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Gaming PC Upgrade
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Laminar
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Apr 20, 2020, 11:41 AM
 
Thought this might be worth sharing. Since there's no racing going on yet this season, some of my racing friends started doing a Forza series. One of the guys mentioned his computer was lagging in some corners and he was only managing about 28fps. Forza can be demanding, but I don't think it has to be. I asked about his setup, and it turns out he's running a Core 2 Extreme processor from 2007. Come to find out he had some buddies really into gaming build him a PC from their spare parts a bunch of years ago. It was an official Intel motherboard, an HD7850 crossfired with an R7850 Twin Frozr, some RAM, and a couple hard drives in a giant Corsair case. He asked for upgrade recommendations and so I suggested a Ryzen 1600 AF, motherboard, RAM, and RX 570 card, he wanted to reuse the hard drive, PS, and case. He bought the parts and started putting it together, only to find that his hard drive wouldn't plug in to the new motherboard. He sent me a picture:



I'm sorry...ATA??? At that point I got worried about the power supply having the right connectors for the graphics card and CPU, and he decided he was probably over his head putting this together. I swung by and socially-distance picked it up.

Turns out it had two hard drives, a 120GB ATA and a 500GB SATA drive. I decided to hook up the old mobo so that I could power it up and see what was on the old hard drive. Worst case I would have to break out my MDD G4 and put the HD in that and see if it worked.

I didn't want to pull the new mobo out of the case, so I pull the power supply wires out and connected everything up. The graphics card had HDMI and DVI as options. My old monitor has VGA and DVI, but I couldn't find a DVI cable anywhere. I did manage to dig up a DVI-VGA adapter from my old Mini and that worked. I got the thing to boot:


Turns out the 120GB hard drive was an old Windows installation, either XP or 7. The user folders were almost empty, but I backed them up onto the newer SATA hard drive just in case.

Then I went about getting everything installed, wired up, and routed. I've never actually owned a nice PC case where you can route things neatly, so this was kind of fun. The power supply turned out to be a beefy one with tons of connectors, two 6/8 pin PCIe plugs, several SATA leads, and a 4-pin molex line. The dual 4-pin CPU power connector wasn't long enough to route behind the backplane but everything else was, so I got it all hooked up.

The case had four fans - two LED fans up front, a giant LED fan on the side panel, and a non-LED fan in the rear. Some sleuthing revealed that the LED fans were powered straight off of the fan's controller which needed to plug into a molex plug, so that was easy. The rear case fan plugged straight into the mobo's fan connector.

I installed the processor. Turns out the Ryzen has its own adhesive/thermal paste already applied. Apparently some Ryzen CPU coolers can attach to brackets on the motherboard. The stock CPU fan didn't use those brackets and needed to screw in directly, so I pulled the brackets only to find that that retaining nuts are captured by a separate plate that can fall off the back of the motherboard. It was kind of painful to try and hold the plate in place, hold the CPU cooler in place, and start the screws. A bit frustrating, but I got it done. RAM went in, graphics card went in, and I plugged in the hard drive and DVD drive SATAs.

The RX 570 had only HDMI and DP, so I had to drag it upstairs and hook it up the TV. I hit the power button and the LEDs lit up, but nothing showed up on the screen for several minutes. Finally this popped up:



I breathed a sigh of relief, and had to wait quite some time while the PC figured its life out.



Finally Windows popped up. It then probably spent a good hour with the antivirus scanning everything and Windows downloading new updates.

Eventually everything was done and I was able to benchmark the graphics and check temps, everything ran super cool, CPU temps never went above 50degC. I overclocked the graphics card, the Heaven benchmark ran at ~95fps on Ultra, which seems pretty decent.



With the cover on and the case fans set to low, it's dead silent, if I was more than a few feet away I couldn't hear it at all. Overall I think he spent about $340. If he wants to upgrade at all in the future he can easily get a better graphics card or CPU, and I left two RAM slots open so if the 16GB ever isn't enough, two more sticks would be easy. An SSD would be a nice upgrade too, as the existing hard drive is probably the biggest bottleneck he has now.

Another racing friend asked me to spec him something out a bit more future proof that could run current stuff on Ultra, so I came up with an Intel-based i5 setup with RTX 2070 SUPER that came out to about $1100 all in. We'll see if I get another phone call once his parts start showing up...
     
reader50
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Location: California
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Apr 20, 2020, 12:33 PM
 
My MP 4,1 -> 5,1 with RX580 gets low 40s in Heaven on Extreme preset. Ultra isn't offered in the Mac version.

The CPU bottleneck (and possibly logic board too) is sucking. Specs are pretty high at 8-core 3.2 GHz, not much upgrade room left. I've thought about building an AMD system, but I don't actually game much today. So it would be more for pride than an actual need.
     
P
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Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
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Apr 21, 2020, 05:16 AM
 
RX570 and a Ryzen 1600, that is the real bang-for-buck champion right there.

I have been thinking that I should upgrade my gaming PC (it is of 2013 vintage, Haswell i5) with a Ryzen model and keep the GPU (Vega 56), but then AMD didn’t release the B550 as expected, so it got delayed. Now I might as well wait for Ryzen 4000.

AMD is really killing it on the CPU front right now. The 3700X in particular is an 8-core powerhouse at only 65W, and you can get 16 cores on the desktop platform with the 3950X. I’ve been looking at ITX cases to fit it all in, just because I can.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Apr 21, 2020, 08:05 AM
 
My own "gaming" build is an i5-2500k with an R7-265. Not a powerhouse at all but so far it's been able to do everything I want. I should run Heaven on the Mac Pro and see what it gets.
     
P
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Apr 21, 2020, 09:17 AM
 
Those two (CPU and GPU) that can be overclocked into the stratosphere, if you’re interested.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Apr 22, 2020, 09:46 AM
 
For kicks, I ran Heaven on my Mac Pro in Bootcamp.

     
P
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Apr 23, 2020, 07:36 AM
 
You have an insane range between minimum and maximum framerate. That is probably something about the CPU bottlenecking the GPU. Does it feel like the animation is smooth? If yes, there may be a hitch in the beginning or something.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Apr 23, 2020, 08:45 AM
 
Yes, animation was smooth. The min was, like you said, a hitch at the beginning. Some of the far-away night scenes were pushing 150+fps, but most of the scenes were 80-90.
     
   
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