Re: Building a new PC want suggestions for hardware
The best way of getting more out of your processor is by asking it to do less
Make sure you are only running the absolute minimum of applications that you need. If you look in the Windows System tray and there are more than about 4 icons you need to question what they are and if you need them. Most software these days wants to install stuff that starts automatically with your machine - and simply is not needed.
You may even have stuff starting automatically that does not show up in your system tray and isn't needed.
IOBit Advanced System Care (the free version) includes a tool to look at what is starting automatically at boot/logon and will let you turn things off. Leave anything relating to your virus/spyware blockers but just about anything else is worth thinking about turning off.
But avoid all the advice on the Net about turning off system services - almost all of it has no positive effect and could make your system unstable.
Some people use little utilities that claim to boost performance (in games) by dumping unnecessary stuff out of system memory before the games launch. IOBit have a free one called GameBooster I think. Personally, I have never found them much use - and Windows is actually pretty good at doing this for you these days.
The next thing to do is in the games themselves - reducing quality settings and even resolution will make massive differences to performance. The most effective things to turn down/off are usually shadows, anti-aliasing and resolution. If the game has a built in benchmark option then use that with different settings until you find a combination that gives you an acceptable performance - I usually try to aim for an average of around 40fps but averaging around 30fps is not too bad. If the game doesn't have a built in benchmark then use something like Fraps.
Oh, and I advise - to start with at least - leaving the graphics cards own configuration settings on "Application defaults" or "Application controlled" (whatever your one calls it) - i.e. not forcing things on or off via the cards control panel. You can get some improvements using these but its confusing trying to do it through the game and here at the same time - and some games just don't like it. So, start with the games own settings.
Looking from the hardware side of things you should first make sure that the RAM you have installed is running at its optimum settings. But this could involve messing with the BIOS and if you are not comfortable with that then its not worth it.
If you are comfortable you need a little utility called CPU-z which will tell you what your RAM settings are and what your RAM settings should be. If they are not optimum you can then go into BIOS and change things - carefully.
I personally would not recommend overclocking as worthwhile gains are only obtainable if you start buying extra kit - cooling systems - and you are specifically trying to improve things for zero cost. The most you will be able to safely over-clock without advanced cooling is 5 to 10% and you wont notice the difference.