Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

CPU vs RAM upgrade

Last response: in Systems
Share
May 6, 2010 8:54:42 PM

So I was trolling google a little earlier and came across some answers on Yahoo! answers about this question, but then I said, "wait a minute, I think the trolls at tomshardware would be a little more knowledgable than yahoo answers trolls".

anyway, so my question is whether i should spend the money to upgrade my ram or my cpu first...

i have 2gb of ddr 800 mhz ram right now, and would upgrade to 4gb.
also i have a 3800+ am2 processor, oc'ed to 2.4ghz

i do a lot of gaming, so basically, is my 2gb of 800mhz ram bottlenecking my system or is my 2.4ghz am2 processor?...

More about : cpu ram upgrade

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 6, 2010 8:56:10 PM

To answer that, we really need to know all of your specs. If you're trying to use a large GPU with that CPU and RAM, then just upgrading one won't likely match the GPU's potential. Ir you're using an older card, it's unlikely that either is the bottleneck.
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2010 8:57:40 PM

If you could provide some more information, it would be helpful. Full system specs would be ideal, but at minimum, what graphics card you have, what resolution you're gaming at, and what games you play.
m
0
l
Related resources
May 6, 2010 8:59:26 PM

1680x1050 is my resolution, i usually have to tune it down to 1400x900 although

i do have a pretty big vid card, an hd4870 1gb

ummm, also got a new 1TB sata hard drive...
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 6, 2010 9:15:23 PM

That's not a big video card in the grand scheme of things. That said, you're definitely being bottlenecked by that CPU.

How much are you looking to spend on an upgrade? If you've got around $300, you can get a great AM3 base (X3 440 and Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus, Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 (non-Crossfire), G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 or X3 425, Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 (Crossfire) and same RAM). If you've got less than that, I'd save up for the new parts because anything that would work in that board would be a waste of money.
m
0
l
May 6, 2010 9:36:56 PM

idk... it is a a780fullhd so it is am2/am2+/am3 compatible... i wouldn't need to splurge on a whole new mobo... and from what i've read about ddr3, its not that great of an investment as of now
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 6, 2010 9:47:23 PM

DDR3 isn't a great investment right now? Seriously? DDR3 is the mainstream tech right now. I wouldn't spend anything else on the dead DDR2, and certainly wouldn't consider building something that didn't use DDR3.
m
0
l

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
May 6, 2010 10:09:52 PM

DDR3 isn't a huge upgrade from DDR2 as far as overall performance goes. However, for any new system, you should really go with DDR3. DDR2 is starting to get more expensive now that it's no longer mainstream for new builds.

I'm with MadAdmiral, it looks like the CPU is probably what's holding you back. I'd recommend upgrading that first, then the RAM, and last GPU. The 4870 is decent, though like DDR2, isn't something that one would choose to build a new system around. (I realize you're not doing that, you're upgrading, just pointing it out.)

Let's get back to the original question. What's your budget for this upgrade? That will heavily influence recommendations on upgrading.
Share
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 6, 2010 10:10:01 PM

If you are running XP, you need a faster processor, positive absolutely for sure.

If you are running Vista or Win 7, you need a faster processor positive absolutely for sure, and some more memory would not hurt.

For your video card, to really get the most out of it, you need a processor running at 3ghz. (or more)
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 6, 2010 11:29:47 PM

^False. You can get the most out of the GPU as long as you're running a somewhat decent CPU. You don't need to have a 3 GHz clock speed to max out the GPU, you likely just need more cores. Yes, a little more speed will help, but the X3 425 (2.7 GHz) is plenty of CPU power to make ANY GPU the bottleneck in gaming. It's only having two cores which is the problem right now.
m
0
l
May 7, 2010 3:13:08 AM

coldsleep said:
DDR3 isn't a huge upgrade from DDR2 as far as overall performance goes. However, for any new system, you should really go with DDR3. DDR2 is starting to get more expensive now that it's no longer mainstream for new builds.

I'm with MadAdmiral, it looks like the CPU is probably what's holding you back. I'd recommend upgrading that first, then the RAM, and last GPU. The 4870 is decent, though like DDR2, isn't something that one would choose to build a new system around. (I realize you're not doing that, you're upgrading, just pointing it out.)

Let's get back to the original question. What's your budget for this upgrade? That will heavily influence recommendations on upgrading.


yea, i have been looking at ddr2 prices lately and they seem more expensive than i remember, haha...

ok, well i should be getting vacation pay relatively soon, and will have around 300-400 dollars to play with i think (if i want to spend the entire bonus)

the mobo is relatively new, but i guess i better go ahead and nab a new one that is compatible with ddr3 (since it seems the price difference is moot).
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 4:24:08 AM

MadAdmiral said:
^False. You can get the most out of the GPU as long as you're running a somewhat decent CPU. You don't need to have a 3 GHz clock speed to max out the GPU, you likely just need more cores. Yes, a little more speed will help, but the X3 425 (2.7 GHz) is plenty of CPU power to make ANY GPU the bottleneck in gaming. It's only having two cores which is the problem right now.


Frys just last week had a Phenom X6 and GA-890GPA-UD3H Crossfire board combo deal for $250.
They also, at the same time had a Phenom X4 945 with a MSI 790X -G45 Crossfire board for $138.


If you cannot afford these kind of prices, for FAST processors on very NICE boards, then buy all means get your 2.7 ghz disabled core X3.
Be sure to pick up a nice ECS motherboard to put it all on.
m
0
l
May 7, 2010 5:22:01 AM

Best answer selected by jgoette.
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2010 6:04:24 AM

Madadmiral's suggested upgrade above is quite good. If you end up with closer to $400, you could look at getting a Phenom II X4 955 for a little more performance over the Athlon II X3.

Or you could drop the extra $100 on buying Windows 7 OEM 64-bit, if you don't have a retail copy of Windows on your current machine.
m
0
l
May 7, 2010 4:16:32 PM

jitpublisher said:
Frys just last week had a Phenom X6 and GA-890GPA-UD3H Crossfire board combo deal for $250.
They also, at the same time had a Phenom X4 945 with a MSI 790X -G45 Crossfire board for $138.


If you cannot afford these kind of prices, for FAST processors on very NICE boards, then buy all means get your 2.7 ghz disabled core X3.
Be sure to pick up a nice ECS motherboard to put it all on.


man those sound like good deals, but i just looked at fry's site and it gave me a headache...

estores like this really need to invest in a good web designer... newegg can teach people a lot.
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 4:21:18 PM

@jtt: I hate to break it to you, but the X6 is a horrible waste of money for gaming. The review showed that it only barely equaled the X4 in games.

Also, the X3s are very fast CPUs. If you read the monthly "Best Gaming CPUs for the Money", you'd see that the X3 425 and X3 440 are recommend above CPUs costing nearly twice their prcie. Once you stick a good HSF on them, unlock the foruth core (which is very common) and overclock them, they become just as good as the X4 955 at about half the cost. I fail to see the reason to waste money by getting a more powerful CPU if you don't need to or must cut something else to afford it...
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
May 7, 2010 4:24:51 PM

For gaming, very few games currently use more than 2 cores. Therefore, an X3 is a perfectly fine choice, while an X6 won't use most of its cores. The X6 would be great for audio/video work, but for gaming, you're better off getting a faster processor with fewer cores. Some benchmarks have shown that 3 cores actually provide better performance in games than 4 cores, but I'm guessing that's due to normal variation, and they perform the same.

The point of getting an X3 on the cheap with a good motherboard now is that if games suddenly need more cores within the next year or two, you could upgrade to an X4 or an X6 at that point.

And yes, pretty much everyone other than newegg has terrible web design.
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 5:09:17 PM

jgoette said:
man those sound like good deals, but i just looked at fry's site and it gave me a headache...

estores like this really need to invest in a good web designer... newegg can teach people a lot.



That is the great part, Frys is a retail store, I ordered the x6 combo for a friend, set it for store pickup, drove down and picked it up in person Monday evening.
m
0
l
May 7, 2010 5:15:17 PM

ah, well, no Frys in south carolina :( 

not driving to GA either =P
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 5:25:19 PM

MadAdmiral said:
@jtt: I hate to break it to you, but the X6 is a horrible waste of money for gaming. The review showed that it only barely equaled the X4 in games.

Also, the X3s are very fast CPUs. If you read the monthly "Best Gaming CPUs for the Money", you'd see that the X3 425 and X3 440 are recommend above CPUs costing nearly twice their prcie. Once you stick a good HSF on them, unlock the foruth core (which is very common) and overclock them, they become just as good as the X4 955 at about half the cost. I fail to see the reason to waste money by getting a more powerful CPU if you don't need to or must cut something else to afford it...



You call 250 bucks for a 6 core processor that will overclock to 3.4 ghz very easily, and a pretty decent Gigabyte crossfire board a horrible waste of money? Or a 3.2 ghz quad on again, a pretty decent MSI Crossfire board for a measly pitiful $138 a waste of money?
Holy cow, what would you consider a bargain? Do you like collect aluminum cans or depend on an allowance for a living?
While I do understand that not everyone is swimming in cash these days, these prices are so low if you are looking for an AMD upgrade, you can do really, really well for not much money.

Unfortunately, (for some odd reason, cannot figure out why) these are now all sold out and they have removed the adds from their site yesterday.
I should have bought 2 of the 6X deals.
If someone could afford a 4870, I would think their budget is not all that tight that you had to settle for less when you could get so much more.

But we have all agreed on the most important thing here, his current processor is a problem for what he is doing. It needs to be upgraded.
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 5:33:41 PM

If the purpose is GAMING, yes the X6 is a waste. You can get the X4 955 and a great board for less WHICH WILL PERFORM THE SAME IN GAME. And frankly, it's a moot point since the deal ISN'T AVAILABLE.

I didn't say anything about the X4 955 and MSI being a waste. I do think that MSI board isn't very high quality, but it's a good price (assuming the below).

I do have to question the prices listed though. With the X6 combo, you'd be getting a very new board and CPU for less than the price of the CPU. Are you sure that wasn't $350? Or was it the X6 1055? The second deal is just not possible. The X4 is $160 by itself. I can hardly see how anyone can sell it with a board for $30 less than the CPU itself. Are you sure you didn't mean to say it was $260? If those prices are right, they probably removed the deals because they were either posted in error or they realized they were losing money on the sales.
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 5:37:17 PM

jgoette said:
ah, well, no Frys in south carolina :( 

not driving to GA either =P



:lol:  I am kind of lucky, I have a Frys about 1 hour away down in Oregon.
Used to live in Huntington Beach, CA 2 Frys and a Microcenter about 15 minutes from me.
Micorcenter has some really good stuff on sale all the time as well.
Check them out online, maybe there is one of them close to you?
Sometimes they have some unbelievable processor buys, mostly these are in-store only, but you never know.
But watch them if you are in the mood to upgrade as well, even if you have to order.
I like to browse Newegg, but everything I have ever bought in the past 7 or 8 years has come from Frys or Microcenter when it was on sale.
I bought my 8800GTS 512 G92 OC card about 2 1/2 years ago not long after they came out at Frys for $169. (everyone else was selling them for $249-$289 at the time)
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 5:58:20 PM

MadAdmiral said:
If the purpose is GAMING, yes the X6 is a waste. You can get the X4 955 and a great board for less WHICH WILL PERFORM THE SAME IN GAME. And frankly, it's a moot point since the deal ISN'T AVAILABLE.

I didn't say anything about the X4 955 and MSI being a waste. I do think that MSI board isn't very high quality, but it's a good price (assuming the below).

I do have to question the prices listed though. With the X6 combo, you'd be getting a very new board and CPU for less than the price of the CPU. Are you sure that wasn't $350? Or was it the X6 1055? The second deal is just not possible. The X4 is $160 by itself. I can hardly see how anyone can sell it with a board for $30 less than the CPU itself. Are you sure you didn't mean to say it was $260? If those prices are right, they probably removed the deals because they were either posted in error or they realized they were losing money on the sales.


 fficial&client=firefox-a" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.google.com/search?q=Frys+6x+and+gigabyte+boa...
Scroll down to about the 4th link, it mentions the add right there on the google page. I bought this combo for a friend, it definitely was real, wish now I would have bought me one too, I waited too long though thinking about it so it appears
Here is/was the x4 945 on the MSI board. It was actually only $130, but it did have a$10 rebate on it.
These were most real and available.
http://www.frys-electronics-ads.com/ads/2010/04/30/4778...


All I really mean is if you watch, you can find some good deals.
But getting back to our original difference of opinion here. I say if you want to game, and you have a 4870, you want a 3ghz quad. And that is simply how I feel. Is it bad advice, no it is not. Can you go with less, sure. Can you go with less and really save any significant amount money? Not in my opinion, not what I consider significant anyway. To others maybe 20 or 30 bucks is a big deal. But if you could afford a 4870, and you bought it say a year ago, your budget surely is not that limited. Maybe it is?
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 6:00:04 PM

Links don't work.

Except that the difference from the X6 deal isn't $20-30. It can be up to $100 (GA-770-UD3) or more like $60 (GA-790XTA-UD4). I consider that to be a significant amount, espeically when you won't notice a difference.
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 6:05:34 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Links don't work.

Except that the difference from the X6 deal isn't $20-30. It can be up to $100 (GA-770-UD3) or more like $60 (GA-790XTA-UD4). I consider that to be a significant amount, espeically when you won't notice a difference.

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/1003003/

What about the $130 x4 and MSI board. Just how much more expensive is that?
Don't feel too bad, you just have to look around to find great deal like this, I think this link will work.
http://www.frys-electronics-ads.com/ads/2010/04/30/4778...
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 6:18:56 PM

Strictly from a price perspective, the X4/MSI deal isn't too bad. However, the MSI board has several problems, the least of which is lower quality. Here's what the board is missing (many of which are critical):

No USB 3/SATA III support
No IEEE ports
No e-SATA ports
No onboard 1394
It only supports 8 GB of RAM max (most support 16 GB)
Fewer RAID choices (the MSI is missing RAID 5 support)
Poor overclocking potential (it can only use RAM up to 1200 mhz, which is pitiful)

That's a lot of negatives.

Oh, by the way, add another $15 onto the savings. The 790XTA-UD4 dropped to $110 after rebate. I was using $125 for the price.
m
0
l
a b B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 6:36:38 PM

Well, I wouldn't say all those are negatives, it is as you said, what your needs are.
I don't need raid, IEEE, esata, or 1394. I get along fine with 4 gig of memory, and as you yourself keep stating, this is for gaming only, so anything more is a waste...right?
If you drop in a 3 ghz X4 processor, do you really need to overclock?
Lets stop now, okay?

Anyway, I do happen to have a very similar MA790X UD4P, and I really like it.
m
0
l
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b à CPUs
May 7, 2010 6:41:08 PM

I'll give you that on the ports and RAID, but the amount of RAM could become a hinderance down the road, but I agree it's not that likely until the build is possibly repurposed. The overclocking is a MAJOR flaw, as right now you might not need a faster CPU, but for longevity you certainly will. At that point the flaw will cost you money.

I do think we've had enough of this as well, but it's good to get the facts out there...
m
0
l
!