What is the best way to upgrade my computer for gaming?

I just want to know what would be the best way to upgrade my computer for gaming within my budget. Some things I have considered are adding RAM, adding an SSD, changing CPUs, getting a more reliable PSU, etc.

Approximate Purchase Date: really any time this summer

Budget Range: around $300 after shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, surfing the web, simple photoshop

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: not sure

Do you need to buy OS: Currently have Windows 8.1 installed

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: any reliable sources with low shipping costs/times

Location: Bennington, Nebraska, USA

Parts Preferences: no preference

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1440x900

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I want to be able to play newer games like BF4 and GTA V at a good framerate on decent settings. I can't play these games right now at good quality.


Current Parts:

CPU: Intel Pentium G645 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor
Motherboard: Lenovo 90000684 MAHOBAY H61 motherboard (BIOS version ESKT19A)
Memory: 4 GB Ramaxel RAM (CPU-Z says my DRAM Frequency is at 665.1 MHz)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB Video Card
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 OEM (64-bit)
Case: Lenovo K410 ATX Case
Power Supply: 550W Ark Technology ATX P4 Semi-Modular Power Supply


I'm looking for advice on what to buy! Any help is greatly appreciated.
7 answers Last reply
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  1. Expand the budget.

    I don't think the numbers add up to stay within budget and achieve desired results.

    For instance, I might start off with a *brand new* sandy bridge i5 processor from 2011. Too expensive for what you are getting out of it compared to more recent products for the price (i5-4690k is available at the same price point).

    Then the very next two things to do would be an upgraded power supply and newer graphics card. I listed this last because of the desired resolution of 1440x900.

    You quickly start to see how it kind of steam rolls into spending a lot of money and you're still tied to a very basic motherboard and RAM, without even touching storage either.

    I think you should build your own brand new computer from the ground up, keeping the monitor, keyboard, and mouse when the money is in hand. There's a lot of great system builders here on Tom's and its my opinion to build fresh.

    ....or and that's a reluctant or..... drop in the best sandy bridge i5 you can get with a nice 8GB kit of RAM and see how she does. The motherboard still limits you as far as RAM though, so I wouldn't look for any fancy 1600 Mhz kits. A nice 8GB matched set 1333 / low latency. That CPU upgrade and RAM alone would cost $300 while managing to salvage all other components and ultimately still feel like it was a pretty lateral move.

    These are just my opinions on the matter and wish you the best!
  2. clonazepam said:
    Expand the budget.

    I don't think the numbers add up to stay within budget and achieve desired results.

    For instance, I might start off with a *brand new* sandy bridge i5 processor from 2011. Too expensive for what you are getting out of it compared to more recent products for the price (i5-4690k is available at the same price point).

    Then the very next two things to do would be an upgraded power supply and newer graphics card. I listed this last because of the desired resolution of 1440x900.

    You quickly start to see how it kind of steam rolls into spending a lot of money and you're still tied to a very basic motherboard and RAM, without even touching storage either.

    I think you should build your own brand new computer from the ground up, keeping the monitor, keyboard, and mouse when the money is in hand. There's a lot of great system builders here on Tom's and its my opinion to build fresh.

    ....or and that's a reluctant or..... drop in the best sandy bridge i5 you can get with a nice 8GB kit of RAM and see how she does. The motherboard still limits you as far as RAM though, so I wouldn't look for any fancy 1600 Mhz kits. A nice 8GB matched set 1333 / low latency. That CPU upgrade and RAM alone would cost $300 while managing to salvage all other components and ultimately still feel like it was a pretty lateral move.

    These are just my opinions on the matter and wish you the best!



    Since you suggested just building a new computer, do you think it would be worth it to upgrade the RAM now on my current computer to 8gb 1333 MHz and just move that to the new build when I have the money? Could I do the same with an SSD?
  3. nothing in your current system can really be used other than HDD and maybe PS.

    For an additional $300, it won't really get you anywhere to play VF4 and GTA V at a good level... tbh
  4. MountainDrew329 said:
    clonazepam said:
    Expand the budget.

    I don't think the numbers add up to stay within budget and achieve desired results.

    For instance, I might start off with a *brand new* sandy bridge i5 processor from 2011. Too expensive for what you are getting out of it compared to more recent products for the price (i5-4690k is available at the same price point).

    Then the very next two things to do would be an upgraded power supply and newer graphics card. I listed this last because of the desired resolution of 1440x900.

    You quickly start to see how it kind of steam rolls into spending a lot of money and you're still tied to a very basic motherboard and RAM, without even touching storage either.

    I think you should build your own brand new computer from the ground up, keeping the monitor, keyboard, and mouse when the money is in hand. There's a lot of great system builders here on Tom's and its my opinion to build fresh.

    ....or and that's a reluctant or..... drop in the best sandy bridge i5 you can get with a nice 8GB kit of RAM and see how she does. The motherboard still limits you as far as RAM though, so I wouldn't look for any fancy 1600 Mhz kits. A nice 8GB matched set 1333 / low latency. That CPU upgrade and RAM alone would cost $300 while managing to salvage all other components and ultimately still feel like it was a pretty lateral move.

    These are just my opinions on the matter and wish you the best!



    Since you suggested just building a new computer, do you think it would be worth it to upgrade the RAM now on my current computer to 8gb 1333 MHz and just move that to the new build when I have the money? Could I do the same with an SSD?


    That's the thing. If you are going to spend the money, I would like for you to realize something more than a single digit percent increase in performance, when, for not a whole lot more than your budget, you could experience at least a 50% if not 100% improvement in performance.
  5. I see what you mean. I will getting about $800 within the next few months. What would be my best option build-wise within that budget? AMD system? If I would spend that much on a new computer I would want it to be at least somewhat future proof.
  6. MountainDrew329 said:
    I see what you mean. I will getting about $800 within the next few months. What would be my best option build-wise within that budget? AMD system? If I would spend that much on a new computer I would want it to be at least somewhat future proof.


    If you want to stick with 1440x900 resolution, you'd have a very nice build below the $800 price point. If you opt to jump to 1920x1080, for $800, or the full $1100... that would build a fantastic system, the new monitor, and don't forget you'd also need at the least a new OEM Windows license (8.1 and 10 will be out at the end of the month).

    AMD has a launch coming that may or may not effect pricing from top to bottom. I'm hopeful their single GPU flagship has a really good price/performance ratio.

    Given that you have money coming soonish, new releases from AMD, more Freesync monitors coming, and Microsoft's OS... the smart move seems to be waiting, and its not even that long.

    After all that, a fresh post in these forums with a budget should fetch some attention.
  7. Okay for now I guess I'll have to make due for a couple months. My current system can still play games like BF3 and Farcry 3 so at least I can play those while I get some more money and wait for the new products.
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