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Thread: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

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    Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    Hey guys,

    It's coming up to 5 years since I bought my MESH rig and I started thinking about where to go forward with it. At the time it could be considered a upper mid end gaming rig and it has served my gaming needs well over the years - now I am at a crossroads: upgrade or replace?

    Some key specs:

    Processor: Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2.4GHz (OC more favourable)
    RAM: 2GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM
    Motherboard: ASUS P5N32-SLI SE DELUXE (Again just tweaks/add ons more than replacement)
    Graphics: GeForce 9600GT 512MB
    PSU: HEC-550TD-PTE @ 550W
    HDD: 300GB and 1.5TB Seagate drive (not too concerned about this)

    I feel that there's still at least maybe 1-2 years left before it really chuggs (but I could be wrong) Obviously I am not expecting bleeding edge performance compared to the i5/7s etc but if there is any significant gains that can be achieved within a sensible price (still working that out) would be welcomed

    Thanks for reading

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    If you could get your hands on a cheap Q6600, 4GB of RAM, maybe an SSD, and a modern mid-range graphics card, you could probably get more mileage out of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    You could definitely ramp your CPU up higher. If your primary concern is gaming then I wouldn't bother with a Q6600, just clock yours a bit more! For gaming the GPU will be your main concern, the 9600GT could do with a change - although unless you want to change your PSU you wont want anything too power hungry.

    If its that the PC "feels" slow, opening programs etc, then your best bet is an SSD, with a clean Windows 7 on it.

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/246998 This one from the bargains threads here has a good review from Anandtech.
    Obviously the best thing for SSD due to the fact that capacity costs so much, have Windows, Office, Browser, Windows and your most used games on it, but have hard drive for music, pictures, video, and more seldom used games. For instance I have two steam installs one on the hard drive and one on the SSD, I usually keep the game I'm currently playing the most (espeically if its one where loading times are significant) on the SSD and everything else on the hard drive. Steam will let you just drag stuff around the /steamapps folder which is convenient.

    If you whacked W7 64bit on there then you could also double up your RAM to 4GB.

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    Uh, contrary to popular belief, dual cores are not better for gaming. Modern games leverage multiple threads (and even use thread dispatchers), and the GPU's drivers can benefit from having most of a core to itself anyway. If he can find a cheap Q6600 or Q9000 series, it will be worth it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    I certainly agree that a quad core increase speed in some games and applications, but I dont think I'd slot one in if I was in the OPs position. The majority of games I play certainly Turboboost will only clock up one core and Taskmgr only displays one core loaded at 100%. I think if you really are in the position of needing more CPU power (which I don't think you are, or certainly wont be if you clock up) then you might want to instead save up for a platform change.

    If you find a particular bargain on a 775 quadcore on the classifieds here or ebay perhaps - but they have retained their value quite well as people do want to slot them in to prolong 775 systems (whether or not this is the best use of their money which I leave to you).

    The Q6600 was a fantastic chip on release, and people who purchased it initially have got great life out of it, but personally I dont think its a great drop in upgrade for a Core 2 Duo system unless you are doing alot of seriously multithreaded stuff. Gaming benefit is all about extra FPS, and I very much doubt that adding extra cores will increase your FPS unless you improve the GPU.

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    Which is why I also said get a modern GPU. That can be carried over to a new system (along with the SSD).
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    The OP has an nForce 4 motherboard and IIRC some of the Nvidia chipsets did not do so well with quad cores.

    Having an old rig myself(Q6600 and a 975X motherboard) I would look to overclock the CPU of possible. A newer graphics card would also be a good choice. You can get an HD6870 from Scan for arouund £150:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-m...s-free-shogun2

    If you want to spend less an HD6850 or a GTX460 1GB is worth considering for around £125 to £135.

    You can also get an HD5830 1GB for around £80 to £90 too.


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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    Thanks for the replies guys, you been very helpful, ill address some of the points raised.

    In regards to sticking on a Q6600 - I had considered it prior but like Champman99 stated, the prices are still actually pretty high for what would be a 1-2 extension, hence leaning toward the OC route, which this chip IIRC is great for - something I meant to have done ages ago but never got around to it :Z - so any pointers regarding this (and appropriate cooling) would be very welcomed

    I have a W7 x64 so not limited to 4GB, I thought with DDR3 out and about I could hopefully get some now cheap high speed DDR2 sticks

    Hard drives I am not too worried, not had problem with general performance, I'll leave SSD for my next machine.

    I guess that just leaves GPU - I guess anything decent for less than 150 so that 6870 does look tempting (is it worth the premium compared to the 460?), reading that 500W should suffice but could use a second opinion

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    You don't need high speed ddr2 on a c2d system, core2 775 systems get very little benefit from running the memory at higher clock rates than the fsb.
    I'd look at ether getting some additional memory if you have free slots or getting higher capacity stick
    (ie go for 4x1gb or 2x2gb)
    Overclocking that cpu will be a good step forward, going from 2.4ghz to 3ghz on a e6600 was noticeable for me (my other half now uses my old e6600 still at 3ghz)
    For gaming getting a better graphics card would be a very good step, even something low cost like a ati 5750 or 6750 or nvidia gts450 would be a good step up.
    A gtx460 1gb or 6850 or 6870 would be ideal

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    Quote Originally Posted by kv87 View Post
    I guess that just leaves GPU - I guess anything decent for less than 150 so that 6870 does look tempting (is it worth the premium compared to the 460?), reading that 500W should suffice but could use a second opinion
    The HD6870 1GB has similar performance to a GTX470 but consumes less power.

    If you get 20 posts you can get free postage from Scan:

    http://forums.hexus.net/scan-care-he...-delivery.html

    There is also this HD5850 1GB for around £118 delivered:

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showpr...source=froogle

    It will be a bit slower than an HD6870 and has worse tessellation performance.

    There are also a few HD5830 1GB cards for around £84 too:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-x...xdl-dvi-i-hdmi

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/265356

    However,the HD5830 1GB cards tend to use long PCBs and have power consumption at around the same level as an HD5850 1GB.


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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    2GB of ram will be holding you back, an extra 2GB is about £25 at the moment and I don't think more that 4GB total is worth it yet.

    I would put the rest of your budget into a video card.

    Should be a nice gaming rig then

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    KV.

    My advice:
    Can you overclock that CPU on that motherboard? if you CAN... and if the cooler will play the game, get it up a tad... 2.7 to 3 gig is still quite acceptable fpr gaming.

    Then do a fresh install of the Operation System, and I'd suggest doing it onto a new hard drive, cos 5 years is OLD for a hard drive... spend £40 on a new one.

    And then see if you can find a GTX 260 or 275 second hand (way under £100)... if your Power supply has enough oomph.

    Job done.

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    Thanks guys sorry been on vacation so only just came back. So basically all focus going into the gfx.

    In terms of OC the processor - what kind of cooling would be (if) needed to get it up to 2.8/3ghz?

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    A decent heatsink for £20 should do the trick to get your Proc upto 3.0Ghz. You should look at the 6870s or 560 Tis for a GFX card, and an SSD would'nt go a miss either, will cheer you up no-end for Start-up times of a spanking a 60GB SSD
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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    As long as your case has the room a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus would be a good bet for £16 delivered by play.com or a Xigmatek HDT-S963 from scan.co.uk uses a 92mm fan so has a smaller foot print and is a good cooler for under £11 (just used one myself in a rig I just built)

    I have to agree though the most improvment will be afrom a better graphic card like a 5850/6870 or 460/560 or even a cheap 260/275/280 whch can be had for under £100 now

    It may also be worth thinking of a newer PSu as well as yours is 5 years old now and might struggle powering some of the higher end cards recomended.
    Last edited by dfour; 24-05-2011 at 09:13 AM.

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    Re: Squeezing some life outta my 5 year old rig

    Got the cooler (Cooler Master) - going to fit it today. Found this deal:

    PNY PC6400 / 2GB / 800MHz / DDR2 / 240pin DIMM / Computer Memory http://t.co/1LHFWqJ

    Tempted to get a few sticks - wondering if this is good gaming ram either as standard or OC

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