RAM or Processor?

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#1 Posted by FirePrince (1793 posts) -

Now, I may have more or less answered my question in the title. But hear me out.

Specs:

2GB RAM (Bought in 2007)

ATi Radeon 5770 HD

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+

Asus M2N32 SLI Deluxe Motherboard.

Christmas is coming, and I would like to upgrade my computer. My main gripe with the damn thing is that everything is monumentally slow-new games run just fine with a bit of tweaking, and look good enough, but if I want to alt tab to skype or firefox, I might as well go grab a sandwich or something. Should I get a new processor, new RAM, or both? My budget is around 120 dollars.

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#2 Posted by SamStrife (1330 posts) -

Ram is dirt cheap but it won't provide half the boost that a new CPU would give you.

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#3 Edited by Jimmi (184 posts) -

Here's a decent processor for gaming. I would imagine it will give you a quite significant upgrade. RAM would help too, especially with the Alt-Tab issues, but that's outside of your price range. It's quite cheap though.

Edit: Hmm, your motherboard is quite old too... I doubt it would support a Sandybridge processor. You might be better off upgrading to 8GB of RAM and waiting until you can do a full overhaul to replace the processor.

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#4 Edited by cannonballBAM (712 posts) -

@FirePrince: I'm not an expert but you may be experiencing the same issue I have which is bottle necking due to your processor. Not a lot will benefit in game due to your RAM besides if your multi-tasking. It is important in order to run tasks but it doesn't determine performance like a CPU/GPU.

Here is a compatible Quad Core CPU for just around $100. IMO, you will notice a major difference.

http://www.amazon.com/AMD-Phenom-Socket-Quad-Core-Processor/dp/B002XNBQJQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353939485&sr=8-1&keywords=phenom+ii+945

edit: if you wanted something else. Here is an official list of supported CPU's.

http://support.asus.com/cpusupport/list.aspx?SLanguage=en&m=M2N32-SLI%20deluxe&p=1

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#5 Edited by FirePrince (1793 posts) -

@Jimmi said:

Here's a decent processor for gaming. I would imagine it will give you a quite significant upgrade. RAM would help too, especially with the Alt-Tab issues, but that's outside of your price range. It's quite cheap though.

The retailer I'm buying from doesn't seem to have it on stock. Will the i3 2120 do the same job?

I also have another question. Do more cores mean better performance? I rather doubt it.

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#6 Edited by Kidavenger (4168 posts) -

@cannonballBAM: He has a AM2 socket, there is no CPU only upgrade path, if he wants to upgrade the CPU, the only way to dot that is with a new motherboard and RAM which will end up being more than $120.

Could upgrade the RAM, but it is DDR2 ram so it may be hard to find and completely useless in any future upgrade that is probably coming sooner rather than later.

Edit: apparently AM3 processors fit and work in AM2 motherboards.

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#7 Posted by Codeacious (957 posts) -

You really should get at LEAST another 2GB of RAM. It sounds like you're already running out of pages in physical memory, making it take forever to alt tab as the OS swaps out pages to and from your HDD. RAM's cheap and it'll make your system avoid nasty thrashing issues. You can probably get a 2GB stick for ~$10-20, and spend the other $100 on the Phenom pointed out.

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#8 Edited by cannonballBAM (712 posts) -

@Kidavenger: Huh? It has AM2 support and it is an official supported CPU for that motherboard as listed through the company site.

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#9 Posted by FirePrince (1793 posts) -

@Codeacious said:

You really should get at LEAST another 2GB of RAM. It sounds like you're already running out of pages in physical memory, making it take forever to alt tab as the OS swaps out pages to and from your HDD. RAM's cheap and it'll make your system avoid nasty thrashing issues. You can probably get a 2GB stick for ~$10-20, and spend the other $100 on the Phenom pointed out.

This seems like the best way to go. Thanks!

Thanks to everybody else who also replied.

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#10 Posted by Scroll (627 posts) -

That budget won't really get you far, since any half decent cpu upgrade will most likely mean a new motherboard and ram anyway.

You probably don't want to hear it but you should wait till you have more money and do a full upgradge, it'll be cheaper in the long term.

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#11 Posted by andmm (221 posts) -

Start saving money and build an AMD rig, its way cheaper and has the same performance. Cheers

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#12 Posted by crusader8463 (14757 posts) -

I'm with the waiting to upgrade the whole thing camp. I was in the same spot not too long ago where I had the best CPU I could get from a couple generations back and had no upgrade path because I was locked down by what my MOBO supported. I just had to wait until I could upgrade the whole thing. Even if you can't take advantage of all of it right now, I strongly suggest spending the extra for a good MOBO that supports all the newest sockets. That way over time you can fill in the spots. A few hundred extra now may seem like a lot, but it will seem like a lot more when you waste the few hundred you got now and find yourself in pretty much the same exact position 6 months to a year from now with no way out but to start saving again without that hundred dollar head start you got now.

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#13 Posted by jaycrockett (732 posts) -

RAM, definitely. The slowness in alt-tabbing is caused by memory paging in and out of the hard disk. Get 2GB for sure.

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#14 Posted by Jazzycola (672 posts) -

You're better off saving and building a whole new PC. You could save a few bucks by transferring the 5770 though so there's that.

@FirePrince said:

@Jimmi said:

Here's a decent processor for gaming. I would imagine it will give you a quite significant upgrade. RAM would help too, especially with the Alt-Tab issues, but that's outside of your price range. It's quite cheap though.

The retailer I'm buying from doesn't seem to have it on stock. Will the i3 2120 do the same job?

I also have another question. Do more cores mean better performance? I rather doubt it.

You can't put a intel CPU into your AMD motherboard.

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#15 Posted by Laurentech (129 posts) -

I put myself in the save your money camp. You could build a new system which would blow that away. It wouldn't cost a whole lot, either. Re-use your tower and, if you're really on a budget, your video card.

If you're gonna upgrade anyway, you could go with that Phenom CPU and the extra 2GB of RAM. That's probably your best bet. You may have to update or modify your mobo's BIOS to accept the new CPU.

Also, more cores does not mean better performance in most current video games.

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#16 Posted by Sooty (8193 posts) -

RAM. 2GB is dangerously low right now, 4 is still the sweet spot and 8 is the why not spot.

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#17 Posted by EXTomar (5047 posts) -

The good news is that RAM is cheap but performance is going to be throttled by the bus so neither RAM or a CPU would have a fundamental change in performance. I would consider using Christmas as "seed money" for a new machine where you can get family to help increase or start your budget.

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#18 Posted by MikkaQ (10296 posts) -

The answer should be both, the RAM is so cheap. But don't buy a 2GB stick to put in with the 2GB you already have. That is a bad idea cause the voltages and speeds might be different. You'd lose the advantage of going dual-channel unless you managed to match it perfectly with your existing RAM. For the price you might as well buy it all together as a 4GB package and save you the hassle.

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#19 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5904 posts) -

@Scroll said:

That budget won't really get you far, since any half decent cpu upgrade will most likely mean a new motherboard and ram anyway.

You probably don't want to hear it but you should wait till you have more money and do a full upgradge, it'll be cheaper in the long term.

It's the only way to get anywhere, yeah. Sorry duder, but you're a little too far in the past to do the cheap upgrade thing. If you really want to, get RAM, because it'll help a bit and it'll be cheap enough that buying more if you get more money down the road to build up a better PC won't really matter to you.

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