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PC upgrade ideas

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jamtarts, Jan 17, 2008.

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  1. jamtarts

    jamtarts Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
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    Hi,

    just built a Desktop PC after my last one packed up. I had a limited budget so really just went for a basic PC. I use it mostly for Digital Photography, Internet, Home Office and Games.

    I hoped over the next few months to upgrade a few bits, again on a limited budget, has anyone any ideas for decent replacement parts?

    The system consists of :-

    2 gb Ram DDR2 800 (not sure make)
    AMD+ X2 5600
    ASUS M2N-MX SE Plus Mother board
    X/Vision 512 mb GeForce 8500 GT Super SLI (PCI-E)
    Creative SB Audigy 2 Z5
    500 Gb HD (Sata)
    250 Gb HD (Sata)
    2x Sony DVD writers (IDE)
    Power 450w

    Now I wasn't sure about the memory I hoped to add another 2 Gb stick, however the manual says it needs to be paired, does this mean that I need two sticks exactly the same and will have to scrap the stick I bought or can I buy another stick with the same specifications?

    I'm also thinking of a better graphics card as I didn't read the reviews on this before I bought it. Although any games I've run so far have run fine for me at 1280 x 1024 (I've not run anything bang up to date yet though).

    Would upgrades or changes would you consider if this was your system and you were working to a tight budget?

    thanks :)
     
  2. Waldo_II

    Waldo_II

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    339
    How tight of a budget are we talking about?

    For $280, you can get a GeForce 8800GT, which is over twice as good as your current setup (>4 8500s in SLI)

    As for RAM, we need to know one thing. Is your operating system 32-bit or 64-bit? If it is 32-bit, don't go with any more RAM. You will likely only be able to get 512MB more because of the limitations of the x86 architecture (Max is theoretically 3.2GB, usually 3.0, subtract the RAM on your video card, 2.5). If your OS is 64-bit, buy an exact matching pair of what you have already. I mean exact. Otherwise, you may not be able to get the maximum speed out of it.
     
  3. jamtarts

    jamtarts Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
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    thanks for the reply,

    it's XP Home SP2 so it'd just be 32bit, so that's a good shout not to buy ram, I was close to buying two new sticks, I reckon I will go vista eventually so I could get them then,

    I'd say at the moment the $280 budget is a wee bit high at the moment as I have just shelled out on this system, that and my girlfriend would kill me hehe! I had thought about the 8600GT which I can pick up for about £66 ($100) not sure if it's worth the upgrade just now or save up for the 8800 for a couple of months
     
  4. Rich-M

    Rich-M

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    22,443
    Vista won't make any difference with 32 bit and memory. And yes you need to get exactly the same model and speed if you want the system to run right. You can go for the 4 gb planning to up to 64 bit down the road especially since ram is cheap right now and run the 2 sticks probably attaining 3-3.5 gb recognized.
     
  5. Compiler

    Compiler

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    5,855
    1 - Windows Vista needs as much RAM as possible... so 3~4GB is helpful, even if 32bit VISTA can't talk to the full 4GB of RAM. 2GB WinXP is just fine.

    2 - Please don't tell people "subtract ram from your video card" - OPERATING SYSTEMS DO NOT TALK TO THE MEMORY ON THE VIDEO CARD! That is spreading very incorrect information.
    a) 32bit OS will see 3.3GB of RAM out of 4GB. (Vista or XP)
    b) Dual channel memory setups is best for performance. Memory should be in PAIRs - 2 exact models. But 2 pairs do NOT need to be the exact same, but they should be the same performance as the PC will perform as fast as the slowest RAM.
    c) If a video card as 128, 256, 512, 1000mb of ram - The OS doesn't touch it. Only the Video uses it to create & store video frames which is then pumped out of the video card.
     
  6. Compiler

    Compiler

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2006
    Messages:
    5,855
    The 8600GT is a fairly mid-low range card. The 8500 is not even half the card of the 8600GT. Don't worry about 256 vs 512 on these low end cards... 256mb is enough.

    Easier on the budget is the ATi 3850, its about $170USD (vs $100 for the 8600gt) and is about 2x~3x faster than the 8600gt... its just shy of the 8800gts/320.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/10/09/directx_10_shootout/page4.html
     
  7. jamtarts

    jamtarts Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
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    Great stuff guys, thanks very much!(y)

    I'd planned memory first but I'll leave that just now and look at one of the graphics cards as soon as I save up,

    thanks again
     
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