Mid-range PC - mid-life upgrade


Yes. It used to be a way to cut down on the fan noise as well, but CPU coolers has evolved a lot and usually have big low speed fans, these days.


Too many people cut corners on the PSU and motherboard, and you really can’t. It’s kind of like exercising your arms and legs but ignoring the cardio–they will have strength but as soon as you try something that needs endurance you’ll peter out. A modern GPU needs a good PSU, 650w min, but unless you’re going crazy with multiple GPUs and drives and things over 900w is overkill. And don’t spend under $100 on a motherboard and figure that’s all you need, get a good mid-range board. Only go big if you need those options like extra M2 ports and PCI express slots.

That said, for the vast majority of current PC titles, a faster video card will do you more good than a bigger/badder/OC’d CPU.

I saw more of a bump when I went from my GTX 970 to a GTX 1070 (a single gen upgrade) than when I upgraded my i7-2600k to an i7-6700k…4 gens. I don’t bother to OC my CPU because my CPU meter shows that most of the time I’m in a game the CPU is running at 20% or less. I won’t bother upgrading my CPU again, even though it’s 2 gens old now, for probably another 2 gens at least.

The simple truth is if your CPU cost $300 or so and is less than 5 years old, or is newer but cheaper, it’s probably good enough. You can get more/faster RAM if you have slow/under 16GB, if your RAM was cheap you could be surprised how much it will help, but frankly due to AMD’s poor showing pre-Ryzen Intel has been sitting on its laurels and little improvement has occurred in raw speed.

Meantime, my 1070 is factory OC’d and even it can get bogged down and I run at 1080p, single monitor, no VR. I would’ve liked a 1080 (the Ti didn’t exist when I bought my 70) but the price was too much, I can’t justify that to myself. The 1070 is a great card, though.

SSDs are worth it if you don’t have them. I have a 512 Samsung and a 1TB WD and they’re great. I also have a 1 TB WD HDD for storage, nothing is installed on it. However, don’t pay extra for pro models or whatever, diminishing returns there. A cheap SSD gives a bigger jump over a standard HDD than a pricey SSD gives over a cheap one.

Spend on the video card and SSDs first. You will feel it there. CPU and cooling and such are final tweaks to adjust whatever shortcoming you find AFTER those other 2 are done.


@JediMaster You are right no doubt re spending on GPU and SSDs first.

I guess as much as anything I’m just having fun learning a new thing by doing a bit of beginner OC’ing while waiting for the new GPU series to come out and installing a new PSU etc. so by the time I’m ready to take the leap with the GPU, everything else is ready and I can just plug it in.

I’ll be PSU shopping in the next week or two, but in the meantime here’s my best attempt at fitting the cooling in and at least hiding some of the cables. Man it’s difficult to get those cables tidied up. Also the current graphics card is too long for the cooling radiator & fans to actually sit on their designated spot - I had to offset them to make them fit. Probably a cringeworthy attempt to any PC builder out there…but the CPU temps are way down so I’m going to go with ‘if it looks stupid but it works…’. :smiley:


PSU in.

Outwardly we just changed two letters and three digits from RM550 to AX760 but this should hopefully mean there’s enough good quality grunt in there for the next seven years…


I have an alpenföhn matterhorn air cooled cpu cooler. Its huge, excellent in keeping temps in check and not noisy at all. Its the fans on my GPU that are noisy. When the gpu cranks up its quite noticeable. I also have a case fan on its last legs. Its a tad noisy.

The only downside to the cpu cooler is because of its size, the fins overhang the ram dimm slots. So i have to be carefull what shape ram i buy to fit it in.

That aside, i would go air cooled again on the cpu. They are excellent.


So, as an edit. Regardless of watercool or air cool, a question has come to mind.

When (if ever) do you change or need to change the thermal paste?


I understand you are supposed to reapply when you change cooler - I did that. I wiped the old stuff off with some isopropyl alcohol and applied the new stuff that came with the water cooling system.

Edit - come to think of it I guess you mean if you need to periodically reapply. That I don’t know.


It was one of those monsters I had in mind. :wink:
Liquid cooling is more about placing the fans somewhere else than straight above the CPU.
In my case it also meant I could place the GPU in the liquid loop, to get rid of that GPU fan noise.


I have only done so if I needed to re-seat the cooler. If that doesn’t have to come off, I see no need to change the paste.


Cool. Its been my thoughts aswell


Ya I’ve only changed when changing either the cpu or the cooler. Otherwise it just stays.


That thing looks way better than my Cooler Master 212X …


I put it on five years ago and it’s still handling my solid 4.5GHz overclock like a champ! (i3770K cpu)

I do keep an eye on her in her old age tho (on a side monitor) …



cryorig h7.


Welp, I’ve done something a bit outside my usual comfort zone and gambled a bit, and potentially made a too-quick decision - but either way it’ll be a learning experience!

I just put down the deposit for the following card:


Gigabyte Remanufactured Aorus GeForce GTX1080 Ti 11GB GDDR5X

Basically it is a card which was returned as faulty after purchase, repaired and fixed by the manufacturer and on-sold with a 6-month warranty instead of the usual 3-year one.

I’m getting it for NZD$978 ($USD 658), RRP is NZD$1603 ($USD $1,080).

I don’t know whether I’ve just done a silly move or a smart one - but heck, sometimes you have to just go with your first impulse (which is quite uncharacteristic of me).

I’ve just looked and it should fit the case, it’s 3mm shorter than my current card.

Wish me luck! The card should arrive to the store on Monday.


Wow! It’s got 3 display ports and 3 hdmi ports!!! Nice!

Edit: Wait … looks like 3 display ports, 2 hdmi ports and some sort of hybrid DVI/HDMI port but still very cool! …


Huh - that’s cool! Although while DCS might support multiple screens, my wife sure won’t… :stuck_out_tongue:


Maximum four displays dude! Go for it LOL! I’d probably have three for gaming and the fourth for system monitoring. :slight_smile:


Hahaha, that would be awesome! I can imagine the fallout - hell hath no fury… :smiley: I’ll need to commit to some serious home improvement project delivery to obtain the prerequisite approvals :slight_smile:


I don’t think 1080p monitors are that expensive any more but then again I haven’t looked lately.

Just think about it … three monitors side by side = 5760 * 1080 (6.2 million pixel) resolution. Just grab three monitors with a really thin bezel. That 1080Ti would run those beautifully! It runs my 4K nicely and that thing runs a 3840 * 2160 (8.3 million pixel) resolution!

EDIT: Check this out … just did some research … this is NUTS … you could grab 3 of these 31.5" CURVED ACER monitors for $200US a piece! You’d need a GIANT surround desk though but I think I’ve seen you build some stuff in the past so you have the technology. :slight_smile:



That sounds amazing! I’d have to come up with some kind of aluminium extruder rack for them…hmmm