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Need some Advice on Hardware

So, I'm going to start off by saying, I am not overly familiar with hardware, i know the basics, I'm a computer savvy person with a passion for computers, but i am only 18 and haven't toyed around enough with computers yet.

This is my computer.

It was a gift for Christmas 2 years ago. back then all i did was play WoW and use it for office and internet browsing. I am however now starting a computer engineering course at a local college and am trying to upgrade my system. I am a gamer. And this rig does not let me play the new current games i want. (E.g. Skyrim/Dead island/Swtor etc.)

From what ive managed to figure out, i need a new video card because the one i have is on board.

8GB of Ram is more than enough

My Processor could be better but its not horrible.

My motherboard, im unsure about, I understand sort of how PCI and PCI-E and the other ports work for my video card, but not really.

Everything else I'm unsure of.

What do i need to spend, and what hardware do you guys recommend i buy/upgrade in order of importance.

If this computer is just junk and i would be better off starting from scratch, let me know too, I really am trying to learn more about how everything works.

My goal is to have the best gaming rig i can, however that would cost a lot of money, which i don't always have a lot of, so I'm more trying to figure out what i can do in steps to improve my current rig, if possible.
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  1. You must to upgrade your power supply and video card. If you have an monitor with a resolution lower then fullhd ill recomend you an 6790 or 6850,6870 ATI video card.
    550W power supply is enough ,to be a good brand like Corsair,Antec,Seasonic,Enermax,XFX,Ocz.Don't put a new video card inside just before you did replaced the old what you have.
  2. After posting i realized my power supply is very crappy, so thank you very much for that.

    I am having a hard time understanding your last line however.
    Are you saying don't put the new card in before i replace the power supply?

    I would like to run current games on medium-high graphics at least so. if there's anything else at all you guys would recommend upgrading let me know.
  3. Yes, upgrade your power supply before anything else based on sosofm's recommendations. I recommend Radeon 6870 or GTX 560 Ti for a video card, depending on your budget. I run a 6870 and can play SWTOR on all high settings and always above 30 fps. Keep in mind though that SWTOR is having a lot of launch issues, as is to be expected.

    Your CPU isn't bad, though later on that might be your next upgrade.
  4. Thank you very much guys, my budget at the moment is like $500. so i should be able to get a good card and power supply for that.

    Will i have any compatibility issues with any cards and my motherboard?
  5. Best answer
    With a $500 budget, I'd go with something like this:

    or this:

    Those will keep you in good shape for quite a while.

    Your motherboard has a nice x16 PCI-E slot, so you're fine. Just make sure the card can fit your possibly small-ish case, since they can get very LONG, up to 11-12 inches.

    For a power supply, this should work out nicely:

    Or this for a modular one, which is much, much easier to work with:
  6. will my processor affect performance at all? It seems decent to me but im only really looking at numbers. 2.8GHz is more than is required by most games but i know there are some that are like 3.6 - 4.0 even, so I'm not too sure.

    Thank you so much for all the help with these decisions and your advice.
  7. Best answer selected by robasaur.
  8. This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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