Hey, all! I've been running with a "used-to-be top of the line" Alienware Aurora desktop for about 4 years now. It has barely ever let me down and is quite the workhorse. All good things must come to an end, however, and it seems my graphics card has finally decided to start failing on me.
In lieu of this, I have began considering adding some optimizations to my old friend in an attempt to breath some new life into it.
My main focus right now, due to its imminent failure, is definitely the GPU. The HD5970 was a monster back in the day, but it seems like a big wuss compared to these new high-powered efficient single-core cards. I was wondering what video cards ($200 range) you guys would recommend?
From what I've gathered, almost all of the enthusiast or higher current-gen cards far out-perform my HD5970, I just can't quite decide which one to pick. My main concern is basically compatibility. I know that PCI-e 3.0 is backwards compatible, so I know I can put most of these cards on my mobo, but Alienware only "validates" up to the HD6xxx and GTX5xx launch line-ups, which are all discontinued and undesirable. I'm just worried that I may buy the card and it won't be compatible with my cpu or bios. Any thoughts?
Would the next logical step be the CPU and memory? I've been meaning to OC my i7-920 for, well, 4 years now. I'm just intimidated by the process and really don't want to fry it. It is liquid cooled, so I doubt stability would be an issue, so what do you think a reasonable OC would be? I was thinking 3.6 or 3.8? I just want to beef it up so I can see some noticeable gains in performance.
As for memory, do you think I would see a reasonable performance increase by shifting to 2 8GB sticks @ 1600? My current array is 2-1-2-1-2-1 @ 1333.
The final part of the puzzle would be the HDD, as I know SSDs add a great deal of performance for value. Would you guys recommend that I pick up a 256SSD for my OS/Games? Just keep the 10k rpm drive for media?
I would greatly appreciate any feedback. This old machine needs some help pretty badly! I know after replacing the video card/memory/and adding an SSD that it may seem more reasonable to build an entirely new PC, but the tower works wonderfully, and the CPU is rock solid. I'd hate to forgo the precision and current infrastructure if it is not necessary.