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What to upgrade first?


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#1 Shawn_M

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 02:42 PM

My computer has become well worn over the past 3 years and is really starting to deteriorate in these past few months. My goal is to replace most of it soon, save for peripherals and potentially the HDD. Since I'm going to be doing it as the money becomes available, I want to know where to prioritize my money since I will be swapping things out as I get them and this current computer has 2 issues that I want to fix asap to ease the time until I've finished my upgrades.

The first issue is that it will occasionally freeze up and I can't pinpoint a source, sometimes I can walk away from it on idle and come back to it frozen. It happens frequently with this PC--once a day, at least. I looked around and found 2 possible reasons: either the RAM is faulty which I tested with Windows Memory Diagnostic which gave me no errors after 5 passes (I know it's not the best but I don't really have any blank CDs lying around to use memtest) or the memory controller is damaged and I'm not sure if WMD checks that. I'm a bit skeptical to say this is definitive, but the main cause seems to be whenever a lot is being written to the main HDD. Are there other possibilities I'm not aware of?

The second problem occurs when my CPU goes over 50% load. All sound becomes incredibly choppy and video usually follows suit but not always. Admittedly I am using integrated sound, but this is not something I've had a problem with until probably 2 or 3 months ago and I still have a separate card for graphics so I'm unsure if the issue is with the CPU, the motherboard or a bit of everything.

My goal is to prioritize my purchases so that I can potentially fix the issues as soon as possible so that the transition is more bearable. As of now, none of my options are locked except the AMD Phenom X6 1090T so I'm open to suggestions. Any insight on what to replace/add first?

System Specs
Operating System
MS Windows 7 32-bit
CPU
AMD Phenom II X3 720
Heka 45nm Technology
RAM
4.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 535MHz (7-7-7-16)
Motherboard
Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. GA-MA790XT-UD4P (Socket M2)
Graphics
H233H (1920x1080@60Hz)
2219S-1 (1680x1050@60Hz)
ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series
Hard Drives
625GB Western Digital WDC WD6401AALS-00J7B1 ATA Device (SATA)
977GB Western Digital WDC WD10EADS-00L5B1 ATA Device (SATA)
Optical Drives
ATAPI DVD A DH24AAL ATA Device
MVEH 2301URG SCSI CdRom Device
Audio
Realtek High Definition Audio

Edited by Shawn_M, 25 June 2011 - 02:43 PM.


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#2 buddy215

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 03:06 PM

I'll ask the most obvious question. Have you opened up the box and done a thorough cleaning?
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss
A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”

#3 Shawn_M

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 03:33 PM

Semi-regularly, yes. Typically I go by whether there's a thin film of dust over any of the fans.

#4 killerx525

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 07:17 PM

Semi-regularly, yes. Typically I go by whether there's a thin film of dust over any of the fans.

Do a fully cleaning that includes physically taking of the CPU fan. If you do that, please remember to reapply thermal paste.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 07:39 PM

You don't really need to remove the CPU fan from the case, a can of compressed air will work just as well. Have you had issues like this for a while? If your RAM checks out, and if your hard drives are three years old or younger, your motherboard may be failing. Short of a Windows or driver issue, a problem with the integrated audio could indicate there is an issue.

If you're intent on upgrading your PC, it would be best to do it all at once. I suggest holding off until Bulldozer is released in a month or so, but if you can't, get an AMD 990FX-based motherboard and reuse your CPU until it is released.

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#6 Shawn_M

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 07:05 AM

It's only been a couple weeks since I did a cleaning but I'll give it another shot just in case I wasn't being thorough enough before. This started happening just recently, a month or 2 before the summer heat started kicking in.

I was considering waiting for Bulldozer but looking at the benchmarks that AMD released, I'm feeling a bit skeptical about throwing $320 at it until I see actual benchmarks and only if it sweeps the floor with the Intel Core i7-2600.

Is it really that big of a difference to put the whole thing together at once as opposed to piece by piece? I've always put it together all at once but I can't imagine anything wrong with doing it little by little.

#7 killerx525

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 08:16 AM

Are you sure AMD released the benchmarks for the Bulldozer? The processor itself hasn't been released yet to the public.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#8 Shawn_M

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 09:22 AM

Not publicly, it was supposedly just to a group of its partners and probably some press. I don't trust that number.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/AMD-Says-Bulldozer-is-50-Faster-Than-Core-i7-CPUs-177958.shtml

http://www.insideris.com/amd-bulldozer-zacate-vs-intel-core-i7-benchmarks/

#9 killerx525

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 05:01 PM

Those are all speculations.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 05:44 PM

The only Bulldozer CPU's released have been to manufacturers and they were early engineering samples so the motherboard makers could design new ones to work with the new CPU. Even those were locked down with features turned off so any benchmarks derived from them would not be accurate. The actual samples given out to press won't happen until a week or so before launch, until then, the only fully functioning FX-8130P CPU you will see is probably at AMD headquarters, oh, and at E3. They are positioned to go up against the i7-2600K, given the new design, I don't know how they will perform in certain tasks. Usually it is better to put the computer together all at once, but that isn't a rule. I usually do it like that so it is more of an upgrade. Since you are already invested in an AM3 platform, swapping out the motherboard is not that big of a deal since you have a compatible CPU and RAM. You will need to install Windows again, this time 64-bit.

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#11 killerx525

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 01:07 AM

The only Bulldozer CPU's released have been to manufacturers and they were early engineering samples so the motherboard makers could design new ones to work with the new CPU. Even those were locked down with features turned off so any benchmarks derived from them would not be accurate. The actual samples given out to press won't happen until a week or so before launch, until then, the only fully functioning FX-8130P CPU you will see is probably at AMD headquarters, oh, and at E3. They are positioned to go up against the i7-2600K, given the new design, I don't know how they will perform in certain tasks. Usually it is better to put the computer together all at once, but that isn't a rule. I usually do it like that so it is more of an upgrade. Since you are already invested in an AM3 platform, swapping out the motherboard is not that big of a deal since you have a compatible CPU and RAM. You will need to install Windows again, this time 64-bit.

The Bulldozer's performance is a secret at the moment :wink:

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#12 Shawn_M

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 11:59 AM

Well of course it's all speculation, until we see actual benchmarks we don't know. However, I'm pretty sure they've already stated they're releasing their 8-core CPUs first and from the looks of the pricing, I won't be willing to spend what they're charging for them unless they are godlike and I can justify spending a 1/3 of my hopeful budget on them. Otherwise I'm looking at another few months until the more budget models are released. If it can actually beat the i7 2600K then it might be justifiable, otherwise I might as well spend it on better things, like putting the extra money towards a SSD.

Back on topic though, I did a really thorough cleaning last night and I haven't been able to push the CPU far enough yet to encounter the sound issue, going to run half the programs on my computer now and see what happens.

EDIT: After pushing it to ~70%, there's been a slight improvement with everything but what I suspected was the main issue in the first place, Skype HD video calling, is still causing the sound issue. Even if I were to wait to upgrade until I have everything, would it make sense to still get a sound card beforehand to try and take some stress off the motherboard and hopefully improve the sound a bit?

Edited by Shawn_M, 27 June 2011 - 06:11 PM.


#13 buddy215

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 08:58 PM

Have you checked the temps when the processor and video card are stressed?
What is the size of the power supply?
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded and the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics...you are all stardust.”Lawrence M. Krauss
A 1792 U.S. penny, designed in part by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, reads “Liberty Parent of Science & Industry.”

#14 Shawn_M

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 10:37 PM

While under stress the CPU was running at 49 degrees and the graphics card at 67 degrees.
Power supply is a 750W.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006




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