Looking for Upgrade Advice

OK guys.

It’s been a good 4 years since I’ve upgraded the old rig… so that was what-- Alpha 2.0 still being on the horizon?

Anyway, my current system looks like it isn’t doing quite as well when I look at the telemetry from RSI. It even appears I may be outside the minimum specs.

The rig upgrades look like they may need to be on the GPU and CPU, as well as an additional stick (or two) of DDR4 RAM.

Current GPU: Sapphire NITRO Radeon R9 390 (8GB)
Current CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K 3.50 GHz

So, I have a couple things I need to consider before I even think about planning an upgrade.

First-- Is the telemetry on RSI a load of bullshit? Or is it an actual representation of what the community is running to support such a hardware intensive game.

Second-- Is timing going to make more sense later on as SQ42 hits Beta (Q32020 as of now)? My fear is sinking too much cash into hardware that the game itself will make obsolete by release (which I have clearly done once already).

Lastly- Any recommendations on hardware? I know there are higher end intel processors out there which will support the game, but am I losing out by not even looking at AMD? Other good GPUs out there that will help to run the game well?

Since this isn’t my greatest area of expertise, I always appreciate advice.

Thanks again fellas.

Couple of questions…

Before doing any computer upgrades we need to know what screen you’re trying to run.

Second, how much RAM do you currently have?

Third, is SC loaded on an SSD?

AMD is getting better, but for a pure gaming rig is still a no-go for CPU… and I suspect your biggest problem is the R9 390 in this current build. AMD GPU’s never make sense today.

I’ve got a dual monitor setup with 1080 (HD) Monitors.

16GB of RAM is the current stack, thinking I will have to double that.

SC is on an HDD, not an SSD at this time.

I use Ryzen for my gaming PC and I am totally happy with it. Has performed flawlessly with everything I have thrown at it. I would agree about the GPU statement though.

I agree with JayC on the GPU, it is the biggest choke point for now, but not a massive one. A 6600K as long as you are keeping it cool should do you fine in most cases. 16GB of DDR4 should be fine. That is the same as me and the only time I run into issues is when there are memory leak bugs, something that 32GB systems aren’t immune too either.

Not that I’m saying to do so, but if you spent any money now it would be on a GPU. An RTX 2060 or 2070 Super seems to be the sweetspot right now, with the 2070S running around $500 and is a basically a 2080 non-super. Likewise, a 2060S is a repurposed 2070 (teardowns even show the same PCB). They would be fine to transfer to whatever you build next year.

I really don’t see the above being in any way “obsolete” by end of next year. My 1080GTX is still doing quite well. I replaced my i5-6500 with an i7-7700K with a sizeable improvement in performance. But, your CPU is already better than my old i5. If you found a used 7700K real cheap but from a trustworthy source, I’d consider it. Otherwise, I’d hold out for what is to come unless the 6600K is really holding you back.

For a pure gaming PC, you get more performance in SC going with Intel, Ryzen for now is not a good option at any of the price points you need when building a gaming PC.

Intel does much better in single threaded performance, which is a key metric when playing SC today.

For that reason we do not currently recommend AMD CPU’s.

THIS is the biggest performance issue by a large margin:
Ditch the HDD and get your system on an SSD. Big as you can afford 1Tb or 2Tb.

Corsair MX500 work ok, but the king is still Samsung. The EVO 860 series is reasonable.

2nd would be the video card… but its tough to know when to do the big upgrade and replace it all! - good luck!

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Good catch, missed the part about SC being on a HDD. That will make a huge difference. The Samsung 1TB 860 EVO sata SSD is on Amazon for $110 this week, about the lowest I’ve seen it. The MX500 is usually cheaper but the Samsung is just overall a better drive. If he has an open m.2 socket (it is a 6th gen intel board) an Intel 660P would be worth considering too. Current $92 on Amazon, but I’ve seen it down to $85.

So strictly speaking just SC vulkan support is coming. Processors with more cores are going to end up performing better in the long run. IMO. I look more at long term gains that short term performance.

The SSD was the most cost-effective upgrade at this point and I do have an empty slot for one. So, that’s where I"m going to start.

Appreciate the input as always guys-- this is just one reason I’m glad I"m in ADI.

First, people should be building PC’s in either a 2.5-3 year upgrade path or a 5 year upgrade path, so nothing here is ‘long term’.

Second, Vulkan only works with 10-15% of the GPU’s on the market today, it’s very unlikely that CIG will waste resources to prolong the life of sub-par video cards made by AMD, so shifting calculations to the GPU via Vulkan has little upside if you’re building a purely gaming PC today.

Third, unless CIG is going to completely switch game engines a third time - highly unlikely - Lumberyard - based on CryEngine is not a very multi-thread aware engine. So single core speed is going to be the limiting factor, which is Intel’s advantage over AMD, maybe when the AMD third gen chips come out in 18 months it will be a different story, but that isn’t today.

A lot of other games are also single core limited, ArmA2/3, GTAV, and RDR2 as an examples. Because games that are single core limited instead of GPU limited aren’t the norm, most publications, websites, and youtube videos aren’t a good resource of information when building a SC gaming PC.

As stated above, org policy is not to recommend AMD products at this point in time for people asking to build a pure gaming PC.

I am not arguing for amd for gaming at this point. Just having a discussion regarding technologies. I was always under the impression that vulkan support will enable sc to better use mutli core processors strictly speaking amd multi core processors. I remember seeing a post on spectrum talking about vulkan support that is coming. I will have to go find it again.

At this point in time vulkan can hand off tasks to the GPU - only AMD GPU’s are supported. While it does have planned multi-core support, again those only work with AMD GPU’s.

It doesn’t turn the Lumberyard gaming engine into multi-threaded, which it’s largely not. Single core CPU speed is the best indicator of higher frame rates. Apples to Apples.

ie it would be a massive waste of time since only 10% or less of the community have AMD CPU’s and GPU’s.

I can vouch for SC being heavy on single thread use.

Almost always get light to medium usage out of most cores and always 1 core/thread that is pegged out at 99-100% usage.

Also based on current SC CPU usage: 8 threads seems to be the sweet spot for SC right now. I have verified that on both AMD Ryzen threadripper 1950x in local cache mode, and intel core-i9 9900kf.

8 threads get used pretty well, the rest have minimal usage with 1 of the 8 threads being pegged out. By setting either proc to 8 threads only: it seems to consistently net a few extra FPS in performance boost by limiting each thread to its own dedicated core.

That said: currently the 9700k is 8 core 8 thread which would maximize on that 8 thread usage giving you the best bang for the buck in terms of star citizen performance. It also still has higher single threaded performance (than 3700x/3800x) and can maintain higher boost clock rates indefinitely + can actually overclock beyond boost clock levels with stability (unlike the competition.)

AMD while they are getting close: they’re pushing those procs as hard as they will go and with most out of the box cooling solutions: they’re barely able to reach rated boost clock rates and not able to sustain them very well. overclocking on the latest gen of AMD is pretty much out of the question completely, and they basically require higher clock rate memory to keep a close tail on an intel chip when it comes to single thread performance. the intel proc isn’t hurt near as bad by slower memory, but definitely benefits from faster memory as well.

So all that said: my recommendation is the 9700k specifically. Should give a few good years of high gaming performance. pair it with a z390 board and minimum of 16GB memory or 32GB if you can budget it in to give some breathing room for background apps/processes. SSD storage is a MUST for star citizen and ideal for the OS. GPU is heavily dependent on budget and resolution. 2070 should be fine for 1080p. for 1440p, ‘2k’ ultra wide, and 4k…2080 or higher is highly recommended to maintain decent frame rates.

Thanks for explaining the rationale here, I was questioning all the AMD criticism.

I probably own more AMD CPU’s than anybody else in the org, since I have 45U racks full of AMD servers. The issue isn’t that AMD is a bad product, it’s that for GAMING AMD is a bad product today. They’re getting better, but they still haven’t passed Intel apples to apples.

Websites, and YouTube channels have a vested interest in showing AMD vs Intel as being competitive, more views, ‘sponsorship’ and ad revenue from AMD. If they compared apples to apples using real world metrics, nobody would build an AMD based gaming PC, so they use models so show something that looks like a horse race, when it isn’t.

Consumers, including many folks who join ADI, buy into the hype, and then are offended when reality slaps them upside the face :wink:

And lets be honest, everybody here is an adult, you’re free to go spend money how you see fit, but from an org perspective we can’t allow members to pass out information that we know to be incorrect.

So when posts are made about computer building, we have to be very careful to provide known good information, and make it very clear the limits of that information.

There are LOTS of use cases where buying an AMD cpu today is the right call, but for the vast majority of ADI members who are building a PC today, aren’t those use cases. When somebody makes a request other than a pure gaming PC, those of us who know what we’re talking about will ask follow up questions to provide accurate recommendations for those non-standard builds, and in some cases that may very well include an AMD cpu.

I’ve seen a few good breakdowns on AMD, if your running top end AMD Ryzen or Intel you are going to be good either way. However, while we do not know what the future holds for pure gaming, the intel processors and Nvidia GPU chipsets are higher optimized.

AMD is getting better but they have always been a more cost efficient brand with a focus on multifunction computing outside of gaming. They will still run games well in most cases, but their market focus has been leaning to things like crypto mining (VEGA cards were really good for this, but got crushed in the gaming market by the Nvidia 1080Ti series, which was an amazing card series for its time that was unanimously king of gaming), server hardware, and machine learning. For machine learning, Ryzens have a good rep.

Intel has sort of become the trusted market leader for gaming optimization and what most companies benchmark on. There have been some AMD experiments to try to catch up but most of these (such as some of the special tesselliation properties they tried adding to games like Tomb Raider) eventually lost to actual Nvidia PhysX.

If your gaming, Intel is the way to go. If you want a cost efficient multifunction machine that has processing operations beyond gaming -and you want to utilize things like machine learning algorithms or heavy rendering, Ryzens have their value.

Thank you JayC and Dysonian, you have blown my mind! I unfortunately find that I have just given a friend (whom I am trying to suck into SC) some very poor advice. If you don’t mind spending a little more time explaining computer complexities to a village idiot, would you mind explaining the flaws of sites like userbenchmark.com? The comparisons I found there did indeed suggest that many of the Nvidia and AMD GPUs were, as you said, horserace worthy. Based on his budget and data from that site, it looked to us (several of us, actually) like the AMD RX 590 GPU was an excellent choice, $30+ less expensive than the GTS 1660 for similar performance. What does benchmark performance do poorly that it doesn’t predict gaming performance well? How are the actual game FPS in measurements in various games misleading? Why would this not be more clear on sites like this? Does userbenchmark get kickbacks from AMD? I can’t imagine they’re manipulating user created data, so what is it about benchmarks that is nearly equalizing the two companies?

Benchmarks are not the end all be all because performance is not just about one component. It’s a combination of configuration (especially in the BIOS), hardware that works well together, and drivers. You could have the best GPU and CPU in the world but if you have bad/misconfigured drivers and BIOS clock speeds are wrong, they will underperform.

While benchmarks are ok from a high level view to get an idea of the general performance range of a component, I would not rely on them for full blown accuracy.

userbenchmark.com can be a bit misleading when you look at the raw numbers, many of the games they’re using in their benchmark are low quality textures and less demanding resource usage, that don’t tend to stress GPU’s.

You’ll note that ONLY GTAV is listed as a AAA title, and it’s listed FPS for the 590 is less than 60 fps on a 1080p monitor. And remember that GTAV is a 6 year old game.

For SC, I wouldn’t recommend anything under a GTX 1660S for 1080p monitors, and would warn the user that video card is sub-standard and would try to find the budget for an RTX 2060S if at all possible.

You can find the information on websites, you just have to know what you’re looking for so you can compare apples to apples.