Upgrading my rig

I have a pretty old rig and its about time to get some fresh power and speed it up.

Budget: ~1000€. I live in Germany, so i need EU prices in € and some things are still fine here. AMD GPUs are cheaper than Nvidia, same with AMD CPUs VS Intel.

I need the rig for gaming, streaming and working with audio.

Current hardware:

AMD Phenom II X4 965BE (OC 4,2GHz)

MSI 770-C45 AM3 Motherboard.

2x4GB DDR3 1333 Corsair XMS RAM (could keep it, but i need more RAM and with 40€ for each 4GB its too expensive). 

MSI 5750 GPU (overclocked)

2x 1TB HDD, 1x Samsung 830 Series SSD (120gb) - would like to keep both.

Zalman Z9 case with extra 120mm fans installed.

Optical Drive (yes i need one, DJs still use CD´s ^^ Would keep it).

LC-Power 650W silent power supply (would like to replace it, it was pretty cheap and i dont think its good enough).

Resolution 3x 1920x1080, no Eyefinity. 

Audio gear is external and i dont need anything. I would stick with AMD GPUs, i like it and it would save some money. 


What i need: 

New games on ultra @1080p, 16 to 32GB RAM for work, a fast CPU for streaming (twitch - i have only 3,9mbit/s upload so i have to use pretty extreme settings to get a nice picture with low bandwith usage). An HDMI capture card will be nice. HDD, SSD, optical drive and other small stuff like mouse, keyboard, webcam and anything external is already here. Yes i like OC and would love to overclock my new stuff. But i also record audio in the same room, so it should be quiet (I need a fan controller to shut down the fans. Recording audio dont need a lot of power, so temperature is not a problem while recording). Water cooling is an option, but not with that budget - i would install it later, with a second SSD and other stuff. And i still need a good air cooling, just in case. 

GPU - i prefer AMD and would say something like 290X or 280X would be great. Really like the MSI gaming series and Asus DirectCUII stuff. 

The main question for me is: should i pick an i7 4770K or stick with AMD. My audio software has multithreading and its working nice on AMD, but even better on Intel CPUs. 

P.S. The 1000€ is not the limit, i would just like to save some money. But if i can get a really nice and fast rig for 1200€, i would take it. 

Personally, if I were you, I'd just upgrade the GPU and get a good capture card to offload recording from the CPU. With a 4.2GHz OC, the Phenom II still gets very respectable performance; AMD CPU's seem to age really well, espeically with the oodles of L3 cache. I would just wait and see how AMD's HSA works out with Kaveri, and see if Intel actually wants to push the performance envelope, but my guess is future of CPU is going towards efficient SoC's with an emphasis on GPGPU workloads.

The main problem:

My motherboard has only 3gb/s SATA (so my SSD is limited), i hit the max RAM while working (and the small 4GB 1333 RAM is too expensive compared to big kits so it makes no sense to get more, but i can get 16GB max). My CPU is fast enough, but its still not enough. I hit the limit while working with audio (i dont care, it just takes more time) and while streaming. Open Broadcaster Software (Logan use that too) takes up to 40% of the CPU load with the superfast preset. Ultrafast preset helps a bit, but this makes fast scenes look horrible and i cant compensate this with my bandwith. 

And the GPU is simply not fast enough to drive new games like BF4 or even Metro2033 with high settings at 60FPS while streaming. 

A capture card will take some load off my CPU, but the main point is not to capture the monitor signal, its for a DSLR cam (webcam replacement). 

But yeah - the AMD CPU, specially the Phenom II X4 965BE with huge overclock (but its running at 1,5125V to make the OC stable) is still a great CPU and its powerful enough to drive any game. Temps are fine too, 65° is what i get under full load (benchmark), 60° is my usual temp while gaming/streaming. Got a 290X for testing (was building a PC for a friend, he got all the parts) - tested it with BF4 & Mantle, Crysis1, Stalker and other heavy games.. Just for gaming - i dont need a CPU upgrade at all, but for streaming & work - it will be a huge power spike.

Just thinking about the Intel i7 4770K - its pretty expensive. 


I got the CPU and my old ATI 4870 for Crysis1 (was just released and forced me to visit the next store^^), so its pretty old, but did the job pretty good. The ATI had a problem with the GDDR and was replaced by 5750 1 year after purchase (no 4870 avaliable, so i got the DX11 card for free with almost the same performance).


^---that'd give you a very nice boost for 100 euros under budget... 

Looks fine. I have an optical drive. But i would like a new case too (the old parts will be used as a multimedia PC, i will revome the OC and keep it next to my TV).

I have a local store that is pretty good, this is what i can get here (its german, but you can read anything important):

CPU: http://www.x-hardware.de/product_info.php?info=p8096_AMD-FX-8350--8x-4-00GHz--boxed.html 164,90€

GPU: http://www.x-hardware.de/product_info.php?info=p10114_Sapphire-Radeon-R9-290-Tri-X-OC.html 404€

RAM: http://www.x-hardware.de/product_info.php?info=p9056_16384-MB-DDR3-PC1600-Crucial-Ballistix-Sport-DIMM-Kit.html 118,90€ (i think 1600 is fine, 1866 is so expensive, 30€ more for the same kit).

Mainboard: http://www.x-hardware.de/product_info.php?info=p8392_ASUS-M5A99X-Evo-R2-0.html 111,90€

Power Supply: http://www.x-hardware.de/product_info.php?info=p7284_620W-Cooler-Master-Silent-Pro-M2.html 80€

Case: http://www.x-hardware.de/product_info.php?info=p9813_NZXT-Phantom-530-schwarz-mit-Sichtfenster.html 121,90€

CPU cooler: http://www.x-hardware.de/product_info.php?info=p1457_Noctua-NH-U12P-SE2.html 55€

And the Fan Controller: http://www.x-hardware.de/product_info.php?info=p5607_NZXT-Sentry-LX.html 57,90€ (damn expensive but i like it. i can buy it later if i want).

Thats what i think will be a nice build for AMD, a bit expensive but it should do the job for the next years. 1114€ overall, still fine. With Intel it will be 200-300€ more, but i still think the i7 will have more power specially for working with audio (and every software is tested with Intel, not with AMD and is usually working better with Intel). 

All this stuff is next to my door and the prices are fine. 

What do you think about it? The big tower is important for me to get a nice watercooling loop later, but i will keep the air cooling just in case.

Looks pretty good.

That power supply is a bit overpriced.  Try this one instead.


Looks good. I have an old LC-Power here, just dont know is it 550W or 650W. I have to open my PC and look at this thing actually^^ Maybe i can use it, but i would like a nice modular power supply, 8€ is not a big difference.

yea pcpartpicker only has euros through certain countries, so I was trying to give you an eyeball into what it would cost... I'd 100% of the time recommend a corsair PSU over cooler master... the Sapphire R9 290 is a fine pickup... the Asus 990 EVO is a good mobo... the ram was just good CAS/Price/Clock on pcpartpicker.... so that's really the same thing to look for in your market (low CAS, low price, high clock, low voltage)....

Of course Intel is an option... of course an i7 can be significantly faster in productivity work depending on the programs you use... however... there's a lot of big gains to be had with a FX 8320/50 and it fits your budget better if you intend to upgrade your GPU THAT much :P (which will certainly upscale your gaming)

Yeah i was looking at the store next door, (really like it - 10 min and i got anything what i need and they are not expensive at all), we dont have so many parts here. I was working a lot and gaming was just an option, not the main goal - thats why i accept the AMD 5750 (cool, quiet and still powerful enough to run newer games with low settings). Usually i dont upgrade the stuff so often, my money goes for audio hardware, laptops and other stuff. That will be the main benefit of a capture card - i can capture anything with my laptop and let the PC handle the game. I think a laptop with Ivy i5 with 2,2GHz should do the streaming job without problems.

That looks like a good build. I don't really see a need to utilize a fan controller, but if you really want it there is nothing wrong with that. The Asus motherboard will come with the Fan Xpert software, which is a great fan controller that is accessible from the OS. Logan did a video on it if you want to see a demonstration.


I use the same room for vocal & voice recording. And a fan controller is pretty nice to shut down the fans. The software looks great. With water cooling the problem will be not that big, but right now the Zalman Z9 with integrated fans is pretty loud. So i use my laptop to record stuff.

Ahhh, that makes sense.