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What should my upgrade priority be?

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  • Bottleneck
  • upgrade
  • Systems
  • Homebuilt
Last response: in Systems
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June 27, 2014 2:28:27 AM

What should my upgrade priority be? Should I upgrade? How is my computer? Where is my performance bottleneck? Any answers to help me understand the state of my PC better are welcome :) 

Approximate Purchase Date: This rig was bought/built in june 2009

Budget Range: Around $150 or less, the cheaper the better. Money IS an issue.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: CS homework, and gaming.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Here are the specs of my rig, you tell me :)  If you could list my parts in order of upgrade efficacy that would be great. This way I will know for the future.

Do you need to buy OS: No, Thanks to dreamspark I get many windows products free.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preference

Location: Valley Center, California 92082

Parts Preferences: AMD, for both CPU and GPU

Overclocking: Maybe. I am open to trying to overclock to try to squeeze more power out of parts

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe. I am willing to to try x-fire/SLI

Your Monitor Resolution: It is currently 1920x1080 dual screen. I may switch to one screen to improve performance, and save desk space. Or, I may go for two smaller dual screens.

Additional Comments: I like quiet, and I love computers. Also I am a very poor student, so, money is an issue.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: before taking apart my PC I felt it was sluggish at times. This could of been because of
64-bit windows (I plan to switch to 32 bit to get more out of my computer, but then that puts a limit on my max RAM)
the dual install of linux, and windows, I would boot from GRUB.
the 2x 1920x1080 screens. I just felt the performance wasn't great.
my parts are about 5 years old so I figure I can get a descent upgrade for a good price given the age of my computer.

Game performance is declining (my old rig was much better, but then I had to sell it), and I hope I can get a big return in increased performance for a small amount of $$ invested.


Include a list of any parts you have already selected with descriptively labeled links for parts. Please do not post only links.

MoBo: ASUS M3N72-D
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M3N72D/

CPU: AMD PHENOM X2 550 BLACK EDITION
http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/K10/AMD-Phenom%20II%20X2%20550%20-%20HDZ550WFK2DGI%20(HDZ550WFGIBOX).html

RAM: Kingston Hyper 4GB 1066MHz
http://www.amazon.com/Kingston-KHX8500D2K2-4GR-PC2-8500...

GPU: ASUS ENGTS250 DK 1GB
http://

PSU: Antec Earth Watts 500

HDD: HItatchi Deskstar 500 GB

Also, how is my computer. After linking all the hardware I think maybe it isn't as outdated as I thought. I haven't been keeping up to date on hardware, so I really do not know how to judge my computer.

Anyways, recomendations for upgrades would be welcome. I don't know where my PC bottlenecks or anything.

Also, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!

More about : upgrade priority

June 27, 2014 2:43:28 AM

About the best you can do, given your situation, would be get an Nvidia GTX660 or a Radeon R9-270 video card. Forget the dual display and WHY would you even consider a 32 bit OS?
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Best solution

June 27, 2014 2:53:31 AM

I know it is a bit over your budget but hear me out.

[PCPartPicker part list](http://pcpartpicker.com/p/zffTzy) / [Price breakdown by merchant](http://pcpartpicker.com/p/zffTzy/by_merchant/)

Type|Item|Price
:----|:----|:----
**CPU** | [Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/intel-cpu-bx80646g3258) | $74.99 @ Amazon
**Motherboard** | [MSI Z87-G41 PC Mate ATX LGA1150 Motherboard](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/msi-motherboard-z87g41pcma...) | $67.67 @ Newegg
**Memory** | [Corsair 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory](http://pcpartpicker.com/part/corsair-memory-cmv4gx3m2a1...) | $43.66 @ NCIX US
| | **Total**
| Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available | $186.32

1st - any type of upgrade you make - you have to buy new RAM. The one you have is DDR2 which is not longer produced. DDR4 is coming out this year, so you are pretty much outdated in that.

I know you said you preffer AMD, but considering your budget - you can only allow something like 750K. And here is a review of the Pentium vs the 750k.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pentium-g3258-overc...

The Pentium when overclocked stomps the 750k. Also the motherboard that I posted there has a very nice discount. You need a Z motherboard for Intel overclocking and a Z motherboard for 67 bucks is a steal. It is useless to upgrade your video card, since you are mainly CPU limited.

I know its hard to be a student. I had to get 2 years on a Pentium G840 (2.8 GHz, no overcloking) before I could jump to an I7. And I am doing 3D, Animation and VFX. A Pentium might be limited, but it can get your job done, even if it is slow. Cheers.

P.S Moving to a 32 bit OS will have negative impact.
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June 27, 2014 4:48:28 AM

DelroyMonjo said:
About the best you can do, given your situation, would be get an Nvidia GTX660 or a Radeon R9-270 video card. Forget the dual display and WHY would you even consider a 32 bit OS?

Because it would use less resources. (divide 4GB by 32 bits, then divide 4GB by 64 bits) but given both of your replies I see that "it will have a negative impact" although I don't understand why.
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June 27, 2014 5:06:00 AM

Wow Shneiky! Thank you for the great reply. Great article comparing the two processors. I was impressed how well the intel did. Although, they are over-clocking at 40%! That is a tad intimidating, and seems like some serious overclocking.

Should I just save up for a new rig? I don't know if I should wait until I start school, and use some of my loan money to update my system, or how I should go about this.

Now I'm thinking of selling some things I have to potentially go for a mini-itx case. It adds $40 for the case and another $40 for the MoBo.

I must admit your recommendation comes with the perk of an over-clocking adventure :) 

Thanks for the great reply. I REALLY appreciate it!
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June 27, 2014 9:51:16 AM

32 bit operating system means that the instructions send to the processor are 32 bit long. 64 bit instructions are naturally twice as long.

Lets say your CPU needs to do a bunch of stuff. 10 64 bits sets with instructions are send (each set can be multiple operations). So each sets with instructions is send in 1t (imagine t as an imaginary unit for time used just for this example) and each set is calculated in 2t. So to complete a set is 1t for travel, 2t for calculation, 1t for returning the results = 4t. Now multiply that by 10 = 40.

Now lets say you need to do the same thing with 32 bit instructions. Instead of 10 sets, we have 20 sets. And that means 1t for travel, 1t for calculation (because its half of what the 64 bit is) and 1t to return the results = 3t. But since we need to go around it 20 times the total is 60t.

Of course, this is a very abstract and not so accurate example, but I hope it helps clear it out. And on the other note - I would gather around 200 (at least, 300 preferably) bucks for a CPU, Motherboard and 8 GBs of RAM. Then I would upgrade the video card. Cheers
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