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Bottlenecks- Cause?

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March 17, 2011 2:41:19 PM

I built my own computer, started with a Dell Inspiron 530s and eventually everything's been swapped out except the HDD and DVD drive. Even the old SATA cables are gone.

I don't trust WEI worth a nickle, so I'm asking about bottlenecks. I love my system, and also wish to get the best from it; but I can't afford a total overhaul, so instead was wondering if there may be any bottlenecks going on that I could exploit by upgrading select components that may be falling behind. I wouldn't ask, but I'm 22 on my own paying over $1,000 a month in just rent so it took forever (2 years..) to save and build this, so I'd rather only upgrade the weakest link this time:


Mobo: ASUS M4A88T-V EVO/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G

CPU: Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz (Unlocked Quad Core, stock speeds, stock heatsink/fan)

Memory: 4GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600 With Heat Spreaders, Dual Channel (2x2BG, 2 open DIMMS with no RAM so room to simply add)

Video Card: XFX GeForce GTS 250 1GB Superclocked.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 320GB 7,200 RPM Sata Hard Drive (placed directly in front of 120mm case fan.)

Power Supply: Generic 580W ATX 2.1 12V, also powering 1x120mm, 1x140mm, 2x80mm fans.

Case: Rosewill Challanger ATX Mid-Tower (in case heat may be to blame, I honestly rarely check temps but when I do I never see above 60C ever.)

I also have an audio card, so old it's almost legacy. SB Audigy 0570, I use it for my Logitech X540 sound system, but it's not entirely needed. So if the old hardware is an issue, I can stop using it for a while.




Does any of this stand out as performing well below the rest? I get hiccups, not enough to seriously fret about but enough it keeps tempting me to upgrade again, so if anyone sees the "weak link" please let me know what it may be.

More about : bottlenecks

a b B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2011 2:52:12 PM

The hard drive is your weakest link. Those WD 320GB are super slow compared to the new ones today. Get a SSD or Samsung F3
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March 17, 2011 2:55:15 PM

Thank you.. I've noticed on site it says the speeds are extremely high, but when copying and pasting a folder it never hits above 38MBp/s in Windows Interface.

I'll check that out. Would you advise the SATA version or are the more expensive PCI versions worth the extra with the rest of my rig?

-Also: I have about $200 in all to upgrade safely, but not a cent more. So if you guys have any combo ideas for $200 or less, I'm open to hear them.
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2011 2:57:45 PM

What resolution are you gaming on?
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March 17, 2011 2:58:20 PM

1440x900 @ 60Hz. Though I'm soon to buy a 1680x1050 60Hz monitor, which explains the limited headroom for other upgrades.
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2011 3:01:41 PM

One of the single platter 500GB HDDs should do nicely. Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB 7200 RPM SATA HDD $40

Your CPU is in very good shape.
And the GTS 250 is pretty good on 1440x900 resolution. But I would say this is one item you could upgrade and see a major improvement.

How much were you thinking to spend overall?
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March 17, 2011 3:02:19 PM

Up to $200 if it's worth the extra, about $150 is ideal though.
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2011 3:02:54 PM

Maybe get the video card upgrade first? Then grab the monitor when you've saved up enough extra?
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March 17, 2011 3:08:36 PM

About that.. I'm hearing a lot about GTX 5xx being overrated (price vs performance in comparison to GTX 480).. Would you have a suggestion of a particular card? I have an extra PCI slot to use the GTS 250 for PhysX if necessary, but overall having a single card to do the heavy lifting would be good enough.

I can grab a decent harddrive for pretty cheap, and as I said if the $50 extra is worth the performance it's no issue.. So any specific cards to suggest? I bought the GTS 250 and never thought about DX11 lol, so ever since I've been a little cautious about which I buy.

Would you recommend SLI'ing the GTS 250 or simply upgrading to a DX 11 card?
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2011 3:09:20 PM

gunnygzuz said:
Thank you.. I've noticed on site it says the speeds are extremely high, but when copying and pasting a folder it never hits above 38MBp/s in Windows Interface.

I'll check that out. Would you advise the SATA version or are the more expensive PCI versions worth the extra with the rest of my rig?

-Also: I have about $200 in all to upgrade safely, but not a cent more. So if you guys have any combo ideas for $200 or less, I'm open to hear them.


Run HD tune on the hard drive.
If the average read is above 100 mb/s then it's great for a spinning drive
If it's 50-70mb/s then it sucks.
If it's 70-100 mb/s then its okay

SSDs get average reads up to 235 mb/s (that's what my Intel is still getting after a year and a half).

Those PCI-E SSDs are still pretty new and are motherboard specific so I wouldn't recommend one unless you know what you are doing, but the speeds on those things are super duper fast. Faster than SATA 6.0 gb/s.

Once you get a bigger monitor, then upgrade your video card to at least a GTX 560
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March 17, 2011 3:12:57 PM

I appreciate the input from both of you.. I'm tech savvy (Army IT, all the way to active satellite communications..) but in the way of PC gaming I'm overall "mainstream" and not quite up to date lol, I know my terms but not my brands you could say xD
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March 17, 2011 3:18:10 PM

Best answer selected by GunnyGzuz.
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March 17, 2011 7:12:25 PM

Hard Drive access speeds according to HD Tune Pro: (maximums:)  Read: 103.5 MBp/s Write: 113.4 MBp/s

All tests generally same area, this was the "Monitor" option used with actual Copy and paste of a 7.68 GB Folder from User folder to Desktop.

So what I'm going to do: Buy a 40GB Internal SSD ($90), install OS to it, as well some of the games that give me hiccups (Bulletstorm for example.)

Then I am also going to see about adding 4GB (another 2x2GB) of identical RAM to what I have (Can get for $20), and save the rest towards a GTX 570 Ti, which means I'd already have $90 left to save towards it after monitor purchase.
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March 17, 2011 7:32:51 PM

You didn't mention O.S. or what activities you do on the machine, so just looking for bottlenecks seems very ambiguous.

I went from a 74 GB 10K RPM Raptor to Vertex2 SSDs in RAID0 on my system (which is already quite speedy) and what I noticed was very quick OS loading and application installation, and even faster load times (not as much of an impact though).

Games and other apps. don't run any faster, just load quicker and make the system felt a little snappier. You'll have to tweak your OS to get the best performance out of it though.

An SSD is a solid upgrade choice, but I know I would have a real hard time with Windows 7 and only 40 GB. I currently have a 500 GB drive for games and a 500 GB drive for other data like video and large files. My OS drive is at 55 GB used already....

I don't think going from 4 to 8 GB RAM will be noticeable unless you're using high-end video/photo apps, or maybe playing games like GTA4 or whatever that last piece of garbage was....
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March 17, 2011 7:55:57 PM

Video card is the bottleneck IMHO. GTX 460 768mb would be a nice fit if you are on a budget.
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March 17, 2011 8:04:18 PM

@Firebird:

I don't mean use only the SSD. I meant to install the OS (windows 7 ultimate 64 bit) to the SSD to keep OS files responsive. I'd still keep the 320GB drive.

But you may also have a point, I haven't bought anything yet (waiting on a refund of a recent RMA) so I have time to figure it out. probably Tuesday according to newegg.

If I find a good 1TB drive I might get it, and as for RAM I don't just game I also do video editing.. I don't mind horribly it being slower, as I'm used to it. But for $110 I couldn't get a decent GPU so I figure I'll get that a bit later on down the road.

So what I use my PC for:

Gaming @1440x900, generally every game. I never set it lower quality or reduced resolution, but I will ocassionally drop out the pre-rendered frames and change some of the other tweaks to get more FPS. Also, video editing of various file types from simple game montages to making videos for special occasions of submitted footage/clips. nothing Hollywood scale, but typically a good 3 lines of video merged and at least 2 audio streams.

Still, the biggest concern is the gaming.. So depending on if I can get an extra $80 quick, I may do the GPU instead of the RAM, it's all about the money though.
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March 17, 2011 8:10:02 PM

I'll add a note that should be relevant.. I'm in school with a job waiting.. In 7 months money will be no issue at $4,800+ a month income.. So i don't need to future proof, just make it a sweet deal for the next 7 months or so.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2011 8:53:51 PM

$4,800+ a month?!? Wish I made that much. I'm broke as a joke. I guess PHP programmers just don't make as much nowadays anymore.
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