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More memory or overclock?

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February 2, 2010 2:56:26 AM

I was expecting a larger income tax return, but to adjust I'm looking to improve my system a bit at a less expensive cost.

My original intentions were to upgrade core parts from the following:

E8400 @ stock 3.0ghz
4gb 1066 DDR2
ATI 4850 512mb
150gb Raptor 10k rpm (OS/app drive)
640gb WD Blue (media)
ASUS P5Q-Deluxe
Vista 32bit

to the following:

Phenom II 955
8gb DDR3
ATI 5850 (or at least a 5770)
Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4

I'm definitely upgrading my video card regardless because it's been failing quite a bit and I think it's time. Probably gonna end up going with a 5770/5850.
I'm now wondering where the best upgradeable solution lies. Whether I should get Windows 7 64bit and another two sticks of ram (total of 8gb DDR2 1066) or if I should just buy an aftermarket CPU fan and overclock the E8400 a bit.

Wondering where I'll see a better gain with the best bang for the buck. I'm assuming the ram upgrade, but it's the costlier option.
Open to any other suggestions as well.

More about : memory overclock

a b B Homebuilt system
February 2, 2010 3:19:52 AM

4 gigs is plenty of RAM. Win7 64 is pretty good about it. Definitely overclock. If you're just after performance and not necessarily for dx11, i'd suggest the HD 4890. It seems to not be popular but you can hit up ebay for win7 keys. The one's I've gotten authenticate as expected.
February 2, 2010 2:06:05 PM

Yea, I'm not hellbent on Dx11, but I have considered being a bit more futureproofed. Not really a deal breaker though. Newegg's only 4890 left is $200 which is a bit sweeter than $300 for a 5850.
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a b B Homebuilt system
February 2, 2010 3:28:51 PM

I'd overclock that E8400 as far as you can get it. Most of them can get very close to 4Ghz without too terribly much persuasion. As far as GPU goes, I think if you can, squeak into the 5 series, but wait a bit until they correct a few issues.
February 2, 2010 8:25:02 PM

Yea, I'd ideally like to get a 5000 series, but $300 for a 5850 is gonna hurt to cough up (college is expensive lol) and I'm weary of the performance of the 5700 line. Would a 5750 or 5770 be a worthy upgrade? I'm definitely in favor of single card solutions but charts show the Crossfired 5750/5770s doing pretty well.
February 2, 2010 8:48:21 PM

Note hows hes got 4gb ram on 32bit vista, go out there and get w7 64bit for a start, then with whatever cash you have left get the best GPU you can. 8gb of ram is overkill right now except for a few tasks
February 3, 2010 12:15:53 AM

is 64bit going to increase my performance that much?...
February 3, 2010 12:19:21 AM

With 64 bit windows can actually take advantage of 4gb of ram, at the moment with 32bit its probably only actually using something around 3gb
a b B Homebuilt system
February 3, 2010 12:39:01 AM

+1 for 64bit. If you have 4 or more GB of ram, it's silly not to have x64 if you ask me. To be honest though, I'm not sure how much of a performance increase you'll see with going from a 4850 to something else in the 4 series. It will be there, but maybe not for the budget. I'd really go x64 and overclock that puppy and see where that gets you.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 3, 2010 8:05:48 PM

1. Yes, overclock the CPU. It's free.

2. 4GB of memory is plenty; no need to get 8GB until your next build

3. If you're not happy with your graphics, best thing to do is get a second 4850 and crossfire it for $100. That'll be far cheaper than any single card you can buy and should give you comparable performance.

3a. Don't worry about a DX11 card. It won't be mandatory for a while. At which point you'll probably be building a whole new machine.


Basically, I wouldn't advise spending a ton of money on this machine. It'll be good with minimal upgrades until it's time to build a whole new rig.
February 3, 2010 8:41:52 PM

I've considered crossfiring with another 4850, however, I'm not too happy with my current card. I'm pretty sure it was one of the original 4850s right after release (ASUS card with the asian warrior chick on it). It has some heat issues and I think it's attributing to persistent reboots (no BSoD or overheat warnings/errors) whenever I load up ANY game. I've wiped all my ATI drivers and started with fresh driver installs and still issues. I hadn't had this issue for over a year and a half up until about a month ago.

I know a 4850xfire solution would currently be best bang for the buck, but because I think my card has issues (and is only 512mb, I'd prefer 1gb for games like GTA4 which is a vidram hog) I'm afraid to buy a second and have it be pointless when the first fails out on me.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 3, 2010 10:14:32 PM

You could always try RMA.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 3, 2010 10:25:37 PM

One advantage to the 5 series cards though is their power consumption. Mostly why I suggested it. Those things have some fairly nice power management features built in.
a b B Homebuilt system
February 3, 2010 10:26:51 PM

dredsilver said:
I've considered crossfiring with another 4850, however, I'm not too happy with my current card. I'm pretty sure it was one of the original 4850s right after release (ASUS card with the asian warrior chick on it). It has some heat issues and I think it's attributing to persistent reboots (no BSoD or overheat warnings/errors) whenever I load up ANY game. I've wiped all my ATI drivers and started with fresh driver installs and still issues. I hadn't had this issue for over a year and a half up until about a month ago.

I know a 4850xfire solution would currently be best bang for the buck, but because I think my card has issues (and is only 512mb, I'd prefer 1gb for games like GTA4 which is a vidram hog) I'm afraid to buy a second and have it be pointless when the first fails out on me.


Bugger. I also notice that I missed the part of your first post where you say your video card was failing. So I guess that's not a very good option after all -- although before you try replacing the video card, I'd make sure to test it in another system to make sure something else isn't failing and causing your crashes (power supply jumps out as a leading contender).

At any rate ... if it does turn out to be the video card, I'd say either a) go for a 5770 and plan on crossfiring it eventually if you keep it, or b) Get a 5750 as a cheaper option, with the understanding that you may well need to replace it in your next machine. But I think a 58xx is going to be the worst of both worlds -- too expensive to be worth it right now, but there will be better things on the market when it's time to build a new machine.

But definitely check the power supply before spending money on a card. What are the specs/brand on the PSU, by the way?
February 3, 2010 11:39:29 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

@jack_attack: not too worried about power consumption... 700w PSU overdoes it as it is. my case heat isn't too bad either.

@capt_taco: the PSU failing would make sense, because I really don't know why all of a sudden I started getting reboots (but it's only during games? any thoughts?). I'll try swapping it out for another one and see if I get similar results. I'll test the 4850 in another box as well before moving on to probably a 5770 which should yield pretty good performance with a bit of futureproofing available if i want to crossfire it in several months.
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