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Upgrading old gaming pc

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October 7, 2010 10:36:49 AM

Hi all,

I currently have this system

psu: iCute ATX-420W/P4
mb: MSI P965 Neo 2 (Note: socket 775)
cpu: intel e4500 (stock)
cpu cooler: 01AC2H3 (CX) (this is the stock one)
gpu: Geforce 9500GT 512 MB
ram: 2x kingston ddr2 667MHz 1GB (kvr667D2N5/1G)
case: cooler master centurion 5
os: 32 bit windows xp home
hdd: 250GB seagate barracuda

when playing most current games (eg starcraft 2, dawn of war 2, bioshock etc) what would be my main bottleneck(s)?

I am in singapore so i won't really be ordering from newegg. I have been looking at bizgram and fuwell to check prices as I will probably end up getting my stuff from here. Any recommendations on other places to buy in singapore are welcome. Below are the links to those two places. just click on the link saying pricelist. i cant link to them directly as they are updated every few days, so links become invalid fast.

http://www.bizgram.com/pdf2/retailpricelist.php
http://www.fuwell.com.sg/

what would be the most cost efficient component(s) to upgrade? I'm not looking to build a really awesome gaming com just yet due to budget. I will probably put more funds into a brand new pc in second half of 2012, so I'm currently looking to just do a cheap spiffing up to just tide me over.

I have currently considered the following options (hoping to implement all 3 if possible)

1. gettting a coolermaster hyper 212 plus and overclocking the processor
2. upgrading the graphics card to a radeon hd4850
3. upgrading my ram to 4GB total

for points 1 and 3 I have some concerns and questions,

1. how much can i reasonably expect from this 4 year old e4500? will my motherboard cause any issues with overclocking?
3. my cheapest way to achieve this would be to get 2 more 1GB ram sticks. would this cause issues if i try to overclock the cpu as well?
the next cheapest alternative would be to get 2 sticks of 2GB ram (non matched). would 2 non-kit sticks of identical model and make pose overclocking issues?
purchasing a 2x2GB ram kit would be my most expensive option, but i hear it is much easier to achieve stable overclocks with kit sticks. so if these are absolutely essential for stability then I will have to get them I suppose.

Also, is it a waste to install 4GB of ram on a 32 bit system, what with the address limit and all? Is 2GB the reasonable maximum? Is 3 x 1 GB feasible with a dual channel system?

Thanks for reading through my long post. Many thanks in advance to the great community here for your help with my upgrade.

Ninjalemur

PS: mods, if this thread is in the wrong section, I apologise, and could you help me shift it to the right one?

More about : upgrading gaming

a b B Homebuilt system
October 7, 2010 1:18:19 PM

Very first thing is upgrade your GPU. Your 9500GT is at the very bottom, and I mean the very bottom of the barrel for a gaming machine. Pass over the 4800 series of cards. They are power hungry and run hot. A 5750 or a 5770 would really bring some life to your machine, are much more efficient and run cooler.
Second, at 2.2ghz, your processor is also holding you back. You can overclock slightly with your stock cooler, perhaps 2.6ghz, just keep an eye on the temps.
Memory is a minor concern, and only worry about it if you plan on upgrading to a 64bit version of Windows. 32bit XP is just fine with 2 gig of memory. More, better, faster memory will have a very, very insignificant impact on your system.
You would far better to put any more money you want to throw at this into a faster processor than spending it on memory.
October 7, 2010 1:20:28 PM

I've seen people claiming OC of the E4500 at over 3GHz (I don't know with what cooler or if your RAM will hold you back). For your RAM, getting 2 extra 1GB stick should be OK, but if you have to OC your RAM, more sticks will also make it harder (you will probably need to increase the RAM voltage too).

For the video card, if it can save you some money, a 5670 is probably enough for your needs (seeing you are still using a 9500).
Related resources
October 8, 2010 10:54:38 AM

Wow thanks for the super fast replies guys.

the HD5750 is a pretty good card to my knowledge, would my cpu bottleneck it? roughly what kind of overclock would i aim for to prevent cpu from bottlenecking the gpu too much. with a rough estimated overclock of 3GHz (once i get the hyper 212+). or is it possible to get a slightly lower end card like the 5670 (that Zenthar suggested) perhaps? if i cant maximise the gpu then no sense getting such a good one right?

@jitpublisher: when you say memory will have close to no effect in my system, i understand that to mean that memory is by no means the bottleneck now. however is it possible that it will be the bottleneck if i get the hd5750 and overclock the cpu to around 3GHz or so? or is it just that 32 bit xp just doesnt use much memory and that most of my 2GB is going to the games and thats all they need?

thanks so much for the input guys!
a b B Homebuilt system
October 8, 2010 12:32:16 PM

32 bit XP is fine with 2 gig of memory, overclocking or buying a better GPU won't have any bearing on that. If you want to upgrade your memory, that is fine, but save that money as a sort of last thing to do, to kind of round your system out overall. Will it make a difference, maybe, but it will be small.
Now, outside of gaming, if you run a lot of programs at once, or use photo/video editing software, then more memory always is a plus for those types of things.
October 8, 2010 1:27:23 PM

ah i see. i have been hearing how games nowadays are more gpu dependent, but didnt realise how little ram dependence there was. anyhow, with regards to the gpu upgrade, is the 5750 overkill? will it be bottlenecked by my cpu? if my cpu was overclocked to around 3GHz, would it be a bottleneck for the 5750? if it is then would the 5670 be a possible choice?

thanks again!
October 10, 2010 11:03:15 AM

hey guys,

if i manage to get my e4500 to 3GHz, will the 5670 be a possible choice? i am unsure if 2 cores at 3GHz would still leave the bottleneck on the processor. as such i am considering the hd5670 instead of the hd5750 due to how low end my processor is.
December 1, 2010 2:14:11 PM

Hey guys,

Thanks for the great info you guys have previously supplied. I have managed to get my cooler master hyper 212+ installed as well as a coolermaster gx550W to support a more powerful graphics card. Will be picking up a 5670 512MB tomorrow and installing it then.

I have tried to overclock the cpu now that I have the 212+ installed, but I can't seem to get it above 2.5GHz. This is my first overclocking attempt so any advice is welcome.

Note: Ram speeds were manaully set to 600+MHz, ie not to exceed the rated 667MHz of my sticks.
Stock
200x11
Vcore:1.36V

2.5GHz config
233x11
Vcore:1.36

this setting boots into windows fine, although I havnt tested it using prime yet.

failed settings
240x11
Vcore:1.3975

this setting failed to even boot into windows. is this voltage just too low for stability or are there other parameters needed to increase stability?

I have no prior experience with overclocking, are there any other parameters I shoudl tweak in the BIOS to increase stability at higher clock speeds?

Thanks again in advance
!