I built my computer 1 1/2 - 2 years ago for gaming. I have an i5-750, gtx-460 and an P7P55d-E pro motherboard. Currently I have 4 gb of patriot viperII ram at 1600mhz and 7-7-7-20 timings. Looking at the prices I figured now is a great time to upgrade.
I haven't been in the market for components in a while and just wondering what advice you guys have to give!
any knowledge of what is important to look for in ram (is it the speed? the timings?) or where i can find easy to understand info would be great too!
Look at overclocking your CPU if you haven't already. Your motherboard can handle SLI, so adding a second (used?) gtx 460 is an option for you as well. You'll need to check that your power supply is capable though. 460's in SLI are in the same league as the gtx580, and recertified/used one can be picked up for under $100.
Yeah, exactly what Noodletoe said, I was planning on getting a second GTX 460 when I first built this so I'm going to do that when I upgrade my ram. I don't want to build a whole new machine anytime soon, just some upgrades.
Games like Skyrim tend to use up almost 95% of my ram so I was looking for more capacity, probably 8GB. I just don't know specifically what to look for in ram. I got the set I have now with timings in mind (I don't know why).
Finding matching DDR3-1600 CAS 7-7-7-20 is nearly impossible; most all are 7-8-7-24. Next, the i5-750 is a 2.66GHz CPU so I assume you set the BIOS AI Overclock Tuner -> DOCP and DRAM OC Profile -> DDR3-1600. Otherwise, CAS 7-7-7-20 is from the 'stock' 'SPD' of DDR3-1066.
That said, IMO get a fully matched set of DDR3-1600 4x4GB or 2x4GB; RAM is cheap now and 64-bit Games do benefit from 16GB of RAM. Further, >4GB or RAM requires a 64-bit OS.
Don't go with 16GB of ram. If you are using most of 4GB, then 8GB means you will be using less than 1/2 of it. I would look up the model # of your ram and buy more of the exact sames stuff.
Then add the 2nd GPU and OC and that is about all you can do for frame rates on your PC.
Only other suggestion I would have is to try RAID or an SSD to get more HDD throughput, but that just affects load times, not game performance.
I'll add a vote for SSD. The faster load times will make you feel your computer is faster since that's one of the most perceptible ways to measure performance.
On the other hand, Toms has a chart of CPUs organized by tiers. And the good recommendation that you don't upgrade until you are jumping at least 3 tiers because you won't be likely to feel it. It will be a 3 tier jump when Ivy Bridge comes out. I have an i7-860 and I'm planning to move to ivy bridge when it comes out.
You want to keep 'Shared Memory' 100%, that 's why you see gains or loss. It's that simple, it has nothing -- well little -- to do with the RAM used by the OS/Game. Once 'Free' is used up the system starts cannibalization of memory from Standby and the majority of Standby is 'Shared Memory' to the GPU(s) and your frame rendering becomes reduced. The affect as noted in the link can be 2FPS~35+FPS. RAM today is dirt cheap, tomorrow like HDD's or in the past RAM/Flash shortages can happen overnight.
Now as far as a few bucks for RAM, you'll very rarely see me recommend less that 12GB (LGA 1366) or 16GB (any Dual/Quad Channel) when Gaming or never less for Rendering. So IMO the OP should either SLI or replace the GPU, SSD 120GB or larger, and 4x4GB RAM. An SSD is nice for load times, but has little to no impact on FPS...though I recommend all systems have an SSD.
I'm thinking that I am probably going to end up going with 16GB. I can just remember 2-3 years ago when everyone was saying "no way 4GB is all you'll ever need". and on that note I will definatley be overclocking as that was my original plan with this computer (I even got a giant heatsink) but
I just never got around to it.
The graphics card is going to be tough though, right now i have an overclocked MSI Cyclone which was just deactivated on newegg and impossible to find for a good price anywhere else. I could just get any GTX 460 and my card would underclock to its speeds right?
Most folks weren't using 64-bit OSes and 64-bit Apps too much (3) years ago. The cost of a 4x4GB or even 2x4GB kits i.e. 4GB/stick were very expensive. Even a few months ago a 4x8GB was $2K but now it's <$300!!! So deciding between say 4x4GB and jump or two in GPU series made the decisions more complex. Most system builders knew the benefits of more RAM. If the 4x4GB kit was $400 and a 4x2GB kit was $150 then I too would be advising 4x2GB + better GPU
In SLI simply use MSI Afterburner and set the card(s) to the same speeds, but get the same vRAM on each aka 'series'. No (2) GPU's performs identically so the slowest 'wins'.