When to upgrade vs buy?

By Mr_Threepwood ·
What kind of general rules do you use when assesing when to ugprade a PC or if it's time to start fresh and buy all new components? My PC was fairly high end when I bought it, but now (2 years later) there are a lot of things I can't take advantage of such as native USB3 or PCIE3. In my own situation I'm pretty sure for about 400$ I could about double the performance of my pc when it comes to gaming, but in general when would it be wiser to start fresh?

My PC specs (that are relevant for gaming) are as follows:

i7 920 2666Mhz
3 x 2gb triple channel 1333mhz ram with heatsinks
ATI 5770
Motherboard has options for adjusting clock rates etc

I'm pretty sure if I get a new heatsink, a gtx570 and a new PSU I could overclock the CPU to maybe 3.2 Ghz and get the video performance to be much better. The 570 is what would cost the most here but looks to be the card that would offer the most bang for the buck in my situation, the 5770 is decent but relatively on the lower end when it comes to video performance.

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All Answers

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When the cost of upgrade components exceeds the cost of a new system,

by wizard57m_cnet Moderator In reply to When to upgrade vs buy?

it's more economical to purchase new. Anyway, that's my general rule...
but your current system has me about doubled on my most high-end!
I tend to use my stuff til it's way beyond a simple upgrade, hehe!

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if you were rich, then we know you wouldn't be asking

by databaseben In reply to When to upgrade vs buy?

the simple rule of thumb for consideration is, "when the cost of new system is cheaper than the cost of upgrading a current system?"

subsequently, you then have to consider why your current system isn't adequate or proficient to meet your current needs.

you mentioned usb3. the question is, "why do you need usb3 at this time?"

you mentioned pci3. the question is, "why do you need pci3 boards at this time?

you mentioned gaming, so the questions are,

"is an xbox what you need for the power of gaming?"

"is a powerful video game board all that you need?"

you mentioned getting a new computer. so the question is,

" are you ready to consider the investment you made in your current system a loss"

""are you ready to render your money ware, peripherals obsolete on your current system a loss, by replacing your current system with a new one?"

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General Upgrade Rules

by TheChas In reply to When to upgrade vs buy?

As a very general rule, you get the most bang per upgrade dollar by adding RAM.
I would check the motherboard specifications and install 12 - 16 GB of the fastest RAM your system will take.
Keep in mind that if you are running a 32 bit OS, that any RAM over 4GB is wasted.

After that, if you are running Windows 7, open Control Panel, Performance and Tools then check where your system performance can be improved.

If your motherboard only supports SATA 2 and not SATA 3, hard drive access speed may be your limiting factor. In that case, the cost of changing out the motherboard and drives may make the move to a new system the right choice.

Don't ignore the benefits of system cleanup software or a clean install of Windows. Windows grows and slows your system down over time. A good system cleaning or a clean OS install can make a world of performance improvement.

Like another answer mentioned, I would not worry about USB 3 or PCIe3 unless you have devices that fully support the higher speeds.


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Reponse To Answer

by Mr_Threepwood In reply to General Upgrade Rules

Yea I'm thinking I might just cheap out and just do a reimage and not pay any money . Realistically as long as I can play Diablo 3 well I don't care a whole lot about being able to run things on high so I'll just keep the cash.

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if it were me

by n_kahnman In reply to When to upgrade vs buy?

I would do as you suggested in your original post, upgrade the videocard (I run a GTX560 non-ti model and it scores 7.8 on the WEI, not bad for under $150 on sale) and possibly the PSU (you will want at least a 600 watt brand name PSU). 6Gb is fine for ram (assuming your running a 64bit version of windows) and have a look at the sealed liquid-cooled CPU coolers (especially if you plan to OC the CPU). I have a Corsair H100 on my i7 960 and it idles at mid 30's and doesn't go above 50-55 under load (celcius). It was under a $100 on sale and if you dont have room for the dual rad in your case the H80 is also a nice compact liquid cooler. As mentioned above you may also want to look at your hard drive, if it's a 5900RPM model you may want to get either a 7200RPM model or a western digital velociraptor (10,000RPM). It all depends on how much you want (or have) to spend. Going from a sata2 to a sata3 motherboard will make VERY little difference if your using a conventional hard drive but if you use an SSD then you would see the difference. As mentioned above, run the disk cleanup wizard and try to keep your 'C' drive (or whatever drive your OS is on) at 50% or less used space. Good luck.

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