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Rookie looking to upgrade to 64-bit OS and change hardware accordingly

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August 4, 2012 10:42:39 PM

Hey all,

I bought an Alienware computer back in early 2008 and its done me very well. I've been thinking of upgrading my Windows 7 OS from 32bit to 64bit and want to upgrade my computer accordingly to take advantage of the 64bit architecture. As the subject line says, I am a rookie to hardware upgrades (why I bought an Alienware :)  ) and have only really replaced my graphics card on my own (since my previous one died).

My current specs from speccy:
Spoiler

Operating System
MS Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit SP1

CPU
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 @ 2.66GHz 47 °C
Kentsfield 65nm Technology

RAM
3.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 400MHz (5-5-5-16)

Motherboard
alienware alienware (Socket 775) 21 °C
Chipset Model: nForce 680i SLI SPP
Southbridge Model: nForce 680i SLI MCP

Graphics
SyncMaster (1680x1050@59Hz)
896MB GeForce GTX 260 (nVidia) 61 °C

Hard Drives
233GB Seagate ST325041 0AS SCSI Disk Device (ATA)

Optical Drives
HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GSA-H55N ATA Device

Audio
Creative X-Fi Audio Processor (WDM)


Approximate Purchase Date: Sometime in the next few months

Budget Range: The cheaper the better but I'm thinking no more than a few hundred dollars.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, word processing, internet surfing, main computer of the family

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Hoping you all will answer that (What needs to be upgraded to really take advantage of 64bit or am I already there?). The only area I'm sure needs love is the RAM since I heard you really need 4gb of ram to take advantage of 64bit.

Do you need to buy OS: No, I think my Windows 7 32bit license is good for the 64bit version too

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Any suggestions?

Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA

Parts Preferences: Anything that is compatible with my current equipment

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Your Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments: I'd appreciate any help!

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I've been noticing a lot of recent games suffer from memory leaks in 32bit Windows and have been told upgrading to 64bit would resolve some of these issues with some hardware upgrades. I also have been noticing lots of games putting up barriers to those with 32bit systems. I.E., The Secret World won't let you go past medium graphics settings if you have a 32bit Windows system.

Thanks for any help!
August 4, 2012 10:48:15 PM

Ew Alienware. There is so much stuff to upgrade that I would suggest just saying up for a year and building your own $1000 system with Windows 8, Haswell and the new GPUs in 2013.

The only thing that I see that you can use is the sound card, case and optical drive.
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August 4, 2012 10:50:05 PM

You will have to change the motherboard to one that supports DDR3 memory. DDR2 memory is insanely expensive. Get 8GB of RAM for gaming as that is the sweet spot. I recommend G.Skill Ares 1600 MHz 2x4gb.

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August 4, 2012 10:54:06 PM

But everything else is bad too: processor, HARD DRIVE, and graphics card.
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August 4, 2012 10:56:02 PM

I mentioned HDD. I was going to get to everything once he replied. :) 
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August 4, 2012 10:57:40 PM

*I've just got a BLANK box for your specs.

The ONLY advantage in terms of performance is due to having more RAM. For gaming you should be getting 8GB. More won't benefit you.

So you should be getting:
1) Windows 7 Premium 64-bit
2) 8GB RAM (4x2GB DDR3 1600MHz?)

**Since I can't see your specs my advice is limited. Since your CPU and Graphics card haven't been update with this then performance in most games won't change much.

This would cost you approximately $200 but if your graphics card wasn't very good before you might have been better off spending $200 on a graphics card ONLY and ignoring the extra RAM and Windows 32-bit.

I could help more if I knew your:
- CPU (overclocked?)
- RAM (i.e. 2GB or 4GB DDR3 1600MHz)
- Motherboard (i.e. Asus P5ZZ-TS)
- Graphics Card (i.e. HD6770 1GB)
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August 4, 2012 10:57:59 PM

Update:
*I had to CLICK the spec link. It toggles on and off...
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August 4, 2012 10:58:47 PM

I can see his specs just fine Photon.
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August 4, 2012 11:06:00 PM

IMO it's a waste of money spending $200 to get Windows 7 Premium 64-bit OEM and 8GB RAM (maybe MORE since it is DDR2 and I haven't priced that recently).

The same games that need more RAM are also more demanding on the Graphics card and his is outdated. Games such as BF3 seem to need more than 4GB or there's a bottleneck but you also need a GTX680 and i7-2600K or similar to max out the game.

There are plenty of games that will run nicely on his current system and I recommend he pick and choose those games.

I think this is the point where you save up for a completely new system.
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August 5, 2012 3:03:02 AM

Hey Guys,

The advice is much appreciated! I'm typing this on my phone so bear with me. Just to be clear, im not trying to play any games at max settings. I just want a smooth fps with mid-midhigh settings. I've played things like shogun 2 and arkham city just fine but I've had to use the 3gb switch to keep them from running out of memory. Other than buying a new system would getting 8gb ram and upping to 64bi (which is free for me) be viable to do that? Or would even going 4-5gb with win 7 64bit be enough?
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August 5, 2012 3:12:38 AM

No. You will need a new graphics card.
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August 5, 2012 3:21:21 AM

Thanks azeem. Could you recommend a lower end card that can still get me those mid-midhigh settings? Is the 680 that card?
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August 5, 2012 3:23:45 AM

GTx 680 is in no way low end. The best you can do is a Radeon 6870.
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August 5, 2012 3:33:49 AM

There a nvidia counterpart to that? I've had bad experiences with radeon in the past.
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August 5, 2012 3:35:07 AM

No, there isn't an NVIDIA GPU that works as well as the Radeon 6870. Don't let past experiences cloud your judgement. AMD Radeon rules in the low to mid-high end graphocs cards.
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August 5, 2012 3:44:09 AM

I would not get the 560 cuz it uses more power and the 6870 is the same price, sometimes cheaper.
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!