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Need more RAM for desktop PC

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May 7, 2011 8:57:31 PM

system spec:

Q6600 @ 3.0GHZ
GIGABYTE EP45-DS3R
4GB 6400 DDR2 800mhz (2x 2gb)
Gigabyte GTX 560 OC 1GB GDDR5
Asus Xonar 7.1 soundcard
Windows 7 x64
Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold 1000W Modular PSU

The core components (CPU/MOBO/RAM) are ~3 years old. I did have 6gb of RAM up until about a month ago when my 2x1gb kit failed

4GB is choking when I have several programs open

The complication is my motherboard DOESN'T support DDR3 RAM. I have been waiting for the next "wave" of new tech to arrive but I'm considering an upgrade now. Is it a good time to upgrade or is next generation hardware around the corner? I've been waiting to upgrade since last year. I would feel frustrated if I upgraded now because I'd just as well upgraded a long time ago.

I'm looking to budget ~£1000 on quality high end RAM/CPU/Motherboard.

In short:

1. Is now a good time to upgrade my main system or should I wait a few months for new technology to become available? Is an i7 build a significant upgrade from Q6600?

2. Should I buy cheap/used DDR2 and upgrade later? (I'd look for another 2x2GB kit for 8GB total)

3. 8GB vs 16GB vs 32GB+ RAM. It is discussed all over the web but I would like to know; as a multimedia developer working with effects heavy Full HD content in Adobe AE, using loads of software at once, will I see benefits past 16GB? will I see benefits past 8GB?


Thanks for reading. I'm open to any ideas so please offer suggestions

More about : ram desktop

May 7, 2011 9:16:55 PM

It is potentially a significant upgrade, but bulldozer is coming out soon and ivy bridge as well. Are you feeling any sort of bottlenecking or lack of speed? If not I would wait until later this year or early next year to upgrade. Unless you really need to upgrade and find it necessary then I'd wait about 6-7 months.
a b V Motherboard
May 7, 2011 9:20:32 PM

1) An i7 Lynnfield is a significant boost from the Q6600 and a Sandy Bridge will be a huge boost.

2) No you may as well upgrade there will always be new stuff coming later. By going Sandy Bridge you will have jumped two generations of CPU advances.

3) 16 GB is awesome for use with RAM drive. Do note that if you go Sandy Bridge K series for the over clock you pay out a good sum of cash for RAM that can cope with the over clock. You wont see any major benefits over 8 GB unless you use RAM drive.
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May 7, 2011 9:37:27 PM

pelov, Wamphryi,

Thanks. Your responses contradict! In light of what pelov has said, waiting for the "bulldozer/ivy bridge" tech seems sensible. Wamphryi, my main concern is doing a major upgrade just as new technology becomes available. I'm conscious of the fact new hardware is always around the corner but since I've been holding back for so long I have been conscious that the next generation of hardware will be available quite soon. Not to mention, current i7 based tech and the 16GB "RAM drive" builds should become very affordable when this happens.

With this in mind, Wamphryi, do you that I should go for another 2x2GB DDR2 kit? One thing is for sure, 4GB is significantly limiting my productivity and I need to fix that asap

I'm going to do some reading up on bulldozer, Ivy Bridge. I also want to look into "RAM drives" but for lack of a decent search term I'm not getting many relevant results (help! :??:  )
a b V Motherboard
May 8, 2011 12:50:47 AM

Well if you go for an Upgrade to 8 GB RAM then you wont be able to transfer that RAM to later generations of PC. However if it will get you past your RAM bottleneck then it is worth while doing. Current i7 configurations will not get cheaper because they never do at least when sourced new. There may be some cheaper gear available in the second hand market. Intel simply hold the prices on their older generation chips and then they remove them from the market. There is a certain sense in what pelov is saying but that same advice applied when people asked if they should upgrade to the Lynnfield. There was a school of thought that said wait for Sandy Bridge. The question that you should be asking is would an upgrade to Sandy Bridge give you a remarkable increase in performance. As you are running the Core 2 Quad series the answer is yes it certainly would. However if I ask that question of myself as a i7 Lynnfield owner I would not get the same great boost in performance just some boost. So would it be worth it for you? I would think so. Worth it for me? Not so much. Do you see how I am applying the formula here?
May 8, 2011 2:19:21 PM

Wamphryi said:
Well if you go for an Upgrade to 8 GB RAM then you wont be able to transfer that RAM to later generations of PC. However if it will get you past your RAM bottleneck then it is worth while doing. Current i7 configurations will not get cheaper because they never do at least when sourced new. There may be some cheaper gear available in the second hand market. Intel simply hold the prices on their older generation chips and then they remove them from the market. There is a certain sense in what pelov is saying but that same advice applied when people asked if they should upgrade to the Lynnfield. There was a school of thought that said wait for Sandy Bridge. The question that you should be asking is would an upgrade to Sandy Bridge give you a remarkable increase in performance. As you are running the Core 2 Quad series the answer is yes it certainly would. However if I ask that question of myself as a i7 Lynnfield owner I would not get the same great boost in performance just some boost. So would it be worth it for you? I would think so. Worth it for me? Not so much. Do you see how I am applying the formula here?


That depends on how much he values CPU speed. If his current bottleneck is only the ram then he has near 0 value in a new sandy bridge build.

It comes down to this: Does this PC I currently have suit me well? If it doesn't then is this a good time to upgrade? I'd say it isn't. Wait 5-6 months and you'll see prices go down -- yes, even intel (albeit slightly).

Imo, buy the DDR2 ram and sell or hand down the computer when you've decided to build a new one; that is if you aren't seeing any CPU bottleneck. Judging by your posts, though, the issue seems to be RAM so fix the issue rather than build an entire new PC. Sounds like you can still get a lot out of that Q6600.
May 8, 2011 7:48:31 PM

thanks

If I decided to wait, I would continue to get "ok" performance out of my Q6600. It has served well for much longer than I expected. Also if I choose to get another 4GB of DDR2 I won't take much of a hit because I would be selling it on soon.

I have had money reserved to upgrade since last summer. I work on multimedia projects which would take full advantage of any tech I throw at it so there is no doubt I'll appreciate extra speed. I had been content with my Q6600 performance and not aware there was an improvement to warrant upgrading yet.

I was disappointed to find Ivy bridge is still a while away. AMD Bulldozer seems to be available soon. Is that worth considering? At least then I'd have "waited" for something rather than buying Sandy Bridge when I could have upgraded last year.

A third option (as opposed to buying more DDR2 RAM/Bulldozer) is to get a used i7 build and sell it when the Ivy bridge is available. Good idea? If the "used" market holds it's price well these days then I would be happy to do this.
May 8, 2011 9:30:07 PM

I would say wait it out until you really start to see the Q6600 start getting lazy. If that's Bulldozer or ivy bridge or even 2 years from now.

Making a PC just to sell less than a year later is rather pointless unless you're looking to make a profit.

Bulldozer should be out in june and there are no benchmarks and nor will there be until release. It's only a month away, might as well wait :p 
a b V Motherboard
May 9, 2011 12:31:41 AM

The difference between the Q6600 and the Sandy Bridge K clocking 4 plus GHZ is huge. Even the 2.8 GHZ i7 Lynnfield encodes MPEG 2 a solid 40% faster than Q Series. I had a Q Series with 8 GB RAM lined up against my i7 with 4 GB and the i7 was much much faster. Sandy Bridge K Series clocked to 4.5 - 4.9 GHZ would annihilate a Q Series machine even if the Q series had 16 GB RAM.
May 12, 2011 10:44:31 PM

pelov said:
I would say wait it out until you really start to see the Q6600 start getting lazy. If that's Bulldozer or ivy bridge or even 2 years from now.

Making a PC just to sell less than a year later is rather pointless unless you're looking to make a profit.

Bulldozer should be out in june and there are no benchmarks and nor will there be until release. It's only a month away, might as well wait :p 


Wamphryi said:
The difference between the Q6600 and the Sandy Bridge K clocking 4 plus GHZ is huge. Even the 2.8 GHZ i7 Lynnfield encodes MPEG 2 a solid 40% faster than Q Series. I had a Q Series with 8 GB RAM lined up against my i7 with 4 GB and the i7 was much much faster. Sandy Bridge K Series clocked to 4.5 - 4.9 GHZ would annihilate a Q Series machine even if the Q series had 16 GB RAM.


Thanks for your continued help. It is like good Angel & bad Angel here haha

Well, I am quite tempted to upgrade now. 40% faster performance with i7 Lynnfield for encoding? And "Sandybridge" is a generation above Lynnfield?

If we are talking 1.5x-2x speed improvement with the Sandy bridge in software like Adobe After Effects (1080p effects processing) and 3DStudio Max scene renders then I should have upgraded a LONG LONG time ago. Yes, the Q6600 is fast and gets the job done but that much extra performance is priceless to me. For a 2x(and greater) performance improvement specifically in the areas I mentioned I would upgrade without hesitation. Would the quoted performance require hardcore overclocking? Stability is a major factor for me. I run my Q6600 at 3.0GHz and it is solid as a rock. I would expect the same stability.

May 12, 2011 11:01:50 PM

The 2500K runs rock stable at 4.5ghz and with air cooling you can hit 5Ghz with some tinkering. The i7 2600K is much the same with regards to overclock.

It is a significant upgrade in performance; no doubt about it. If you REALLY value the performance boost and feel it's something that you need then you shouldn't hesitate to buy it.

However...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

considering you're doing video editing/multimedia you should read up on intel's quick sync. It's a great idea but currently it's sort of limited in its application. But where it is feasible it's fantastic. The link goes into more depth on the tech as well as provides you some benchmarks.

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2133450

Hope this helps :) 

EDIT: there's also the Z68 chipset http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68-express-lucidlo... which adds quicksync + overclocking. Basically what the first chipsets of sandy bridge platform should have been. Also, bear in mind that bulldozer will be officially released in 3 weeks.
May 12, 2011 11:40:11 PM

pelov said:
The 2500K runs rock stable at 4.5ghz and with air cooling you can hit 5Ghz with some tinkering. The i7 2600K is much the same with regards to overclock.

It is a significant upgrade in performance; no doubt about it. If you REALLY value the performance boost and feel it's something that you need then you shouldn't hesitate to buy it.

However...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

considering you're doing video editing/multimedia you should read up on intel's quick sync. It's a great idea but currently it's sort of limited in its application. But where it is feasible it's fantastic. The link goes into more depth on the tech as well as provides you some benchmarks.

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2133450

Hope this helps :) 

EDIT: there's also the Z68 chipset http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68-express-lucidlo... which adds quicksync + overclocking. Basically what the first chipsets of sandy bridge platform should have been. Also, bear in mind that bulldozer will be officially released in 3 weeks.


Thanks pelov your help has been insightful. I intended on waiting for the bulldozer release regardless. I will take the next few days evaluating the current Sandybridge "K" series and technology such as quick sync, thank you for linking that article. I do in fact do a lot of video editing. I have used Adobe After Effects for almost 8 years now :)  Adobe AE is the one taking a big hit from my limited 4gb DDR2 memory but I don't think I'm going to invest in another 4gb DDR2 just yet. I am going to put everything on hold until bulldozer benchmarks are in.
!