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Upgrading a 4-year old desktop

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September 18, 2011 3:46:11 AM

My first post here: I have a PC I built 4 years ago and it's starting to date: the video card makes lots of noise even after cleaning, the CPU overheats if at 100% for a while, and I want to speed it up.

Current System:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
ECS G33T_M2 Micro-ATX Motherboard
Patriot 2 GB PC2-6400 5-5-5 Memory
Radeon X1300 Video Card
Maxtor DiamondMax 21 SATA 320 GB
Windows XP Pro

My questions:

1) Will a Radeon HD 5670 be able to run Starcraft 2 on 1920x1200 resolution? I plug both my monitor and projector into my computer video card.

2) I want to add a 32-40GB SSD drive for installing my OS and programs (I have a free 2.5" slot in the case right now). Will this work well with my current motherboard? I'm leaning towards the Intel 320 40GB.

3) Is there any benefit to upgrading the RAM? I've noticed you can get 4GB for $20 these days, but I don't know if it's any faster with paired with my motherboard (i.e. will the motherboard bottleneck the bandwith?).

4) Is it worth it to upgrade the CPU and motherboard? The benchmarks on the Core i5 are impressive but it wouldn't fit in my current motherboard.

I'd welcome any other comments/suggestions about my upgrade.

More about : upgrading year desktop

a b B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2011 3:58:45 AM

Hello, and welcome to Tom's!

Unfortunately, I don't think that the 5670 has the "juice" to max out SC2 at those resolutions.

Indeed, a proper RAM upgrade can make quite a difference. However, that board will likely bottleneck quite a bit of your overall performance.

You ask is it worth upgrading to a new 2500(k) system? Yes, it most certainly is and can often be done for a very reasonable price. If you would provide me with your current budget, I would gladly make some suggestions.
a c 122 B Homebuilt system
September 18, 2011 4:06:21 AM

:hello:  Welcome.

I think you are better off saving your money and building a new system. If you had an upper end Core2 system (E8400, Q9550, or better), things would be different. But everyhting you have is a limitation in some way.

The only thing that I would do with your system is add more memory and use it for a backup system.
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September 18, 2011 4:10:34 AM
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tomatoeater said:

...My questions:

2394190,1,985069 said:
1) Will a Radeon HD 5670 be able to run Starcraft 2 on 1920x1200 resolution? I plug both my monitor and projector into my computer video card.
said:
No.
tomatoeater said:
2) I want to add a 32-40GB SSD drive for installing my OS and programs (I have a free 2.5" slot in the case right now). Will this work well with my current motherboard? I'm leaning towards the Intel 320 40GB.
Not money well spent. Better to use the funds to contribute to an i5 system.
tomatoeater said:
3) Is there any benefit to upgrading the RAM? I've noticed you can get 4GB for $20 these days, but I don't know if it's any faster with paired with my motherboard (i.e. will the motherboard bottleneck the bandwith?).
It might be faster for *some* programs, but that RAM would be better used in a new system.
tomatoeater said:
4) Is it worth it to upgrade the CPU and motherboard? The benchmarks on the Core i5 are impressive but it wouldn't fit in my current motherboard.
I just upgraded my 2-year old system from an X2 Regor to an X6 Phenom.
My existing motherboard allowed the upgrade, and it made economic sense.

Were I in your shoes, I'd not put additional money in that existing build.

And were I to build a new system today, I'd build it around the i5-2500K.
(And if budget prevented that, I'd build an i3 system that I could upgrade
to an i5 or i7 down the road.)

September 18, 2011 4:13:15 AM

tomatoeater said:
...the CPU overheats if at 100% for a while, and I want to speed it up.


Unrelated to your questions, but 99% of the time an overheating CPU is due to inadequate air space between the fins on your cpu heatsink. Get some canned air and spray the dust out of that heatsink if you want that system to last much longer.
September 18, 2011 8:20:42 AM

Thanks everyone for the quick replies.

From reading these comments, I have given up on playing Starcraft 2 on this motherboard. It seems like the best route would be to replace this setup piece by piece, since I have about $100 to spend every month. That way I can also keep the case, power supply, and hard drive (which will supplement an SSD drive in the future).

Can anyone recommend components I can upgrade for now that would be useful in a motherboard in 6 months time (but still work on my current motherboard)? Basically, a nice upgrade path. I'm thinking maybe the video card, then the memory, then Windows 7 Home Premium (so I can get an SSD drive), then SSD drive, and finally motherboard+cpu.

I am a little worried because I have a 300W Antec power supply that came with the micro-ATX case: http://www.antec.com/pdf/manuals/minuet300_manual_EN.pd... so I can't get a video card with too much power consumption. I just need to be able to connect to my projector (HDMI or DVI) as well as my computer screen (DVI), and play Starcraft on medium settings in the future.
September 18, 2011 8:22:21 AM

larkspur said:
Unrelated to your questions, but 99% of the time an overheating CPU is due to inadequate air space between the fins on your cpu heatsink. Get some canned air and spray the dust out of that heatsink if you want that system to last much longer.


You're definitely right -- I have had to use canned air on the cpu every year which immediately lowers the temperature, but I have just blasted it last week and it is still overheating at 100%. So I think there is an additional problem this time.
September 18, 2011 9:05:55 AM

tomatoeater said:
You're definitely right -- I have had to use canned air on the cpu every year which immediately lowers the temperature, but I have just blasted it last week and it is still overheating at 100%. So I think there is an additional problem this time.


Confirm the fan is spinning. If not the fan then your contact between the heatsink and CPU heat spreader has failed. Get some thermal paste (like arctic silver), remove your heatsink, apply the paste and re-install the heatsink. Sorry if I'm preachin to the choir :wahoo:  !
September 18, 2011 11:47:35 AM

tomatoeater said:
Thanks everyone for the quick replies.

From reading these comments, I have given up on playing Starcraft 2 on this motherboard. It seems like the best route would be to replace this setup piece by piece, since I have about $100 to spend every month. That way I can also keep the case, power supply, and hard drive (which will supplement an SSD drive in the future).

Can anyone recommend components I can upgrade for now that would be useful in a motherboard in 6 months time (but still work on my current motherboard)? Basically, a nice upgrade path. ...


As jsc noted, the reality is that there is no useful upgrade path.
The upgrade path is to replace the entire PC, at the same time.
And you want to do this at the same time so that you ensure
any DOA components are identifiable and can be returned / replaced
within the time limit.

Here's a build that's just over $300. It does not include the video card.
Use the i3's graphics. Then, once you're up & running with this, you
can spec the video card, which I'm thinking will need to be in the
$100-$150 range to provide the experience you're looking for.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
65 - Antec BP550 Plus 550W

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
125 - i3-2100

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
75 - H67 biostar

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
47 - g.skill 8gb 1333 (You can save ~$15 going with 4GB,
which makes sense if you don't have a 64-bit OS.)


September 24, 2011 11:58:19 PM

Best answer selected by tomatoeater.
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