Question Have you ever been blown away by a computer upgrade?

Sep 21, 2020
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ok folks here is a Q for you for all you computer tech nerds. Have you ever been blown away by an upgrade? Your aging rig just can't hack that new piece of software you are tossing at it and you can almost smell the smoke as it tries to push out enough pixels to give you even a reasonable FPS. Most of the times you are just pleasantly surprised by how things go, or at least even expected. Every now and again though something just blows your mind. For me this has only happened 2 times to me in the past, and both were on the video card side of things.

First time was going from a 4MB matrox millennia card to a 16MB creative labs Video blaster! It was high end graphics for it's time and let me play Baldur's gate in all it's glory on my huge 14inch montior. was i impressed, this amazing RPG had come to life in full color on my screen before my very eyes. Something till this point had only existed in my mind with all night RP sleep over parties around 15 years earlier, then all night drinking evenings following. <wink>. This update was something special as it marked my entering the modern computer game era as well you could almost say it was life changing. Wow all that from a computer upgrade?!) The comp was my first build too so it truly was my first upgrade as well. Me and my dad put together when i was little i helped him with tvs and cars, now we built a comp! P166, 128mb ram, 2 GB HDDhard in a micro case. I do have an 8GB to stuff in it and get it working again, right now it's more of a paper weight. (rainy day project, lets fine 30 year old drivers and install win 98!)


The second would have to be the original G-force 256 gb. It was a card that i slipped into a aging AMD 700 chip system. The machine was very short lived in my life as i picked up SWG, which would not run at all on and needed more CPU power which lead me down the road of countless chip/ram upgrades the wonderful 2600+ chips and sticks of ram . But just before i had grabbed this rocking vid card. I loaded up Mech warrior 3 and watched in awe as a Madcat sent LRM's flying in cork scew spirals leading a trail of smoke. My god i had never seen anything like it. Particles in the smoke trails while watching smooth video. My jaw certainly dropped watching a mech walk through crumbling builds, and the lightning from his PPC, it was near pure bliss. that G-force 256GB just stands out as awesome.


I've had a few good systems since this time but all have been pretty predictable but my most recent upgrade really took me by surprise. I've been using an I5-3350+ 8Gb ram and a 1060 6GB for quite a few years. The vid card though was picked up a little later than i would of liked due to the last GPU shortage. But i felt the prices sounded good and going up a full 1GHZ sounded nice. (with clocking maybe 1.5) My comp did work great though, the little 4 core pushed 3.4 and ran everything even if i had to drop some setting down to medium. I got close to 60FPS on MWO which is the only game that it really matters that much on being pvp, Itbut it was getting a bit long in the tooth and I decided an upgrade was in order. I5=10600KF+32 GB ram and a 1TB m2, (it had a 1tb sata) I knew i would get better prefomance, but i wasn't expecting 3X better with out swapping the vid card too. It took nearly a min to load CKIII which was a bit long but honestly not a big deal for me, now 15 secs, other things just snap open. While faster load times are nice, the FPS boost i got was unexpected. Even bumping up the setting to max, I'm averaging a stable 120+ in MWO, I thought maybe i'd get 80-90 stable with maxed up graphics but this really took me back. I new the CPU's had a bit more going for them than just clock speed, but boy am impressed at how far they have come.


So let's hear your stories about upgrades that blew you way.
 

Colif

Moderator
I guess when i went from a GTS 9800 to a GTX 260 and had to stop playing wow as I wanted a game that truly tested gpu, which I found in Age of Conan. Although tbf the GPU was pretty crap but it tried, it was first gen DX 10 card. One stage in that game truly tested the card.

Current PC still amazes me, it is 8 months old and still feels brand new. I went from a 4690K and GTX 980 to a R5 3600XT and a 2070 Super. Same amount of ram as you. What does slow mean?
 

Brian Boru

Moderator
I've never been blown away by a hardware upgrade cos I always knew what I was going to get, from a combo of research and experience. I was pretty chuffed tho that my first SSD lived up to the hype, and highly pleased with whatever hardware upgrade it was which enabled scrolling in MS Word without the hourglass along for the ride!

My upgrade blown aways would be software related. The jump from Windows 3.1 to Win95 was a dramatic change for the better. The change from Windows nested menus to the desktop icon grouping of Stardock's Fences was a big deal for me—suddenly my PC's programs & documents were so much more accessible. Same whenever Jumplists appeared on the Taskbar.

One blow away in gaming was Civilization IV. I'd played Civs 1/2/3 but they never grabbed me, whereas Civ4 sprinkled pixie dust on me and consumed the following 5 years of my gaming life. The original Command & Conquer was another, the game which hooked me on PC gaming. Finally, Far Cry—which I played many more times than the other big 2004 release, Half Life 2—the sheer joy of getting out of endless corridors into the brave new open world.
 

Colif

Moderator
jumping from ssd to nvme is a nice boost. Last pc would take 40 seconds to boot, current one takes longer in bios than windows loading screens.

Without experiencing what it is you are upgrading to, its difficult to know exactly what you will get out of upgrades. I had no idea what difference would be like upgrading from a 6 year old CPU to a month old (at time) CPU and even now I don't know how much of the difference is created by the more threads, faster NVME or more ram, it could be a combo of all of them really.

Every PC is different, even a PC with exact same parts can still have slightly different enough software to make it noticeable. I have helped people on Tom's Hardware that had virtually same PC as I did but had problems I wasn't getting.
 
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Mar 9, 2020
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Going from hybrid platter drives to M.2's with this new build has been the most significantly noticeable upgrade for me. I usually stay up with the times on video cards and CPU's with a new PC every couple years but I never delved into SSD's because they just felt to price restrictive for their storage size. This last fall, I was in the market for a new PC, and with the GPU's virtually unpuchasable, I decided to get M.2 drives instead of a new GPU (currently got at 1070).

I got a XPG SX8100 2T M.2 storage drive for games and software, and a Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB drive for Windows and documents storage, and damn does this computer fly. The windows install took about a minute from USB. It boots in about 6 seconds. I can't read loading text on most of the games I play because they blip by too fast.
 

Colif

Moderator
I learned the lesson of using SSD 5 years ago and would never use hdd now (unless maybe if it had an optane cache) as boot device. I still have hdd for bulk storage as they are still cheaper for more capacity,

Only problem with nvme is that although the speeds will grow, the noticeable benefit won't unless they stop measuring them in reads and use writes, as the difference between PCIe 3 nvme at 3500mb/s and PCIe 4 nvme at around 5k (Now, max is around 7) isn't actually noticeable in real terms , you can see it on benchmarks but in reality, its less noticeable as 3500 is fast enough. they will continue to get faster but you won't really notice anymore

I spend more time looking at bios flash screen than booting into windows.

if anyone still on hdd, buy an ssd right now
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
One really old one and one not so old one.

The really old one was upgrading from an Atari 800XL with 64K of memory (kinda) to the 1040ST with a full megabyte (1024K). SIXTEEN times the memory I was used to using! I could type and type in the word processor and never even put a dent in memory. I mean, it couldn't hold all of War & Peace at the same time, but it could sure hold a few chapters!

The newer one would be getting 3D Vision working for the first time. NVIDIA showed some 3D screenshots right after installing. I was completely blown away! Actually the convergence was set pretty low so it wasn't even the full 3D effect - even the most distant objects probably just looked maybe a foot behind the monitor. It was still more than enough to hook me until NVIDIA pulled the plug on it.

It spoiled me a bit for my first VR experience. The scale in VR is far better than 3D Vision, but I was an old hand at the 3D effect. Walk out on a board sticking out from a sky scraper? Yeah, no problem. Let me show you this Tomb Raider game... (But oh my, that T-Rex sure is BIG!)
 
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Jan 15, 2020
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Since people have coverd going from HDs and what not to SSDs and nvme's, which i also found to blow me away another aspect that blew me away was going from 30-60hz monitors to 144hz with G-SYNC, the first time playing on a screen like that... WOW especially with frames up to and beyond 144.
 

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