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Worth it to upgrade if so what?

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August 6, 2010 1:45:17 AM

For starters here is my current system:

Windows XP Pro SP3
Abit IP35-E mobo
E6550 Core 2 duo 2.33GHz CPU
Asus GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB Video Card
2Gb Corsair XM2 DDR2 Ram
Maxtor SATA2 300G HD
Samsung Syncmaster 206BW monitor - max res 1680x1050
using the built in sound/lan/usb on the mobo
500W max (408W 12V) PSU - came in altec case

I built this rig a couple years ago for WoW, and spent a little extra to reach specs for the Starcraft 2 trailer I saw when buying it. Actually got pretty close considering the games release was 2-3 years in the future. Rec. specs for SC2 are Vista/7, dual core 2.4Ghz, 2Gb ram, 512mb 8800 gtx. I have played WoW with no problems except I have to run graphics on lower settings or I get lag and and choppy effects. SC2 is crashing though I'm really not convinced its a hardware problem. I have gotten it to run stable for periods but only when graphics settings are as low as possible. I kind of feal like this setup should be better, but I dunno. I want to run WoW with better graphics (doesn't seem too far fetched maybe even ultra?) and SC2 atleast on normal.

So onto the questions I have, would any one inexpensive upgrade be worth it? I'm talking maybe $200 but might be willing to upgrade a paycheck at a time if need be. Was thinking of a video card in the 1gb range but not sure I have the ram or psu for it. I was looking into a radeon 5770 but I'm not a fan of ATI and the whole catalyst program seemed to cause alot of headaches on my last system(maybe they've figured it out since then?). The other option I was looking at is the GTS 250 but with no DX11 support how long is it gonna be good for? Also what do you think of the CPU, worth looking into there? I think I'd have to go with a new mobo to get anything current correct? And about DDR2 ram, I was told the 2 slots need to be a matching set is that true of all 4 slots or just 2 the same and other 2 the same? And to top it all of just a curious question, why does DXdiag say my card is 512mb when it says 256 on the card label and the box, did they mix it up or what?

More about : worth upgrade

August 6, 2010 3:28:19 AM

you need two upgrades. for $200 you could look for a CPU upgrade at $100 and a GTS250. that will let you play SC2 & WoW with no issues.

2GB RAM is fine for XP, if you plan to go to Win7 then upgrade to 4GB.
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August 6, 2010 7:39:56 AM

Your motherboard supports the latest socket 775 CPUs, which are excellent unless you really want to take the price hit for an icore system.

Where will you be buying from? This matters as some places (like microcenters) have extremely good prices but are only available in limited areas.

I wouldn't worry too much about DX11 unless you intend to keep your current setup for a long time. Even DX10 is just starting to take off now. And I don't know of a game yet that doesn't support DX9.

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

Best bang for dollar CPU that should keep up with anything that doesn't need a quadcore.

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

A couple of budget options. The 9800GT performs a bit worse than the 4850, depending on games. I'm not too sure specific to Stracraft 2.

If you want to approach your budget more, it is well worth it to get a GTS250 as CT said. I think it performs about the same as a 4850. There's even 1GB versions of the card for rather good prices:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...$100%20-%20$200

And about DDR2 ram, I was told the 2 slots need to be a matching set is that true of all 4 slots or just 2 the same and other 2 the same?
In order to take advantage of the small performance gain of dual channel memory, yes. And no, just the matching slots need to be the same.

DXdiag say my card is 512mb when it says 256 on the card label and the box, did they mix it up or what?
That is interesting. Have you tried any other programs? What information does the nvidia control panel give about your card?
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August 6, 2010 3:19:57 PM

I would also be thinking about replacing that PSU...
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August 7, 2010 9:46:22 AM

LazloZ28 said:
And about DDR2 ram, I was told the 2 slots need to be a matching set is that true of all 4 slots or just 2 the same and other 2 the same? And to top it all of just a curious question, why does DXdiag say my card is 512mb when it says 256 on the card label and the box, did they mix it up or what?



Well i can tell you that matching the Ram in the same channel is very important from personal experience, and yes it will improve performance on a lot of machines to, many can run with unmatched ram in the same channel, but often not to their best and in some cases(like mine) Cause system kernel issues when updating or changing the kernel. I broke my Linux system by enabling pae(physical memory extension - allows 64 bit memory mapping on 32 bit systems and you can use 4+ gigs of ram) that way and lost data. So in dual channel it is usually 2 slots in the same channel must match, check your manual to see which.

DXdaig may be reading that because when you have enough memory on some mobo, they allocate memory for your pci slots from your installed ram, this is usually when you have 4 gigs but different mobo may have different settings or none at all, mine does that. Some of the ram is allocated by the system to use in your add-ons, in other words, like pci graphics cards or built in ones etc. This may be the cause but i don't know it is just a theory.
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