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(trying) to upgrade computer?

By JordanSoldat
Feb 23, 2016
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  1. I bought my computer nearly a decade ago for video game and music mixing reasons and now it's really starting to show its age... I'm experiencing frame rate issues in video games as easy to run as team fortress 2 and can barely run video games like vermintide on the lowest possible settings. Someone told me my CPU is the weakest thing I've got in my computer, but I wanted more opinions... Can I somehow upgrade some aspects of my computer to run the newly released games (it barely does at present...) or should I just start investing in a new computer?

    Apologies in advance, I'm not very tech savvy...

    Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q9300 @ 2.50GHz
    Manufacturer: Intel
    Speed: 2.5 GHz
    Number of Cores: 4
    Some research had me discover I have a IPIEL-LA3 (Eureka3) motherboard manufactured by Pegatron and that I will likely have to replace it if I want to change anything regarding my processor...
    RAM: 8GB
    1TB Hard drive

    My graphics card is a GTX 650, not the ATI Radeon card it came with... a friend swapped out the graphics card and power supply my computer came with. This was a long time ago and it seemed to fix my frame rate problems at the time, but as the years go by things are starting to stutter again...
    Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650
    Dedicated Memory: 1024 MB
    Total Memory: 3.9 GB
    Pixel Shader and Vertex Shader: 5.0

    I know I only have 1 post here, so I am extremely grateful for any helpful advice from this forum and I hope I'm not breaking any rules or falling into a widely undesirable stereotype... I am ready to provide any more information.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 1,661   +311

    The Q9300 and GTX650 are well matched. The board is good and the Q9300 is about the best you can do with it. 8GB RAM is good. In total this is a good system - just no longer near top tier as it was when you got it. However, Team Fortress 2 should be fast and smooth with your rig - vermintide will still be a bit jerky. The hardware section at http://www.game-debate.com/ might be fun for you to look at.

    What can cause a 'slow computer'? Lots of things and it might be worth the time trying to improve what you have without spending much money. Here's my current list:

    Virus / trojan / rootkit - run several scans and if any 'surprises', pursue in Virus Removal topic in next forum

    Anti-virus software - confirm that only one is active (uninstall others, except Malewarebytes which can co-exist if not active)

    Heat throttling due to dust blanket inside - clean inside of computer (see Youtube videos)

    Heat throttling due to hardened thermal paste on CPU or GPU or southbridge - clean & replace (see Youtube for videos on this)

    Failing PSU - check voltage and temps against norms +/-3% or so on 12v and 5v rails using HWInfo (hwinfo.com)

    Failing HDD - run cleanup and defrag (consider getting more storage if used portion is over 66%)

    Failing HDD - check SMART, replace if beginning to show errors

    Drivers: need updated drivers to make your system work well - check motherboard manufacturer's site

    Review all the software in 'startup' to be sure you really need it running
     
    bazz2004 and B00kWyrm like this.
  3. B00kWyrm

    B00kWyrm TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,436   +37

    If I read you correctly...
    • Your purpose is to have a computer "for newly released games."
    Questions to consider
    • Which games?
    • What budgetary constraints?
    • Are you no longer doing the mixing?
    • Or have other equipment for that?
    I agree with Cycloid Torus on the checks to do.

    I suspect this is an HP case, and that the mb pretty well fills it, and not much room around the GPU.

    Then, ... lacking more specific information, I would look at these closely
    • cooling / thermal throttling .
    • the psu check per above...
    if PSU is stock and starting to weaken... and/or if it was marginal to begin with. ... nuf sed?

    Gather your data, using HWInfo, Speedfan etc... and see what is hot, if anything.
    .
    And ... rather than try to put much more money in this one, I would opt for a ground-up build.
    You may be able to keep the case and PSU depending on other selections,
    BUT... if the PSU is stock/oem, even if it still tests good, I still would lean toward replacing it ...
    And given case prices, you can get a reasonably priced gaming case
    with greater versatility than you probably have currently.
     
  4. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    The money you would put into trying to get this machine up to par would far exceed trying to piece meal an out dated rig am You could get a new machine with capabilies that will run circles around a patdhwork of upgrades .
    I would be willing to sell you a CPU ,MB,and AIO at below cost if you decided to go that rout .
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  5. JordanSoldat

    JordanSoldat TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I appreciate all the responses... The checklist has proved very enlightening and I shall put these into practice. I apologize for not being specific enough, but I'm interested in playing graphically demanding games, like Assassin's Creed Syndicate/Unity, Vermintide, Dark Souls III, and Overwatch. I have a gut feeling that regardless of any healthy maintenance I do for this computer, it will never achieve the graphical power I'm seeking. I'm expecting to have about 400$ to spend on this upgrading endeavor within the next month or month and a half.

    Unfortunately, all signs seem to be pointing to a new rig. I guess I will have to start thinking about that.

    Once again, thanks for the enlightening responses...
     
  6. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    Best thing about a new PC is that you can pass this one on to a child (if you have kids) or other family member that has lesser needs (for email, etc) or hang on to it as a PC for less intense applications, or my favorite option barring a family member in need is to wipe the drive with a product like eraser that will overwrite files do government (DOD) standards and beyond and donate it to a local charity for kids to use (like big brothers and Sisters) or Goodwill.
     

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