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What is wrong with my rig?

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October 29, 2009 9:55:02 AM

I'm curious as to what is wrong with my current rig apart from that its now 3 years old (ish) looking for a big performance increase so i can play the big new games coming up (Dragon Age: Origins, Crysis 2, Mass Effect 2 etc)
Basic Current System Spec
Intel Core2 Duo 6600 @ 2.4ghz
2 GB of 3200
GeForce 7950GX 2
all running on Windows XP

Have been told that a new hard drive is gonna make a big improvement but im struggling to understand other than a faster RPM (currently on 7200 SATA Drive)how a new HD will make any difference, will be soon upgrading Memory to 4gb with windows 7 but looking to make the changes to run things generally a whole lot better. please pick holes in where i am going wrong as have had to play Crysis in minimum graphics to get a playable framerate!

More about : wrong rig

October 29, 2009 10:24:30 AM

Your hard drive is not the problem, whoever told you that is a moron :) 
While your RAM is rather slow, your main problem is your graphics card. Its ancient! Look at any of the recent graphics card roundups on TH and you will notice that your card's series isnt even on there because its too old and low end. If its not on the charts, it has no hopes of playing any of the new games.

So uh yea, you need a new graphics card to play the games, and faster RAM would all around be beneficial (assuming you can upgrade to DDR2 or DDR3)
October 29, 2009 10:43:06 AM

I agree with snurp. The person who said replacing the hard drive is either a moron or stoned.

At this point, the $$$ to gain ratio of a CPU upgrade isn't worth it, save that money towards when you upgrade to a different platform (like i5/i7). Faster RAM would help a bit and if done soon, won't be that big a bite out of the wallet.

Video card is a major concern is games these days and that investment is usually worth it, even if replacing system soon as you will probably be able to take video card to new system.
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October 29, 2009 10:45:49 AM

Thanks guys really big help so far! have been looking at GPU's and could use some advice here aswell! thought this look ok but unsure lol looking at christmas budgets so graphics card about £150 ish guessing il need new PSU for that? and any1 no of any software that will tell me best memory my mobo will take?
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/175985/show_product_overv...
October 29, 2009 10:48:54 AM

Can't say if you'll need a new PSU as you didn't list what your old one is.

I usually use the scanner at www.crucial.com for a quick check of memory specs when I don't know the mobo details. Otherwise, when possible, I like to check the motherboard specs (and compatible memory list) at the mobo's website.
October 29, 2009 10:50:09 AM

PSU is old! lol erm 350 watter i believe!
October 29, 2009 10:51:51 AM

A new hard drive will not make your computer game any better.
A faster GPU, more RAM (not even faster, just more) and overclocking your CPU will.

I would probably start by overclocking the Q6600.
You should be able to get 3Ghz out of it quite easily, quite a bit more if you have a good heat sink on it.
While this will not give you massive performance gains with your current GPU, it is a free upgrade that will allow you to push a new, more powerful, GPU.
For more information on overclocking your CPU, read through the Core 2 Overclocking Sticky.

RAM is cheap.
I would recommend upgrading to 4Gb from your current two.
The speed of said RAM is not as important as the amount of it.
In most real world situations, the Core 2 arch is not very dependent on how fast the RAM is.
As long as there is enough for the applications you are using, you would only see a few % increase in performance using high speed RAM over low speed.
That being said, if you plan on reusing your current RAM make sure the new RAM's speed, timings and voltage match.

Defiantly the biggest bottleneck on your system is your ancient 7950x2.
It is extremely weak by today's standards, roughly matching a 4650 DDR3 for performance.
This is the weak spot you need to upgrade in order to get good gaming performance.
What is your budget and at what resolution do you plan on gaming?
Also, please post your PSU's brand, wattage and +12v amperage.
October 29, 2009 10:53:33 AM

YEah, you'll be wanting to bump that too. But again, like the video card that's another part that you'll probably be able to carry over to a new system so it's not like you'll be dumping money into a machine who is near end of life. just save your old parts so that when you do build a new rig, you have these extra parts still around to get the old machine running again for another purpose. Like a media server or something.
October 29, 2009 10:57:04 AM

erm monitor is a Dell 24" trucolor running at 1920x1200 so try and game as close to that as possible as not alot supports such a resolutiona s to power supply will take the side of the case off and look but pretty sure its gonna need replacing

Other thing i should add is i do run 2 monitors the deel one as a main and a little 17" viewsonic

PSU is a HIPER 330 watt with 22a @ 12v
October 29, 2009 11:14:38 AM

Well, this thread was busy while I was typing!

Yes, you will defiantly need a new PSU.
If you get the 5770, you will need a 450w+ PSU.
If you decide on a different GPU, make sure and check how powerful of a GPU is recommend.
I would highly recommend getting a quality Corsair, PCP&C, Seasonic or Antec Earthwatts PSU.
Be aware that a low quality PSU will have a difficult time outputting any where close to it's rated power and may cause damage to the rest if the system if it fails.

To check what RAM your motherboard supports, either use CPUz or check the manufacturers product page for your motherboard.
Odds are DDR2 800 is what you need.

The 5770 is a good card that performs massively better than your current GPU but it will still struggle with those games at that resolution.
You would probably be better served with a more expensive 58x0 or possibly, if you can wait for a while, nVidia's next generation card.
Another option to bring your performance up would be to CrossFire a second 5770 at a later date.
This would not only require a CrossFire compatible motherboard but also a 600w+ PSU.

Running two displays will not be an issue with any newer card.
Worst case, you may need to dissable it in the control pannel before starting to game.
October 29, 2009 11:20:00 AM

Right well found thanks to the crucial website that the mobo will take 8gb of DDR2 PC8500 so big grin there so curretnly looking at 4gb of that about £80, new PSU havent looked yet but guessing £60? leave about £150-£200 for new GPU suggestions for all welcome!

Also another post just sed that my mother board may not support the really new cards and bottleneck them any idea if this is going to be the case?

Motherboard in questions is MSI (Micro Star) MS-7246 (975X Platinum)
a b B Homebuilt system
October 29, 2009 6:14:06 PM

http://us.msi.com/index.php?func=proddesc&maincat_no=1&...
You Motherboard has a PCIE x16 slot. It should be fine.

Your biggest problem right now is having a high resolution monitor and a very weak grahics card. A new 5770 or even 5750 (plus a new PSU with a 6 pin pcie cable to power it) will be a huge improvement, though it still wont play at the highest levels. Crysis is possibly the most demanding game ever made. To be able to play it at the highest graphics levels you need an expensive top of the line system.
October 29, 2009 9:06:15 PM

Ok been really looking into this graphics stuff and some big surprises have hit me....bar DX11 and Eyefinity the 4890 seems to be a better card than the 5770?! for me the 5850 is nice but more money than i am willing to part with, now do i take lesser performance in the short term in hope of better long term DX11 performance with a 5770 or play it better now with a 4890?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 29, 2009 9:39:55 PM

Joker1067 said:
Ok been really looking into this graphics stuff and some big surprises have hit me....bar DX11 and Eyefinity the 4890 seems to be a better card than the 5770?! for me the 5850 is nice but more money than i am willing to part with, now do i take lesser performance in the short term in hope of better long term DX11 performance with a 5770 or play it better now with a 4890?
I believe you have a perfect understanding of the situation. When the 5830/5790 comes out sometime in the next year I think it will be an easier question.
October 29, 2009 9:47:11 PM

ok then gonna go with the 4890 now i have the choice of 2! but at least the choices r getting smaller, Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X 2048MB or a 1024MB version anyone know if these come overclocked or if il need to tinker myself? as im happy for someone else to do it and provide a warrenty to say its works this hard but not to do it myself, overcook it and it to pop in my face, also have seen some notes about it getting quite hot any1 no if a standard cooling setup IE standard fans no extra cooling will handle this card?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 29, 2009 10:56:18 PM

Overclocking graphics cards will likely get you a 5% increase at most so its not a necessity. Rivatuner software will make it a couple of sliders in a window to overclock and monitor the temperature.

VaporX seems to be a good cooling system that would make use of cool air coming from a front fan (if your case has any). It also expels warm air out a back vent instead of just churning it around inside the case which is a big deal. It also would probably pull air in a side vent if your case has one.

Going up to 2GB wont give you much benefit, even the almighty 5870s only have 1GB.
October 30, 2009 12:19:22 AM

All of these changes to graphics cards and memory upgrades nets you nothing unless you upgrade you operating system to something like Windows 7 64 bit. XP is limited to addressing 3GB at the most so upgrading to 4GB get you at best 1 more GB and video cards with more memory will not do anything for you unless you OS can address all that RAM.

Upgrade your OS, get more RAM, upgrade your power supply and then get a 5700 or 5800 series video card. See if your motherboard can crossfire or SLI. ATI gives you good value right now but SLI scales better than crossfire.

If your hard drive is old, slow full etc then by all means get a new HD. That recommendation is not bad at all. The hard drive is the slowest subsystem in a computer so upgrading that will make games, apps and the OS faster.

With anything go with a balanced setup. Doing all the above first before you overclock and when you do overclock have the cooling solution you need like extra fans for your case and a better CPU thermal solution than what you have now.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2009 3:58:36 PM

I agree that with XP you dont need and wont get much benefit from more RAM. I just took a 1GB RAM P4 system and replaced its old Radeon 9250 with a 9800 GTX+; In DDO it went from a painful 20-40FPS at minimum settings to a pleasant 60-100FPS at high settings.
October 30, 2009 5:30:39 PM

ok thanks guys uv been great almost there now am just 1 sandwich sort of my ideal picnic

4890 HD Radeon
4GB Corsair DDR2 8500 @1066mhz
now just need a new PSU think i should be fine on a 450 or 500 watter anyone have any recommendations for one over the other? will have the GPU a SATA HD and an old backup ATA old creative Sound card, a dvd drive and a cd burner (i no old school right?) but i get out of my depth with connectors how many i need which brand is best etc etc etc so some last ditch advice would be great and on the OS front will be running windows 7 64bit so will be fine on memory

Lastly on the GPU will i get my moneys worth out of the 2gb graphics card as its only £20 extra? from wot you were saying i would have thought no but for £20??? Thanks again as you have really made all this easy
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2009 5:36:23 PM

XP is only going to let you use 4GB RAM combined between the system and GPU. If you get a 2 GB graphics card your system will only use 2GB if the motherboard RAM.
October 30, 2009 5:38:37 PM

to reitterate will updating to Windows 7 64bit and still curious on the PSU front and seen as an XFX 1gb card is about £140 and the 2gb sapphire Vapour X is £165 due to my resolution is it worth the money or will i not see enough bang for my buck?
October 30, 2009 7:10:49 PM

If your monitor is more than 30" then 2Gb is worth it. But on this time, it's not worth it. Even vapour X unless you want to overclock.
October 31, 2009 8:54:43 AM

PSU, go for quality over wattage and single 12V rails if you can. The Corsairs are nice in my opinion but there are probably cheaper alternatives that might be just as good. Their HX series have modular connectors so it can keep the cable clutter down. A 500-600W power supply should work fine for you.

Your gaming in a HD resolution but would you ever game in a multi-monitor setup? If so go for the Sapphire, it is not that much more. For 25£ more you get an extra 1GB of video RAM.

Do you plan on overclocking or going with a processor upgrade?

October 31, 2009 9:06:13 AM

Erm was looking at an OCZ Silent 500W PSU no dont game in multi monitor so going with the XFX card and am gonna leave the processor for the time being and see how i go
!