Hardware upgrade opinion needed for RAM or GPU

By Marnomancer
Feb 27, 2012
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  1. Hello friends,
    My sparable savings now sum up to $80, and it's about time I need an upgrade.
    I know this is a really tight budget, but it's the best I could muster up for this seemingly urgent upgrade.

    My Current Rig: (Only parts concerning upgrade are mentioned)
    1) ASRock N68-S
    AM2+/AM3 Socket
    DDR2-1066 MHz, 8GB Max (Dual Channel)
    Nvidia GeForce 7025 Integrated Graphics, nForce 630a
    PCI-e 2.0 x16 Support (Single Slot)
    Here's a link for more details:

    2)AMD Sempron 140 2.7 GHz (x64)
    Single Core, 45nm, Max OC: 3.4 GHz
    2x 64KB L1 Cache, 1 MB L2 Cache
    Here's a link for more details:

    3) Kingmax Semiconductor DDR2-800 MHz 2GB (occupies one slot)

    4)Western Digital Caviar Blue 320 GB SATAII

    My Usage:
    1) Moderate gaming (Counter-Strike: Source, Halo, Fable, Transformers, Mortal Combat V, etc. I'll get Crysis 2 and BF3 soon)
    2) Compression, decompression, hash tables, etc.

    Immediate Plans:
    To install Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit.
    I have already prepare all the necessary drivers and programs. I just need to make sure all my games are working perfectly stable and equally fast, if not a bit superior to 32-bit.
    I dont't want to end up downloading the 64-bit versions for all if any of the games, and I doubt they will be available anyway.

    The Dilemma:

    As you may have already noticed, I have a very entry level rig for my usage.
    In the pursuit of performance, I stumbled upon overclocking, but I'm afraid I have hit the hypothetical "wall". I realize that whatever I do, and upgrade was imminent.
    So after saving up for a long time, I now have just enough money for either a RAM,or a GPU. I *may* loosen up the budget a bit if the deal is satisfying enough.
    But the dilemma is, which is the more worthy and possibly "future-safe" (by my position) investment that I should make?
    Replacing the mobo is out of the question, because that'll mean I'll have to replace qiute a few things.

    The Candidates:
    1) RAM: (Most likely)
    A twin of my current Kingmax Semiconductor DDR2 800 MHz 2GB will occupy the second slot on the mobo.

    2) GPU: (A little less likely)
    i) Radeon HD 5570
    ii) Radeon HD 5450
    iii) Radeon HD 4850
    iv) Radeon HD 4350
    v) Any Nvidia below $50
    Any one of these (the most affordable one) will take over the responsibility from the soon-to-retire Nvidia GeForce 7025.

    3) CPU (least likely)
    Either an Athlon II of Phenom II. Let's see. After 2 years maybe. Haha.

    4) SSD
    The price tags made me giddy. Sometime later maybe.

    5) Motherboard
    Out of the question.Years later. Or until it's fried.


    1) Will upgrading RAM give a better performance boost for 64-bit, or should I go for GPU?
    2) I'll upgrade my CPU later, most likely on an exchange offer (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).
    3) I'll need an SSD in some time, so maybe I'll get it before the CPU.
    4) Any major upgrades (Mobo, CPU) will be done no sooner than 2 years from the time of writing this thread.

    Thank you in advance for your time and effort. Any help is truly appreciated.

  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    Looking at your current rig, you definitely need the best DX11 video card you can afford to ditch the on-board video. You could probably get by with 4GB of RAM for the 64-bit OS
  3. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 723   +51

    Yes, I had considered that too. So you suggest I should buy some RAM first, and then GPU?
  4. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +170

  5. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 723   +51

    Thanks for the link.
    But I also have to install Win7 x64. So I'll need RAM too.
    I think I'll go for a GPU a little less than $75. With RAM prices low, I may buy a RAM too. But the priority will be the RAM, seeing the urgency of x64. After that I'll save some more and get a GPU should need be.
    I don't want to deplete all my savings. And my needs aren't that high. Let's see what the vendors here have to offer.
    Anyone else has any constructive advice?
  6. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +170

    It's not a requirement to have 4GB RAM to run Windows 7 x64, but another 2GB stick will certainly help. DDR2 prices are actually much higher than DDR3 at the moment because DDR2 is a legacy item, so I'm not sure it's worthwhile spending the majority of your budget on that.

    But if you don't upgrade your GPU you definitely won't be able to run Crysis 2 or BF3 even on the lowest settings.
  7. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 723   +51

    I do plan to upgrade the GPU. DDR2 is still in a stockpile here in this part of the world, cause people wanted DDR2 all the time, and since January DDR3 became a crowed fav due to increased salaries. My regular vendor gives me the best prices, and my Regular Customer Coupon and bargainig skills may definitely help. Haha.
    Anyway, it'll be some time before I'll be running BF3, so I'll upgrade RAM first. I'll save a bit more, then get the best GPU for my mobo. All upgrades will be completed by the end of April. What's your say?
  8. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +170

    Sounds like a good plan. Just make sure you get exactly the same stick of RAM though.
  9. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 723   +51

    Sure I will. Thanks for your advice guys. Your effort is appreciated.
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    You're Welcome Marnomancer :) Good luck
  11. penn919

    penn919 TS Booster Posts: 176   +18

    Is there any particular reason you need x64? Because Win7 x64 with 4GB will run pretty much the same as Win7 x32 with 2GB. That's why it may be your best bet to stick with your current OS and get a GPU. Maybe some later time when you get enough money, you can just build an entirely new rig and you'll be able to migrate your GPU if need be.

    Personally, I think that'll be the best move because when it comes time when you want an up-to-date PC you'll have to throw away your ram anyway because they won't be compatible and they'll hardly be worth anything.
  12. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 723   +51

    I had considered that, but my CPU was x64 capable, and I can easily afford a RAM, unlike a GPU. And, I'm not buying a new rig anytime soon, because I'm planning on buying a laptop for college and university. Plus, I could send the RAM to be recycled than wasted. I did some research and tests for x64, and they strongly suggest I switch to x64.
    But maybe I'll wait some more time to look at the market- who knows AMD might release a cheaper-than-RAM GPU? :haha:
  13. penn919

    penn919 TS Booster Posts: 176   +18

    Yeah, but here's the thing. GPU's aren't that expensive if all you need is a low profile one. Here's one of the ones you listed and it only cost $29.99 after the rebate and $54.99 before the rebate. And it's not a bad thing that you won't be buying a new rig anytime soon because if you were, there wouldn't be any point in upgrading anything on your computer. Plus, the longer you wait the better technology gets so you can take as long as you want before buying a new system.

    Also, you'll only see an advantage with x64 if you use native 64-bit programs. If you don't, you won't see any difference at all.
  14. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 723   +51

    Yeah, I already have many native x64 programs that my x32 can't run. Let's see what happens by the end of this month. I'll head to the market at the beginning of April, and shopping, if any, will be finished by the end of April.
    Thanks for your advice. Your effort is appreciated.

    Here's the update: I tested x64 on a partition of my current HDD, and the performance was far better than x32, on the same rig. The GPU was the bottleneck. Not the RAM. So i guess I'll buy a good GPU rather than RAM.
    Microsoft has a repulsive habit of lying about its product's sytem reqs.
    Anyway, thanks for the useful information.

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