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System Upgrade Help

  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
June 23, 2013 11:57:46 AM

I am new and extremely appreciate any help. My PC is now giving me issues (random shutdown, display device stopped working and caused reset, pixels and screen freeze while doing simple tasks). I have tried to troubleshoot, upgrade drivers, etc. and no fix. I think simply upgrading may be an easier solution.
To be honest I have never built a computer or installed upgrades to hardware but I have been told and read if done properly it is more cost effective. My question is should I simply go for a slightly better graphics card, or go further based on my specs and issues?

Budget Range: 200-400

System Usage from Most to Least Important: internet surfing, gaming

Are you buying a monitor: NO

Parts to Upgrade: not sure

Do you need to buy OS: not sure (if I have to replace motherboard then yes?)

Location: Nashville, TN

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: not a priority

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Additional Comments: I do not play high graphic intensive games. I used to play WoW and recently played Portal, Elder Scrolls, etc. I have been using a 32 inch TV as a monitor for some time.

My PC Specs:
Model- XPS 630i
Total amount of system memory- 4.00 GB RAM
System type- 64-bit operating system
Number of processor cores- 4 x Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40 GHZ
Total size of hard disk- 298 GB
Display adapter type- NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
Total available graphics memory- 2302 MB
Dedicated graphics memory 512 MB
Dedicated system memory- 0 MB
Shared system memory- 1790 MB
Display adapter driver version-
Primary monitor resolution- 1366x768
DirectX version- DirectX 10

More about : system upgrade

June 23, 2013 12:27:43 PM

One of the most common causes for random shut downs is a failing or too-weak PSU. Next up, is bad RAM. But that usually presents a BSOD. Run memtest for at least one full pass on each stick individually to check RAM.

The PSU is harder to diagnose. What is its make/model?

You should run CCleaner too, to clean your system of registry errors and other junk that causes crashes and conflicting issues.

Check your system configuration/start up to see if you can uncheck any boxes to eliminate stuff starting up and running in the background you don't need. For comparison, I have six I keep checked when gaming.

If you still need/want to upgrade, $200 - $400 would depend on what items you'd have to replace. MB and CPU, Gfx card, PSU, main use for the PC, monitor resolution (if gaming)...
June 23, 2013 12:35:08 PM

Thank you very much. this is helpful. I do not know the make and model of the PSU but I will try to find out and hopefully I can keep it running long enough to do so and try some of your suggestions.
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June 23, 2013 12:47:14 PM

If by "keep it running" you mean it shuts itself off, that would lead me to believe the PSU is the issue. But keep at the testing if possible...
June 23, 2013 12:55:31 PM

I'll shortly explain exactly what issues I have been having. Again I really appreciate your help as I don't really know a lot about this. In the past 24 hours my PC has
1. just shut down completely once

2. screen freeze along with pixels shooting across the screen and mouse pointer moving slowly, followed by screen blacking out permanently, and when this happens (about 10 times) the unit does not power down

3. screen blacks out for 3-5 seconds followed by error message "display devise has stopped working and restarted" about 10 times
June 23, 2013 1:13:54 PM

1) Possible PSU issue

2) Possible GPU failure. Could also be related to (1): sudden PSU voltage (+12V) drop to GPU.

3) Related to (2). Same possibilities.

Do you have another PSU to swap out with? This is just an educated guess on my part. It is always difficult to trouble-shoot from afar. I'd really like to know the make/model of the PSU. If it is a cheapie, all the more reason to suspect the PSU.
June 27, 2013 7:39:30 PM

If that is a Dell branded PSU, it is probably of decent quality. Your specs link doesn't work for me.