Which to upgrade first, GPU or CPU?


For a little backround, I decided to upgrade/rebuild my old crappy computer with a build based off of my existing processor.
I had an AMD Phenom II x4 945 running at 3ghz in a mobo that capped at 4gigs ddr2, with an SSD running wow, everything else on a 500 gig HDD.
I got a older, but nice, Gigabyte AM3+ mobo to match the socket and 16 gig ram, and reused my current GPU, which is a GeForce GT 740. I also ended up with a new case and a 480w PSU.
This ended up being a good improvent despite the reused parts. Pretty sure it was the ram that made the difference. I went from settings on 2, getting around 40fps, lower in Boralus, to settings on 5 at 60ish FPS everywhere, but with plenty of room for improvement.

My research seems to indicate that the beefiest processor this mobo, GA-970A-DS3P, can handle is the FX 8350 8 core at 4ghz.
Also, it seems that the best bang for your buck GPU replacement is the RX 570.
If I were to only be able to afford one upgrade at a time, with the GPU running twice the cost of the CPU, which one should I buy first?
If I do the cheaper CPU upgrade first, will I notice much of a difference between 3ghz and 4ghz, plus doubling the cores. Or even, would spending 70 bucks on the CPU upgrade be a waste, considering the RX 570 is pretty beefy on its own.


You’re going to need a new mobo-cpu-ram combo at the end of the day, don’t waste money on just “the best cpu this board can handle”.

If you only have money for ONE right now a 570 is a fine option, and it can carry over to the new system

You could get that but then you’ll need to start saving for the rest, don’t just upgrade a crappy cpu to a crappy cpu.

(Neme) #3

Yea, lets just go ahead and chastise people who are on a budget. Extremely ironic coming from you, because you were doing the same thing when I was talking about the 8700K/2700X.

To OP:
I would get a RX 470/570 4GB first, as used. There is an eBay seller selling hundreds of XFX Nitro RX 470 4GB’s (one of the better models) for $62.5 + shipping. You can probably do Best Offer and shave a few more dollars off. Just be sure when you receive to thoroughly test it. Sell your GT 740, and you can probably shave another $20 off.

CPU wise, there is no difference between FX 83xx series, as they’re all multiplier unlocked. The better ones are binned higher, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the lower models are worse. FX-8300/8320 can be had for as low as $40 shipped on eBay. Sell the Phenom II x4 945 for about $10-15 net to further reduce the cost.

(You) #4

Why are you suggesting the fx series?


I wasn’t chastising anyone, FX series are crappy cpu’s that’s not even up for discussion.

I was merely stating that they should start saving up for better, nothing you throw onto that board is going to be worth the money.

And on the other one… the ENTIRE conversation was about budget parts and you came in talking about 300+ dollar parts, are were wrong even in that.

idk what they’re on about, they derailed a budget conversation with 8700k’s and 2700x’s


Get the GPU first. You may have to double check the power supply. It can be a bad one.

I would suggest saving the cash until you can afford a new CPU, mobo and RAM. In the mean time, you can also get a good third party heatsink and overclock your X4 945.


Get a nice gpu for right now, cpu and motherboard prices will drop after ryzen 3000 series launches. If I was you, i would consider looking for an rx 580 8gb version for cheap.

(Kagthul) #8

If you live near a Micro Center, you can grab an R5 1600 and a compatible motherboard for about 120$ out the door after tax.

The R5 is on sale for 79.99, and you still get the 30$ off a compatible MoBo deal; they have several decent mATX B450 MoBos for 69.99 (so, 39.99).

Might be worth jumping on if you have the cash.


because My mobo is AM3+ socket

I guess my biggest mistake was to try to build around my existing processor, thinking that would be the best budget way to go, AMD or not.
After adding up the cost, piece by piece, and more research, I could have built better.
Hindsite is 20/20, so I know better for next time.


It really had nothing to do with AMD vs. intel or what now, just that unfortunately the FX series, or really anything you can throw into an AM3+ socket, weren’t that great. :frowning:

If anything, consider it a learning experience for the future.


oh that is funny
because you just describe my PC specs

Motherboard: Asus TUF SABERTOOTH 990FX R3.0 <<< this is the best mobo ever
CPU: FX 8350 4.0Ghz
RAM: Patriot - Viper 3 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
GPU: MSI Radeon RX 570 GAMING X 4GB Video Card
CPU Cooling:be quiet! Dark Rock TF CPU Cooler
OS SSD :Crucial - BX100 120GB
Crucial MX300 275GB SATA M.2 (2280) Internal Solid State Drive
Seasonic FOCUS Plus 850 Gold SSR-850FX 850W 80+ Gold ATX12V Power Supply
Thermaltake - Core V51 ATX Mid Tower Case


Overclocking…after spending half an hour researching and downloading utilities, I discovered that NOTHING is adjustable, not in Bios, not using Easytune, not AMD Overdrive. So thats that.


Probably safer.

Last thing you want to do is OC an FX chip on an underengineered motherboard

(Neme) #14

Because it’s still a viable option for people who are looking for a drop-in replacement? I mean the 8 core 83xx series are going for $30-40, if you’re patient.

Not everyone can just spend hundreds on a new setup.

You should go around and tell everyone with AM3+ boards to just shut off their computer because its crap.


It’s not about shutting it off RIGHT NOW, it’s not wasting even 30-40 dollars that could be put towards the next upgrade with some patience.

You’re being EXTREMELY obtuse on this, don’t waste the 40 dollars on an 8 core FX, put it aside, and then another 40, and another 40, and eventually you can afford that full upgrade.

Dropping an 8 core FX onto an AM3+ would just be tossing the money out the window.

(Neme) #16

You seem to think that if you buy older computer equipment, it’ll just go poof into nothingness. If you buy a $40 FX-83xx series, chances are you’ll still be able to sell it for $20-40 later on because the vast majority of the depreciation has already happened.

And when did I say spend another $40 and another $40 on a CPU? If you buy a heatsink/fan, make sure its AM4 or LGA 115x compatible, so its re-usable. If you buy a GPU (e.g ~$80 Rx 470/570), you can use that in your next build.

So please quote me where I suggest OP should spend $120 on a FX-CPU.


I didn’t say keep spending 40, it’s just an example of setting it aside so that you can eventually afford what you want.

And reselling is work, it may never sell and then you’re out 40 bucks.

It’s not like they need to upgrade RIGHT NOW, they’re getting 40-60 fps which is quiet playable.

(Neme) #18

I’m quite familiar with older computer parts because I like collecting hardware. C2Q 9650’s still sell for $40-50. Higher end Phenom II X4/X6 are $50+. First gen FX 8150’s are still going for ~$40. To say that in a year or two the FX-83xx cannot be sold is just silly.

I merely presented the OP was an option. For the expected net cost of $20 (plus some time) on the cpu, OP can have better frame rate. Whether or not it’s worth it is up to the OP.


Let’s be real here, we like to say we will sell off old parts, but the reality is that most people throw it in a box or drawer in the garage or office and forget about it and the money is lost.

I know there’s exceptions but I think this happens more often than not.


I ended up getting a 1050ti for 120, it arrives next week.
I may still get the 8350, but we will see.