AMD or Intel? $1200 budget to upgrading old Core i7 4770K gaming PC

Jody is in the process of upgrading her gaming PC and has a budget of $1200 to do it, and we try and help out.

Question by Jody from United States | Answered by in Computer Systems on Fri, Feb 26 2021 4:49 PM CST

Which direction should I go to get in the here and now? My gaming PC is at the bottom of the gaming rung, and I only have a budget of $1200 right now. My current build:

  • ASUS Z87-A
  • ASUS ROG GTX 1070
  • Intel Core i7 4770K
  • 16GB Crucial DDR3 Memory
  • Thermaltake Smart 650W PSU
  • Acer Predator XB1

Hi Jody,

No matter what direction you go, AMD or Intel, you will likely only be able to recycle the PSU, GPU, and possibly any storage devices you have.

AMD or Intel? $1200 budget to upgrading old Core i7 4770K gaming PC 1 | TweakTown.com

That said, I will start with my go-to AMD build because you really should hold off building an Intel platform right now until after Rocket Lake is launched.

To start, you will want to choose between X570 or B550 chipset. B550 usually costs less and offers PCIe 4 support for the top PCIe slot and usually one or two m.2 slots. X570 gives you full board PCIe 4.0 across all slots. The ASUS B550 Plus can be had just under $200, or you can step up to the ROG Strix B550-E Gaming for another $70. On the X570 side, the ROG Crosshair VIII Dark Hero is a very sought out motherboard right now, as is the X570 Taichi from ASRock.

As for the CPU, I recommend the Ryzen 7 5800X, but it could be hard to find in the current market. Another option is the Ryzen 7 3700X from the Zen 2 platform to save a few dollars. Standard pricing should be $449 for the 5800X, and the 3700X is going for $329 right now. On the high-end with the 5800X and X570 motherboard, you have likely used $750 of your budget at this point. This leaves us ~$450 to finish it off.

From here, I would go for a 16GB kit of DDR4 3600 or 3800 at the lowest timings possible. GSkill has the Trident Z Neo 3600 at CL14 for $200, and Corsair has a Vengeance kit to match. For another $30, GSkill has another Neo kit that does 3800MHz at CL14 for even better performance. This leaves you $250 leftover or to upgrade your PSU in anticipation of the beefier GPU you want later on down the line.

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