GPU Died, Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Yesterday, July 27th, 2019, my wonderful XFX R9 390 died on me. Went to turn my desktop on to try out a USB WiFi adapter I had purchased (new condo we’re renting doesn’t allow for Ethernet jacks in the office), everything was running well and then poof the screen shut off. After a few hours of troubleshooting everything, it seems that the GPU has breathed its final breath. It was a wonderful card, never had issues with it, and spent about $300 on it back in 2015.

Yesterday I began researching replacement cards, unfortunately the card will be either a Christmas/Birthday present next year (both of which lie in December, but broke, so can’t afford anything soon) and that gives me some time to think.

My current build is the following:

  • Motherboard – MSI H81M-P33
  • Processor – i7-4790k (never been overclocked, also has the stock cooler)
  • RAM – 12GB (8GB of Ripjaws I believe, and 4GB of another stick I found)
  • GPU – RIP XFX R9 390
  • Case – Cheap Rosewill Case (older edition of this one)
  • PSU – Corsair 750W (don’t remember the exact model)

My dilemma is the following:

I pretty much have only used my desktop for gaming, as any projects go they are pretty much non-existent. I own a MacBook Pro which allows me to play some of the turn-based strategy games I enjoy (namely I just picked up Endless Space and have been enjoying that). So the question comes down to… should I even buy a new GPU for just gaming? I don’t play AAA games (most of the time, the new COD and Halo MCC look amazing), but I do LOVE my strategy games (mainly turn-based, 4X, grand strategy, etc.)

Alright so enough with the rambling, I don’t want to raise our power bill with my current setup, I don’t believe that I need the power of the 4790K which is a pretty high TDP chip (correct me if I’m wrong of course). Because of that, I’m thinking maybe I should move over to console gaming (:open_mouth: I know so bad…) since I do love gaming in general. It’s also difficult because a laptop does also make more sense than a desktop (I enjoy being with my wife so sitting in bed playing a game is much more enjoyable for me).

So TL;DR: GPU died, don’t want a higher power bill, love strategy games, but would only use the new GPU (preferably new setup to lower the power bill and be a more precise build for that task) for gaming and nothing more. Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks for listening to the ramblings all and I hope to hear from the wonderful community!

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Honestly I don’t think reviving the setup would raise your electric bill THAT much. My 3 cents:

Get a 1050ti and slot it in

Sell old components and put it toward a ryzen apu setup

Or sell and buy a console(shudders)

Good luck man :+1:

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Any new GPU will use less power than the 390, so they will use less power anyway. Further like @32coremonster said getting a lower power card will do the job and at even less power again.

If you are conscious of the power even more again 32coremonster has it right, a modern CPU will use even less power, the only down side being the cost.

Consoles are not always power efficient either, usually being on the previous or beyond node. Some times they are not the most efficient chips and juiced a bit to get the power they want from them. This is not factual on my part, so do look into it, see if someone has measured then power use of the console of choice.

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Whats your rough budget?

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You said you like strategy games? I’d stay away from consoles for that.

Other than that, a new Xbox OneX can be had for fairly affordable on deals. Plus you have the option with some games to get them for PC and XBox without having to buy it twice.

Power Draw shouldn’t be too much of a concern as at idle, most CPU’s and GPU’s aren’t to power hungry. Only at high load scenarios would there be a significant difference.

Depending on your screen, i agree with the 1050ti. I had one and my wife still rocks one. For 1080p gaming it’s well enough. She’s playing FarCry 5 just fine on medium settings.

If couch/bed gaming is a thing, look into the nvidia shield. Either the Settop, or Handheld. Both come with Nvidia in home streaming. Those can run all the games from your PC. As long as you have decent network, this worked really well for me. Plus GeForce now offers some decent games too. Both where just as good for me, as my PS4 (assuming you have/get an NVidia Graphics card).
Or steam link? Tried that too and it worked well. I’m not much of a couch gamer, but between that and my PS4, i’s choose the steam link any day because i already have close to 200 Games in my library…

So, my recommendation: Keep what you have and works, get a Nvidia GPU at your budget (1050ti maybe) and for couch/bed gaming, shop around for a used Nvidia shield Box or Handheld.

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Of course idk what you budget is.
But a RX5700 is a pretty nice bang for buck card.
It should be a little bit more power efficient then a R9-390 Hawai card.
Only downside is that there are a no custom cards just yet.
But i suppose those will be launched soon.

You could always upgrade your system later on as well.
How much a 4790K would hold back a RX5700 kinda depends on the games you play,
and of course the resolution and settings as well.


I bought a computer stand so I can have my gaming PC in the bedroom while she watches Real Housewives.
She plays games on her Kavari based laptop when I watch my youtube channels

If you want to try consol gaming I would go with that before spending on a new GPU.
Main thing is what will enhance the time spent with wifey

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Get an RX Vega 56. You could go lower with an RX 580 / 590, but it would be pretty comparable to your older R9 390. Vega56 uses around 60W less than a 390 at maximum load and can be found for ~$279. If you don’t really care about GPU power, you could go lower with a RX 560 (I don’t see why you’d need something bigger, considering you don’t play AAA titles). If you really care about your bills and you don’t need all your CPU peak performance, just underclock and undervolt your 4790K.

I personally use a Pentium G4560 and a GT1030 which I’m passing-through to a Windows VM (with 2 threads from the Pentium). Considering the requirements of Endless Space and most strategy or city building or turn-based games like Stronghold Crusader 2, Anno 1800, XCom 2 and the likes, you’d be fine with a RX560.

A new laptop might be something, but you could also try to see if you could play games through RDP / VNC on your MacBook on your LAN. That would mean you get to keep using your MacBook while also keep using your PC (which means less money spent). I tested a game to see if it works from a Debian VM at my work, connected to my VPN home on my (at that time) Windows PC with RDP (Remmina with RemoteFX) and it was playable (of course, I couldn’t spend more than 5 minutes, it was just a test in my break).

You got a few choices to make:

  • sell your PC and buy a new laptop with similar performance to your current PC (most expensive)
  • buy a mid-to-high tier GPU (RX 580 / 590 / Vega 56) (less expensive)
  • buy a low-end tier GPU (RX 560) (cheapest)
  • sell your PC and buy a new PC with a Ryzen APU (expensive depending on how much money you get on your old hardware)
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Alright all, you’ve given me some AWESOME responses so I’m gonna try my best to answer them all on my break here haha.

@32coremonster Excellent idea about the lower powered 1050ti, I’ll admit, I’m an AMD fanboy through and through, but if the 1050ti is the best for a low-end Nvidia card I may look into them more (also could happen a lot sooner depending on the cost…)

@Zibob My main concern is I just want to have a PC build that’ll run games, I do my browsing from my iPhone or tablet, and I do pretty much everything non-gaming on my MBP, so I guess I wouldn’t have to upgrade at all from what you’re saying it seems.

@mutation666 That’s actually the problem, my budget is non-existent as of this time, but I’d be saying about $10 or so every month, so for the GPU alone, I’d like to not spend over $350 if possible.

@domsch1988 That was what I was thinking too, I know there are some exclusives, but wasn’t sure if it was worth the money to go all in on one, especially since I’d have 0 games to start out with. It sounds like a great deal to get a 1050ti so far, I’ll just have to see what the games I want to play hammer it with.

@MisteryAngel The budget is still kinda not really there, I’ll have to save some money for a little bit, but my parents have said they’re willing to chip in as a birthday/Christmas present. I’ll check out the RX5700, right now I’m just going through the phase of “what do I actually need”, not “let me buy a GPU that’ll be so overkill” y’know?

@anon85933304 Exactly, I want to make sure that any gaming I do, doesn’t keep us separated, that’s probably one of the big reasons why I’ve stopped playing honestly.

@ThatGuyB I’m thinking that checking out some more of these GPUs (the prices are QUITE different than what I remember…) and see if they start making more sense. I’ll look at underclocking/undervolting my CPU, and I’m sure if I bought a new cooler that could help too (run the fans at a lower RPM, etc.)

Again all, thank you SO much for your answers so far. I realize I need to do a ton more research, so that’ll be tonight and just see what I find available around. I should add in that if I were to go with a console it’d either be an Xbox One or a Switch, but not sure which yet. Thanks again!


Do you have any temp gpu or are you desktopless? (guessing your running on igpu)

@mutation666 Currently I’m desktopless, I could run it with the iGPU, but since I have my MBP I use that instead.

You are looking to purchase the card next year, correct? Like 2020 next year?

Either 2020 or perhaps later this year, around the fall or winter time.

No budget? Maybe have a look for a second hand GPU? For some reason the second hand market has really picked up… it’s almost like no one uses them for alt-coin mining or amazing new models have recently been released :wink:


By then, there should be AIB designed 5700 GPUs. If those are arround the 350 mark (+/- 20), then I’d go for one of those.

Alternatively, the RX 580 can be had for cheap. Or a 1060 6GB (maybe used?).

So maybe some SFF build that can be hidden away?


@BGL I had thought about that, but I’m too weary of he used market of electronics anymore (had some issues to say the least…)

@MazeFrame I’ll keep an eye out for hose for sure, thanks for the heads up! Yeah an SFF build would be what I’m looking for, if I redo the whole build! Love what you linked, I’ll be sure to mull it over and give it some serious thought.


Yes i totally understand what you are saying there.
A RX5700 might be a bit overkill for your needs maybe.
It’s basically a pretty strong card that easaly play AAA titles at 1440p with high settings.

But of course there also lower AMD options as well.

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IMHO you should always upsize a graphics card +1 so your not well disappointed and feeling buyers remorse. Thats how I have always looked at it. That said you could go used as well… Snag a used vega or RX but I really think despite being a bit higher on the scale the 5700 XT is an amazing card for the money at this point and time. The super release is hella lack luster.

I faced a similar decision during the time of GPU mining where I never did mining but prices skyrocketed… I opted to buy a used GTX 980 Ti. I am still rocking it. Overkill? totally… am I satisfied? EXTREMELY lol

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@MisteryAngel Yeah I wouldn’t need anything like that (I don’t think). The most intensive games I play are the newer RTS/TBS games, which I know some of them can get pretty crazy with the graphics when huge battles are occurring. I wouldn’t mind upping to 1440p at some point though, so I’ll still keep that card in the running!

@PhaseLockedLoop That’s kind of how I was looking at it, which is actually why I am currently at the struggle of paying so much for a GPU, but that could just be the frugal part of me coming out… I’m a bit too worried about the used card market, as I stated a little bit earlier, I’ve been burned by used electronics now, and just don’t want to play the lottery of the chance that a card could die on me sooner. Thanks for the input though, it gives me some more food for thought!

Honestly I’d look into this more when it gets closer to the time you can afford a new card. Even just six months is a long time in the tech world, old stock depletes, new models hit the market, and prices change.

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