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Old 07-10-2014, 05:28 AM   #1
teoalmonte
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Time to Upgrade (3D, ArchViz, simulation, etc.)

Hello All

I am currently thinking about upgrading my computer because it is pretty 'shit'. I got it like 4 years ago and since then got a macbook for school but currently need to upgrade my desktop.

Now before you all laugh.... It's an alienware.. haha, okay I actually laughed a bit too.

But I have an Alienware Aurora. Below are the specs.


processor -
3.20 gigahertz Intel Core i7 970
Multi-core (6 total)
Hyper-threaded (12 total)

display-
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 240




I know that I will be needing more RAM among other parts. So please take a look and let me know what I should (need) to update. and links please to newegg or whatever. or SKU of a product.

If I find that it is really expensive to upgrade and practically useless I would not mind getting a whole new computer. But I do not know how to build one so I would most likely go to boxx or dell and just buy a workstation there.

And my budget is about 2.5k US

If there are any questions please do ask. thank you!

P.S. and also if there is a new i don't know... Processor coming out in the next month or whatever it is and I should wait till it releases so prices drop or to get the 'new one' let me know so I don't make a purchase now.

Thanks again.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 06:02 AM   #2
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New videocards with an architectural jump will be out end of year (onboard CPU like host), and new CPUs with an architectural jump (DDR4) around the same time or soon after.
The 970 still holds pretty well, especially if you can overclock it a little bit (they usually hit 4Ghz quite comfortably).

Unless you're in a hurry I'd say slap a new middle of the line videocard in it if you feel the need for it and wait a bit for the rest.
Intel changes sockets quicker than underwear, but their CPUs have been fairly stable in pricing and only incrementing gradually in performance for a while now (between Ivy and the latest Haswell) and memory and videocard have been more or less stagnant in terms of general innovation.

A couple quarters away from a considerable jump in bandwidth and qualifications for CPUs and GPUs isn't a very good time to buy for the sake of it, you only buy if you need to and you squeeze your money's worth back from that upgrade.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO
New videocards with an architectural jump will be out end of year (onboard CPU like host), and new CPUs with an architectural jump (DDR4) around the same time or soon after.
The 970 still holds pretty well, especially if you can overclock it a little bit (they usually hit 4Ghz quite comfortably).

Unless you're in a hurry I'd say slap a new middle of the line videocard in it if you feel the need for it and wait a bit for the rest.
Intel changes sockets quicker than underwear, but their CPUs have been fairly stable in pricing and only incrementing gradually in performance for a while now (between Ivy and the latest Haswell) and memory and videocard have been more or less stagnant in terms of general innovation.

A couple quarters away from a considerable jump in bandwidth and qualifications for CPUs and GPUs isn't a very good time to buy for the sake of it, you only buy if you need to and you squeeze your money's worth back from that upgrade.


It seems then that I may wait a while then. Maybe by Decemeber?

Also is there anything that wouldn't hurt to buy now? like ram? or do i wait for DDR4 for that. And how do I know if I will be able to support DDR4?

Last edited by teoalmonte : 07-10-2014 at 08:39 AM.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 09:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teoalmonte
It seems then that I may wait a while then. Maybe by Decemeber?

Also is there anything that wouldn't hurt to buy now? like ram? or do i wait for DDR4 for that. And how do I know if I will be able to support DDR4?

What type of RAM you need is defined by the mainboard/Chipset you have. Only if you get a then current board that supports DDR4 you will need that kind of RAM.
It seems you currently have only 3GB. Since you have a 64 Bit OS you can easily extend that by adding three more modules with 1 or more GB each. You might check how large the modules can be, chances are the minimum you can expect to work are 2GB/module, which could cost as little as 50 bucks for the triplet. giving you 9 GB instead of 3. Chances are 4GB modules will work as well, at 150 bucks for the triplet you might think about it if you realy need it.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Srek
What type of RAM you need is defined by the mainboard/Chipset you have. Only if you get a then current board that supports DDR4 you will need that kind of RAM.
It seems you currently have only 3GB. Since you have a 64 Bit OS you can easily extend that by adding three more modules with 1 or more GB each. You might check how large the modules can be, chances are the minimum you can expect to work are 2GB/module, which could cost as little as 50 bucks for the triplet. giving you 9 GB instead of 3. Chances are 4GB modules will work as well, at 150 bucks for the triplet you might think about it if you realy need it.


okay, so in order to use ddr4 i will need a new motherboard - in that case i will hold off on that and just get a new computer in a few years i guess. I will still try to upgrade this computer a bit then.

Since it only has 3gb and I would like to extend that what would be a reasonable increase? like going to 16gb ram? also what would be best 1x16 or 2x8 etc. and sorry for another question but do i just not use the other ram or can i leave it in there.

and i looked inside my computer and yeah I have 6 slots - 3 are used with 1gb and 3 are free. and how do i know how large the modules can be?
newegg 16gb would this be okay?

...sorry for the million questions. but would my bios offer any good info? like what my max ram is or something in that ballpark

Last edited by teoalmonte : 07-10-2014 at 10:46 AM.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 11:40 AM   #6
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Without knowing the exact mainboard and firmware it's hard to tell what is possible.
What can be determined from the information you gave is that you are running a tripple channel configuration. Intel only did that with that generation of CPUs and Chipsets. Different to current setups those old one work best when RAM was used in triplets. Thus your options are
Keep the 3GB
1. Add another 3 GB (3x 1GB)
2. Add 6 GB (3x 2GB)
3 Add 12 GB (3x 4GB) - To do this you should get information from the manufacturer if 4GB modules are actually supported

or

Replace the existing 3 GB with
4. 12 GB (6 x 2GB)
5. 24 GB (6 x 4GB) - Same notes as for above option 3. apoply

Personally i would go with option 2. It will extend the lifespan/usefulness of your system until you really need a new one.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:14 PM   #7
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Installing a 64-bit operating system and upgrading the memory would be my first priority in that situation. A set of 4GB modules for 12GB total would be less than $125 and if you already have Windows 7 you can use the same product key with a 64-bit install disc. If you have Windows 7 Professional you could go for 24GB (Windows 7 Home has a limit of 16GB).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...N82E16820239309

Despite being four years old it's not that bad of a system in terms of processing power, on par with a current quad core processor in the $300 ballpark. Sure there are faster processors available but performance improvements have gotten smaller and smaller with each new generation of processors.

There are other things you could upgrade like the graphics card, storage devices, heatsink, and whatever else but they may or may not actually improve your workflow. Can you share more about what you do with the system and what is "slow" about it for you? Regardless of what the machine is used for the 3GB of memory and 32-bit operating system are a limiting factor.
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Srek
Without knowing the exact mainboard and firmware it's hard to tell what is possible.
What can be determined from the information you gave is that you are running a tripple channel configuration. Intel only did that with that generation of CPUs and Chipsets. Different to current setups those old one work best when RAM was used in triplets. Thus your options are
Keep the 3GB
1. Add another 3 GB (3x 1GB)
2. Add 6 GB (3x 2GB)
3 Add 12 GB (3x 4GB) - To do this you should get information from the manufacturer if 4GB modules are actually supported

or

Replace the existing 3 GB with
4. 12 GB (6 x 2GB)
5. 24 GB (6 x 4GB) - Same notes as for above option 3. apoply

Personally i would go with option 2. It will extend the lifespan/usefulness of your system until you really need a new one.


Alright so i got in contact with dell and they told me the max is 4gb modules per slot, so I will probably get the 3 slots that are empty with 4gb. Also does it make a difference if i buy the 4gb separately or if i get an 8gb that comes with 2x4gb? no difference yeah?

I also noted that my power is 525 so are there any graphic cards you would recommend i upgrade to? Nvidia _ Amazon

I am allowed any card because it will fit in my chasis. I just can't go over 525watts. Please help a brother out haha
 
Old 07-10-2014, 04:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olson
Installing a 64-bit operating system and upgrading the memory would be my first priority in that situation. A set of 4GB modules for 12GB total would be less than $125 and if you already have Windows 7 you can use the same product key with a 64-bit install disc. If you have Windows 7 Professional you could go for 24GB (Windows 7 Home has a limit of 16GB).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...N82E16820239309

Despite being four years old it's not that bad of a system in terms of processing power, on par with a current quad core processor in the $300 ballpark. Sure there are faster processors available but performance improvements have gotten smaller and smaller with each new generation of processors.

There are other things you could upgrade like the graphics card, storage devices, heatsink, and whatever else but they may or may not actually improve your workflow. Can you share more about what you do with the system and what is "slow" about it for you? Regardless of what the machine is used for the 3GB of memory and 32-bit operating system are a limiting factor.


Yeah I am looking into upgrading the graphics card aswell. And slow, well games are a little slow. Also when I am working with large photoshop files and also rendering with Vray can be a little slow on performance. I also have a 64bit system and thanks for the link i will look at it.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 04:47 PM   #10
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Personally i use a GTX 750ti, it's one of the smaller ones, but very modern and quite fast.
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Old 07-10-2014, 08:48 PM   #11
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I don't understand why people get weird about Alienware... they may be a bit overpriced, but they're definitely not crap computers.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Srek
Personally i use a GTX 750ti, it's one of the smaller ones, but very modern and quite fast.

Alright so I'll most likley purchase one of those cards and in terms of ram does it matter if I buy like a pack that is 8gb 2x4gb. Or should I buy them alone etc.

And what MHz do I get? Like 1600, 1000, 1330 I don't know how to pick? Is there a difference?

Last edited by teoalmonte : 07-10-2014 at 10:54 PM.
 
Old 07-10-2014, 11:14 PM   #13
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For the RAM side of things I would honestly recommend you go for triplets.
First gen i7s actually do work on non triplets, but it's not always issue free, and it almost certainly will be trouble if you run a 3+2 dimm socketing.

Go on eBay and find the cheapest, returnable, reputably branded triplet of 4GB modules and slap those in. You might still get hissy fits from your existing modules (not all memory plays nice together), but the worst that can happen is you end up with 12GB and binning your current 3GB which probably have a cumulative worth of less than 30 bucks.

If you're patching your way to the next upgrade my recommendation is you make it as easy, cheap, and pain free as possible for yourself. That means unique triplets for ram.

I also agree with the 750ti as middle of the line pick, it's a solid modern card with good bang for buck and hardly any power draw for that bang. Very safe.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO
For the RAM side of things I would honestly recommend you go for triplets.
First gen i7s actually do work on non triplets, but it's not always issue free, and it almost certainly will be trouble if you run a 3+2 dimm socketing.

Go on eBay and find the cheapest, returnable, reputably branded triplet of 4GB modules and slap those in. You might still get hissy fits from your existing modules (not all memory plays nice together), but the worst that can happen is you end up with 12GB and binning your current 3GB which probably have a cumulative worth of less than 30 bucks.

If you're patching your way to the next upgrade my recommendation is you make it as easy, cheap, and pain free as possible for yourself. That means unique triplets for ram.

I also agree with the 750ti as middle of the line pick, it's a solid modern card with good bang for buck and hardly any power draw for that bang. Very safe.


Could I get two 8gb 2x4gb 1330mhz (is 1666mhz better)? Will that be okay I'll have four 4gbs in total then and I'll remove the 1gb
 
Old 07-11-2014, 01:26 AM   #15
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You don't need 1666Mhz memory unless you plan to OC for the number fetish aspect of it (the CPU itself OCs best on multiplier anyway). I would say no, you don't need it.
As for running just 2+2, it depends on the motherboard. In theory and for probably the majority of cases yes, you can, and it will hardly have a perceivable impact (it will have a bit as the controller works best off triplets for channel sync). You do still have a chance to run into problems on some motherboards; personally on mine I did when I had to go 2+2 for a bit on my 920 a while ago.

If you buy used or left-over kits there are plenty singles, 2x4 and 3x4 around for peanuts. At least around here it's easy enough to find unused old stock 2x4 for 30 bucks.
You can always try it, and if it doesn't work out buy one more (ideally same brand and batch) and add it in.
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