My computer received a much needed upgrade this week. Besides the graphics card, LCD monitor and speakers, most of the computer was about four years old. As someone that is as dependent on a decent working computer as I am, an upgrade was overdue.

Overall my computer was starting to feel sluggish and temperamental in recent months even after defragging the hard drives and cleaning the system. Time is very precious, even more-so than money (at least in my opinion). A slow computer can really cut into your time to get work done. Even something as simple as how long it takes your computer to boot or launch an application can really add up. So while getting an upgrade is exciting and fun, it also serves a practical purpose. If I can work faster I’ll have more time to do other things (like play games!).

From a more technical perspective, between the old motherboard (Nvidia 790i Ultra) and CPU (Core 2 Duo 3GHz) my computer couldn’t keep up with the demands I and newer programs placed on it. Up to this point I’ve been running with a 32-bit operating system. This, unfortunately, limits you to about 3.5GB of ram. I’ve been really feeling this limitation with recent games as well as some 3D and graphics programs I use. The low amount of free ram and only two core CPU really hurt its performance. In many of these newer games, which are a good test of your computer’s power, I was getting a lot of load-lag and low frame rates. My Radeon 5870 graphics card, while powerful, was bottle-necked by the CPU, ram and motherboard. On top of that, my hard drives were also too small to hold everything I need (games are HUGE these days! XD).


For the upgrade I got an Intel i7 3.4GHz CPU (2600), a semi “future-proof” motherboard (Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3), 8GB of 1600MHz Cas Latency 7 DDR3 Ram (Corsair Vengeance), a Western Digital 1.5TB 6GB/s Hard Drive (Caviar Black), a Zalman CPU fan, and a retail copy of Windows 7 Home Premium. Unfortunately, with the recent tsunami in Thailand, hard drive prices are nearly double what they were months ago. so I was only able to get one new drive for now.


I’ve been building my own computers for well over a decade now. This is probably my 6th or so computer build. Above was my old setup. It really held up well over the years. I certainly pushed it to its limits.


The new components running (above) while I installed Windows 7. With the blue motherboard, red ram and golden fan, I named the computer “Supergirl“. I think it’s fitting.


As with any new computer build, I was really worried there might be problems, but everything installed and booted up without issue. Here (above) is the first time I booted to Windows 7.

It took me several days to install my programs and move over files, but I quickly noticed how much faster the computer runs. It boots faster and programs launch quicker. 3D rendering is blazingly fast due to the 8 threads (4 cores) on the CPU. 3D animation might not be such an unrealistic idea for me now. And of course, (best of all) my games now run much better.


My latest gaming addiction, Tera (currently in beta), ran poorly before the upgrade. Now I am able to hit high framerates with maximum settings, as you can see in the top left of the above picture. Simply lovely! This is a great example showing that the graphics card is not always the primary factor in a game’s performance.