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Ducky

Upgrading my computer 2: the sequel

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It's that time of the year again where my computer is instantly not up to snuff to run new games at max settings, and thus I have to upgrade. Unfortunately, I forgot EVERYTHING I was taught last time and I can't seem to find the thread again. So here I am.

 

Tried using Google to figure out what's actually in my computer right now, but here's what I found out so far:

 


Processor: Intel® Core i7-4790K CPU @ 4.00GHz

System Type: 64-bit Operating System

RAM: 32.0GB (16.0GB usable)

Motherboard(?): B85M-D3H

Videocard: AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series

 

 

Now, I have no idea what I just typed at the above, but I have a couple of questions:

 

1. It says '64-bit operating system', but when I check the screen resolution, it says [True Color (32 bit)] under 'Colors'. Are those two different things?

2. If I have 32GB of RAM, why are only 16GB usable? Where the fuck is the other 16?

3. What kind of videocard upgrade do I need/get/can have?

4. Aside from the videocard, do I need to upgrade anything else?

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  • Yep; they're different things.  The number of bits in color corresponds to the variety of colors your computer will be able to draw, while the "bitness" of the operating system refers to a memory addressing unit that it, along with your processor, is using.  64-bit operating systems are common, and 32 bits of color is, too.
  • You got ass-blasted.  Assuming you're using Windows 7 Home Premium; it artificially limits the amount of RAM you can use.  Not sure if it's still applicable to 8.1 or 10 (edit: it isn't).  You'll have to switch to a different version of Windows (or a different operating system entirely) if you want to get the full amount of RAM; your motherboard shouldn't have any problems using that much.  You could also opt to just remove 16GB if you so desire (sell it, put it in some other build, etc.); there's very few practical uses for 32GB at the moment for most people.
  • I think an nVidia GTX 1070+ or AMD R9 370+ or RX 470+ would be a modest upgrade in terms of graphics.
  • Power supply, possibly.  I'd say 450W minimum if you don't already have one, though 500W would be safe, and there's no issue if you get something that supports higher wattage for future upgrades.  No reason to pour a good amount of money into a new build (e.g., an AM4-based one within the next few weeks), as the CPU still stacks up pretty well with current offerings.  You could also opt for an SSD for that go fast experience, as well, if you didn't already.

Also, make sure you don't have any background applications sapping your performance.

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I believe I already got a 500W or bigger power supply. Unfortunately, I don't think I can check it without opening my rig (and I won't do that), but I'm quite positive I do.

 

Are those graphic cards you mentioned enough to play Overwatch or Deus Ex: MD in max settings? Currently I can't with my current one, so that's kind of the only way I know to gauge it. It would also be nice if I could play all my other games in highest settings.

 

Not sure about background applications or the like.

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The GTX 1080 and AMD RX 480 are the latest enthusiast-tier consumer cards, so I'd assume they can handle high settings (at 1080p), though I can't speak from experience.

 

There is a Guru3D comparison of those cards among others running DE:MD on High and Ultra, and an Overwatch comparison including those cards on TechSpot.  Can't vouch for the quality of the comparisons, but those are the ones I could find.

 

Edit:  Here's DE:MD on TechSpot as well, for comparison with Guru3D's post.

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Most important question, what's your budget?

 

For the moment, I'm quite willing to spend a bit, just to avoid having to do this often.

 

Unless it's like several thousand dollars or something. Then no. At the very least, I'd like to keep it under $1000, especially since it looks like all I really need is to replace the video card.

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Not to interject but I was thinking of maybe building a PC and wanted to see if you guys have any suggestions. Currently I have an HP Envy 700 series running a Geforce GTX 960 and a Core i5 3.20 GHz. Wondering if I can do better with a custom built one or just upgrade the card in this one.

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Not to interject but I was thinking of maybe building a PC and wanted to see if you guys have any suggestions. Currently I have an HP Envy 700 series running a Geforce GTX 960 and a Core i5 3.20 GHz. Wondering if I can do better with a custom built one or just upgrade the card in this one.

 

If you have the budget, there's definitely things you could go for.

 

Keeping the motherboard, you have the options of:

Any higher, more recent CPU upgrades will require a new motherboard and may require new RAM (there's a few LGA1151 boards that do DDR3, but AM4 is fully DDR4).

 

Based on personal experience with the spare HP boards friends have thrown at me, the system should be fairly user-serviceable.

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Yeah Windows 7 has a 16 GB Ram limit if you're using Home Premium. Pro and Ultimate are like 192 GB Ram limit.  

Windows 8 and 10 lifted that limit for Home so you can go beyond that.

 

SInce you have a AMD Radeon 7700 series I suspect you have a minimum PSU (Power Supply) of 450W.

 

So any GPU or graphic cards that supports 450W minimum should be sufficient enough for the later cards.

 

I recently upgraded to a Geforce 1060 which is a good budget build since it runs almost every 1080p res games at near max settings.  I run it GTAV with it at max with the exception of anti-aliasing as usual.

 

Anything of the Geforce 1000 series at this point are built for support 4K resolutions optimization which is why so many of the newer cards run really amazing at 1080p resolution.

 

I highly recommend the Geforce 1060 if you're going budget though.  Especially the 6GB Video Ram version.  I bought this one because it's much smaller than most 1060 Geforces and it's only 1 fan therefore it consumes way less power and it's pretty cool.  I got it to run at 54 celsius on load whereas my old cards average at 60 celsius on load.

 

http://www.ncix.com/detail/evga-geforce-gtx-1060-sc-b9-133580.htm?promoid=1590

 

You can also go for the 3GB Vram version if you don't need all that video ram

 

http://www.ncix.com/detail/evga-geforce-gtx-1060-sc-b9-134742.htm?promoid=1590

 

But these days as things are moving to higher resolution textures and higher details and longer distances, those extra memory that video cards can take advantage of will be helpful in the long run.

 

However be aware these cards nowadays are ditching VGA or analog signals.  So you gotta have a proper HDMI, DVI and Display ports ready.  Even the DVI ports don't allow you to use an analog VGA convertor on it anymore.

Edited by kingddd

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If you have the budget, there's definitely things you could go for.

 

Keeping the motherboard, you have the options of:

Any higher, more recent CPU upgrades will require a new motherboard and may require new RAM (there's a few LGA1151 boards that do DDR3, but AM4 is fully DDR4).

 

Based on personal experience with the spare HP boards friends have thrown at me, the system should be fairly user-serviceable.

 

What is the price range on a CPU like that? Also will I need a new power supply if I get a solid state drive plus the graphics card. I have a 600 watt on in my computer now. Also is there any of the GTX 1070 you think is best, there is quite a lot of to chose from.

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i7 4790 is about $200~325 on eBay.

I'd imagine a 600W power supply would be sufficient for both; SSD power draw is negligible.

 

I recall EVGA / ASUS being the best for customer service (should you need to RMA).

Otherwise, can't give a decent opinion on the differences between brands since I don't have one though it's mostly up to preference (some have slightly higher clocks / different required power connectors, cooling methods, and form factors).

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So if I upgrade my Windows 7 Home Premium to a Pro or Ultimate, I can actually use all my RAM? Is there an easy way of going about that?

 

However be aware these cards nowadays are ditching VGA or analog signals.  So you gotta have a proper HDMI, DVI and Display ports ready.  Even the DVI ports don't allow you to use an analog VGA convertor on it anymore.

 

I have no idea what any of those words mean

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So if I upgrade my Windows 7 Home Premium to a Pro or Ultimate, I can actually use all my RAM? Is there an easy way of going about that?

 

 

I have no idea what any of those words mean

Unfortunately if you want to keep Windows 7 you'll have to upgrade to Pro or Ultimate for the 192 GB ram limit.  If you hack it to allow more than 16GB of ram for your Home Premium, you're breaking the Windows License.

 

 

Look at your monitor display connectors.  

 

suZcAUs.jpg

 

DVI is the current standard for computer monitors.

 

Display connectors usually use two types of connectors.  Analog and digital.

 

VGA uses Analog.

DVI uses digital and so does HDMI.

DisplayPort is basically the new 4K monitor display but hardly any monitors use it.

 

Most video cards support the use of analog cables to connect to their video cards.  However some of the newer video cards are ditching VGA support all together because newer monitors are using 4K digital signal cables to display their monitors and ditching analog.

 

k7fStPd.jpg

Older video cards use a DVI-I so you can still use analog cable monitors for display in case you don't have a monitor that has DVI and are using a VGA to DVI convertor.  However newer video cards use DVI-D so you can't use analog conversions.  The Geforce 1000 series are now going all DVI-D instead of DVI-I.

 

Analog is an old technology and is being phased out for good reasons.

Edited by kingddd

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It's one of the supported CPUs listed in the HP product page, so I assume it should be fine.  Though it can't hurt to do the BIOS update should your board need it (it is a Z87).

 

Okay, so if I do the BIOS update can it be done before the new CPU is installed or only after?

 

Also what do you think of this SSD

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I'd recommend doing the BIOS update first. Not sure if that particular board needs a CPU in place when doing the update (probably, since the BIOS update package is a Windows executable; some other boards support updating outside of Windows).

The SSD is one of the higher-end ones. You could get by with a $70-ish one with a similar capacity.

Edited by nosoop

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Older video cards use a DVI-I so you can still use analog cable monitors for display in case you don't have a monitor that has DVI and are using a VGA to DVI convertor. However newer video cards use DVI-D so you can't use analog conversions.  The Geforce 1000 series are now going all DVI-D instead of DVI-I.

 

Analog is an old technology and is being phased out for good reasons.

 

Pretty sure it's possible to use an active adapter (where the signal conversion is done on the connector instead of in the GPU) if you still have those ancient monitors.  Passive adapters would be a no.  I think DisplayPort provides power to the adapter, while DVI ports may require external power.

 

Though yeah, if you're still using a monitor that only takes VGA, an upgrade to something modern can't hurt.

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I'm thinking of starting with the GTX 1070 upgrade first, as it seems the easiest to install. I'll see how that goes and see if I need the new CPU as well. However if you guys have a different idea on what I should do first I'll listen.

 

This is the card I am looking at, how does it look?

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I'm thinking of starting with the GTX 1070 upgrade first, as it seems the easiest to install. I'll see how that goes and see if I need the new CPU as well. However if you guys have a different idea on what I should do first I'll listen.

 

This is the card I am looking at, how does it look?

 

Fair enough.  CPU installations aren't too bad, though they aren't as simple as graphics upgrades (you do need to have some thermal paste on hand for CPUs, at the very least).

 

The 1070 looks fine, though I'm no expert.

Just make sure your monitors have DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort input support; otherwise get an active adapter while you're at it.

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Fair enough.  CPU installations aren't too bad, though they aren't as simple as graphics upgrades (you do need to have some thermal paste on hand for CPUs, at the very least).

 

The 1070 looks fine, though I'm no expert.

Just make sure your monitors have DVI, HDMI, or DisplayPort input support; otherwise get an active adapter while you're at it.

 

Yeah, while I have had experience installing graphics cards and power supplies recently it has been a while since I've installed a CPU, I'm a little nervous about it. But like I said I'll see how the graphic card changes things then go from there.

 

Also do most new CPUs come with thermal paste included? I think they do but I could be wrong.

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Yeah, while I have had experience installing graphics cards and power supplies recently it has been a while since I've installed a CPU, I'm a little nervous about it. But like I said I'll see how the graphic card changes things then go from there.

 

Also do most new CPUs come with thermal paste included? I think they do but I could be wrong.

 

As long as you ensure things are seated correctly, you should be fine.  The top of the CPU is all heatsink.

 

New CPUs that come with stock fans should have paste included on the heatsink side of the fans; otherwise they probably won't come with paste bundled separately.

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Unfortunately if you want to keep Windows 7 you'll have to upgrade to Pro or Ultimate for the 192 GB ram limit.  If you hack it to allow more than 16GB of ram for your Home Premium, you're breaking the Windows License.

 

 

Look at your monitor display connectors.  

 

suZcAUs.jpg

 

DVI is the current standard for computer monitors.

 

Display connectors usually use two types of connectors.  Analog and digital.

 

VGA uses Analog.

DVI uses digital and so does HDMI.

DisplayPort is basically the new 4K monitor display but hardly any monitors use it.

 

Most video cards support the use of analog cables to connect to their video cards.  However some of the newer video cards are ditching VGA support all together because newer monitors are using 4K digital signal cables to display their monitors and ditching analog.

 

k7fStPd.jpg

Older video cards use a DVI-I so you can still use analog cable monitors for display in case you don't have a monitor that has DVI and are using a VGA to DVI convertor.  However newer video cards use DVI-D so you can't use analog conversions.  The Geforce 1000 series are now going all DVI-D instead of DVI-I.

 

Analog is an old technology and is being phased out for good reasons.

 

Checked the back of my monitor and it has both slots. My current connector from my CPU to the monitor goes into what looks like that DVI-I. From that, I'm guessing I don't have to buy a new monitor, but maybe a new cable?

 

Also, not sure if I just didn't see it answered yet, but I assume upgrading my Windows 7 Home Premium to Pro or Ultimate will cost something? Can I just buy that from the Internet or something or do I have to get a CD for that?

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Checked the back of my monitor and it has both slots. My current connector from my CPU to the monitor goes into what looks like that DVI-I. From that, I'm guessing I don't have to buy a new monitor, but maybe a new cable?

 

Also, not sure if I just didn't see it answered yet, but I assume upgrading my Windows 7 Home Premium to Pro or Ultimate will cost something? Can I just buy that from the Internet or something or do I have to get a CD for that?

 

If your monitor has DVI, it should support digital inputs, though you can check your AMD Radeon settings if you're unsure (it'll tell you which mode the display is using).  You'll need a new cable if your current one is one of a DVI-I variety, since it won't connect to a DVI-D only socket on one of the more recent cards.  It has four pins on the side with the flat prong; see here for actual pictures of the connectors.

 

The upgrade will cost money.  If you can find an Anytime Upgrade key or a retail Upgrade version, you should be able to stick the product key into Windows Anytime Upgrade.  The program is discontinued, so you can't purchase the upgrade directly from Microsoft (and such keys will be hard to find).

 

The other options include:

  1. Purchasing a retail version of either of those versions (non-upgrade) and do a clean install.  Might have to burn yourself a copy of the install media (perfectly legal, since you have to input the key for the actual validation process).
  2. Upgrade to Windows 10 (I heard they're still allowing free upgrades to fully registered copies without any hoops to jump through, YMMV though).
  3. Yar har.

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