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Want to upgrade. Would it be better to start from scratch?


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#1
taru

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Hi, this is the current state of my desktop:

Mobo: ECS 848P-A7 (V1.0)
CPU: P4 2.66GHz
Graphics: Inno3D 5200/FX 128Mb
DDR: 2x512Mb

I love playing games but the more recent games won't run smoothly anymore. I edit pictures a lot but sometimes working on huge files slows the computer to a pace. And I occasionally do recordings, and with that I don't get any problems that bother me.

What would be the best way to pump up the system? What hardware would best be used? Or will it be cheaper if I would build another one from the ground up? And will anybody still buy a computer with these specs (just to offset the cost of new hardware)?

Thanks for your time!




PS. My budget is $400-500 if that's possible.
I guess if I really want a high-performance computer I'll have to invest more than this.

Edited by taru, 01 August 2008 - 09:37 AM.

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#2
kamille316

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Choosing between upgrading and starting from scratch (building a new one) all comes down to what games you're going to play and the resolution you want to play at.

I would say $700-$800 would be enough for building a computer (considering you have the monitor, keyboard, mouse and/or OS already).

Kamille
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#3
O/Siris

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I don't see a need for a new computer, frankly. 1GB of RAM is a bit small for some of the things you speak off. I'd at least double that. And I even recommend 4GB of RAM. With RAM prices where they are, I think you'll see a significant improvement.

Depending on the games, I'd go with a 256MB video card, too. Maybe even one with 512MB. I don't see too many games asking for 512MB yet. A few, but not many.

I think those two things will give you a significant upgrade in performance, and you will likely even be able to stay within budget with a 256MB video card. I think there's even a chance of that with a 512MB one.
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#4
taru

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Thanks for replying Kamille.

I have been thinking of upgrading ever since I first started playing HL2. Because even running at the minimum, the system wasn't able to handle it. It felt like playing a stop-motion game. And with the release of games like Crysis or Assassin's Creed... well, you get the picture. xD

I was planning to swap the 2.66Ghz with a Single core 3.4Ghz (unless 2xCore is possible) and the graphics card with an Nvidia GeForce 6800 and 2Gb of RAM. I checked the prices and wondered if a more powerful new system would cost just as much or just a little over it. Because apparently even the newer DDRs (2/3) are cheaper than the first generation.

Like your system, for example... with just the bare essentials (mobo, cpu, graphics card, ram, heatsink/fan), how much did you have to fork over?
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#5
taru

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I don't see a need for a new computer, frankly. 1GB of RAM is a bit small for some of the things you speak off. I'd at least double that. And I even recommend 4GB of RAM. With RAM prices where they are, I think you'll see a significant improvement.

Depending on the games, I'd go with a 256MB video card, too. Maybe even one with 512MB. I don't see too many games asking for 512MB yet. A few, but not many.

I think those two things will give you a significant upgrade in performance, and you will likely even be able to stay within budget with a 256MB video card. I think there's even a chance of that with a 512MB one.



Just the graphics card and RAM, right? Will a change of processor do any good? As I've stated in my post to Kamille, I was also planning to upgrade to the 3.4GHz (or higher).

I'm having a bit of a dilemma regarding the upgrades because the newer hardware (like RAM, for example; DDR2) is cheaper. And I don't think this mobo is compatible with DDR2 as it states by the RAM slots (DUAL DDR 400). DDR2 starts at 533?
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#6
kamille316

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If you're going to play those new games like Crysis, then you need a better system.

Your current system can handle this kind of upgrade:
- up the RAM to 2GB, your motherboard can't support DDR2/DDR3 (however DDR RAMs are expensive)
- replace your video card (only supports AGP, however some AGP cards are also expensive compared to the same one that's for PCI-e slots)

Upgrading to a single core 3.4GHz would only yield a small performance increase.

Like your system, for example... with just the bare essentials (mobo, cpu, graphics card, ram, heatsink/fan), how much did you have to fork over?

Case: CM 690 - $70
Motherboard: Gigabyte P45-DS3L - $100
Processor: Intel E7200 - $120
RAM: 2GB DDR2-800 - $40
Video Card: 8800GT - $130
Hard drive: 500GB - $70
Power Supply - $100
DVD-writer - $25
Total - $655

The above is something I would recommend, prices are mostly a guesstimate of the regular products we recommend.
Mine was a little expensive as my processor at the time was $300, my power supply is modular and costs me $140, my motherboard was $125 at the time, and my video card was $300 at the time I bought it (it is now, as I stated above, around $130).

Kamille
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#7
O/Siris

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I'm in agreement with Kamille. I think RAM + Video card come out a bit less expensive and will get you by for now. Longer term, her idea is best. So it's a question of where you want to be down the road. Since you don't make it sound like you have any large issues right now, just the two hardware upgrades should cover what you're doing now. If you're looking at Crysis or any of the newer games, go with what Kamille's saying.
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#8
taru

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Thanks for the inputs, both of you.

It's still a couple of weeks until the next payday. That should give me time to think about whether to upgrade, or to build from scratch so that upgrading in the future would relatively cost less. I'm seeing upwards from $200 for the AGP card alone right now... and around $70 for 2x1024Gb DDR.

Kamille's build, on the other hand, is more or less around $500 for just the cpu, video card, and ram—and definitely has room for further upgrades. I have extra parts for everything else.



Oh, and one reason why I'm being stingy with all of these is because I'm also planning to buy me a laptop as I'll be leaving the desktop with my siblings when I move out a couple of months from now. So, basically, this will serve as my parting gift to them. ^^,
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#9
kamille316

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Oh, and one reason why I'm being stingy with all of these is because I'm also planning to buy me a laptop as I'll be leaving the desktop with my siblings when I move out a couple of months from now. So, basically, this will serve as my parting gift to them. ^^,

If that's the case, I suggest upgrading then so you have some money left to go for the laptop as gaming laptops (if you're going to use it for gaming as well) cost a lot.
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