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Out of upgrade options for Dell 5150/Pentium D sys?

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August 5, 2010 2:35:15 PM

I have Dell 5150 that I bought over 3.5yrs ago. I upgraded the video card and ram for sc2 but i'm still getting poor performance.

Pentium D 820(2.8ghz, 800mhz fsb)
4gb ram
512mb ATI 5670(got the 5670 because i'm still using the psu that came with it 305w)
Windows XP 32bit

Prior to SC2, I only played WoW-BC and LoL, both which ran fine. But now with SC, I have everything on low/off accept the models, and it freezes up when more than 200 or so units are on the screen. I'm also running only at 1280x1024.

I ran the 3dmark 06 demo, and i think it gave me a score around 6000 which is ok, but the CPU test absolutely failed. I was going at maybe 1-2fps.

So my questions are:

a) is the CPU the one piece holding my system up?
b) are there any other possible settings/hardware that could be affecting my performance that I'm missing?

other than LoL and SC2, I really only use my computer for web surfing/streaming, so I really don't want to buy a new system.

Thanks!
August 5, 2010 2:50:00 PM

Yes your CPU is killing you. Pentium D is a horrible beast as a failed attempt of multi core.

You will need to replace the mobo, RAM and CPU. A good budget change would be the RANA x3 440 ($76), something like this Asus mobo ($70 after rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

then you would want at least 2gb of DDR3 RAM which will cost you about $50.

Assuming you play on low resolution the 5670 card should be fine. You may be able to go cheaper for CPU and a mobo that uses DDR2 RAM, but this build should allow you to hold strong in case any other games turn up in the future with the ability to be upgraded as time goes on, whereas if you rebuild with old technology you will be facing the same issue in a year or so when another game you like comes out
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August 5, 2010 3:11:44 PM

Hi wongm2, goto this thread here, and you'll have an idea - old dell upgrade.

You can basically go with my recommendations there for an inexpensive ~$400 system.

Hope that helps :) 
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August 5, 2010 5:37:58 PM

thanks for the suggestions. I'm seriously considering buying new parts now, but am trying to weigh cost/time/ease of all of my different options.

A couple more questions...

a) Any ATX motherboard/psu form factor should fit?

b) Can i really just swap out the motherboard and attached devices, or would i need to reformat the hard drive and reinstall the OS as well?

c) Since I'm using xp 32 bit, is it worth it to go to windows 7 64bit? What are the risks/performance benefits? I noticed you said there might be some hardware compatibility issues, but I think the only other pieces of hardware I have are a creative xfi sound card which i believe is 64bit compatibile, and a slaved internal hard drive.

Thanks for the link again!
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August 5, 2010 6:01:50 PM

A . No micro ATX mobo fits in both micro as well as standard ATX cases but standard ATX mobos fit only in std. ATX cases.

Also PSU's should always be ATX spec to avoid hassles of shoehorning 'em in.

B . Firstly, if you change HDD, you obviously need to re-install OS, 'coz your new hdd ain't gonna have the OS.

Secondly, if you change the mobo, you need to call MS to ask for a new key.

They'll ask you to uninstall the os from the old comp.Relate to 'em your situation, tell 'em that your mobo died, & this is just an upgrade.

They'll give you the key.

C . Absolutely. as I said your system specs are gonna be good enough to go for it.

If you believe that your old hardware is compatible, then there should be no issues.
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August 5, 2010 8:25:16 PM

i just googled some more and it looks like my dell case is btx and wouldn't fit a new motherboard.

so it looks like i either get a whole new system or live with what i have.

thanks again for the help
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August 5, 2010 9:37:03 PM

wongm2 said:

I ran the 3dmark 06 demo, and i think it gave me a score around 6000 which is ok, but the CPU test absolutely failed. I was going at maybe 1-2fps.

Just so you know, cpu's aren't designed for graphics processing, even people with overclocked quadcores get only 1-3 fps.
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