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Upgrade advice for an extremely limited budget, and only from amazon.

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March 29, 2013 3:13:24 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Soon as possible.

Budget Range: $90.54 right now, can save up more if the upgrade would be worth the wait. This is my amazon gift card balance so can only purchase from amazon.com with it. I can usually get around $40/month in amazon credit though sometimes it's a little more, so keep that rate in mind if suggesting I save for something a little more expensive.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Most important is earning sites that pay out in amazon credit. Basically a lot of videos usually on pages loaded with other flash ads slowing everything down. Also of importance is gaming performance but I only get the games that end up heavily discounted on Steam or offered through Humblebundle so not the latest and greatest top titles by any means. I also watch netflix streaming on the machine and would like if it was able to handle playing in HD which it does not currently.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: Whatever will help within my budget.

Do you need to buy OS: Unsure
Please note that if you're using an OEM license of Windows, you will need a new one when buying a new motherboard.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Can only purchase from amazon as my budget is in the form of amazon giftcard balance.

Location: Valdosta, GA but can't purchase local as my only money to spend is amazon credit.

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: NO

Your Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments: Just looking for suggestions on where best to spend money to make this system last me a little longer. I want a new one but saving up for that with my current situation will take a few years.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Currently I am unable to work because I am a caretaker for my bedbound mother who needs care 24x7. This leaves me with a LOT of free time as I mostly just need to be available if she calls me not actively doing anything. The computer is my way of staying sane. First and foremost I have several sites I use to earn credit on amazon, since at the moment that's the only money I get I mostly care about the system working well for continuing this, though my current one is mostly up to the task and only really lags a bit on some of the pages that are heaviest with extra advertising banners and/or multiple videos playing at once. I do some gaming from this system as well but mostly older titles and more often than not in a window so the resolution isn't at my full 1680x1050, and I am pretty used to having to back all the settings down to near minimums to make things playable. I would also like it to be able to handle HD streams from youtube and netflix if possible, which is something it can't currently do.

My system currently consists of.

Winfast K8M890 motherboard
Athlon 64 x2 3800+ processor
3gb of DDR2 ram
Radeon HD 4670 video card
I have 2 HD's though I doubt an upgrade to them will make much difference and I have way more room than I need. The HD's are a 1tb Seagate, and a 250gb Western Digital, both SATA.

Unsure of the brand of powersupply but it's a super cheap replacement I put in when an old one died. I think it was sold as a 450 watt, and the sticker on the side lists 20amps on both the +3.3 and +5v, and 18 amps on each of the 2 +12v rails.

Windows 7 32bit. For OS I have an OEM copy of Vista 64bit that was originally on this system and purchased a windows 7 upgrade and installed the 32 bit from that. Don't know if that will cause me to need a new copy if I change motherboard or not.
March 29, 2013 3:42:11 AM

Seems that your motherboard is a AM2 board, but it does have PCI-e slots. Upgrading motherboard would cause you to have to upgrade your cpu also since most newer AMD boards are AM3/AM3+/FM now, which would go over your budget. The amount of ram you have is fine with windows 7 32bit. Your harddrives are sufficient. That just leaves your CPU and graphics card. A quick amazon search for cpu only showed me used AM2 cpu's (a x2 5000 series IIRC), but it was only $15. So, you can either choose to upgrade your video card (must stay within power requirements) or your cpu to a faster model. If you don't mind buying used from a reputable seller on amazon, you could quite possibly get the cpu and a newer model gpu within your budget (barring sales tax), which would breathe a little more life into your machine.
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March 29, 2013 3:51:57 AM

cyphacipher said:
Seems that your motherboard is a AM2 board, but it does have PCI-e slots. Upgrading motherboard would cause you to have to upgrade your cpu also since most newer AMD boards are AM3/AM3+/FM now, which would go over your budget. The amount of ram you have is fine with windows 7 32bit. Your harddrives are sufficient. That just leaves your CPU and graphics card. A quick amazon search for cpu only showed me used AM2 cpu's (a x2 5000 series IIRC), but it was only $15. So, you can either choose to upgrade your video card (must stay within power requirements) or your cpu to a faster model. If you don't mind buying used from a reputable seller on amazon, you could quite possibly get the cpu and a newer model gpu within your budget (barring sales tax), which would breathe a little more life into your machine.


The board was a bottom of the barrel budget board when I got it and is definitely showing it's age now, it does have pci-e however. This is a cut/paste from the product page for it on foxconn's site...

-AMD Sempron™, Athlon™ 64, Athlon™ 64FX, Athlon™ 64X2 processors, Socket AM2
-2000 MT/s HyperTransport™
-Dual channel DDR2 800/667 x 2 DIMMs,Max 2GB
-1 X PCIe x16,1 x PCIe x1,2 x PCI
-IDE x 2+Serial ATA x 2 w/RAID 0,1,JBOD
-5.1 channel HDA(Realtek)
-10/100M LAN
-8USB2.0ports

A bios update some time ago added support for more memory and system probe programs now report that it supports upto 8gb total and upto 4gb per chip for memory. It's using the 3gb I have now just fine.
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March 29, 2013 4:23:33 AM

If the internal harddrives are using IDE ports, it may be in your best interest to get a SATA drive for faster data access. IDE has a much slower transfer rate, and can quite possibly be bottlenecking your system (most online sites such as youtube, and netflix stream data to your pc, using your hd as a buffer....slow hd access speeds will pretty much kill your viewing experience). I cant really suggest more ram, since windows 32bit has a 4gb limit (and if you install 4gb, only like 3.275 or something close to it is usable, so you may as well stay at 3). The athlon x2 5000b is 2.6ghz, and your current cpu is 2.0ghz, so not a huge awe inspiring upgrade there either. Mainly itll come down to SATA hd (if you are using IDE). Or newer gpu, cpu.
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March 29, 2013 6:11:53 AM

cyphacipher said:
If the internal harddrives are using IDE ports, it may be in your best interest to get a SATA drive for faster data access. IDE has a much slower transfer rate, and can quite possibly be bottlenecking your system (most online sites such as youtube, and netflix stream data to your pc, using your hd as a buffer....slow hd access speeds will pretty much kill your viewing experience). I cant really suggest more ram, since windows 32bit has a 4gb limit (and if you install 4gb, only like 3.275 or something close to it is usable, so you may as well stay at 3). The athlon x2 5000b is 2.6ghz, and your current cpu is 2.0ghz, so not a huge awe inspiring upgrade there either. Mainly itll come down to SATA hd (if you are using IDE). Or newer gpu, cpu.


Both my HD's are SATA already. I'm seriously considering the cpu you mentioned as that's way cheaper than I expected to find, but used does bother me a bit. Seller doesn't have many ratings and that's a risk, though not much of one considering the price.

I didn't know till reading the template posted in sticky for upgrade/build advice requests that replacing the motherboard could require a new windows license if your old one was OEM. Not sure if mine would fall under that restriction since my original OS was an OEM copy of Vista 64, but I purchased a regular upgrade disk for windows 7 which came in the regular packaging and included disks for both 32 and 64 bit versions. If possible to upgrade the mb without buying a new OS maybe I should just save for a mb/cpu/ram upgrade, the small bump in clock speed while staying same generation cpu I already have wouldn't really make a big difference in anything I'd think.
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Best solution

March 29, 2013 2:11:44 PM

I think it would be in your best interest to save up for a mobo/cpu/ram upgrade. Alot of sites like newegg sell bundles, or give discounts when mobo/cpu are bought in tandem. Not only that, but upgrading to a AM3+ board opens up a lot of options with newer x4, fx, x3 cpu's, so even if you start out with a fairly basic unit (X3 or so), you still can move up to a nicer option later.
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