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Help with upgrading my pc

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 14, 2014 2:36:04 PM

Hi, new to the site as I have caved in trying to figure this out on my own (im not too computer savvy). My cousin basically gave me his old rig as my old dell xps m170 has finally died on me, so it was time to upgrade to the world of desktop gaming. The rig my cousin gave me can run not too demanding games atm and has two graphics cards nvidia 8600's (has SLI but one of the graphics cards is dead). So i figured hey, why not indulge and upgrade this into a somewhat decent gaming rig?

And this is where I need to you fine people to aid me, as im completely useless in understranding compatibility etc, what my rig can handle and what not. Could people please throw some suggestions at me? And advise on what I will be able to upgrade? Im hoping to at least play some rpg or fps games that have caught my eye (dayz, nether, skyrim etc).

Thanks in advance - Kyle

Here are my systems specs

------------------
System Information
------------------
Time of this report: 6/14/2014, 22:08:55
Machine name: KYLE-PC
Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1 (7601.win7sp1_gdr.140303-2144)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Packard Bell BV
System Model: iPower X8620
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.4GHz
Memory: 4096MB RAM
Available OS Memory: 3326MB RAM
Page File: 1537MB used, 5114MB available
Windows Dir: C:\Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
User DPI Setting: Using System DPI
System DPI Setting: 96 DPI (100 percent)
DWM DPI Scaling: Disabled
DxDiag Version: 6.01.7601.17514 32bit Unicode

------------
DxDiag Notes
------------
Display Tab 1: No problems found.
Sound Tab 1: No problems found.
Input Tab: No problems found.

--------------------
DirectX Debug Levels
--------------------
Direct3D: 0/4 (retail)
DirectDraw: 0/4 (retail)
DirectInput: 0/5 (retail)
DirectMusic: 0/5 (retail)
DirectPlay: 0/9 (retail)
DirectSound: 0/5 (retail)
DirectShow: 0/6 (retail)

---------------
Display Devices
---------------
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip type: GeForce 8600 GS
DAC type: Integrated RAMDAC
Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0403&SUBSYS_34561458&REV_A1
Display Memory: 1904 MB
Dedicated Memory: 497 MB
Shared Memory: 1407 MB
Current Mode: 1680 x 1050 (32 bit) (60Hz)
Monitor Name: Generic PnP Monitor
Monitor Model: L225W
Monitor Id: GSM5662
Native Mode: 1680 x 1050(p) (59.883Hz)
Output Type: HD15
Driver Name: nvd3dum.dll,nvwgf2um.dll,nvwgf2um.dll
Driver File Version: 9.18.0013.1407 (English)
Driver Version: 9.18.13.1407
DDI Version: 10
Driver Model: WDDM 1.1
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Driver Date/Size: 2/10/2013 04:20:39, 15038296 bytes
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
WHQL Date Stamp: n/a
Device Identifier: {D7B71E3E-4743-11CF-9772-5B141CC2C435}
Vendor ID: 0x10DE
Device ID: 0x0403
SubSys ID: 0x34561458
Revision ID: 0x00A1
Driver Strong Name: oem11.inf:NVIDIA_SetA_Devices.NTx86.6.1:Section002:9.18.13.1407:p ci\ven_10de&dev_0403
Rank Of Driver: 00E02001
Video Accel: ModeMPEG2_A ModeMPEG2_C ModeVC1_C ModeWMV9_C
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{F9F19DA5-3B09-4B2F-9D89-C64753E3EAAB}: Format(In/Out)=(IMC3,UNKNOWN) Frames(Prev/Fwd/Back)=(0,0,0) Caps=
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{F9F19DA5-3B09-4B2F-9D89-C64753E3EAAB}: Format(In/Out)=(S340,UNKNOWN) Frames(Prev/Fwd/Back)=(0,0,0) Caps=
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D3D9 Overlay: Supported
DXVA-HD: Supported
DDraw Status: Enabled
D3D Status: Enabled
AGP Status: Enabled

More about : upgrading

a b U Graphics card
June 14, 2014 2:51:29 PM

It's uncommon for pre-built computers such as Packard Bell to be built with upgradability in mind. I didn't find official specifications for that model, but they tend to have small confining cases and power supplies that are just enough for what they come with. To run Skyrim at decent quality settings even at 1680x1050 you probably want an i5 cpu and ddr3 memory, both of which require a newer motherboard (which will in turn require a new copy of Windows), a better video card will require a better power supply and possibly a bigger case.

I think you're better off building a new computer from scratch, only keeping the peripherals and possibly the hard and optical drives from that computer. Please specify your budget.
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June 14, 2014 3:06:51 PM

MauveCloud said:
It's uncommon for pre-built computers such as Packard Bell to be built with upgradability in mind. I didn't find official specifications for that model, but they tend to have small confining cases and power supplies that are just enough for what they come with. To run Skyrim at decent quality settings even at 1680x1050 you probably want an i5 cpu and ddr3 memory, both of which require a newer motherboard (which will in turn require a new copy of Windows), a better video card will require a better power supply and possibly a bigger case.

I think you're better off building a new computer from scratch, only keeping the peripherals and possibly the hard and optical drives from that computer. Please specify your budget.


m
0
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Related resources
June 14, 2014 3:10:16 PM

MauveCloud said:
It's uncommon for pre-built computers such as Packard Bell to be built with upgradability in mind. I didn't find official specifications for that model, but they tend to have small confining cases and power supplies that are just enough for what they come with. To run Skyrim at decent quality settings even at 1680x1050 you probably want an i5 cpu and ddr3 memory, both of which require a newer motherboard (which will in turn require a new copy of Windows), a better video card will require a better power supply and possibly a bigger case.

I think you're better off building a new computer from scratch, only keeping the peripherals and possibly the hard and optical drives from that computer. Please specify your budget.


Not at all, the case is huge, plenty of space with a 600w power supply, i can run current games such as warband on max settings with 300-400 units on screen. So i didnt believe a complete new build would be in order :/ 

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a b U Graphics card
June 14, 2014 3:46:43 PM

Your cousin probably already upgraded the case and psu then, but kept the motherboard. Please check the psu against the tiered list (https://community.newegg.com/eggxpert/computer_hardware...) to make sure it's good quality. I'm not familiar with Dayz or Nether, but for Skyrim, this page has a table of video cards you can consider:
http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:System_Requirements
I suggest looking at the "Medium / High" column, since that cpu and ddr2 memory are likely to bottleneck the game if you get a more powerful video card.
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June 15, 2014 4:18:21 AM

Sorry for delay been at work. Anyhow, talking to my cousin he informed me the only upgrade he done was the PSU, he couldn't remember what wattage it was but the actual PSU brand itself only does models that have a minimum of 600w, so safe to say my psu is above 600w no matter what (the actual sticker with the info on the PSU is hidden unless the PSU is removed). The computer itself is an actual 'Packard Bell Official gaming pc' (or so says the sticker). I purchased skyrim of steam (took the plunge :/ ), and it runs on low settings with the SLI is not in action as one of the graphic cards is dead. So im curious now as in the fact do i just need a new graphics card and perhaps kick the RAM from 4gb to 8gb (checked, my pc can handle up to 8gb). Also does the DDR on the graphics card have to be the same as my DDr in the mobo?

Im only shaky on installing a new GPU as last time i did this i was completely clueless and burnt out my cpu on my old computer (quite small heat sink was on it too though :/ ) and taking various other parts with it. Im clueless on this CPU but it has quite the large heat sink on it with 2 fans right next to it keeping it cool.
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Best solution

a c 187 U Graphics card
June 15, 2014 5:29:33 AM

It's an old CPU, but still capable enough, just don't expect miracles from it.
Skyrim can be demanding if you start adding graphical mods and DayZ is still unfinished, so expect some bugs and runtime issues with it.
From the sounds of it all you'll need is an upgraded video card, the 8600 only came as PCI-E and (oddly for an OEM system) the motherboard obviously has two PCI-E slots, so you're pretty well good to go.
With both games you mentioned being quite demanding I'd look to the GTX750 as top choice. It's a very light card on power and runs very cool, so there's little need to look for a large cooler, a 2Gb version may be a better choice if you're going to add a few mods to Skyrim. As far as I know you can use the 8600 as a dedicated PhysX card, so keep it aside...Just in case. ;) 
No, the video card and motherboard memory are separate, no need to match them.
Only install extra memory if you can upgrade to 64 bit Win 7, right now the system has as much memory as a 32 bit version of Windows can use.
Just be a little careful when installing the new card and you'll be fine, if you're in doubt there's plenty of online tutorials and guides to help further.
To9 be certain, use something like Realtemp, Speedfan, Coretemp or HWInfo to keep an eye on the CPU temperatures and GPUZ to monitor the graphics card-they're all FREE!
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June 15, 2014 6:39:35 AM

Thats great thanks! Just a quick question, i noticed on my device page i have my graphics card and 'standard vga adpater' right underneith it, i now believe my other card is not dead but rather not working due to no drivers perhaps? But can't seem to get the damn drivers to install for it :/ 
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June 15, 2014 6:52:00 AM

If the second card is the same chipset, it shouldn't require a separate driver to work. It's been a while since I've dealt with LGA 775, but I think some motherboards with that socket had onboard video chips, so that might be what Windows is listing as a "standard vga adapter". However, I'm pretty sure that even if you get SLI working with your two 8600 GS cards, a gtx 750 will put their performance to shame.
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June 15, 2014 6:56:57 AM

I took the advice and just purchased the card recomended, just wanting to see if I could perhaps get a cheeky little punch more out of it for the next week ;) 
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June 15, 2014 7:05:40 AM

The 8600GS is 13 tiers below the GTX750: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-graphics-card-revi...
Even if you got SLI working it's probably going to be more trouble than its worth with such weak cards, bear in mind, to use SLI the game needs to be supported with a special profile from Nvidia, without that support you'll be down to a single card.
Easy check on the cards is to just run with one card at a time.
If one is working you could try to use it for PhysX, but AFAIK neither Skyrim nor DayZ uses this Nvidia only feature.
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