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Upgrading computer hardware


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#1
susiehk

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I am running Windows XP on my custom built PC which is 4 years old. I am open to upgrading everything from hard drive to mainboard and graphics card to get a super fast and good for Photoshop computer.

Here are my current components:
Case: Coolermaster Centurion 5 with 350W PS
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 2800+ RTL
Mainboard: MSI K8MM-ILSR All in One ATX
Memory: 512MB PC3200 DDR 400
Hard Drive: WD 200GB U100 7200 RPM 2000JB w/8MB
DVD Drive 1: DVDRW, Liteon 8x8 DVD+/-RW
DVD Drive 2: DVD, Liteon 16x IDE
Graphics Card / VGA: Gigabyte ATI 9600XT 128MB

THANKS IN ADVANCE.
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#2
Troy

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Hi there susiehk, welcome to Geeks to Go!

First off, you have not listed a budget. We could recommend a super-computer that you can not afford... :)

But looking at the components you have listed, you would need to upgrade just about everything. Because your system is 4 years old, technology has changed so fast - and improved greatly. You could keep the case, but I would recommend upgrading everything else.

One final comment to make, do you have a retail version of Windows XP? If not, (i.e. OEM), then you'll need to purchase a new XP (or Vista) disc also...

That being said, here are some recommendations for you to take into consideration. I have linked each part to Newegg, but you are able to purchase the parts from where ever you please.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Processor $249.99
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L Motherboard $89.99
GeIL PC2-6400 (800MHz) 2GB RAM $41.99 OR GeIL PC2-6400 (800MHz) 4GB RAM $79.99
Seagate 7200.11 500GB Hard Drive $119.99
Pioneer DVR-212D Black SATA DVD Burner $28.99
EVGA 9600GT 512MB Graphics Card $169.99
Corsair 550W Power Supply $99.99

What do you think of these suggestions?

Cheers

Troy
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#3
susiehk

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Troy - you are my new hero. I've posted on other boards and this is the first really helpful reply! I am going to use your list as a starting point for my upgrade! Thanks. Oh, and if you were to add any "wow" items to snazz it up, what would they be? THANKS.
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#4
Troy

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Oh, and if you were to add any "wow" items to snazz it up, what would they be?

Hi there,

Oh dear... This is a tough one! :) As it is, this is a rather nice system.

I think I would slightly upgrade the RAM to this G.SKILL 4GB PC2-6400 $94.99.

You could grab a new case - one that has better cooling potential, perhaps. Or grab some nice new case fans, and clean out the old one thoroughly before you add any of the new components.

Also, to snazz things up, as you say, I like it personally when I have a nice keyboard/mouse/monitor, which I have not included in this list. I recently purchased a Logitech MX Revolution mouse, rather expensive, but very nice :) Sometimes the little things like that make a whole lot of difference to your system.

Anything in particular you had in mind you wanted me to recommend?

Cheers

Troy
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#5
susiehk

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Hello again. Based on your excellent recommendations, here's my shopping cart at Newegg. I would love to get a final lookover to see if there are any red flags in terms of compatibility, etc. I've made a few changes, but not too much. THANKS.


ASUS P5N-E SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor

CORSAIR 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Pioneer 18X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-212DBK

EVGA GeForce 9600GT 512-P3-N865-AR Video Card

Antec Nine Hundred Black Computer Case With Side Panel Window

Antec NeoPower 650 Blue 650W Power Supply

Koutech IO-RCM620 USB 2.0 3.5"/5.25" Card Reader
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#6
Titan8990

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Looks good but I would go with the board that Troy suggested. Only get the Asus if you have use for the SLI and the RAID support.
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#7
susiehk

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Thanks for the motherboard tip. :)

I am not familiar with exactly what the SLI and RAID are exactly, so am not sure if I need those. What I did want was PCI Express x16 (I think 2.0) and a connection for eSATA. Does that make sense? If Troy's suggestion still fits that bill, that's great....it sounds like a good motherboard. Thanks.
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#8
Titan8990

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SLI is Nvidia's brand name for having two video cards on the same computer. In practice it doesn't work near as good as it should.

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. There are many types or "levels" of RAID but in short it is used to make multiple hard drives work together. Typically RAID is not practical outside of a work environment.

The 650i boards don't have PCI-E 2.0. This feature is only found on X38, X48, and 780i boards. Currently it would not be worth it's high cost for what you need.

The GA-P35-DS3L doesn't come with on board eSata but the brackets are cheap: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16812226006
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#9
james_8970

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If you do not game, that video card is extreme overkill for your needs. Something that costs half will perform just fine.
The motherboard and PSU troy has suggest earlier is better. More watts does not mean a better PSU.
Just want to remind you that you will not be using the full 4GB of RAM on your computer with a 32bit OS.
James

Edited by james_8970, 19 March 2008 - 11:36 PM.

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#10
Troy

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Hi there,

Looks like these guys beat me to it! :)

In particular, I would like to add these comments:
  • The 9600GT will be compatible with the PCI-Express x16 slot, and you won't lose out on any performance
  • James is right, only a 64-bit OS will see the whole 4GB, but your Windows should report approximately 3.3GB of RAM, which will be more beneficial than just 2GB for your uses
Cheers

Troy
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