Computer Help forum

Question

What Upgrades Do I Need? (Noobie)

by BomerDX15 / May 14, 2012 1:21 PM PDT

So recently I've been noticing my computer slowing down greatly when it has to run multiple programs. I'm not sure if I need more RAM or a better Processor, or both (Specs below). To give you an idea of what I use my computer for, it is generally video editing (Vegas, Camtasia), internet surfing, and light gaming (Minecraft, DeSmuME). I seem to be able to barely run ONE of the above things, so I can't seem to multitask. If I'm rendering a video, I can't be on Firefox or playing a game, I basically have to go do something else. If I'm playing Minecraft, I need to close every other program and it STILL lags and my CPU is maxed out... Here are my specs:

OS: Vista Home Premium x64 bit

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T8100 @ 2.1 GHz, 2 cores.

RAM: 4 GB

(C:) Drive Space: 116 GB free out of 176 GB


If you can help I would greatly appreciate it, and if you need more specs let me know. Thanks! Happy

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All Answers

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Answer
No need
by pranks16 / May 14, 2012 1:52 PM PDT

Looking at your usage, you could do with some RAM. Upgrading it to 8 GB will improve performance greatly. Also, you should tweak your software to get the most out of it. Under control panel, go to performance then click adjust visual effects and select best performance. Also, type msconfig into the search bar and use the utility to remove useless startup items. Together, these should be able to let you get the best out of your computer.

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Answer
Processor, video card
by jeeves86 / May 14, 2012 3:24 PM PDT

Upgrading a processor isn't for the faint of heart. At 4 gigs, your RAM seems like it should be suitable for the job, but an upgrade never hurt anyone. I'm thinking more along the lines of your processor that needs to be upgraded, but upgrade the processor and you might find yourself upgrading your whole computer.

What kind of video card do you have on the system? Are the drivers up to date?

Make sure needless services aren't running in the background. You'd be surprised how much resources seemingly small programs can use up. Adjust the settings on Minecraft so that your computer will actually run it. You may just not be able to play it at the highest quality settings for the best performance. For those of us who don't have the cash to afford all of the latest components, it's a delicate balancing act.

Good luck!

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Processor...
by BomerDX15 / May 14, 2012 3:39 PM PDT
In reply to: Processor, video card

My video card is a ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400 and I'm like 70% sure all my drivers are up to date, but I'll check that tomorrow. As for background services running, I made sure at start up my computer runs only bare bone minimum what I need (No iTunes, Spotify, etc.) and I frequently open the task manager and close everything that I don't need minus the program I'm using. As for minecraft settings, I've gone as far as downloading mods to lower the quality of the game beyond what is initially allowed, and it still turns my computer into a ball of fire that lags every once in a while (And no multitasking allowed while playing, needless to say...)

So I feel like my best bet is to upgrade my processor.... Why do you say that I might find myself upgrading my whole computer?

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Processor
by jeeves86 / May 14, 2012 3:54 PM PDT
In reply to: Processor...

You need to make sure any processor that you choose will be compatible with your motherboard. You might be in a spot where you've got the best processor that you can for your motherboard. They're pretty expensive to replace (unless you can find a bargain) too. So if you replace the processor, replace the motherboard, you might find that you'd need to replace the RAM too.

I probably should have asked this before - is this a desktop or a laptop you're running? When I search for the ATI Radeon HD 3400, I'm getting laptop results.

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Laptop
by BomerDX15 / May 14, 2012 9:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Processor

Yeah it's a Dell Studio 1535 laptop. How would I find out what processors are compatible? I know not all are, based on the plug on the mother board, but I'm not sure how to find out...

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Re: compatible
by Kees_B Forum moderator / May 14, 2012 9:37 PM PDT
In reply to: Laptop

The best way to get a reliable answer: ask Dell Customer support.

Kees

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Yikes
by jeeves86 / May 15, 2012 10:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Laptop

If you're working with a laptop, unless you really know what you're doing, it might be wise just to upgrade the whole thing. You can disassemble a laptop and piece it back together, if that's something that you feel comfortable doing.

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/Everest-Home-Edition.shtml

Everest can tell you what's in your system, and you'd have to find a list of compatible processors. Honestly, wouldn't recommend it with a laptop, just save for a new one.

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