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Need help with upgrading


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#1
Ankou

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Hi,
Basically im kinda noob with computer upgrades as i much more prefer the programming side of things :)
Anyway my main problem is this... My old PC blew up (not surprised i way overclocked it and was about 5 years old) so i brought a new computer (something crap that my girlfriend can use for studies).. Now as the computer is crap and im a complete Gaming nerd ofc im having problems. Not sure if you can see my system specs that i input on the registration forms so if you cant just ask and ill say it all again. Anyway.. this computer is now like 2 months old.. windows vista.. crappy hardware.. 1 GB ram!!! >< Well i fixed my RAM issue and now have 3 GB DDR2. I now need help with my GPU and PSU (my motherboard and CPU can wait till later: also im not sure if the mother board is as crap as the rest). I have found that my PSU is ONLY a 300 watt machine and wont run any of the graphics cards that are currently being sold in stores. So basically i want to ask 1: Whats a good graphics card for my gaming needs (I was thinking maybe the 9600 GT? ) and also what is a good Power Supply to use with it(i dont want something generic cos they never work at full capacity and as i will upgrade again later i want something with TRUE wattage)? like how many watts will i need (i was thinking 550watt - 600watt?) Any help will be good but i dunno if ive just confused most of you or not but i know what im thinking but re-reading what i wrote confuses even myself ><

Oh yeah.. also will i need to upgrade my MotherBoard? or is this not so important? Just ask if you cant see all my system specs i wrote down in signup..

Thanks in advance :)
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#2
Ferrari

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Hi Ankou, Welcome to Geekstogo!

After reading your post, I realized that you are eventually wanting to upgrade almost everything. So, have you ever gave thought about building your own computer? It can be less expensive than going out and buying one, and you can taylor everything to fit your needs. From what you have said, it seems you are rather comfortable with replacing parts and/or getting your hands on the internals of a computer. Even if it means saving some money up over time, the benefit of building a computer for your gaming needs has a much better cost/benefit ratio than does just upgrading what you already have.

With that said,

If you would post the name and model of your computer that could help me get started if you just wish to upgrade. If you have the make and model of your motherboard that would help even better.

Let me know.
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#3
Ankou

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Heya.
Well my current PC is laughable really and i only have it cos my girlfriend needed a PC for studies (my old PC blew up).
I have been interested in building my own computer but i feel i would most likely stuff it up and it wont work ><
It does work out alot cheaper building it personally then buying one from a store. Only problem being is I have NO experience in this ><
Anyway my current "Very Laughable" PC is: Compac Presario SR5620AN <--- as i said its a joke :) and hence why im trying to upgrade this
At the same time tho i do see the cost of myself upgrading this PC to work out more then to buy a new one so any ideas help :)
BTW how do you learn to build a PC anyway? i mean ive done my Diploma of I.T and i still feel like i know nothing lol
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#4
Ferrari

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Just wanted to make sure, is this your PC? Compaq Presario Or similar to it?

Also, I wasn't clear enough. I need to know your RAM amount and Processor you have.

Go to Start >> Right click on My Computer >> Select Properties >> Under the General Tab, Tell me what processor you have and RAM, etc.

Edit: According to crucial.com I believe you can max your computer out to 4gb of RAM if you wanted. Go to www.crucial.com and use their online scanner if you want. It will tell you what you have and what you need to max it out. 3gb is pretty good though, just wanted to let you know.

Post this information and let me know if that seems to be your computer. Then we can start to upgrade.

Edit: Also, how much are you looking to spend and the total upgrade? or per part? CPU, Graphics Card, RAM, Power Supply?

Also, since you seem interested here is a guide written by a Staff Tech

How to build your own computer

Here is a great guide to help you pick parts when you are unsure if they are compatible.

Here

They have budgeted systems they have tested and built under $500, $1000 and more. They list the parts and links to the parts.

Here is a thread that updates the best graphics cards for the money every month.

Best video card for gaming Make sure you go to the last page of this thread to see the most up to date cards link.

And you can always come to geekstogo if you are unsure if a part is compatible or not, just start a new topic.

I'll start doing some light searching for you, let me know!

Edited by Ferrari, 22 March 2009 - 05:40 PM.

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#5
Ankou

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lol yeah thats my crappy PC :) Ill list my specs below as well so you can have a full idea of what it is. and will mark what i have upgraded..

Mobo: MSI, MS-7525, Boston-GL6
RAM: 3GB <--- i upgraded this from 1GB pretty sure its DDR2
CPU: Intel Celeron E1200 (Dual Core @ 1.6ghz)
GPU: Intel G33/G31 Express Chipset
OS: Windows Vista Home Basic, Service Pack 2 (Beta Version Service Pack)
PSU: 300 W
HDD: Over 2 TB's (4 HDD's 2 internal 2 external)

Well those are the main specs. I am wanting to spend in total averaging AU$500-$600. I know a few places to get parts brand new for cheap (whole salers that sell individually too)
How do i find if i need upgrade my Mobo to support a GFX card anyway? If i look up my system it says "PCI Express x16 One (One available)". That means i can throw in a graphics card yea?
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#6
Anthony19

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Hello Ankou

May i suggest you download everest from:http://www.oldversion.com/download_Everest_Home_Edition_1.51.html

This application will be able to assist you by providing some useful information... without the need of entering into the computer itself ( Behind the case )

EG: make / model of certain parts within the computer ( Internals )

It is a very handy hardware identifying tool

as i think, you seem a little skeptic or certain things :) , This should be great application for you...

Best of luck !!!
&
Happy computing

Anthony19

PS: please note, the version of everest i have recommended is an old version... , take note of the version number , DO NOT download the newest one, this version has more features :)

Edited by Anthony19, 23 March 2009 - 01:17 AM.

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#7
Ankou

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thanks Anthony ill try that :)

Also i have tried using the guide to building my own PC and this is what i have come up with.. Can you guys help me make changes to it cos i dont know if i have gone over-board with some of the parts or even listed some really crappy parts :)... Remember all prices are listed in $AU

Case: Thermantake Armor+MX - $148
Mobo: G-B EP45T-UD3RL - $187
PSU: Vantec ION2+ 550W - $ 85
CPU: Intel E8400 - $262
RAM: 4GB Kit-800(2x2GB) Kingston - $ 67
HDD #1: Seagate SATA 500G - $ 89
HDD #2: Seagate SATA 500G - $ 89
CD Drive #1: LG SATA Blu-Ray Combo Player - $118
CD Drive #2: Retail SATA DVD-RW - $ 35
Video Card: 512M 9600GT Gigabyte - $155
Sound Card: X-FI Xtreme Audio - $ 72
Networking Card: 10/100/1000 Gigabit NIC - $ 11
Keyboard+Mouse: Gigabyte Desktop GK-KM6000 - $ 20
Speakers: Creative Inspire T6100 5.1 - $ 85
Monitor: 22” 2ms DVI WS Viewsonic VX2240 - $225
Cooler: Thermaltake Blue Orb FX - $ 52
OS: Windows Vista Home Basic - $130~
-----------
$1830
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#8
Ferrari

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Ok, now you are confusing me. :) I thought you said you wanted to upgrade, not build.

This is what I came up with last night for the upgrading.

CPU. 2.93ghz Core 2 Duo Wolfdale Processor. Your motherboard supports this, amazingly.

PSU SeaSonic Power Supply

Video 512mb 256bit 9800 GTX Graphics Card

Things to note: There are better graphics cards, but I don't even know if this one will be too big for your case, it depends on what is directly in front of your PCI-e x16 slot. Like hard drives? or some other sort of brackets, etc.

The power supply you buy must have the appropriate connector you need for the graphics card you buy. In these suggestions you will have a 2x6 connector on the graphics card, so the power supply has a 6x2.

Same with your motherboard, from the pictures and specs of your board on the hp/compaq site found HERE you need the power supply to have a 4pin CPU power connector as well as a 20+4 pin main power connector, which the SeaSonic has.

Also note, that your computer has a Micro ATX power supply (uATX) which is smaller in depth so the SeaSonic may be too big, you will have to do some measuring and some research to ensure the SeaSonic will fit. If it does not, this is the "Micro ATX" Power supply I found you.

Athena PSU

However, this somewhat generic HP upgrade PSU, may not have the 2x6 connector for the graphics card. If this is the only kind of power supply that will fit in your case, you may be limited to a graphics card that DOES NOT require its own power connector i.e. 2x6 pin.

It can be somewhat complicated when upgrading a store bought computer, I hope you were able to follow what I said.

Another thing to note, you have a PCI-e x16 slot, but PCI-e x16 2.0 cards will work in it. They are backwards compatible.

Ok, let me know. Also, the best place to search for parts online is Newegg.com. This is where most of us look and they carry the top parts for building and upgrading. It would be easier if you were able to provide a link to the parts you listed above for your NEW BUILD(if thats what you decide). Simply giving the name makes it much more difficult for us.

Thanks,
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#9
Ankou

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WoW! thanks man. Im looking at these parts now and i also have a parts list from my 2 local PC stores. 1 on paper and the other one is http://www.msy.com.au/Parts/PARTS.pdf. Saves alot of time then building a new one but ill save and build a new one eventually as well :) Also if my PC case is too small for the PSU and such.. anyway that i could buy another case and just get everything swapped over? or is this just not worth the time being that i just go with the Athena Power PSU ?

Cheers for all your help man. Ill leave the PC building till later and just sort out upgrades at the moment :)

On top of that if i may ask for you to elaborate what you mean about the graphics card PCI-e and PCI-e 2.0 ? as you said i have a PCI-e x16 slot but not a PCI-e x16 2.0 meaning that the graphics card you linked me wont work? im not sure if i under stand this bit

Edited by Ankou, 23 March 2009 - 12:36 PM.

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#10
Ferrari

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Also if my PC case is too small for the PSU and such.. anyway that i could buy another case and just get everything swapped over? or is this just not worth the time


A case swap is very doable. Your motherboard seems to have a uATX (micro ATX) form factor as well, so you will need a case that has the holes to mount the motherboard. Here is some of the mid-towers.

MicroATX Mid-Towers

Also, if you look up toward the top of Newegg, you will see a heading for Computer Hardware. Move your mouse over it and then select Computer Cases. Then look on the left panel and it will give you options to select Micro ATX Desktop and/or "More". Click on More and it will give more options for cases that are Micro ATX form factor. Pick whichever case you like and fits your budget.

However, going to your local computer stores may be best for you since you are somewhat new to this. You can talk to the people there and see what they say and see what they have. You will get a much better "Visual" for what will work for you. Also, note that some of the cases on Newegg come with power supplies, but as you have pointed out...they can be unreliable and not really put out the wattage the claim to. So just sell that on Craigslist if you pick one that already has a power supply LOL.

With all that said, if I were you this is what I would do.

1. Buy the SeaSonic, Wolfdale Processor, and the 9800 GTX.
2. Visual open your case up once they come in the mail(or once you buy from your local computer store) and see if things will seem to fit, WITHOUT actually unplugging anything yet, Just eye it up for starts.
3. Use your existing case if everything seems to fit, if it ends up not working out then
4. Go to your local computer store, or online, and buy a new case that seems to have bigger dimensions than the case you currently have, that will be compatible with the parts you have bought, i.e. Micro ATX Form factor.
5. You are Done!

Buying online can be very hard in regards to finding out if something will actually match up with screw holes, or if it is too big, or not big enough. So, I would also recommend going to your local computer stores and get to actually talk to someone in person and see what they say, and what they have.

Also note, that the graphics card can be made by many other companies like Sparkle, PNY, EVGA, or XFX to name a few. But generally speaking as long as it says 512mb 256bit 9800 GTX along with it, it is basically the same card, just different manufacturer. They all have the Nvidia chipsets and all.

I think with the products, information, and especially the CONNECTORS you need, along with looking inside your case !!first!! you should beable to go and talk to someone at the computer stores, and look online and make a very informed decision on what you should do and what is best for you. Be sure to print this topic out or re read it and get a good idea of what all you need, etc.

Take a look at the pictures of your motherboard in the link I provided you and also its specifications just to have peace of mind on that these parts are what you need.

Finally!!!!! :) To answer your PCI-e vs. PCI-e 2.0 question

Read this for the best way to explain the PCI-e and PCI-e 2.0 answer. Scroll almost all the way to the bottom for the PCI Express 2.0 explanation. This confirms that 2.0 will work in a just regular x16 1.0 or 1.1 slot. Also, read whatever parts that seem to apply to you, it is a very long article/definition.

Hopefully all this helps you! And let me know if you have any more questions.
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#11
Ferrari

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I also wanted to ad, I hope you realize you are pretty much building a computer by doing this upgrade :) . The cost is a lot less though and you don't have to worry about buying another Operating System (i.e. Windows XP, Vista). Other than that, if you can pull this off, you are more than capable of building a PC. Research and Google is the key, not to mention you can always start a new topic on here for any questions about compatibility and what not.

First thing you should do is open your case up (UNPLUGGED) and just eye some things up with the parts that I have recommended, cause I have to do some of this stuff blind, ya know?

And remember, make sure you touch some metal and ground your self before handling any computer parts, an electro-static discharge and you will ruin the computer part(s). You may want to google and read some articles on handling computer parts if you are not familiar with what I'm talking about or ask the guys at your computer store.

Edited by Ferrari, 23 March 2009 - 01:24 PM.

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#12
Ankou

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wow didnt expect you to get back to me so fast lol
thank :)
Ill look into all of this and see how it goes. Only thing im worried about is screwing the whole thing up as my girlriend needs it for studies :)

Also as to grounding myself before doing anything inside the Case .. i still have a douvalacky thingo (cant remember the name) it goes around my wrist and a clip attaches to the PC so i cant cause static discharge? I think thats what its for lol all i know is i used it when i did my diploma of I.T :)
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#13
Ferrari

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Ill look into all of this and see how it goes. Only thing im worried about is screwing the whole thing up as my girlriend needs it for studies



Tell me about it, I have the same worry whenever I upgrade my parents computer. You know, this could be a very good reason to start from scratch and build a new one! :)

If things don't go well that day, you should be able to just part the old stuff back together and everything work fine. But yeah, there is a little scare factor sometimes.
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#14
Ankou

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Yea just makes me kinda worried :)

another quick question while i know your around...
if i was to open my case right now.. how would i be able to tell if the standard size SeaGate PSU will fit? will i need to pick one up and see or is there some way to tell with out buying one for tester ?
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#15
Ferrari

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Open the case up. Then look at the pictures(enlarged) on newegg links I gave you of the SeaSonic and the Athena. Notice how the Athena is real short and stocky like. The SeaSonic is more the same length wide as it is long. See what I'm saying? Then compare that information to what you have in your case, is it more stocky like the Athena, or is it more square like the SeaSonic.

Also, look on the back of your case where the screws are that mount the power supply to the case(from the outside on the back) and make sure it looks the same as the SeaSonic and Athena screw holes. You can look at the enlarge pictures of that view too by click on the pictures of the PSUs on Newegg. You can even zoom in on many of them.

I'll be around for a little bit, if you have time go do it now. If not I get on here everyday, so no worries.
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