Choice dead pc platform for gaming in 2019

Hi Folks,

I am thinking about upgrading my OLD PC. I have an oooo...old system that still plays lots of newish games decently. I have a q6600 in a Socket T motherboard. I know this is way way old. Socket T was released in 2004.

I want to replace it with something which is also really old but also much better, less way old, and for cheap. I am thinking this just might be realistic. So basically which old dead socket platform do folks think might be a good choice for much better gaming performance than I'm currently on? while still being really cheap?

I am currently considering Socket H/ LGA 1156 (circa 2009) or Socket H2 / LGA 1155 (circa 2011) . I haven't looked at the AMD side as I am much less familiar with it but am open to suggestions. I currently have a 8 gig ram and a 750ti video card which I would not be planing to upgrade for awhile. Budget max is $100 for cpu,MB,ram but I'd rather keep it well below $100 if possible. Obviously I'm looking at all used parts here, so ebay.

Thanks so much for reading and any recommendations!

Moving to Tech & Help

What's your overall budget? You might be able to do something new; even cheap components can be pretty powerful.

Malor wrote:

What's your overall budget? You might be able to do something new; even cheap components can be pretty powerful.

Max budget was set at $100. That... wouldn't even replace what he has.

You've got 8GB of DDR3 memory, so to save money I'd plan to continue using that. I would ignore AMD completely, because your Core2Duo wasn't actually half bad, and anything AMD that is a decent upgrade from it will push you out of your budget.

I saw a few lower end i5's on eBay around the $20, and I saw a couple somewhat cheap LGA 1155 boards (hovering around $50). If you can get you one of those for a decent price, even something like an i5-2400 would be a big boost for you.

Edit: If it all goes to crap, shoot me a message. I've got a Q9450 in a busted LGA 775 motherboard sitting on a table right now that I have absolutely no intention of using again. That'd be about a 30% upgrade from just the CPU without changing anything else. I'd just ship the whole thing (CPU/MB/RAM) since none of it is of any use to me anymore. It technically all still works, but the motherboard has some blown capacitors that I'm too lazy to replace and it's knocked out a couple USB ports, and caused the board to be a bit... unstable.

If this was 3-4 months from now, I am planning to upgrade one of my PCs and will have an old i5 and MB that I was just going to toss/recycle.

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see the $100 limit, I should have read more carefully.

What you probably want is a used Pentium G3XXX processor. The Pentium line is basically similar to the i3s, but come with extremely weak video. This is good, because the i3 video isn't strong enough to game with anyway, so the Pentium chips end up giving you the CPU muscle without the i3's pricetag. You then plug your 750Ti into that, and you're good to go.

I'm presently running my fileserver off one of those, a Pentium G3200, I think, with an ASRock motherboard. The chip and board were $70 each brand new. It's a dual-core machine, clocked at 3GHz, so it's got a reasonable amount of muscle. (way plenty for fileserving, this was a big upgrade off the Core 2 board that broke.) It cost me $140 new for both, as I already had some DDR3 RAM I could use.

I don't have one, but there are a few Pentium G4XXXX processors too, which will be slightly faster, but a little more expensive. Those may use DDR4, though.

If you can scare up one of those in the used market, you'd probably be pretty happy with it.

edit to add: all the ones I'm seeing on Newegg's site are used and from other sellers, and they start around $90. Hmmm.

I was able to find a G3220 and a LGA 1150 board on eBay for about $90 together, but honestly going from the G3220 to the i5-2400 I was talking about earlier will be about the same price but it's a significantly larger upgrade than a G series Pentium (UserBenchmark puts the G3220 at a 48% increase, and the i5-2400 at a 118% increase). Going to a G series Pentium that is a comparable upgrade (G4600) puts him in DDR4 territory and blows his budget before you get to the RAM.

I noticed an ad for an older model Dell Optiplex and got to thinking about it. Obsolete office machines have flooded the market in the past couple years and that might be a really good thing for you. If you went with something like this Optiplex 790, that should be a pretty good upgrade for $90, free shipping, and all you'd need to do is move over your PSU, GPU, and HDD. The PSU in that is utter garbage, I'm sure you have better (or at least I'd hope so). The HP Elite series is about the same price, but the HP boards apparently use weird power supplies to hook to the boards, so you'd be stuck with whatever came with it. At least the Dell board uses a normal 24-pin P1 connector.

That's an excellent idea, PurEvil. Used office machines have decent CPUs, usually, and they weren't typically expensive to begin with, so the pricing on used ones will be really low. Transforming one into a game machine is usually as easy as putting a video card in there.

One possible issue is that they might not have onboard sound, so that's something he or she would want to check for.

On that UserBenchmark score, are they including the GPU? The actual CPU cores in a 3220 are Haswell and quite quick, but it comes with only two cores, and the GPU is very weak.

G3220 vs Q6600*
G4600 vs Q6600
i5-2400 vs Q6600
G3220 vs i5-2400*
G4600 vs i5-2400

*I'm using the G3220 because it uses a DDR3 motherboard and I was actually able to find them cheap on eBay. No other particular reason to focus on them specifically.

But like I said, the G4xxx series seem to all have jumped up to DDR4 so it breaks the budget, and the G3xxx series can't hold a candle to even an early i5. Ultimately I was completely ignoring graphics entirely and assuming he'd stick with the 750 Ti... because I know I would. Comparing a 750 Ti to Intel HD 2000 integrated graphics (for the i5) on UserBenchmark is actually pretty hilarious, as they have it rated as a 1,413% increase.

Also I'll just point out here that I'm using these links as a quick general baseline of the comparison of the chips. Certainly these numbers aren't everything but that site does a good job of giving a very quick general idea of what kind of an upgrade each chip would be, and you can compare just about anything you can think of.

Your best option for $100 is to find an old used machine on Craigslist. You can often find old office machines on there. If nothing good, then looking for something with free shipping like Pur suggested.

and the G3xxx series can't hold a candle to even an early i5

The per-core performance is excellent on the Pentium. The main difference is that the i5 has twice as many cores. Games that can take advantage of multicore will be better on the i5, but nearly all single-threaded games will be just fine on the Pentium, and it doesn't sound like he or she is trying to play cutting-edge games.

Those Pentium Gs were really strong chips for the price. My little fileserver kicks ass and takes names, and it runs a Ubuntu desktop very nicely.

But I do agree that a used (quadcore Intel) office machine is probably going to be the way to go, and that a Dell is the best bet because he or she will be able to replace the crummy power supply that most of those come with.

thank you all for all the suggestions and information.
Ill have to spend more time reading it all again and chewing on all the info when I have more time in a week or so. I'm not in a super big rush to upgrade.

Also I am actually more flexible on the budget than I may have indicated in my initial post.
I just thought that since my system was so old I should be able to get something a lot more powerful without spending much more, but if that ends up not being the case, then I will definitely spend more money.
Basically I want to spend the minimal amount of money I can get away with while getting a huge performance increase.

Actually, in the short term I might even just try to overclock more.
For some reason my cpu seems stuck at 1600 mhz at the moment, probably the botched result of trying to overclock and going in the wrong direction!

Interesting comment about forgetting AMD because nothing there would be more powerful than what I have while being at my budget. I was surprised to read that.

Sorry to co-opt, but if anyone has any stray parts after this, my gaming/podcasting laptop semi-kerploded and have decided I'm going to build a replacement (first time ever) soon. This thread is very timely because I'm broke! Thanks for posting it.

blueOrange wrote:

Basically I want to spend the minimal amount of money I can get away with while getting a huge performance increase.

That actually becomes a lot easier, though there are will be differences of opinion. I did this last year with a mostly full system rebuild because my case was falling apart, and I was running on that Q9450, busted 680i SLI board, and 8GB DDR3 that I mentioned above. I knew I couldn't upgrade the GPU, so I went into it knowing I'd be limping along with an R9 270X until I could afford to upgrade that as well (which I just did last month). Overall I spent $800 on the CPU (w/cooler included), RAM, MB, an M.2 SSD, PSU, and a good case. Currently I could build my system over again for about $450 with the exact same parts I ordered a year ago.

Basically, best budget-pc bang for your buck will be in the Ryzen series. You'll have to upgrade to DDR4, but if you stay at 8GB and stay at the slower speeds it won't be too bad (around $40?). You can also go really low end on the CPU now and then upgrade it higher later, as even something like a Ryzen 3 1200 will be an absolutely massive boost for you now, and an AM4 board will allow you to upgrade much higher than that when you feel you need to. I slapped this build together which came up to $203. Going with new parts, I think $200-$300 is a more realistic budget.

If you have a MicroCenter near you that won't show up on PCPartPicker, and they will have deeper deals with open box stuff, so that'd be something worth watching if you can get to one (most are in-store only deals, but as an example my local store has an open-box Ryzen 5 1600 cheaper than the Ryzen 3 1200 I linked above). Also, /r/buildapcsales is a subreddit specifically for sales that would be good to keep an eye on, since you aren't in a massive hurry to upgrade you can buy a piece here or there when you catch a good sale.