New Gaming PC, what to upgrade...

By darksolder ยท 20 replies
Dec 8, 2005
  1. Hey guys, Just built my new Gaming PC, run's cool, and i dont know what too upgrade next, (Note: I'm getting a 1g stick of memory for christmas and giving back the 512 to my dad whom i barrowed it from) I am planing to upgrade this baby in 1 yr. increasements, What order should i do it in? Memory to 4g (3-3g sticks) Processor, Same Video card for SLI, (Next 2 are wheni have time/money) thinking of also getting some SATA HD's and setting them up in a RAID format. I am also looking in to buying a WAtercooling system that i can mount in two 5.25" bays where i have a fan ATM. Look at for oldish pics and new specs of my System.

    Edit: I'm Only 15 so money is a BIG issue here (around $300 for christmas/birthday $600-$700 for both combind i can spend)
  2. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 669

    1. Get yourself up to 2Gb of RAM
    2. Upgrade the video card to a 7800GTX (reviews show it faster than 2 6600GT's)
    3. Upgrade the Processor (whatevers affordable at the time)
    4. SLI your video card
    5. RAID a couple of SATA's

    Note: your specs don't list what PSU your using (if so I missed it), so throw in a PSU upgrade if necessary.
  3. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    I agree with PanicX in that your ram is your biggest bottleneck right now. Get up to at least a gig asap. Since you are getting 1gb for Christmas, then I would probably go ahead and add another 6600Gt unless you can afford a 7800 series card.

    By the way, it looks like your ram is underclocked and not running at the full 400mhz (probably as a result of your overclock). If you look at the ram tests, it is showing that you have PC2900 DDR SDRAM.
  4. darksolder

    darksolder TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Right now i have a Coba 400watt PSU with 2 90mm fans that reach higher RPM's as the temp increases other then that, no idea how much power is Drawn from my PSU, dont think i'll have to upgrade that for a while.

    I'll just upgrade to SLI with the same card i have now, due to the Expences of the 7000 series cards.

    Don, my memory is running at full speed, just show's wrong in those tests, didnt link full thing ofcourse but i looked and it is running full.

    What about the Watercooling system? i would like to overclock more, i also know i will need better cooling as my system expands not to mension my sys is now running about 5-10 degrees centegrade due to my side case fan burning out.

    I know my memory will need upgraded asap, as i am a gamer, the computer laggs alot due to lack of memory, Here is a new test i did about memory utilization right now, with a few IE window's open, Messenger, and a few background programs,

    Physical Memory:
    Total 511 MB
    Used 291 MB
    Free 220 MB
    Utilization 57 %

    Swap Space:
    Total 15478 MB
    Used 406 MB
    Free 15072 MB
    Utilization 3 %

    Virtual Memory:
    Total 15990 MB
    Used 697 MB
    Free 15292 MB
    Utilization 4 %
  5. darksolder

    darksolder TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Cmon guys i'd like to know! christmas is comin!
  6. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Alright then. If you're an extreme gamer, the most important part of your system (arguably) is the graphics card. Your card now is an entry level card. Get yourself something sexier.

    Liquid cooling? Not my thing. For the price of a good liquid cooling system, you can get yourself a new CPU. Don't get me wrong, I am all for OCing an old CPU to get more performance out of it. But I do it with fans. Liquid cooling makes no sense to me (unless you are simply wanting silence).
  7. darksolder

    darksolder TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well i think my plan will be to upgrade my memory to 2gb first, then get a better video card, fans i can get on the way cus they are really cheep, next time i go down to the pc Market, i'll look for some good quality 90mm fans (4 of em) my front and side case fans are slowly burning out and 2 to add to the back, i'll also get a 120mm fan for the front, a new CPU fan, Should i get another Vid card cooler once i upgrade? also do you also think me cutting a hole in the top of the case to add an extra exaust fan is good, it get's hot in my room due to all the electronics and no air conditioning, heat rises and all so... Back to the subject,

    I think i'll do in this order to upgrade, \
    1. 2gb of memory \
    2. new 7000 series vid card \
    3A. Should i go for another vid card for SLI or...-----Fans somewhere in here
    3B. SATA HD's in RAID /
    4. New processor /

    So guys, tell me how this looks to you, u can always make suggestions
  8. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 669

    There is in fact a method to my madness in my first post.

    The reason I recommend upgrading the processor before going SLI or RAID is that even the highest end processors don't stress an SLI system. So your performance gains from the SLI will be minimal until you get a processor in that can really use it. Where as the performance gains from upgrading the processor first are immediate. RAID is probably the biggest cost for the least performance gain out of this list which is why I recommend it as your last upgrade. Infact, you may see more performance gain by skipping RAID altogether and using an iRAM drive from Gigabyte instead.
  9. darksolder

    darksolder TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well thats good to know so

    I think i'll do in this order to upgrade, \
    1. 2gb of memory \
    2. new 7000 series vid card \
    3. New Processor-----Fans somewhere in here
    4. Maybe SLI em?/
    5. and sata's or Iram drive/
  10. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    come on dude... even the cheapest water cooling setup looks.... well.... cool! (thats the real reason people water cool, no matter what they tell you :giddy: )

    Air cooling is loud, dirty (dust magnet), and unless you dish out some big bucks... not very efficient.When u exceed heat specs for your stock air cooler, the replacement will sound like vacuum cleaner (and collect a massive amount of dust on the HSF), final conclusion... there are many avantages of water cooling over air cooling besides simply quieting down your system.

    p.s..... as far as the price goes, you can make your own system (and no, it's not hard to do) for under $50 if you buy the parts from Ebay and Home Depot, otherwise.. a cheaper setup pre-built (that will still outperform air cooling), you can get for under $100, just google search for them.
  11. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Oh I am sure water cooling makes perfect sense for some people, especially overclockers.

    Look cool? Yes, I'll give you that one. Especially when they have those neon pipes and stuff. I'm a sucker for a pimped rig.

    Just speaking for myself. I OC my CPU when it gets old and only to the extent I can OC it with stock cooling. Then instead of buying a liquid system, I buy a new CPU. I would never buy a cheap water cooling system. If I am gonna go liquid, it's going to be a good system. And for the price of good water cooling, it just makes more sense to me to use that money and spend it on a CPU. Not the route every goes, I admit, but that's the path I'll probably stick to.
  12. darksolder

    darksolder TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, i think i'll probably need a new cooling system when i upgrade my processor due to the fact it is one of the big heat generators, the other one being the Video card. so, say i have all the money in the world, what cooling should i go for? or would liquid cooling with a CPU, GPU, and Chipset block to cool those and then still have my casefans. would that be even better? would keep case cool, which inturn, would keep my water cooling system at a lower temp. Does that all seem logical to you? and i was looking at this complete one with This GPU block and This Chipset block or This complete one and get the Chipset Block mensioned above? which is better?
  13. darksolder

    darksolder TS Rookie Topic Starter


    Any answers?
  14. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    I like that second one (the kingwin aquastar), because it intalls in 2 5.25" drive bays instead of having a unit outside of the case (which would require case mods to run the tubing outside the case). plus it comes with the cpu and vga cooling blocks.. which is nice.

    Either way, you'll have one cool looking rig and more than enough cooling for whatever you do.

    Just make sure that you use a quality thermal paste like arctic silver, don't use the generic crap even if it comes with the kit.
  15. wheaties1187

    wheaties1187 TS Rookie

    i would recommend the 3700+ san diego, which don and i are both running with this board if i'm correct. i oc'ed mine to 11x238=2.62ghz (1.47 vcore) with stock hs/fan (plus a little bit of arctic 5) and it is rock solid - even prime95 doesnt get it over 50c :cool: not only that, but you can get it for about $230 now.

    i wouldn't say that it is a better upgrade than the 2x1g ram, or even the 7series card, but you can deffinately get a lot of bang for the buck since you like to OC. by the time you get all the other upgrades, the cpu should be even cheaper (150?) - that would be nice :giddy:
  16. darksolder

    darksolder TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK i'll get This Kingwin water cooler and i'll keep to the same order that i was thinking of, thanx for suggestions, keep em' comin if there are more :)
  17. iluvnug

    iluvnug TS Rookie Posts: 20

    If you are getting 1gb stick of RAM you might as well get another stick. Better yet, make it a dual channel kit from one of the major players like OCZ, Corsair XMS, or Crucial. Don't worry about water cooling unless you plan to overclock or your temps are running higher than norms. And why bother with 6600gt in SLI? You might as well grab a geforce 7800 series. Your performance will be better and you can upgrade the 7800 to SLI later. And if you are going to upgrade your processor, i agree the 3700 San Diego is a good cpu but if you are going to spend that kind of cash you might think about an X2 instead. I'm extremely happy with mine. :unch:
  18. Tommy529

    Tommy529 TS Rookie

    can you make the cards SLI yourself or do you have to buy a SLI ready card?
  19. iluvnug

    iluvnug TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Cards that you can put into SLI have special notches for an SLI bridge. The SLI bridge comes with the SLI motherboard.
  20. darksolder

    darksolder TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK thanks for the advice! and i'll upgrade my videocard before going SLI, and i think my next processor will be an X2 :)
  21. flavin

    flavin TS Rookie Posts: 91

    heres my suggestion for upgrades

    1. get 2x ram sticks (2 512's or 2 1gb's) and set up dual channel
    2. upgrade video card to a 6800gt or a 7800 or even the newest card next year & fans (u can then oc ur processor)
    3. new processor (a x2 or FX depending on how gaming uses them in the future)
    4. SLI ur card & a new PSU if needed
    5. a new monitor unless u really need new HD's
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