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Upgrading PC, need help


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Hey folks :)

The desktop I play on is now officially six years old, and it's time to upgrade. The problem is, I'm not too tech-savvy and my machine was built for me by my more knowledgeable friend. He isn't currently easily available to help me out, so I'm doing my best to go it alone, and am still in the research stage. I'd be very grateful for any help ya'll can give me.

My goals are:

1) Run GW2 on Ultra/"Best Appearance" with good FPS (let's say 40 and above) in all areas that are NOT WvW/world bosses/big metas; and,2) Run GW2 on "Autodetect" with decent FPS (let's say 30 and above) during world bosses/big metas (not necessarily including WvW)

The machine I play on now:-CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8 GHz-GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 570 HD-Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990X+ SB950 SATA 6 Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD-RAM: 2x 4GB DDR3-Hard drive: 1 TB SATA 3.0 Gb/s standard internal hard drive (not an SSD)

I tend to play on either "Best Appearance" or "Autodetect" when not doing popular metas/world bosses. On "Best Appearance" I tend to get FPS in the mid-teens to the mid-20s. On "Autodetect" this jumps to mid-20s to high-20s. During popular metas/world bosses/WvW I switch to "Best Performance," which yields FPS in the mid-20s to mid-30s.

I'd like to start by replacing my hard drive with an SSD, and then replace my CPU and motherboard. I'd like to keep my current GPU if at all possible. Also important to mention that I am on a budget, and since GW2 is the only PC game I play or will be interested in playing, I'm not super interested in "future-proofing" (I have a laptop for all my other computing needs.)

The components I'm considering:-CPU: Intel Core i5-8400 2.8 gHz (Turbo boost to 4.0 GHz, realistically in the ~3.8 GHz range)-GPU: same-Motherboard: ??? (apparently there are very few motherboards currently compatible with this CPU? Also needs to be compatible with my old GPU; is that even possible?)-RAM: most likely 8GB DDR4-Hard drive: most likely 250 GB-500 GB SSD

Would this setup help me achieve my FPS goals? Is this setup even viable?

Thank you so much for your help! :)

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The processor would be fine, Intel's latest cpus perform well, and there's plenty of motherboards, it is just Intel hadn't released motherboards for non-overclockers. It means you had to buy a motherboard that supported an unlocked chip even if you bought a locked chip, but it still works anyways.

One thing to keep in mind is for when you buy your RAM, be sure to buy two sticks, not one. If you go for 8GB RAM you buy 2 x 4GB and not 1 x 8GB.

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I have updated my list, in case someone would like to comment:​CPU: Intel - Core i5-8400 2.8GHz 6-Core Processor
Motherboard: MSI - Z370-A PRO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Memory: Crucial - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Video Card (current): EVGA - GeForce GTX 570 1.25GB Video Card

It's a little bit above my budget of $400, but I'm okay with it IF it's viable (no compatibility issues) and helps me achieve my FPS goals.

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So, with GW2 you will be easily able to exceed the GPU requirements with a modern graphics card; the next most important aspect is single threaded CPU performance. Not that GW2 doesn't use multiple threads or cores, but you get enough of those "for free" in a modern CPU that you don't need to stress about it.

With your list, there are two things I'd suggest:

  1. Try and get a GT 1030 or above, if you can, or the AMD equivalent. That'll be more than sufficient to eliminate that bottleneck. If you can't, then sticking with the current card should be OK, though it may prove your bottleneck in newer zones.

  2. Get 16GB or better 32GB of RAM. The first step will deliver a significant performance increase for file data, etc, and the second ... is nice, but not necessary.

Anyway, that CPU comes up pretty respectably on single core benchmarks (eg: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html - picked kinda at random) so should be fine.

(Other games will benefit more than GW2 will from additional cores, so if you care about those you may want to balance things ... but IMO, right now that isn't really worth worrying too much about.)

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Would seriously consider AMD's 2400 APU if GW2 is the only game you play. You need a AM4 motherboard which is fully supported till 2020 and there should be plenty of scope to swap in AMDs later Zen 2 CPUs and add a later discrete GPU for a graphics bump. Very flexible and should be significantly better than your current set-up to justify the cost. I suspect that the 2400 iGPU is at least on a par with your existing GPU - you'll certainly be able to tune the GW2 settings to get near 60fps most of the time. GW2 gains nothing past dual channel 8GB RAM. Long term, say next 6 year, the main handicap is there games are likely to start needing 6 cores, but frankly that is not a problem with GW2 nor I suspect is the risk going to be high. AMD's 2400 APU is very very good value for your money if you're not going to be pushing the boat out on AAA type games.

Would go for a SDD(primary) + HDD(secondary) set-up with the SDD at 120GB to 240GB to hold the OS and dump GW2 onto it - not a great idea to mix games and media on the same drive as the OS with Windows 10. Although Samsung do the best drives there is actually little loss in buying the cheaper brand SDD as with games you are chiefly reading from disk and there isn't much variation. Also note that newer motherboards come with NVMe M.2 slot(s) for PCIe storage drives, these are approximately x4 to x10 faster - little noticeable difference in gaming, but hugely noticeable game load and OS update times over SDD - than the more standard SDD and worth considering as the price bump is around 30 to 50% for the similar capacities.

The biggest gripe at present is the sheer cost of RAM - the major factor if you're looking to spend $400 - , for DDR4 2400/2600Mhz is fine, there isn't too much to gain with faster memory - 7 to 10% on some applications although not necessary GW2 - for the additional cost. For $400 you should be able to get APU(2400)/Ram(8GB)/Motherboard(AM4)/SDD (240GB) if you reuse your old case/PSU/OS - if a bit tight, skimp on the SDD capacity as it is the easiest to bump up later (reuse your old drive as secondary media drive).

The big hang-up with the APU 2400/AM4 platform is that the 2400 is 2nd generation Zen so you would have to update the BIOS if buy old-stock AM4 boards. To this end check that a motherboard has the appropriate AMD sticker saying the BIOS has already been updated for Zen+ prior to purchase. With this everything else should be fine.You'll certainly see a significant bump over your existing PC with regards to GW2 but keep the budget within $400 - if you go higher I would go for a six-core CPU and another $100.

I am not a great fan of the way Intel have mucked people about with regards to there CPU/motherboard compatibilities - and their leading with high end mobo long before their budget mobo! - over the last year. AMD have said that all their new Zen 2 CPUs up to 2020 will be useable in most respects with AM4 motherboards, albeit with BIOS updates as necessary.

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