Upgrading PC: Minor oversight

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
As a fan of all things shiny and new, I have been watching the development of the Oculus Rift and HTC Hive with interest, and recently I have decided to see if my PC will run it - It won't. My graphics card (NVidea GTX 745) simply isn't capable. Everything else is golden.
So, I decided to upgrade and have bought the Nvidia GTX 980 Ti. I was also bought a 750w power supply to make sure I can run it.
The new hardware arrive, I take the back off the PC and... it wont fit! The card simply will not physically fit in the space - there are a couple of connections on the motherboard itself that are in the 'wrong' place and prevent a larger card being inserted.

Being a persistant bugger, I don't want to just return the card etc for a refund - the VR goal is still there! It seems that the best thing might be to get a new motherboard and cannibalise my existing PC and build a new one.
However, motherboards are a weak area as far as my hardware knowledge is concerned. I understand HD's, RAM, processors etc but don't know what to look for as far as a good, 'futureproof' motherboard... Can anyone help?
The specs of my PC are below, feel free to advise on any other weakpoints... I'm not opposed to the concept of an SSD to run the OS.

Processor

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770 CPU @ 3.40GHz
Manufacturer
Intel
Speed
3.4 GHz
Number of Cores
4

Memory
RAM
12 GB

Video Card
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 745
Manufacturer
NVIDIA
Chipset
GeForce GTX 745
Dedicated Memory
3.0 GB
Total Memory
4.0 GB
Pixel Shader Version
5.0
Vertex Shader Version
5.0
Hardware T & L
Yes

Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 (build 10586), 64-bit
Service Pack
0
Size
64-bit


Sound Device
NVIDIA High Definition Audio
Driver
1.3.34.4
Audio 2
Sound Device
HD Webcam C525
Driver
13.80.853.0
Audio 3
Sound Device
NVIDIA Virtual Audio Device (Wave Extensible) (WDM)
Driver
1.2.37.0
Audio 4
Sound Device
Realtek High Definition Audio
Driver
6.0.1.7535

Drives

Drive 1
Size
921.5 GB
Free Memory
921.3 GB
Drive 2
Size
921.5 GB
Free Memory
111.6 GB
 
First thing you need to do is work out your budget for this. Are you talking £500? £1000? £2000 for a new build or are you just looking to get a motherboard and re-use your memory and CPU?

If you're changing the motherboard, it's possible (likely) that you will need to change the memory and CPU as your current may not be compatible. There are a lot of people out there reviewing the HTC. Check out youtube feeds like Linus Tech Tips (even though his voice is annoying), Jayztwocents etc.

Your system as it stands should handle most games that are out right now, but if VR is your goal, you might want to start thinking long term as a new build.

VR, right now, isn't worth the costs. There aren't a lot of games that use it, and those that are there are demos at best.
 
Why not get a more rewarding job and a fitter missus?
 
Trying to future proof is a waste of time and money.

One of the main improvements made with every generation is in terms of memory bandwidth. That is a severely limiting factor in any design. If you can't get the data from memory to the CPU as quickly as the CPU (or GPU) can execute the instructions (and you likely can't), then you are restricted by this bottleneck. This is why CPUs have caches and can pipeline instructions.

You can't improve the memory bandwidth without new designs and support for new memory chips. The future ones have inherently not yet been designed. Alternatively, next year's designs are on the drawing board today.

Your drives, graphics card, sound card, OS etc as quoted above have less bearing on the performance of your system. The GPU can already manipulate data at a horrendously fast rate from within its own RAM, but it still has to fetch from the main store.

I would look at getting the most bang for buck in the current generation and plan on replacing it lock stock and barrel in 3-5 years. Most people do not need the very bleeding edge that is available today. You can probably get 80%-90% of the performance for 50% of the money. For example, 12GB RAM could be made into 32GB RAM for not a whole lot of cash. Never paging to disk would speed up the system immensely.

One other thing - a 750W PSU at 50% loading will draw say 400W (they aren't 100% efficient). At 10p per kWh, you are burning 4p an hour. Which translates to 30 pounds a month if left on 24 x 7.
 
Last edited:
4p an hour, Shirley? (although electricity is about 15p per kilowatt hour, so about 6p)
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
If you're changing the motherboard, it's possible (likely) that you will need to change the memory and CPU as your current may not be compatible.
Is there a way to find out what mine is compatible with?


Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
 
Is there a way to find out what mine is compatible with?


Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
Any Z-97 motherboard and drop all your existing stuff on, ignore all the crap above.
 
^ beat me to it. From about £65.
 
Don't bother with gaming motherboards with all kinds of overclocking features, your CPU can't be overclocked so is a waste of money.

Something simple like an Asus Z97-P although you can not stick a second card in.

This is also great value for money but if you are never going to SLI your GPU I'd go with the ASUS, they are bulletproof.

MSI Z97 PC Mate Motherboard
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
Don't bother with gaming motherboards with all kinds of overclocking features, your CPU can't be overclocked so is a waste of money.

Something simple like an Asus Z97-P although you can not stick a second card in.

This is also great value for money but if you are never going to SLI your GPU I'd go with the ASUS, they are bulletproof.

MSI Z97 PC Mate Motherboard
+1 for MSI - **touches wood** mined been perfect up to now since I put it together.

and you say it can't be overclocked - I'm getting 3.7ghz out of my i5 in it when it should supposedly be only 3.3ghz... ;)
 
+1 for MSI - **touches wood** mined been perfect up to now since I put it together.

and you say it can't be overclocked - I'm getting 3.7ghz out of my i5 in it when it should supposedly be only 3.3ghz... ;)
I was referring to the Asus. What chip i5? I'm getting 4.4GHz out of mine from a 3.5GHz stock.
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
I was referring to the Asus. What chip i5? I'm getting 4.4GHz out of mine from a 3.5GHz stock.
ah, with you. this is an i5 4590 - I should by the book be getting 3.3ghz.
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
Pick Parts, Build Your PC, Compare and Share - PCPartPicker United Kingdom

this website will let you pick a virtual build and then flag up any issues with compatibility you may have. I used it when I put my current build together.
Thanks v much, that's site seems to be extremely useful! So far, it looks like the MSI Z97 PC Mate Motherboard will be the way to go - it seems to be compatible with my processor...
The only info I am missing is the type of RAM - I know its DDR3, and think its 1x4gb, and 1x8gb chips. Do I need more info than that?
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
Thanks v much, that's site seems to be extremely useful! So far, it looks like the MSI Z97 PC Mate Motherboard will be the way to go - it seems to be compatible with my processor...
The only info I am missing is the type of RAM - I know its DDR3, and think its 1x4gb, and 1x8gb chips. Do I need more info than that?
they should be fairly standard afaik - it might be worth checking exactly what you have in yours and then making sure on the MSI website under the detailed specs for the board. fwiw, I've got the MSI Z97-G43 with a pair of 8gb Crucial sticks in it. they're DDR3 so you *should* be fine.

 
Trying to future proof is a waste of time and money.
[SNIP]
This, a thousand times over.

The amount of money made by snake oil merchants who flog an i7 along with a pile of miscellaneous crap is shocking. The package will be outperformed easily by something cheaper but better optimised.

What works for me is a rolling upgrade path, changing everything out every couple of years. Treat processor/mobo/RAM as one half, the GPU as the other half. Never try to SLI or tweak bits of it, they never offer as much bang for your buck as a fresh upgrade. The rest of the components can get changed as they fail or when that new, bigger SSD drive goes on sale.

Now, that's for a PC master race game machine. If you don't have one of those - or a serious video/photo rig - then you don't need a desktop of course and quite old rigs will keep working fine.
 
Thanks v much, that's site seems to be extremely useful! So far, it looks like the MSI Z97 PC Mate Motherboard will be the way to go - it seems to be compatible with my processor...
The only info I am missing is the type of RAM - I know its DDR3, and think its 1x4gb, and 1x8gb chips. Do I need more info than that?
Is your computer an 'off the shelf' jobbie from the likes of PC world?

You won't be benefiting from dual channel on your RAM. It needs to be a matched pair. Yours probably aren't even the same speed if it is anything like the acer I bought.

I'd flog them and buy a 16gb set (2x8] at 1600mhz+ doesn't matter on brand so just go for what you can afford.
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
Is your computer an 'off the shelf' jobbie from the likes of PC world? Guilty :(

You won't be benefiting from dual channel on your RAM. It needs to be a matched pair. Yours probably aren't even the same speed if it is anything like the acer I bought.

I'd flog them and buy a 16gb set (2x8] at 1600mhz+ doesn't matter on brand so just go for what you can afford.
Years ago I put extra RAM into an old machine, and remember from then that it should be a pair. I was quite surprised to find out the config of these two.

However, I suspect what I am going to do is to return the 980, and get the 1080 as they sound like they will be the same price!
 

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