Looking to upgrade 1-2 parts from an old system

Hi, I've got an ancient system that still works for my current gaming needs (World of Warcraft on low settings). However, there seems to be a noticeable lag, in WoW and also during normal web browsing, since I swapped in another HDD (my old HDD appeared to be failing).

As such, I am thinking of upgrading the GPU, RAM, and maybe a new HDD but would like to know beforehand if it would be pointless to upgrade due to a bottleneck from the CPU/motherboard combo.

My current specs are:
Intel Dual-core Core2 E6600 @ 2.4GHz CPU
GTS 250 512MB GPU
320GB 7200RPM HDD
Generic 500watt PSU
Win XP (I have XP-SP3 and not sure if its 32 or 64 bit) OS

If I were to keep my CPU/MOBO unchanged, would it be worthwhile to get:

GTX650 Overclock Edition D5 1GB
4GB or 8GB RAM (would 8GB be overkill on a system like mine? Would get Win 7 if getting 8GB RAM)
1TB 7200RPM HDD (only if my HDD is the cause of the constant "lag")

Would these upgrades actually improve the system's gaming performance or would I need to upgrade the MOBO/CPU as well to see a difference?

PS - Should I be worried if the mounted fan on the GPU is different from the ones listed on Newegg? Please check the link for pictures - http://english.gmarket.co.kr/challenge/neo_goods/goods.asp?goodscode=305583520&pos_shop_cd=EN&pos_class_cd=90000003&pos_class_kind=T
5 answers Last reply
More about looking upgrade parts system
  1. you forgot to mention your power supply. keep in mind faster video card require additional power so you might have to upgrade the power supply too. if you dont want to upgrade the power supply you can pick up amd 7750 as it doesn't require any additional power. 8 gigs will be overkill you wont see improvements with a dual core
    your "lag" can be cause by your cpu...WoW like other mmo's are cpu intensive when there is a lot of characters running on your screen. so first i would upgrade the graphics..if you still get a lag i would upgrade the cpu/mobo/ram
  2. Hi, thanks for the quick reply! I'll edit in my PSU spec as well.

    As for the "lag", I also notice it during non-intensive usage, such as normal web browsing (especially when I open a new tab/window). The weird thing about it all is that I only started to notice the "lag" only after I re-installed Windows on a different HDD. While changing the HDD, I might have ruined one of the Ram modules when I tried to insert it incorrectly.
  3. First, please verify which processor you have. "Intel Core2 6600 @ 2.4GHz CPU" could mean either the dual-core Intel Core2Duo E6600 or the quad-core Intel Core2Quad Q6600.

    Second, which operating system are you using XP, Vista, 7 or 8 and 32-bit or 64-bit?

    Third, if you believe you may have damaged a RAM module, you should test them attempting to boot your system with only one module installed. If it boots up, shut down and try the other. If not, you know you have a faulty RAM module and the whole kit should probably be replaced. What to replace it with will depend on the answers to the above questions.

    -Wolf sends
  4. Hi, I am using a dual-core Intel Core2 E6600 with Win XP atm (although I am thinking of getting Win 7 64bit if I decide to upgrade to 4/8GB RAM, unless 4GB of RAM works well enough with XP's limited RAM capacity).

    Thank you for the RAM suggestion, I will be sure to test it out when I have the time.
  5. It is not clear what your most effective upgrade would be.

    2gb of ram is likely to be a problem, particularly if one stick is not working.
    To test your ram, run memtest86+.
    You should have NO errors for a few full passes.
    Ram is cheap, and an upgrade to 4gb will likely be a good upgrade for you.
    No game uses more than 2-3gb, so 4gb may be OK. To access >4gb, you will need a 64 bit os.

    One indicator of lack of ram is the difference in performance due to a hard drive change. If you have excessive demand paging to the hard drive, performance will suffer. One of the best performance enhancers would be the upgrade to a SSD. Look for a 120gb ssd, it will be about $100. You will never bo back.
    If needed, leave larger files on the hard drive. If you eventually change out the cpu/motherboard, the SSD can still be used.

    The 6600 is still a decent cpu.

    Usually, the graphics card is a limiter to fast action gaming.
    If you upgrade the graphics card, make it a meaningful jump, or you may be disappointed.
    Probably to a GTX650ti or better.
    If you stick with a 28nm graphics card(GTX6xx or amd 7xxx), you can probably run a card as good as a GTX670 on a 500w psu.

    To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

    a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
    If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.
    If your FPS stays the same, you are likely cpu limited.

    b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 50%.
    This will simulate what a lack of cpu power will do.

    Go to control panel/power options/change plan settings/change advanced power settings/processor power management/maximum processor state/
    set to 50% and see how you do.

    If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

    It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.
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