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Help me upgrade my PC

Discussion in 'Computer Talk' started by BirraImperial, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. BirraImperial

    BirraImperial Pura Vida!

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    Hi, I'm thinking about upgrading my PC, but I need some help deciding what the best course of action might be. These are my current specs:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 3200+ Dual-Core Procesor
    Asus M2N4-SLI motherboard
    Nvidia GeForce 7600GS 512MB RAM
    2x1GB Kingston PC2-4300 266.00 MHz RAM
    550W Power Supply (Don't know what brand is it)

    I know I can still upgrade the CPU to an Athlon 64 X2 6400+ , but would it be worth it? Should I get a new Mobo/CPU/RAM instead? I have abour $500 to do this. It doesn't need to be a mega gaming PC, just something that plays games at a decent speed.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    AM2+ processors are generally compatible with AM2 motherboard, check the documentation for your particular mobo. You should be able to go right up to the Phenom 940.

    However, your video card is by far the slowest component in your current system. You need a new video card (and probably a new PSU) if you want to play games at a decent speed.

    Off-hand, I can only think of 3-4 quality games that don't run at max settings with a good video card and an $80 CPU.
     
  3. BirraImperial

    BirraImperial Pura Vida!

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    I checked on the Asus site and the Phenom is not supported for my board. :( I guess I'll check to see what kind of Mobo upgrade I need. Should AMD or Intel?
     
  4. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Is your mobo like 3 years old? If not, reading the spec, I think you can be cheap for now and upgrade the video card and the ram to DDR-800, for under $200. New DDR2-800, 2x1 gigabyte sticks would be like under $50, and you could go for a $100+ video card. You could either keep 2GB at 800 speed, buy 4GB new, or try running 4GB of old and new ram together (but be sure their voltage requirements are similiar, and it might not work to mix and match anyways so might need to RMA it; and they'll be running at the old speed, not @ 800).

    Then save your money to maybe $700 a year or so from now, or until the mobo/system seems to be getting unstable from age. The only investment you'd lose later would be the RAM, if that.

    Might want to upgrade your PSU to an energy efficient model, also.
     
  5. BirraImperial

    BirraImperial Pura Vida!

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    Yes, my mobo was bought in 2006, along with the rest of the PC. I just checked the label on the PSU, and it seems to be an Okia 650W ATX. I've had no problems with it so far, but who knows what would happen if I add a decent video card. I was thinking about a Geforce GTX 260. They cost about $170 from Newegg.com. I'm thinking about getting a pair of 1GB Patriot DDR2 800 PC2 6400 ($26.99) as well.
     
  6. Genocidicbunny

    Genocidicbunny Bug squasher

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    Look around for deals on the GTX 260+ ( make sure you get the Core 216 version, not the 192). They can be had for as low as 130$ nowadays if you look hard enough:
    http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1428697
    My suggestion is go for BFG, XFX, EVGA, or if the price is really good, MSI. With the first 3 you'll get awesome support, XFX has a double lifetime warranty ( so if you decide to sell it later), and MSI occasionally has very very good sales, although their tech support is...nonexistant.

    And as long as your PSU has a 40+ amp rail for the PCIe, you should be fine. A PSU of that rating -- 650w -- should have one.
     
  7. kuukkeli

    kuukkeli King

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  8. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    I would go with a new graphics card and 1-2GB additional memory. Save the rest of your money for a new mobo, CPU, etc. in another year or two.
     
  9. BirraImperial

    BirraImperial Pura Vida!

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    I bought a new Diamond ATI Radeon HD 4890 1GB DDR5 and 4GB of Corsair PC2-6400 DDR2 800 from Amazon. (Newegg doesn't like international customers :( ). Hope this will speed up my system until I upgrade to a new CPU and mobo.
     
  10. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    You won't be able to use more than 3GB of total memory with 32-bit Windows and a 1GB graphics card, but I'm sure the changes should help a lot.
     
  11. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    The changes should help some, at least for booting up, but from what I've read XP 32bit and modern RAM/GPUs the OS will definitely only see 3GB, not even 3.5GB. Since your mobo supports it, going from 533mhz RAM to 800Mhz RAM is a good deal (just be sure your BIOS is running it that fast).

    In hindsight, if the RAM might not be transferable to a future mobo, it might have been a little more cost effective to only have bought 3GB (but that'd only saved like $20 I guess).
     
  12. BirraImperial

    BirraImperial Pura Vida!

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    Oh crap. :( Well, I guess I'm upgrading to Vista 64-bit then... I hope I can find all of the proper drivers for my system.
    I'm thinking about making another major upgrade in about 6 months )New mobo + CPU + maybe new PSU ), so maybe I should've only gotten 2GB of RAM instead. Well, I can always sell it later.
     
  13. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    IDK, but Windows 7 will be out soon, and I think if you do go Vista that you'll want at least 4GB, maybe more. Losing that $15-20 of 1 GB to XP 32 probably isn't worth buying into Vista, and there's a chance you'll want to go for extra ram after seeing Vista's performance on 4GB, I'm guessing (and plus I don't recall your mobo being good for over 4GB ram).

    The thing about partial, throw away upgrades is not getting too carried away and throwing tons of money away. So I'd err on staying calm, enjoying the GPU and RAM speed upgrade, and just saving up for a major future upgrade. That's the great thing about computing, that much better parts are usually 12-18 months away, so holding onto the pot for a while is not such a bad idea.

    Anyways, when you get close to doing a full system upgrade, you can have fun experimenting on overclocking your current system since it'll be relatively disposable (excepting the new GPU).
     
  14. Aramazd

    Aramazd Deity

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    IIRC, the free upgrade to Windows 7 when you purchase Vista starts today. Just make sure that it applies in Costa Rica. So either pick up Vista now and get a free ugrade to 7 or download the RC and buy 7 when relesed.


    Nah. Vista runs fine on 4GBs.
     
  15. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    How much RAM you will see depends on how much VRAM you have. I have 3.5 GB visible on XP 32-bit with a 256 MB dedicated 8600M GT; with the 4890 1 GB you won't get any more than 3 GB for sure. However, 3 GB is still quite a bit. If you've been doing fine with 1 GB, I'm sure the 2.5-3 GB you'll have now will seem like plenty. No reason to upgrade to Vista just because XP doesn't recognize all the RAM if you don't actually need more than what XP recognizes.

    I'm pretty sure the free upgrade to Windows 7 only applies if you buy Vista preinstalled on a new computer, not on upgrade or retail versions. But if you are considering Vista 64-bit, I'd recommend checking out the Windows 7 Release Candidate first. It's a better operating system, and since the Release Candidate is free to try you'll be able to find any incompatibilities/problems before you've spent any money.
     
  16. Aramazd

    Aramazd Deity

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    OEM versions on Newegg say they have the free upgrade, don't know about upgrades or retail copies.
     
  17. Genocidicbunny

    Genocidicbunny Bug squasher

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    They have no idea what they're talking about then. Upgrades to Windows 7 will be 50$ for Home, to 100$ for Professional and 200$ for Ultimate ( or something along those lines) if you preorder now.
    My suggestion is go for the RC for now, and by the time it runs out, the actual OS will be a little cheaper ( The RC is valid until sometime in 2010 I think )

    Or even better, sign up for Technet now for 250$ and get all the license keys to any piece of MS software you could want, including Vista, Windows 7 when it comes out, office, etc.
     
  18. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    If you pre-order the upgrade version now, it's $50 for home premium and $100 for Professional, no other versions get a preorder discount.

    If you buy any PC with Vista as of June 26th, or you buy an OEM copy of Vista, you get the equivalent version of Windows 7 for free in October.
     
  19. Aramazd

    Aramazd Deity

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    I checked that before I posted, it doesn't apply to people in Costa Rica, so I didn't bring it up.
     
  20. BirraImperial

    BirraImperial Pura Vida!

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    I think I'll hold on for now and upgrade to Windows 7 once it is released. 3GB sounds like a nice improvement anyway. Maybe I'll download the RC and wait till it expires and then buy the OEM version. Thank you all for your advice!
     

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