Hand-me-down OEM PC, considering "upgrading" it as a replacement for a family member's hand-me-down

Here is the situation. An immediate family member has the following:

Dell Optiplex 790
CPU - i5-2400 3.4GHz
GPU - Nvidia 750 Ti 2GB

It is doing OKish for what they are doing but a little extra performance would be welcome, and they have a free hand-me-down of the following;

HP Elitedesk 800 G1
CPU- i5-4690 3.7GHz
GPU - on-board only

These are OEM systems so non-standard motherboard, PSU is non-standard, 320watts, no PCIe power connector, and CPU is throttled to around a little less (maybe 10%) than it would be on a Z97 motherboard. Both have SSDs and Windows licensed, and running on 1080p monitor. The user plays WoW and various other games, but they do not play fast-paced shooters like Overwatch.

I ran across this article which pretty much outlines some options. https://www.techspot.com/article/1841-gpu-cheap-oem-pc/

So we have a few options:

  1. No cost option. Transfer the 750 Ti to the HP and call it done. Might get some improvment, but in many situations the CPU might be held back.

  2. Buy a GPU that doesn’t require external power. The article gives a few options (GTX 1650, GTX 1050 Ti, Radeon RX 560), and tests them. Per the article the 1650 is probably a waste, while a 1050 Ti can be picked up pretty cheap used, like $80. Depending, it might be 50% better than the 750 Ti.

  3. Buy a more powerful external powered GPU, various options in the $200-300 range. A PSU replacement would be required (which I have lying around), requires a $12 adapter for the non-standard motherboard power connections. I agree with the article that this is largely a waste.

  4. Option 3, but instead use the 1080 GTX currently in my system and replace it with an RTX 2070 Super or better. Those are running around $500-550 currently.

I’m partial to options 1 and 4 here. Buying a new marginal GPU for $150-300 here is a waste of money IMO. Of course there is the choice of option 1, upgrading my GPU and building them a system around the 1080 GTX, but then the money involved here really starts to bloom.


If you go with option 1 - Don’t forget to bring over the extra RAM too.

Option 4 - Does seem tasty.

If all they’re doing is WoW and such. There’s really not a compelling reason to do more than Option 1.

Unless you really, really want a 2070…

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I admit, the 2070 Super is tempting. Not enough justification to replace the 1080 GTX for that alone, but if I’m also making something a playable game system might be worth it. As for extra RAM, good idea but probably a no go. 4GB sticks, at least in the new one. Its possible but unlikely the old one has 8GB sticks, so could at least bring it up to 24GB.

As for just play WoW and such, if they had a more capable system, they might play more. With the 1080, it would probably handle Star Citizen at 1080p just fine. It would definitely do better than a lot of the “gaming” laptops I’ve seen people try to run SC on.