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Old 05-28-2008, 09:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Cool Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

Hello everyone and thanks for your time and interest in my situation.

First off, I am looking into upgrading my Dell XPS 700 system. I have had the system for a couple years now, and while it is still one of the best I have played on, there is room for improvement.

It would be very helpful if someone could tell me if there is a program that would run a sort of "diagnostic" test on my computer's hardware and allow me to post my exact specs (such as type of ram, amount, processor speed, exact video card, etc) to eliminate me giving you guys any false info. Anyway:

A few things I would like to do is upgrade my ram from 2g to 4g. I understand that 32bit Windows XP only supports up to around 3.5g of ram (which I thought for the longest time I had 32 bit). However, when I go into the boot setup and look at my "processor info" it says "64bit Technology - Yes"... This strikes me as odd, but I need to find out if I am running 64 bit or not. It is an Intel Pentium D 3.40ghz processor, but I'd like to have it shown in a diagnostic to be sure.

Another thing that I need to look into updating is my graphic card. Right now I am using a Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX 512mb card and it seems to be doing pretty well, but with newer games such as Crysis, Lord of the Rings Online, and Age of Conan, I think it's going to face some problems. I have heard many good things about the 8800 GT card made by Nvidia for the price, but I have little experience in this area.

I have also heard that your processor speed can "bottleneck" your video card if it is not up to date.. not sure if 3.40ghz would bottleneck the newer cards...

At the moment, Ram and my Video card are the 2 major things I need to upgrade, so I am going to come to a final decision on those first. If anyone can provide me with any information from personal experience or knowledge about my questions, please let me know! Much thanks :laughing:

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Old 05-28-2008, 09:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

CPU-Z and GPU-Z would get most of that information. You can google them both and find them pretty easy. They are both made by CPUID I believe.

Is that Pentium D a single or dual-core?

The processor information you listed just says that your processor can support 64-bit, but not that you necessarily have it. I can't remember where it will tell you on your computer. I will edit this post once I find it.

The 8800GT 512MB is a great card, and depending on whether your CPU is a single or dual-core it shouldn't be bottle-necked at all.

EDIT: I'm not sure if this is correct, because I don't have a 64-bit OS to test this on at the moment, but if you simply hit the windows key+Pause key it will bring up your windows information. If nothing is listed about the bit type, it is supposedly 32-bit. Otherwise it will list 64-bit. In Vista it tells you very easily, but you don't have Vista


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Old 05-28-2008, 10:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

Welcome to the tech forums!
Some good suggestions you've made, I'd say that upgrading the RAM is probably something further down the priority list, and It will have much less of an effect (if any), than improving your GPU and CPU will. If the pentium D isn't dual core, its certainly worth an upgrade, and processor speed is not the only issue- a newer CPU will perform much better at the same speed as an older one. The issue with changing the CPU comes into what motherboard you have- it is certainly worth finding out.

As for the Graphics card, the GT is a very good choice- should handle most things today. In the same price range, you might also want to peek at reviews for the 9600GT and the ATi HD 3870. I'd say that upgrading the GPU will do the most in terms of improving performance.

You might also want to checkout what your power supply is, and post it up here.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

Hopefully your motherboard will support a C2D. If not, you may want to consider replacing it. The Pentium days are over for good because there is a new sherrif in town.

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Old 05-28-2008, 09:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

i would get the 9600GT than the 3870 because most games are optimized for nVidia cards and ull get more fps and they are cheaper
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

You are going to want to replace your CPU first out of anything. A Pentium D is quite outdated even by athlon X2's standards. I suggest an E7200 for a good price or an E8400 if you have the money. Overclock one of those chips and instantly you will see a large performance increase in EVERYTHING from your Pentium D. Then wait till the newer cards come out and sell your 7900GTX and worry about something then. Also in XP 2GB of ram is plenty enough, i wouldnt get more unless you move up to vista. Plus you probably have only DDR ram which is outdated as well meaning you would have to spend another 80 bucks or so on 4GB of good DDR2.
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

That really depends on whether it is a dual core or not. If it already is a dual-core processor running at 3.4GHz, it would not be the first concern. Yes it's older technology that wouldn't run as fast as newer CPU's, but it is still fast enough for any of the video cards he would want.

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Old 05-29-2008, 08:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

Thanks everyone for the great responses!

So I downloaded CPU-Z and GPU-Z as instructed and got some further detailed information about my computer.

As for my processor, CPU-Z says it is an Intel Pentium D 950 @ 3.40ghz. It says across from Processor#1 that it has 2 Cores and 2 threads.

My chipset is the nForce4 SLI Intel Edition...

My ram is in fact DDR2. Adding another 2gigs of Ram would probably be the cheapest thing I could do to upgrade, and I would not have to worry about "replacing" this ram if I ever moved up to vista, or to a new computer as ram is a bit slower to become "outdated" as a video card or processor.

My Graphics card is in fact a 512mb Nvidia 7900 GTX. I also have SLI capability on my computer, but have never really looked into buying 2 cards compared to 1.

The last thing I need to check is my power supply, which im not sure how to do.

Here are a couple things concerning actually purchasing a few products:

Newegg.com - CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
I just found these 1g sticks(x2) of Corsair ram on newegg.com for $29.00 after the 25.00 mail in rebate. It looks to me that it would be compatable with my system as it is DDR2 and it seems to be a pretty good deal. It says it is DDR2 800.. which i think I am using DDR2 @ 667 (not sure but I think they are related) Would this cause compatability issues or what? What do you guys think of the deal?

Also, I have been browsing the nvidia 8800 cards... but I have noticed that there is a huge difference in price range for the same card. The main difference is that they are made by different manufacturers, but are they the same card? Newegg.com - Video Cards, Video Capture Cards, ATI Video Cards, Video Graphic Cards, Computer Video Cards, TV Card
There's a huge market of cards out there and I am in need of some information!! (Im looking to keep my price range between 150-200 dollars, however I wouldnt mind forking out the extra 30-40 dollars more to get a substantually better card).

So, theres some more info. What can ya tell me?
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Old 05-29-2008, 09:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

The thing with ram is that, if you have different types of ram in your computer you will see a decrease in performance and you won't be able to run it dual-channel mode.

Right now the 8800gt is the best price-performance wise, but when the new cards come out in a few weeks prices will drop fast.

If I were in your position I would do this=
Buy Gigabyte DS3l Motherboard (or equivalent) ~$90
Buy Processor (e2180, e8400, Q6600) ~$90-$220
-Save up money... upgrade to a better GPU when I get enough ~$200-300

And you will be able to play crysis very high settings (if the gpu you buy is like a HD4870 or GT280..)

Good luck, and please take your time in upgrading, most people make a lot of mistakes when they first upgrade.
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading my Gaming Rig - Few questions

Newegg.com - Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

Just found that on newegg. >.> beats what I found above

also I'd like to know more about the compatability of Ram.. can they be different brands? what needs to be the same? besides DDR and DDR2

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