What else to upgrade?


Hi Everyone,

Alright so I'm looking at my specs and wondering, what else could be a worth while upgrade that will moderately improve the follow areas for a reasonable cost:

1. Multi-tasking I/O Performance (copying files and playing crysis)
2. Gaming Performance (frames rates !!)
3. General Performance (such as application startup etc)
4. Multi-tasking CPU Performance (running spybot and playing crysis)

The areas I want to improve above are sorted by the order of their importance to me so please keep the order in mind. Here are the specs:

Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 (Running at 2.2 GHz)
Gigabyte P35 Chipset
Mushkin 2 GB DDR 800 Dual Channel
Antec Earthwatts 450 W PSU
HIS IceQ HD 3870 512 MB
WD 250 GB (Seagate 7200.11 500 GB 32 MB Cache on its way already!)

PS: I use Windows XP Pro

I'm out of ideas. Looking for best bang for the buck upgrade to my rig. Any ideas? :confused: (is 8800 GT a worth while upgrade over 3870?)
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I wouldn't upgrade the video atm, and if I did, depending on the P35 motherboard, maybe go crossfire 3870's.

I think going to 3GB might be the sweet spot of memory usage for XP. So you might want to pick up 2 512MB sticks of that; course 1GB sticks are pretty cheap these days, might as well cap it out as much as possible... Just wish there was better memory management in windows. They really like the swap file too much.

Hopefully the Seagate 7200.11 should up your speed a bit, running multiple applications off of seperate drives would theoretically increase overall performance.

Going with a Quad core could as well, but there really aren't apps that truly use the potential of the multiple cores and windows core management also leaves things to be desired imho..

I think you might be better off moving to a higher end CPU cooler and oc'ing more; and maybe a stronger PSU. Really don't know too much about the earthwatts 450; definately need something stronger if you go with crossfire.

That's just my $.02.

Rob Williams

Staff member
I don't think I'd upgrade to an 8800 GT over the HD 3870... there just isn't enough difference to warrant the price. You could always contemplate adding a second HD 3870 to use Crossfire mode, or selling the HD 3870 and upgrading to an 8800 GTS 512. I am not too sure an upgrade is needed though, but it depends on your resolution and how much you game.

As for multi-tasking, upgrading to a CPU such as the Q6600 might be a good idea. If you get a CPU that can overclock well, you could hit 2.8GHz rather easily, and since the CPU goes for $200 or around there right now, it is hard to go wrong.

It will still not help some situations though, as if depends how strenuous certain applications are. Since SpyBot searches an entire hard drive, that's bound to lag something, but it might not matter too much if the game you are playing is on a different drive than the main OS drive.

So from what I can tell, a Q6600 would be a good deal.


The Tech Wizard
Of course,, I would keep both drives.
One thing I know, that it is faster to copy files from one drive to another.
If you think about it on drive arm going all over the place, when one drive could just read and the other just write.
totally off subject here.......:eek:

:techgage::techgage: Merlin :techgage::techgage:


One as OS/Productivity-Style apps (office/etc) the other for Games/Storage/Etc works great.


The RAM is fine. if you are using 32 bit xp pro, you are using the PAE Switch anyway. Anything over 2GB RAM in xp 32bit is not worth jack.

Try to OC the CPU if you are comfortable this will net come gains in FPS and performance.

Or upgrade the CPU to a Q6600.


That's a lot of votes for Q6600. I'm gonna wait for a month or two before getting that chip as it may have a price drop.

I'm hoping to "properly" configure my hard drive and data for maximum efficiency. I really liked the idea of having games on a separate hard drive.

Why does Windows XP use page memory when there is plenty of ram available?

I really wished I had gone for 8800 GT but I went for ATI just because of the IceQ cooler (super silent it is !)

How is the seek time on Seagate? are they better in multitasking than similiar competition?



Techgage Staff
Staff member
Why does Windows XP use page memory when there is plenty of ram available?

That is a big reason why Windows Vista uses so much RAM, then gets blamed for being a RAM hog. XP was designed around 2001, computers typically had 128-256mb of RAM and up to a 2GHz CPU or so. 1GB+ wasn't really ever considered when XP was created... ;) Vista can get amazingly light on memory usage when sees a program that needs the RAM it is using. It will dump most of its cache and move the remainder + system file memory to the disk on an as-needed basis.

Q6600 should be dropping to $220 in two weeks, although it may take retailers a little while before they drop the price completely.

As far as drives go, Seagates perform decently although it dpends more on the model drive you choose, not the brand. If looking only at Seagate, the 7200.11 models are the best performing drives for Seagate's lineup.
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