Preserving my computer a little longer

unsung

Distinguished
Jul 27, 2009
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Hey, I'm trying to figure out how I can get away without having to buy a new rig just yet.

I have:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ 2.4GHz
2GB RAM (how can I find out the brand, model, timing, whatever? all I know is it's 2x1GB)
ATI Radeon HD 3650 512MB
Windows Vista Home Prem 32-bit

My case is pretty dusty, so soon I'm planning on opening it up and cleaning it good. I'm thinking I'll go about it by vacuuming the vents first (so it isn't pushed in there), opening it up (side door) and using a -- the word escapes me at the moment -- thing to blow the dust off the parts and out of the case.

Then I'm going to try an OC my CPU to at least 2.8 GHz. There isn't much on OCing the 4600+ (it seems like it's a rare processor), but there is a video of a guy getting his all the way to 3.16 GHz. I know it varies from computer to computer, and especially since I'm only using stock cooling, but does anyone have an idea on what I could most likely reach, that would increase performance at least somewhat noticeably?

Now... my 3650 is old. I have to run games at a low resolution, low graphics settings, and then maybe not even get a solid frame rate (it bounces around a LOT, hardly ever stable). I'm trying to play CoD4 competitively, and on the side some CSS + TF2. Do you think a GTS 250 512MB would be able to run these games (CoD4 and CSS at preferably 250+ FPS with decent settings and my monitor's native 1440x900 resolution), without being overkill? I'm sure 250+ FPS is considered overkill to a lot of you, but I'm set on that. I just don't want to spend more than I need to, to meet that.

I was also considering the 4770. A friend of mine recently upgraded to one of those and HAS received well over 250+ FPS in CoD4 (up to 800 in 1 screen shot, haha), but to my knowledge he plays on a lower resolution and lower settings than I would like (plus has a better CPU and more RAM).

Anyway, onto my next idea: since I have 32-bit Vista, I've considered getting another stick of RAM to make it a total of 3 GB. I don't know how to figure out what kind of RAM to get, unless I use Crucial's tool (which does tell me all the needed info to find something on NewEgg/TigerDirect, however I still don't fail to get lost, confused, and infuriated). Do you think this could be part of my problem with getting a stable frame rate (it often jumps from, for example, 124->80->100->120->110->142->100->70->90->130, etc. and even if those are decent FPS, the large jumps cause noticeable frame lag I've been told, and experience)?

This would be a LOT cheaper than a whole new rig, and I'm trying to save up for a better than "good" computer if I'm going to be dropping $x,xxx anyway, so it could take awhile. But I don't want to throw money at this without getting what I want back from it.

Thanks for your help in advance, and also thank you if you made it down this far into the long read. Very sorry about that.

P.S. I had no idea where to put this. Homebuilt seemed like the best option, since I'm jumping all over the place (CPU, RAM, GFX) and trying to... well... just tell me where to post it if this is inappropriate, and I'll move it.
 

lucuis

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Apr 21, 2008
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Your refresh rate of your monitor, if it's an lcd, is 60hz. AKA 60fps. Any higher does nothing.

Try turning on Vsync, without any buffering. This will sync the frame rate with thee refresh rate of your monitor producing a smoother experience. It will also eliminate any screen tearing, or flickering you might have had before. But it can introduce a very small meaure of input lag, up to about 16.67ms or so.

2gb of ram is enough for your games. And a GTS 250 might be enough to play at the settings you want at the frame rate you fell you need. However your processor will be a weak link and might hold the new card back some.
 

MRFS

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Dec 13, 2008
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> all I know is it's 2x1GB

CPU-Z will tell you the model number of each DIMM.

You can reach 3GB by adding 2 x 512MB of the same RAM
(assuming you have 4 x DIMM slots and a dual-channel chipset).


MRFS
 

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