My PC has been diligently working for the past 4 years. It has been reliable and reasonably quick for my sparse usage.
I was wondering what, if any upgrades or tweaks you all could suggest that would really increase the productivity speeds. The machine doesn't "game" much other than a flight simulator that works perfectly as-is. I have recently started playing with GoPro Studio, so video processing has been so so on it.
OS: Win7Pro x64
AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE (unlocked 4th-core, 3.4GHz @ 1.42vdc)
Cooler Master Hyper 212+ cooler
Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H ver 1.0
Crucial/Micron DDR3 1066 1.5v 2x2gb 7-7-7-21
Sapphire Radeon 5770 1gb
Western Digital VelociRaptor 300 SATA
Sony OptiArc 24x DVDRW
Rosewill R102 mATX mid-tower
OCZ Fatal1ty 550 PSU
You have a good system. I wouldn't spend any more money unless you want to upgrade your ram while prices are cheap. You can sell your old ram and get a 2x4 gb kit for $30-45. But everything else looks good.
SSD - Always a good option unless done for adding capacity. The price per GB just isn't there... The SSD will increase boot / load times, but the rest is a wash in a real world scenario (outside video / media editing and other tasks of that type). Look in the used market for a second HD to get by on for now, then pick up a large HD when prices get back to normal down the road.
Am still running the same machine 2 years later from the original post in 2011 when it was a 2 year old system. Now looking at whether or not upgrading for a few bucks here and there might garner any substantial gains.
I also need to install a second hard drive since my main is about 40gigs away from being full.
using a ssd as a boot drive would make windows feel faster, improve some file transfer speeds in certain situations and improve some programs in terms of speed. if you buy a large enough one you can even use it in the future on your next pc build which will be creeping up on you in a year or two.
unless productivity is a real issue and what you have just is not cutting it anymore i would wait another year and do a rebuild (standard 5 year pc rebuild cycle). if you absolutely must do something then i would only make upgrades you can take to a new system as its not worth investing much into parts you cannot take with you when you roll to a new build.
you mentioned video processing. i'm not expert but some programs can benefit from multiple hard drives. one to run windows and the program, one to act as a source file drive and one to act as a write to drive. in this way all three drives can be running at once increasing productivity. i'm not sure which program this was for though so you may want to look this up.
Thanks for the advice! I've been contemplating swapping in a SSD and moving my vid/music/pic files to an internal slave HDD. I've just been on the fence about investing the $170-$215 for a SSD (Samsung 256GB EVO, Pro or equiv.), rather than investing that in something else.
After doing some poking around, I guess some prudent upgrades to get another few years out of this rig would be in order of priority:
1. storage, I'm nearly maxed out... so, invest in a spare internal HDD, or install a SSD for my main files and make my WD Raptor drive my slave with all the media on it, or buy a cheaper 1TB HDD and leave my Raptor as the main drive. Cost $75-$215
2. GPU: The HD 5770 isn't crap, but it appears it's aged by a few generations. I have a small case, so I'd need something that is compact like my existing card. The Asus GTX 670 Mini comes to mind, but it is a $300 card.
3. Memory: Bump up to 8gig. Either add more of the same sticks, or replace what I have with new. ~$40-$80 I think...
If money was no object, I'd opt for a powerful laptop since I don't spend as much time on my desktop as I used to and would prefer a portable solution instead.
A 7790 would do fine in a small case, I have one in a microATX case.
But if you've got a raptor as your only drive I'd actually say that you probably need an SSD AND a large drive. I've been using a 128GB 830 samsung drive and that size has been fine. I also have a 3TB seagate that I got for $130 not long ago.