Gaming Computer Upgrades

I last wrote about a computer upgrade back in 2008 when I re-established my geek-fu. It seems like I was upgrading every 3-4 years for a long time, but then the upgrades slowed down as my computer had enough horsepower for any demanding daily tasks and ‘fast enough’ for gaming so long as I was prepared to not run on max resolution and graphics detail on full.

Next upgrade came in 2014 with the following (I forgot to write about it at the time):

  • Asus Maximum VII Ranger Motherboard
  • Intel Core i7 4790 Quad Core LGA 1150 3.6GHz CPU Processor
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Superclocked ACX 2.0 4GB
  • Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz Vengeance Pro
  • SanDisk Extreme II SSD 240G
  • Antec Eleven Hundred Black Gaming Case
  • Antec 620W High Current Gamer Modular PSU

Fast forward to September 2020 and it was time again, I was able to keep my existing case, PSU, DVD-RW and existing hard drives. Below was the new component and the first truly new item was the hard drive had changed from a 2.5″ solid state drive to a newer and even faster NVMe drive which basically looks like a stick of RAM:

  • Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Ultra LGA 1151 Motherboard
  • Intel Core i9 9th Gen – Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz (5.0 GHz Turbo) LGA 1151
  • EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB GDDR6
  • Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 3600
  • Samsung 970 EVO PLUS M.2 2280 1TB PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe
  • Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition CPU Air Cooler
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit

When we first moved to the USA, Hugo and Evie enjoyed playing the PlayStation and the idea of playing games on the computer just didn’t make sense and when attempting to wrangle the mouse/keyboard combination it was completely foreign. A few years later and the PlayStation is sitting virtually idle and unused, gaming has transitioned to the PC.

For Hugo’s 14th birthday, the big present that he really wanted was a new graphics card for the computer. Hugo would tell me that the GeForce RTX 2070 Super didn’t have the oomph needed to maintain 100FPS in taxing games, he was lagging and we all know, if you’re laggin’ you aint livin’ ;-).

To address said lag, we upgraded to an EVGA GeForce RTX 3080Ti 12GB GDDR6X memory. One hiccup we did run into with this upgrade, my Antec 620w PSU which was designed for the era previous GPU only had two PCI Express power connectors. I didn’t have a third with the correct connectors, so I ordered a custom made cable which arrived a week later. Suffice to say, once installed, the computer nearly lifted off the desk.

In June 2023, Diablo IV was going to be released and I wanted to be able to play it with Hugo but needed a second gaming machine. To address that ‘problem’, it seemed like a good idea to build a new blazing fast PC:

  • Gigabyte Z790 Aorus Elite AX LGA 1700 Intel Z790 ATX Motherboard
  • Intel Core i9 13th Gen – Core i9-13900KF 3.0 GHz
  • Samsung 980 Pro M.2 2280 1TB PCIe NVMe
  • Samsung 980 Pro M.2 2280 2TB PCIe NVMe
  • Corsair RMx Series (2021) RM1000x 1000w PSU
  • Corsair Vengeance RGB 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR5 6000 RAM
  • Corsair 4000D Airflow Black Steel Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • LG External CD/DVD Rewriter
  • Cooler Master Hyper 212 RGB Black Edition CPU Air Cooler
  • Microsoft Windows 11 Home 64-bit

I’ve put Hugo’s new GPU in the above PC build which are much better matched in terms of overall age and performance characteristics. In doing so, I’ve restored my ‘old’ computer from September 2020 to it’s former glory as I had a working GeForce 2070 Super sitting in an anti-static bag. Granted, not the fastest by today’s standards but it’s enough to play the new Diablo IV on moderate settings.

The costs of lower-end computer parts is relatively cheap today, which I’d say by comparison 10 years ago wasn’t as true. Prices have certainly moved on in that time, the 2014 computer components above were AU$1535 (~US$1380 at the 2014 average AU/US exchange rate of 0.9). By comparison, the 2020 components above were US$1840, the new GeForce 3080Ti GPU was US$1130 and the 2023 components were US$1850.

If I can get another year or two out of the 2020 component list above I’ll think that’d be pretty good overall value given that games are much more computationally expensive now, so I’m taxing that system more and more in the next two-ish years.