Upgrade of CPU/Memory for ageing desktop

Hi,

I wonder if I could ask the opinions of a few of the experts out there about the "best value" CPU/RAM upgrade options for my old desktop PC. The PC is a bit of a self-build from an even older PC and new parts over the years. I'm finding it a bit sluggish these days (Win7) despite rebuilding the OS every year or so. The latest versions of things like Chrome/Office 2010/IE9/FF all seem to be taking their toll and I think the CPU and memory may be struggling a bit. Main annoyance is the time to load the newer apps etc.. I do not use the PC for gaming. Mainly Outlook/Office 2010/Internet and such like.

I would like to get a better CPU to replace the AM2 4000+ and perhaps switch the existing slower memory modules (5300's) to match the faster ones (6400's) if that would be worthwhile based on the costs to do each.

Here is what I have currently (btw. It is not overclocked at all):

GA-MA770-UD3 (Socket M2) - BIOS - FKb - All set to Auto/default except that Serial/Firewire and Parallel all disabled and virtualization enabled (as I use virtualbox occasionally)

PSU 350W

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ / Stock Fan

4Gb RAM:
2 x 1Gb PC2-5300 modules (Corsair CM2X1024-5400C4)
2 x 1Gb PC2-6400 modules (Corsair CM2X1024-6400)

Seperate Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5450 (not OC's at all)

Drives:
Seagate ST332031 SATA2 300Gb - OS Win7 Ultimate (no swap) with all latest SP and patches
Seagate ST325082 SATA2 300Gb - 8Gb Swap file + Infrequently accessed data


Hoping to do this on a low budget of maybe £100 and hopefully improve performance a fair bit - happy to buy used kit of ebay.
My last parts added were the XMS2 6400 RAM modules and the Graphics card (to replace a blown older card)


Many thanks
Paul
12 answers Last reply
More about upgrade memory ageing desktop
  1. Hi. It sounds like a faster storage drive like an SSD would benefit you the most. And maybe a CPU upgrade too if you want. An SSD for your OS and programs would help reduce booting/loading times and sluggishness. Since you have a small budget, I suggest a 120/128GB drive for about £60-70. Here are a few:

    Sandisk 128GB
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/sandisk-internal-hard-drive-sdssdp128gg25

    Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/kingston-internal-hard-drive-sv300s37a120g

    Samsung 840 Series 120GB
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/samsung-internal-hard-drive-mz7td120bw

    Sandisk Extreme 120GB
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/sandisk-internal-hard-drive-sdssdx120gg25

    Your motherboard is actually Socket AM3 ready so you have more processors to choose from. I'm guessing you have either rev. 2.0 or 2.1 since I think you meant to say BIOS version FKD. With that latest BIOS version your motherboard supports the following CPUs in the CPU Support List here:

    http://uk.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/cpu-support-popup.aspx?pid=3097

    Here are a few CPUs that I think are worth upgrading to if you don't plan on a platform upgrade (CPU/motherboard/RAM). I don't think you need the X6 but I'll put it out there as an option. My X2 4000+ is collecting dust. :lol:

    AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0GHz
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-adx640wfgmbox

    AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-hdz965fbgmbox

    AMD Phenom II X6 1045T 2.7GHz
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-hdt45twfgrbox

    As for memory replacement you can find 2GB (2 x 1GB) for a little more than £25 but I don't think this is worth it and certainly not worth as much as getting an SSD.

    Corsair XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/corsair-memory-twin2x20486400
  2. Hi johnsonjohnson,

    That's all cool stuff buddy. Thanks for that. hadn't even thought of an SSD.

    Cheers,
    Paul


    johnsonjohnson said:
    Hi. It sounds like a faster storage drive like an SSD would benefit you the most. And maybe a CPU upgrade too if you want. An SSD for your OS and programs would help reduce booting/loading times and sluggishness. Since you have a small budget, I suggest a 120/128GB drive for about £60-70. Here are a few:

    Sandisk 128GB
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/sandisk-internal-hard-drive-sdssdp128gg25

    Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/kingston-internal-hard-drive-sv300s37a120g

    Samsung 840 Series 120GB
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/samsung-internal-hard-drive-mz7td120bw

    Sandisk Extreme 120GB
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/sandisk-internal-hard-drive-sdssdx120gg25

    Your motherboard is actually Socket AM3 ready so you have more processors to choose from. I'm guessing you have either rev. 2.0 or 2.1 since I think you meant to say BIOS version FKD. With that latest BIOS version your motherboard supports the following CPUs in the CPU Support List here:

    http://uk.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/cpu-support-popup.aspx?pid=3097

    Here are a few CPUs that I think are worth upgrading to if you don't plan on a platform upgrade (CPU/motherboard/RAM). I don't think you need the X6 but I'll put it out there as an option. My X2 4000+ is collecting dust. :lol:

    AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0GHz
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-adx640wfgmbox

    AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-hdz965fbgmbox

    AMD Phenom II X6 1045T 2.7GHz
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/amd-cpu-hdt45twfgrbox

    As for memory replacement you can find 2GB (2 x 1GB) for a little more than £25 but I don't think this is worth it and certainly not worth as much as getting an SSD.

    Corsair XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800
    http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/part/corsair-memory-twin2x20486400
  3. You're welcome and good luck with the upgrade.
  4. Hi, FYI. It's rev 2.0 but it is BIOS V.FKb according to speccy.

    Cheers,
    Paul


    johnsonjohnson said:

    Your motherboard is actually Socket AM3 ready so you have more processors to choose from. I'm guessing you have either rev. 2.0 or 2.1 since I think you meant to say BIOS version FKD. With that latest BIOS version your motherboard supports the following CPUs in the CPU Support List here:

  5. I got the version from Gigabyte's website but as long as you have the latest BIOS version it should support all the CPUs on the list.

    http://uk.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3097#bios
  6. Thanks fella...

    johnsonjohnson said:
    I got the version from Gigabyte's website but as long as you have the latest BIOS version it should support all the CPUs on the list.

    http://uk.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3097#bios
  7. One more question if U don't mind.

    I have the:

    2 x 1Gb PC2-5400 modules (Corsair CM2X1024-5400C4)
    2 x 1Gb PC2-6400 modules (Corsair CM2X1024-6400)

    memory modules.

    I think i'm right in saying that all things being equal the 6400 should be about 2-8% faster than 5300 if all the sticks are one or the other.

    If they are mixed I know that the 6400 will run at the speed of the 5300.

    the question I have is whether it will run at the fasted speed the 5300 can run at or will if have to find a compatability match for available speeds. Let me explain my questiion in another way.

    Speccy is telling me that the two ram module types I have can run at the following speeds:

    The 5300 I have can run at 266 and 333.3
    The 6400 I have can run at 400 and 270

    As the 6400 does not have 333 in the list does that mean that they must both run at the lowest common denominator i.e. 266(270)

    If so then I suspect that the PC2-5300 may be slowing the system by double what I thought (i.e. 4-16%)

    Speccy says:

    RAM
    Memory slots
    Total memory slots 4
    Used memory slots 4
    Free memory slots 0
    Memory
    Type DDR2
    Size 4096 MBytes
    Channels # Dual
    DRAM Frequency 301.4 MHz
    CAS# Latency (CL) 5 clocks
    RAS# to CAS# Delay (tRCD) 5 clocks
    RAS# Precharge (tRP) 5 clocks
    Cycle Time (tRAS) 15 clocks
    Bank Cycle Time (tRC) 19 clocks
    Command Rate (CR) 2T
    Physical Memory
    Memory Usage 60 %
    Total Physical 4.00 GB
    Available Physical 1.57 GB
    Total Virtual 12 GB
    Available Virtual 9.35 GB
    SPD


    Number Of SPD Modules 4
    Slot #1
    Type DDR2
    Size 1024 MBytes
    Manufacturer Corsair
    Max Bandwidth PC2-5300 (333 MHz)
    Part Number CM2X1024-5400C4
    SPD Ext. EPP
    JEDEC #2
    Frequency 333.3 MHz
    CAS# Latency 5.0
    RAS# To CAS# 5
    RAS# Precharge 5
    tRAS 15
    tRC 19
    Voltage 1.800 V
    JEDEC #1
    Frequency 266.7 MHz
    CAS# Latency 4.0
    RAS# To CAS# 4
    RAS# Precharge 4
    tRAS 12
    tRC 15
    Voltage 1.800 V
    Slot #2 - Same as above
    Slot #3
    Type DDR2
    Size 1024 MBytes
    Manufacturer Corsair
    Max Bandwidth PC2-6400 (400 MHz)
    Part Number CM2X1024-6400
    SPD Ext. EPP
    JEDEC #2
    Frequency 400.0 MHz
    CAS# Latency 5.0
    RAS# To CAS# 5
    RAS# Precharge 5
    tRAS 18
    tRC 22
    Voltage 1.800 V
    JEDEC #1
    Frequency 270.3 MHz
    CAS# Latency 4.0
    RAS# To CAS# 4
    RAS# Precharge 4
    tRAS 13
    tRC 15
    Voltage 1.800 V
    Slot #4 same as above

    Thanks
    Paul
  8. You are right that there may be some performance loss and that the higher speed 6400 will run at the limit of the 5300 which is 333 MHz. The 6400 is able to run at 333 MHz since you can already see that they are running at 301.4 MHz from your post which is higher than 266.7 MHz. Now whether that performance is worth the money is up to you. In my opinion it isn't especially for everyday usage. My old system was similar to yours too and I used it for gaming: 1GB (512 x 512) DDR2-667 and 2GB (1 x 1) DDR2-800. :lol:
  9. Thanks. Will stick to the CPU u/g.
  10. Job done. Got the X4 640 and overclocked it a tad from 200 to 235Mhz bus speed

    CPU mark went from 587 on old 4000+ CPU to 3800

    System much more responsive now. Well happy for a £50 upgrade.

    Cheers,
    Paul
  11. and ... the temperatures never went over 35C. I did use the old Fan and heatsink from the old 4000+ CPU though as it was much larger than the crappy stock one.
  12. Glad to hear you're pleased with the upgrade.
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