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Advice on Upgrading an old (2008) Alienware PC


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Dahamuran

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 11:58 PM

Hey all,

First off, I'm not an experienced computer builder. I bought an Alienware back in 2008 that has done me well for quite a few years and wanted to make some upgrades. I want to move to windows 7 64bit from 32bit and was wondering what I should change in the system to take advantage of the 64bit architecture short of buying a completely new rig. I only need to play games at mid-midhigh settings. I'm not looking at maxing out settings or anything like that. My current specs are:

Operating System
MS Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit SP1

CPU
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 @ 2.66GHz
Kentsfield 65nm Technology

RAM
3.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 400MHz (5-5-5-16)

Motherboard
alienware alienware (Socket 775)
Chipset Model: nForce 680i SLI SPP
Southbridge Model: nForce 680i SLI MCP

Graphics
SyncMaster (1680x1050@59Hz)
896MB GeForce GTX 260 (nVidia)

Hard Drives
233GB Seagate ST325041 0AS SCSI Disk Device (ATA)

Optical Drives
HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GSA-H55N ATA Device

Audio
Creative X-Fi Audio Processor (WDM)

Would moving up to 8gb of ram and getting a new vid card be the route to go? I've noticed in some games I get out of memory issues that can only be resolved if I use the 3gb switch. Does that mean I'm running out of vid card memory or RAM memory?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:53 AM

Technically, your CPU is already 64-bit capable. Out of memory warnings are related to system memory. There are some security advantages to going 64-bit, but the primary advantage relates to system memory capacities over 4GB. Windows 8 will be released on October 26, I would make the switch to 64-bit then. Keep in mind that regardless of which version of Windows you choose, going from 32-bit to 64-bit is a platform change and requires a clean install. Your PC is actually pretty good, the only other upgrade I would consider would be the GPU.

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#3 killerx525

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 07:37 AM

What model is the Alienware and is their a budget for the graphics card?

Edited by killerx525, 05 August 2012 - 07:37 AM.

>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


#4 Dahamuran

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 04:23 PM

Heya,

DJBPace07: Thanks much for the advice.

Killerx525: At the time I bought the PC it was called an Area 51 I think? My more detailed specs are in my original post.

Both of ya: As for a graphics card, what would you guys recommend from the Nvidia family (I always have bad luck with radeon...who knows why)? Since I will be buying ram (which I hear is expensive at DDR2) then I don't want to be spending too much on a vid card. Maybe $150ish? What are your recommendations on mid-level Nvidia cards? Again, I have no interest in maxing out game settings. I just want to have enough to play things at mid-midhigh so they play smooth and look somewhat good.

With my current rig I've been able to play things like Shogun 2 and Arkham City at a decent fps and have them look decent but I have to use the 3gb switch to prevent out of memory errors. I'd like to avoid that in the future.

Thanks guys!

#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 05:15 PM

When was the last time you've used a Radeon card? Most problems usually revolve around drivers and they have matured a bit over the years. Nevertheless, Nvidia does hold the better graphics card at the ~$150 level with the GTX 560.

I would go for the EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1463-KR GeForce GTX 560. A 550W power supply is required.

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#6 Dahamuran

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 12:48 AM

When was the last time you've used a Radeon card? Most problems usually revolve around drivers and they have matured a bit over the years. Nevertheless, Nvidia does hold the better graphics card at the ~$150 level with the GTX 560.

I would go for the EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1463-KR GeForce GTX 560. A 550W power supply is required.



Much appreciated! Do you also have any recommendations on what RAM I should be after? I was told DDR 2 PC6400 is the type for my Motherboard. Is that right and if so where do you recommend I purchase it (hopefully someone reliable and cheap... :D )?

#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:29 AM

We need to know the exact model of your motherboard to determine acceptable RAM types and capacities. I usually use Newegg. DDR2-800 does seem about right, the question is, what is the maximum amount of RAM your PC will take. If it can take 8GB, you can get two Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 RAM kits. If it can only take 4GB, two Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 RAM kits would be needed.

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#8 Dahamuran

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 03:06 PM

Thanks DJ. I have a Evga nforce 680i sli mb rev d motherboard. That capable of going 8gb?

#9 DJBPace07

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:58 PM

It should say in your motherboard manual, I just downloaded the EVGA 680i manual and it says 8GB. Here is the link for EVGA manuals.

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#10 Dahamuran

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 09:36 PM

Awesome, thanks a ton!




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