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Need Help upgrading Computer for Gaming


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#1
blitz450

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I've been a gaming for a while now but I've always been limited by my PC, mainly due to the graphics card. I've had this PC for sometime and have never really done anything major to it, but I'd like to change that. I'm looking to upgrade my system, though not majorly. Only enough so I can comfortably play somewhat recent PC games on my PC. By comfortably I mean a nice FPS at medium to low settings. If you want a reference point, the game in specific is ArmA 2, and games similar to that in age/system demands.

Like I said before I'm pretty sure the main problem is in my extremely bad graphics card, although I'm not an expert, so I'd like to know if there is anything else in my system that could use an upgrade before I go out and purchase a graphics card.

My system specs:
-Dell
-Intell Core 2 Duo CPU E7400 @ 2.80GHz 2.80GHz
-6.00GB RAM
-64 - bit Operating System
-Windows Vista Home Premium Service Pack 2
-(Said horrible graphics card) - Intel G33/G31 Express Chipset Family

So I guess to sum up what I'm asking:
-How exactly does my system compare to the "good" systems at the moment?
-What would be a reliable, affordable graphics card that I could get to help boost my gaming experience?
-Any extra adive about purchasing a graphics card?
-Is there anything else in my system that could use an upgrade?

Thanks again for your time. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to system stuff and have been wanting to upgrade my PC for awhile now, but I could never work out where to start.
I'm looking forward to playing some games that have come out in the last decade on my PC for once.

If you need to know anything else just let me know.

And for a budget I'm looking at about $200.

Edited by blitz450, 18 March 2012 - 09:14 PM.

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#2
Passionateman

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Do you have a budget to upgrade your rig? It would be a lot easier for me to find you something within your budget rather than get you something you don't need.
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#3
blitz450

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Indeed I do have a budget, sorry I was going to add it in the original post but that was the one part I forgot about. Edited in at the last moment.
I'm looking to spend at most about $200, and that's for a graphics card. If I need anything else then I'll see what's possible.
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#4
Digerati

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Note that most factory made computers come with power supplies that are barely adequate for the original hardware. Note too that graphics cards are often the most power hungry devices in our computers. Therefore, you MUST ensure your current PSU is able to support your new graphics card BEFORE installing the new card. If your old PSU is not adequate, plan on buying a new PSU too.

Also, I am going to guess with 6Gb of RAM your motherboard supports triple channel memory architecture. If that is true, then 6Gb is fine, but if your board supports dual-channel, then you might look at increasing your RAM to 8Gb (using pairs of RAM sticks, not trips). We would need the motherboard (or computer) model number to be sure.

As for the best card for your money, see http://www.tomshardw...view,3107.html' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>Tom's Hardware Best Graphics Cards for the Money: March 2012.
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#5
blitz450

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We would need the motherboard (or computer) model number to be sure.



I'm not entirely sure if this is what you are looking but it's a dell inspiron 530.
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#6
NKGuy

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Is this a desktop or laptop that we are talking about here?
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#7
blitz450

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It's a desktop.
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#8
NKGuy

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I believe a 6870 would be alright for your build as it does not bottleneck with the e7400. Although your PSU should be 500+ watts.
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#9
Systemuath

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If you have a budget of $200, you can try to get the HD6870. It is selling at around $170. :-) It's a great card.
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#10
Digerati

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Well, as I look here and here, it looks like you have 4 RAM slots with 4Gb (4 x 1Gb) the maximum. Yet you say you have 6Gb. How is that configured? The stated PSU is a small 250W supply.

I agree the AMD Radeon HD 6870 is a decent card, but see "NOTE" below. Also note AMD states 500W is the "minimum" recommended PSU. So I would push for a little bit more - 600W or so - to give you some headroom for future expansion.

NOTE: The images of the computers in each of those links above shows two quite different computer cases and it looks like the tall one is a "slim" case. If so, then you may need a "low-profile" graphics card and PSU. If you post your Dell Service Tag number, we can determine your exact specifications (when it was new, anyway).
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#11
blitz450

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The service tag is 9VHPHG1.
I went to here last night and got some info about it:
http://www.dell.com/...=en&s=dfh&cs=22

it looks like you have 4 RAM slots with 4Gb (4 x 1Gb) the maximum. Yet you say you have 6Gb. How is that configured?


I'm not really sure how I would find out how it is configured... I'm guessing it means popping the case open?
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#12
Digerati

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Well, according to your service tag information, you have 2 x 2Gb + 2 x 1Gb for 6Gb total. So they are in pairs, for dual-channel and that is good.

Unfortunately, I still cannot tell if you have the slim or standard case - but it looks like the slim takes standard size cards and PSUs anyway. So it appears you are good to go with a new card and PSU.
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#13
blitz450

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Alright I guess I'll look into the card that was recommended and search for a PSU.
Thanks to everyone for the help, it is very appreciated.
I'm sorry if I made this more complicated than it should have been by not providing all the necessary info.

Just as an added note, the case isn't a slim, it's standard size, incase anyone wanted to know.

Edited by blitz450, 21 March 2012 - 03:05 PM.

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#14
Digerati

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Good - so it looks like this case, right? That means you don't need to look for low-profile cards or PSUs.
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#15
blitz450

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Yep, that's the one.

Edited by blitz450, 22 March 2012 - 06:31 PM.

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