Upgrading advice

By Nukey · 14 replies
Feb 11, 2006
  1. Hey there,

    I was just looking round and I was looking to see what I should upgrade first. I built the system a little while ago and I am looking to upgrade it a little more. I am on quite a budget but I have been told the system I have is quite bad so I think I might need alot more improvements...

    LanParty UT nF4 Ultra-D Motherboard
    AMD64 3200+ Proc
    640MB DDR333 RAM (1x 512MB 400, 1x 128MB 333)
    ATI Radeon X600Pro
    DVD+/-RW (DL)
    1x Maxtor 80GB HDD 7200RPM
    1x Seagate 160GB HDD 7200RPM
    5.1 Channel On-Board Sound
    8x USB (6 + 2inc.)
    Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

    Any ideas? I know its a bit generalistic but I just need some sort of idea what would be best to upgrade first.


  2. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    First, grab another stick of 512MB ram, and put it in there. Then I would get a new video card. The x600 series is quite bad. Let us know what your budget is.
  3. Nukey

    Nukey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 110

    I would say the budget is about £300 at the moment ($550 ish) but I will be getting things as I go along. What about everything else? do you think its overall pretty bad? I know it does need more memory because its quite slow at the moment but I thought the x600 was ok. Maybe not lol.
  4. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    Will you be gaming? What is the purpose of this computer? If you are gaming, I advise spending $150 on as much RAM as you can get, and then $250 on a new graphics card. That should make the computer really good.
  5. Nukey

    Nukey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 110

    Not really, I don't do much gaming, theres only a few I use (like ut for example) but the majority of the use is for media editing.
  6. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    OK, while in that case, you should probable get 2GB of RAM, and no new video card. But get someone else's opinion first. I don't know much about video editing, just gaming. Good Luck!
  7. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    I see two problems with your current ram config:

    1. You have one stick of 400Mhz ram and one stick of 333Mhz. Your motherboard will automatically downclock your 400Mhz ram to 333Mhz in order to match the slowest stick. So all your ram is currently running at 333Mhz.

    2. Your motherboard supports dual channel ram configurations, and you are currently not using it. This would make a considerable performance increase.

    In order to activate dual channel mode for your ram, you need to have two sticks of matched ram in size and speed. I'd recommend taking that 333Mhz ram out, and sticking in a second stick of 512mb 400Mhz ram. This would greatly improve your system's performance.


    If you do a lot of media editing, I'd probably ditch ALL the ram you currently have, and upgrade to two sticks of high end (corsair for example) 1Gb 400Mhz ram. So you have a total of 2Gb running in dual channel mode.
  8. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    Who told you that your system is "quite bad"??? For the most part, that is a decent system. I don't know much about the mobo, but it's socket939 and has the NF4 chipset, which is very good.

    Socket939 processors have a dual channel memory controller built onto the CPU itself, but you have to have matched sticks of RAM to take advantage of it. Get rid of that 128MB RAM stick, it's hurting your system more than helping it. Buy a matching RAM stick (same as your other 512MB stick) and you will see a huge performance gain from that alone. (make sure you put them in the correct slots for dual channel)

    Your video card isn't that bad either, good for most games, and great for video editing.

    What core is your CPU?

    All in all, as far as I can tell, the only thing you're lacking is memory. Your system has dual channel capabilty... so take advantage of it, your memory configuration is the only weakness I can see in your system
  9. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    lol... don beat me to it... i spent too much time typing my response... hehe

    well anyways, since our advice is pretty much the same. you get the point
  10. Nukey

    Nukey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 110

    Well thats great, thanks for the advice! I was thinking about splashing out on alot of RAM actually but I thought having only a 2.01GHz (3200+) processor was why the system was going slightly slow. I was seriously considering swapping my processor for something better, but I wasnt too sure. Mind you being the silly ***** I am, attempting to put two different RAM types for the dual channel access didnt work, as I could tell. The system wouldnt even switch on! LOL.

    Not as bad as what I tried a long while ago, trying to force an AGP graphics card into a PCI-E slot! God I am so ashamed lol. Shows what I know... haha

    Thanks for the advice , will get 2x 1GBs and see what happens. Ooh, do you think I should take out the 128MB? what would be better, 512MB at 400 or 640MB at 333? Thanks again!!
  11. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    It depends what you're doing, but I would leave the small one in. At this point, quantity is probably better than speed for you. Good Luck!
  12. Nukey

    Nukey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 110

    Thanks! you've been a big help.
  13. Druegan

    Druegan TS Rookie

    I'd leave the processor alone, honestly.

    To begin with, you're not going to be able to get much of a processor upgrade for $550.

    For media editing, go with a lot of RAM.. Good, high quality stuff with tight timings.. and definitely get some matched stuff. Dual channel helps quite a bit.

    I'd personally recommend getting some Mushkin XP3200 sticks. High quality, DDR400, tight timings, and you can get it pretty cheap. NewEgg has a dual pack of 2x512 sticks for $159 as of this posting. Dunno what shipping to your area is going to run, but that's the cheapest price I've seen anywhere.

    Link for ya:

    With 2 of those dual packs, you've got 2 gigs of good dual channel ram for $318 + shipping, well under your $550 budget.

    Good luck, and hope this helps.
  14. Nukey

    Nukey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 110

    I might go for that, I would be willing to get 2x 1GB if they do them, but I think theres restrictions on the board or something, it says in the manual supports x8/x16 non-ECC unbuffered DIMMs up to 512MB DDR Devices (whatever that means lol). The last thing I want is to get 2 1GBs and find they are not compatible. Over time I am planning to stock it up with 4 1GBs, so buying 512s wouldnt be too good because I would be left with something I wouldnt lose considering I wanted 1GBs in the long run.

    This is really helping, thanksssss :D:D
  15. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    A 2GHz Athlon64 is not a slow processor, the 3200+ rating means that it is comparible performance wise to a 3.2GHz Intel Pentium4. Don't worry about the clock speed, it is not important in an AMD processor. The big advantage to the Athlon64 is the on-die memory controller, which lets the CPU and RAM communicate directly... avoiding the bottleneck of the mobo chipset.

    Yes!! yes!! yes!! as I said before, get rid of that 128MB RAM stick, it is hurting your system more than helping it. All your RAM sticks should match (best to have all the same brand and model, but you should be OK if you match the speed/CAS/timings).

    I don't think you need 4GB of RAM, I think that 2GB will be more than enough, but it's up to you.

    Just remember, dual channel is where you will see the performance boost, the rest of your system is good. Just upgrade your RAM (and lose that 128MB stick), and you'll be good to go!
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...