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Windows 7: CPU vs. RAM - How should I upgrade my system?

16 May 2010   #1

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
CPU vs. RAM - How should I upgrade my system?

This is my first post, so I hope my system details can be seen.

Since I had my system for some time, I was wondering if I could upgrade it meaningfully.
I am not a gamer, but use photo-software (just upgraded to Photoshop CS5) and some occasional video conversion.

Since I can only make use of 3.25 Gb from the installed 4GB, I thought upgrading to x64 was the right thing to do.

Currently I do not want to spend the money and purchase a new mainboard, CPU, RAM etc.

But is there a partial solution?
My main board could take a faster Core 2 Quad CPU or I could upgrade my RAM to 8GB ...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1

Hi haggi, generally RAM is the "best bang for your buck" as far as upgrading goes, having said that, 4GB is about the sweet spot. For video conversion, the extra RAM will help, but for the other stuff? I cant see it to be honest, ill wait to see what others say, but if your not using anything particularly memory intensive i would leave it, 2.4Ghz Quad seems pretty good to me,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2010   #3


I think ram and cpu goes together. Alright in your case you're not into gaming but rather into multi tasking. If your current memory is enough for your system,adding it wont make the system faster. I prefer to upgrade my CPU instead.However If you PC don't have enough memory, then your system will be running much slower than it has to and upgrading the CPU won't make much of a difference, whereas adding memory can make your system improve from a crawl to running at the full speed of the CPU.

thats what i mean by ram and cpu goes together
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 May 2010   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

severedsolo is correct & i agree

I have 8GB of RAM, & for the most part I usually never use over 4GB, even gaming.
Although do get near it at times.

I also do alot of HD video encoding (720 & 1080p material) this is where it does come in handy. But even then, around 5GB is typical.

It can be more depending what else I am doing while the encoder is running.

A 64bit OS would give you that little bit extra RAM back you already have, and make some difference. And even with 4GB, its plenty.
So this may be a good option, especially if you have the disc, as the key will still work. (Youll need to do a clean install though)

The only CPU upgrade that i think may help is going to 45nm tech, if bios supports it. Even then the difference probably will not be much.
At least, may not be worth the investment over your current Q6600.

IMHO, rather than investing in 4GB more of RAM, you would see the most noticable gains (overall) by moving to a SSD for the OS, and switching to a 64bit system.
Use a spinning drive for all other DATA. this is a upgrade that you will actually see the difference immediatly on 1st boot,
where as 4--> 8GB RAM ... not so much
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2010   #5

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64

In your situation, given that you have a 32-bit OS which can only address 4GB of memory space (and you have already got 4GB of RAM in your system), then I would say the CPU, although the benfits would be negligible. For best results, you're going to have to upgrade to a 64-bit OS, which will enable you to take advantage of the memory you already have installed, plus any more that you install on top (upto the maximum allowed by your motherboard). The OS will, of course, need to be clean-installed, and you will need to reinstall your apps afterwards (some of which may need patches to ensure 64-bit compatibility - check with the vendors websites). You should back up all your documents and then restore them afterwards.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2010   #6

Windows 7 Professional 64

Hi Haggi,

x64 and a ssd (solid state drive)
CS5 here loads in 2-3 seconds on my ssd. It is the single best upgrade I have done in years. Yes they can be pricey, but the 60-80 GB models are priced right for the benefit you receive in return.

As for the x64, you can add ram later down the road, but at least you would have that option now.

Good luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2010   #7

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit

Thanks everyone!

I think you said it all - I'll upgrade to x64 and leave my system as is for the time being.
Maybe a SSD would be nice as a system disk (is 80GB enough for this?)

I'll review things further down the road and might go for a more substantial harware upgrade in a year or two.

@Sanvean: awesome system spec
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2010   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit


In fact, a 40GB Intel for example is plenty as well for the OS if you keep all USER folders (Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music)and other DATA on a spinning disc as well as install games to a spinning disc.

the 30GB Vertex are really nice as well, but the Intels give a little more breathing room and slightly faster. IMHO, really depends on how much you can pick them up for, but they are both excellent value drives.

30-40GB should be more than enough in that case for Win7 x64 and all your programs.

It really depends on budget, & on what you want on the SSD. Larger is going to cost much more, naturally.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 CPU vs. RAM - How should I upgrade my system?

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