lot of things are looking to be coming down in price more rapidly now supply chain and chip production issues are being resolved post-COVID shenanigans, SSDs, memory, etc are all dropping in price. I'd probably wait until at least the end of the year like Eagle is doing before thinking about it again

yeah I'm thinking the same... I'm not sure why but I'm itching to upgrade

tbh I was running an i5-2500k + ssd before this and I hardly noticed the upgrade

back in the days when new chips were out all the time and there was a decent (on paper) performance boost I used to upgrade all the time... and hardly noticed it then

I still remember the jump going from a spinning disk to an ssd and crave that again lol :-o

  • Offline Eagle

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #8 on: March 24, 2023, 11:47:41 AM
Quote from: knighty
I still remember the jump going from a spinning disk to an ssd and crave that again lol :-o
Yeah, when I got my first SSD I was like "WTF - why didn't I do this years ago!?"  ;D

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  • Offline Clock'd 0Ne

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #9 on: March 25, 2023, 10:47:47 AM
The jumps were a lot larger and more significant back then, we're getting to that plateau where home user performance can't be tangibly improved I think (day-to-day use I mean, for gaming there's obviously huge performance gains to be had with 4K max settings, raytracing, etc).

Compare the jump from a 100Mhz system with 8MB RAM to when the Ghz barrier was broken, etc, its huge. Now we're talking the same kind of clock speeds but just some more cores and architectural improvements. The biggest change is bus speeds and bandwidths for data transfer but even then there's a limit to how quickly things can feel generally.

Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #10 on: March 27, 2023, 10:17:22 AM
I still remember the first time running unreal tournament 2 on my mates system I built for him.... the intro was so smooth... on my system even on min settings it was jumpy

my mate had 128meg of ram tho, the flash basterd

  • Offline neXus

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #11 on: March 28, 2023, 02:14:02 AM
Quote from: knighty
I still remember the jump going from a spinning disk to an ssd and crave that again lol :-o
Yeah, when I got my first SSD I was like "WTF - why didn't I do this years ago!?"  ;D
M.2 FTW!

  • Offline Eagle

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #12 on: May 04, 2023, 09:42:48 AM
Thinking ahead... if I'm "unable" to purchase a whole new PC in Dec (hey I'm married, what could possibly go wrong?!) what would folks suggest as the best upgrade path for this motherboard?

I mainly play MS Flight simulator - it runs fine on current system at 30fps on Med/High settings but wouldn't mind increasing performance as much as I could for a small ish outlay. 

• I'm thinking: a 3080 GPU
• New Intel CPU - I hate installing them (the cooler mularkey) but hey-ho.  Any suggestions for size/type?
• How many Nvme drives will this board support?  Just the one I'm guessing (if any)?  I could splash out on a 2Tb+ as MSFS is very storage hungry with all its addons.
• Could upsize the monitor to a decent 27", no 4k shenannigans required.
• Could also just add up to 64Gb RAM

I figure the above might be an option but would it work out much cheaper?  I need to ask myself do I really need a whole new rig when the above upgrades would do?

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  • Offline Clock'd 0Ne

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #13 on: May 04, 2023, 17:29:18 PM
 i7-7700K is the top-end CPU for your Z170 mobo (might need a BIOS update). You've got one M.2 (not NVMe) slot and that's it for the board, so you would have to go big on that. The latest mobos have support for 2/3 NVMe drives.

Feels/sounds like an expensive half-step to me, I'd try and aim for the few hundred quid extra on new board and memory if you plan on swapping the CPU and storage anyway.

  • Offline Eagle

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Re: It's Spec-Me-Up time!
Reply #14 on: May 04, 2023, 22:19:08 PM
Feels/sounds like an expensive half-step to me, I'd try and aim for the few hundred quid extra on new board and memory if you plan on swapping the CPU and storage anyway.
Yeah, you're right.   :thumbup:  I'll just bite the bullet.

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