With the GPU shortages expected to continue until mid to late 2022; what can you do to improve your system’s performance in games and other areas. Well there are three ways to improve system performance that do not rely on the GPU being upgraded. You can choose to do all of them at once or one at a time. So let’s get started with the first upgrade option.
RAM/Memory: Yes believe it or not, upgrading your RAM/Memory(called RAM from now on) can have a noticeable impact on your system’s performance. Moving from an 8GB kit to a 16GB kit can give a system headroom to perform more tasks, or larger tasks. However, size alone is not the only upgrade that you should look at when upgrading RAM. You should also look at the speed of your RAM in both the frequency and latency. The frequency is normally listed as “DDRX-YYYYMHz” where the X is the generation of the RAM modules, and the Y is the frequency in MHz. The current sweet spot for DDR4 memory is between 3200MHz and 4000MHz before you start seeing a dramatic drop in performance increase per dollar. This is especially true for Ryzen processors from AMD, which have shown to benefit greatly from higher speed memory. As for the Latency this is shown as a number preceded by the letters CL(ex. CL16). You want that CL number to be as low as possible, but there is a sliding scale where the higher the speed of the ram goes, the higher the latency will be. As an example, many 3200MHz and 3600MHz kits of RAM will have a CL of 16 with some as low as 14. While the 4000MHz kits will frequently have CL of 18 or higher. There’s a lot more to look at when upgrading your RAM if you want to dive into it, but this is only the first of three so we’ll move on.
Cooling: Yep another lesser known item to think about when looking to speed up your system. Cooling can be a major factor in a system slowing down after a while. Either the CPU paste has dried and cracked preventing heat from transferring properly, the cooler is just not up to the task, or the system is just choked off from getting fresh air and needs a good cleaning or even a new case. Keeping a system properly cooled will allow the CPU and other components to run optimally and for much longer. Heat is the biggest issue with computer components as the hotter a system gets, the more strain is placed on the components inside. So if you’re noticing that your system runs fine at first, but starts to slow down the longer you use it, then you may be experiencing “thermal throttling” where the system lowers the speed at which the components are running to keep the heat load under control and give the system a chance to expel the heat out of the case. If this is happening you should have it looked at and see if the CPU cooler, case, or paste need to be replaced. The case and cooler options are sometimes off the table due to some OEMs having proprietary motherboards and cases. However, just replacing the thermal paste can improve performance quite a bit.
Solid State Drive(SSD): Lastly we come to the single best upgrade you can do for your system. Replace your HDD with a SSD. SSD are leaps and bounds ahead of HDDs in speed and longevity if used correctly. Unlike HDDs which have spinning platters and an arm that reads the data off those platters as they spin at incredible speeds. A SSD has no moving parts and reads data as fast as electricity can travel between the motherboard and the chips inside the SSD. Even if you already have a SSD in your system, adding another to your system to isolate your Operating System from your programs and games can show some benefits. Since you’re now separating the work across multiple lanes, or channels. This allows the OS to be much more responsive and “snappy” since you’re no longer having to load programs or other items while the OS is refreshing its required files.
If you’re in the market for some upgrades to your system, look into these three items. If you’re not sure if you should be spending money on a system, or just want to have the work done by someone else, then give us a call. We do these upgrades all the time at FCN and have had many satisfied customers say their computer feels better than it did when it was new just from the SSD upgrades.
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