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Upgrading options for my Predator G3-710 with i5-6400?

Jon710Jon710 Member Posts: 6

Tinkerer

Hi,

I've spent some time in this forum and other sources looking for an answer to my specific question, however, I have ended up down another internet rabbit hole so I thought I'd post a new thread (maybe this will help others too).

SPEC
Predator G3-710
Intel B150 Mobo with (RO1-A1 from 10/07/2015)
Intel Core i5-6400
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
1x stick of 8GB DDR4-2132 (1066MHz) in slot 4 according to CPU-Z (part Number CT8G4DFD8213)

Although this is classed as a gaming PC I now use it mainly for work running applications such as Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, running large Excel spreadsheets with lots of formulas and a few other resource-hungry applications I use for work. I typically have multiple items open however have found that my PC has started to become slow at processing for my workflow which is starting to become a bit frustrating.

Balancing costs vs new PC I've been researching possible upgrades however I'm getting to a point where I need a bit of guidance.

1) Upgrading RAM
My first point of call was to buy more RAM however I want to make sure I'm buying the correct RAM and I'm happy to buy the maximum amount of RAM my motherboard will take (my research here has led me to believe that I can go up to 4 sticks of 16GB DDR4-2400MHz or 3200MHz giving me 64GB of RAM however is this overkill? (the range of RAM I'm thinking of getting is from 3 additional sticks of 8GB DDR4-2132 to match the one I already have and so I don't waste it giving me 32GB of RAM, through to 4 x 16GB DDR4-either 2400MHz or 3200MHz) - What's my best option here? Is it worth maxing out to 64GB of 3200?

2) Upgrading CPU
Once I've upgraded the RAM and used it for a while I may look at upgrading the CPU. From reading in here I believe I can swap out my i5-6400 to an i5-7400 (I'm not to bothered about moving to another i5), i7-6700, i7-6700K, i7-7700, i7-7700K. If I'm going to upgrade the CPU I'd likely upgrade to the highest I can here which checking prices about £300-£400. What's the maximum CPU my mobo will take? What BIOS version do I need for this CPU? And if I was looking to upgrade to the fastest CPU that will fit my Mobo what RAM should I upgrade with now?

3) Upgrading Graphics Card
What's the best option for my Mobo if I were to upgrade the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970? Is there a need to upgrade my graphics card? (I don't play games seriously online anymore).

4) BIOS
Do I need to upgrade the BIOS for my i5-6400 as it stands now? I see a list of recent BIOS releases can be found here - https://www.acer.com/ac/en/GB/content/support-product/6373?b=1

Thanks.



FAQ & Answers

  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 13,008 Trailblazer
    One thing you're not mentioning is your storage. Do you already have an M.2 SSD in there? That will possibly surprise you as to the difference it makes in ordinary tasks. It's be my choice for the first upgrade step. Your MB supports M.2 SATA drives, not M.2 NVMe. Next would be memory, for your uses 32GB is likely to be the best bang for your buck, you have to be using really memory intensive tasks for 64GB to make a difference. Look into memory stick costs. You might find it cheaper or the same cost to put in two 16GB sticks instead of three 8GB. Make sure you pair the sticks so they match each other for the best dual channel. Don't pay extra for faster than 2400MHz, it'll be stepped down to 2400 by the chipset if faster works at all. You have a 6th gen motherboard, so the 7th gen CPUs will not work. The 7th gen boards use a R02 BIOS IIRC. The bump to an i7 is the third step for your use. IIRC 6th gen i5s have four cores with four threads, the i7s have four cores with eight threads. Potential there for quite  bit of difference when running heavily multi-threaded apps. Last upgrade is the GPU. I don't expect it to make much a difference for your uses, though if you expect to be picking up a 4K monitor in the future you might like one with more onboard memory. Yours likely has either 2GB or 4GB, I'd say 4GB is kind of the minimum for 4K graphics editing. There are some BIOS upgrades for your model, from the link above the newest is R01-A4. Don't bother with an update unless you are experiencing the specific issues that a BIOS version fixes. It's too easy to have something screw up and brick your MB otherwise.
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • Jon710Jon710 Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    edited January 24
    Thanks for this billsey,

    I believe its SATA, not SSD, here are the details from running 'msinfo32':

    Manufacturer: Seagate
    Model: ST2000DM001-1ER164 (SATA)
    Size: 1.82TB (2TB)
    Partition 0: 100MB 
    Partition 1: 931GB
    Partition 2: 500MB
    Partition 3: 931GB

    Just watched an SSD vs HDD speed comparison (thanks for highlighting that) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2oiwRyIL24
    Watching this video it looks like there's space to have 2 internal storage drives - 

    If I upgraded to an SSD could I add this drive and keep the original drive for extra storage?

    And for the CPU which of these would be the best one for me?
    I assume either the i7-6700 or i7-6700K as these seem to be the only ones from here that are compatible with 'SkyLark', I found a full list of 7th gen i7's here
    https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/products/88392/processors/intel-core-processors/6th-generation-intel-core-i7-processors.html

    I understand the 'K' means overclocking is my setup compatible and would I see any benefit with this?

    Thanks.
     

  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 13,008 Trailblazer
    Yup, that's a 2TB HDD, you will still be able to use it for data storage after the upgrade. When you get the M.2 SATA SSD you will install it on the motherboard (might need a little screw if the SSD doesn't come with one, M2x3 usually) then clone the HDD to the SSD resizing only the C partition. At that point you disconnect the HDD and boot, that will change your UEFI BIOS to boot from the SSD. Last you plug the HDD back in and boot up once more, then remove all partitions on it and recreate one big partition to fill it. Most likely you will have three small and one big partition on the SSD (three of which are hidden) and the big partition on the HDD. Usually it's C, D and E for the SSD, DVD and HDD. Depending on your budget you could get a 500GB, 1TB or 2TB SSD, though they do make smaller ones.
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • Jon710Jon710 Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

  • Jon710Jon710 Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    edited January 24
    @billsey

    Here's where I'm at currently.

    1) SSD
    M.2 SATA SSD - plugs directly into the mobo
    £91.88
    Plug into mobo via 'PCI Express' slot (located behind graphics card)
    Boot drive clone on to M.2 SSD
    Macrium reflect cloning tool

    2) RAM
    Corsair CMK32GX4M2A2400C14 Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4 2400 MHz C14 XMP 2.0 High Performance Desktop Memory Kit, Black
    £124.99 (64GB £239.67)

    3) CPU
    Intel Core i7 Quad-Core i7-6700 3.4GHz Processor CPU
    £310 (i7-6700K £295)
  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 13,008 Trailblazer
    Yes, that sounds like you have it sorted. The M.2 drive doesn't plug into the PCI Express slot, it plugs into an M.2 slot, #3 in this picture. It's not clear that the drive ships with the screw, so make sure you have access to one the right size in case it doesn't.

    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • Jon710Jon710 Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    Thanks for your help it's much appreciated.

    Do you have an Amazon account? If so, post an affiliate link & I'll buy through it when I'm ready.
  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 13,008 Trailblazer
    I have an Amazon account, but have no idea how to generate an affiliate link. :)
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
  • Jon710Jon710 Member Posts: 6

    Tinkerer

    edited February 7
    First of all many thanks to @billsey for helping me narrow down my search and answer the questions I couldn't find answers to.

    And for anyone in a similar situation to me looking to upgrade their G3 710 and keep it ticking over here's what I've done since starting this thread.

    RAM
    Here's the RAM I bought, following the advice in this thread I went down the route of 32GB and an M.2 SSD instead of maxing out and just buying 64GB of RAM which is what was my original plan was (I can confirm there are 4 slots available inside my G3 710)

    Installation of the RAM I've done lots of times before so this was pretty straight forward.

    M.2 SSD HDD
    Here's the M.2 SSD I bought, I went with a 1TB drive as this matches the partition my PC currently has so I just went with like-for-like

    I installed the M.2 SSD stick following from this point in this video (the slot is underneath the graphics card which has to be removed however it was easy to install)

    The only issue I had with the M.2 SSD was that there was no MB screw and the M.2 SSD I bought didn't come with the screw either. I still installed leaving it at the 30-degree angle it sits in and then relied on the graphics card to push it down - I will more than likely look to buy a screw for this sooner rather than later though!

    The drive was automatically recognised however didn't show up in the 'My PC' section so I had to initialise it and did this following the instructions in this video.

    Next, step for me, which I haven't done yet, is to clean up my C drive to reduce the size of it and clone it over on to the M.2 SSD. I'll be looking to follow the instructions in this video when I do this.

    As I write this...

    The SSD is sat on my PC and currently empty so not been used for anything and I'm still booting and running programs from the original drive however I have seen noticeable gains in performance just from using my PC with the 32GB RAM upgrade - just little things like opening and closing programs and files, Chrome, in particular, feels a lot more responsive and I do use a lot of tabs and plugins. Overall the PC feels new.

    One issue I was having, which seems to have been resolved since the RAM upgrade, I would say was that pretty much every day the first time I turned my PC on I would press the power button on the front at the top and the Predator Logo would appear with the BIOS & boot options at the bottom left-hand side, however, there would be no circling dots to indicate the PC was loading. I would then have to press and hold the power button to turn the PC off and then try again where the 2nd attempt would normally load the PC successfully (I've never had to do this the 3rd attempt at any time) - I installed the RAM the day it arrived last week and since installing just the RAM alone I've not had this issue - I'm still curious to know what may have been causing this?

    Last question

    For future-proofing would it be worth me buying the additional 32GB of RAM now and using all 4 slots to max-out the PC to 64GB? - I'm happy to do this if for the sake of an additional £110 if I can get another couple of years out of the machine and I will be continuing to use a number of intensive programs at any given time. I use my PC now mostly for work and as I'm self-employed any time efficiencies I can make even if its a few seconds per action on my PC throughout the day every day does all add up and would probably make a difference.

    I'm thinking of buying the RAM now so I can buy the exact same model sticks as I just bought to make sure everything is the same. Then once my PC starts to feel sluggish or a major operating system is released (hopefully in a couple of years time) I'll likely upgrade to something new then.

    Thanks.


  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 13,008 Trailblazer
    Get the screw soonest, you would hate to fry the SSD with a jostle the breaks some of the contacts. It should be M2x3mm IIRC. I think that if you fire up Resource Monitor and look at memory usage you will see that you have plenty of overhead with the 32GB. If you wait a couple of years the price on the extra 32GB will have dropped, especially if you are buying working pulls as machines are deactivated. If RM does show you using more than, say, half your memory, then go ahead with the rest of that upgrade now. I would expect you only need the extra for either big databases, very large image manipulation or perhaps video editing.
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
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