Need some system advice please

Yes, I know that building it myself would be cheaper. Not an option.

Given that, any thoughts about this system:

If it matters, it’s going to be combined with a 27" 1080p monitor.

Not sure where you live, so its hard to guess what you might have access to, but:|ManualRecommendationsFixed

Slightly higher processor, more RAM (which won’t really matter if you are sticking with Win7), GTX 960 vs 980 (so depends on what you intend to use the machine for), and Costco extends warranties and gives great service. Not a huge difference in the cost.

I’m going to be gaming on it…that system is not bad except for the video card being a 960 and only 2GB.

If the monitor isn’t already purchased I’d highly recommend bumping up to 1440p. 27" is a bit large for 1080p and the 980 is overkill – a 970 is fine for 1080p gaming.

That’s a not-bad deal in the OP. However, I do agree that the 980 is generally overkill for 1080p. My usual approach if I’m not building my own is to buy a “base” unit (CPU, HDD, OS, RAM) and add an appropriate GPU to it. With the relatively modest power requirements of the 970, that usually wouldn’t involve getting a new PSU, either. However, Microcenter doesn’t have amazing options for that at the moment and so this looks like a good way to go if you’re sold on the pre-built route.

It’s not that I’m sold on the pre-built route, it’s that I’m not confident enough in my own abilities to do a build myself, I don’t know anyone who does them, and my son is complaining about his current system being a bit long in the tooth for running the latest and greatest.

As for the monitor, the local Microcenter’s prices on 27" 1440p are more than double the cost for an equivalent model with 1080p.

Understandable. I’d love to say that it’s easy because it usually is, but every now and then you get a frustrating issue and having the confidence in yourself to diagnose and then resolve the problem is vital, or else you may be shortening your lifespan due to unnecessary stress. Oh, and ruining your hairstyle after pulling so much of it out.

I’d be half-tempted to tell the child to wait another year–he’s currently running a 3 1/2 year old system–i7-3770, 16GB RAM, and a GTX 660–but he went from an 84 average the last marking period of last year to straight A’s his first marking period this year. Deserves a nice reward. :).

Processors haven’t come very far from that 3770; you would be perfectly fine dropping in a GTX 970 and an SSD. Since you keep mentioning Microcenter I’ll assume they’re nearby and they offer system building services as well – though if you opt for just a graphics card it’s a very simple upgrade. I’d consider their system build services more if you want to go for a completely new PC.

Congrats! Actually, with that system I would argue he shouldn’t be too bad if you just update the graphics card. $330 or so for a 970 GTX should go a long ways toward kicking those FPS up.

You might not need a whole new system. I’ll defer to others, but just dropping in a GTX 970 with what you already have may be plenty of an upgrade. Or if you really desire 1440p, a GTX 980 (pricey, but in this scenario you aren’t replacing the whole system so…). I only say this as I have a similar system (3570k/GTX 660/8GB) and it still holds up on most everything but things like ARK and a 970 should fix that.

FYI - the stock 970 is about 1 inch longer and will probably require two 6-pin connectors instead of the single that a 660 normally has, but the actual power requirements between a 660 and a 970 are otherwise very close to each other. You probably don’t need a new PSU for it.

I’d also just pop in a new videocard. Most everything still gets limited by GPU before the CPU becomes a factor. At Techspot they have an i7-5960X w/980 doing 65fps average on Witcher 3 @1080p with high settings. In the CPU comparison the 3770 is not that much slower. I’m not saying that’s definitive, but if your kid is a “60fps at high settings or what’s the point?” type, then a 980 might not be overkill at 1080p with the most demanding games. On that same chart the 660ti is listed at 24fps by way of comparison. That’s a ti, not a regular 660.

Yeah, absolutely wouldn’t spend to upgrade the rest of the core system unless you have a use for this (slightly) older box and want to have two separate working PCs.

Oh, the older box is going to be used downstairs as a media box, store movies and tv shows and whatnot. It won’t go to waste.

That is hilarious overkill for an HTPC. I love it, heh.