The $300 upgrade.

System I am trying to upgrade:

Pavilion a1267c, Specs on HP website (see CPU below) http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00617479&lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&softwareitem=pv-39428-1&os=228&product=1847035

General Specs:

Motherboard: MS-7184. It's a 939 socket with 1 PCI-E slot. 4 Slots for ram (2 used). Upgradeable to AMD 4800+ X2.

CPU: Despite the above link, the CPU is a AMD 3800+ 64 XP, single core

RAM: 2x 512 PC 3200 184 pin, DDR SDRAM (2 slots available)

GPU: ......internal!

Power: 300w, single 12v, 19A

Monitor: HP flatscreen Max Rez: 1280 x 1024

Also have: 2 optical drives and 2 HD's (one Sata)

Goal: A PC that will respectably play Starcraft 2 (assuming Q4 of '08 ish). AKA give me one year of decent service.

I have read the "Is Your PC Ready for a System Update?" article and I will post the setup I have taken from that, but the key differences to mention are: 1) I likely need a new power supply, but not a new hard drive. 2) Keeping the monitor, and it clearly handcuffs my resolution, so take that in to account when talking about a card.

Upgrades:

AMD 3800+ --> AMD 4200+ X2 ($78.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103053

+ Arctic Silver 5 ($5.99)

2x 512 Ram --> 4x 512 Ram ($49.98)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820161615

Total so far: $134.96 ($165ish of the $300 budget left).

Now this is where I have trouble, the Power Supply and the GPU. Let me just state that I can push my budget another 30 to 50 dollars if need be and I have some flexibility to "absorb" rebates by going over budget.

My "IMO" GPU/Power option is this:

Rosewill 600w +12V1@22A, +12V2@22A
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817182088

+

7600GT (seems to keep pace with the 8600 GT, no Vista Plans for this PC)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130062


Total $162.98 (without $15 rebate), and with a -$15 discount for purchasing them together, keeping me under budget. Then, if need be next fall, I could look into a new card to run Starcraft 2. A GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB or the like should drop in price by then. Or just cave on a new computer.

So, is this worth it? Could I get away with my existing power supply with a 7600GT (it asks for 350W's)? I appreciate all comments!
29 answers Last reply
More about upgrade
  1. I'd think you need a new power supply...stay away from rosewill..I've heard VERY bad things...

    try this one..

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341010

    should do you justice.
  2. Thanks! That does seem to be a better option and with rebates and shipping I basically sit at $300. Seems that power supply would hold up on a new rig too, which would be nice.
  3. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371004
    This Antec Basiq is a bit cheaper, a little less powerfull (But still more than enough).

    The CPU you listed is an OEM. Meaning no heatsink/fan. I'm guessing you're intending to use your current one? The Opteron family should also be a possibility, but would prolly break the budget.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145480
    I'm not keen on purchasing two separate sticks of RAM. Shouldn't be a problem, but I'd prolly spend the extra $3 and make sure you get a matched set.

    -Wolf sends
  4. Thanks, I'm taking your RAM advice. As far as the power supply, that would be enough for this setup, but do you think it would be enough for a "new" rig down the road? If 25~ dollars more buys me a power supply that I can use in the future, than I rather just grab that. Thoughts?

    I am using my current heatsink/fan. I've read others have done it with the same 4200+ X2 chip with good results. Apparently they don't draw too much more power or produce much more heat than my 3800+.
  5. Ahhh..didn't know it wasn't a dual channel kit..Yea..Get a matched pair. For the PSU it's up to you really. Rosewill are Tier 5 psu's...VERY BAD...

    Even though OCZ's modstream is a tier 4...their Xstream line are tier 2...with the GameXStream, EvoXStream, and ProXStream...So it's a safe bet....

    You'll see quite a big jump from your current rig to this...especially in gaming...
  6. Yeah, the OCZ looks like it should hold up when a build a "Vista" computer in the future, so I think I'm going with that.

    So is everyone "OK" with the 7600 GT idea? I figured a 8800GT 320MB was too expensive for me now and the 7600GT is almost as good as the 8600GT at lower resolutions. Worse case is I pick up a 8800GT for around $200 a year from now or a "9600GT" type of card.

    Also, thoughts on the systems "longevity"

    BTW, I REALLY appreciate all the help, thanks.
  7. It seems like a lot of people get hooked on Rosewills advertising gimmicks or low price, when it comes to PSU's the ole saying of "you get what you pay for' applies.
    FSP (Fortron Group) makes some of the best PSU's you can can buy and they are relatively inexpensive compared to other TIER1 PSU's, my first PSU was what i thought to be a quality unit (OCZ GameXtreme), when it cooked itself it took the Motherboard and VGA card with it.
    Spend a little bit more now and pay a whole lot less later.
  8. You can get a 400s FSP for $40 and a x1950 Pro for $120.

    It will work fine.
  9. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104954

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104953

    ^ how about these FSP?

    They are cheaper, and prolly won't carry over to a new rig, but they should be enough juice, right?

    EDIT: About the X1950 PRO, generally go for $170-$200. I found the below card, but I know little about "quality brands" for Radeons, Any good?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161061
  10. OK, What about this potential setup based off suggestions?:

    Fortron Source 450w twin 12v 18A ($57.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16817104954

    AMD 4200+ X2 ($78.99) + Arctic Silver ($5.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16819103053

    Cosinar 2x512MB ($52.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16820145480

    Then the GPU:

    Either 7600GT http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814130062 ($89.99 with $15 rebate)

    Total at $302 without $15 rebate

    Or

    X1950PRO 512MB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814161061 ($179.99 with $40 dollar rebate)

    Total $393 without $40 rebate.

    Do you think the X1950Pro would be a card that would still be viable next fall? Hence the cost being worth it short term? Do you think the PSU would be sufficient?
  11. Well if I was you I'd just nab the 7600 gt and save your cash....the x1950 pro is overall a better card and it will last you longer...If you have the extra cash I would recommend it...overall better card and it'll last you longer.
  12. I guess my main worry is the 7600gt won't play games like Starcraft 2 next fall
  13. Well I doubt that will be the case. They will optimize it well enough to play on older cards. a 7600 GT should be able to hand it on the lower settings...But yea..don't expect high resolutions with high graphical goodies..But considering we have no idea about the requirements it is all speculation atm...
  14. Here is a good power chart.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/08/21/energy-efficient_computing_options/page5.html#single_graphics_cards

    The 1950pro can use just over 100w.
    That leaves 300w for the rest of the system which is plenty.


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161060
    $119 After $40 Rebate.

    If you are worried about rebates since your funds are limited, the 7900GS is not a bad card either.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133186
    $119 w/o rebate.

    Both should work with the 400w FSP PSU for $39
  15. get a cheap 7900GS and a new dual core proccesor and if you have cash left over more RAM, odds are SC2 is gonna be dual threaded and the 7900GS is alot better than any 7600 while not breaking your wallet, PNY is a pretty good brand
  16. I could "absorb" the $40 for the 8 weeks I need for the rebate check, so I was planning on getting the 1950pro Zenmaster listed 2 posts above. It's just faster, thoughts?

    Post rebate and the 400w FSU PSU, it's a $315 upgrade (with a new case fan and shipping), which works for me.

    Short of any objections, I put my newegg order in tomorrow night
  17. Personally, in the long run, you're better off saving the money and rebuilding a new system. I've selling HP computers for the last seven years where I work. The reasons why you should just build a new system are these:

    1) 99% of the time the BIOS on OEM mobo's are locked. All you can change on them is boot order, enable/disable ports and onboard audio and such. It's not like an ASUS where you can change everything. Also, the mobos are so propitiatory, you might not be able to upgrade the CPU at all. Just because it's a socket 939 doesn't mean HP requested it to handle dual-cores or allow you to upgrade it at all.

    2) The cases are sometimes also highly propitiatory. I've dealt with HP cases where the PSU mounts were their own design and I had to go back to HP to get a new PSU because a generic one wouldn't fit. Also, they aren't well ventilated either. Most only have the fan mount in the back and that's it.

    3) It's the fact OEM's don't build their machines with upgrades in mind. They are built for Granny Smith who wants to a computer to check their email. They were and never will be built with power users in mind. They use cheap, propitiatory parts to make them affordable to the public when they mass produce them.

    Overall,to say it in another way, you're trying to make a Saturn into a Corvette. Again, just save up the money and build a new system.
  18. 1) I double checked again with HP tech support, they tell me it can do up to 4800+ X2

    I agree, the case and the motherboard are clearly not ideal, but if they are stable and I add a third case fan, I'm thinking a $300 investment is warranted, no? Especially considering the amount of things I can't play now and to raise enough for a system would require many months.

    More Motherboard info here:
    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00378480&lc=en&cc=us&dlc=en&softwareitem=pv-39428-1&os=228&product=1847035
  19. Overall, no considering socket 939 is no longer supported. Also, every HP case I've opened (which has been at least 100 in the last seven years), they only have a mount for one rear fan and no much ventilation overall.
    Besides, if your main concern is a game being released next year, start saving and build a new one. Both Intel and AMD are releasing new CPU's by the start of 2008, Nvidia is talking about releasing their new GPU's this November, and by then, DDR3 will be cheap as DDR2 is now. There's too much going on to jusitfy spending any money into a dead socket inside an OEM machine.
  20. OK, I see your point. I guess I'm on the fence now, is it worth upgrading? Anyone else have a thought?
  21. well it all depends on what you play right now, youd be fine off with just the 7600gt in most cases. that would be the cheapest most effective upgrade
  22. My internal Radeon 200 i surprisingly capable for what it is, playing games like HL2 and C&C3 fairly well. However, Company of Heroes, Bioshock, and Heroes of Might and Magic V are out of my reach.

    I think my PSU could handle just a 7600gt by itself, but with dual core and 2 gigs being so important to all the new spiffy Q4 titles, it might not be worth it alone. Dunno.

    So I guess the question is, do I spend $315 for a system that should stay usable till '09 , do I start piggy banking for a new PC and just give up on PC gaming in the mean time, or just get a 7600gt and see how far it will take me while saving the rest for a new PC?

    What's a respectable gaming rig from scratch cost nowadays? $1000ish?
  23. I woud get:
    CPU: $59 Get while still in stock and cheap!!
    x2 3800 s939
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16819103052

    PSU: $48
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16817104953
    FSP PSU in 400W flavor (your not probably going to upgade this system too much) or just get the 450W one KUM suggested.

    Memory: $58 Getting 2x512mb matched sets works much better overall
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16820145480

    GPU: $166 - $40 MIR = $ 126 Nice performing card.
    x1950pro
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814161060

    Total Shipping: $324 - $40 MIR for GPU = $284!!! Nice deal.

    Or get 7900gs: $126
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133186
    and don't have to use MIR!! Although the x1950pro will give you marginally better FPS than the 7900gs, the 7900gs will use less power, which would equate to less heat!
    And if all else fails and you need to get a new case: $50 w/Shipping
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119047
    go with this good but cheapy and still fall into the budget (if the mobo is a regular ATX/micro ATX configuration, not any proprietary form).
  24. kumquatq3 said:
    My internal Radeon 200 i surprisingly capable for what it is, playing games like HL2 and C&C3 fairly well. However, Company of Heroes, Bioshock, and Heroes of Might and Magic V are out of my reach.

    I think my PSU could handle just a 7600gt by itself, but with dual core and 2 gigs being so important to all the new spiffy Q4 titles, it might not be worth it alone. Dunno.

    So I guess the question is, do I spend $315 for a system that should stay usable till '09 , do I start piggy banking for a new PC and just give up on PC gaming in the mean time, or just get a 7600gt and see how far it will take me while saving the rest for a new PC?

    What's a respectable gaming rig from scratch cost nowadays? $1000ish?


    7600gt would be the cheapest upgrade for ya. Not as good as a x1950pro, but would be a power miser, so you could be able to see a performance increase from your existing rig. If you upgrade to 2gig's of ram and a 7600gt, than you would probably see an increase. Moving the CPU x2 would give you more potential than what you have now.
    One thing to consider is, can you turn off your onboard video, if you install a new video card? I know my compaq, back in the day, wouldn't allow me to shut it completely off in the BIOS:( . I had to always have 8mb of system memory allocated to the onboard video.
    A respectable gaming rig right now from scratch, could be had for $700-900, depending on what YOUR capabilities are. Some people can really streach their rig (by OC'ing it) and thus save some original upfront costs. So not sure which way you want to go, but for me, I would probably get the 7600gt and 2gig's of DDR and see how that works. Than I would probably just save up for the next system that you build yourself, which would be in about a year or so. So try what I stated in previous build or do the ~$130 upgrade (7600gt/512mb x 2 upgrade). That is about where I think your at.
  25. I think you're right lunyone, the 7600gt/512mb x 2 upgrade is the smart play. It'll let me at least play some games in the short term.

    Clearly my stock PSU didn't come with any software, does anyone know a program that will allow me to monitor the power it's putting out and the power I'm using? Want to make sure it will take a 7600GT

    Thanks again for everyone various input and help!
  26. kumquatq3 said:
    I think you're right lunyone, the 7600gt/512mb x 2 upgrade is the smart play. It'll let me at least play some games in the short term.

    Clearly my stock PSU didn't come with any software, does anyone know a program that will allow me to monitor the power it's putting out and the power I'm using? Want to make sure it will take a 7600GT

    Thanks again for everyone various input and help!

    If you have to concern yourself with knowing whether or not a certain piece of hardware meets a minimum requirement then you should upgrade that component.
    A 400W PSU is small and limited in what it can do, 550W PSU's are the norm for todays "mild" systems,
    most of us are using 750W+ PSU's for our systems simply because we don't have to stress the PSU to run the system.
    In a perfect world the PSU would not have to operate at 100% of it's rated output, 50% for everyday things like surfing, burning, defragging, etc...........gaming lays heavy loads on the CPU and GPU and 75% of the PSU's rated output is acceptable.
    The PSU needs head-room or else it's going to bump it's head and we don't want that.
  27. No, I am not sure of one, but you can do some simple math youreslf.


    http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/08/21/energy-efficient_computing_options/page5.html#single_graphics_cards

    7600GT=51w under full load.
    CPU=100w (Just rounding - Likely less w/o looking up)
    HDD=20w
    CDROM=20w
    --------------
    190w plus a few other items which may add another 20-30w max.

    You should be just fine with what you have.
    If you get one of the EE X2, then you will have lots more headroom.
    since I think some of them are only 65w and my wattage estimates for the HDD and CDROM are likely dbl.

    If you are worried about the PSU handling future upgrades, you could go for the Corsair 450w PSU.

    See - http://www.jonnyguru.com which has a review and links to many reviews. They all comment on how it can handle an 8800GTX w/o issue.

    With Future GPUs going to the 65nm process, it's a good bet that the new gen GPUs will not require huge new amounts of power.

    No real need to spend alot on PSU for tight budgets.

    As Jonny notes, Not everyone is going to run 8800GTX Sli systems that need huge powe supplies.
  28. kumquatq3 said:
    My internal Radeon 200 i surprisingly capable for what it is, playing games like HL2 and C&C3 fairly well. However, Company of Heroes, Bioshock, and Heroes of Might and Magic V are out of my reach.

    I think my PSU could handle just a 7600gt by itself, but with dual core and 2 gigs being so important to all the new spiffy Q4 titles, it might not be worth it alone. Dunno.

    So I guess the question is, do I spend $315 for a system that should stay usable till '09 , do I start piggy banking for a new PC and just give up on PC gaming in the mean time, or just get a 7600gt and see how far it will take me while saving the rest for a new PC?

    What's a respectable gaming rig from scratch cost nowadays? $1000ish?

    Your a gamer so I would skip the CPU upgrade and get 2X1GB's of RAM, HD2900xt, and a good 500+ watt PSU. Your 3800+ more than meets the minimum P4 2.4GHz CPU requirement of bioshock. The 939 mobos can hold 2X1GB's kits so I would max 2 slots out if it was my rig. 3GB's is about the limit of 32bit OS with a good GPU so its highly advised you shoot for this upgrade.

    The reason I am suggest no CPU upgrade is game wise the best bang for the buck is the GPU. Your memory is under the requirements of most new games so its a must to upgrade. As far as the GPU and PSU I would look forward to a new build on these 2 parts. These 2 parts would make a good starting point for a quad core upgrade around the beginning of 2009. In a way this would be like saving about $200 for a future system.

    P.S. keep your old PSU and use it later in this system as a game server come 2009.
  29. elbert said:
    Your a gamer so I would skip the CPU upgrade and get 2X1GB's of RAM, HD2900xt, and a good 500+ watt PSU. Your 3800+ more than meets the minimum P4 2.4GHz CPU requirement of bioshock. The 939 mobos can hold 2X1GB's kits so I would max 2 slots out if it was my rig. 3GB's is about the limit of 32bit OS with a good GPU so its highly advised you shoot for this upgrade.

    The reason I am suggest no CPU upgrade is game wise the best bang for the buck is the GPU. Your memory is under the requirements of most new games so its a must to upgrade. As far as the GPU and PSU I would look forward to a new build on these 2 parts. These 2 parts would make a good starting point for a quad core upgrade around the beginning of 2009. In a way this would be like saving about $200 for a future system.

    P.S. keep your old PSU and use it later in this system as a game server come 2009.


    So where is he going to fit all of what you suggest, GPU 2900xt $360/PSU 500w $80/2x1gb's DDR2 $80, for $300? He's only spending that much, so I didn't recommend anything like you did. Yes you could get by with the CPU that he currently has, which he could do, but s939's aren't being made anymore. So if he upgrades the CPU, while they are still cheap, he can then streach out his current build longer. I was just simply trying to upgrade his system as much as he can and still use what he has. Yes a PSU/GPU upgrade would be the best, but still need to add DDR to it also. So if he got a $80 PSU/$130 GPU/$50 DDR, that might be better than before. I just gave him one option to look at. I don't know everything and don't contend that I do. I was just trying to show one way to do it. He has to decide if that is what he wants to do. My opinion is just that, an opinion :)
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