My old PC is starting to show its age after almost 6 years of faithful service, and I'm trying to decide on replacements for a new build. As you might be able to tell from the items I know I want and the ones I'm considering, price is a major factor, but I do want things (like the CPU and max RAM capacity) to be good for a while.
The items I'm positive I'll be getting are:
Processor - AMD Athlon II X4 631 My link Consistently scores at or near the top of price/performance charts I've found updated to 12/2011, and is listed at the lower end of "High End" CPUs. My only question is does this CPU have a fair chance of being adequate for my needs over the next 5 years +/- ? The biggest resource use I have for my PC is gaming, and that's relatively low-end gaming. I don't play resource-intensive 3-D 1st-person shoot 'em ups, but I intend to play future versions of turn-based strategy and 3rd-person RPG games like Heroes of Might and Magic, Civilization, Diablo, and the Total War series. Also, this CPU so inexpensive I won't be too upset if I can get a serious performance upgrade for the same price in 2-3 years if requirements for the games I do play spike agian. The Pentium D 3GB dual core CPU I have now has been adequate for almost everything for the last 5 and a half years. The first game that had any problems more serious than slowed-down play was Civ 5, which spikes the CPU usage so badly it's constantly CTD-ing after half of the world map becomes unfogged.
Motherboard - ASRock A55 PRO3 My link Appears to have everything I need, and is cheap. The 32 GB RAM maximum I don't foresee needing, but I love the fact it's there if and when.
RAM - 2x4GB DDR3 1333 to start. Several choices around $30-35 at Newegg. The ASRock Motherboard QVL doesn't list the specific module size, speed, and manufacturer of the RAM I was looking to purchase but does list that manufacturer under different sizes and speeds. Can I assume compatiblity? I've read that these lists are incomplete simply due to the number of manufacturers of RAM and the enormous possible combinations of sizes and speeds.
The things I'm not completely sure about are:
Power Supply - ? Possibly: APEVIA ATX-CW500WP4 500W http://www.newegg.co...eywords)&Page=1 Several higher reviews state this unit is fairly quiet, but compared to what? The HP a1620n I have now came with a Power Supply which to me is extremely quiet. What hum it does make can barely be heard if I have the tv 10 feet away turned on at just low volume, and that's if I sit right next to the PC. If I sat nearer the tv, it would be even less audible. Also, I don't know how to figure how much power I need for what I'm getting. Could I run what I'm looking at getting at 400 and get a possibly quieter Power Supply?
New Case - ? Is there any difference between buying one with a Fan, or getting that separate and installing it myself? The Case price seems to be about $10 difference, but Fans start at $3. Also, I can't find anything in the specs of that Motherboard I linked to that says what kind of Case Fan socket it has. I'd like to know whether the plug and socket will match beforehand so I don't lose another 2 weeks waiting for some kind of adapter. There's a cheap 80mm Fan (same size as the one in my current case) at Newegg that says 3/4 pins here: MASSCOOL 80mm Case Fan My link Does 3/4 mean it fits both? If that's so, then I'm looking at that Fan and the Case here: APEX SK-393-C ATX Mid Tower My link It's a Mid-Tower like my current Case, but it's 1-2 inches more in length and height. I'd rather take the chance that it's almost as cramped as my current case since the cheapest Full-Tower Cases start at $25 higher price.
The things I don't think I need at the moment:
CD/DVD Drive - The one I have now is a replacement less than a year old, but I don't know enough to know whether there are any compatibility issues here. Newegg page for my Drive: LITE-ON SATA DVD Burner My link
Video Card - Again, I have one about a year old, but don't know about compatibilty issues. I fully expect to upgrade or replace this with something 1GB in 1 year, possibly 1 and a half years if it doesn't wear out sooner like my last Card did. Newegg page for my Video Card (Card is out of production): SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 3650 512MBPCI Express 2.0 x16 My link
Monitor - I'm keeping my old CRT for now unless there is a compatibility issue with the newer items I'm unaware of.
Accessories - Unless there's some issue, I'll be keeping the Mouse, Keyboard, etc. that I have. All the Motherboard sockets appear to be the same for what I have.
Lastly there's the issue of the Hard Drive. This is a bit of a problem because I want to upgrade to Windows 7 and I don't know the easiest and cheapest way to do so. What I've found on Microsoft's website says if I want to switch my original Hard Drive from XP to Windows 7, I'll need an external Hard Drive to back up my old files, then put them back on the Hard Drive after the OS upgrade. Would it be possible, and as cheap or cheaper just to buy a new Hard Drive for Windows 7 and move the XP files from the old Hard drive to the new Hard Drive after installing the new OS? The Hard Drive I have now is the original, and I'm a little worried about it being amost 6 years old. I don't need much room, and there are several 250 and 320 GB drives at Newegg for under $50. Also, what's the cheapest way to get Windows 7? I've always bought PCs with the OS already installed and don't know anything about doing it yourself.
Anyway, that's all the questions I can think of right now. I'm sure there's a lot I'm too ignorant to even know I need to ask. I'm sure I'll get to those eventually. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Edited by Cabranth, 29 December 2011 - 06:47 AM.