I'm looking for a little advice on how best to improve the performance of my machine.

I'm using the machine for development of a game using the Unreal UE4 engine but I see some performance issues and lagging particularly when using the Unreal engine alongside other processes like Google Chrome.

Ideally I'd like there to be a magic answer but I understand that I may be required to purchase some hardware upgrades to really see a performance increase. I'm guessing that a RAM upgrade to 16GB might not be enough but I'm really not sure.

Would the processor be a bottleneck here or is the RAM likely to be more of an issue? If I upgrade the processor am I likely to need to buy a new case and motherboard?

Either way, I'd like to keep the costs down as much as possible.

My computer is a DELL Vostro 3900 but I've made some upgrades from the stock model.

I have:

Intel i5-4460 Quad Core running at 3.2Ghz. DELL GGDJT Motherboard.(I haven't been able to find any useful documentation on this motherboard).
Windows 10 Pro
2x4GB DDR3 Ram for a total of 8GB (added after purchase).
1x3GB Geforce GTX 1060 Graphics card (added after purchase).
1x 180GB Intel SSD with the OS and Unreal engine/project files installed (added after purchase).
1x 500GB Seagate SATA drive for storage.
1x 500w power supply(added after purchase).

Any advice is gratefully received.

  • To see if your RAM is a bottleneck check your RAM on windows task manager (ctrl+shift+esc) to see if it is near full as that will force it to page into the hard drive. Even then your SSD should help out there. Your computer is actually really decent. Duty Check: are you running the unreal engine processor on the integrated graphics instead of the discrete? – Bennett Yeo Apr 2 '18 at 13:51
  • Thanks Bennett Yeo, I took a look at the task manager and see about 89% RAM usage when running the engine alongside say Chrome. It seems to be configured to use the GTX 1060. – robertmegone Apr 4 '18 at 8:31
  • That's pretty full. Upping your RAM won't be a bad upgrade in this case. 16 gb should be more than enough, although you could probably get away with 10 or 12 if you're looking to save a little cash. – Bennett Yeo Apr 4 '18 at 19:19

Going off the fact that you claimed about 90% RAM usage during your typical use scenario, it is likely that your RAM is paging to SSD and degrading performance.

Most of your specs are fine, so it is unlikely those are going to be bottlenecks. As an additional note windows typically only uses less than 4 gb, and chrome typically doesn't use more than 1gb unless you have a lot of extensions. That would leave 3 gb for Unreal Engine, though I am surprised that Unreal is using that much RAM. Unfortunately I don't use Unreal engine a lot so I don't know what the typical memory usage is. You might want to look into your applications and see if any are using inordinate amounts of memory.

As for the recommendation, I was unable to find much information on your MOBO and the DELL support site wasn't very helpful. The spec sheet for your cpu was more useful: Intel i5-4460 memory cheat sheet

I've recommended 16 gb of RAM as I think that this will be more than enough to ensure that your computer isn't paging to hard drive. To put this in perspective, I have 16 gb on a laptop and only come close to filling that up running multiple Virtual Machines in parallel alongside Visual Studio + Re-sharper.

This newegg query contains a huge list of RAM upgrades you could purchase for your computer sorted by price. I've made a specific recommendation below:

Specific recommendation: G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB

$125.99 at newegg G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-16GAR

I've chosen RAM rated at 1600 as your core specifies this is the fastest that it can support. The raised speed will allow you to load in applications slightly faster than if was rated at 1333. It also has the lowest CAS latency that I could find at 9 (specifically: 9-9-9-24). If you wanted to save money while maximizing for performance trade off, you could go for RAM with higher CAS latency, but it will increase the delay for your RAM.

Specifically: Cas Latency(ns)/frequency(mhz) * 1000 = response time(ns)

Therefore, if you bought a 1600 speed RAM with a CAS Latency of 11, it would have a delay of 6.875 ns which would be a 22.222% increase in delay from equivalent RAM rated at CAS Latency 9.

It's been a while since I've looked into the RAM market, but I remember G.SKILL, and Corsair being heavily praised in the self-building PC community around the time the 4k series intel processors were out. The Nemix and Team Group RAM seemed to be a little cheaper but user reviews seemed volatile. I haven't had much experience with these brands so I don't know how reliable their RAM is. I decided to recommend the cheapest "enthusiast" brand that I could recognize, but feel free to buy a cheaper RAM even if it isn't G.SKILL or Corsair.

| improve this answer | |
  • Fantastic answer, thank you for your advice! – robertmegone Apr 19 '18 at 14:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.