Ghetto upgrades or full replacement? - Optiplex 9010 GPU

Alrighty guys,

So I've got the classic Optiplex 9010, with an i7 3770 and 16Gb RAM paired with a low profile 1050Ti. It's been serving me pretty well for my modest gaming needs, but running through Gears 5 recently was seemingly causing some hiccups and I think I've about hit my limit at 1080p.

However, my next upgrade will be the WQHD Kogan 34"… and at 2560x1440 (plus the other monitors) I'm nervous that I'm gonna be running at 20fps or less on most games simply due to the sheer quantity of pixels. Hence I'm debating a GPU step-up, which would also mean a second PSU (I have no issues with this at all, I have the hardware & experience)) or just go for a whole system upgrade instead. Budget is fairly constrained at $500; hence the consideration on put it all on the GPU.

First question - the 3770 seems to hold it's own rather well when comparing to the newer gen CPUs, and the 16Gb RAM seems more than adequate. Is there any solid reason to upgrade the rest of my box? Or any other advice on this?

Second - Irrespective of upgrading the rest, what's the current sweet spot for GPUs? I have no loyalties, and given the Kogan will have Freesync (plus G-Sync compatibility) then I'm happy to go for the best value option. Is AMD currently leading for mid-range GPUs?



    I don't think you'd actually physically fit a better GPU in the case. You could jerry rig the second power supply but the whole thing would be a bit ghetto.


      That's exactly what I was expecting, and I've got no issues with everything hanging out haha

      I've already got the second PSU on my desk as a benchtop power supply for my DIY Ambilight and other Arduino projects, so that's not going to be any more space (or eyesore) than it currently is.


        You can place in a GTX 1650 (Low Profile) and they're around $200-$300. That performance is around that of a 780Ti, 970, 1060 or 290X, 570, RX5500. Or equal to Xbox One X Scorpio.

        However, beyond that point you're going to start bottlenecking. The 4core/8threads are going to start getting stretched, bandwidth on the memory will slow it down, and 8GB might be a little limiting (but you've upgraded that already).

        The logical progress to make is to a Intel 8600k or AMD 3500X, 16GB DDR4-3000, and a faster GPU-class such as 1070, 2060S or Vega56, RX5700.

        Going further up, it's a 9900k (or better) and 3900X (or better), with 32GB DDR4 4000 (or better), and a GPU like 1080Ti, 2080, 2080Ti (or better).


          Seconded! Looking at benchmarks, the GTX 1650 (LP) eclipses the 1050 TI (LP) by a decent amount so it's a worthy upgrade. I'm building a similar system currently (got a HP system with the i7 4770) and I'll be using a GTX 1650 LP. I couldn't find any low profile RX 570 cards (might not exist) otherwise I would've used that.

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    WQHD Kogan 34"

    1440p is probably out of the league of the old GTX 1050ti, you'd be looking more at a GTX 1070 / GTX 1660 Ti

    Both of which requires a lot more power so PSU upgrade becomes neccessary as well. Only issue is your rig will be very ghetto as you will now need to somehow jerryriga full size video card and ATX Psu into a non-standard Dell SFF case.


      It's just like vital organs. They'll still work perfectly fine whilst OUTSIDE your abdomen!

      I wasn't sure if a 1070 or 1660 was enough of a step up though. If I've got $500 to work with, is there any better/newer cards at that price point?

  • +1 vote

    I would go a new case, PSU and something like a 5700xt.

  • +1 vote

    the best gpu without upgrading anything else is the upcoming 1650 Ti , but that'll set you back $350 easily due to niche premium pricing and will still struggles at 1440p

    your best bet is transferring the whole parts into a cheapo Used ATX case that comes with a 'cheap yet good' Used PSU, that hopefully only cost you $50 or less to find one at gumtree/ebay/facebook
    then get a used rx580 or the new rx5500 (depends on launch price) , they performs very similar
    Or, upcoming 1660 super / rx5600 , depends on your budget / launch price

    9010 mobo has standard ATX standpoints and take standard 24pin power from PSU
    you just need to rip out the power switch and CPU HSF cooler, re-use them both if you don't want to fiddle with wiring/adapters


    my next upgrade will be the WQHD Kogan 34"

    Buying a new monitor before the base PC is kinda silly. Get the new PC THEN save for the new monitor.


      Is it?
      I tend to swap out PC components before monitors.
      I think I used my old monitors for about 8 years before replacing them this year, I would've changed out my PC components multiple times and did two whole PC changes in that time.


    I am going to follow this cos I have the same setup but only 8gb ram. TBH mine already sounds like it is going to take off playing Fortnite on medium settings at 1080p, so not sure how much further it can be pushed.

    The transplant sounds interesting though.


      I've got an APC UPS that automatically switches the master and slave ports, so I'll use that for simultaneous powering of the Dell PSU as well as the secondary one. The secondary will be sitting about half a metre away with my testing/repair equipment, so a short cable extension might be required, but that's easy done.

      I'll keep the cover off the case, as I already do, so there's no issues with card clearance heightwise. My only concern is total length, as then I'm running into the fan/HDD bays at the front, but that'll just be down to the specific brand/card model and double-checking dimensions.

      PSUs are cheap or free - I've got 3 in the shed! - so this is a simple/cheap upgrade for me. But if you have to buy another PSU, the equation would change in favour of a full replacement.

  • +1 vote

    I would look at getting a new case and maybe jamming the guts in rather than risk destroying your new card having it floating around outside. If you were to attempt to have the GPU outside the case you need a riser and they are either expensive or fragile and prone to failure, or in some cases both. With a $500 budget you may struggle to get adequate performance for new games out of the 1660ti or 580 which look like the best cards that money will buy new. I would try and stretch the budget a bit and aim for a 5700 or 2060 which you will be happier with long term. You could also potentially consider a second hand GTX 1080 or similar but obviously with second hand comes the risk of failure and no warranty.

    Long term you may be CPU bottlenecked but based on your budget a whole new computer isn't on the cards considering you would need new Mobo, new RAM etc. etc.. That said if you get a case that will work with any upgrades and a decent graphics cards you at least won't need to replace those components again immediately.

    To give you an idea on how powerful your computer needs to be to drive that monitor I've got the same monitor and my computer has a GTX 1080 and i5 8400, I get playable games at that resolution with High settings in most games. Worth remembering when you check out reviews of parts and cards that this isn't a 1440p monitor, those are 2560x1440, its a 3440x1440 so it's about 25% more pixels and therefore load on the card.


      I realised I'd typed the wrong resolution as soon as I posted, but couldn't go and edit lol

      And in terms of CPU bottleneck, the 3770 is only marginally behind your 8400 on PassMark (about 20%), despite being much older. That gives me confidence that I don't need to spend on the CPU/mobo/RAM at all, so I'll focus on GPU instead, where I'll get the most gains.

  • +1 vote

    Put it in a new case with proper PSU.

    I moved a 9010 SFF (i5 based) into a ATX case, there was a lot of splicing and bullshittery with the cables - DELL likes to put sensing stuff on every connector eg front USB, every fan, power switch, audio cables etc.

    Mobo and CPU cooler used standard sockets/layout too which was a plus.

    TBH unless you're a real tightarse, get another motherboard, PSU and cpu cooler - keep the ram and cpu. Its HOURS wasted trying to get all the dell connectors working on a standard case.



      not easy to find a good working yet cheap B75/H77/Z77 mobo , that won't bust its capacitor after a few months


    Alright, so I'm just researching GPUs now and the 5700 XT at $550-$600 is probably beyond the budget.

    However, dropping back a generation to the RX580's yields much better value - especially when looking at ex-mining devices at $200 or so, which provides lots of wiggle room.

    Yes, I know there's risks with a hard-pushed GPU, but at this price I could buy two, have one DOA, and still be ahead on $/performance. That also provides budget for PCIe riser cables so I'm not restricted by the 9010's small case; I'll mount it elsewhere on the side nice and neatly with less risk of being knocked.


      if amd is dropping the bomb, then the upcoming rx5500 pricing might be interesting (hint: low $200+ during ebay sales)


        Interesting… seems to be above par with the rx480, but under the 580 I think. Although I'm still rather wary of the Australia Tax, as well as immediate 'depreciation' on newly released hardware. I rarely ever buy freshly released products!

        I do wonder if it'll push the 2ndhand market down further though, if your price point is accurate.


      So, if comparing used to new rx580's, I can either pay $200-$250 used, OR ($355 - 20% =)$284 brand new from Futu instead. I'm thinking the peace of mind of warranty is probably a worthwhile premium to pay here…

      PCIe riser cable, and I should be set to mount externally!


    OP what about something like this?


    If we are looking at one of those TechFast systems could consider the $1000 one as below and sell all your current computer parts and stretch the budget a bit

    The 5700 is a much better card and would probably keep you happy for a while. I fear the 580 would start to feel old quickly, especially if you plan to game at WQHD which can be taxing on graphics cards.

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