Improving my wife's computer

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Improving my wife's computer

Postby Zup » 2017-11-14 @ 16:05

So my wife is thinking about updating her computer. Although the computer has a few years, she's not going to change it yet. It has a FX6100 CPU, 8 Gb RAM DDR3, a Nvidia 450 and a typical SATA 2 HDD. The idea is improving one of these items to improve:

- AMD FX8350 (about 120€). Although it has two more cores than the FX6100 and the cores run faster, I don't know if it would have a great impact in performance. Do modern games need 8 cores or make a good use of them?
- 16 Gb RAM (about 80€). Modern games tend to use every bit available, but maybe 8 Gb is still enough...
- Nvidia 1050 or 1060 (budget between 150 to 250€). Although the display is a full HD one, I guess that's the key to get higher framerates. I've seen that a 1060 will be about 40% to 80% (it varies from site to site) faster than a 1050, but it cost almost double. It is more cost-effective a 1050 or a 1060?

Someone suggested me to get a SSD. I think that it will make things load faster, but once they're running it won't impact performance.

What item would you change to get maximum improvement?

Thanks.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby Jepael » 2017-11-14 @ 16:38

Zup wrote:So my wife is thinking about updating her computer. Although the computer has a few years, she's not going to change it yet. It has a FX6100 CPU, 8 Gb RAM DDR3, a Nvidia 450 and a typical SATA 2 HDD. The idea is improving one of these items to improve:

- AMD FX8350 (about 120€). Although it has two more cores than the FX6100 and the cores run faster, I don't know if it would have a great impact in performance. Do modern games need 8 cores or make a good use of them?
- 16 Gb RAM (about 80€). Modern games tend to use every bit available, but maybe 8 Gb is still enough...
- Nvidia 1050 or 1060 (budget between 150 to 250€). Although the display is a full HD one, I guess that's the key to get higher framerates. I've seen that a 1060 will be about 40% to 80% (it varies from site to site) faster than a 1050, but it cost almost double. It is more cost-effective a 1050 or a 1060?

Someone suggested me to get a SSD. I think that it will make things load faster, but once they're running it won't impact performance.

What item would you change to get maximum improvement?

Thanks.


I don't play games much so I can't comment on how much CPU/GPU horsepower you need. But I too have thought about updating home desktop PC with Athlon X2 255 to FX4000/6000/8000 series as they are still sold. It currently has new HDD for linux testing but it did have SSD before that and yes it was faster. 8GB has been enough so far at home and work but for work laptop with Windows 8GB starts to run out.

In general, SSD will definitely make a difference, the PC will boot faster and load programs faster, and also if programs load something every now and then that also loads faster. SSDs are smaller though, so OS and mostly used programs/games go to SSD and if more space is needed then a regular HDD for storing stuff.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby cyclone3d » 2017-11-14 @ 16:46

The 1050 or 1060 is going to be leaps and bounds faster than the 450.

I would go for the 1060 if it were me. It will be the biggest improvement out of your listed items. It will put a huge smile/jaw dropping expression on your face.

For the CPU, you can always overclock it a decent amount if you need extra speed for the time being.

The FX series is about on par with the 1st gen i5/i7 from Intel. Ok for gaming still, but a switch to a newer motherboard/CPU/RAM would definitely help with newer games.. depending on what you want to play.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby BeginnerGuy » 2017-11-14 @ 16:53

FX 6100 is a bulldozer CPU, 8350 is a Piledriver. Piledriver chips were a decent jump over bulldozer, most reviews at the time (2012) showing around 20% faster than the similar bulldozer part (8150 in this case). So you're getting two extra cores that will be a decent bit faster. It's still not a huge upgrade in terms of raw gaming performance, but it's there. Especially if you overclock the 83xx to 4.4-4.6Ghz

For what they are, the prices are still a bit much. I wouldn't spend over $100 on this upgrade. I would suggest a used 8320 or 8320E instead of the 8350 and save money. I bought my father an FX 8320 and overclocked it to 4GHz with no change in voltage (making it an 8350 right out of the box), and it's been rock solid stable for a few years now.

As for GPU, your mileage and answers will vary. I'm not going to suggest anything right now. This is a terrible time on the GPU market. I tend to avoid Nvidia products in budget machines. I personally grabbed a used Radeon HD7950 for $90 a couple years ago (last time bitcoin crashed and they flooded ebay) and it runs everything I care to play quite gloriously at 1080P to this day, though the power consumption is MUCH higher than a gtx 10xx card (check your PSU). You DO NOT have to spend big to get 1080P performance, though unfortunately right now GPU prices are ridiculous due to the "memory shortage" and bitcoin craze. Last year you could have had a Radeon 470 or 480 in some deals for 120-150 bucks and they are great for 1080P, but the prices now are absolute BS and I refuse to buy.

If you can afford it and just want a new card, I would grab the 1060. It'll max out any game I can think of at 1080P while consuming very little power. If you decide on a 1050, get the Ti, I don't understand why the 1050 only has 2GB vram, I have quite a few games that blow way past that at 1080P.

Get an SSD, everything you do on your PC will seem way "snappier". It's totally worth it, even if you just get a cheaper 128GB SSD for your operating system and software, games on your regular HDD. If her complaint with the computer is sluggish browsing or software, this will fix it.

Lastly you mention 8GB DDR3 but not speed. Is it running at 1333? 1666? I would take 8GB of 1866 over 16GB of 1333 any day. I don't see you getting much more performance out of the extra 8GB, but I haven't really been following modern games so take that with a grain of salt and go check benchmarks on the games she plays.
Last edited by BeginnerGuy on 2017-11-14 @ 17:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby clueless1 » 2017-11-14 @ 17:03

First question I would ask is, why upgrade? What specifically is she dissatisfied with performancewise? Is she a gamer? Are the games she plays not getting good framerates? Do programs load slow? Is web browsing sluggish? Etc. This type of info will help us know what to recommend.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby Zup » 2017-11-14 @ 19:03

Not a pro gamer, neither a casual gamer. She liked to play games a lot, but now she don't play as much (since my son was born). Her interests may vary, the last thing she was playing (and the source of this problem) was Zelda BotW with Cemu. Although she gets goods framerates, also she gets many slowdowns.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby SW-SSG » 2017-11-14 @ 19:26

Zup wrote:Someone suggested me to get a SSD.

Well, here's me doing the same. The difference will be night and day, I assure you (as long as you use a good brand, anyway; Crucial, Samsung, Toshiba, etc).
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby clueless1 » 2017-11-14 @ 19:32

Overall for gaming I think she will get the most benefit from the GPU upgrade first, SSD second. Once you have an SSD, the RAM is less of a factor and it will make a huge difference during any kind of pagefile access and especially during Windows Updates. I don't really care about boot time, as I don't restart my PCs that often. You can kind of mitigate the SSD need by bumping up to 16GB RAM, but in my experience the SSD makes more of a differnece than RAM, if you have to choose one or the other. The downside is if you want a decent size (500GB) you're going to be paying about twice as much as the 16GB RAM upgrade.

I wouldn't bother with the CPU, I don't think it will be noticeably faster unless she does any kind of CPU-specific activities like large file compress/decompress, or audio/video editing.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby Matth79 » 2017-11-15 @ 02:13

So long as the 8GB it has is already dual channel (2x 4GB), I wouldn't bother going to 16GB - 8 is by far the price/performance sweet spot for most games, with a decent jump from going from 4 to 8 but nothing like as much going from 8 to 16 - unless you only have single channel at the moment, going to dual channel would help as AMD FX loves memory bandwidth.

A GTX 1060 would be better if it might be going forward to a better CPU eventually, otherwise maybe a 1050 / 1050Ti and put the rest to a SSD for snappier boot and load ... as for SSD size, 128 is good for Windows and some favourite games etc., 256 is more flexible, if you go down to a 64 then you have to manage like hell, Windows and not much else on it
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby BitWrangler » 2017-11-15 @ 02:38

Matth79 wrote:So long as the 8GB it has is already dual channel (2x 4GB), I wouldn't bother going to 16GB - 8 is by far the price/performance sweet spot for most games, with a decent jump from going from 4 to 8 but nothing like as much going from 8 to 16 - unless you only have single channel at the moment, going to dual channel would help as AMD FX loves memory bandwidth.

Yah, don't do anything goofy like throw a spare 4 in with an 8, etc.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-11-15 @ 03:48

I'd get any cheap SSD you can afford (480-512GB for longevity if possible) and a GTX 1050 or 1050ti and be done with it.

I wouldn't bother with the CPU as the cost would be prohibitively high with little noticeable improvement in most situations. Swapping out the motherboard for a cheap second hand i5 or i7 CPU+Motherboard combo (or even a nice prebuilt workstation, like a Lenovo M83) from a few years ago would get you a much larger improvement in general use and gaming (and you wouldn't have to buy DDR4). If you don't really need to do this yet, then don't bother moving to an eight core FX. The improvement will be even smaller.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby Malik » 2017-11-15 @ 17:28

If you ask me, if your wife is not a gamer, the single most substantial improvement that can be appreciated by upgrading that system would be a good SSD drive. Yes, once things have loaded, there's not much difference, except in loading something again. But once you get used to a SSD, it's hard to go back and install the OS on a HDD. Everything else pales compared to it in terms of noticability. If I'm not mistaken anti-viral scanning, searching, updating, etc, will still be noticably faster.

The CPU scene has been somewhat saturated for the past few years. Latest CPUs are only good in gaining a few points more than the previous generation in benchmarks. There are still who are gaming happily on their 2nd gen i5 2500K CPU, while the latest trend is the 7th gen i7 7700K. Upgrading the CPU is not necessary for daily use.

And unless gaming, the 1050 or 1060 is not needed for daily movies or browsing.

My main gaming when using my laptops, is emulation scene, and I'm generally happy with the Intel core's in-built HD4000 and HD530 in my laptops, for heavy emulation needs. They're enough to render my Playstation 1, Nintendo 64 games at the native resolutions of my laptops (for OpenGL & D3D).
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby gdjacobs » 2017-11-15 @ 17:31

This and max your RAM.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby ODwilly » 2017-11-15 @ 18:01

Honestly if you invest in an SSD, make it a good quality one. My first SSD ended up being a defective G.Skill unit and the Samsung one that replaced it has been SOOO amazing. SSD and gpu are my votes, if you do both it should make for a fine machine, the fx-6 series chips are still solid when overclocked to at least 4ghz. A friend recently swapped his fx-6300 for a 8370 and saw about a 10-20fps average increase in games like gta5 and FO4, even with his old HD 6990, but he already had 16gb of 1866 and an ssd.
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Re: Improving my wife's computer

Postby idspispopd » 2017-11-17 @ 11:20

Zup wrote:Her interests may vary, the last thing she was playing (and the source of this problem) was Zelda BotW with Cemu. Although she gets goods framerates, also she gets many slowdowns.

Sounds like a CPU bottleneck, emulators are usually limited by the CPU, not the GPU. A quick search for cemu cpu confirms this. I suppose a faster CPU for this mainboard won't help much.
Also, emulators usually don't profit from more cores, which is also true for Cemu.
I suppose the most cost efficient upgrade for this case would be to switch to Intel, as suggested by Ozzuneoj.
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