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Looking for advice on upgrading an old system vs. building a new one

Hey, I've never built a computer before and this forum seemed like a good place to ask for advice.

I have an old Acer desktop I received from my father that I've been using as a little linux media server, but I'd like to turn it into a halfway decent gaming computer if that's possible.

The specs are:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6660 2.4ghz
2GB RAM
500GB HD
No GPU, just the integrated one (Intel G33?)
Runs Ubuntu currently, looking to put 64bit Win8 on it
I'm not sure about any other details, but I can find out more info about it if that'd help.

I'm willing to spend around $200-300 on new parts. Ideally I'd like it to run new games (metro: last light, bioshock infinite, etc) smoothly on medium to high settings. Does it seem like some new RAM, a GPU, and a new power supply would be doable in my price range on this old computer? If it's cheap enough I'd be willing to build an entirely new computer, but I just wanted to see if I could salvage this guy before I committed to a new project like that. Any advice is much appreciated. =]
18 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about advice upgrading system building
  1. id keep the hard drive and build a new one. if you can save up another 150$ or so youd have a beast that will last for 2 or 3 more years.
  2. TheN00bBuilder said:


    Thanks for the response!

    I believe my motherboard is the EG31M by Acer.. and a quick google search is telling me that it only supports 4GB. If that is the case would that still be enough to handle recently released games?
  3. Beezy said:
    id keep the hard drive and build a new one. if you can save up another 150$ or so youd have a beast that will last for 2 or 3 more years.


    TheN00bBuilder said:
    Ehh, I'd get a new mobo if I were you. This should work for what youneed; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157359


    Starting to look like I'm better off building a new one. If I can build something that is significantly better for just ~$150 or so more like Beezy said I may just do that instead. Does it sound like the definite better decision of the two? I hate not using old stuff that still has some use left in it. =P
  4. cakemix said:
    Beezy said:
    id keep the hard drive and build a new one. if you can save up another 150$ or so youd have a beast that will last for 2 or 3 more years.


    TheN00bBuilder said:
    Ehh, I'd get a new mobo if I were you. This should work for what youneed; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157359


    Starting to look like I'm better off building a new one. If I can build something that is significantly better for just ~$150 or so more like Beezy said I may just do that instead. Does it sound like the definite better decision of the two? I hate not using old stuff that still has some use left in it. =P


    considering what your dealing with now, we can get you a good FX 6300 build for around 450 or 500, and you will REALLY feel the difference. And plus ,why sink so much money into something old. processor is outdated by now..
  5. If you can only spend around $300 on it, you could run a build like this. Your very limited options at that price range:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Motherboard: MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($79.98 @ OutletPC)
    Case: Xion XON-560 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($44.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Antec Basiq 350W ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Amazon)
    Total: $304.93
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-30 23:32 EST-0500)

    Using your old harddrive of course,
  6. Abscent said:
    If you can only spend around $300 on it, you could run a build like this. Your very limited options at that price range:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Motherboard: MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($79.98 @ OutletPC)
    Case: Xion XON-560 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($44.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Antec Basiq 350W ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Amazon)
    Total: $304.93
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-30 23:32 EST-0500)

    Using your old harddrive of course,


    Well, the $300 limit was more aimed towards if I was only going to be doing upgrades. Building an entirely new machine, I would be much more willing to dish out more cash than that. Say I had roughly $500-600 to use, what would you recommend? I know next to nothing about AMD products as I've always bought computers with Intel products inside them for years, but I'm liking the price on the build you recommended, especially considering the good reviews on newegg/amazon.

    Again, the responses are much appreciated everyone. This is giving me a good idea of what to do.
  7. Well i would suggest that $300 build if you only have that much, it is not very upgradable later on, in a $600 build i am sure we could throw together something that would be better than an APU, do you also need an OS included into this budget?
  8. cakemix said:
    Abscent said:
    If you can only spend around $300 on it, you could run a build like this. Your very limited options at that price range:
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ TigerDirect)
    Motherboard: MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($79.98 @ OutletPC)
    Case: Xion XON-560 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($44.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Antec Basiq 350W ATX Power Supply ($29.99 @ Amazon)
    Total: $304.93
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-30 23:32 EST-0500)

    Using your old harddrive of course,


    Well, the $300 limit was more aimed towards if I was only going to be doing upgrades. Building an entirely new machine, I would be much more willing to dish out more cash than that. Say I had roughly $500-600 to use, what would you recommend? I know next to nothing about AMD products as I've always bought computers with Intel products inside them for years, but I'm liking the price on the build you recommended, especially considering the good reviews on newegg/amazon.

    Again, the responses are much appreciated everyone. This is giving me a good idea of what to do.


    spending 600$ will allow you to build a great PC that will run at the top of its game for at least 2 years. Itll suffice for longer, with lower settings on newer games. Id suggest an FX 6300 or 8320 for the budget build, depending on uses. 6300 for just gaming, 8320 if gaming + animator or graphic design type stuff (3d, modeling, rendering, video editing). Ill put some builds together for you, but tell us exactly what you want out of your PC
  9. I should be able to get a 64bit Windows 8 install through my university, so hopefully I have that covered here.

    It'll mostly be used for gaming and video editing (emphasis on gaming as I don't do anything particularly intensive with video editing). I do have to use 3D design software occasionally, but it's nothing my laptop hasn't been able to handle, so I don't think that will be an issue. Goal here is to just have a solid machine that will handle basic stuff without any hiccups and games on high (or max if possible?) settings.
  10. Are you going to get into overclocking any?
  11. Abscent said:
    Are you going to get into overclocking any?


    I didn't plan on it as I've never overclocked anything before. I'd consider it if I knew the CPU could handle it and I wasn't going to damage anything.
  12. Best answer
    Here is my suggestion, By using your old HDD it will allow for us to spend a lil more on a flashy case for you. I had to put in the price manually but here is a link to the deal on Tigerdirect. Breezy will also be able to come up with a good build suggestion

    Phantom 410: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7693057&CatId=1509

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($77.55 @ Newegg)
    Memory: A-Data XPG Gaming Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 270X 2GB Video Card ($219.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99)
    Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $595.47
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-31 00:17 EST-0500)
  13. Abscent said:
    Here is my suggestion, By using your old HDD it will allow for us to spend a lil more on a flashy case for you. I had to put in the price manually but here is a link to the deal on Tigerdirect. Breezy will also be able to come up with a good build suggestion

    Phantom 410: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7693057&CatId=1509

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($77.55 @ Newegg)
    Memory: A-Data XPG Gaming Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 270X 2GB Video Card ($219.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99)
    Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $595.47
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-31 00:17 EST-0500)


    If I wanted to install a solid state drive sometime in the future that wouldn't be an issue, right?
    I'll wait to see if Breezy had a build suggestion too, but everything that you suggested is looking good. I really appreciate the help, Abscent.
  14. You wouldn't have an issue. Also that case has great air cooling, if you were going to ever try over clocking which you can with the 6300 then just get an Evo 212 air cooler for $30. For a good cheap SSD Kingston V300 120gb
  15. cakemix said:
    Abscent said:
    Here is my suggestion, By using your old HDD it will allow for us to spend a lil more on a flashy case for you. I had to put in the price manually but here is a link to the deal on Tigerdirect. Breezy will also be able to come up with a good build suggestion

    Phantom 410: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7693057&CatId=1509

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($77.55 @ Newegg)
    Memory: A-Data XPG Gaming Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: Asus Radeon R9 270X 2GB Video Card ($219.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99)
    Power Supply: EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($39.99 @ NCIX US)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $595.47
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-12-31 00:17 EST-0500)


    If I wanted to install a solid state drive sometime in the future that wouldn't be an issue, right?
    I'll wait to see if Breezy had a build suggestion too, but everything that you suggested is looking good. I really appreciate the help, Abscent.


    Yes installing a SSD wont be a problem, as a secondary drive. If u do ever get an SSD id reinstall windows OS on it, so that can be the boot drive/primary drive (faster OS performance). then the freshly wiped 500GB will become the storage drive for game etc. The only thing i would change about the above build, really, is the motherboard. The one above is good for the price, but 15$ more dollars for a M5a97 r2.0 because it has a 4+2 power phase, which is better for future overclocking. The one above has 4+1 which really leaves you no real room to overclock, which would be a shame with the fx 6300.
  16. Alright, duly noted regarding the other motherboard and overclocking/evo212.

    Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys, it was a bunch of help. Excited for payday so I can start ordering parts without feeling too guilty about it. =]
  17. Np, glad to help but if you really like that case i think it is only on sale for 2-3 days more
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