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Evaluating Experience Index and wondering what to upgrade


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#1 GoodFortitude

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 04:16 PM

Hi!  THanks for the forums.  I have been looking at my Windows Experience Index for a while now and I get a rating of 7.7 across the board; however, I only get a 5.9 for my disk data transfer rate on my Primary hard disk.  When I bought the gaming rig, I knew it was utilizing only 2 of the 8 slots of RAM and bought it in large part because it was a nice rig to upgrade and looked forward to getting a few of the other RAM slots filled.  BTW, I am also using an NVidia GeForce GTX 560, which I searched a lot for a practical price to performance ratio. I'm conservative but do enjoy my gaming speed.

 

That said, what I'd like to know is what is the better upgrade to increase my gaming performance to optimal?  Of course my base score is only 5.9 because of the hard disk but I can't imagine that just getting a better hard drive would enhance my gaming performance more than adding a couple sticks of RAM or even getting a new Graphics card. I just don't know enough about computers to know which upgrade(s) will have the best improvements or if I should even bother with the hard disk.  What should I upgrade?

 

running Win 7 desktop, 64 bit, 16 gb RAM, Intel 3.5 GHz quad core processor.

 

thanks ahead for any helpful info!!

 

:workout:


Edited by GoodFortitude, 02 September 2014 - 04:32 PM.

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#2 jonuk76

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 05:05 PM

Hi there.  I think it would be good if you could publish a snapshot using Speccy which will give more detailed information about the hardware.  There's instructions here how to do this if needed.  It would also be helpful to know the make and model and wattage of your power supply if possible (Speccy does not report this information).

 

I personally haven't seen any computers with a mechanical HDD system drive score above 5.9 on the disk test.  Then again, I haven't run the test with an enterprise grade 10K or 15K drive, but ordinary 7200 RPM drives seem to top out at about 5.9.   SSD's (solid state drives) can head towards the maximum allowable score, because of their higher transfer rates and very low access times.  SSD's can give a noticeable increase to the responsiveness of the system, and improves load times of programs.

 

For most purposes, 16Gb RAM is more than enough. Once you go above a certain point, extra RAM doesn't help any more.

 

Can I ask what you would most like to improve?  Is it frame rates on games?  Also what sort of things do you play and at what resolution?


Edited by jonuk76, 02 September 2014 - 06:50 PM.

7sbvuf-6.png


#3 Zerue

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:53 PM

For most purposes, 16Gb RAM is more than enough. Once you go above a certain point, extra RAM doesn't help any more.

 

Generally, yes. However if you are doing a lot of content editing, those extra gigs fo RAM will come in handy.

 

Getting a better hard drive wont do much but if you use an SSD instead, you will see a significant increase in performance but might hurt your budget.

 

Please include a screenshot of Speccy like the previous poster said. We would be able to assist you better that way. 


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#4 GoodFortitude

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 03:23 PM

Yeah, good questions. Well, I am into the much higher end, open world games and enjoy the graphics. For instance, I play Skyrim with mods which enhance the graphics quite a lot and it's fairly smooth but could actually be a bit smoother in some areas.  I have also noticed that even when I play Crysis at full graphics settings, it's not smooth at all (granted Crysis was notorious for bogging nearly any system, but it's also much older than my pc now). It's the only one I can't run at full specs.

 

So, what I'm really doing, as far as improvements, is I'm opening this thing up and looking to utilize its full upgrade potential so when I decide to throw in a high end game such as the next Elder Scrolls which no doubt they're working on, I will be confident that I can turn every graphic all the way up, no worries about frame rate droppping.  Here's my snapshot. Thanks! http://speccy.piriform.com/results/kM5884xbihiltmErOFlHOEL


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#5 Aerys

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 04:01 PM

I think you would certainly benefit from a GPU upgrade, but it all depends on your budget. If you want to see a large improvement in speed, then buy an SSD for your OS/main programs and games, they will load much faster in comparison to a mechanical drive.


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#6 Zerue

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 07:16 PM

Pretty much most of your hardware will not benefit from an upgrade. But if you want better raw performance you might want to check these:

 

- Get a better GPU. That 560 is still decent... for now. You will certainly benefit by getting a GTX 780 or an R9 290 which has higher overall performance. Don't get the 780 ti though as it doesnt give you a good bang for your buck.

 

- Overclock, both the CPU and the GPU. If you are running your unlocked 3770k on stock then you are not utilizing its full potential. Get a good aftermarket cooler and an overclocking motherboard (i dont think you can OC on a b75 board, others please confirm this for me). Getting a 4.5Ghz on your ivy bridge should be easy, note that it depends on your Silicon lottery, your ivy might get lower than 4.5 Ghz or maybe even more. However if you want to go this route please read up on how to overclock your CPU properly. You can send me a PM if you want.

 

Can I ask what you would most like to improve?  Is it frame rates on games?  Also what sort of things do you play and at what resolution?

 

His current setting is 1600x900 as seen in his latest post. Can you recommend anything to him? 


Edited by Zerue, 05 September 2014 - 07:16 PM.

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#7 jonuk76

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 08:01 PM

The first thing I can say is that you actually have 4 x 4Gb memory modules fitted (for 16Gb) and there are only four RAM slots in total on this PC, not eight.  Therefore a RAM upgrade would involve replacing your existing memory.  This isn't a problem for now, as I don't think adding more than 16Gb will be worthwhile anyway.

 

The CPU is very good.  Should be good enough for a while yet.  However, note that whoever built the PC used an unlocked i7-3770K CPU, they've used a motherboard that doesn't support taking advantage of this feature (AFAIK B75 boards do not support CPU multiplier setting).  It's not a big deal, but if you did ever want to overclock the processor you would need a different motherboard.

 

I think that when Crysis was released even the most powerful systems of its time could not run it at maximum detail levels. I am a bit surprised it's giving this system problems (at 1600 x 900) though.  Crysis 2, which is more advanced, seems to do OK on this card at 1920 x 1080 (at least with AA Off):

 

Crysis2-1920.png

 

Perhaps check your GPU driver settings and reduce the anti-aliasing to a lower setting?

 

An SSD would be a nice to have upgrade, improving overall response of the system and start up times. It won't do anything for game FPS of course.

 

 

 

His current setting is 1600x900 as seen in his latest post. Can you recommend anything to him?

 

The GPU and monitor is probably where there is most scope to upgrade.  For example, an R9-280 offers up to about 2 x the overall performance of the current GPU, at a reasonable price at the moment.  A comparison is here (they only have the faster GTX 560 Ti here for comparison, but it gives an idea).  I do think upgrading from the Samsung 20" to a bigger, higher resolution monitor (1080p or higher) would help to enjoy the output from an upgraded GPU.  Something like a 24" IPS screen would be a nice upgrade.  Going to a top of the line GPU like a GTX 780 or R9-290X would probably demand a high end monitor like a 27" 1440p model to make the best of it.

 

Before considering any GPU upgrade, it's important to verify that 1) your power supply is up to it and 2) it'll fit.  The higher end cards can be very long and not all cases will accommodate them.


Edited by jonuk76, 05 September 2014 - 08:03 PM.

7sbvuf-6.png


#8 GoodFortitude

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 03:09 PM

I have known my monitor sucks, but at the time I was shopping conservative, kind of regret it now.  My credenza will house another inch or two in width reasonably so I was already looking to get a new monitor but if I get a 24 inch IPS, haven't heard of IPS yet, why it's better or what brand to look for.  But, I think we're all thinking pretty much along the same lines.

 

As far as overclocking, I've never really been a big fan always having the outlook that there's a reason they standardize them. Things may be safer to overclock these days; but I'm also a big fan of stability.  I suppose there are ways to overclock conservatively so that there's little strain on the system however. So, I am considering that as well now. I think many gamers today do it. I know there's software to monitor that as well. Of course, I'm currently using Speedfan to monitor temps.

 

I don't want to go out and upgrade everything at once; so, I suppose the SSD might have to wait a while yet. But, I'm thinking just pick up either the R9-290x or 280 and a bit better monitor and maybe overclock the CPU.  I take it you think the price difference and graphical increase wouldn't be enough to justify going with the 290x, Jonuk?  The way I look at it is, "I only buy once" so might as well get a nice one.  If I get a monitor that goes up to a higher rez, perhaps will be enough?  Not sure my power supply will hold up, or price difference, but what do you think?

 

Also, I'm not sure the 290 or 290x are compatible with my system. Comes default with the Nvidia card.


Edited by GoodFortitude, 06 September 2014 - 03:19 PM.

A man isn't measured by how many men he can bring down but, rather, by how many he brings up.

 

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#9 GoodFortitude

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 03:22 PM

how about this one?  It's got 14 Ratings with an average of 4.7!  Still runs with only 250 watts.   'Course, it's 100$ more. http://pcpartpicker.com/part/xfx-video-card-r9280xtdbd


Edited by GoodFortitude, 06 September 2014 - 03:24 PM.

A man isn't measured by how many men he can bring down but, rather, by how many he brings up.

 

Change your circumstances; change your mind.


#10 Zerue

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 08:50 PM

As far as overclocking, I've never really been a big fan always having the outlook that there's a reason they standardize them. Things may be safer to overclock these days; but I'm also a big fan of stability.  I suppose there are ways to overclock conservatively so that there's little strain on the system however. So, I am considering that as well now. I think many gamers today do it. I know there's software to monitor that as well. Of course, I'm currently using Speedfan to monitor temps.

 

Overclocking is a whole lot easier and more secure now compared to its earlier years. In fact, i would even go as far that it is now encouraged (considering there are "unlocked" CPUs now that go with overclocking boards). With a certain ASUS motherboard you could click a single button and It will find a secure temp/clock/voltage as well as stress test your overclock for you. ;) I monitor my temps using CPU-Z by the way. 

 

I don't want to go out and upgrade everything at once; so, I suppose the SSD might have to wait a while yet. But, I'm thinking just pick up either the R9-290x or 280 and a bit better monitor and maybe overclock the CPU.  I take it you think the price difference and graphical increase wouldn't be enough to justify going with the 290x, Jonuk?  The way I look at it is, "I only buy once" so might as well get a nice one.  If I get a monitor that goes up to a higher rez, perhaps will be enough?  Not sure my power supply will hold up, or price difference, but what do you think?

 

Also, I'm not sure the 290 or 290x are compatible with my system. Comes default with the Nvidia card.

 

I agree. you dont have to upgrade everything at once. it is so much better to get a high end product now and get another high end later, than having both mid range part now IMHO. As for the 290x I think its better to get a 290 in terms of price:performance (reference ; this and this)

 

Do not worry about compatibilty :) As for a 280x I think this is the best when it comes to price to performance, but if you want something "beefier" or a little more "future-proof" I think it is safer to get an R9 290 or at least a GTX 770. However, most of the time a 280x would be sufficient. 

 

how about this one?  It's got 14 Ratings with an average of 4.7!  Still runs with only 250 watts.   'Course, it's 100$ more. http://pcpartpicker.com/part/xfx-video-card-r9280xtdbd

 

XFX are known for their great 280x's but do you mind telling us what you mean by 100$ more? more than what? sorry, havent slept in a while.

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#11 jonuk76

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 09:55 AM



I have known my monitor sucks, but at the time I was shopping conservative, kind of regret it now.  My credenza will house another inch or two in width reasonably so I was already looking to get a new monitor but if I get a 24 inch IPS, haven't heard of IPS yet, why it's better or what brand to look for.  But, I think we're all thinking pretty much along the same lines.

 

 

It's not very well known by non-techies, but there are a few different technologies of LCD screen.  Here are some good explanations of the different types:

https://pcmonitors.info/articles/lcd-panel-types-explored/ (simpler explanation)

http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/panel_technologies.htm (this is very techy)

 

Or quick one line summaries:

 

TN (Twisted Nematic) - Cheap, high response, poorer colour rendering (not true colour screens), narrow viewing angles, major colour shift when you view off centre.

VA (Vertical Alignment) - Fairly cheap, poorer response compared to TN or IPS, better colour and contrast than TN, colour shift when viewed off centre.

IPS (In Plane Switching) - More expensive, not quite as responsive as TN can achieve but good, best colour rendering with true colour output, wide viewing angle.

 

TN types are easy to spot as the colour changes as you change your viewing angle (particularly on the vertical plane). I think VA ones are not common now as the price of IPS technology has dropped. I upgraded to 2 x 23" LG IPS screens after one of my old TN screens failed, and the difference to me is very noticeable.  I wouldn't go back to TN screens voluntarily...

 

List on PC Partpicker of 23"+ IPS Screens  I don't have any specific monitor recommendations really.

 

 

 

I don't want to go out and upgrade everything at once; so, I suppose the SSD might have to wait a while yet. But, I'm thinking just pick up either the R9-290x or 280 and a bit better monitor and maybe overclock the CPU.  I take it you think the price difference and graphical increase wouldn't be enough to justify going with the 290x, Jonuk?  The way I look at it is, "I only buy once" so might as well get a nice one.  If I get a monitor that goes up to a higher rez, perhaps will be enough?  Not sure my power supply will hold up, or price difference, but what do you think?

 

Also, I'm not sure the 290 or 290x are compatible with my system. Comes default with the Nvidia card.

 

 

Going from Nvidia to AMD or vice versa is not a problem.  I just recommend fully uninstalling Nvidia's driver software before changing the cards over.

 

I tend to look for stuff with the best price/performance ratio's that will do the job.  The best price/performance ratio's tend to be in the middle of the market, away from the extremely high end or extremely low end stuff.  I think a R9-280 or R9-280X will definitely "do the job" comfortably for current games at HD resolutions, with a good balance of price to performance :)  A higher end card will give more future proofing but at a premium, so it depends on how much you want to spend.  Note, a factory overclocked R9-290 (like linked below) can more or less match the performance of a reference R9-290X at a significant saving.

 

Main contenders (roughly in ascending order of performance)

 

GTX 760 2Gb - $209

R9-280 (factory overclocked) - $200

R9-280X - $259

GTX 770 4Gb - $346

R9-290 (factory overclocked) - $348.50

GTX 780 (factory overclocked) - $459

R9-290X - $499

 

The Nvidia cards are lower power consumers generally than AMD's.  These cards will need a good PSU in any case.  I like factory overclocked models because they generally aren't much more expensive than others, usually have nice aftermarket coolers fitted and the overclock is warrantied so it's an almost free upgrade.


Edited by jonuk76, 07 September 2014 - 09:58 AM.

7sbvuf-6.png


#12 Zerue

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 10:18 AM

Wait, correct me if Im wrong, but 290x should be lower than 780, yes? 


Edited by Zerue, 07 September 2014 - 10:19 AM.

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#13 jonuk76

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 10:28 AM

Swings and roundabouts depending on the game I suppose.  I went from this -

 

perfrel_1920.gif

 

Source - http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/R9_290_Vapor-X/25.html

 

The three higher ones are all within a few % overall though. The factory overclock possibly may push the GTX 780 over the reference R9-290X.


Edited by jonuk76, 07 September 2014 - 10:32 AM.

7sbvuf-6.png


#14 Zerue

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 10:57 AM

I see, that might have been the case at the graph i saw. Might have been the overclock as well. Thanks :)


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#15 GoodFortitude

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 03:42 PM

Thanks, you guys have given me a lot to think about and make an informed decision.  And I would be a bit quicker in responding except our net keeps going down each evening for hours on end.  Anyway, I was just wondering if the XFX card would possibly have any compatibility issues with my mobo.  I've learned to trust the ratings and am pleasantly surprised at how dependable they can be. There's obviously some reason ppl are pretty geeked with this card. btw, zerue, I just meant that it would cost me 300 as apposed to 200 for the other I looked at.    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/xfx-video-card-r9280xtdbd

 

Though, if I don't get this XFX, I'm thinking I just may go with the R9-290, to be practical but gain a good bit of power.  But, I just noticed that the one I've posted IS a 280x. I am not sure if it would stand up to a 290 or not.  I guess the manufacturer shouldn't hurt compatibility much. Just don't want to order something that won't jive with my system.  I opened it up yesterday and saw that it did have a pretty big card in there already and lots of space. So, it looks like it can house a nice card.


A man isn't measured by how many men he can bring down but, rather, by how many he brings up.

 

Change your circumstances; change your mind.





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