What to upgrade Next

Hi, im new on here, i currently have a PC which i use for Gaming, below are the specs, i am after some advice on what is next thing i should be looking to upgrade, ive been told RAM as i only have 2GB currently. I mainly play DayZ, Arma 2 and BF3 and sometimes my FPS plummet during gameplay, so i am looking to upgrade my PC and am wondering where to starts

Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit SP1

CPU Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.40GHz 59 °C
Kentsfield 65nm Technology

RAM 2.00 GB Single-Channel DDR2 @ 450MHz (5-5-5-18)

Motherboard FOXCONN G41MX/G41MX-K (Socket775) 40 °C

Graphics Generic Non-PnP Monitor (1920x1080@60Hz)
1024MB GeForce GTS 450 (ASUStek Computer Inc) 32 °C

Hard Drives 233GB SAMSUNG HD251HJ ATA Device (SATA) 32 °C

Optical Drives TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-S223C ATA Device

Audio High Definition Audio Device

any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am not too knowledgeable in this area. I have upgraded my graphics card from Geforce Gt240 to my current 450 GTS and this hasn't really made a lot of difference!

many thanks Scotty74 :p
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  1. a 450 gts isn't really a powerful video card. i would start by swapping out your motherboard/cpu/ram to something more modern. or swap the video card out, cause thats gonna have to be done eventually anyway.
  2. Definitely start by upgrading the RAM, you can only go up to 4GB since you are using Win 7 32Bit, so getting anything over 4GB would just be wasting your money. The GPU would be your next upgrade, what is your power supply?

    But it depends, are you looking to completely overhaul your entire PC or just looking to get the best performance possible out of what you currently have to work with?
  3. You are being held back by the 2GB of RAM for sure. 4GB is pretty much necessary for gaming and 8GB is really the sweet spot. The bad news is that you have old DDR2 that is hard to find and expensive these days. I would look for a 4GB kit of 2 x 2GB so it will run in dual channel as well and just scrap what you have now.

    If you have aftermarket cooling or are willing to spend ~$30 on something like a Hyper 212 +/212 Evo you could probably get that Q6600 to 3.2-3.4Gz and that would help as well. You still are not going to max any newer games with that system but more RAM and overclocking the CPU would help.

    You might just want to save money for a complete system overhaul. What you have is getting pretty out dated.
  4. i wouldnt spend any money on a ddr2 kit. save what you would spend on that (as ddr3 is cheaper) and upgrade your whole platform.
  5. I would advise updating the ram *only* if you can find it cheaply...

    The biggest upgrade I ever made for my PC was a SSD, its amazing the difference it has between load times in BF3... defo go down that route.

    I believe Toms has done some previous posts of this sort of answer before, and an SSD came out on top.

    Ash
  6. ashleyh1988 said:
    I would advise updating the ram *only* if you can find it cheaply...

    The biggest upgrade I ever made for my PC was a SSD, its amazing the difference it has between load times in BF3... defo go down that route.

    I believe Toms has done some previous posts of this sort of answer before, and an SSD came out on top.

    Ash


    an ssd is not going to help his frame drops.
  7. daswilhelm said:
    ashleyh1988 said:
    I would advise updating the ram *only* if you can find it cheaply...

    The biggest upgrade I ever made for my PC was a SSD, its amazing the difference it has between load times in BF3... defo go down that route.

    I believe Toms has done some previous posts of this sort of answer before, and an SSD came out on top.

    Ash


    an ssd is not going to help his frame drops.


    Nope. Not at all.
  8. daswilhelm said:
    a 450 gts isn't really a powerful video card. i would start by swapping out your motherboard/cpu/ram to something more modern. or swap the video card out, cause thats gonna have to be done eventually anyway.


    What kind of motherboard would I need to go to?, that runs DDR3? can you suggest any, my power supply is 520W. If I got another motherboard, is it as simple as plugging everything I currently have into it and upgrading to DDR3 RAM?
  9. when you swap motherboard cpu and ram you would be best off reloading windows. whats your budget?
  10. A new motherboad will require a new CPU (yours wo n't fit) and DDR3 memory (again, yours wo n't fit).
    The games you're playing are quite dependant on CPU performance so pushing it harder will be a big help, grab a half decent cooler and give it a good overclocking.
    At that sort of resolution the graphics card takes a real hammering, especially if you push the eye-candy so a GTX660 or HD7850 should improve matters no end.
    Add another 2Gb module so the system can run dual channel. Try to match the one installed, but do n't worry too much if that's not possible current systems will allow 'pick and mix' memory without too many problems.
    As has been said, a SSD will not help framerates.
  11. coozie7 said:
    A new motherboad will require a new CPU (yours wo n't fit) and DDR3 memory (again, yours wo n't fit).
    The games you're playing are quite dependant on CPU performance so pushing it harder will be a big help, grab a half decent cooler and give it a good overclocking.
    At that sort of resolution the graphics card takes a real hammering, especially if you push the eye-candy so a GTX660 or HD7850 should improve matters no end.
    Add another 2Gb module so the system can run dual channel. Try to match the one installed, but do n't worry too much if that's not possible current systems will allow 'pick and mix' memory without too many problems.
    As has been said, a SSD will not help framerates.
  12. Thanks for the support, ive got a windows install HDD, with every version of windows 7 on, so installing a new windows isn't an issue. From what I can see, if I upgrade my RAM on existing MOBO and overclock my CPU, this should help me, im not planning on playing games on top notch settings, but just wanted a little boost to at least be in mid range.

    Should I buy 2 RAM modules or just add another, cos ive been told its best to get a pair and replace in one go?
    Also, is overclocking hard?, I have no idea how to do this

    installing a new cooler, is this as simple as checking the fitting on the current one, and buying a higher spec one with same fittings and plugging it it...

    PC gaming is way complicated..
  13. If you can, match the module already installed, at least for speed and timings if not maker. Do n't worry if you can only find a faster rated module, the motherboard should run it at the speed of the other unit, you'll loose a TINY, TINY amount of performance, do n't fret over it.
    Overclocking can be frought with dangers, and like anything dangerous should be approached calmly and with plenty of research beforehand. Why not start by taking a look at the overclocking forum here?
    Some coolers are that simple to install, most, sadly are not. Take the side panels off the system and look at the back of motherboard tray, a lot are a solid steel pressing but if there's a large square or rectangular hole in this pressing that exposes the underside of the motherboard and the CPU mountings things will be much easier and the choice of coolers wider.
    The GTX660 tends to be cool and quiet, even with a stock cooler (fan at one end, blows hot air through a grille in the backplate) the HD can be a litte noiser.
    If you don't want to use high levals of AA you can save a little by opting for the GTX650Ti or 1Gb version of the HD7850.
    Me, I'd drop a 1Gb HD7850 in and be done-but then again, I'm lazy ;)!
  14. Hello all, so, my current update is, i managed to find a 1Gb RAM upgrade so now running with 3GB, ive noticed a slight uplift in FPS, and i dont get any spikes or drops when my RAM max's out, my question now is what is the next thing to upgrade, i have around £150 to spend, ive been told to overclock my CPU, but im not too keen on that, not sure on a graphics card upgrade, will my Q6600 hold a good one back here is my speccy breakdwon

    Operating System
    Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit SP1
    CPU
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.40GHz 40 °C
    Kentsfield 65nm Technology
    RAM
    3.00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 400MHz (5-5-5-18)
    Motherboard
    FOXCONN G41MX/G41MX-K (Socket775) 40 °C
    Graphics
    Generic Non-PnP Monitor (1920x1080@60Hz)
    1024MB GeForce GTS 450 (ASUStek Computer Inc) 29 °C
    Hard Drives
    233GB SAMSUNG HD251HJ ATA Device (SATA) 28 °C
    Optical Drives
    TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-S223C ATA Device
    Audio
    Realtek High Definition Audio

    any help is massively appreciated as im still trying to get to grips with upgrading my computer, one suggestion i have is upgrading my CPU to a i3?
  15. Upgrading your GPU will give you the biggest boost in your everyday gaming, much more than a CPU upgrade (a CPU upgrade will basically require a complete system rebuild and a fresh install of Windows). For £150 or about $230 US you can get a very decent GPU. I would go with a Radeon 7850, it will be a major upgrade as far as gaming goes and I would not consider it way too overpowered for your current system. Just make sure it will fit in your case and your power supply can support it. You say your PSU is rated at 520W, which is basically at the low end of the recommendation. That would be my main concern.
  16. yes a 7850 would be a good upgrade alongwith another 2gb of ram and a good psu. honestly though you should go for a full system upgrade if you can spare the cash.
  17. More memory will not help, a 32 bit OS can only use a total of 4Gb this might help explain:

    http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=91260

    A HD7850 would be the very, very top card I'd think of installing, even if the Q6600 was overclocked, without an overclock the 7790 is top card with the GTX650Ti coming next while the HD7770 is something of an also ran, a better card than the existing GTS450 but not really enough of a jump t really justify the expense.:

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-graphics-card-review,review-32654-7.html

    They're only two tiers apart.
    The i3 is a fine gaming CPU and can give more expensive quads a run for their money but you'll need to add a new motherboard and memory to make that upgrade happen.
    I'll suggest you drop a HD7790 or GTX650 in there, enjoy your gaming and start saving up for a whole new rig.
    Or you can buy parts in order: Case>HDD>optical drive>PSU>OS>CPU/MB/RAM>Graphics card>Everything else.
  18. First off you need to move to a 64bit OS. 32 bit operating systems can only address a maximum of 4GB of system ram, this included your VRAM. Moving to a better video card at this point, presumably one with more memory, will land you right back where you started, with only 2GB of addressable VRAM.

    Second, If you're considering a motherboard change then it's time to retire the system and build a new one. There is no sense switching out motherboards if you're going to continue using antiquated tech. Plus it's a lot of work to go through considering there isn't much to be gained by it.

    Moving to a modern intel i5 processor or even an AMD FX processor would be highly recommended. Take a look at cpu scaling in Crysis 3. This is at 1920x1200 using a GTX 680. The difference between the i3 and i5 is 40%. While this is not indicative off all PC games, it illustrates a growing trend of multithreading games for maximum performance. We will only see more of this in the future, especially with the new consoles moving to a multicore x86 architecture. Bottom line is don't buy anything less than an Ivy Bridge i5 or and AMD FX-8350.

    Lastly, what type of budget are you dealing with?
  19. scotty74 said:
    Hello all, so, my current update is, i managed to find a 1Gb RAM upgrade so now running with 3GB, ive noticed a slight uplift in FPS, and i dont get any spikes or drops when my RAM max's out, my question now is what is the next thing to upgrade, i have around £150 to spend, ive been told to overclock my CPU, but im not too keen on that, not sure on a graphics card upgrade, will my Q6600 hold a good one back here is my speccy breakdwon

    Operating System
    Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit SP1
    CPU
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.40GHz 40 °C
    Kentsfield 65nm Technology
    RAM
    3.00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 400MHz (5-5-5-18)
    Motherboard
    FOXCONN G41MX/G41MX-K (Socket775) 40 °C
    Graphics
    Generic Non-PnP Monitor (1920x1080@60Hz)
    1024MB GeForce GTS 450 (ASUStek Computer Inc) 29 °C
    Hard Drives
    233GB SAMSUNG HD251HJ ATA Device (SATA) 28 °C
    Optical Drives
    TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-S223C ATA Device
    Audio
    Realtek High Definition Audio

    any help is massively appreciated as im still trying to get to grips with upgrading my computer, one suggestion i have is upgrading my CPU to a i3?


    I saw you had mentioned earlier you only had about £150 to play around with. I noted a few things on my earlier post but I figured I'd follow up. If you're intent on staying with what you have I'd really recommend an overclock if your board can support it. The Q6600 is very durable so the likelihood of having a problem is slim. You're actually more likely to have problems with your motherboard before the CPU starts acting up.

    Anyway, I've noticed a few issues first. When running dual channel Ram should always have matching sizes. It's inefficient to supply one channel with 2GB and the other with 1GB. Secondly, your ram should ideally be running in sync with your bus speed. Since your default bus speed at 2.4ghz is 1066mhz, your Ram should be running at 533mhz, not 400. Always link and sync your DRAM to your Bus speed. In this case since the board only supports DDR2 up to 800 so a 2:1 ratio would be ideal.

    As for overclocking, make sure you have a good CPU cooler and see if you can get it up to 3.2ghz. With these processors this would be accomplished by raising the FSB speed to 1333mhz. This should be easily achieved, since your board was designed to handle the 45nm processors which utilize this setting by default. Remember to sync your ram to this as well. That means raising the DRAM speed to 667mhz.

    In short, here's what you should do, to maximize what you've got at the moment.

    1. Upgrade to Windows 7 64bit. Your existing product key will work for this, you just need to get the installation disc. This can be found easily online as an iso download.
    2. Make sure your DRAM sticks match. Brand isn't as important as Capacity and Voltage. 2, 2 Gig sticks should be enough for now.
    3. Get a good cooler for your CPU and overclock to 3.2ghz by upping the FSB Speed to 1333mhz. Remember to sync your DRAM speed to 667mhz.
    4. Get a decent video card. The Radeon 7850 or GTX 660 should work great. Make sure you get a video card with no less than 2GB of video ram. This will help down the road. The Radeon is a particularly good deal at the moment since it comes with both Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider for free.

    There is more information related to building a new computer and the effects of switching processors in my earlier post, but if you can OC your Q6600, there is no reason to move to an i3. Hope this helps.
  20. Thanks very much for the information supplied, im obviously a novice at all this, i was under the assumption i could only get a nvidia graphics card as i have one installed already. As for building a new rig, that is my plan for this year, for now i am wanting to get this rig running a bit smoother, i am looking at the graphics card option next. I will look to buy a new one at end of this month and see what difference it makes, im currently marking the improvement by running DayZ with different setups, so any FPS increase from 25-35 will be a bonus. Thanks

    which graphics card would be best deal, the Gtx660 or the Radeon 7850? and where is the best place to buy PC components?
  21. The GTX660 and HD7850 are pretty much the same in performance, each edging out the other depending on game.
    Bear in mind neither will give its full performance in the existing system, they'll both be held back by the CPU.
    I suspect you'll carry this over into the new build later this year so a good warranty should be a top priority.
    A few UK links: Scan, Ocerclockers, Pixmania, Dabs, Novatech, CCL, Ebuyer, Aria and Misco...Amongst others ;) .
    Check before you 'add to cart' that your existing power supply has the right number of PCI-E power leads!
    As has been said, the Q6600 has good overclocking potential, you might be surprised how much extra performance is lurking in that tiny piece of silicon.
    The Internet Rumour Mill suggests Nvidia my release a new generation of cards in a few months, a common feature of PC hardware where there's always a better deal tomorrow!
  22. Hello all, latest update for my upgrade process, so i managed to sort my RAM out as it was running slower than it should be, this made a improvement. But the biggest thing is i have purchased HD 7770, i went for this one instead of the HD 7850, due to cost, i managed to pickup a 7770 for £75, which i think is a bargain, hopefully comes in next few days, so that should up my PC to a mid level gaming Rig.
    Decided this is all i will do to this as i am still wanting to build a one from scratch, im thinking a i5 unit. Any suggestions on a the best graphics card for around £150-200.
  23. scotty74 said:
    Hello all, latest update for my upgrade process, so i managed to sort my RAM out as it was running slower than it should be, this made a improvement. But the biggest thing is i have purchased HD 7770, i went for this one instead of the HD 7850, due to cost, i managed to pickup a 7770 for £75, which i think is a bargain, hopefully comes in next few days, so that should up my PC to a mid level gaming Rig.
    Decided this is all i will do to this as i am still wanting to build a one from scratch, im thinking a i5 unit. Any suggestions on a the best graphics card for around £150-200.


    Good call - I was going to suggest sell it and starts from scratch. You will need 4GB to run today's games, btw. To answer your final question - the best bang for buck in that range is the GTX 660 - but an HD 7870 XT (Tahiti LE) or GTX 660Ti would be even better if you can stretch it.
  24. Hello all, havent been on in a while as ive been messing trying to upgrade my PC, so my current build is as follows:

    Operating System
    Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
    CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 @ 2.80GHz 33 °C, overclocked to 3.5GHZ and running smooth
    Wolfdale 45nm Technology
    RAM 4.00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 665MHz (7-8-7-24)
    Motherboard - Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. G41MT-D3 (Socket 775) 22 °C
    Graphics SyncMaster (1680x1050@60Hz)
    1024MB GeForce GTX 650 (ASUStek Computer Inc) 26 °C
    Hard Drives 466GB Hitachi HDS721050DLE630 ATA Device (SATA) 35 °C
    Optical Drives HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GSA-H60L ATA Device
    Audio Realtek High Definition Audio

    my next question is, i have a budget of £200, what is best to upgrade next to get a good boost in games?

    any help much appreciated

    oh, and my old rig i still have aswell...think this is a start to an addiction...lol :D
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