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A gaming and technology blog by TWHL admins Penguinboy and Ant. A music blog by TWHL users Ant and Hugh.

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avatar Jessie 31st May 2017, 02:14 AM

I suspect my computer is starting to show its age, but I don't know exactly which part(s) is lagging behind. Anyone with experience in this sort of thing able to guide me towards what I should be looking to replace/improve next? (I'll give what information I have, may not be complete.)

Motherboard: god only knows (How do I find that out?) (~5 years old)
ASUS P8Z68-M PRO (~5 years old)
Intel QuadCore (?) i5-2400 CPU @ 3.10GHz (~5 years old)
8 GB RAM (DDR3?) (~5 years old)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 (<1 year old)
2TB HDD (<1 year old)
Windows 10 (<1 year old)

Comments

avatar Penguinboy says: 31st May 2017, 03:51 AM
Hmm, I'd probably do something like:

- If you don't have an SSD, get one and put your OS on it
- Try reformatting to see if a clean install helps
- Go for 16GB RAM
- New CPU (may require a new motherboard too...)

I don't really know a good way to find the motherboard model, usually I just open the box and look for the model number printed on there somewhere.
avatar Crollo says: 31st May 2017, 05:02 AM
CPU-Z will tell you your motherboard as well as a bunch of other things.
Make sure your temperatures are within reasonable limits, and that you clean your system of dust often (weekly or in the very least monthly).
If dust builds up it can not only slow your system but even kill components from the heat.
You can use MSI afterburner and enable the OSD, or what I prefer is to use HWInfo64 and RivaTuner Statistics Server to monitor temp.
avatar Jessie says: 31st May 2017, 06:19 AM
A quick google of "what is my motherboard" gave me the information I needed to figure out what I got. Added it to that list.

Motherboard basically just reigns all the other components together and provides the ports you need, right? What circumstances would require upgrading the motherboard (apart from new, incompatible components)?
avatar Penguinboy says: 31st May 2017, 06:37 AM
A motherboard upgrade usually happens because of a CPU upgrade - CPU manufacturers (especially Intel) love to change their socket every couple of years. If you do a CPU upgrade, double and triple check the socket of the new one and your current one to see if you need a new motherboard or not. RAM slots change pretty quickly too (they're up to DDR4 now I think).

Older motherboard chipsets also might not support certain newer CPUs even if the socket is the same - if you're upgrading the CPU, find the compatibility tables on your motherboard model to make sure that the new CPU is compatible. Sometimes the vendor provides a BIOS update that adds compatibility, but sometimes you need a new one. (GPU updates can be the same, but your GPU should be okay for a few more years.)

Also, going by your edit: get yeself an SSD!
avatar rufee says: 31st May 2017, 11:29 AM
Throw in another 8gb of ram and an SSD and you're fine.
Its still a decent rig, you can upgrade to a 3000 series Intel CPU since they use the same socket (might warrant a BIOS update), but there are no real advantages unless you can get it cheap.

Anyway why aren't you getting an ssd already? I have Pentium 4's rocking those sweet flash storage devices :D there is no excuse not to have one now.
avatar Jessie says: 31st May 2017, 12:35 PM
I've never really considered it. What does an SSD offer me?
avatar JeffMOD says: 31st May 2017, 12:49 PM
Blindingly fast read and write, essentially. I have my desktop's OS installed on one, and now the slowest part of booting that machine is the BIOS splash screen. And I run Windows.

Incidentally, I had held off getting an SSD for a while because of the limited read/write cycles, but it appears that the problem is (mostly) solved now and that modern SSDs just slow down to HDD speed rather than dying after, and even then the limit is up to the equivalent of petabytes of info. I still use a standard hard disk drive for most of my data (Terabyte SSDs are expensive!) but having an SSD as your system/slow to boot program drive saves a bunch of time.
avatar Jessie says: 31st May 2017, 13:02 PM
Hmmmmm... Would I be correct in asserting that that would have little performance impact in the actual operation of programs, as opposed to booting, opening, saving, etc.? I'm not sure that's where my priorities lie.

(I mean, ideally, I'd like to replace and improve just about everything, but my funds are... quite limited these days.)
avatar Tetsu0 says: 31st May 2017, 13:51 PM
I jumped onto the SSD train a few years ago and now any computer that doesn't have one seems 20 years old.

They're fan-fucking-tastic.

I basically have windows and some miscellaneous programs installed on the SSD, whereas I have my steam library on my storage drive.

I also mapped MyDocuments, MyMusic etc etc to my storage drive as well.

Just don't defrag a SSD
avatar Kachito says: 31st May 2017, 13:51 PM
Pretty much correct, for casual everyday, use. I bought a SSD mostly because of the people nagging on me to get one whenever we talked about tech. Supposedly after having one, i could never go back to HDDs. Well, here i am, typing on 10 a y/o laptop that i usually carry with me when not on my home desktop, still not having a problem with HDD builds and still thinking that it wasn't a great investment.
Sure, the start-up/loading times are not even remotely close and the data transfer is somewhat noticeable on my commonly used software, which according to windows history is mostly 3d software stuff.

Imho, for everyday use i'd say it all depends on what you already have and how your current hardware is holding up. If you're the type that has to deal with loading times/data transfer often and you're counting the seconds, then sure, go for it. If you're trying to squeeze a bit more fps in games and 3d apps, upgrade somewhere else.
avatar rufee says: 31st May 2017, 14:49 PM
I remember when I got my first SSD... even when I had it plugged into a SATA2 port and thus bottlenecking the drive it still blew me away with how everything fast was.

Now I have a terabyte m.2 drive and all my games are on there too (just for that extra 1-2 secs of loading time :D). You can never go back after getting one. And the write cycle is really a non issue imho, my first drive is still alive and kicking after 5 years of use.

Trust us you need that before anything else :)
avatar Striker says: 31st May 2017, 14:55 PM
SSDs are one of those things you have around that you don't really care about until you don't have it, like toilet paper.
avatar Shepard62700FR says: 31st May 2017, 16:58 PM
Before going the SSD route, check with Windows's task manager if disk usage is really the culprit. If yes, then I agree with other TWHLers that getting a SSD is a priority before upgrading the rest.

Looking at your current configuration, your PC seems to suffer the same problem as mine : "disk bottleneck".
avatar Jessie says: 3rd June 2017, 14:53 PM
Alright, an SSD sounds pretty good. Here's a tangential question: What part should you upgrade to make a computer run better while recording? Is that a disk, CPU, GPU or RAM thing?
avatar DiscoStu says: 3rd June 2017, 23:44 PM
This reminds me I'll need to ask a very similar question sometime soon. My computer is five years old already and it's showing.
avatar Penguinboy says: 4th June 2017, 00:17 AM
Jessie: If you're recording games, use shadowplay. I've never noticed any poor performance in games and I have shadowplay running all the time.
avatar Windawz says: 4th June 2017, 06:14 AM
@Penguinboy

Yeah, but the problem is that you can't record some games. Or maybe I don't understand something.
avatar Penguinboy says: 4th June 2017, 06:21 AM
I've found that it doesn't work in windowed mode (or borderless windowed), you need to be in full screen. Aside from that it's worked in every game for me.
avatar Windawz says: 4th June 2017, 06:26 AM
Also, can I use shadowplay without GeForce Experience? It's so annoying sometimes.
avatar Jessie says: 4th June 2017, 11:22 AM
Shadowplay, eh? I'll check it out.
avatar UrbaNebula says: 4th June 2017, 16:25 PM
@Windawz: Shadowplay is part of GFE, so I doubt it
avatar Windawz says: 4th June 2017, 17:14 PM
@Urby
As I thought.
avatar Instant Mix says: 5th June 2017, 10:21 AM
@Shepard : Regardless, an SSD is an inexpensive upgrade that's practically well worth it in any situation. You would (in practicality) more out of an SSD than you would a Graphics Card
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