Playing ESO and Getting more mileage from my Dell XPS 420

I bought my desktop PC in 2007. I bought a Dell XPS 420 with 2 GB of RAM in it. It’s a quad core Pentium i5 running at 1.2 GHz. A few years later, I upgraded the video card to an NVidia GTX 550 Ti and upgraded the RAM to 4 GB (the most Windows 7 could recognize. I’ve since changed the OS to 64-bit).

The other day, I bought Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited so I could get back into playing games. I have played World of Warcraft and Star Wars: the Old Republic, but those get to be too difficult after a while. There’s just more to keep up with than I’m comfortable with. They started to feel more like jobs than games. So, ESO is a simple game to play and it has great voice acting in it (much like SWTOR). I like how there are fewer things to worry about in ESO.

After trying to play on High graphics settings, I noticed a lot of jerkiness while playing. It had some lag, too. So, I set the graphics at Medium hoping it would make a difference. It made the game run smoother, and it still looks pretty good, but I’d like to upgrade the graphics card a little.

I think for financial reasons, I’ve chosen the NVidia GeForce GTX 970. It’s a good price for speed and I’m hoping I can push the graphics quality to Ultra.

I’m also going to upgrade my RAM to 8 GB. That’s the maximum my motherboard will allow, unfortunately. Otherwise, I’d spend the same money and get 16GB. I have to buy special RAM for the Dell (at least that’s what I’ve come to understand). I have to buy 4 sticks of that RAM.

On the Disk side of things, I’m going to upgrade my boot drive to an SSD. I saw an article (some people in the comments accuse it of being an advertorial) on Ars Technica yesterday highlighting what looks like a good drive. It looks pretty solid to me. I already have two drives on my system, so I’d have a leftover HDD once I finished the upgrade and cloned my existing boot drive. I guess I could use that for some other purpose at a later date.

As time goes on, I’d like to be able to buy more PC games that look great on my machine. Upgrading it with these changes should give me a few more years of use out of it.

However, I will probably build my own gaming rig over the next year, so having parts I can reuse would be best. I’ll have to re-buy the RAM, but I can my another one of those graphics cards and set up SLI on them. I can reuse the drives, too.