Well first of all, I must say this is my first time posting on Tom's Hardware. I have read many articles on these forums and find the community very helpful, so I thought I might ask my question directly here! I am not ready to spend a lot on this yet, because I want to squeeze every drops out of it before upgrading again. This is my gaming machine, and my aim is to play any games at ultra settings (maxed out). Most games before 2010 run fine at 30FPS+ but anything past that has some hiccups.
So first of all I have just upgraded my computer and here are the specs;
Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
Core 2 Quad Q8200 2.33 GHz (Stock speed)
Corsair A70 CPU cooler
ASUS P5Q SE PLUS Motherboard (P45)
2 x 2GB Kingston HyperX
ZOTAC GTX 480 (Stock Speed)
640 Gb Western Digital Caviar Blue (WD6400AAKS)
80 Gb Western Digital HDD
Corsair TX750 v2
Cooler Master HAF 912 case with 6 x 120mm fans.
Alright, so I have multiple questions about all of this hardware and my next upgrades. I will separate every questions into paragraphs to make it easier.
1. My first question is regarding my CPU. Admitedly I bought it because it was the cheapest quad-core I could get, but that was a year or two ago. Now I am wondering if my CPU is bottle-necking my newly acquired GPU, and if I should overclock or replacing it would be a better option. If you say overclocking please point me to some good articles because I have started looking for some, and it's impossible to understand, there are way too many technical terms to understand. If you say upgrade, please explain why and tell me what models would suit this build. If I upgrade CPU I must also upgrade Mobo and RAM, so I need info on these 2 as well!
2. Should I get more memory, or 4GB is plenty for every day gaming ?
3. Now the next big upgrade that everyone tells me to acquire is an SSD. I am very interested but they look complicated and I have a lot of questions about them. First is can I only put let's say Windows 7 and some games on an SSD 80Gb or less ? If yes, how would that work ? How can I have for example my C: Program Files in my storage drive (640GB) and only windows on the SSD. Second is... what in the world is Raid 0 ? I keep reading about it, still don't understand it. Third, is it really worth it ? Are SSD really an improvement (of course), but I mean at 3$ per GB is it worth spending on them if we think bang for your bucks ?
4. I have 6 fans in my case that all run at different speeds and my motherboard apparently doesn't support Speedfan or any software used to control their speeds. Is a fan controller the only option to control them ? If so, what are some of the most reliable controllers. I keep reading they are all cr@p and not worth it.
5. My GTX 480 is noisy and running very hot. (I know this is a general problem with GTX 480's). I manage to keep it under 70 degrees Celsius while gaming, but that includes running the fan at 3500RPM, which means a lot of noise. What are some solutions to this ? What are the best ways to keep a GPU cool and fresh ? My card isn't overclocked.
6. I just installed a Corsair A70 CPU cooler to prepare for an eventual overclock, the 4 cores were running at 45 degrees idle. (According to HWmonitor). When monitoring temperatures with HWmonitor after installation, I keep getting 40 degrees Celsius for all 4 cores with the newly installed Corsair A70, but in CPUTIN in the motherboard section I get a 25 degrees Celsius. Is HWmonitor flawed ? Are my censors wrong ? Could the cooler be badly seated/not working properly or thermal paste misapplied? What is the most reliable software to measure CPU temperatures?
Answer what you can, no need to answer everything. Also, any comments/questions/suggestions on the build are appreciated, I am a moderately advanced user, so you can speak in technical details, I still have much to learn (mainly about overclocking). Any input will be appreciated.