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  1. #1
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    Considering an upgrade but need advice

    Back in 2009 I built a computer (for the first time ever). I really had no idea what I was doing but ended up with a system that's played everything I've wanted it to since then without a single upgrade. However, I'm now looking at the specs for Wolfenstein, and the probable specs for games like Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3, and it's becoming clear that I'm going to need to make some changes to keep up.

    My current PC:
    Intel Quad Core Q6700 - 2.66 GHz
    4gb RAM
    GeForce GTX 260
    Asus P5Q Pro Motherboard

    My concern is that no matter what I do, the processor will be a bottleneck, and the motherboard is only compatible with DDR2 RAM - do I have to start from scratch, or can I upgrade my way to shiny new games?

  2. #2
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    More RAM definitely. this should be the cheap bit. (just spend about 30€ on another 8gb which you can then replace the 4gb with, or just add on to it.)

    As for the geforce, dont know. The CPU is definitely still enough, but you could check out Radeon or Nvidias latest offerings.
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

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    Hi QuantaCat,

    Thanks for the advice. Adding RAM and a GPU would seem to be a good bet then, though I'm a bit concerned my CPU may not hold up for long - might be easier just to swap out the motherboard and CPU in one go...

    Cheers.

  4. #4
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marbled View Post
    Hi QuantaCat,

    Thanks for the advice. Adding RAM and a GPU would seem to be a good bet then, though I'm a bit concerned my CPU may not hold up for long - might be easier just to swap out the motherboard and CPU in one go...

    Cheers.
    ok, well I dont know that particular CPU, but if its a decent quad core, it should hold for a while more. and its not because the CPU craps out that you should chuck everything.

    RAM is so cheap nowadays, so just get 4gb extra DDR2 for about 15€ or so, and the card you should be able to use on a new mobo anyway. just check that its a good slot format. (atleast PCI-e 16x or somesuch)
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  5. #5
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    The CPU is pretty old hat too these days.

    Eg on =1921&cmp[]=1039]this site a popular modern CPU offers more than twice the performance.

    Certainly any modern graphics card probably will bring you benefits, but it will be held back by the CPU.

    As for more memory, it's always good, but you will have to be running a 64bit OS to use it, and If you're not having any particular memory issues (eg, slowdown when lots of stuff is open) then I wouldn't worry overly (although if it really is only 30 currency units, then it's not a bad shout). An SSD would probably make day-to-day use a lot better, but obviously not going to improve your gaming framerate.

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  7. #7
    Network Hub Colonel J's Avatar
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    You'd definitely notice a big bump in performance by spending 150 on a new videocard and 40 or so on more RAM. Throw in an SSD and it'll feel like a new PC again. Even though it's DDR2 I suspect the RAM may cost you a slightly more than people have said here - if you need to switch it out for 2 X 4GB sticks then probably closer to 60.

    That would probably tide you over for a year or so. It depends on when you want to spend the big money on your next upgrade. For a new system that you'll be enjoying for the same amount of time as your old one then you want to be looking at an i5 Haswell and 300ish on a R9 290 or GTX780 (or wait til the back of this year for the next cycle of new cards)

    CPU dependency doesn't seem to be a huge issue in many games where you could probably make do with that Q6700 for a while yet if you needed to. It will crunch you in a few games though: see here on Metro Last Light for example: http://www.legitreviews.com/upgradin...7-4770k_2247/7

    If you are going to spend money on new parts for your current PC then make sure you do your research on what's going to work in your current system, it's the smallest things can bite you in the ass:
    - if you've 2 x 2GB sticks currently then make sure your mobo will be happy with 4 sticks of that RAM. And assuming you find the same to match it. Otherwise, go for 2 x 4GB.
    - GPU - check that the new generation of cards will work OK in your mobo. I put a new R9 280X in my 2010-vintage MSI P67a-GD53 and had to update to the most recent 2013 BIOS before it would work, lucky that MSI were still supporting the board. Worked OK, but with the issue that now can't overclock my i5-2500K Sandybridge as the new BIOS is designed for the later Ivybridge processors. Most likely your mobo will OK here but do check, there can be issues with some older chipsets.
    - New GPU - obviously make sure your PSU is man enough to run it. Also anything higher than a GTX 750 or AMD 270 needs 2 x 6 pin power connectors (top end cards need a 6 pin and 8 pin).

    The Witcher 3 is the one thing on the horizon that makes me worry if my i5-2500K, 8GB, 280X system is still going to hack it in Spring of next year. My upgrade cycle seems to be synced to Witcher games, Witcher and Witcher 2 were the ones that made my old PCs cry so much I realised it was time to upgrade.


  8. #8
    Moderator QuantaCat's Avatar
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    I bought 2x4gb RAM for 30€ not too long ago. so yeah, either your country is too expensive, or youre just looking in the wrong place ;D
    - Tom De Roeck.

    verse publications & The Shopkeeper, an interactive short.

    "Quantacat's name is still recognised even if he watches on with detached eyes like Peter Molyneux over a cube in 3D space, staring at it with tears in his eyes, softly whispering... Someday they'll get it."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaCat View Post
    I bought 2x4gb RAM for 30€ not too long ago. so yeah, either your country is too expensive, or youre just looking in the wrong place ;D
    That sounds pretty unlikey unless you get a very special deal, Quanta, or you mean end of 201, where DDR3 prices hit a minimum.

    DDR3 (probably cheaper than DDR2 due to greater production) https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/trends/m...r3_1600.2x4096


    Also, the Q6700 is a seven year old CPU that performs considerably worse than the 2nd generation i-series processors and beyond. It's still perfectly servicable, but I wouldn't be at all confident its going to play nice with a modern GPU without being a nasty bottlneck, and the motherboard might not like it at all. Sniffing around for a second hand, replaced GPU is probably a more sensible spend.

  10. #10
    Network Hub spacein_vader's Avatar
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    I have a bit of experience with this, as I game on a Phenom II 965 (similar vintage to yours) with 8gb of DDR2. If you don't want to go as far as a full CPU & Mobo replacement I'd recommend getting your RAM up to 8GB, a replacement GPU and a 128gb SSD. In that order. I replaced my original 4870 with a 7890 last year. Yes your CPU will bottleneck it, but unless you're running at very high res (I game at 1920x1200) the bottleneck will not be noticeable. There is not a single game on I've tried that will not run on high settings with a good frame rate.

    The only caveat is that the new gen console games may become more heavily threaded and may start to impact performance in the next 12-18 months, risk vs. reward.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacein_vader View Post
    I have a bit of experience with this, as I game on a Phenom II 965 (similar vintage to yours) with 8gb of DDR2. If you don't want to go as far as a full CPU & Mobo replacement I'd recommend getting your RAM up to 8GB, a replacement GPU and a 128gb SSD. In that order. I replaced my original 4870 with a 7890 last year. Yes your CPU will bottleneck it, but unless you're running at very high res (I game at 1920x1200) the bottleneck will not be noticeable. There is not a single game on I've tried that will not run on high settings with a good frame rate.

    The only caveat is that the new gen console games may become more heavily threaded and may start to impact performance in the next 12-18 months, risk vs. reward.
    Hi,

    Thanks very much for this tip - might go for the short term fix. If it then turns out that the processor is a bottleneck in 18 months, the only thing I'd lose would be the DDR2 RAM.

    One question though - what do you put on the SSD? The OS?

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    In addition, try overclocking your CPU, that should help a bit. You might be able to get it up to 3GHz. Just don't invest too much money into it. It's not worth it anymore, especially since DDR2 is about twice as expensive as DDR3. You might want to consider buying that used.

    Yes, you definitely put the OS on your SSD. Then depending on how big it'll be you'll want to put your software on it. I put my games on a 2nd drive of 1TB, because games tend to be very large and thus fill up my SSD too fast. SSDs only really speed up load times, so if you want the most out of that, you can put your MP games on it. Otherwise it's not really worth it.

  13. #13
    Network Hub spacein_vader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marbled View Post
    Hi,

    Thanks very much for this tip - might go for the short term fix. If it then turns out that the processor is a bottleneck in 18 months, the only thing I'd lose would be the DDR2 RAM.

    One question though - what do you put on the SSD? The OS?
    Put the OS on the SSD, and if you have 1 or 2 games you play most, find room for them as well. Second hand DDR2 may be the way to go.

  14. #14
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    A 256gb SSD might be a better bet now - 128 fills up pretty damn fast, and that Crucial one that jeremy is always talking about on the front page sounds like a good idea.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMaster View Post
    A 256gb SSD might be a better bet now - 128 fills up pretty damn fast, and that Crucial one that jeremy is always talking about on the front page sounds like a good idea.
    My 64GB SSD is still doing fine with my games and "Home" and "Temp" dir on HDDs. I couldn't fit 2 OS on it though, if you're considering that.

  16. #16
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    Make sure your PC supports double sided ram... I've got 4gb sitting on the shelf unused as I got it for the spare pc, but it only supports single sided. :(
    It is a technical difference, but's there none the less.

  17. #17
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    I really would not buy DDR2 RAM anymore, as it is rather expensive nowadays. Unless you get a good deal for used ones, but i don't know how likely that is.
    For new prices at least in Germany the cheapest 2x2GB Set would cost 44€ and the cheapest single 4GB would cost 75€, and you can get 8GB of DDR3 RAM starting at 55€.
    The most sensible option would be to wait until you really get problems with running games and then upgrade Mainboard/CPU/RAM all at once.

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