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What to prioritize for upgrade? HDD? RAM? CPU? GPU?

Last response: in Systems
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September 21, 2012 2:12:49 AM

Can I say that usually, HDDs are the bottleneck in most systems as the access time is the greatest?

- CPU cant do much without data: comes from RAM or HDD
- I have 8GB DDR3 RAM which I think should be sufficient for most use cases. I think 6 should be sufficient actually?
- I notice most of the time my RAM utilization is < 50% or even 25%
- Most of the time, I notice I am waiting for application to load, probably because its waiting for data from HDD

So can I conclude upgrading to SSD will be the most cost efficient for most cases? Even if you don't know my use case? You might have heard of the memory wall where, speed(CPU) >> (much faster than) RAM >>>>>> HDD? So in some sense, a faster HDD should help for most cases? For example, currently I see my CPU utilization as ~10%, RAM as ~20%. Very low in fact?

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Now, for my usecase:

- Mostly web development or school work: Sublime Text, Office, NodeJS etc
- Some photoshop via Virtual Box (am on Linux)
- Dual Boot Windows 7 for Games (DOTA2 nowadays, TF2 ...)
- Perhaps 3D stuff in the future (Blender)

My current setup:

- Core i3 2100
- 8GB DDR3
- 100GB Hitachi SATA2
- ATI 5600 (if I'm not wrong ...)


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In general, what will you prioritize upgrading? Even for gamers who usually say GPU, I wonder what can the GPU process without data? Or perhaps memory access for games are little? eg. load some data and keep processing that *same* data?
September 21, 2012 2:31:00 AM

Nowadays the HDD seems to be the main bottleneck. Your RAM and CPU spend a lot of time waiting for data.
Multi-threaded applications always benefit from more cores/threads, so depending on your apps you'll have to determine if its a bottleneck.
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