Question 10 yr old PC upgrade

Aug 6, 2020
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Hello just new here. I have this 10 year old pc and i am wondering if I could just change the RAM to make it a bit faster and useful. Will it make any difference if I install 8 or 16GB of RAM?

Here are the specs:
Processor: intel core i5 CPU 650@3.20Ghz
RAM: 4 GB
 
Jun 5, 2020
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Depends on what you want to do with it.

Contrary to popular belief, 4gb is actually enough for light workloads.

What you would notice in day to day tasks is an upgrade from a hard drive to a solid state drive.
 
Aug 6, 2020
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Depends on what you want to do with it.

Contrary to popular belief, 4gb is actually enough for light workloads.

What you would notice in day to day tasks is an upgrade from a hard drive to a solid state drive.
I uninstalled most programs that I don't use and I mainly want to use it for light workloads. MS office and stuff or maybe kids watching videos. I noticed that it boots very slow and sometimes it takes forever when trying to open apps like netflix or even the browser. I had this pc ten years ago and haven't used it that much.. Do you have any suggestions I could try?
 
Jun 5, 2020
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I uninstalled most programs that I don't use and I mainly want to use it for light workloads. MS office and stuff or maybe kids watching videos. I noticed that it boots very slow and sometimes it takes forever when trying to open apps like netflix or even the browser. I had this pc ten years ago and haven't used it that much.. Do you have any suggestions I could try?
4gb is enough for that, trust me ;)

I would suggest you upgrade the hard drive to an ssd. The difference would be substantial.
 
Aug 6, 2020
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Oh, stupid me! Forgot to ask if you are even on a hard drive in the first place.

I just assumed you are on a hard drive, due to the age of the unit...

so are you on a hard drive?
Yes, I am. Now I have to google/youtube switching/upgrading from hdd to sdd 😁
 
I wouldn't mess with an ssd--4gb is not enough memory for even just windows these days. Move to 8gb or 16gb and make sure you're using 64-bit version of windows. That should definitely wake it up, even with just a hard drive.

An ssd will improve things, but only because the ssd is faster than a hard drive so when you run out of memory (which is pretty much constantly), the ssd will 'swap' faster than a hard drive. You're still lacking memory which is the root cause. And ssd+memory will really wake up the machine.

And one other upgrade I would consider if your motherboard can take (it should), is upgrade to the i5-680. It has a much higher clock speed and single thread performance:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i5-650-vs-Intel-i5-680-vs-Intel-i7-870-vs-Intel-i7-880/767vs771vs832vs833

You should also consider the i7-870 and i7-880. While their single thread performance is about the same as the i5-650, the additional cores will help keep everything 'smoother'. The i5-680 will feel faster in a single task (like watching a video), but the additional cores will keep interruptions away from the os or other tasks interrupting the cpu.

Speaking of video, don't skimp on a gpu either--adding even something as old as the evga gtx 750ti sc will have huge improvements as well over the igpu in the cpus. Plus, you need a separate gpu for the i7 processors:
http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/334/Intel_Core_i5_i5-680_vs_Intel_Core_i7_i7-870.html
 
Last edited:
Jun 5, 2020
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I wouldn't mess with an ssd--4gb is not enough memory for even just windows these days. Move to 8gb or 16gb and make sure you're using 64-bit version of windows. That should definitely wake it up, even with just a hard drive.

An ssd will improve things, but only because the ssd is faster than a hard drive so when you run out of memory (which is pretty much constantly), the ssd will 'swap' faster than a hard drive. You're still lacking memory which is the root cause. And ssd+memory will really wake up the machine.

And one other upgrade I would consider if your motherboard can take (it should), is upgrade to the i5-680. It has a much higher clock speed and single thread performance:
https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i5-650-vs-Intel-i5-680-vs-Intel-i7-870-vs-Intel-i7-880/767vs771vs832vs833

You should also consider the i7-870 and i7-880. While their single thread performance is about the same as the i5-650, the additional cores will help keep everything 'smoother'. The i5-680 will feel faster in a single task (like watching a video), but the additional cores will keep interruptions away from the os or other tasks interrupting the cpu.

Speaking of video, don't skimp on a gpu either--adding even something as old as the evga gtx 750ti sc will have huge improvements as well over the igpu in the cpus. Plus, you need a separate gpu for the i7 processors:
http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/334/Intel_Core_i5_i5-680_vs_Intel_Core_i7_i7-870.html
Im sorry, I don’t want to argue. But I think what you are suggesting is overkill for what OP is gonna use it for....

Its just a waste of money upgrading a system of that age, that much. Unless he has a lot of money to burn, he might as well make a new build altogether...

I have a spare optiplex 745 that im currently using as a pseudo home theater/retro game emulator. It runs perfectly well, and it only has 3gb ddr2, an ssd, and on windows 10...
 
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thekillerx10

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Apr 12, 2018
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What i can advice you to make it better it can also play games

Is to get an i7 860 or 870 and get another 4 gb of ddr3 memory, also a graphics card like 750 ti will do the job and play most esport games
 
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Turtle Rig

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Jun 23, 2020
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Computer probably just needs a Windows reinstall after so long. SSD would help a lot i agree + fresh Windows. Wouldn't hurt to have to have more ram though, 2x 4GB.
You can do a clean install or do a Reset PC which makes your Windows brand new but it keeps all of your data and important files. However you must install programs and drivers again.
 

King_V

Distinguished
Given the light usage, similar to what my dad does (but he has a Haswell era i3 and 4GB RAM), the amount of disk access Windows does made his system slow. Especially when booting then first logging in.

Once the first couple of minutes passed, it was fine. He'd check his financial websites, weather websites, do email, and watch YouTube videos. All using the Firefox browser.

Switching to an SSD was like night and day for him. He's still running on only 4GB of RAM, but I remember watching the RAM usage for what he does, and I don't think it ever exceeded 2.7GB.

So, getting a 2.5" SATA SSD is the way to go. As was described by others earlier
  • back up any existing data
  • download the Microsoft Windows creation tool (and have it create a bootable installer to USB)
  • shut down
  • remove the hard drive
  • install the SSD
  • boot to the USB stick and do a clean install of windows
  • restore the data you backed up in step 1
That said, I think that, as software gets a little heavier, going to 8GB will help avoid swapping issues.

How many RAM slots does your system have? And, how is your current RAM set up/distributed:
  • a single 4GB stick?
  • a pair of 2GB sticks?
  • four 1GB sticks?
  • a pair of 1GB sticks plus a single 2GB stick?
Normally I'd say make sure they're matched, same speed, etc., but since you're not gaming, I don't know if that's going to matter much, so if you have some kind of odd mismatch (like the last one in my list), then your usage won't really suffer any noticeable performance irregularities (vs what might happen with gaming).

Ultimately, I'd say the priority is the SSD. Adding RAM might also help, but I'd do that as my second step rather than my first step.
 
The SSD will make it load faster, and lose less performance when it runs out of RAM.
8GB of RAM will keep it form doing that.
The CPU is OK.
I would go for a GTX1050 2GB card. Unless you can save a bunch of money on the 750Ti which is OK also.
The 1050 will get you into low end 1080P gaming, the 720 is more comfortable at 720P.
The reason I would skip the CPU and upgrade the GPU is it can be moved forward to a newer computer later on.
 

King_V

Distinguished
For those who are suggesting GPU upgrades (which yes, can be transferred to a new machine) and other considerations related to gaming, keep in mind what the OP's use case is:

I uninstalled most programs that I don't use and I mainly want to use it for light workloads. MS office and stuff or maybe kids watching videos. I noticed that it boots very slow and sometimes it takes forever when trying to open apps like netflix or even the browser.
An SSD and (if needed) a modest RAM upgrade with used RAM is the way to go.
 
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Im sorry, I don’t want to argue. But I think what you are suggesting is overkill for what OP is gonna use it for....

Its just a waste of money upgrading a system of that age, that much. Unless he has a lot of money to burn, he might as well make a new build altogether...

I have a spare optiplex 745 that im currently using as a pseudo home theater/retro game emulator. It runs perfectly well, and it only has 3gb ddr2, an ssd, and on windows 10...
Not the way things continue to bloat. 16gb is the new 8gb. And used memory is cheap.

The effort of building a newer system is a cost too that no one seems to factor in. Slapping in some memory to an existing system takes literally 1/20th the time.

You're missing out then. I upgraded my 3010 to 16gb from 8gb because it was acting sluggish and 16gb woke it right up. And this is literally just using lots of sessions of a stupid browser. Memory hogs are everywhere now.
 

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