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Advice for PC Upgrading

Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
So I've come into some Christmas cash, and I've been thinking about taking my PC to the next level for a while now. I just wanted some advice/recommendations on what parts I should be specifically looking for.

My specs, as of now:

OS Name Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Version 6.1.7600 Build 7600
System Manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
System Model EP35-DS3L
System Type x64-based PC
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz, 3000 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Award Software International, Inc. F5, 7/16/2008
SMBIOS Version 2.4
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.1.7600.16385"
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 4.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 4.00 GB
Available Physical Memory 2.16 GB
Total Virtual Memory 8.00 GB
Available Virtual Memory 5.85 GB
Page File Space 4.00 GB

Graphics Card:

Graphics Card Manufacturer Powered by ATI
Graphics Chipset ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series
Device ID 68B8
Vendor 1002

Subsystem ID 2990
Subsystem Vendor ID 1682

Graphics Bus Capability PCI Express 2.0
Maximum Bus Setting PCI Express 2.0 x16

BIOS Version 012.013.000.000
BIOS Part Number 113-HD577AZNF91-113-C01301-007
BIOS Date 2009/12/04

Memory Size 1024 MB
Memory Type GDDR5

Core Clock in MHz 850 MHz
Memory Clock in MHz 1200 MHz
Total Memory Bandwidth in GByte/s 76.8 GByte/s

The graphics card was purchased earlier this year, so I'm in no hurry to swap it (heard that there was no need to, anyway). I've been told that all I need at this point is a new CPU, preferably an i7. Problem is, I was also told my mobo wouldn't be able to house it, so that'll need to be replaced as well.

So just to make sure, I'd like your opinions on the best (but also under budget) upgrades for my PC, and if possible, the cheapest prices I can get for them.

Professor Snugglesworth on

Posts

  • elliotw2elliotw2 Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Hmm, you might want to replace the motherboard, and then get an i7 or whatever, or you could make a smaller, but still noticeable upgrade to a Core 2 Quad.

    elliotw2 on
    camo_sig2.pngXBL:Elliotw3|PSN:elliotw2
  • TreTre Registered User
    edited December 2010
    What resolution do you play games on?

    Tre on
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    1920x1080.

    I also tend to max everything out under settings. Most of the time the games work without a hitch, maybe a delay here and there.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    If you were going for a motherboard/processor swap, you're probably best served by waiting a couple more months for Intel to bring out Sandy Bridge. Should present a 10-20% improvement over current hardware at equivalent cost levels, or big price drops on current hardware.

    An i7 processor is overkill anyway; the current sweet spot is probably the Core i5 760 (at around $200, probably around $300 with a reasonable motherboard). With that, you'd be swapping your bottleneck back to the GPU except in cases of extremely CPU intensive games.

    You'll want to also make sure that your RAM is compatible with any new motherboard you buy, too. I'm not positive what you have based on the report you pasted.

    Dehumanized on
  • elliotw2elliotw2 Registered User
    edited December 2010
    You may want to go AMD, if you want to save money. AMD has far far cheaper processors, and they tend to stack up well against Intel CPU's in games.

    For example, I payed $300 for a case, RAM, motherboard, and processor, while most of the i7's are $200 themselves

    elliotw2 on
    camo_sig2.pngXBL:Elliotw3|PSN:elliotw2
  • TreTre Registered User
    edited December 2010
    Short term, your biggest boost per dollar would probably be upgrading your graphics card and putting a mild overclock on your E8400 (3.6GHz should be achievable on that mobo). However, what I would do is save a bit more cash while waiting for the new sandy bridge CPUs. That way you can upgrade to a better mobo/CPU and possibly have some leftover cash to grab another 5770 for crossfire. That should get you great performance.

    Tre on
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    So when is that Sandy Bridge coming out? I'd like to save in advance in preparation.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    If you have no use for your old E8400, I'd be interested in buying it from you. My brother's machine is in serious need of an upgrade.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    edited December 2010
    So when is that Sandy Bridge coming out? I'd like to save in advance in preparation.

    It's been appearing already in Singapore, so it'll probably be available in pretty good amounts right after CES (January 6-9).

    Dehumanized on
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    So it looks like all eyes are on the Sandy Bridge. I hadn't heard about the processor before this thread, but reading the CES commentary pretty much has me convinced.

    What I haven't been able to find out is when exactly it'll hit North America, and at what price. I'm also wondering what kind of mobo I'm going to need, and whether or not there will be a mobo/SB combo to save money.

    Alternatively, including a free copy of Portal 2, which is reportedly being built with this processor in mind, would be an equally good bonus.

    As for the type of RAM I have, is there a way to look that up in system info or something? I may have the box lying around, but I'll have to check for it.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • JragghenJragghen Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I worked on Sandy Bridge :D
    And also Ironlake, Bearlake, and Broadwater, but going "ooh, I worked on PCI Express" isn't as nifty as saying "I worked on the first graphics chip that Intel has put out that people are interested in."

    Yes, I know that at the end of the day no one in this thread is going to be using the graphics which was in it because we're definitely the sort of folks who will buy discrete cards, but shut up. :P


    Price and release date info (I can't confirm any of this, we don't find out this sort of stuff internally, this is just one of the sources cited on wikipedia). Socket and RAM info from wiki, not cited.

    Jragghen on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I would just save your money and upgrade when you're not able to easily run every game on max at max resolution.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I would just save your money and upgrade when you're not able to easily run every game on max at max resolution.

    Rook on
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Rook wrote: »
    I would just save your money and upgrade when you're not able to easily run every game on max at max resolution.

    Well, here's the thing: after having my PC on for a few hours, stuff runs a bit slower than usual: some games have an uneven framerate, and streaming videos sometimes stutter as well.

    Usually the way I fix this is simply restart the PC, or re-open Firefox in regards to the streaming videos. I've been meaning to ask if this is a result of (somewhat) aged computer tech, or if it might be some other memory-leaking issue that I could try and fix on my own. Some confirmation here would be nice.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Rook wrote: »
    I would just save your money and upgrade when you're not able to easily run every game on max at max resolution.

    Well, here's the thing: after having my PC on for a few hours, stuff runs a bit slower than usual: some games have an uneven framerate, and streaming videos sometimes stutter as well.

    Usually the way I fix this is simply restart the PC, or re-open Firefox in regards to the streaming videos. I've been meaning to ask if this is a result of (somewhat) aged computer tech, or if it might be some other memory-leaking issue that I could try and fix on my own. Some confirmation here would be nice.

    it's a result of whats normally called windows rot, basically just over time you accumulate junk programs/drivers/registry errors/other bloat and windows just sorta slows down. can be easily fixed by doing wipe/reinstall.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Hmm, what do you mean by wipe/reinstall? Wiping and reinstalling what?

    Once every couple of weeks I run CC Cleaner, but if there's a better fix, I'm all ears.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Hmm, what do you mean by wipe/reinstall? Wiping and reinstalling what?

    Once every couple of weeks I run CC Cleaner, but if there's a better fix, I'm all ears.

    wipe everything, as in format the drive and re-install windows so it's clean and fresh.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Is there....a way I can do that without losing any of my saved files or configurations?

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    No. But there's no way to upgrade your mobo/CPU without doing the same thing.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Is there....a way I can do that without losing any of my saved files or configurations?

    Yes, make a backup of your save files.

    kaliyama on
    fwKS7.png?1
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    So hold on, you're not just talking about reinstalling Windows 7, but to completely format my drive also?

    Would that include the secondary drives as well (three in total)?

    If that's the case, I'll have to invest in an external TB hard drive before I attempt that.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • FoomyFoomy Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    So hold on, you're not just talking about reinstalling Windows 7, but to completely format my drive also?

    Would that include the secondary drives as well (three in total)?

    If that's the case, I'll have to invest in an external TB hard drive before I attempt that.

    well to reinstall first you have to format to get rid of windows, but only on the drive that windows is installed to.

    it's a step you would most likely have to take anyway if you upgrade mobo/cpu, so might as well try that first and see if your slowdown goes away before you spend money on upgrades.

    Foomy on
    Steam Profile: FoomyFooms
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Okay, but I'll need to back up the stuff on my primary drive before I attempt this. I'm not again the idea of "cleaning house", as I've already lost track of the number of codecs, programs, and what not that is probably clotting up my PC.

    But first I'll need one of those external drives. This one seems promising. Thoughts?

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Why get an external drive? Just put another one inside.

    The biggest speed increase you can do right now is to install a SSD drive for your windows installation.

    Cabezone on
  • Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I've got three hard drives installed already, and have been wanting to get a fourth (space is already at its near peak), but I don't know how to find out if I have room for a fourth drive or not. Haven't had the patience to open up the PC to check.

    I'm not familiar with SSD drives; are they more expensive? Budget-wise, I'd prefer to get the cheapest drive available, which seems to be external ones.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    SSDs are ridiculously expensive compared to normal hard drives. They're essentially very small space wise, but very fast. IMO, they're still a luxary at the moment compared to most other upgrades, but it depends on what exactly you need.

    As for the reinstall. Windows 7 is a pretty decent OS and I'd be surprised if there was something causing everything to slow down after a couple of hours. I'd be more worried about dust or even loose components etc causing things to overheat.

    Also, a general tip is to have a partition on a hard drive solely dedicated to the OS and Programs (not games). Then change all your Documents/Music/Pictures directories to another partition. Usually you can wipe your OS partition without to much of an issue (ninite.com is great for reinstalling all the programs you need). Best to transfer across the Users\XXXX folders as well, a lot of things have a nasty habit of putting savegames/configs etc in there.

    Rook on
  • hackswordhacksword WinnipegRegistered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Foomy wrote: »
    Rook wrote: »
    I would just save your money and upgrade when you're not able to easily run every game on max at max resolution.

    Well, here's the thing: after having my PC on for a few hours, stuff runs a bit slower than usual: some games have an uneven framerate, and streaming videos sometimes stutter as well.

    Usually the way I fix this is simply restart the PC, or re-open Firefox in regards to the streaming videos. I've been meaning to ask if this is a result of (somewhat) aged computer tech, or if it might be some other memory-leaking issue that I could try and fix on my own. Some confirmation here would be nice.

    it's a result of whats normally called windows rot, basically just over time you accumulate junk programs/drivers/registry errors/other bloat and windows just sorta slows down. can be easily fixed by doing wipe/reinstall.

    I'm convinced "windows rot" is a myth. Maybe it was true in the old Win9x days, but XP and later don't degrade on their own. I had an XP install that was at least three years old and it ran just as well as when it was first installed. If Windows is slowing down it's either hardware related or because you installed something that's slowing it down (on purpose or by accident).

    hacksword on
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    hacksword wrote: »
    Foomy wrote: »
    Rook wrote: »
    I would just save your money and upgrade when you're not able to easily run every game on max at max resolution.

    Well, here's the thing: after having my PC on for a few hours, stuff runs a bit slower than usual: some games have an uneven framerate, and streaming videos sometimes stutter as well.

    Usually the way I fix this is simply restart the PC, or re-open Firefox in regards to the streaming videos. I've been meaning to ask if this is a result of (somewhat) aged computer tech, or if it might be some other memory-leaking issue that I could try and fix on my own. Some confirmation here would be nice.

    it's a result of whats normally called windows rot, basically just over time you accumulate junk programs/drivers/registry errors/other bloat and windows just sorta slows down. can be easily fixed by doing wipe/reinstall.

    I'm convinced "windows rot" is a myth. Maybe it was true in the old Win9x days, but XP and later don't degrade on their own. I had an XP install that was at least three years old and it ran just as well as when it was first installed. If Windows is slowing down it's either hardware related or because you installed something that's slowing it down (on purpose or by accident).
    So basically Windows rot is a myth unless you've done something to make it not a myth. I don't think anyone here would claim that Windows magically gets slower every day you have it installed until, 3 years later, it's not really working at all. Like Foomy said, Windows rot comes from cluttering up your computer with junk programs, old drivers, stuff that doesn't need to be in the registry, and other stuff (additions to the right click context menu, other shell extensions, etc).

    TychoCelchuuu on
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