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Question Considering upgrading older pc from 8gb to 16 but is ddr3, worth doing?

Coyle

Member
May 15, 2020
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I was hoping it had 2x4gb sticks but all 4 slots are 2gb so would have to buy whole 16gb. New, would be around $60--maybe can find cheaper used--this pc probably going to be used for foreseeable future unless mobo etc gives out. Can't use the ddr3 for future build so is just investment in this old pc. Is it ok with the 8gb, or does it really need 16 going forward? I'm putting a GPU in it that'll have 4gb memory there added? PC isn't intensively used; so, is it needed? And if it has 8gb that can't be used for anything else can the PC just keep them?
 

Leeea

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2020
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I guess it depends on what your using it for. If it is just a server in a closet not going to matter.

But if someone will be working with it in person on a regular basis:
if it has a normal HDD, yes - do the upgrade, it will do wonders for the user experience
if it has a SSD, - not going to make much of a difference
 

MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
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I was hoping it had 2x4gb sticks but all 4 slots are 2gb so would have to buy whole 16gb. New, would be around $60--maybe can find cheaper used--this pc probably going to be used for foreseeable future unless mobo etc gives out. Can't use the ddr3 for future build so is just investment in this old pc. Is it ok with the 8gb, or does it really need 16 going forward? I'm putting a GPU in it that'll have 4gb memory there added? PC isn't intensively used; so, is it needed? And if it has 8gb that can't be used for anything else can the PC just keep them?
What's the other hardware in the PC?
What's your intended use?
What's your intended expectation?
What operating system?

What got you thinking you needed to go to 16Gb of RAM over the current 8Gb of RAM in the first place?

Very best,
 

Coyle

Member
May 15, 2020
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What's the other hardware in the PC?
What's your intended use?
What's your intended expectation?
What operating system?

What got you thinking you needed to go to 16Gb of RAM over the current 8Gb of RAM in the first place?

Very best,
It's an 2011 DELL XPS8300, i5, 1tb hdd, pretty basic prebuilt; does have nice factory soundcard.
It's just used for child to watch shows on, play basic games; going to put a GPU in it for Christmas but is young child so won't be extreme gaming, these days that's about it.
I don't know if it needs the ram upgraded, figured if it did this would be good time to do it. Oh, currently it has the stock Win7 but I'm going to upgrade it to Win10. Expectations just for it not to have any lag during his gameplay since he's waited so long to game on the PC.
 

Coyle

Member
May 15, 2020
143
7
41
I guess it depends on what your using it for. If it is just a server in a closet not going to matter.

But if someone will be working with it in person on a regular basis:
if it has a normal HDD, yes - do the upgrade, it will do wonders for the user experience
if it has a SSD, - not going to make much of a difference
It has normal hdd, but for the cost of upgrading the ram I could buy a 500gb ssd, be good to have a 2nd hdd anyways as the original is almost 10yrs old keep it for a backup. I've been slow to get with the ssd cards, thought mostly they just increased boot time, but if they improve the usage I'd get it--kinda wish I'd put one in my new build, when it's quiet I can hear that barracuda clicking across the room, not loud but not ssd quiet. Again, if it increase gameplay etc I will get one for myself too, they're only like $50, is this one ok? https://www.newegg.com/team-group-gx2-512gb/p/N82E16820331315
 

Leeea

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2020
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I've been slow to get with the ssd cards, thought mostly they just increased boot time
You do not need an NVMe SSD. The SATA SSDs work just as well* and are much cheaper and easier to install. If you already have a hard drive, you can get away with a cheap** 512 GB one. Put your OS and virtual memory*** on the SSD.

Using a computer with any SSD vs a HDD is a revelation. Black and white. It is just a superior experience.

But avoid the SSHDs, those are a flaming train wreck. The pure SSDs work very well and tend to be very reliable.


*NVMe is faster, but going from HDD to any SSD is a 1000x speed increase, going from SATA SSD to NVMe is a fractional gain

**https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100011693 8000 601356771 600414920 601356767 600038519 4114 50001077 50001455 50001404 50001183 50001504 50001306 50001314&Order=1

***this is the default setting anyway
 
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MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
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It's an 2011 DELL XPS8300, i5, 1tb hdd, pretty basic prebuilt; does have nice factory soundcard.
It's just used for child to watch shows on, play basic games; going to put a GPU in it for Christmas but is young child so won't be extreme gaming, these days that's about it.
I don't know if it needs the ram upgraded, figured if it did this would be good time to do it. Oh, currently it has the stock Win7 but I'm going to upgrade it to Win10. Expectations just for it not to have any lag during his gameplay since he's waited so long to game on the PC.
Heya,

So the i5 2320 is still a good CPU for gaming, especially for a kid that's not already well into some crazy stuff. This CPU is dated, but it's better than a Phenom II 955 and frankly this CPU still plays all of today's games just fine so long as it has a good GPU along with it and operating off an SSD.

RAM isn't a big part of this in terms of the amount; you won't notice some significant increase in anything going to 16Gb of RAM on this system. Latency of RAM has more impact, along with speed of RAM. So just getting some more DDR3 and putting it in there won't make a big enough impact. You're far better off taking all that extra money you might have spent on RAM and put it instead into the GPU (and potentially the PSU to power the thing).

If you're upgrading to Windows 10 now is a great time to go ahead and replace that old HDD with a Samsung EVO 860 1TB SSD. This will have a bigger impact than the RAM would have, compared to running everything from a 10 year old HDD.

Then it's just GPU again; whatever GPU you can put in this thing will allow it to game just fine. You may need a new PSU with appropriate rails to power a new GPU. You'll have to look into this. Maybe your PSU can take a modern GPU. But if not, that's something you'd have to change out.

Bottom line the goal is gaming, so your best use of spending cash is the GPU and a SSD. Depends of course on what GPU you can even find right now and what budget you want to go with. I have an older machine that my kid plays on, it's a Phenom II 955 (worse performance than your i5!) with an nVidia 1660 Super (GPU) on 8Gb of DDR2 (slow, old!) and a Crucial SSD (fast) and it plays all of the modern games thrown at it still at 1080p at max settings no problem. It's like 10 years old too. The GPU is what makes it work so well, but your old machine is better than this and so a simple GPU upgrade will make that thing work just fine for any game the kid wants to get into.

Very best,
 
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VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Pretty-much all correct, with one caveat that I'll add - if you're dropping (*relative to the other components) "big coin" on the GPU, and a (*SATA) SSD, then it's really not going to break the budget, if this rig can take DDR3, to boost the RAM to 16GB (either two more 4GB sticks, if it already has 2x4GB, else 1x8GB if you already had 1x8GB, or 2x8GB if you had 4x2GB).

IMHO, these days, if you're going to play newer games, to avoid sudden frame-drops, try to have 16GB of RAM installed. Most AAA games that play better with 16GB of RAM installed, will have that listed under their "recommend" specs. Also, consider that Windows 64-bit likes to take 1.8-2.0GB for itself, somewhat, and that depending on the GPU's VRAM size, Windows likes to mirror the GPU VRAM in normal system RAM as well, for some usages. These reasons are why I suggest 16GB as more-or-less standard/minimum, if you intend to play AAA games. It's generally not a necessity just yet, but it does, IMHO, make some difference. NOT as much difference as spending that money on the next-higher GPU tier, though, generally-speaking.

Also, open-world games, like Fallout 4, Skyrim, and the upcoming CyberPunk 2077, most likely benefit more from greater RAM amounts, since they have more to hold simultaneously in their "world", rather than an on-rails FPS shooter, like Crysis or Metro games.
 
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Coyle

Member
May 15, 2020
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Heya,

So the i5 2320 is still a good CPU for gaming, especially for a kid that's not already well into some crazy stuff. This CPU is dated, but it's better than a Phenom II 955 and frankly this CPU still plays all of today's games just fine so long as it has a good GPU along with it and operating off an SSD.

RAM isn't a big part of this in terms of the amount; you won't notice some significant increase in anything going to 16Gb of RAM on this system. Latency of RAM has more impact, along with speed of RAM. So just getting some more DDR3 and putting it in there won't make a big enough impact. You're far better off taking all that extra money you might have spent on RAM and put it instead into the GPU (and potentially the PSU to power the thing).

If you're upgrading to Windows 10 now is a great time to go ahead and replace that old HDD with a Samsung EVO 860 1TB SSD. This will have a bigger impact than the RAM would have, compared to running everything from a 10 year old HDD.

Then it's just GPU again; whatever GPU you can put in this thing will allow it to game just fine. You may need a new PSU with appropriate rails to power a new GPU. You'll have to look into this. Maybe your PSU can take a modern GPU. But if not, that's something you'd have to change out.

Bottom line the goal is gaming, so your best use of spending cash is the GPU and a SSD. Depends of course on what GPU you can even find right now and what budget you want to go with. I have an older machine that my kid plays on, it's a Phenom II 955 (worse performance than your i5!) with an nVidia 1660 Super (GPU) on 8Gb of DDR2 (slow, old!) and a Crucial SSD (fast) and it plays all of the modern games thrown at it still at 1080p at max settings no problem. It's like 10 years old too. The GPU is what makes it work so well, but your old machine is better than this and so a simple GPU upgrade will make that thing work just fine for any game the kid wants to get into.

Very best,
I went with a MSI GTX1050ti Gaming X GPU as the mobo on the XPS8300 only supports up to Pascal; but that's plenty for the games he plays (Playcraft is one he's looking forward to.) You think the Samsung SSD is better choice than your Crucial one, or are they all pretty good. I see WD Blue a popular choice on Newegg etc. 500gb is plenty as it'll still have the 1tb hdd (for example there's: Free space: 806 GB Used space: 109.22 GB Total space: 915.22 GB on the current hdd.)
The PSU is 460w w' 6pin, so good there, the case also has decent venting, someone on here has same case w' a 1060 in it and no heat issues, so will put a ssd card in it, leave memory alone (Crucial seems connected with Dell, did a scan on the pc and recommended the Crucial MX500 for it?
 
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MalVeauX

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Dec 19, 2008
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Heya,

It's really splitting hairs on Samsung vs Crucial, they're both good. You'd never notice the difference without looking at synthetic benchmarks for this purpose. Get whatever is cheaper. But a SSD is a bigger upgrade for this machine in total, than upgrading RAM. And the GPU is the biggest upgrade for the gaming side of it. So GPU + SSD is more important than more RAM currently. You can still of course always add more RAM later on if you feel like it.

Very best,
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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I'd recommend adding the SSD first, before adding more memory.

If you've never used an SSD equipped system, you'll not believe the snappiness initially. You'll definitely never want to go back to a HDD.

You think the Samsung SSD is better choice than your Crucial one, or are they all pretty good.
Either is fine. The SATA interface is the limitation, not the drive itself. Even budget SATA drives can max out the SATA interface these days.

For maximum performance, the 860 PRO is really the only option remaining. But completely overkill for home use.
 
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mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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When the PC feels that its running at its slowest, open Task Manager, click on the performance tab and check the memory usage. If it's nowhere near 75%, you probably don't need more RAM.

If you need to monitor memory usage while playing a full-screen game, then Process Explorer (from the Microsoft site) will let you get a better view of historical memory usage while it has been left to run while gaming.

Unless you're running terribly low on RAM, you'll see a far greater benefit by changing to booting Windows from an SSD.
 
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Coyle

Member
May 15, 2020
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When the PC feels that its running at its slowest, open Task Manager, click on the performance tab and check the memory usage. If it's nowhere near 75%, you probably don't need more RAM.

If you need to monitor memory usage while playing a full-screen game, then Process Explorer (from the Microsoft site) will let you get a better view of historical memory usage while it has been left to run while gaming.

Unless you're running terribly low on RAM, you'll see a far greater benefit by changing to booting Windows from an SSD.
Ok, if the ssd is just for optimizing Win10, could I just put a 120gb ssd in? It already has 1tb hdd. 120gb is $20; 480gb is $55; can do either; is 120gb sufficient?
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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Ok, if the ssd is just for optimizing Win10, could I just put a 120gb ssd in? It already has 1tb hdd. 120gb is $20; 480gb is $55; can do either; is 120gb sufficient?
I've installed plenty of systems with 128GB SSDs, based on a very generous estimate of Win10's future disk usage at 64GB (presently I think it's about 20-32GB), then maybe 10-20GB for personal files, it's doable. SSDs work best with plenty of space available, the general advice is to try and leave them with 50% capacity. I don't think you need to try and strictly keep to a figure like 50% usage, but it would be not ideal to hold it at 90% usage long-term from a longevity perspective.

If you've got a HDD alongside it, that allows you to put any personal data that isn't requiring high-performance access (e.g. documents, photos) on the HDD.

I have a similar setup (ignoring the dual-boot aspect for the moment), Win10 on a 256GB SSD plus whatever games I'm playing at the moment, then games get archived to the HDD.

PS: Win10 disables system restore on low capacity SSDs such as 120GB, you can go and re-enable it (and set the percentage you want restore points to use at most), but it will disable it again when the next feature update is installed.
 
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Coyle

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May 15, 2020
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I've installed plenty of systems with 128GB SSDs, based on a very generous estimate of Win10's future disk usage at 64GB (presently I think it's about 20-32GB), then maybe 10-20GB for personal files, it's doable. SSDs work best with plenty of space available, the general advice is to try and leave them with 50% capacity. I don't think you need to try and strictly keep to a figure like 50% usage, but it would be not ideal to hold it at 90% usage long-term from a longevity perspective.

If you've got a HDD alongside it, that allows you to put any personal data that isn't requiring high-performance access (e.g. documents, photos) on the HDD.

I have a similar setup (ignoring the dual-boot aspect for the moment), Win10 on a 256GB SSD plus whatever games I'm playing at the moment, then games get archived to the HDD.

PS: Win10 disables system restore on low capacity SSDs such as 120GB, you can go and re-enable it (and set the percentage you want restore points to use at most), but it will disable it again when the next feature update is installed.
Oh, I didn't know that about the % thing or disabling system restore; might be worth the extra $35 then, Thanks!
 

VirtualLarry

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Aug 25, 2001
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Honestly, I don't even use my stash of 120GB SSDs for builds anymore, since:
1) 240GB-class SSDs are so cheap per GB ($26-30 per drive), relative to the "floor" pricing of 120GB SSDs ($18-22 per drive), and
2) Having only 120GB leaves very little room to install "a" game to the SSD, whereas a 240GB SSD will often accommodate.
 
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