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PC Upgrade

Reggae

FPCH New Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2007
Messages
3
#1
Hi,

My PC is 3.5 years old now and I am in the middle of beta testing a game that is due for release in January 2008. Testing this game has thrown up a couple of issues that I need to address and I would like your advice on these.

PC Spec
Motherboard Abit IC7-G
Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2 (2600.xpsp_sp2_gdr.050301-1519)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)System Manufacturer: INTELR
System Model: AWRDACPI
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz (2 CPUs) (supports hyperthreading)
Memory: 1024MB RAM as 2 x512KB DDR 400
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)

Card name: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900X
Display Memory: 128.0 MB

Problem 1
The first problem is a beeping sound that is triggered in certain parts of the game that are quite graphically and CPU intensive. I have used a utility called speedfan which indicates that my CPU temperature (Temp2) has hit 85 degrees C. In my bios 85 degrees is set as the CPU temperature warning trigger. (This seems a bit high to me, at rest the Temperature is 69 degrees). I can deliberately repeat this problem. I am not experiencing any other problems, no lag, no crashing to desktop or blue screens. I come out of the application, wait a few minutes until the beep stops and then start the game again.

I have decided that my PC needs a good clean to see if that helps bring the temperature down so I plan to do that first. I may replace some of the internal fans and grease the heatsing/CPU. Also I have been running the machine with the side off and I have been thinking that I should have the PC fully cased in future, not sure what you think?

Once I've done this I plan to retest and hopefully the problem will have been sorted. If not I will have to ask here again.

If its ok I then I will go onto deal with the second problem that I am having which is performance related.

Problem 2
I am having to turn down in game graphics sliders to help my PC cope. These are not show stoppers and I fully expected them but I'd like to see if I can enhance the PC without spending a fortune.

I plan to
Increase the RAM of the machine to 2GB - a question relating to this is which is better performance wise - to buy and install - 2 x 512KB memory to go in the other 2 free slots or buy 2 - 1GB memory and give the 2 512's to my brother? Which is better 4 banks of 512K or 2 banks of 1GB or doesn't it make any difference?

I then plan to put a 256K budget graphics card in.
And I'm also wondering at the same time whether I should upgrade the Processor either to a Pentium 4 Extreme or a Dual Core and would welocm your advice on that.

Of course I then might have another temperature problem!

Would be very grateful if you could give me some feedback on my proposed strategy and also my queries.

Many Thanks


Mark
 

Jamey

FPCH Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2006
Messages
333
Location
Telford, UK
#2
Pentium 4's run hot even when idle, as you have found out. Make sure you have a really good heatsink and fan if you want to lower that temperature. Also, high-quality thermal paste will do wonders.

Cases are designed to be a closed-box ventilation system. So really you should keep your case sealed and closed when running your machine. Also, make sure you have adequate ventilation physically around the outside of your case, don't place it close to a wall or any hard surfaces. Finally, keep your room temperature low if you don't mind the cold!

It sounds like your power supply isn't powerful enough to give the graphics card enough 'juice'. Try upgrading to a branded PSU of 400W or above. I think 2 x 1GB is better because it's better value for money and your brother gets a RAM upgrade too. Also, it also allows better future upgradeability.

As for the processor, unless you can specifically identify that with 2GB of RAM, a decent graphics card and better PSU that your CPU is causing lag and dragging performance, I wouldn't bother upgrading it.

You won't have another temperature problem if you upgrade your CPU because the newer generation of processors run cooler than their predecessors, such as the Pentium 4.
 

Reggae

FPCH New Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2007
Messages
3
#4
Jamey many thanks. The cleanup appears to have sorted the problem, for now at least. I was amazed at the amount of dust in the machine generally and around the fans in particular. I was very glad I'd bought a protective mask before I started cleaning. I wasn't able to reapply thermal paste as I couldn't get the CPU fan and heatsink off and gave up rather than risk ripping the middle out of my motherboard!

I replaced two fans with some spares I had. The machine is now booting up and running really quietly whereas before it sounded awful, something I'd put down to the Hard Disk waking up. The temperature seems to have come down about 15 degrees C.

Regarding a new PSU - mines currently a 360 Watt Cheiftec. Is it worth just upgrading to 400 or should I go for something bigger? I'll upgrade to 2 x 1Gb memory and see how I get on.