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Upgrading my Desktop


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#1
Granz00

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First off, the price range comes from the Economy Stimulus check that the government is promising to give out.

The major reason for the upgrade is that every so often, my computer freezes. This is usually during game play, or watching videos.

Here is a list of what my computer has;

CPU - Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz
Motherboard - ASUSTek P4SD-LA
RAM - 1 GB PC3200 DDR
Video Card - Radeon 9200MEC AGP 8x with 128MB video memory and TV-Out
Sound Card - SB Live! Audio [B800]
HDD - 320 GB SATA
OS - Windows XP Home Edition

The RAM and the HDD are not the original, and the sound card was added by me (took out the internet modem to make room).

A few concerns I have is that it may not be cooled enough, and that I may not have a decent enough power supply. So here are a few things that I feel like upgrading sooner rather then later;

Motherboard - I want to upgrade to PCI Express (I want to stay with Intel)
Video Card - I want to upgrade to PCI Express with at least 512MB
Computer case - Either get a decent Mid Tower or upgrade to a Full Tower with good circulation
Cooling System - I don't currently have anything but the cheap fan already installed
PSU - I've changed my hardware so I suspect I need something better

If you need more info on what I already have, just tell me. Also, is there a way to tell what type of power supply I have without opening the computer?


Edit - As for my computer usage... I do a little bit of gaming on this computer, which has mainly been Starcraft. That is because my computer would freeze a lot with other games. So I would like to play some free MMORPG's and possibly something like Bioshock. However, gaming isn't all that important to me since I have stuff like the PS3 and the Wii to take care of my gaming needs. I watch A LOT of video's on my desktop, which is why I have 320 GB of storage. Also, I use it for multitasking with things like music, microsoft office, and programming. I usually have my desktop wired for internet, and everything else wireless using a wireless router.

Edited by Granz00, 28 March 2008 - 01:21 AM.

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#2
kamille316

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What is your budget for this? I don't know what Economy Stimulus check is and how much it is.
Since you only have DDR RAM, you'll have to buy a new one for the new motherboard as most motherboards support DDR2 RAM.
RAMs are not that expensive as you can buy 2GB of DDR2 RAM for $50 or less.
Another thing is that you didn't specify if you have a DVD-drive or not, they're cheap as well, you can find one at $30 or less.
I would suggest replacing your CPU soon as well as its not powerful enough and will held your other components back (specifically the video card) since its really slow.

This is what I'd recommend but it will change depending on how much money your willing to spend.
Motherboard - Gigabyte P35-DS3L for $89.99
Video Card - I'd say a XFX 9600GT for $174.99
Cooling system - I'd say it depends on the computer case you'll select, some comes with excellent stock fans already.
PSU - Corsair 550W for $94.99, you can find some cheap ones as well from OCZ, Silverstone, Antec...
Computer case - It will depend on your budget, there are some good ones but costs quite a bit and also some that's really cheap, all depends on your preference.

Hope that helps a bit.

Kamille

EDIT: Okay, I searched and found that its Economic Stimulus check though the amount of money you'll get varies so can you please specify your budget?
Also I want to note that Antec Sonata III would be the most affordable case/powersupply (550W) combo for $120 or less (comes with MIR) and this is also what the Tech Academy (here in GTG) recommends.

Edited by kamille316, 28 March 2008 - 10:20 AM.

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#3
Granz00

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At a minimum I will be trying to spend $300, and since the stimulus goes up to $600, that would be my maximum. If need be, I will put in my own money towards the $600 mark to get everything I need. So with that in mind, suggest some upgrades based upon a $600 max, and if you don't mind, suggest another build based upon a $300 max.

The things you suggested still leaves me with a little bit of money. However, I do have one concern, which is that the power supply with the case is shown as 500W instead of 550W.

I will take your suggestion on adding DDR2 RAM, so feel free to add that to your suggestions. Feel free to try to add a CPU, but I doubt that you would be able to stay within the range, since everything else is pretty much a requirement to buy. As for the case, it is absolutely necessary to replace it, since mine only has 4 expansion slots instead of 7. 500W power supply is pushing it too much for me, so try to put a 550W or higher PSU in your suggestion (I saw a 650W PSU for $50 so what is wrong with it?). Feel free to go past the $600 limit a little bit if it means getting everything I need.

P.S. I already have a couple of things like a DVD-CD RW drive and a Floppy Drive. This was originally a Media Center PC purchased in like 2005 from Best Buy. So it has a couple of things that I didn't mention, but I didn't think they were important to mention for upgrade purposes.

Also, the Windows XP Home Edition is version 2002 or something like that, and is a pain in the butt. I'm thinking about installing Windows XP Professional on it since I can get it for free through my school.
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#4
kamille316

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I think I missed that you specified your budget on the topic title already, sorry about that.

$600 budget
Motherboard - Gigabyte P35-DS3L for $89.99
Video Card - XFX 9600GT for $174.99
Computer case - Antec 900 for $119.99
PSU - Corsair 550VX for $94.99 (before a $15 MIR)
RAM - Mushkin 2GB (4-4-4-12) for $50.99 (before a $10 MIR)

$300 budget
I tried making a list but I always go over $300 :)
However, you can save some money using the above list by changing the video card to cheaper one like the HD 3870 for $169.99.
Also you can save a few more by getting this RAM instead for $44.99
Also maybe get a computer case from this list, they're fairly cheap but good cases for around $49.99 and then just add more case fans like these for $8.99
Ensure that you can put the case fans in the computer case you choose, maybe post here which case you're going with and we'll see what case fans it can accommodate.

I saw a 650W PSU for $50 so what is wrong with it?

General rule is to not to cheap out on power supplies as what usually happens when it fails is that it takes the other components with it. So instead of saving money on a cheap power supply, there will be that chance that you'll have to replace it along with other components that broke because of it. 500W should be enough for your needs.

Also, is there a way to tell what type of power supply I have without opening the computer?

I don't think there's anyway you can tell what the type is unless you open your computer. It is not that hard anyways, you just remove the side panel and then find the power supply. There should be a sticker on it and it will say how many watts, amps and other info.

Kamille

Edited by kamille316, 29 March 2008 - 01:24 AM.

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#5
Granz00

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If I go ahead and buy the case right away, then I can take that out of the budget to make some room for a new CPU. After the MIR's, and taking out the cost of the case, I am left with about $244 for the CPU.

Edit - I decided to buy the case off of Amazon (directly through them), so I am almost paying $120 after S&H.

Edited by Granz00, 29 March 2008 - 02:39 AM.

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#6
kamille316

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So you have $244 for the CPU only? If that's the case then I suggest either of these two:
If you're overclocking then get the Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 for $249.99 (a bit out of your budget and also not in stock right now).
If you're not overclocking then just get the Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 for $179.99

Kamille
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#7
Granz00

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Okay, the stimulus check is starting to look more like it will be $300. So I tried looking up similar items to what you picked, while trying to save a little bit of extra cash.

MOBO - Same
Video Card - Same
Case - Same (Bought cheaper on Amazon/Should be arriving today)
PSU - CoolMax CXI-600B for $74.99 (before a $20 MIR)
RAM - OCZ Gold 2GB for $44.99 (before a $20 MIR)

As for the CPU, I will unfortunately wait a little bit on getting that. However, when I finally do get one, I will be considering the one that you are currently using (Since I can get it for only $270 or cheaper).

These changes will leave me at about $15 over the $300, but that doesn't bother me. Are the two changes decent?

Thanks for all of the help so far.
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#8
kamille316

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This Mushkin RAM I selected before should be a good one as well and can run at 1.8V (stock voltage), much lower than the OCZ you selected (2.1V). That would mean the OCZ runs hotter. Its $44.99, same price as the OCZ and seems like the OCZ rebate has ended already so they're both at the same price.
For the power supply, I am unsure about that manufacturer, I do believe that you don't need 600W for your build but here's one that's a little more expensive but a reliable one.
OCZ GameXtream 600W for $89.99 (before a $15 MIR).

Kamille
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#9
james_8970

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http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817256027
I really recommend you spend an extra $15 for this PSU.
James
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#10
Granz00

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Thanks for the input so far. I guess I will try to purchase everything from all of the ones you recommended, and I will probably try to go up to $400, if I only get the $300, that way I don't have to cheap out on a part or two.

The video card that you picked out says, System Requirements: 500W, which is why I was concerned about not getting at least 550W. I plan on adding more attachments to my computer as I go along, so I thought it would be better to go at least a step above what I'm guessing that they put as a minimum.
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#11
kamille316

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Which video card? The 9600GT requires this:
- Minimum of a 400 Watt power supply. (Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 26 Amp Amps.)

And for the ATI HD3870
- 450Watt or greater power supply with 75 Watt 6-pin PCI Express power connector recommended. (the 75 Watt just means you need a PCI-E power connector from the Power supply)

So 500 Watt should be sufficient or else just get the 550 Watt for more headroom.
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#12
james_8970

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I doubt your system would ever need more then 250W.
If you swap GPU, you should never exceed 325W
James
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#13
Granz00

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So here is the final breakdown.

MOBO - GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L - $89.99
Video Card - XFX GeForce 9600GT 512MB - $169.99
Case - Antec 900 - Already Bought
PSU - OCZ GameXtream 600W - $89.99
RAM - Mushkin 2GB - $44.99

Which brings me to a total of $394.96, and $10.25 for the 3 day shipping. So after rebates, I'm down to $355.21. I guess $55.21 out of my pocket isn't too bad.

With the PSU fan being on the bottom, does that mean I need to install it upside down? The case has the PSU slot at the bottom.

Other then that, I am unofficially finished with this forum. I will be starting up a fresh forum for some other parts questions.
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#14
kamille316

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There might be some cables from the PSU that will be too short (4pin 12V ATX plug (CPU power)), but from the research I've done there are some people that said that it is long enough but if you're having some problem then just buy an extension.

With the PSU fan being on the bottom, does that mean I need to install it upside down? The case has the PSU slot at the bottom.

I haven't personally worked on an Antec 900 but based on the research I've done, you have to install the PSU upside down so the fan is on the top. You should only do this if there's no holes at the bottom of the case (look at a Coolermaster CM 690 and you'll see that there's a hole at the bottom for the PSU so I installed mine so that the PSU fan is at the bottom).

Everything else is good :)
If you have anymore questions, don't hesitate to ask :)

Kamille

Edited by kamille316, 03 April 2008 - 09:54 AM.

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#15
james_8970

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While the PSU I suggested has less watts, it's much better then that OCZ PSU you currently have selected.
James

Edited by james_8970, 03 April 2008 - 01:35 PM.

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