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Increasing a computer's performance


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#1
klaven9

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My name is Kevin, I am new to this forum. I'm at a crossroad and I don't know what to do. Lately my computer's performance has been lacking; I figured an upgrade was in order. Any suggestions as to what I should upgrade to increase performance dramatically? Currently, I'm running:

Processor : Intel® Pentium®4 CPU 2.66gHz
L2 cache : 512KB
RAM : 512MB
Hard Disk : 60GB
Video Card : ATI RADOEN 9550 (256MB)

My brother keeps telling me to get a larger hard drive, or a second hard drive. I always thought that I would never need anything larger than 60GB since I still have a considerable amount of free space (27% free space 15.50GB).

I am an avid gamer, and generally when I play, it slows down as well. :whistling:

Any suggestions please?

Edited by klaven9, 24 August 2006 - 01:10 PM.

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#2
Neil Jones

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That graphics card will be slowing things down quite a lot due to its age - ATI have stopped making new drivers for the Radeon 9200 now so dropping support for the 9500 and 9550 can't be more than a few months away now.
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#3
kidnova

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I agree. I think your best investments will be in a new GPU and an increase in RAM. I'm sure you've got some old and useless programs and files that you can clean up to add space to your HD.
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#4
crazywak

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more ram deffinitely
what games do you play?
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#5
SirKenin

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Right now your VGA is definitely your bottleneck. Everything else has to sit and wait for the VGA to do it's job. You'll have to upgrade that first.
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#6
klaven9

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Thanks guys. So ATI will be coming out with new drivers for the 9550 soon which will make it better? Or should I buy a newer graphics card, more specifically, a 512MB graphic card? Ironically, I bought the 9550 graphics card exactly a year ago. I've been using ATI for a long time, any other companies that you guys would suggest?

For RAM, would 1GB be enough?


The games I play are:

World of Warcraft (Blizzard)
Warcraft 3 (Blizzard)
Counter-Strike Source (Valve)
Guild Wars (ArenaNet)

Recently I bought this new game : Heroes of Might and Magic 5 (Ubisoft) :whistling:

I'd recommend it, it's a turn based roleplaying/strategy game and integrates early Final Fantasy gameplay. The graphics aren't that great, but it's just about the only game that runs smoothly 100% of the time.
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#7
negative_silent

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Hello klaven9

I would suggest the manufacturers: ATI or Evga (GeForce).

I believe that 1GB of RAM would be sufficient enough.
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#8
warriorscot

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ATI havent made driver updates that covered the 9550 in a couple of years(its an old card almost two years when you bought it), something newer would be a good change, x800s are really cheap now and with another half a gig of ram you would be doing pretty well.
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#9
klaven9

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I've been reading around on video cards, I've also noticed that it's possible to have mutliple video cards. Would this be benefical for me? The ATI RADEON 9550 video card I have takes up the only AGP slot I have, so I'd have to go with a video card that takes up a PCI slot.

Also, I've never bought additional RAM before, are there any prime companies you guys would recommend?

Newb question : When installing extra RAM is it like adding a video card or ethernet card? Drivers first, then card?

Edited by klaven9, 25 August 2006 - 06:11 AM.

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#10
kidnova

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It is possible to have multiple video cards, but you have to have a SLI or Crossfire compatible mobo, which I'm fairly certain you don't. Plus the 9550 is not supported in Crossfire. Not to mention the fact that you would need to upgrade your PSU. You're better of just buying a new, better card and pulling the 9550 out. You need to look for an AGP interface card. The X800s that scot mentioned are a good deal and should handle the games you play just fine.

As far as RAM, you can't go wrong with Corsair and there are no drivers. Just plug and play.

Good luck.

Edited by kidnova, 25 August 2006 - 06:39 AM.

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#11
SirKenin

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ATI havent made driver updates that covered the 9550 in a couple of years(its an old card almost two years when you bought it), something newer would be a good change, x800s are really cheap now and with another half a gig of ram you would be doing pretty well.



Sure they have... The latest Catalysts (6.8) support the 9550. Quoted from the downloads page:

Products Supported: Radeon® X1900 series
Radeon® X1800 series
Radeon® X1600 series
Radeon® X1300 series
Radeon® X850 series
Radeon® X800 series
Radeon® X700 series
Radeon® X600 series
Radeon® X550 series
Radeon® X300 series
Radeon® 9800 series
Radeon® 9700 series
Radeon® 9600 series
Radeon® 9650 series
Radeon® 9550 series
Radeon® 9500 series


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#12
klaven9

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I've been reading up on RAM upgrades. I've decided to go with an additonal 1GB upgrade to bring me up to 1.512GB. Some companies sell RAM in packages, such as, 2x512MB = 1GB. Would it be benefical for me to buy a package of two sticks or get one stick that has 1GB?
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#13
kidnova

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It depends on your mobo. If it supports dual channel, then the set is better. If not, then 1 stick is the way to go. If you're not sure, then check and see how many memory slots you have. If you have 4 slots that are 2 different colors (typically black & gray) then your mobo supports dual channel.
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#14
klaven9

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I took a look inside my motherboard. I do have 4 slots for RAM, two blue, two black; my 512MB stick is plugged into a blue slot. By the way, my motherboard is an ASUSTek Computer Inc. P4P800-VM.
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#15
kidnova

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You could save some cash and just get 1 stick of MATCHING 512MB RAM and run it in dual channel. That should be plenty of RAM to last you for a while. You can always upgrade later. Use the extra cash on a better video card.

Edited by kidnova, 25 August 2006 - 03:39 PM.

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