Author Topic: How do you decide when it's time to build a new PC vs incrementally upgrading?  (Read 1248 times)

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Offline noisyturtle

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I'm at the point where my current hardware is starting to not be enough for modern titles and applications. I can still run them, but it's a bit of a slog.
Current rig: IBM 2500k (oc'd)/ GTX 970 (oc'd)/ 16 GB ram

Now I COULD spend about $600 and get a GTX 1070ti and a IBM 3770k, which is just about the limit of what my mobo can handle and basically double my performance (no modern gpu, or anything above 3k IBM series. It can run a 1080ti but the price difference between the 1070 and 1080 is ridiculous,) which would put it about in the middle of modern machines. Maybe get another 2-3 years out of it.

Or spend 2.5x that amount and just build a new PC that would inevitably last slightly longer.

How do you decide when the time is right? Tech keeps improving and getting cheaper at a really fast rate these days, perhaps waiting 2-3 more years is better?
« Last Edit: Sat, 30 November 2019, 17:39:35 by noisyturtle »

Offline absyrd

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I decided when I was trying to game again plus go back to school. I had a 2500k and 960. I sold the gpu and gave my dad the 2500k.

Ran through a few intel and amd setups, and now I'm working with a 3600x and rx 570 (soon to be 5700 xt). I'm having fun starting over. It has been worth it.
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Threadripper is 1 wurd..   

If you don't have threadripper, then you need it,  that's how the decision is made.



GPU, in the mean time, 5700xt is best buy,  1660ti is the best buy from Nvidia.

not huge on GPU upgrad, because Tp4 mainly watches movies.



Offline noisyturtle

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Threadripper is 1 wurd..   

If you don't have threadripper, then you need it,  that's how the decision is made.

Show Image


GPU, in the mean time, 5700xt is best buy,  1660ti is the best buy from Nvidia.

not huge on GPU upgrad, because Tp4 mainly watches movies.




believe it or not I've actually never in my life owned an AMD system of any sort, and always feel weird when I use them.

well that's not technically totally true, I do own AMD stock which has been performing very well ;)

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I've had good luck buying and selling used. I refresh my computer every 3 years or so by looking for a new rig and selling off the old one to recoup some costs. It's a bit of a game and takes some hunting but I think it's pretty fun and you can score on a nice rig. I usually search for a part that's a hard requirement for the system, so usually a GPU or ITX and see if the rest of the build fits my needs, and of course for the right price. PC hardware for sure gets outdated long before it wears down, so buying used is a pretty safe bet in my eyes. Maybe I'll get burned one day, but so far so good for me. My current computer is sweet and I bought it for basically the price of the GPU new.
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Offline fohat.digs

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Since I am not a gamer my requirements are not as stringent, but I do audio and video editing so I need decent power.

I bought an excellent huge tower case at least 15 years ago and have been upgrading incrementally ever since. As the father in a family of 4, the process was originally that each time I upgraded the hand-me-downs cascaded downwards and the oldest pieces dropped off.

When my son got to be about 12-13 and started gaming in earnest, his system moved to the top of the food chain and I was first in line for the obsolescent pieces.

That scenario has worked quite well. Motherboard upgrades happen about every 2-3 years, video cards about the same, although staggered in time, hard drives last maybe a little longer, and fans and power supplies kind of give up at random.

This scheme has allowed me to keep multiple computers up and running without ever spending more than a couple of hundred dollars at any one time, but requires that you have a daisy chain wherein there is a hierarchy of user needs. I do like the idea of buying a really good case and power supply and working from there.
"At Fox News, on talk radio, and on the web, American conservatives have built a communications system that effectively consolidates in-group identity. Much of the time, the talkers and listeners do not themselves understand what they are saying. They use key words and phrases as gang signs: badges of identity that are recognized without necessarily being understood.

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Offline noisyturtle

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Since I am not a gamer my requirements are not as stringent, but I do audio and video editing so I need decent power.

I bought an excellent huge tower case at least 15 years ago and have been upgrading incrementally ever since. As the father in a family of 4, the process was originally that each time I upgraded the hand-me-downs cascaded downwards and the oldest pieces dropped off.

When my son got to be about 12-13 and started gaming in earnest, his system moved to the top of the food chain and I was first in line for the obsolescent pieces.

That scenario has worked quite well. Motherboard upgrades happen about every 2-3 years, video cards about the same, although staggered in time, hard drives last maybe a little longer, and fans and power supplies kind of give up at random.

This scheme has allowed me to keep multiple computers up and running without ever spending more than a couple of hundred dollars at any one time, but requires that you have a daisy chain wherein there is a hierarchy of user needs. I do like the idea of buying a really good case and power supply and working from there.


And it gives your son an excuse to get upgrades, what a racket! :P

Offline Leslieann

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I'm at the point where my current hardware is starting to not be enough for modern titles and applications. I can still run them, but it's a bit of a slog.
~trim
How do you decide when the time is right? Tech keeps improving and getting cheaper at a really fast rate these days, perhaps waiting 2-3 more years is better?

Get the 1070ti and 3770k but I will add that if you have a spare slot, get an NVME to PCIE adapter (about $10 on Ebay) and an NVME ssd ($40) for your OS.

This will bring you up pretty close to a modern system, allowing you to save for a better/newer mobo/ram/cpu which the ssd and 1070 will plug into later without waiting to get the benefits.


How do I decide?
My last 2 upgrades happened because I had people asking for a nice, used gaming system, so I sold them my mobo/ram/cpu. I've almost never done a completely new system, it's always incremental.
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Offline Larken

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Incremental upgrades until it stops being a good proposition in terms of value, then I do a full refresh, reusing certain parts if they're still good. I may buy some extra components to put together a spare system with the older parts for family or as a work system, that's about it.

Imo, the jump from 2500K to 3770K is not worthwhile unless you can get the chip really cheap, since it is already several generations old, and not a huge jump from your 2500K.   

Graphics card wise, usually it's a case of 'you gotta do what you gotta do'. The 970 is definitely still a decent card, but if you aren't getting the performance you desire in games, the 1070Ti is a decent upgrade.
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Unless the 1070ti / 1080 is really really cheap,  you wouldn't buy them over the 1660ti,

5700xt is top price/ perf at the moment.

2500k on z68 doesn't support nvme natively, so you'd have to run a modded bios, they're usually available for the popular motherboards.


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I decide when i want to. It's sad knowing someday due to the effects my GPU might be unable to run the Egg Hunt, which i must dedicate 40+ hours and then defeat a boss to get e g g

Offline Leslieann

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And it gives your son an excuse to get upgrades, what a racket! :P
It's a never ending race.
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Offline Leslieann

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Some people brought up some good points (3770k price matters a lot) and TP has some points but is out to spend all your money but then I re-read Ops first post.
Op doesn't game much, so I'm going to revise my advice.

Find a new or used RX 570 or 580, you can get them for $100 or less, this will easily handle your gaming needs.
Then dump the rest into a cpu upgrade.

I'm assuming you have probably $300-400 or so to spend considering what you were looking at.
If you can find one, look into buying someone else's old system, especially between now and Feb since many will be upgrading between now and then. You might even get one with a GPU. If you want new though, you can just about get a $100 gpu and still have enough for a Ryzen 5 (2nd gen), 16gb ram and a mobo if you are careful. I'd try and get a single stick of 16gb. leaving you room for a second stick (4 sticks are more problematic) and make sure the ram is 3000 speed or better. If you live near a Microcenter, check them now and watch later as they have good cpu prices and offer $40 off as well if you buy a matching mobo. Amazon and Newegg can't touch them on this, but you have to do it in store. If you are willing to pass on the GPU you can get something even better.
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IDk bout 580s,  they're not easy to buy, only a few models are safe buys after mining crazy.


Offline Leslieann

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Dk bout 580s,  they're not easy to buy, only a few models are safe buys after mining crazy.
On a 1080 where you are spending $400 or something, sure, but when you can get a 580 for $80-100, meh.

Replacement fans are cheap and easy to get and when was the last time you saw a gpu die from capacitor failure? If you get a year out of it you got more than your moneys worth.
If you are still concerned get a 4gb card, those are less likely to have been used for mining.
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I dn' think NT would get a 580, because 970 is almost the same as 580.

Offline noisyturtle

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Decided just to just do the jump from 970 to 1070, that will basically double my in-game performance. CPU and other stuff I'd maybe get another 5-10% out of desktop performance, but it's not really worth the price. But a used 1070ti is like $300, that will give plenty of time to save for a new computer next year.

I do like the idea of years from now making a "best parts from 2016" build though. I used to have a "best parts from '95" comp that was really fun to time machine in.

Suppose the time to upgrade comes down to, Can you afford to upgrade? Does your current setup meet minimum requirements for modern titles? What is the most impactful part you could upgrade, and how long would that carry you?
« Last Edit: Sun, 01 December 2019, 16:42:04 by noisyturtle »

Offline fohat.digs

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Since I am lucky to have a MicroCenter in my city, I buy motherboards and CPUs together and get a good bundle price. That was usually my most expensive increment because I sometimes did it to accommodate a Windows leap, but for now I haven't upgraded my mobo/CPU since moving to 10. When that time comes, I suppose that I will have to buy Windows again (groan).

But for a non-gamer, my quad-core processor and 8 GB of RAM seems like it should carry me for another couple of years if I needed it to. And, depending on my work situation, I would relish the opportunity to ditch MicroSoft and go Linux FOSS to eke another couple of years out of a weak system.




 
"At Fox News, on talk radio, and on the web, American conservatives have built a communications system that effectively consolidates in-group identity. Much of the time, the talkers and listeners do not themselves understand what they are saying. They use key words and phrases as gang signs: badges of identity that are recognized without necessarily being understood.

Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, and the others have fenced off conservative Americans from the rest of American society. Within that safe space, insiders hear only what is familiar and comforting. When those protected insiders step outside into the larger world, they find themselves completely unprepared for it."

- David Frum - The Atlantic - 2019-11-24

Offline _rubik

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I'm in the same boat at you OP (maybe not 2500k old, though). Running an i5-4670k and GTX 970 that hasn't been upgraded in ~5 years. It can handle things for the most part, but struggles a bit on newer titles. I've always upgraded my mobo and cpu in tandem, but I'm so far behind the current chipsets that I may have to do a full overhaul in the near/distant future.

For now,  I think I'm just going to pick up a 2070 and call it a day. Most of what I do on that machine anyway is gaming and a wee bit of rendering, so nothing too CPU intensive.

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For now,  I think I'm just going to pick up a 2070 and call it a day. Most of what I do on that machine anyway is gaming and a wee bit of rendering, so nothing too CPU intensive.

u need 2070 SUPER, if you gonna get 2070,




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Decided just to just do the jump from 970 to 1070, that will basically double my in-game performance. CPU and other stuff I'd maybe get another 5-10% out of desktop performance, but it's not really worth the price. But a used 1070ti is like $300, that will give plenty of time to save for a new computer next year.

I do like the idea of years from now making a "best parts from 2016" build though. I used to have a "best parts from '95" comp that was really fun to time machine in.

Suppose the time to upgrade comes down to, Can you afford to upgrade? Does your current setup meet minimum requirements for modern titles? What is the most impactful part you could upgrade, and how long would that carry you?


Get 2060 Super if ur going green..

Can't mention enuff, 5700xt = best buy for this bracket.

The only down side is , some driver issues at the moment. u know black screen crashes, that sort of thing.

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Hrrrrm.. some chatter about Nvidia-Killer ... hrrrrmm.. but rumor says end of 2020.

Offline noisyturtle

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the 5700 xt is nice, but it's also $200 more than a used 1070 ti and too new to find used

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the 5700 xt is nice, but it's also $200 more than a used 1070 ti and too new to find used

Not stopping u dawg.. U good with 1070ti..



Offline Leslieann

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Nvidia is better on Windows
AMD is better on Linux.

They work fine for the most part though.
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Offline absyrd

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the 5700 xt is nice, but it's also $200 more than a used 1070 ti and too new to find used

1070 ti will rip. Go for it.
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Offline iamacicada

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The generule of thumb is to get the Sapphire version if you go AMD, I don't think it really matters with Nvidia cards. AMD is crazy good this gen though.

Offline iamacicada

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Dk bout 580s,  they're not easy to buy, only a few models are safe buys after mining crazy.
On a 1080 where you are spending $400 or something, sure, but when you can get a 580 for $80-100, meh.

Replacement fans are cheap and easy to get and when was the last time you saw a gpu die from capacitor failure? If you get a year out of it you got more than your moneys worth.
If you are still concerned get a 4gb card, those are less likely to have been used for mining.

I recently got a 580 for my other rig and performance is stellar... maxing most games at 1080p60fps for $80 is almost too good to be true.

Offline Sintpinty

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Since I am lucky to have a MicroCenter in my city, I buy motherboards and CPUs together and get a good bundle price. That was usually my most expensive increment because I sometimes did it to accommodate a Windows leap, but for now I haven't upgraded my mobo/CPU since moving to 10. When that time comes, I suppose that I will have to buy Windows again (groan).

But for a non-gamer, my quad-core processor and 8 GB of RAM seems like it should carry me for another couple of years if I needed it to. And, depending on my work situation, I would relish the opportunity to ditch MicroSoft and go Linux FOSS to eke another couple of years out of a weak system.

A Microcentre? the only thing that i have is Canada Computers which does have components but with expensive prices.

I hate the CAD. USD better

Offline Sintpinty

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I'm in the same boat at you OP (maybe not 2500k old, though). Running an i5-4670k and GTX 970 that hasn't been upgraded in ~5 years. It can handle things for the most part, but struggles a bit on newer titles. I've always upgraded my mobo and cpu in tandem, but I'm so far behind the current chipsets that I may have to do a full overhaul in the near/distant future.

For now,  I think I'm just going to pick up a 2070 and call it a day. Most of what I do on that machine anyway is gaming and a wee bit of rendering, so nothing too CPU intensive.


Upgrade the CPU! That old I5 will bottleneck it

Offline Sintpinty

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Hrrrrm.. some chatter about Nvidia-Killer ... hrrrrmm.. but rumor says end of 2020.

Nvidia is dead?

My GTX 1060 might need an upgrade. I am considering giving my laptop to my sister and saving up the money for over 1000 dollars, since i have 700 from paychecks

Offline Leslieann

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I'm in the same boat at you OP (maybe not 2500k old, though). Running an i5-4670k and GTX 970 that hasn't been upgraded in ~5 years. It can handle things for the most part, but struggles a bit on newer titles. I've always upgraded my mobo and cpu in tandem, but I'm so far behind the current chipsets that I may have to do a full overhaul in the near/distant future.

For now,  I think I'm just going to pick up a 2070 and call it a day. Most of what I do on that machine anyway is gaming and a wee bit of rendering, so nothing too CPU intensive.

Upgrade the CPU! That old I5 will bottleneck it
Bottleneck smottleneck.
If you are hitting enough fps on an old cpu on the games you play it doesn't matter if the cpu is bottlenecking until you can upgrade it. Most people are perfectly happy so long as the system averages around 60fps without dipping below 30 on the games they play. In most cases a 4th gen I5 will do that on most games, I would imagine so would a 3rd or even 2nd gen I7 would as well.
You don't need an e-sports competition grade system to have fun.

That said, beware buying anything too high end too far in advance, not just because of bottlenecks but because you end up over paying and getting less. It's often better to buy two mid level cards spread across time than a single high end. By that I mean if you paid $1000 for a 1080 2 years ago and it was heavily bottlenecked you could have instead bought a 1060 for $200 at the time and gotten similar performance and then later bought a 2060 Super for $400 and gotten better performance then the 1080. Not only was the price spread out over 2 years instead of a single purchase, the 2060 is more modern and has features and optimizations the 1080 doesn't. You would have saved $400 without any performance loss and in fact gained performance later. This doesn't even account for the fact that you would be able to use a lower watt power supply and paid less on your electrical bill saving even more money.

I'm not saying the 2070 is too far, it's not badly priced, just that it will be wasted if you wait 2-3 years to upgrade the rest of the system, in which case a 1660 now/3060 later would be a smarter purchase.
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Online tp4tissue

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I have a 5ghz 2500k myself, Even @ that clock, it DOES bottleneck esports titles like CSGO/ Dota/ League of Legends, even Doom (2016).

It's not a problem for games like tombraider.

Starcraft 1 runs perfect,  Starcraft 2 not nearly as gud' as newer gen.

Offline noisyturtle

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I have a 5ghz 2500k

 :eek: that's some nice overclocking

Offline absyrd

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Amazon had mid-range x570 mobo, 3700x, and 500gb evo plus nvme for $500 for a few hours yesterday. Damn good deal. Wish I had held out for the holidays.
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Offline PadawanGeek

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My upgrade path is pretty weird, I tend to make a grand gesture by upgrading to the best I can afford, then making GPU upgrdaes along the way to keep the system relevant for gaming. Back in late 2011/early 2012, I built a pretty solid rig:
i7 3960X @4.2Ghz
Asus Rampage IV Extreme
4x 4GB Corsair Dom Plat 2133Mhz
2x HD7970 (followed byt 2x R9 290X, followed by 2x RX VEGA64....no reduced to 1x RX VEGA64 due to lack of CF support in games)
Seasonic X-1250

This rig was my main gaming rig, but is now my 2nd rig (having 6C/12T really helped with its longevity), it's hooked up to my Samsung 49" Freesync 2 monitor and it's doing a damn nice job handling games even now.

Now, this year has been a Ryzen year, and I couldn't help but feel it was time for a new build, again, I went with what was available back in June, so I jumped right in. I was in Toronto at the time, so I had to buy parts piecemeal, but finished my build when I got back home in August, this is my main rig now:

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Gigabyte X570 Aorus Xtreme (AGESA 1.0.0.4)
4x 8GB DDR4 XPG D60G 3200CL16 (have a set of 4x 8GB Patriot DDR4 3733CL17 RAM incoming, my niece is gonna bring it to me when she visits me here)
Samsung 4TB 860 EVO + 2TB 860 QVO + 2x 1TB 850 EVO + WD 6TB Black HDD
Corsair HX1000 Plat
PowerColor RX VEGA64 Red Devil (Collected this RMA'ed card while I was in Toronto, still a useful card for 3440x1440 gaming, awaiting NAVI23 or Ampere)

As you can see, I'm more or less in line with the belief that getting the most cores available at the time and upgrading along the way helps ensure the longevity and usefulness of a DIY system. I'd expect my R9 3900X to last at least 3 years or more. Gonna skip AMD/Intel for the next few years while I try to eke out as much performance outta my main rig...
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Offline romevi

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I think once you have enough money where it's no object, you should start buying new builds every year. Ensure you are flaunting your annual lunch-money purchases by posting pictures on the internet.

Offline Leslieann

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My upgrade path is pretty weird, I tend to make a grand gesture by upgrading to the best I can afford,
That's much more common than you think especially now that CPU gains have slowed considerably.
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Online suicidal_orange

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My upgrade path is pretty weird, I tend to make a grand gesture by upgrading to the best I can afford,
That's much more common than you think especially now that CPU gains have slowed considerably.
It's what I've always done, though seems Padawan spent more while I bought cheaper low-high end (Pentium D 805 @3.9ghz from 2.66 stock when the best available was 4.0 and heat limited not much higher, Core 2 quad/Xeon ES which was similarly very slow and OC'd, i7 2600k...) then I had money so bought (and killed somehow) an i7 5775c followed by the only time I've put a second CPU in a mobo - my current i7 4790HQ.

GPU wise I similarly bought fun stuff, Radeon 9500 unlocked to 9700, geforce 6800 unlocked to nearly ultra then converted to Quadro.  Finished uni and pretty much stopped gaming so picked up a geforce 6600GT which was fanless and had the GPU on top of the card.  That didn't work following a watercooling leak... next fanless 7300GT because it was cheap, 5775c iGPU and now running a fanless 1050ti bought to diagnose the 5775c.

When is it time to 'upgrade'?  These days when something breaks I complain lots and replace it, thankfully it's usually been so long the only thing worth keeping is the case and PSU.  I hope to skip DDR4 completely.  *Did I just ask for system failure on Christmas Eve?!*
                               
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Offline yui

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to answer the original question with my point of view, i do incremental upgrading as long as i do not have to completely strip the PC down to upgrade the part (like if i change motherboard or case), and i usually lag behind a few gens and pick old server stuff (12 cores for 10 euros and 64GB of ram for 80euros would could say no to that?) and upgrade usually happen when the new cheap server stuff really outpace what i have (really looking forward to cheap epyc in a few years time if it is like opterons we will have 128 cores for the price or 2 to 3 beers) or when i am bored because the pc runs too good and start building something stupid and outdated.

and sorry tp4 but epyc > threadripper (it is in the name how can you beat something so epic)
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Online tp4tissue

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and sorry tp4 but epyc > threadripper (it is in the name how can you beat something so epic)

It's difficult to appropriate epyc for home use. I can't think of any home scenarios where an epyc would be more cost effective vs running on the cloud.

Offline 4sStylZ

  • Posts: 82
I did full refresh and I try to keep it work for many years. Usually 5 years or more.
The only thing that I keep is my good high tower (Silent base 800 Be Quiet) because I don’t think that case can be outdated so fast.
The only thing that I buy is disk space sometimes.

I have to admit that I have changed my graphical card because of my new screen but that’s an exception.

I prefer to have a good config for a couple of years or more and deal with all the problem at the same times. When I was incrementally upgrading I was hesitating about what to buy, what to upgrade and sometimes I wasn’t correcting my issues because of the hesitation of investing too much cash on a PC that I will probably leave soon.

When you got many issue for months, you can make a coherent build at 1 time and I find that more easy.
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Offline Sintpinty

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Threadripper is 1 wurd..   

If you don't have threadripper, then you need it,  that's how the decision is made.

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GPU, in the mean time, 5700xt is best buy,  1660ti is the best buy from Nvidia.

not huge on GPU upgrad, because Tp4 mainly watches movies.


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Offline Sintpinty

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I think once you have enough money where it's no object, you should start buying new builds every year. Ensure you are flaunting your annual lunch-money purchases by posting pictures on the internet.

What's having money?

Online suicidal_orange

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I think once you have enough money where it's no object, you should start buying new builds every year. Ensure you are flaunting your annual lunch-money purchases by posting pictures on the internet.

What's having money?

It's what happens between getting a full time job and getting a mortgage, then you have many years without until you've paid off the house then you can buy a sports car.  Not sure what the female equivalent last step is :))
                               
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Offline Sintpinty

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I think once you have enough money where it's no object, you should start buying new builds every year. Ensure you are flaunting your annual lunch-money purchases by posting pictures on the internet.

What's having money?

It's what happens between getting a full time job and getting a mortgage, then you have many years without until you've paid off the house then you can buy a sports car.  Not sure what the female equivalent last step is :))

D:

Offline romevi

  • Formerly romevi
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I think once you have enough money where it's no object, you should start buying new builds every year. Ensure you are flaunting your annual lunch-money purchases by posting pictures on the internet.

What's having money?

It's what happens between getting a full time job and getting a mortgage, then you have many years without until you've paid off the house then you can buy a sports car.  Not sure what the female equivalent last step is :))

D:

:D

Offline Leslieann

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It's what I've always done, though seems Padawan spent more while I bought cheaper low-high end (Pentium D 805 @3.9ghz from 2.66 stock when the best available was 4.0 and heat limited not much higher,
I know that chip all too well.
I broke 4ghz on mine but I was still a bit shy of the records, destroying a few parts in the process.

I.M.O. this was peak overclock, we had the cpu overhead and cooling to take advantage of it. While we have even better cooling today nothing has that much overclocking headroom.
Filco MJ2 L.E. w/Vortex case, hand milled case, custom feet, custom paint, Klaxxon key caps, lubed and o-ringed Jailhouse Blues made from vintage Cherry MX Blues, HID Liberator, stainless steel universal plate, 3d printed adapters, removable cord, sound dampened. Winkey blockoff plate | Magicforce 68 w/Outemu Blues |KBT Race S L.E. w/Ergo-Clears, custom WASD keyset | Das Pro w/browns (Costar model) | IBM Model M (x2)

Online suicidal_orange

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It's what I've always done, though seems Padawan spent more while I bought cheaper low-high end (Pentium D 805 @3.9ghz from 2.66 stock when the best available was 4.0 and heat limited not much higher,
I know that chip all too well.
I broke 4ghz on mine but I was still a bit shy of the records, destroying a few parts in the process.

I.M.O. this was peak overclock, we had the cpu overhead and cooling to take advantage of it. While we have even better cooling today nothing has that much overclocking headroom.

Nice!  I was but a skint student so couldn't risk going further for fear of killing it and having to starve.  Or was it fear of keeping my housemates awake with the vantek tornado fans trying to keep it cool (92x38mm and far from slow - one took a chunk out my finger and kept on spinning :eek:)
                               
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