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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node Wheelz's Avatar
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    Squeezing the remaining life from my pc.

    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.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Wheelz's Avatar
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    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?

  5. #5
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    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.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kelron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
    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.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #8
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    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.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
    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.

  10. #10
    Lesser Hivemind Node Wheelz's Avatar
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    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.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Boris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trjp View Post
    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.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
    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.

  13. #13
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    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)

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    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.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L_No View Post
    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 (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.
    Last edited by Grizzly; 21-02-2013 at 04:46 PM.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    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 here).

    If more is not required, then overclocking is pointless. Just wanted to have all the info out there.
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  17. #17
    Lesser Hivemind Node Wheelz's Avatar
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    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 list (as it's where I'll likely end up buying from) the prices appear roughly the same.
    Last edited by Wheelz; 21-02-2013 at 09:07 PM.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
    Also, is there a noticable difference between getting 2x 2gb sticks and say 4x 1gb sticks? as using this 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.
    Last edited by mashakos; 21-02-2013 at 09:04 PM.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    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.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    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 here).

    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...

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