Have $100 to upgrade. RAM or GeForce 8600 GTX?

By NoTTaShoT ยท 8 replies
Jul 23, 2011
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  1. lopdog

    lopdog TS Maniac Posts: 295

    If he has only 512 MB ram I think more ram would be the best choice. Even though a better GPU also could be necessary the low amount of RAM would be a bottleneck anyways.
  2. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    You have a chicken or egg deal there. Either one alone isn't going to help much. i would get another 512 of ram to get the thing to 1GB at least, and use the remaining to get a VGA to replace the IGP. Damn near anything will be better.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,002   +2,532

    I think Intel 915 would take 2 X 2 GB chips for the RAM, it just won't go over 4GB total, because the board chipset is only 32 bit. The full 4GB won't even be presented to the OS, because the hardware addresses are subtracted at the BIOS level.

    In the original manual to this "Augsburg" board, Intel jokes that you can actually install 8GB of RAM. (4 X 2GB) However, it will still only present 3.25 to the OS. Arguably, it should work with 2 X 2, but that is experimental.

    For that rig, IMHO, 1GB x 2 would be as much RAM as I would ever put in it. 2 full GB is a huge improvement, as I've seen Firefox alone use 800MBs of RAM, but I tend to have 100+ tabs open when I'm surfing with it.

    Although you take a hit on the cost per GB when buying in1GB sticks, only having to buy a pair, still leaves you with enough money for a video card, and anything is better than Intel 915 on board graphics.

    Depending on the particular Intel 915 board the FSB could be as low as 533Mhz.

    Your review is showing an 800 Mhz FSB speed, but I had though that was only available on the full ATX 915GAV. My 915GAG (Matx) has the slower buss speed. There were several models, I'm not familiar with all of them.
  4. Ultiweap

    Ultiweap TS Enthusiast Posts: 606

    Your friend may upgrade up to 2GB RAM and buy a card also as the integrated graphic do not perform well for a lot of game and 2GB RAM is largely enough for gaming.
  5. rockyjohns

    rockyjohns TS Rookie Posts: 80

    Upgrade memory and video card.

    You could get this memory from Crucial (comes off their memory configurator for your model) and it would give you 2 GB DDR2 800 with CAS 4 - a good timing which is also important - $39:


    And this HD Sapphire 5670 video card with DDR5 memory - $60 AR


    Sapphire is a good brand, but if you can afford $10 more I would go with the XFX version of the same card. XFX is a little better brand and the card has a lifetime warranty compared to 2 years (which is pretty standard) for the Saphire card - $70 AR


    Note that both video cards have DDR5 memory making them significantly faster than the same model of card with only DDR3 memory.

    The HD 5670 is listed as the best gaming card at the $75 budget level on the THG recommendation list:


    It is also a recommended card at upgradevideocards.com, where you can also find a lot of other information and links on how to upgrade your video card, including card selection and installation:


    Note that one of their pages also identifies the best brands for video cards which lists both manufacturers above as having strong reputations:


    This HD 5670 review will give you some idea of the performance to expect - although you should expect a little less as their benchmarking system makes sure it provides no bottlenecks to the card - you can see the specs for the benchmark system in the article. It includes comparisons with the 9600 GT which is a little faster than the 8600 GT you are considering.

  6. ihaveaname

    ihaveaname TS Enthusiast Posts: 107

    This probably isn't too much of a problem but you should consider the fact that the power supply which came with that computer is cutting it close with the minimum recommended for an 8600, especially considering that it's (I'm guessing) an old unit.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,002   +2,532

    I'm sort of mystified as to why you've decided to choose a relic such as the 8600GT any way. A card from a newer line would probably give you better performance with less power used. Hence, the PSU might no longer be a factor.
  8. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Ram is cheap at the moment. Pickup a 1GB stick for $20 and spend $80 on a videocard.

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