Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Uprgrades Required to Optimize I3 Performance?

Last response: in Components
Share
March 28, 2011 5:34:26 PM

About a year ago, I bought a new computer: a Dell Inspiron 580. It has an Intel Core I3 processor at 2.93ghz, 4 gig DDR3 RAM, a 1 TB hard drive, and integrated sound and graphics. In the past year, I have started playing LOTRO and WoW. Needless to say, I have been terribly disappointed with the overall graphical performance.

With WoW, I either have to deal with Low to Fair graphics at around 20-30 fps or I can turn them up a bit and suffer at around 7-12 fps. With LOTRO, DX10 won't work, so I have to stick with DX9. I can either play on Medium graphics settings or turn it up to something decent and chug along at unrealistically low framerates with about .25-.5 seconds UI lag. I am not content.

So now, an interesting question pops up. My friend has a computer that's about 4-5 years old. On LOTRO, he can play on Ultra-High settings and hit some very nice framerates. On WoW, his computer performs only slightly worse than mine. This doesn’t make any sense considering how old it is compared to mine. To try and understand the reason, I ran some tests on processor speed. Surprisingly, it turns out that even when I dip to 4 fps, my processor usage never goes above around 40-60%. I think it hit around 75% one time, but it hasn't done it since. It tends to sticks around 45% usage no matter the framerate. This leads me to believe the low framerates are attributed to my integrated graphics.

My solution to this problem initially was simple: buy a better graphics card. But then I got to looking into the system requirements, and it turns out my puny 300w power supply won't do the job. So the solution would be getting a bigger power supply, right? Well, if I do that, I'll probably need a better cooling system (this is beginning to remind me of a popular children's book about a mouse and a cookie...). This is my dilemma.

So now that we are all acquainted with my current condition, let's get down to the problem. If I wanted to upgrade the graphics of my above-mentioned computer to the best they can possibly be, what would I need? I would like to stick with the Nvidia Geforce graphics cards. So, what would be the best card that an I3 at 2.93ghz could handle, what power supply would I need to handle it, and what cooling system, if any upgrade is needed, should I get?

Best solution

a b Ý World of Warcraft
March 28, 2011 5:40:17 PM

The Nvidia 460 is a good card to match with the i3 (I assume you are gaming at 1920x1080 or close) its worth getting the 1Gb version unless it costs alot more. You should be OK with a 480W PSU as long as its a good make like Antec or Corsair. As long as you have a few case fans there is unlikely to be a cooling issue.
Share
March 28, 2011 6:12:14 PM

Any particular reasons for sticking to Nvidia video cards..? Regardless, your requirements don't warrant a very powerful video card.. Something like a GTS 450 or a HD 5670 will suffice IMO.. They might even won't require a PSU upgrade provided your PSU can actually deliver 300 watts properly.. Upgrading the PSU to a Corsair CX 430 atleast is a safer option though..
m
0
l
Related resources
March 28, 2011 6:19:40 PM

simon12 said:
The Nvidia 460 is a good card to match with the i3 (I assume you are gaming at 1920x1080 or close) its worth getting the 1Gb version unless it costs alot more. You should be OK with a 480W PSU as long as its a good make like Antec or Corsair. As long as you have a few case fans there is unlikely to be a cooling issue.


Well, I checked on it all, and my computer has 1 fan. Based on what you said, the PSU I was considering was:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KRTBJY/ref=s9_simh...

Would my single fan be able to support the 1Gb version of the Nvidia GeForce 460 with the PSU mentioned above? If not, what should I do?
m
0
l
March 28, 2011 6:24:58 PM

Emperus said:
Any particular reasons for sticking to Nvidia video cards..? Regardless, your requirements don't warrant a very powerful video card.. Something like a GTS 450 or a HD 5670 will suffice IMO.. They might even won't require a PSU upgrade provided your PSU can actually deliver 300 watts properly.. Upgrading the PSU to a Corsair CX 430 atleast is a safer option though..


The reason I want to stick with Nvidia is the Nvidia cards tend to perform significantly better. I can upgrade the PSU and cooling if needed.
m
0
l
March 28, 2011 7:29:43 PM

If you can upgrade to a bigger case then it should solve all your cooling worries.. How much do you have to spend on everything..?
m
0
l
a b Ý World of Warcraft
March 28, 2011 9:11:01 PM

If you get a card that blows all the air out of the case you should be OK. You can always try it and add fans &/or get a bigger case if you need to. I disagree about Nvidia being better than AMD but i'm not going to bother starting that topic.
m
0
l
March 28, 2011 10:59:03 PM

Emperus said:
If you can upgrade to a bigger case then it should solve all your cooling worries.. How much do you have to spend on everything..?


Well, I don't have very much, hence the reason I'm not going Alienware at the current time. But I do have enough to cover whatever I'll need. Basically, I need the best possible performance for the lowest possible price.
m
0
l
March 28, 2011 10:59:47 PM

simon12 said:
If you get a card that blows all the air out of the case you should be OK. You can always try it and add fans &/or get a bigger case if you need to. I disagree about Nvidia being better than AMD but i'm not going to bother starting that topic.


What kind of card would blow all the air out of the case?
m
0
l
March 29, 2011 1:23:46 PM

well personnaly i would reccomend a radeon 5770 its dx 11 performs well and is reasonably priced. again i would check the power requirements there is a site i remeber using once that you could calculate it on but cant remember it a google may find it or somthing similar. i doubt you would need anything more than a 450w
m
0
l
March 29, 2011 3:32:42 PM



Interesting site. Very useful. This will help in repairing and upgrading my old computer as well.

About the graphics cards, the one I want is the GeForce GTX 460. It's only about $30 more than the Radeon 5770 but performs so much better. There is also a version of it (not 3rd party) that has a fan.
m
0
l
March 29, 2011 3:42:50 PM

RetiredChief said:
I 2nd the 5770 and a 400 -> 450 Watt corsair PSU.
Your system (with a 5770)will draw about 120 -> 150 Watts at Idle and rigth around 300 Watts at max load.

Ref: blowing air out the rear. this would be a double slot GPU card.


Well, I can upgrade to a Corsair 500w for about $70-$80. Very doable. Also, the difference in the price of the GeForce GTX 460 (the card I want) and the Radeon 5770 is negligible, yet the GTX 460 runs so much better. From what I've found, the 460 has a huge increase in framerate over any of the Radeon cards within a reasonable pricerange. I might also be upgrading to the Intel Xtreme motherboard if all the positives I'm hearing about it continue coming in. This would mean the Radeons would not take full advantage of the processor, giving me a lower framerate than what I could have.

Also, what's the point of a double-slot graphics card? I'm sure there is a reason, it's just not... apparent.
m
0
l
March 29, 2011 5:47:22 PM

Double card slot does not mean that it requires two slots on the MB, it just requires the width of two slots - most MB are more than two slot widths beween x16 slots.

This is how the card is able to expell the Hot air out the case vs blowing it INTO the case and relying on the case fans to expell it.

Concur, you are a gamer so 460 a better choice than 5770
m
0
l
March 29, 2011 5:51:52 PM

RetiredChief said:
Double card slot does not mean that it requires two slots on the MB, it just requires the width of two slots - most MB are more than two slot widths beween x16 slots.

This is how the card is able to expell the Hot air out the case vs blowing it INTO the case and relying on the case fans to expell it.

Concur, you are a gamer so 460 a better choice than 5770


Very interesting... Thanks for all the help. Any other advice?
m
0
l
March 29, 2011 6:28:39 PM

At some point might consider an SSD. Will shorten loading the operating system and improve program loading times. Will not really improve gaming. Currently high cost vs size. I have swapped out the HDD in two laptops and in my main desktop I have two SSDs - would never consider going back to a mechanical HDD for operating system plus programs. But then I have little else to do with my "hidden pocket change - currently about 3 Grand in drawer, 1 k dedicated for next upgrade.
m
0
l
March 29, 2011 10:55:41 PM

RetiredChief said:
At some point might consider an SSD. Will shorten loading the operating system and improve program loading times. Will not really improve gaming. Currently high cost vs size. I have swapped out the HDD in two laptops and in my main desktop I have two SSDs - would never consider going back to a mechanical HDD for operating system plus programs. But then I have little else to do with my "hidden pocket change - currently about 3 Grand in drawer, 1 k dedicated for next upgrade.


Awesome. I had heard about SSDs one time before, but not really anything significant. I'll definitely consider one for the future.

Also, another graphics-related question has popped up. I'm repairing an old computer with an Intel Pentium 4 at 2.93ghz. I'm planning to upgrade it from 1.5gb RAM to the XP maximum of 4gb. I would also like to insert a graphics card since its integrated graphics won't survive in today's world. Performance-wise, which card would you recommend?
m
0
l
a b Ý World of Warcraft
March 30, 2011 8:30:17 AM

I would forget the P4 for the price of that DDR2 RAM you could buy DDR3 and a cheap motherboard and half an Athlon x3. The P4 will bottleneck almost any card.
m
0
l
April 6, 2011 5:59:23 PM

simon12 said:
I would forget the P4 for the price of that DDR2 RAM you could buy DDR3 and a cheap motherboard and half an Athlon x3. The P4 will bottleneck almost any card.


Yeah, I've been thinking about it and doing some pricing and it turns out that I could get a new, faster computer for just a couple hundred dollars more than what it would cost to upgrade this one. That's probably what I'm going to do, as I also need a new sound card. But let's just say I found some crazy low prices. What graphics card would take full advantage of my processor and 250w PSU without being overkill?
m
0
l
April 9, 2011 2:30:47 AM

Best answer selected by ntr11023.
m
0
l
!