Computer upgrade time, what's good?

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Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby some call me...tim? » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:06 am

My system is about 3 years old and wasn't top of the line when I pieced it together, but was mid level I guess. I'm looking to beef it up a bit and am wondering what's good these days. When I put it together, everyone recommended Intel above AMD for processors (Core 2 Duo was the hot shit then), is that still the case? I'd kind of like to go with Intel just because that's what I have now, though I'll have to see what my current mobo can handle--could be I'll have to buy a new combo anyway. How about video cards? Casually browsing deals, it seems like pretty decent ones can be had for ~$80-150. I think I'm going to take the plunge and step up to Win 7 too...and even am considering doing it legitimately. :shock:

For reference, my current rig has an Intel C2D E4500 (rated at 2.2 Ghz, but very slightly OC'ed), 2 GB of RAM, and a Radeon X1950 512 MB for my video card.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby Leopard » Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:13 pm

some call me...tim? wrote:and even am considering doing it legitimately. :shock:

based on this i think a pink iMac would suffice

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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby Smigles » Fri Sep 17, 2010 5:15 pm

If it was allready middle aged 3 years ago, the chances are high that you wont realy be able to upgrade your pc, because the motherboard and CPU architecture changed in that time.

How much are you willing to spend and what do you use your pc for ? If it isnt for gaming or heavy work ( like movie editing or sound recording/mixing ), you normaly dont need a up to date computer anyway.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby some call me...tim? » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:28 am

All the stuff I got when I put it together was current tech, just not top of the line stuff. My computer has gotten bogged down with the crap that accumulates over the years, as well as various trojans and spyware that still lurk in my registry. So, I need to pretty much do a clean install and figure I may as well upgrade some stuff while I'm at it.

It looks like I should still be able to get some mileage out of my system. I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do some gaming and like it to look nice and smooth. Is there any reason to go to a quad core processor? Or would I be fine just sticking with a faster dual core?
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby jubuttib » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:17 pm

Phenom II processors are very good for the money, but if you're going for max performance you'll want Intel.

Check out the lists at passmark.com (they have pretty much every processor and GPU listed), it's a good start. Not always 100% reliable, but still a good start.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby Parks » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:54 am

I've got a somewhat comparable system with c2d 6400 proc, 1 GB RAM, and nVidia 8800GT.

I can play most modern games well, the most modern being Starcraft 2 which runs great.

In my opinion, unless there's at least a couple applications/games that are really demanding new hardware, a simple reformat/reinstall will likely do you just fine for a lot cheaper.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby some call me...tim? » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:29 am

Seems like sensible advice. You're really able to get by with 1 GB of RAM, huh? Running XP, I take it?
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby jubuttib » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:04 am

Parks wrote:I've got a somewhat comparable system with c2d 6400 proc, 1 GB RAM, and nVidia 8800GT.

I can play most modern games well, the most modern being Starcraft 2 which runs great.

In my opinion, unless there's at least a couple applications/games that are really demanding new hardware, a simple reformat/reinstall will likely do you just fine for a lot cheaper.

Both your processor and GPU are noticeably superior to what he has.

OP: I'm running an Athlon 64 4200+ (a bit less powerful than your e4500) and a 1950 Pro Radeon, with four gigs of ram in Windows 7, before that 2 gigs in XP for years. Just do the upgrade for goodness's sake! This is no way to compute.

EDIT: I'm also looking to upgrade this fall, without buying anything too expensive. At the moment I'm keeping my eyes on the Phenom II Quad Core 955BE, which is infinitely more bang for the buck than Intel can supply in my price range (and in Finland, don't know how the prices differ over there) for the processor, and the Radeon 5850 or the GeForce GTX 465 for the GPU. Don't know which I'll end up getting, both have their good points, the Radeon especially has some features I might be willing to pay extra (and lose bit of performance) for. If all you want to do is use it for gaming I'd go for the GTX 465.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby some call me...tim? » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:34 am

jubuttib wrote: Just do the upgrade for goodness's sake! This is no way to compute.


:lol: Yeah, I think I'll still do some upgrading, but likely a not-so-major overhaul. I figure I'll get a newer processor (still C2D) and a better video card when I see a decent sale. Probably some more RAM too. Oh, and Win 7.

Here's a halfway off topic question...I run a signal to my TV (lower end Samsung LCD) to use my computer as a sort of HTPC so I can watch xvids andwhatnot. For some reson though, it won't let me go to any greater resolution than 800 x 600 (DVI->HDMI). Any idea if a new card would fix that issue?
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby Parks » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:33 pm

some call me...tim? wrote:Seems like sensible advice. You're really able to get by with 1 GB of RAM, huh? Running XP, I take it?


I just double checked and I actually have 2gb in there. For the longest time I had one of the sticks pulled to diagnose a crashing problem, and I forgot that I had put it back in.

I've been running Win7 for about a month it actually runs great on 2gb of RAM. I might get another gig or two for virtualization or IDEs, but for now that works fine.

I did the same thing as you, building a new comp without top of line parts (good price/performance ratios) about 3 years ago. But, as jubbitib pointed out my cpu and vid card are stronger than yours so your mileage may vary.

It all comes down to how much you are willing to spend. For me, I generally re-do all the main parts when I upgrade rather than incremental upgrades. Its less hassle, and I also find that if my CPU can use the same motherboard as my current CPU then the upgrade turns out to not really be worth it. That last piece of advice is mostly for Intel CPUs, since AMD seems to keep pin configurations around for more generations.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby jubuttib » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:02 am

And lets not forget that if you're not going to get 64 bit Windows then you have absolutely nothing to gain from more than 2 gigs of ram.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby Parks » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:09 pm

That's wrong.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library ... windows_xp

The physical limit is 4gb for most of the normal 32-bit Windows versions, but your hardware will generally limit you to between 3 and 3.5gb of usable address space for RAM.

Regardless, I have Win7 64-bit so I could max out all my slots which huge RAM sticks if I could find a use for it.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby jubuttib » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:29 pm

Yes, it does recognize the additional memory, but it according to tests (I don't have them handy right now, I can try to dig them out if you truly want) 32 bit version still doesn't utilize the additional memory very well, compared to the 64bit versions.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby Powdertoast » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:17 pm

jubuttib wrote:Yes, it does recognize the additional memory, but it according to tests (I don't have them handy right now, I can try to dig them out if you truly want) 32 bit version still doesn't utilize the additional memory very well, compared to the 64bit versions.


Windows XP with 3 gigs of RAM beats XP with 2 gigs, even if it's possibly doing some interesting internal things to make it work. (Anyone else remember MS-DOS and XMS vs. EMS? AAAAH!)

Parks seems to have the same philosophy I have about upgrades, and my experience backs up what he's said about RAM and 32-bit in general. Skip the 32-bit mess and go all 64-bit, from hardware to OS.

Given the situation of the OP, I'd grab a 64-bit CPU (I like AMD, but it doesn't matter), a decent mobo for the CPU that definitely supports 4 or more gigs of RAM max, a GPU a touch higher performance than you think you need now, and 4 gigs of RAM (3 for now, one more to grow on and for dual channel, not that dual channel makes much difference at all). I'd seriously consider getting a new power supply (don't skimp on getting clean power) and maybe even a new case, too.

BAM! Done upgrading for a while.
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Re: Computer upgrade time, what's good?

Postby Parks » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:18 pm

That depends on what you mean by utilizing the extra RAM well.

Regardless, I'm pretty sure this is all outside the scope of Tim's upgrades.
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