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Converting to a Gaming PC

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November 30, 2011 1:27:06 AM

So, I'm looking to convert my old Dell Desktop into a gaming computer, but to be perfectly honest, I have no idea how to go about this or where to start. It doesn't even need to be converted strictly for Gaming. I'll go into a little more detail later, but I want to be able to run a game without lag, and the graphics off the lowest settings.

I have a Dell Inspiron 531, it's still running Windows Vista, and I'd much rather upgrade this thing rather than get a new desktop all together.
http://www.dell.com/content/topics/topic.aspx/global/pr...

I have been using it and plan on using it mostly for StarCraft II, WoW, and other Blizzard goodies. The problem is that I've been having to play on the absolute lowest quality settings for everything graphics related, sounds off, everything possible on its lowest setting, and it still lags up quite a lot, and I've determined that it's me.

So the questions I have are:
1) Do I need to upgrade to Windows 7? I've been thinking of doing this anyways, and if it will help, then I'll do it.
2) I don't actually know what things I would need to make this upgrade. Do I need a different graphics card, power source, fans, etc.?
3) I'm afraid that whatever I add and take out will mess with the computer. Should I back up everything before I start messing around with the insides? Or, if I upgrade to Windows 7, should I just wipe everything and re-download.

As it seems, I really don't have any clue as to what to do about this kind of thing. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

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November 30, 2011 6:05:53 AM

im sure vista will be fine for those games, get at least a 560 gtx and 2500k and i know you will max out wow, dont know about starcraft though. and what are you wanting to spend?
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November 30, 2011 6:15:36 AM

My wow membership is running up soon and I don't plan on renewing for a while, so I think I'd rather make sure it's good for starcraft and if it works for wow, that's an added bonus.

And I was willing to spend a fair amount of money for this, and seeing as windows7 doesn't seem to be required, more money can go towards tech.
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November 30, 2011 6:20:57 AM

well im sure starcraft is more demanding than wow and if you can afford what i listed above and are compatable with your mobo then your set.
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November 30, 2011 7:13:19 AM

I've had a look for the motherboard of your system and I came up with this:

http://www.ecrater.co.uk/p/12643782/dell-inspiron-531-5...

Assuming that's the right one, your options are limited. The reason for this is that the current GPU is integrated, and you may or may not be able to disable it. Secondly, the PCIe slot that you'd connect a discrete GPU into is x16, which is an older standard. It'll bottleneck any new GPU you get and not give you the full performance. The RAM, also, is an older standard and you'd pay over the odds to get more. Lastly, higher end components in a consumer PC chassis is generally a bad move as the chassis can't give the airflow needed to cool the hardware.

When you say 'a fair amount of money', what is your budget? You can get a decent budget gaming PC for a relatively low amount of money that would meet your needs without having to try and convert your current system into a gaming rig.
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November 30, 2011 9:10:07 AM

Your better off starting all over again my friend, as putting money onto your dell will be throwing god money into old tech, very old tech, so dont do it, just save give us a budget and we will sort you out with all the reccs for a new system.
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December 1, 2011 1:08:05 AM

Heres the thing. If you really want to just convert it to a gaming computer then the only two things you can really upgrade are the graphics card and ram. Sure the CPU could be upgraded but with that socket your options are very limited.

Honestly my best suggestion would be build from scratch.

But, if you do just want to upgrade then you should upgrade to at least 4gb of ram and something like a radeon 6850. That would help dramatically in the games you are talking about. it would come out to about 150 I think.
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December 1, 2011 2:03:31 PM

bdizzle11 said:
Heres the thing. If you really want to just convert it to a gaming computer then the only two things you can really upgrade are the graphics card and ram. Sure the CPU could be upgraded but with that socket your options are very limited.

Honestly my best suggestion would be build from scratch.

But, if you do just want to upgrade then you should upgrade to at least 4gb of ram and something like a radeon 6850. That would help dramatically in the games you are talking about. it would come out to about 150 I think.


^. CPU upgrade is not worthwhile at this point. I'd say get yourself some ram and a new video card. Check your PSU in that rig to make sure it has a 6 pin connector for it. If I was in your shoes I would probably just get myself a quality 450-500w PSU from newegg since most Dells don't come with a PSU able to handle much more than what's already preconfigured. Then when your finally able to commit to a full upgrade you'll just need a MB/CPU/DDR3 RAM/CASE.
Make sure when looking for a video card you find one that ventilates out the rear of the case (something that looks similar to a reference card). It will help alleviate the added heat the video card will produce since your case isn't built to disperse large amounts of heat.
Check your BIOS for an option to disable integrated graphics as it will be part of the process when installing the new card.
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December 1, 2011 3:16:46 PM

tjosborne said:
im sure vista will be fine for those games, get at least a 560 gtx and 2500k and i know you will max out wow, dont know about starcraft though. and what are you wanting to spend?


Why on earth would it take that much to max out WoW? Granted I stopped playing the game in 2006, but then I maxed that game out with a 2.4ghz p4 and an agp 6800GT.
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December 1, 2011 3:57:02 PM

tsd16 said:
Why on earth would it take that much to max out WoW? Granted I stopped playing the game in 2006, but then I maxed that game out with a 2.4ghz p4 and an agp 6800GT.

They've updated the game a bit graphically since then, but yes an I5 anything is still overkill. The 560 is appropriate for ultra at 1080p especially with ultra shadows and light blooming. Towns still suck. My wife's 955BE/HD6850 rig still feels a bit sluggish in crowds.
Some of Starcrafts custom maps kill my CPU/Video Card on high settings.
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December 2, 2011 2:12:28 AM

tsd16 said:
Why on earth would it take that much to max out WoW? Granted I stopped playing the game in 2006, but then I maxed that game out with a 2.4ghz p4 and an agp 6800GT.

i was talking more for starcraft than wow, but wow can sometimes get real taxing for what it is. with everything on max and dx11 on in stormwind city when theres a bunch of people there it can get real choppy with a 6970
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December 11, 2011 11:01:30 PM

Best answer selected by Moonman190.
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