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Windows Thread, Gaming Rig Bottleneck in Technical; For purposes of gaming, and not spending too much money, whats's the part I should be focussing on upgrading this ...
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    Gaming Rig Bottleneck

    For purposes of gaming, and not spending too much money, whats's the part I should be focussing on upgrading this machine?:




    Computer
    Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Professional
    OS Service Pack Service Pack 3
    DirectX 4.09.00.0904 (DirectX 9.0c)


    Motherboard
    CPU Type Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz
    Motherboard Name Unknown
    Motherboard Chipset Unknown
    System Memory 3328 MB
    BIOS Type Award Modular (09/22/08)
    Communication Port Communications Port (COM1)
    Communication Port Printer Port (LPT1)

    Display
    Video Adapter ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series (512 MB)
    Video Adapter ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series (512 MB)
    Monitor Plug and Play Monitor [NoDB] (LAW0C0638611)

    Multimedia
    Audio Adapter ATI HD Audio rear output
    Audio Adapter Realtek HD Audio output

    Storage
    IDE Controller Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
    IDE Controller Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
    IDE Controller Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
    SCSI/RAID Controller AIC0NBNV IDE Controller
    Floppy Drive Floppy disk drive
    Disk Drive ST31500341AS (1397 GB, IDE)
    Disk Drive SAMSUNG HD103SJ (931 GB, IDE)
    Disk Drive SAMSUNG HD103SJ (931 GB, IDE)
    Optical Drive Optiarc DVD RW AD-7201S
    Optical Drive SJQVM 4PEJW92VO523 SCSI CdRom Device
    SMART Hard Disks Status OK

    Partitions
    C: (NTFS) 156319 MB (28520 MB free)

    Input
    Keyboard Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural PS/2 Keyboard
    Mouse HID-compliant mouse

    Network
    Network Adapter Realtek RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC (192.168.1.25)
    Last edited by CyberNerd; 28th August 2011 at 03:12 PM. Reason: I put in the Actual CPU type

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I'm a little confused - you list 'Pentium III Xeon', but list it as having 3377Mhz clock speed? I'm guessing this is in error, as the P3 Xeon only existed in 1.13Ghz max speed form?

    Also, you don't say what speed RAM it is.

    The graphics card is really low powered also.

    The hard drives aren't bad, but aren't too good either.

    To be honest, I wouldn't know where to start with this, as it is across the board low powered.

    Is this a server that you've re-purposed by any chance?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    For purposes of gaming
    Any games in particular? e.g. there's a HUGE difference between Angry Birds and Battlefield 3.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Intel Pentium III Xeon, 3377 MHz (9 x 375)
    Is this a typo? Pentium III Xeon's didn't go any higher than ~1GHz according to Wikipedia. What does CPU-Z say it is?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    The box

    What are your hopes with this upgrade, the CPU is old (possibly single core) and lacking of new instructions. Given the motherboard and CPU I imagine the RAM is DDR which is not overly quick, IDE drives are heavily limited by the bus and the lack of stuff like NCQ.

    TBH if you are after decent performance levels you really want to swap out the MB, CPU and RAM with something like an i5 and DDR3 RAM, a cheap SATA 500GB HD will kill the other drives for performance as a system drive.

    Its a difficult call as the foundations are not really up to any of the modern hardware that will make a real difference.

    Windows 7 will also give you a boost and support for higher levels of DirectX which will help in future but thanks to console developers that means most games are just jumped up console ports DX9 will still work for the vast majority.

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    Sorry, the software I used to pull the info doesn't look to be that good.
    Don't know why it called it a P3! its an Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E8400 @ 3.00GHz

    There's actually 6GB RAM which I use for normal day to day linux stuff.
    Same software (Everest) says memory read is 6153 MB/s and write is 2207 MB/s


    I do have 2xPCIe slots so presumably I could put crosslink another graphics card?
    Is this my best bet to improve gaming performance, eg battlefield, Deus Ex ?


    The box
    lol, the box is fine, it's a brushed Aluminium Lian
    Last edited by CyberNerd; 28th August 2011 at 03:13 PM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    What is the Motherboard? The docs will show what it supports that will help.

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    Ok, that processor and RAM isn't terrible then.

    I'd focus on replacing the graphics card personally. A single AMD HD 6850 card would be what I'd go for (its what I am running in my machine, which is currently a 1.83Ghz Core2Duo with 2GB RAM and that can run Battlefield Bad Company 2 on full graphics just fine).

    Then run something like 3D Mark, or PassMark and see what areas it say are the slowest and replace them.

  8. Thanks to localzuk from:

    CyberNerd (28th August 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    What is the Motherboard? The docs will show what it supports that will help.
    GIGABYTE - Motherboard - Socket 775 - GA-EP45-DS3 (rev. 1.0)

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Ok, that processor and RAM isn't terrible then.

    I'd focus on replacing the graphics card personally. A single AMD HD 6850 card would be what I'd go for (its what I am running in my machine, which is currently a 1.83Ghz Core2Duo with 2GB RAM and that can run Battlefield Bad Company 2 on full graphics just fine).

    Then run something like 3D Mark, or PassMark and see what areas it say are the slowest and replace them.
    That sounds like a good option, but would adding a 6850 to my existing card be better than a single card? I don't really know how crossfire works? do they need to be the same card?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    IDE drives are heavily limited by the bus and the lack of stuff like NCQ.
    The HDDs and ODD are all SATA (which is good). The first thing I would do is enable AHCI in the BIOS and then install a modern operating system so you can take advantage of all of your RAM i.e. Windows 7 (x64).

    Code:
    Disk Drive	ST31500341AS  (1397 GB, IDE)
    Disk Drive	SAMSUNG HD103SJ  (931 GB, IDE)
    Disk Drive	SAMSUNG HD103SJ  (931 GB, IDE)
    Optical Drive	Optiarc DVD RW AD-7201S
    By the way, have you updated the firmware on your Seagate Barracuda 7200.11? If not, you should.

  12. Thanks to Arthur from:

    CyberNerd (28th August 2011)

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    It'll support a Core 2 Quad so something like a 9550 could give it quite a boost along with a better GPU.

    You are probably better with a single GPU although crossfire will allow different cards to share it is only cards in the same generation, the support for it in games is still not 100% and given the differences a single 6800 series GPU probably would not get that much of a boost. As you have one 16x and one 8x I'd probably leave one in and use the other for additional moniters if required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    The HDDs and ODD are all SATA (which is good). The first thing I would do is enable AHCI in the BIOS and then install a modern operating system so you can take advantage of all of your RAM i.e. Windows 7 (x64).
    I have issue with this, I've run XP, windows 7 and Ubuntu all on the same hardware and I found that Windows 7 runs like an absolute dog compared to XP and ubuntu. If anything I'd put a 64bit XP. I'm trying to get the maximum speed out of my hardware and from personal experience Vista2 isn't going to help with that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    By the way, have you updated the firmware on your Seagate Barracuda 7200.11? If not, you should.
    Thanks, I shall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    It'll support a Core 2 Quad so something like a 9550 could give it quite a boost along with a better GPU.

    You are probably better with a single GPU although crossfire will allow different cards to share it is only cards in the same generation, the support for it in games is still not 100% and given the differences a single 6800 series GPU probably would not get that much of a boost. As you have one 16x and one 8x I'd probably leave one in and use the other for additional moniters if required.
    Coolio, CPU and GFX card it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I found that Windows 7 runs like an absolute dog compared to XP and ubuntu.
    There must be something wrong with your setup then. I have a similar PC (Core 2 Quad Q6600 running at 3.2GHz (from 2.4GHz), Asus P35 motherboard, 8GB DDR2-800 RAM, Radeon HD 4870 w/ 1GB RAM) and Windows 7 runs perfectly fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    If anything I'd put a 64bit XP.
    The 64-bit version of XP would be a terrible choice. You will find that many games do not support it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I have issue with this, I've run XP, windows 7 and Ubuntu all on the same hardware and I found that Windows 7 runs like an absolute dog compared to XP and ubuntu. If anything I'd put a 64bit XP. I'm trying to get the maximum speed out of my hardware and from personal experience Vista2 isn't going to help with that!



    Thanks, I shall.
    Depends on your point of view and your hardware, the biggest thing with Vista and 7 were CPU cache, the more you have the better it goes. It also has a lot to do with filthy intel drivers but that is another story.

    When it comes to the actual performance of the hardware you'll get much better support for the higher level features under a modern OS. Just look as high end stuff that uses lots of multi threading and large amounts of memory. Windows 7 will stomp on XP, stuff like AHCI and higher levels of DirectX along with the Aero desktop windows manager actually uses the hardware that you have and does make things like moving Windows around, dealing with crashing apps, are so many times more responcive.

    If you use anything with .net in it above about 1.1 then it will run way better under Vista/7.

    To be frank XP was good 10 years ago, now it is delapodated junk and if you want real/full benifits from this new hardware under Windows you are going to want to upgrade it from the 10 year old version.

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