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Standard User BloodRazor
(newbie) Sun 27-Jan-13 06:07:08
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Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


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I have an old gaming computer and am wondering if i can just squeeze a little more life out of it before i buy a new one later this year.

The important bits of the spec:
AMD Athlon FX57.
Asus A8N-SLI (socket 939) motherboard (supports 16x PCI-E).
3GB DDR1 400MHz RAM (recently upgraded from 2GB). 3 sticks of 1GB each.
2 x 256MB NVIDIA 7800 GTX, in SLi mode.
I'm running 64-bit Windows XP Pro.

I'm thinking of a GPU upgrade to a £50-£60 card (some damn impressive ones available for less than that according to the latest issue of MicroMart), but i'm struggling to work out if i'm likely to get any noticeable benefit out of a better card because of the CPU bottleneck - the FX57 was one of the fastest single core processors, but games are multi-threaded these days so it lags far behind. I'm also concerned because i'd lose the SLi benefit so maybe it wouldn't even be much of an upgrade. Upgrading to the FX60 CPU is a no-no on cost basis, and there's not any other upgradeability left in the socket 939. I can't afford a new rig now, so is it worth spending the money on 'upgrading' the GPU? Or perhaps upgrading the RAM to 4GB would be more cost-effective? Maybe i should stretch to a more expensive GPU and take it to my next rig too?
Standard User camieabz
(sensei) Sun 27-Jan-13 12:47:53
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: BloodRazor] [link to this post]
 
Also consider cleaning out the existing systems of all unnecessary processes, services and old data; cleaning the registry; defragging the drive and registry.

Most systems operate at less than optimum efficiency, due to sneaky processes and services. Adobe, Media Player, Java, and HP are examples of companies which install startup services which do not need to be there.

See: http://www.camieabz.co.uk/startup.png

The grey ones are disabled startup processes. 35/41 disabled (85%). You can do similar things with the services if you know what you're doing.

Speed up boot times, reduce memory overhead. Get your system doing your stuff, and not its stuff. smile

~ Camieabz ~

All Connection Data ~ Some plusnet links

mod'er·a'tion n.
Synonyms: temperance, restraint, modesty.
Standard User Zadeks
(experienced) Sun 27-Jan-13 13:12:49
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: camieabz] [link to this post]
 
Registry cleaner? I hope you're not serious. They do more harm than good.

The Java process should be left alone, otherwise, how will people know when to update?


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Standard User micksharpe
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 27-Jan-13 13:23:29
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: BloodRazor] [link to this post]
 
You should certainly add the extra memory. With three memory modules installed, the controller will be running asymmetrically, which will slow things down. Make sure that the memory module you buy matches the other three exactly.

Once you have got your memory sorted out, you should do some benchmarking to establish where the bottlenecks in your system are. I'm no gamer but I would think that upgrading dual graphic cards on a mono-processor system is not going to get you very far.

You might want to look at getting an SSD drive. Even if the CPU is struggling, it will be able to pull stuff off the disk faster. This may give a significant improvement if the software is paging owing to lack of memory. You should do some system monitoring to see if this is happening.

Finally, are you gaming on-line? If so, is your internet connection fast enough for your gaming software?

'Sir, please,' she said ... 'Will you not share your wisdom with us?'
'I have no wisdom,' he told her.
'Your experiences, then?'
'They have been trivial, uninteresting, and full of error.'
Ian M. Banks - Feersum Endjinn
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Standard User vm1990
(newbie) Sun 27-Jan-13 14:39:00
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: BloodRazor] [link to this post]
 
it depends on what power supply you have to and what games you play alot of games these days are almost fully off loaded onto the GPU so CPU is left pretty much free

personally depends what make of GPU you want id raid ebay and find a cheap ATI HD6570 or something around the mid range from ATI or a Nivdia card mid range you will loose the crossfire but your current setup is DX9 and most new games if not all are DX11 so your card has to work twice as hard to dumb down the graphics so it can read and render it to the graphics cards setting

The Ram even though its 3 sticks shouldn't make much of a difference unless your running loads of programs so i wouldn't really bother with that

check your PSU the ATI HD6570 low profile dosnt need special connectors its all drawn from the board on the lowprofile version so should be fine with everything there

and just because its a nice small card it packs a hell of a punch like all new cards from the HD6xxx and HD7xxx and Nvidia GTX5xx GTX6xx

all in all shouldn't cost you more than £50

also check if your using a IDE or SATA 1.5 if its IDE id upgrade to a cheap SATA drive
id only invest in a SSD if i was taking it into my new Computer
Standard User camieabz
(sensei) Sun 27-Jan-13 15:07:47
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: Zadeks] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Zadeks:
Registry cleaner? I hope you're not serious. They do more harm than good.

The Java process should be left alone, otherwise, how will people know when to update?


Since I've been using a registry cleaner for ten or so years, I beg to differ. What harm do they do (in the right hands)?

The Java process is fine disabled for two reasons. First I know when to update if some applet doesn't work (e.g. TBB speedtest). Second, automatic updates for anything are not a great idea. Always better to wait a bit to see what effect they have on systems around the world. Not all updates are trouble-free.

~ Camieabz ~

All Connection Data ~ Some plusnet links

mod'er·a'tion n.
Synonyms: temperance, restraint, modesty.
Standard User Pipexer
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 27-Jan-13 15:14:44
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: camieabz] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by camieabz:
Since I've been using a registry cleaner for ten or so years, I beg to differ. What harm do they do (in the right hands)?

The problem is sometimes they remove and change things that they shouldn't be doing. It doesn't matter if they are in the right hands or not, you are putting your trust in the person who programmed the registry cleaner in that they know what they are doing.

As it happens I do use them on my own computer every now and then, but that's because over the past years I've installed a fair share of junky software what what not which probably does cause issues, and a registry cleaner is likely to fix more issues than it creates.

However I wouldn't run them on servers or where only well written and behaved software has been installed.

Whether you should run them or not really does come down to each system on an individual level.

Zen 8000 Pro
Standard User Zadeks
(experienced) Sun 27-Jan-13 15:34:18
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: camieabz] [link to this post]
 
Registry cleaning cannot be automated without nasty consequences. How does a cleaner know the difference between a valid entry and an invalid entry? They are frowned upon for a reason. If you have proof of a registry cleaner doing more good than harm and improving performance, please link to it.

The majority of JVM apps will continue to work even if Java is out of date. Haven't you heard about the major Java exploits? Even US Homeland Security has issued a warning. http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/625617

The solution is to keep it up-to-date or even better, disable it in the browser. The same goes for all other software as malware loves to take advantage of vulnerabilities in out-of-date applications.
Standard User camieabz
(sensei) Sun 27-Jan-13 15:45:07
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: Zadeks] [link to this post]
 
http://faceless39.hubpages.com/hub/Review-CCleaner-F...

I suggest we continue this elsewhere. It's getting far too off topic, and the point of my post was to save the OP hassle on upgrading hardware without checking the existing system for fixes first. It was not to get into a debate on what works for you or me.

~ Camieabz ~

All Connection Data ~ Some plusnet links

mod'er·a'tion n.
Synonyms: temperance, restraint, modesty.
Standard User Zadeks
(experienced) Sun 27-Jan-13 15:52:36
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Re: Squeezing the last drops of life out of an old gaming PC


[re: camieabz] [link to this post]
 
Proper benchmarks, not a vague "review". Most people use the cleaner part of CCleaner, not the registry tool.

Edited by Zadeks (Sun 27-Jan-13 15:53:06)

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