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Where is my PC Lacking? (upgrade questions)

By lyrix ยท 8 replies
Jun 6, 2005
  1. Hey all,

    I am thinking about doing an upgrade on my PC within the next month. My PC is built mostly for gaming and I play first person shooters. I have a little bit of money coming back from filing taxes and I am looking at upgrading 1 or 2 things on my computer. I am looking the biggest increase in performance for the money I spend. My budget is somewhat flexible, but I would say $200-$500 range is accurate.

    I am trying to determine where my computer is lacking and what to upgrade. Here are some of the specs:

    -Intel P4 2.8 Ghz 800 Mhz System Bus
    -Asus P4P88 Deluxe
    -2x 256 sticks DDR400 RAM
    -Sapphire Radeon 9600 Pro Catalyst 5.1 drivers
    -CDRW drive 52x 24x 52x, DVD-Rom drive, DVD-RW drive
    -21" SyncMaster monitor.
    -30Gb Hard drive

    A few questions right off the top

    I know I need to upgrade my RAM, but how much RAM should I get 1gb or 1.5gb?
    I currently have 2 sticks of 256 in there now and 4 slots. Is it worth paying more for 2x512 sticks (and discard the 2x256 sticks in there now) than to buy 2x256 sticks and give up the dual channel on my motherboard?

    CD ROM
    Would a different CD rom drive really help game performance? If so how much? Is mine lacking and is causing bad performance?

    Graphics Card
    By looking at it I need a new graphics card. What type of graphics card should I go with? I am not neccessarily looking for top of the line, but a very nice card and a good value for amount of money compared to the performance boost.

    I am a noob when it comes to overclocking and I have always wanted to give it a shot. I looked on a few sites to get an idea of what I was doing, but I was somewhat scared off by the fact that I didn't want to fry anything... Overclocking isn't completely out of the question, but I would rather not. The only way I would is if someone could help me out a bit with some tips/pointers and that sort of bit.

    Anyways, thanks in advance for any help!

  2. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Your machine is fine, except for the crappy 30GB HDD. I would upgrade that.
  3. GoAvalanche

    GoAvalanche TS Rookie Posts: 42

    Yes a bigger hd would be nice. I upgraded from 2x256 to 2x512 matched set of Kingston memory and was happy with the performance improvements. Other than that your system looks good.
  4. GoAvalanche

    GoAvalanche TS Rookie Posts: 42

    Yes a bigger hd would be nice...I upgraded from 256 pc2100 to 2x512 pc3200, a matched set of Kingston duel channel memory and was happy with the performance improvements. Other than that your system looks good.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    Good lord, I had 2 40hds on my old system. I never came CLOSE to filling the primary. The second HD was only for backing up. Unless you're downloading a bunch of music or videos, 30HD is fine. Even with a lot of games installed, the most I ever got was to 25GB.

    I would definately have a backup HD, but 30GB is plenty.

    As far a s CD roms, read speed is pretty much the same now on most makes. The only difference you'll noticably see is in write speed and a lot of that is controlled by software. I wouldn't bother changing your CD rom if it works.

    Your memory is sufficient for most applications. If you want to add another 512mb for games, that's fine.
  6. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    I think I'd get another 1gb of ram(2x512), corsair valueselect cas 2.5 is good and cheap too. ~$85us

    I'd consider upgrading your video card to a 6600gt or 6800 agp card.

    If you need more storage you can consider a bigger hd. A newer hd is likely to be faster too, especially if you get one with a large cache (8mb+).

    I doubt you need another cd drive, that doesn't make much difference, afaik.

    So those'll run you about $330-485 depending on what you get.
  7. Molson316

    Molson316 TS Rookie Posts: 67

    Your machine is ok, I would just upgrade the HD.
  8. Peerob

    Peerob TS Rookie Posts: 26

    What about the PSU?

    Most problems are caused by weak PSUs. Forget the headline 450w etc, look at the output on each rail, particularly 12v rail.

    What is your PSU spec?
  9. lyrix

    lyrix TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I am currently at work and I will get the specs and post here when I get home in 4 hours.
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