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What to upgrade advice please

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July 26, 2009 2:24:25 AM

I built myself a pc last year Specs are :

ASUS P5B Socket 775 Core 2 ready P965 chipset onboard audio ATX Motherboard
Intel Pentium Dual Core E2180 2GHz
Corsair 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 XMS2 Memory
Point Of View 8800GT 512Mb
Seagate ST3250410AS 250GB Hard Drive
650W Modular PSU - 20+4pin 4/8pin ATX12V, PCI-E, 3x SATA
Coolermaster Elite 330 Black Mid Tower Case

Ive been having horrible performance in games (demigod, wow, C&C3 ect.) scince the build yet i can't quite figure out what is wrong, the only thing that i havn't changed round is the PSU (extra value, had one die on me already and RMAed) and seeing as it is my birthday next week my wife has given me a bit of cash as a birthday prezzy to upgrade my pc a bit :D 

So What parts would you upgrade if you were me? i only have a little over £200 to spend so can't go mad.

The problems ive been having in games is horrible artifacting and Crashes to desktop and really bad hitching

Overall this whole system has been horrible since the beginning (i think it stems from the mobo, its really bad and bought under advice from a tech forum too :(  bah) and have been considering selling it for parts to a friend and doing a complete rebuild,

Any advice would be more then welcome

More about : upgrade advice

July 26, 2009 3:29:37 AM

playing most things at 1440 x 900 but have 22" monitor that supports 1650 x 1080, the thing plays fine most of the time then i get some artifacts, then the hitching comes in then CtoD happens from a cold boot or after the pc has been on for 3 days. its very random.

I have an Arctic Cooling AC-FRZ-7P Freezer 7 Pro CPU cooler so dont need to buy anything else, also this board don't support DDR2 1066 iirc, i have an overclock on it atm, its running at 3Ghz but i turned that off for ages to see if that was the cause, and it didnt make a blind bit of difference.

Would going for a phenom II X4 955 with mobo be a wise choice as this is well in my price range
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a b B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2009 3:45:12 AM

well if you are getting artifacts its a sign your GPU is overheating which is likely caused by the fact that your case only has one fan, you may want to spend the remaining 56 to get a better ventilated case.
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...
Get a couple extra 120mm fans for the front of it and you can push 200 CFM through it easily.

Unfortunately a Phenom II 955 appears to cost ~150, im sure you can find them cheaper but combine that with an AM3 motherboard and DDR3 ram and you are likely somewhere around 300, but either way you should get a better ventilated case.

The 1066MHz ram will worst case downclock itself to 800MHz with better timings, but you dont save too much by getting 800MHz ram as 1066MHz ram is almost as cheap, best case you can overclock it a bit.
July 26, 2009 4:03:00 AM

Go to www.cpuid.com and download hardware monitor and install. Take a screenshot and post the pic or link here so we can determine if your system is overheating. A low grade psu can cause similar problems so let's rule out overheating 1st.

Definitely get a good core 2 processor. The CPU you have is pretty good but the 1mb cache holds it back a bit imo.
July 26, 2009 4:27:27 AM

i just had a test with rivatuner, i thought about it ages ago that the gfx card could be overheating, so i have had the fan duty cycle set at 85% since then, playing wow with ultra settings with 8x multisampling in maximised windowed mode @1650x1080 (to give it an accelerated test) my gpu temp only rose to 65 degrees (idle temp atm is 56 degrees, Ambiant temp is 49 degrees) though it wasnt an extended test i just put it in the most graphicaly demanding place in the game (crystalsong woods) and spun my mouse round for around 5 minutes.

As i said before though the "weirdness" happens randomly, can happen 2 minutes after a cold boot or after 4 hours of raiding. i dont think its an overheating problem tbh as i can constantly feel cold air coming out of the mesh front of the case, and if i can help it i would rather spend the money on some hardware then a case, as i belive this one is functioning properly, though i will do some more testing to be sure.

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2009 4:30:58 AM

There is no sense in upgrading until you can fix your vga problem.

Heat is a likely cause.
To see if better case cooling can help, open up the side door, and direct a house fan at the innards. If the problem is lessened, then try to add a intake fan to the front of the case.
You could replace the stock cooler with a EVGA AKIMBO cooler.

Is the fan turning at the appropriate speed?

Another possibility is the psu. 650 watts from a poor quality unit may not be enough.

Possibly the card needs a bios update. Research that.

I presume you have updated vga drivers.

It is also possible that the card is bad and needs to be returned.

When you fix the graphics, the first thing I would update is to go to 4gb.
July 26, 2009 4:32:45 AM



there is something not quite right here
a b B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2009 4:39:11 AM

Oh dear, can you do me a favor and check the voltages in bios, HW monitor is usually pretty accurate, but i want confirmation as to whether your 12volt rail is really running at almost 13volts if so you should factor a PSU into the upgrades.
July 26, 2009 4:39:55 AM

geofelt said:
There is no sense in upgrading until you can fix your vga problem.

Heat is a likely cause.
To see if better case cooling can help, open up the side door, and direct a house fan at the innards. If the problem is lessened, then try to add a intake fan to the front of the case.
You could replace the stock cooler with a EVGA AKIMBO cooler.

Is the fan turning at the appropriate speed?

Another possibility is the psu. 650 watts from a poor quality unit may not be enough.

Possibly the card needs a bios update. Research that.

I presume you have updated vga drivers.

It is also possible that the card is bad and needs to be returned.

When you fix the graphics, the first thing I would update is to go to 4gb.


If i take the side off the case, it goes very wobbly so im loath to do that, but when i have taken it off in the past (1 week ago was most recent) it was quite cool inside, cooler then the outside ambient temp anyway

The fan does ramp up and down when i adjust it in riva tuner, (have just turned it down by 35% and its now silent i feel like i have gone deaf :p )

i have not looked for a bios update for my video card in a while, but i did check 2-3 months back when i was updating my mobo bios and point of view had not released one then, will check after this post

i have the latest nvidia drivers

the card could be bad, and if that is the case i will get a HD4890
July 26, 2009 4:44:53 AM

hunter315 said:
Oh dear, can you do me a favor and check the voltages in bios, HW monitor is usually pretty accurate, but i want confirmation as to whether your 12volt rail is really running at almost 13volts if so you should factor a PSU into the upgrades.


just rebooted into the bios and im getting 12.193V along the 12V and with the discrepency with rivatuner's temp reading and hardware monitors reading im not sure what to make of that
July 26, 2009 5:14:44 AM

i had a look around and i can't find an offical bios update for my card and im not going to risk one from another vendor, but while searching i found quite a few people posting in forums with a very similar problem to what i am having, bad performance, artifacting and CtoD or even BSoD (though thankfully ive not seen one of them in a long time :) ) i might have to think about getting a new card afterall
July 26, 2009 5:37:25 AM

also another question regarding this system, if i was to buy this memory package, would i still be able to use my current ram? it has the same voltages/timings and vendor, though the sticks are 2gb each and the ones i have at the moment are 1Gb each
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 26, 2009 6:43:20 PM

adders0208 said:
also another question regarding this system, if i was to buy this memory package, would i still be able to use my current ram? it has the same voltages/timings and vendor, though the sticks are 2gb each and the ones i have at the moment are 1Gb each

It should work. I think the modules are the same, excepting the fancier heat spreader. Unless you have a 64 bit OS, you will only be able to use 4gb. To be absolutely certain, go to the corsair web site, and access their configurator. Enter your mobo, and you should get a list of compatible parts.
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