I need to start thinking about a new computer

Started by Philippe, October 14, 2019, 12:51:49 PM

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I'm really not happy about opening this can of worms, but my system runs on Windows 7 and January 14 is just around the corner.

In theory I should be looking at two alternatives: a) upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 for a reasonable chunk of money; or b) buy a new computer, probably for about ten times as much.

Ordinarily I'd go with a), but my current rig is showing signs of wear and tear.  The video card is a bit of an antique, 8 gigs of RAM is feeling a bit cramped, and my system doesn't recognize my cooling fans when I first boot up in the morning. 

In the best of all possible worlds this could be fixed by buying a new video card, buying more RAM, and tearing my computer apart and resetting all the wiring (gah!), but those three things together and the imminent demise of Windows 7 makes me wonder if b) doesn't make more sense.

As a footnote, my artist girlfriend has almost the same system that I do, and is facing the same issues (though she doesn't have the cooling fan problem and RAM and the video card aren't so much an issue for her).  I get to be the guinea pig so I can set her up after I get myself set up.

I'd be curious to hear what everyone thinks about options a) and b).

I'm also curious about what Windows 10's RAM needs really are as opposed to Windows 7.  I'm assuming Windows 10 eats up more RAM than Windows 7, but how much more?

I'm also curious about the pitfalls of the current crop of video cards.

One of the things that makes this heartbreaking is that it will do very bad things to my modding.  I'm not even sure that Windows 10 uses Paint, which had already become much less functional than it had been a few years ago.

But the real killer is Photoshop.  My girlfriend and I both use Photoshop 7, and from what I've been able to see that doesn't work in Windows 10.  I glanced briefly around the web to see if there was any way to install and run it under Windows 10, but all of the sites that claimed to know how to do it seemed to be malware bait.  Does anyone know anything about this from personal experience?  There are programs that I can waste time learning that will take care of my modding needs, but my girlfriend is a fine arts photographer and has to use Photoshop (which means she will have to bite the bullet).

Any insight on this will be appreciated.  I don't think there are going to be any answers that I'm very happy with.
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This is probably of minimal help - but I use Paint on Windows 10 to do annotations of screenshots for AARs.  This is probably such a low level of usage compared to what you are doing that it is irrelevant - but Windows 10 does have Paint of some degree of functionality.


The amount of RAM is not really specific to the operating system (7 vs 10), it depends on the type of programs and games you use.  Personally I would say minimally 16GB, but would actually recommend 32gb since relatively cost effective and some recent games have started to list as recommended.

As for Photoshop, I use that but I simply subscribe to the latest version where it is something like $10 a month.....haven't had any issues with Windows 10.

It probably would help too if you listed the type of CPU you have and how old it is.  Certainly if it is older, probably best bet is to upgrade but sometimes you can through some parts at it (i.e. like a SSD drive and better graphics card) and you can extend its life.


Up grading a cpu will lead to a full blown rebuild as the current i9 has a new socket that only motherboards with those sockets accept.  Not sure if the current 2080 line of video cards will work in an older motherboard.  You could go for an AMD setup as they done wonders with budget build performance. 


In my opinion, if you are running a computer that was designed for Windows 7, it is time to buy a new one built for Windows 10.  A Windows 7 upgrade to WIndows 10 will cost at least half as much as a Windows 10 computer., by the time you buy additional RAM, a hard drive and a video card.  However, a new Windows 10 computer will be good for at least 3-4 years and possibly longer.  A Win 7 upgrade to Win 10 will probably only be good for 2 years or so, and still may not be compatible with newer games and software.  WHile you may need to also update some expensive programs (like photoshop), you could consider keeping the WIN 7 computer for purely Photoshop use, and transferring your images via airgap to the WIN 10 computer.-that would save you around $450USD. 
"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?" -Abraham Lincoln

Huw the Poo

Yeah Skoop is right.  You're better off buying a new system rather than upgrade any major component.

Having said that, you can buy Windows 10 keys really cheap on Ebay, so maybe you should consider that.  RAM usage isn't noticeably higher as far as I can tell.  If you aren't running out of RAM then don't worry about it, although doubling your RAM is one of the few upgrades that would be worth doing on an old PC.

As for Photoshop 7 on Windows 10, you should look into virtualisation.  A cursory glance around the Web suggests that people are using it successfully with Virtual Box.  Hell, you could even dual boot between Windows 7 and 10.


If you're gonna do 'singular' upgrades, do the Video Card as that can be transferred to a 'newer' computer someday. If you buy Ram, then it probably will not be compatible with 'the new computer'... If you're looking to upgrade CPU, then you will probably have to upgrade, Memory and Motherboard too, which means you would be buying a 'new' computer.

Lol.. so you could do Ram, CPU, MB, and use the same video card. So many options!!

But if you're just playing strategy games do you need a whole new PC?.. If doing a lot of FPS, Fantasy, Flight Sims.. etc.. then a new PC is nice.


I would buy a new one and keep the other one off-line to play the games that cannot run on windows 10 and do your paint stuff.


I'd buy a new one, it will last longer.

Your PS7 is 32bit? Maybe will have trouble installing in 64bit. But there may be workarounds.

FarAway Sooner

Without knowing specifics, you might be at the point where it makes sense to go ahead, take the plunge and buy a whole new system.  I know I fried my mobo a few years ago, and given some of the incompatibility issues that I ran into, I had a whole domino effect of upgrading other parts.

The ability to swap out parts is a great way to save money and spec out your own rig, but I've found it has limited utility if I put off upgrading anything for too long.


So Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 in January 2020?


It is surprising what will run even if Microsoft doesn't officially support it. I have Visual Studio 6 (from 1998) running on Windows 10, so I can use the VB6 IDE :)


It will still run fine, just no more updafes.


Whatever you decide, build your own rig! You'll save 35% to 45% AND you'll get better equipment! You would be appalled at some of the low-bid stuff that gets into name-brand PCs. I run Win7 on my rig and I have no plans to change. My i7-4770 is a bit old, but it handles everything I throw at it just fine. I have upgraded the video card twice. I now have an Nvidea 1070 and 32 gigs RAM. If you do a lot of graphic manipulation stuff RAM gets important.
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