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Should I upgrade my desktop computer?

#1
I've asked this same question on several other forums, but I want to ask this here also.

Most components are getting a bit old and therefore don't meet modern needs of games or they siomply just act irregularly. That's why I have to upgrade some of the components of my desktop computer, basically for gaming but also for the other tasks. I just want your opinions about which components I should change and what's the best choice on market.

The most important question is: which compontents I should upgrade NOW. That's because I'm going to the army (obligatory military service in Finland) next January and I'm there 6 to 12 months, don't know how long yet. I can't play a lot while in the army, mainly just weekends, so is it waste of money to buy some of the components now, or should I wait till freedom awaits me? If I buy some of the components now, I can play with them just this summer and autumn, but after the army they might be outdated. That's why I'm making this thread, that which of the components I could buy now, and they're not-so-outdated when I'm leaving the army.

Current system:
* CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 @ 2,66GHz - Do I need to upgrade this?
* GPU: nVidia GeForce 285 GTX - 1,5 years old, still can run modern games but not with full graphics. Should I upgrade this?
* RAM: 4GB DDR-II 800Mhz - Antique, slow and way too little. I have to buy more and faster. Should I buy DDR-II or DDR-III and how much?
* HD: Two way too old HD's, which are getting really slow - I have to change these. Should I buy SSD (for OS + programs) + a new HD (other stuff)?

I'll buy a new motherboard just if some of these components require that.

Besides these I'm thinking about buying a new screen and/or a new keyboard, but I don't need help with these. Just to mention, that computer should be able to play newest games with high graphics and should be able to do so for a few years, that I don't have to upgrade my computer for a while. I want to upgrade my computer now because of, for example, BF3 and RAGE but it could be still run new games after my military service. Besides gaiming, my computer should be able to run virtualized Linux on VMware, VirtualBox or Parallels Workstation for studying, programming, tinkering, etc. (that's why I'm going to buy another screen, one for host-Windows and one for virtual-Linux). Because virtualization I have to buy loads of RAM, is 8GB enough or should I buy even 16GB? If someone knows about virtualization, please share your thoughts about RAM and software.

Thank you for answers beforehand. Smile
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#2
to be completely honest, i dont think it's your graphics card that's limiting you. i use a GTX275, and i can still run all the latest games at max settings.
instead i think you need to consider:

your ram is ddr2, and could stand to be DDR3. that made a major difference to my system. you might need to buy a motherboard that supports it though.

your motherboard and processor: your processor is a very early quad core, and even a relatively cheap i7 930 would be a great improvement. i use an intel i7 920 personally, but those arent sold new anymore. only problem then of course is that the i7 requires a socket of it's own: the LGA136 socket, which is not compatible with other CPUs.

hope this is of some help Smile
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#3
(06-12-2011, 09:07 AM)evil_mercenary Wrote: to be completely honest, i dont think it's your graphics card that's limiting you. i use a GTX275, and i can still run all the latest games at max settings.
instead i think you need to consider:

your ram is ddr2, and could stand to be DDR3. that made a major difference to my system. you might need to buy a motherboard that supports it though.

your motherboard and processor: your processor is a very early quad core, and even a relatively cheap i7 930 would be a great improvement. i use an intel i7 920 personally, but those arent sold new anymore. only problem then of course is that the i7 requires a socket of it's own: the LGA136 socket, which is not compatible with other CPUs.

hope this is of some help Smile

Yea.... Friend of mine already said that on IRC. Besides there ain't coming new radically new CPU's for a while, right? If I invest for a new motherboard + new CPU + new RAM + new screen, that should do the trick?

Edit: + SSD and new HD... o.O
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#4
I think 4gb of DDR3 RAM at approximately 1333mhz is fine for gaming and multitasking. If you're using applications like Blender to create 3D models or if you’re a hardcore multitasker, then you'll probably want 6 to 8gb of 1800mhz RAM. 16gb is WAY too much for even a hardcore user! Big Grin

You might want to upgrade your CPU to an i5 2500k processor. It is fast, cheap, packed full of features, and is perfect for tomorrow’s games and applications. Your current CPU probably won't stand the test of time and will bottleneck any future GPUs.

A GTX 285 should be ok with most modern games at medium/high graphics settings but only at 1080p. If you’re going for a higher resolution screen, or if you’re into 3D visuals or multiple screen setups, get yourself something like a GTX 580.

Getting an SSD is a good option if you want things to load extremely quickly and want an ultra-responsive PC, but go above 64gb and they’re REALLY expensive. I’d recommend getting a 64gb SSD for applications and a 1tb Samsung Spinpoint F3 HDD for storage. Or, even better, get yourself a Seagate Momentus XT 500gb SSD/HDD hybrid for only £75!

Finally, you will need a good motherboard to support the CPU, GPU and RAM I listed in above. An Asus X58 motherboard should do the job :-)

This setup should be good for the next 3-4 years.

From Cam

PS You might want to overclock your GPU and CPU in a couple of years’ time (to get good performance). In which case, get a good PSU (NOT a dirt cheap one, they usually fail) and get a good case with plenty of air flow (to keeps things nice and cool). Also, good luck in the army.
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#5
I definitely agree with rocknroll. If I were you, I'd swap the Core 2 Quad with the 2500K, as well as upgrade the other components. As for RAM, I'd say that if you are upgrading to a 2500K, you will NEED to get yourself DDR3 RAM, as DDR2 has been phased out (especially in the Sandy Bridge motherboard arena). But honestly, I'd keep the monitor the same, unless if you are really desperate for 1080p HD or higher resolutions**.

** I have a 1080p monitor myself. Hypocrite? Blush
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#6
Thanks for your advice, they've been very helpful!

It seems I'm going to buy a new motherboard with 8GB DDR-III 1000-1300MHz RAM and i5 or i7 CPU, some of it. Alongside these I'm going to buy a new HD, but I wait till SSD's are cheap enough and their capacity is higher than now.

Still thinking about the secondary monitor... Tongue
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#7
don't forget that bulldozer is launching in about two months. for me it would be worth the wait.
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