I have an older computer. Athlon X2 6400+ processor, 4GB DDR2, nVidia 9500 GT, 750GB Samsung HDD.

I have money to upgrade something, but not the whole computer. How can I find out, the motherboard, and CPU upgrade needed, or only video card. Maybe the memory is slow ?

closed as not a real question by Breakthrough, random Aug 19 '11 at 12:32

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  • 2
    you should first state what your actual problem is. – akira Apr 4 '11 at 11:41
  • 3
    You need to tell us what you are using the computer for. We can't help you unless we know what types of problems you're having. Also, do tell us your motherboard. – AndrejaKo Apr 4 '11 at 12:04
  • True, sorry. The computer is used workstation and gaming. As workstation, virtual computers, multiple OSes, development. Gaming like Crysis 2, CoD series games. Current mainboard is ASUS M2N-E – Glendyr Apr 4 '11 at 13:03
  • Any new video card you put in that computer will be bottlenecked by the CPU first, then the memory. I don't think you'll be able to play Crysis 2 without some major (read: CPU & GPU) upgrades. To be honest though, you would be better off just building something new. – Breakthrough Aug 19 '11 at 0:17

If you're running virtual OSes concurrently, and demanding applications like compilers, memory might be a bottleneck for your workstation use; you should check to see if you're swapping frequently. If the motherboard and budget supports it, consider 8GB.

I'd worry more about the amount of memory than the speed, if you're swapping to disk. Getting a dramatic increase in RAM speed will likely require a new motherboard and CPU (I usually upgrade all three together).

For gaming, while the 9500GT is by no means a bad card, there are newer cards that can outperform it substantially; I'd think about an nVidia GTX460, which has 3 or 4 times the fillrate and memory bandwidth for under $200. You might need a new power supply to run it, though.

  • "I'd worry more about the amount of memory than the speed." Completely false. The difference between slow, high-latency RAM and fast, low-latency RAM can make a huge difference, especially for gaming. Don't believe me? Try it with your own computer (if you can change the RAM timings/speed). If you have 4GB or more, RAM Speed/Latency > Quantity. Always. – Breakthrough Aug 19 '11 at 0:18
  • Not when you're swapping to disk because you don't have enough RAM. – Russell Borogove Aug 19 '11 at 0:35
  • I totally agree, but I said "If you have 4GB or more". The OP has 4GB, and I can't see a way that the average person (or gamer) will run out of memory at the current moment in time. If you had the choice right now between 4GB of fast memory or 8GB of slow memory, go for the faster RAM. – Breakthrough Aug 19 '11 at 0:36
  • OP mentioned virtual computers & multiple OSes for development; each virtualized machine needs its own chunk of RAM, which is why I specifically called out workstation use and checking for swapping for the RAM increase scenario. For pure gaming with this generation of games that have to run on 32-bit systems, I basically agree with you. Edited my answer a bit to clarify. – Russell Borogove Aug 19 '11 at 0:41
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    Okay fine, but there's only one way to settle this... Quake 3 Deathmatch! :P (+1 for bundling computer upgrades, replace it all or wait until you can IMHO) – Breakthrough Aug 19 '11 at 0:43

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