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  • Upgrade advice

    Hi guys, anyone who has the misfortune of trying to decipher one of my previous tech type posts will tell you that I am not that computer savvy so I am looking for a little advice.

    Since installing a BFG 8800 320mb O/C 2 gfx card I have been looking at various ways of trying to improve my system's perfomance. I am not yet up to overclocking etc and I have been told that adding more/better ram is a good idea, currently have 2GB.

    My specs are below.

    Motherboard:
    CPU Type DualCore AMD Athlon 64 X2, 2400 MHz (12 x 200) 4600+
    Motherboard Name Asus A8N-E (3 PCI, 2 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x4, 1 PCI-E x16, 4 DDR DIMM, Audio, Gigabit LAN)
    Motherboard Chipset nVIDIA nForce4 Ultra, AMD Hammer
    System Memory 2048 MB (PC3200 DDR SDRAM)

    Memory Controller Properties:
    Error Detection Method 64-bit ECC
    Error Correction None
    Supported Memory Interleave 1-Way
    Current Memory Interleave 1-Way
    Supported Memory Speeds 70ns, 60ns, 50ns
    Supported Memory Types SPM, SDRAM
    Supported Memory Voltages 2.9V
    Maximum Memory Module Size 1024 MB
    Memory Slots 4

    [ Memory Modules / A0 ]

    Memory Module Properties:
    Socket Designation A0
    Type DIMM
    Installed Size 1024 MB
    Enabled Size 1024 MB

    [ Memory Modules / A1 ]

    Memory Module Properties:
    Socket Designation A1
    Type DIMM
    Installed Size Not Installed
    Enabled Size Not Installed
    [ Memory Modules / A2 ]
    Memory Module Properties:
    Socket Designation A2
    Type DIMM
    Speed 50 ns
    Installed Size 1024 MB
    Enabled Size 1024 MB

    [ Memory Modules / A3 ]
    Memory Module Properties:
    Socket Designation A3
    Type DIMM
    Speed 50 ns
    Installed Size Not Installed
    Enabled Size Not Installed

    [ Memory Devices / A0 ]
    Memory Device Properties:
    Form Factor DIMM
    Size 1024 MB
    Speed 400 MHz
    Total Width 64-bit
    Data Width 64-bit
    Device Locator A0
    Bank Locator Bank0/1
    Manufacturer None
    Serial Number None
    Asset Tag None
    Part Number None

    SPD Memory Modules:
    DIMM1: Hyundai HYMD512 646CP8JD43 1 GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM (3.0-3-3-8 @ 200 MHz) (2.5-3-3-7 @ 166 MHz) (2.0-2-2-6 @ 133 MHz)
    DIMM2: Hyundai HYMD512 646CP8JD43 1 GB PC3200 DDR SDRAM (3.0-3-3-8 @ 200 MHz) (2.5-3-3-7 @ 166 MHz) (2.0-2-2-6 @ 133 MHz)

    Motherboard Properties:
    Motherboard ID 08/22/2005-NF-CK804-A8N-E-00
    Motherboard Name Asus A8N-E

    Front Side Bus Properties:
    Bus Type AMD Hammer
    Real Clock 200 MHz
    Effective Clock 200 MHz
    HyperTransport Clock 1000 MHz

    Memory Bus Properties:
    Bus Type Dual DDR SDRAM
    Bus Width 128-bit
    Real Clock 201 MHz (DDR)
    Effective Clock 402 MHz
    Bandwidth 6431 MB/s

    Motherboard Physical Info:
    CPU Sockets/Slots 1 Socket 939
    Expansion Slots 3 PCI, 2 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x4, 1 PCI-E x16
    RAM Slots 4 DDR DIMM
    Integrated Devices Audio, Gigabit LAN
    Form Factor ATX
    Motherboard Size 240 mm x 300 mm
    Motherboard Chipset nForce4-Ultra


    What I need to know is what memory can install to improve things, can I put a fresh 4GB of faster memory in as what I've already got seems slow when I compare it to what's out there. What compatible memory should I go for etc? Basically I'm an idiot and I need that level of information to help me make sense of it all. Any help will be gratefully received, its a shame they don't do ribbon nominations for this sort of thing!

    Cheers, yours in hope.



  • #2
    Re: Upgrade advice

    If I remember right, adding another 2 GBs of RAM could increase your gaming performance by as much as 20% (can't seem to find the THG article that had this).

    Other than that, you're pretty much limited unless you upgrade your motherboard to support a newer processor and DDR2/DDR3 memory.

    Without another upgrade, OC would be probably the next best step.


    Honestly though, with your current specs, you're pretty set for the next 2 years at least for gaming.
    |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
    TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
    Former 9th & 13th

    Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
    Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





    SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

    TG Primer and Rules

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Upgrade advice

      Spent forever looking at the specs on your motherboard (god, Asus's site sucks ass, it is the slowest ever)
      http://usa.asus.com/products.aspx?mo...15&l3=171&l4=0

      It says that DDR 400 (PC 3200) is the fastest you can put in (though lots of boards can unofficially take faster stuff). So looking at newegg at DDR for the first time in a long while, I almost coughed when I first saw the prices. It is almost 3 times as much for DDR as DDR2, with a lot of 2 gig kits of DDR1 going for well over $100+.

      Since you already have 2 gigs, and I am guessing you are running XP, you could always through in $50-$60 and buy another 1gig (2X512mb, so it will still run duel channel).

      Truth is though, as the guy above said, your board is a bit limiting, and you wouldn't want to waste your money on buying 4 gigs of new DDR1.

      What you can do though, is overclock a tiny bit. You have a really good board for it, and a good CPU too. You board came with a program called AI NOS, which my own Asus board has as well. What you can do is open it up and play with some of the setting a little bit at a time to bump your CPU, and maybe your memory. Run something like 3dMark, bump up your CPU, run 3dMark again, bump some more, etc. I haven't even tried to do a serious overclock yet, and using AI NOS I got my intel q6600 from 2.4 to 3.0. I do have a good aftermark CPU cooler and good computer case though. Your CPU should be able to do at least that as well.
      You might even want to look at getting an aftermarket CPU cooler. Really good ones are only like $50. That would let you really kick your CPU power up in a safe way (as long as your case has good airflow).
      A good OC on your CPU, the extra 1 gig memory, and that new video card you have should keep you going well until you decide to upgrade fully to a new rig in a year or so.

      LINKS

      * *


      Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

      -Carlos A. Urbizo-

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Upgrade advice

        You can't improve performance until you find what your current bottleneck is. If it's not RAM you aren't going to get much from adding more. +100% RAM cost for +85% addressable RAM for +20% perfrormance is rather silly when you could OC your FSB and get +20% for $20, assuming you must add a case fan or two.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Upgrade advice

          True. I figured he doesn't want to run the risk of a OC yet.
          |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
          TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
          Former 9th & 13th

          Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
          Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





          SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

          TG Primer and Rules

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Upgrade advice

            I suppose you use only butter knives because you don't want to run risk, too?

            Look out, paper, it'll cut ya!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Upgrade advice

              A better analogy would be a nitro kit for your range, so you can get your pot of soup hotter faster. :p
              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Upgrade advice

                Of course adding more RAm will help but remember running a 32-bit operating system most will not recognize the full 4Gb of RAM, maybe about 3.85Gb. Different systems will recognize the RAM differently. Price wise I am not sure if it would be a good idea though. Another way to help a little tiny bit in the performance would be to make sure to have the hard drive cleaned up and defragged. I truthfully do not use Windows default defrag cause it just doesn't do that great of a job. I like this program called DiskTrix UltimateDefrag, this program worked miracles for my old computer. Not everybody likes it cause they do not quite understand it, the program is not just an install and forget deal. You need to read the help manual to figure out what is the best way to configure it to defrag your hard drive(s).
                Another idea to help slight performance gains is to add a second hard drive(which I also can account for to help me out a lot). Adding the second hard drive can improve games performance when you install the games on the second HDD. Reason why is the read heads on the HDD does not need to read Windows files to keep it running steady and also search for the game information. This will let the second HDD read the game information only and the first HDD read only the information needed for Windows to run. You will notice improved loading times as well on a lot of maps.
                Shutting down any programs running in the background can help. Ctrl-Alt-Delete to temporarily shut these down. Don't worry about shutting down the wrong ones cause after the computer is restarted they will all start right back up again. Programs you know that can be safely shutdown on startup can be done by typing in "msconfig" in the "Run" box on the start menu(should be anyway, a lot of people like having it removed from there) and then clicking on the "Startup" tab and checking the applications you do not want running at system start up.

                I have done a lot of these little things to get better performance(I have an old computer that needs all the help it can get). Also, cleaning the registry can make a difference but GREAT CARE should be taken when fooling with this. One last idea that popped in mind but I am not sure if it is legal is to strip Windows down to the bare essentials to run. Special programs are made to help do this, searches on the internet may help if you want to check into it but as I said I am not sure how kindly Microsoft might take to this.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Upgrade advice

                  If you get a lot of disk activity while playing a game, then more RAM will help. Although, you have 2GB now and recommended game specs are not higher than 2GB at the moment. It'll probably help to get faster RAM but I don't think you'll get a significant improvement unless you change to DDR2.

                  You can also do some testing to determine the bottleneck in your system. Use a game that has good benchmarking support. Run the benchmark using the lowest graphical settings and overclock/underclock your GPU. If there are changes in the results, it's likely that your GPU is the bottleneck. Run the benchmark again using very high graphical settings and overclock/underclock your CPU. If there are changes, it's likely that your CPU is the bottleneck.

                  - It's who you game with.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Upgrade advice

                    No more money at that system, man. It's a fine one the way it is, and the only reasonable way to get any more performance out of it is to apply an OC.

                    Spending more money on RAM isn't a good idea. Either you spend more to get up to the (usable) 3.25g limit imposed by the 32-bit operating system (which really will not help noticably anyway) or you can buy really fast ram to maybe help you reach a higher OC, which you haven't even started exploring yet (and your current RAM might OC just fine.) Both options aren't any good.

                    I'm sure lots of us could help you with OCing if you want; I would, if you decide to go that route.
                    OPS, the bacon is on you.

                    Comment

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