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Wheelz
20-02-2013, 01:53 AM
My Desktop is reaching the end of its life, and I'm trying to decide weather I should spend a little money to stave off death, or just keep saving my pennies till I can afford somthing new. Obviously somthing new is the better choice, but I won't be able to afford it for atleast six months (and it'll probably be closer to 9).

My current specs are:

OS: Win7 x64 with Service Pack 1
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (2.8ghz dual core)
RAM: 2Gb Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 400mhz (5-5-5-18)
Motherboard: ASUS M2N 1394 (Socket AM2, Chipset Model MCP61)
GFX: 768Mb Geforce GTX 460 (running a resolution of 1440 x 900)
and I have a 2Tb HDD.

In addition, the windows task manager says I use about 75% of my physical memory just idling my pc, which is obviously not ideal but then that CPU is old as shit too..

so should I try upgrade to 4Gb Ram, or see about an after-market CPU cooler for an attempt at overclocking? or just save my money for an i5 build in a few months?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

mashakos
20-02-2013, 02:29 AM
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?9542-The-right-time-to-upgrade-2014

be patient....

Kelron
20-02-2013, 03:33 AM
Getting another 2GB of RAM is probably a good idea if you can find some cheap. Help keep you going until you can do a proper upgrade.

Wheelz
20-02-2013, 04:54 AM
I'm not sure my computer is going to last in its current state to 2014. I would also probably have to buy a whole new set of RAM if I were to upgrade, as I don't think I'd be able to find sticks that agree with my current setup, I'm also not sure I'd want to; being that the ram I've got has 1/2 the frequency that DDR2 is capable of (if that's how frequency's work?).

Do you guys think the lack of ram is probably my biggest issue then?

kinglog
20-02-2013, 05:10 AM
I'm rocking a very similar system (X2 5600 -- 650ti). When I moved from two to three gigs of ram (it won't run with four :( ) with windows 7 the boost was quit noticeable. It's still running everything i throw at it @ 16x10.

Kelron
20-02-2013, 08:47 AM
I'm not sure my computer is going to last in its current state to 2014. I would also probably have to buy a whole new set of RAM if I were to upgrade, as I don't think I'd be able to find sticks that agree with my current setup, I'm also not sure I'd want to; being that the ram I've got has 1/2 the frequency that DDR2 is capable of (if that's how frequency's work?).

Do you guys think the lack of ram is probably my biggest issue then?

Is it just struggling in games or is it slow for non-gaming use too? The latter I'd say is especially down to RAM, your CPU is old but it looks similarly specced to the one in my laptop, which is adequate for general use.

My gaming PC has an overclocked Q6600 which is somewhat faster than yours, but otherwise very similar specs. I upgraded from 2GB RAM to 6GB about 3 years ago, and even back then it made a big difference. Task Manager showing high memory usage isn't necessarily an indication of anything, as Windows 7 uses idle memory for maintenance tasks, but 2GB is really the bare minimum nowadays, more will help.

In the UK I can still buy 2GB DDR2 for 20-30, if it's the same in your local currency I'd say it's worth it.

Sakkura
20-02-2013, 11:23 AM
If you can find memory that isn't too expensive, great. DDR2 memory isn't always that cheap though, because it's no longer mainstream.

Intel are introducing their next generation of processors (with a new motherboard socket) in June, so getting a new computer this summer or early autumn would be good timing. If you can't afford a total revamp of your system by then, you could always hang on to the graphics card a bit longer. Chances are there'll be new graphics cards launching towards the end of the year.

trjp
20-02-2013, 02:21 PM
You have a better GPU than I do but a slightly poorer CPU - and I reckon my CPU is my weak link so on that basis I'd say it's "save up for a new one" time.

2Gb more memory would help but it's not going to be something you can take to the next PC and DDR2 is getting pricey

I assume you're OK to carry your PSU, case and GPU forward so you need a mobo/memory/cpu - something decent there would be around 250-300 (a a decent upgrade could be had for <200) so on that basis I'd say "save up" too.

trjp
20-02-2013, 02:23 PM
Do you guys think the lack of ram is probably my biggest issue then?

You've not actually said what your issue is yourself :)

If it's games and FPS it's most likely your CPU - but you need to actually run a few tests to confirm that.

If it's games and graphical quality then it's more likely expectations - a 460 is nice but it's not a 'max everything' card.

If it's just general performance and non-gaming then memory could well be your limitation - 2Gb is the min. I'd consider running W7 on, 3Gb is nice, 4Gb is all you need.

Wheelz
20-02-2013, 10:15 PM
In terms of carrying stuff forward, I think my PSU will need replaced, as its 550 watts (SeasSonic SS-550HT), and as old as the rest of the pc. I'm also aware the GTX460 isn't the greatest card out, but it should be good enough to last me the year.

The issues I'm sorta having are that quite often I find games run really choppy if I've left the computer on for a while, requiring me to do a clean reboot of the pc in order to play anything. Other times its that games (such as NFS:Shift 2) will either hard crash after 40+ minutes of play or, in the case of WoW, start running quite choppy.

If I were to buy some ram, would looking into getting some DDR3 that's backwards compatible be an idea? (if ram even is backwards compatible?)

Also, what about over-clocking the cpu? I had a poke around in my bios and it seems their is a nice multiplier feature for it, though I am abit concerned about the power requirements for that.
That said, I **think** I would need to buy a new psu with the eventual new pc anyway, and I would probably want an aftermarket cpu cooler for overclocking a future build, so I could possibly justify those expenses.

Boris
20-02-2013, 10:15 PM
If it's just general performance and non-gaming then memory could well be your limitation - 2Gb is the min. I'd consider running W7 on, 3Gb is nice, 4Gb is all you need.

I noticed a huge performance boost in going from 4GB to 8GB. Granted, it doesn't really improve your framerate, but it's snappier overall in loading stuff. That aside, over here the second hand market has some relatively cheap DDR2, so that might be worth a look.

Sakkura
20-02-2013, 11:24 PM
In terms of carrying stuff forward, I think my PSU will need replaced, as its 550 watts (SeasSonic SS-550HT), and as old as the rest of the pc. I'm also aware the GTX460 isn't the greatest card out, but it should be good enough to last me the year.

The issues I'm sorta having are that quite often I find games run really choppy if I've left the computer on for a while, requiring me to do a clean reboot of the pc in order to play anything. Other times its that games (such as NFS:Shift 2) will either hard crash after 40+ minutes of play or, in the case of WoW, start running quite choppy.

If I were to buy some ram, would looking into getting some DDR3 that's backwards compatible be an idea? (if ram even is backwards compatible?)

Also, what about over-clocking the cpu? I had a poke around in my bios and it seems their is a nice multiplier feature for it, though I am abit concerned about the power requirements for that.
That said, I **think** I would need to buy a new psu with the eventual new pc anyway, and I would probably want an aftermarket cpu cooler for overclocking a future build, so I could possibly justify those expenses.
Don't be so sure, 550W is a pretty good amount of power and Seasonic makes great power supplies.

Your motherboard isn't compatible with DDR3 memory, so that's not going to work. But a CPU overclock could help.

trjp
21-02-2013, 01:35 PM
A PC with 2Gb getting 'choppy' is down to the way the Windows SwapFile works and more memory would improve that for sure. I don't buy the need for more than 4Gb for any single task tho (e.g. playing a game) but you will see benefits if you swap between stuff (image editor > office program > whatever) or use VMs perhaps.

Shift2 is an interesting title because it's quite CPU-dependant and so would stand-out as a poor performer on your system (NFS: The Run is worse again)

L_No
21-02-2013, 04:21 PM
If you can find cheap RAM, I'd upgrade that first. It could be a low cost/high gain investment, providing your pc holds out.

Grizzly
21-02-2013, 05:38 PM
If you can find cheap RAM, I'd upgrade that first. It could be a low cost/high gain investment, providing your pc holds out.

This. afterwards, you can get yourself an i5 upgrade. As for that, I recommend that you then grab something like this package (http://www.alternate.nl/html/product/ALTERNATE/Upgrade_Kit_GigaByte_GA-B75M-D3V_-_i5-3470_-_8GB/1038170/?tk=7&lk=4133) (as an example) - you don't really need to pay 50% extra for the ability to overclock, especially since there is almost no measurable difference between a normal i5 and an OC'ed i5, or an OC'ed i7 for that matter. You rapidly enter diminishing returns territory if you go that route (The GPU when paired with any i5 or i7 will bottleneck the performance no matter what).

As it turns out, the cheaper AMD quad core CPUs are actually quite good now, so you might look into saving yourself some money and getting a cheaper AMD cpu instead.


Don't be so sure, 550W is a pretty good amount of power and Seasonic makes great power supplies.

Sakkura is entirely correct in this matter. take a look for yourself (http://images10.newegg.com/BizIntell/tool/psucalc/index.html).

mashakos
21-02-2013, 09:09 PM
you don't really need to pay 50% extra for the ability to overclock, especially since there is almost no measurable difference between a normal i5 and an OC'ed i5, or an OC'ed i7 for that matter.

overclocking allows you to do more:
overclocked CPUs keep a consistent 60fps with Skyrim/GTA 4 mods
overclocked CPUs run flight simulators better than their stock counterparts
overclocked CPUs run Wii and PS2 emulators at almost double the performance of stock
overclocked CPUs last years after stock counterparts are obsolete. They also keep forum users calm and relaxed, unlike users of stock, cheap CPUs (See (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?3613-Project-CARS&p=260857&viewfull=1#post260857) here (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?3613-Project-CARS&p=261497&viewfull=1#post261497)).

If more is not required, then overclocking is pointless. Just wanted to have all the info out there.

Wheelz
21-02-2013, 09:42 PM
Thanks for the responses guys, glad to hear my PSU is better than I thought.

I'll look at getting some more ram. As it stands would I be better off finding 4gb's at 800mhz and just replacing what I currently have, or would getting an extra 2gb at 800mhz work just as well?

Also, is there a noticable difference between getting 2x 2gb sticks and say 4x 1gb sticks? as using this (http://pricespy.co.nz/category.php?l=s115602264&o=produkt_pris_inkmoms#prodlista) list (as it's where I'll likely end up buying from) the prices appear roughly the same.

mashakos
21-02-2013, 10:02 PM
Also, is there a noticable difference between getting 2x 2gb sticks and say 4x 1gb sticks? as using this (http://pricespy.co.nz/category.php?l=s115602264&o=produkt_pris_inkmoms#prodlista) list (as it's where I'll likely end up buying from) the prices appear roughly the same.

rule of thumb, motherboard chipset with:
dual channel memory support - get 2 sticks
triple channel memory support - get 3 sticks
quad channel memory support - get 4 sticks

if you get the wrong combination of sticks, your ram speed will be cut in half or two thirds (depending on the motherboard). To be safe, get 2 sticks as triple and quad channel support the lower channel configuration.

as a point of reference, only the high end core i7 intel X79 and Z77 motherboards support quad channel. Have no idea about amd.

trjp
21-02-2013, 10:26 PM
if you get the wrong combination of sticks, your ram speed will be cut in half or two thirds (depending on the motherboard).

This is nonsense - getting chips which support dual,triple,quad channel offers a performance increase, but it's not double/treble/quadruple in any meaningful sense.

Given the cost of DDR2 memory now, you'd be crazy to buy all-new-memory, just get another 2GB and shove it in there and you'll see a decent improvement.

trjp
21-02-2013, 10:30 PM
overclocking allows you to do more:
overclocked CPUs keep a consistent 60fps with Skyrim/GTA 4 mods
overclocked CPUs run flight simulators better than their stock counterparts
overclocked CPUs run Wii and PS2 emulators at almost double the performance of stock
overclocked CPUs last years after stock counterparts are obsolete. They also keep forum users calm and relaxed, unlike users of stock, cheap CPUs (See (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?3613-Project-CARS&p=260857&viewfull=1#post260857) here (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?3613-Project-CARS&p=261497&viewfull=1#post261497)).

If more is not required, then overclocking is pointless. Just wanted to have all the info out there.

*cannot tell if serious gif*

He does seem to confuse 'calm and relaxed' with 'insane with hardware zealotry to the extent any social skills are long forgotten" tho...

Just suggesting overclocking was a waste of time caused an alarm to go-off in mashakos head - he will now parade around the forum posting overclocking stuff into every thread he can find unless the voices go away...

Sad thing is - he's been doing it for years and the voices keep coming back - I think he even licks his power supply for stimulation before he posts - soon he'll immerse himself in non-conductive coolant and we'll only get messages in morse code...

Grizzly
21-02-2013, 11:04 PM
Gentlemen, you are the product of several million years of evolution. Each one of you has been subject to an education that others can only dream of, and you are all living in areas of the world that are sophisticated enough that you can buy the most sophisticated hardware ever developed in our known universe.

Please act like it.

Kelron
22-02-2013, 03:04 AM
I'll look at getting some more ram. As it stands would I be better off finding 4gb's at 800mhz and just replacing what I currently have, or would getting an extra 2gb at 800mhz work just as well?

Also, is there a noticable difference between getting 2x 2gb sticks and say 4x 1gb sticks? as using this (http://pricespy.co.nz/category.php?l=s115602264&o=produkt_pris_inkmoms#prodlista) list (as it's where I'll likely end up buying from) the prices appear roughly the same.

I'd just go for another 2GB with the same timings as your current RAM (is that one 2GB stick or 2x1?). Your motherboard supports dual channel memory, so you're best off keeping an even number of sticks. The performance advantage from dual channel is not big though, nowhere near twice as fast.

There is a small possibility that it won't run in dual channel mode or be unstable if you don't have your RAM in matched pairs, but since you're trying to save money I don't think its worth getting rid of your existing stick(s).

trjp
22-02-2013, 03:33 AM
Gentlemen, you are the product of several million years of evolution. Each one of you has been subject to an education that others can only dream of, and you are all living in areas of the world that are sophisticated enough that you can buy the most sophisticated hardware ever developed in our known universe.

Please act like it.
Whilst I appreciate the spirit of this - I feel like I've been swamped in platitudes and patronisation - you need to sharpen up your admonitions a bit there :)

Mashakos is becoming the forum's raving-mad techno-contrarian - I feel I need to slap him from time to time - it's playful, no injuries yet - keep your Werthers Originals for now :)

Grizzly
22-02-2013, 10:05 AM
Yeah well, I was secretly venting my rage against the lot of you in there :P. The problem is that many people who feel attacked then have the desire to defend themselves, thus further escelating the whole situation (Force answers force and all that). It is starting to clog up the tech support forums, and that is NOT GOOD. I know you have a problem with Mashkakos - you can resolve that by just putting the man on your ignore list, and ignoring him.

So, gentlemen, please be excellent towards each other.

mashakos
22-02-2013, 12:38 PM
This is nonsense - getting chips which support dual,triple,quad channel offers a performance increase, but it's not double/treble/quadruple in any meaningful sense.

Given the cost of DDR2 memory now, you'd be crazy to buy all-new-memory, just get another 2GB and shove it in there and you'll see a decent improvement.
This website benchmarked bandwidth of single vs triple channel. Single channel bandwidth: 10Gb/sec, Triple channel bandwidth: 14.5 GB/sec

http://www.behardware.com/articles/814-3/ddr3-impact-of-channels-timings.html

Kelron
22-02-2013, 12:42 PM
Not really relevant to a guy trying to get extra life out of an aging PC.

Sakkura
22-02-2013, 01:36 PM
This website benchmarked bandwidth of single vs triple channel. Single channel bandwidth: 10Gb/sec, Triple channel bandwidth: 14.5 GB/sec

http://www.behardware.com/articles/814-3/ddr3-impact-of-channels-timings.html
Memory bandwidth does go up dramatically with dual, triple and quad channel configurations. But the increased memory bandwidth doesn't always have much impact on performance. Particularly not beyond dual channel.

For the OP, it just means getting 2 x 2 GB is a little better than 1 x 4 GB.

mashakos
22-02-2013, 02:07 PM
Not really relevant to a guy trying to get extra life out of an aging PC.
The relevant part:
Single channel DDR2 speed: 400mhz
Dual channel DDR2 speed: 800mhz

Speed and bandwidth have a noticeable impact on performance Sakkura, why don't youtry paying modern video games on a pc with SDRAM?

Sakkura
22-02-2013, 02:56 PM
SDRAM?

Look, the difference between single channel and dual channel performance in GTA4 seems to be around 2-3 FPS.

mashakos
22-02-2013, 03:08 PM
SDRAM?

Look, the difference between single channel and dual channel performance in GTA4 seems to be around 2-3 FPS.
Hah, ram and framerates. Ram is important for streaming game assets while moving through a game. The bandwidth and ram speed start to make a difference in a racing game for example

Kelron
22-02-2013, 03:24 PM
The relevant part:
Single channel DDR2 speed: 400mhz
Dual channel DDR2 speed: 800mhz


DDR and dual channel aren't the same thing. No one's denying that dual channel is faster, but the gain is not enough to justify spending twice as much on a tight budget.

Wheelz could buy another 2GB of RAM in the same number of sticks with the same timings as his current RAM and it will most likely run fine in dual channel mode. Even if it doesn't he'll see a significant performance increase from having twice as much RAM. Or he could buy 4GB and replace his current RAM, which in all likelihood will not be measurably faster than simply adding more.

mashakos
22-02-2013, 05:02 PM
DDR and dual channel aren't the same thing. No one's denying that dual channel is faster, but the gain is not enough to justify spending twice as much on a tight budget.

Wheelz could buy another 2GB of RAM in the same number of sticks with the same timings as his current RAM and it will most likely run fine in dual channel mode. Even if it doesn't he'll see a significant performance increase from having twice as much RAM. Or he could buy 4GB and replace his current RAM, which in all likelihood will not be measurably faster than simply adding more.
You sound confused
To the OP: get 2 sticks and not 4 sticks if u are getting DDR2

Sakkura
22-02-2013, 05:41 PM
Hah, ram and framerates. Ram is important for streaming game assets while moving through a game. The bandwidth and ram speed start to make a difference in a racing game for example
Streaming assets puts a heavy load on the storage drive, the RAM is twiddling its thumbs in comparison.

Kelron
22-02-2013, 06:11 PM
I'll restate it simply, if it was really that confusing.

The (possible) slight advantage gained from replacing all your RAM is not worth the extra cost at this point. Just get another 2GB of whatever you already have.

Also, either 2x2GB sticks or 4x1GB are capable of running in dual channel mode.

trjp
22-02-2013, 06:46 PM
I'm not entirely sure Mashakos isn't just trying to derail people's threads now - he attacked my choice of hardware in the Project Cars thread and now he's pretending not to understand the difference between "memory being faster" and "PC being faster" - he cannot be that daft, it has to be a pretense?

If he IS that daft - well - anyway, OP - just get more memory if you can afford it because if a bit of stutter is your only complaint, that will likely solve it for a LOT less than the cost a new PC (and your old memory will be worth something when you upgarde anyway)

Grizzly
22-02-2013, 07:01 PM
Wheelz could buy another 2GB of RAM in the same number of sticks with the same timings as his current RAM and it will most likely run fine in dual channel mode. Even if it doesn't he'll see a significant performance increase from having twice as much RAM. Or he could buy 4GB and replace his current RAM, which in all likelihood will not be measurably faster than simply adding more.

^^

Just make sure it uses the same timings and frequencies (you can google those easily). heck, get an identical module. The more similar they are to each other, the better, although it is not a huge deal breaker if they are not. The increase in performance from just having 2 gb of extra ram should cover you until you can make a full upgrade.

Boris
23-02-2013, 09:42 AM
The relevant part:
Single channel DDR2 speed: 400mhz
Dual channel DDR2 speed: 800mhz

Nope. The signalling speed doesn't change if you go from single to dual.

Grizzly
23-02-2013, 10:46 AM
Nope. The signalling speed doesn't change if you go from single to dual.

This is correct.
And even if it did, lower clockspeeds means your ram can run at significantly lower timings, which negates the mhz difference.

Sakkura
23-02-2013, 12:57 PM
This is correct.
And even if it did, lower clockspeeds means your ram can run at significantly lower timings, which negates the mhz difference.
Timings are measures in cycles, so lower clocks increase latencies; the lower timings you can usually achieve concomitantly simply nullify that handicap.

Grizzly
23-02-2013, 02:34 PM
Timings are measures in cycles, so lower clocks increase latencies; the lower timings you can usually achieve concomitantly simply nullify that handicap.

That is what I meant, sorry if that was not clear.

mashakos
23-02-2013, 07:50 PM
Nope. The signalling speed doesn't change if you go from single to dual.

If the ram is rated at 800mhz dual channel speed, it will run at 400mhz in single channel. Is that not clear?


This is correct.
And even if it did, lower clockspeeds means your ram can run at significantly lower timings, which negates the mhz difference.

if you just go with the factory settings you won't get those tight timings that negate the drop in speed, unless you manually set the timings yourself in the bios.

Sakkura
23-02-2013, 08:17 PM
If the ram is rated at 800mhz dual channel speed, it will run at 400mhz in single channel. Is that not clear?
No, it's not. It's clearly wrong. If it runs at 800 MHz in dual channel, it will run at 800 MHz in single channel. The only difference is the overall bandwidth will be cut in half in a single channel configuration.

Besides, RAM is rated for the speed of each DIMM. That's independent of the (single/dual/triple/quad channel) configuration.

Kelron
23-02-2013, 08:28 PM
If the ram is rated at 800mhz dual channel speed, it will run at 400mhz in single channel. Is that not clear?


DDR stands for double data rate, which is a technology independent of the number of channels you're using. It means that data is transferred twice per clock cycle.

mashakos
23-02-2013, 08:45 PM
No, it's not. It's clearly wrong. If it runs at 800 MHz in dual channel, it will run at 800 MHz in single channel. The only difference is the overall bandwidth will be cut in half in a single channel configuration.

Besides, RAM is rated for the speed of each DIMM. That's independent of the (single/dual/triple/quad channel) configuration.

yeah, I got confused there. Was thinking about bandwidth, so maximum theoretical bandwidth would be:
800mhz single channel = 6.4 GB/s
800mhz dual channel = 12.8 GB/s

in any case, my original point was that using 4 sticks in a dual channel motherboard would revert the system to single channel mode.

Sakkura
23-02-2013, 08:56 PM
4 sticks in a dual channel motherboard would run in dual channel mode. 3 sticks wouldn't, though.

mashakos
23-02-2013, 11:19 PM
4 sticks in a dual channel motherboard would run in dual channel mode. 3 sticks wouldn't, though.

I've gone down this road before, 4 sticks will run in single channel mode unless it is explicitly mentioned by the motherboard manufacturer that their motherboard (chipset, configuration) supports dual channel when all slots are populated.

Grizzly
23-02-2013, 11:57 PM
if you just go with the factory settings you won't get those tight timings that negate the drop in speed, unless you manually set the timings yourself in the bios.

Actually, most BIOSes automatically adjust timings downwards when you adjust DDR speed downwards.


I've gone down this road before, 4 sticks will run in single channel mode unless it is explicitly mentioned by the motherboard manufacturer that their motherboard (chipset, configuration) supports dual channel when all slots are populated.

But how (if even true) is this relevant in the light of giving advice to the OP, who can not hope to afford 4 sticks anyway?

Boris
24-02-2013, 02:46 AM
If the ram is rated at 800mhz dual channel speed, it will run at 400mhz in single channel. Is that not clear?

Wrong.


yeah, I got confused there. Was thinking about bandwidth, so maximum theoretical bandwidth would be:
800mhz single channel = 6.4 GB/s
800mhz dual channel = 12.8 GB/s

in any case, my original point was that using 4 sticks in a dual channel motherboard would revert the system to single channel mode.

Unless you mismatch the stick sizes, on all the motherboards I've seen this will actually work. Case in point, I'm running a pair of Kingston and a pair of OCZ DDR2 modules (all 2GB, but manufactured 2 years apart) and it's reporting in as a dual channel setup. The sticks don't even share a common JEDEC timing profile, one's a 400MHz 5-5-18, and the other's 400MHz 5-5-15.


As to relevance, DDR2 is on the way out. The OP might be able to pick up some of it second hand. It's good to know what will work and what will not.

spacein_vader
24-02-2013, 04:18 PM
As someone with a similar age PC (AM2+ mobo, Phenom 2, DDR2, Radeon 4890, 500gb HDD,) I've recently been through something similar.

Your best bets to improve performance in my experience are (in decending order of bang for buck:)

Another 2GB DDR2. It's getting expensive now but if you can find 2nd hand it'll stop your swap file working overtime.

A modern GPU. I've just ordered a Radeon 7870 Myst Edition (essentially a slightly nobbled 7950,) but any modern GPU from the Radeon 7850 upwards (or Nvidia equivalent) will make a big difference to you gaming. This is a lot more expensive (around 130+ for a 7850) but has the added advantage of being portable to your new machine.

An SSD. 128gb boot drives are available for 80-100 and 256gb start at not much more. This was the single biggest all round speed increase I've made in 1 upgrade since my first 3d accelerator card. EVERYTHING gets faster and it'll do any remaining swap file work much quicker than your HDD. Again, this is something you could take to your new build.

Your PSU is more than capable of running virtually any modern single GPU solution so that, your HDD, a new GPU/SSD + any optical drives and presumably your case would all be capable of carrying over into a new system. You'd only be looking at tossing the RAM you purchased and the CPU/Mobo combination.

Grizzly
24-02-2013, 06:00 PM
An SSD. 128gb boot drives are available for 80-100 and 256gb start at not much more. This was the single biggest all round speed increase I've made in 1 upgrade since my first 3d accelerator card. EVERYTHING gets faster and it'll do any remaining swap file work much quicker than your HDD. Again, this is something you could take to your new build.

Ah! The swap file option. Indeed, getting your OS on an SSD also gives it a much faster swap file (the OS stores memory on the hard drive when RAM is over capacity. Getting the Swap file on SSD gives you a performance boost under heavy load). It is also a nice investment into the future.

Sakkura
24-02-2013, 06:20 PM
Even with an SSD, running out of physical memory and starting to really use the swap file wrecks performance. SSDs are orders of magnitude faster than HDDs in latency, but they're still orders of magnitude slower than physical memory.

spacein_vader
24-02-2013, 08:37 PM
Even with an SSD, running out of physical memory and starting to really use the swap file wrecks performance. SSDs are orders of magnitude faster than HDDs in latency, but they're still orders of magnitude slower than physical memory.

Agreed. That's why I think he should prioritise another 2gb of RAM first.

Boris
25-02-2013, 11:07 AM
Yep. First get more RAM. Then maybe look into an SSD.

trjp
26-02-2013, 02:58 PM
Can we delete 2+ pages of utter crap and just put "buy 2Gb of RAM" as the 2nd post? :)

TechnicalBen
03-03-2013, 10:27 AM
You can get 2GB of DDR2 for around 25? Twice the price of DDR3 I think. I only have sticks of 1gb lying around. :P

Skalpadda
04-03-2013, 03:24 AM
If you can't find any decently priced sticks I've got two of these (http://www.corsair.com/cm2x2048-6400c5.html) 2GB DDR2 800MHz sticks just gathering dust in an old mobo I'm not using. I could throw them in the post for you but it'd probably take a while to get over there to the other end of the planet.

Wheelz
07-03-2013, 06:21 AM
Thanks for the offer Skalpadda, I appreciate it, however a friend has come to my rescue. He (my friend) recently upgraded his PC to an i5 3570k, and is going to lend me his old CPU and motherboard.

The good news is that I can keep using my current GPU, PSU, and HDD, as they should all work fine with the on-loan motherboard and CPU. However, I'll need to buy some new ram that's compatible; the motherboard he's lending me is an ASUS - M4A785T-M, and the CPU a AMD AM3 955 Black Edition.

I would ideally like 16Gb of the fastests ram the motherboard supports, that way I'm sort of future proofed for when I can afford to upgrade myself. Looking around the internet seems to suggests the fastest I can get is PC10600/1333MHz, though the motherboard site is unclear (it says it supports 1800 over-clocked?).
In terms of brands - I've heard G.Skill is reliable(?), which has led me to this: http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=1598330

Is there any reason why that would be a bad choice?

Also: Thank you everyone for the responses, I relise their was a disagreement regarding some of the information put forward, but the discussion that come of it was very helpful (maybe not so much for me now, but I'm certain others will find it useful.)

Skalpadda
07-03-2013, 08:21 AM
While it's always possible that requirements will increase in the future, 16GB is a crazy amount of RAM at the moment. If you have the money to burn sure, but 8GB will be more than fine for any gaming. If you feel like you need more at some point in the future adding another stick is one of the easiest and cheapest upgrades you can make.

I don't know how much a NZ dollar is worth or what prices are normal down there, so I can't comment on that, but setting aside some money for an SSD or a better graphics card seems like it'd be a better investment.

Sakkura
07-03-2013, 09:10 AM
It would be better to buy 8 GB DDR3-1333 now, and then when you upgrade later on you can upgrade to 16 GB or more, with whatever happens to be the standard memory at the time. DDR3-1600 has already become the standard, and by the time you need an upgrade, there's a good chance we'll be buying DDR4. So you don't really get much future-proofing from having 16 GB of memory that will be old and slow.

Wheelz
07-03-2013, 09:11 AM
fair points, thanks guys.