Hey, Please help a newb upgrade.

Hello there guys, I would like some of your help please.

I currently have:

Acer Aspire AMD Athlon 3500+
1.5gigs of pc2 5300 Cl5 240 DIMM ram (lol? do you need that much info?)
Geforce fx5500 GT 256 OC (got it for 40 bucks 3 months ago... cant go wrong :ange:
160 gig hdd
2 dvd rw drives
300-400 watt power supply. I dont know which. any ideas what it may be? lol...

I just bought Resident Evil 4, F.E.A.R., ***BIOSHOCK***, and will be getting HL2 Orange Box in october. I would like your 'where to begin' for what I should upgrade to give me my best bang for my buck.

I KNOW I need a new videocard. my price range is maybe 300 bucks CAN tops.. I want to be able to play Crysis at mediumhigh settings when it comes out, or maybe high settings with some things disabled...

Apart from that, I want to be able to play things really smoothly, Farcry on high, etc etc, without paying through the nose to get bleeding edge.

Where is this sweetspot? Maybe the 8800GTS? which version of it? Does it have its own place to plug it into a wall socket (aka dont need to beef up my PSU? lol dont know if that makes sense...) OR should I invest in a new PSU anyways, for better proformance?

Thanks for helping me out.

P.S. I live in Ontario, Canada, and don't have access to a credit card. (parents would freak if they knew about prices of computer parts)

p.p.s. just fyi, if the above 'p.s.' threw you off, I am upgrading with all my own hard earned money, not theirs O_o;
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More about newb upgrade
  1. There was a special at Future Shop recently, 8800 GTS 320 MB for CAD $280. You could also try NCIX, they have specials often. You will need a new PSU too, so save another $100 first. No, you can't plug the video card in the wall socket, it needs 12V DC, not 110V AC.
  2. Edit: oops, you can't buy from www.ncix.com unless one of your parents places the order on his/her credit card. Sorry...
  3. You can use paypal AFAIK.
  4. D4ng3r_D4n said:
    Hello there guys, I would like some of your help please.

    I currently have:

    Acer Aspire AMD Athlon 3500+
    1.5gigs of pc2 5300 Cl5 240 DIMM ram (lol? do you need that much info?)
    Geforce fx5500 GT 256 OC (got it for 40 bucks 3 months ago... cant go wrong :ange:
    160 gig hdd
    2 dvd rw drives
    300-400 watt power supply. I dont know which. any ideas what it may be? lol...

    I just bought Resident Evil 4, F.E.A.R., ***BIOSHOCK***, and will be getting HL2 Orange Box in october. I would like your 'where to begin' for what I should upgrade to give me my best bang for my buck.

    I KNOW I need a new videocard. my price range is maybe 300 bucks CAN tops.. I want to be able to play Crysis at mediumhigh settings when it comes out, or maybe high settings with some things disabled...

    Apart from that, I want to be able to play things really smoothly, Farcry on high, etc etc, without paying through the nose to get bleeding edge.

    Where is this sweetspot? Maybe the 8800GTS? which version of it? Does it have its own place to plug it into a wall socket (aka dont need to beef up my PSU? lol dont know if that makes sense...) OR should I invest in a new PSU anyways, for better proformance?

    Thanks for helping me out.

    P.S. I live in Ontario, Canada, and don't have access to a credit card. (parents would freak if they knew about prices of computer parts)

    p.p.s. just fyi, if the above 'p.s.' threw you off, I am upgrading with all my own hard earned money, not theirs O_o;

    Wow! A complete upgrade, except for maybe HD and DVD/CD drive is needed. Even a $400 USD rebuild would only get you maybe a 8600gt or 2600xt video card and I don't think that will be silky smooth. Sorry for the that :( I'm thinking that you would need PSU, CPU (AMD x2 = cheapest), Memory (2x1gig DDR2 800), video card (PCI-e not the AGP you currently have - if I'm not mistaken). Don't get me wrong, you can do an upgrade, but to run those games you stated, will require some more $.
    CPU AMD x2 = $65
    mobo = $50
    memory = $90 You could go down to 1gig but that would affect FPS
    video card = $110 Just minimal for now (8600gt or 2600xt)
    Use existing HD, DVD drives, and possibly the case (not sure here).
    Total cost would be around $315 (assuming you have the OS and the case can work).
    You could save some $ now and get a 7600gs for about $25 cheaper, but you would loose gaming speed. Also if you dropped the memory down to 1gig (which I wouldn't recommend) you would save about $30 bringing the total down to about $250 USD or so.

    My 2cp's
  5. BAH. I JUST finished paying off this one. dude... T_T
    Maybe I will upgrade the rest of the stuff next spring.. but thanks for the breakdown.

    It is a PCI-E system.

    i think i could get the psu with this paycheck too.

    what size psu? 500 watt? lol. any reccomended brands that are reliable but not expensive?

    Maybe I will go to future shop then :P
  6. Sorry forgot about the PSU :( I was hoping that your current one would work, but not sure it has a standard mobo plug in (might be proprietary), but not likely.
    Another thought, is your video card AGP or PCI? If it's AGP, you could just upgrade to a 7600gt. It should stress the system any more than you currently have and should improve your general gaming for a bit until you can save up for a rebuild. Don't want you to be too discouraged about the possibilities of an upgrade, but at $300 CAD I think it would be tough. Another option would be to upgrade to a s939 AMD chip and mobo, so you could use your existing DDR. That could save you some more $. I've been looking to do this to my son's older P4 rig, that has 2gb of DDR and also has an AGP slot. I figured I could change to an x2 processor (while still available). So I would only buy CPU, Mobo, and Video card. The PSU would be able to move over to new build, but not sure if yours could. The cost would be about $250 USD, which might fit into your budget. I'm not sure if you can get those in Canada or not, but they are still offered at newegg. Here's the link:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCombos.aspx?Item=N82E16819103052&SubCategory=343&SortField=0&PageSize=10&page=1
    I like the Biostar combo one for $108. The ASUS's seem to have issues. You could add a video card like this one:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161179
    2600xt for about $100 USD.
    You would be at about $210 USD and assuming (hoping) your PSU could be re-used, you could do a decent upgrade from where your at now. This could hold you for a year or so, but probably won't let you play Crysis on high settings (for sure). Not sure if you would be able to play at low settings, since I don't know the specs required to play it. Add something like this PSU:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104032
    FSP 400w PSU ($50) and you would be around $260 USD or so. So potentially you could do it, but this would be a bigger step towards a better system later.
  7. He said its a pcie system, and do you care about turning down some eye candy?, even an 8600 could manage to play Bioshock above 60 fps, if you are willing to have half the options turned off
  8. The key to the upgrade is your PSU. You need to provide more information - make & model - and power profile if known.

    Short of having that information, a nice upgrade would be a 7900 GS card for about $150 - sometimes available on sale for as low as $100. If you have a good 350W PSU this might work on your current system.

    If a new PSU is required, You might want to consider an Antec Earthwatts 500W PSU. I just purchased one online from Frys on sale for $49.99 - NO rebate required - marked down from $89.99. A real deal.

    http://shop2.outpost.com/product/5086635

    You might also find this link helpful: Recommended Sub-$150, high-efficiency PSU's

    http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1460

    You will see the Antec Earthwatts PSU on the list and at the above sale price it is 1/2 to 1/3 of most other items listed.

    That same website also has a review on this PSU:

    http://www.jonnyguru.com/review_details.php?id=51&page_num=1

    Note that you might need to act quickly on this sale as it may be over soon - started Friday. Also with this PS you could move up to an even faster GPU if you wanted to spend more money.
  9. New PSU (see sig) would be min, and an 8800GTS 320. But 300 CDN?? My suggestion would be a bit more $$$, not too much tho.
  10. OOPS, and make sure the PSU you choose would fit the Acer, not sure if they use proprietary stuff like Dell. PC Power and Cooling may be the place to look if it is proprietary, also Google your make and model PC to see if the PSU is proprietary.
  11. Hey guys, I meant 300 bucks TOPS for the video card.

    i have around 500 bucks to play with, but i am hesitant to spend it all right now, because in my mind, i just paid 900 bucks out of my student pocket for a pc that i need to upgrade again :(

    If i had to replace the MOBO, ram, video card, PSU, etc etc etc etc etc, and only keep the dvd drives and HDD, then why not just buy myself a new machine? I would only be buying a dvd drive and case more then the suggestions above, and i can get myself a sexy case :P wishful dreaming eh?

    *sigh* I dont know what to do. just to get mediocre stuff i can shove in this baby until later?

    BUT WAIT, how much would it cost (in your opinion) for the new MOBO, PSU, Video card (decent for crysis/fear/bioshock) to be installed in my system as is? If i can do it all for 400-500 bucks CAN right now, I could go that route, swallow the bill, and get to play all my sexy games as well.

    The reason this is super important right now is that FEAR, BIOSHOCK, and RES4 are sitting on my desk right now YERNING to be played! :D

    ***Thank you to EVERYONE who has posted in this thread, I REALLY appriciate the help. I dont have time to read the links right now, i will get on that later tonight. ***
  12. I would only make a NEW system dive when Phenom is out (AMD's next big desktop chip) and nVidia releases 9x series GFX cards, supposed to be 3x faster than 8x series. Hopefully Vista will have matured a bit too by then.

    For now, just get the 8800GTS 320 MB and a new PSU that fits from a good brand and be happy with it.
  13. sounds like a plan, thanks. :)
  14. 3x? i though even the inquirer only said 2x faster
  15. This is what I would do, just a suggestion.
    1.Get a 7600GT now, put money aside for the rest
    2.Reasearch to find out what psu you can upgrade to and what your power requirements will be
    3.See if you want to upgrade cpu to a 64x2-prices here are pretty cheap depending on your socket
    4.put in psu and cpu if you go that way
    5.closer to x-mas new choices for gpu's and (hopefully) lower prices for existing cards

    That would be the lower-cost option as opposed to an over-haul
    Remember on the psu-amps for what card you want - don't shortchange your system with the wrong psu
  16. thanks for the tips kpo..

    So, get the 7600GT, do I need a new PSU to run that?

    If i dont, then that will probably be my best bet. I will get that card (because it is still a decent card) and then save up for a better card for christmas/after christmas/during a sale/when the 9x series comes out/after i upgrade my psu.

    How does that sound?
  17. I think you're safe with a 7600gt without buying a new PSU. The 7600 gt needs only 34W.
  18. what res do you game at? I would say 7600gt.
  19. I cant really say smokeyd. I have never owned a prerformance card... I am using a fx5500gt right now. yay?

    I Dont even quite know what the resolution does to games, it just makes them a bit crisper right?
  20. OH YEAH.. forgot to mention would that card handle bioshock on medium settings?
  21. and one more thing >_< How much can you over clock one? Because I may try using rivatuner or something like that, to get a little extra juice out of it.
  22. Get the 7600gt, if you get that card you probably won't need to buy a new psu and then you just have to wait for the new stuff to come out.
    As for the question about playing bioshock on the 7600gt, i played it with my htpc rig wich has a 7600gs oc to 550core and 1250 core on high on dx9.
  23. EDIT:nvm o_o you played on high settings. thats awesome.
  24. The bad news is that your old fx5500 GT was a power hog - pulling about 89W. The good news is that it means you don't need to get a new power supply to get a good graphics card.

    The 8800 GTS is 103W - not a whole lot more. But since you have not posted info on your PSU as suggested - or at least I did not see it - I don't know if it will work.

    The 7600GT only requires 36W so it should be no problem.

    If it were me, I would go with the 7900GS instead - which is about 50% faster than the 7600GT and requires 45W. I bought one one sale for only $100 just a couple of weeks ago.

    Note that because the GPU cards are so much lower than current one, after you upgrade the card you might have enough power reserve left to upgrade to an XP dual core processer. If you have a socket 939 MB and the MB support it - for about $80 you could upgrade to an Athlon X2 4200.

    So if the above all holds - for about $200 you could upgrade to a pretty strong mainstream machine.
  25. Geforce fx5500... aren't those AGP only?

    In any case, if you're serious about playing Crysis at a high resolution, you're going to need some serious firepower. An 8800 GTS or 2900 XT, which are PCI-express only.

    On AGP, I'm sure the X1950 XT will do a decent job of playing Crysis when it comes out, just no Dx10. But that's not as big a deal as people will tell you.

    Either way, you're going to need a new PSU and a new high-perf videocard, and I don't think your $300 CDN is going to do that.

    If you're AGP or PCIe, you're best bet is probably an X1950 PRO. If you have a decent 400w power supply it should work, it'll play Bioshock really well, Far Cry will be ultra-smooth. Crysis... with detail turned down, it'll be playable for sure.
  26. The x1950Pro PCI-E is on sale half price at Future Shop right now, hurry up!!! :)
  27. The FX5500 was also available in standard PCI which is most likely what the OP is talking about.

    According to what I could find the Acer T180 does have an available PCI-E slot.
  28. I ended up getting the 7600GT this afternoon. nice card, I can play Bioshock easily on medium high settings, and it even plays alright on high settings with a little bit of lag here and there. ( I keep it at med-high).

    I will do a MOBO (current one doesnt support dual core), CPU, PSU, and (eventually, when I find a fantastic deal/the geforce 9 series arrives) Vid card upgrade not before christmas, but maybe around there.
  29. p.s. I will settle for playing crysis on med-low till i do the overhaul.
  30. I'm willing to bet that it does support a dual core CPU. Your board is socket AM2 which does support dual core CPUs. The Acer T180 is available directly from Acer with a X2 3800+. I find it highly unlikely that they would use a separate board that supports only single core and a separate board that supports only dual-core. Highly unlikely. More likely is that they use one board that supports both single and dual cores as that is the norm.

    The BIOS update for the Acer T180 also states that it fixes a memory error when using single core CPUs. This would suggest to me that the BIOS will also handle a dual-core CPU.

    That is of course, if you want to upgrade to a dual-core.
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