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New member, Need advice on upgrading pc.

Last response: in CPUs
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November 1, 2008 8:30:47 PM

Hello, I'm new to these boards and have been doing some reading up on building a custom gaming pc. I usually don't play the newest and latest games, but would like to build something that suits my needs. Basically, I'm more interested in what the best route of upgrading the components I should take as I will be buying components over an extended period of time.

I was thinking the best upgrade would first be the graphics card/psu. As I think that will give the biggest boost in performance as I am using integrated graphics. After this I was thinking maybe getting ram to a level that will due for the time being until I am able to upgrade the CPU/Motherboard/Ram all in one shot.

Here are my current specs...(don't laugh)

Motherboard: Amberine M (1.03)
Chipset: ATI Xpress 200 (RS480)
Southbridge: ATI SB400

CPU: AMD Sempron 3000+ (1.8ghz)
Socket: 939
L1 Cache: 64kbytes
L2: 128kbytes
Memory: 768 DDR memory

Also, I will be playing this on a 32inch Westinghouse LCD HDTV with a native resolution of 1366 x 768 (so I probably don't need to go above that. I also am using a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound system hooked through the Digital input. Not sure if there is anything I can do to take advantage of this fact.

Should I go for a graphics card first that I will use later down the line. I'm not sure if this is even compatible, but I did see a "EVGA 768-P2-N831-RX GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card" on newegg that I was interested in, but Like I said, I have no idea if it's even compatible.

Should I just get a new Motherboard/Cpu first (this would mean I won't have a graphics card for some a few months). Any help would be appreciated. Thank you guys in advance.
November 1, 2008 9:05:03 PM

First it would be helpful to find out what your budget is. Second I personally wouldn't go for the 8800 gtx. Its
starting to get a little long in the tooth. Also I wouldnt put anything in that motherboard cause it would be severely bottlenecked by that cpu. I'm also going to assume your power supply is probably pretty dated.
But lets first start with your budget. Let us know what your willing to spend so we can help you build a decent system.
a b à CPUs
November 1, 2008 9:23:54 PM

your board does have 1 pci-express slot, but HP is notorious about using weak power supplys, so I doubt it will run an 8800gtx
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November 4, 2008 1:38:40 PM

Well, I was going to buy a PS3, but am thinking I could use that on a custom gaming pc. So, about $550. But are there parts on this pc I could possibly use for the new one? Maybe HardDrives or DVD Rom drive, etc?
November 4, 2008 1:41:30 PM

Maybe I should just use the $500 gaming PC on the "System Builder Marathon" articles?
a c 117 à CPUs
November 4, 2008 3:30:52 PM

Valdez21 said:
Well, I was going to buy a PS3, but am thinking I could use that on a custom gaming pc. So, about $550. But are there parts on this pc I could possibly use for the new one? Maybe HardDrives or DVD Rom drive, etc?


The power of integrated graphics has come a long way since your mobo - you could achieve a nice bump in performance over your existing rig and/or go discreet graphics card. Depending upon where you want to go ....

GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-DS4H AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI: $139
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or you could save a good bit of money with ....

GIGABYTE GA-MA78GPM-DS2H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI: $103
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Pop in this CPU ...

AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz AM2 45W: $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800: $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS Hightech H485QT512P Radeon HD 4850: $180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


You now have 'options galore'. If you decide on the 790gx (and the idea of a future CrossFire of the HD4850) you should select a 750w power supply. I selected that model HD4850 because it is dual-slot. You can find cheaper single-slot versions for around $140 if you look around.

I would not hesitate to go with the 780g (especially if the future CrossFire is not an attractive option - which in your case may not be). You could then invest the $$$ you saved in the ....

HIS Hightech H487F512P Radeon HD 4870: $230 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With a single discreet video card a 500-600w power supply will be more than sufficient and your total investment will be less than $500 if you reuse your case, hard drive and DVD/CD. (A new SATA hard drive will run you around $60 and a 22x DVD around $30).

You will need a toslink cable to transfer audio to your receiver via the optical out. I would anticipate that either the Gigabyte 790gx or 780g would give you an upgrade path to the 45nm Phenom quad core microprocessors rolling out by the holidays.


edit: I fergit .... the onboard IGP of either motherboard would be a quantum leap over your existing video. You could hold off in purchasing the discreet video card and see how you like the performance.
a b à CPUs
November 4, 2008 7:38:19 PM

If you don't have the money to do it all at once you will have to split it up into 2 sections. Your power supply probably cannot handle a decent video card so and upgrade of the video will require a new psu/case. Both of these components will work with the rest of your existing system. The cpu/ram/mb will have to be upgraded together as well. These will actually work with your current psu/case so you can do either of these first and still work with your old parts. And yeah, you can keep you old HDs/burners to save money either way.
I could be wrong but believe in terms of pure gaming performance your current system plus a good video card will do significantly better than a new system with igp. The latest games will probably be barely playable however until you upgrade everything. Anything over about a year old like say Half Life 2 or Oblivion will play fine however.
In everything besides gaming upgrading the cpu/ram/mb upgrade would give you much better results and like the last poster said a new system with igp will be tons better than your current set-up. So it's up you.
November 4, 2008 8:36:21 PM

Lovin the advice! As of now, I'm perfectly content with my non-gaming performance, but I tried playing WoW and could only do like 20fps. I'm certainly going to get a new CPU/Motherboard/RAM in the future but am leaning on a graphics card and powersupply/case for the much needed graphic performance upgrade. I think my case is pretty plain as of now anyway, and want something that goes more with the huge monitor and 5.1 surround sound. What are your top choices for a Case/PSU and graphics card with that being a precursor to the CPU/Motherboard/Ram upgrade.
a c 117 à CPUs
November 5, 2008 1:11:45 PM

Valdez21 said:
Lovin the advice! As of now, I'm perfectly content with my non-gaming performance, but I tried playing WoW and could only do like 20fps. I'm certainly going to get a new CPU/Motherboard/RAM in the future but am leaning on a graphics card and powersupply/case for the much needed graphic performance upgrade. I think my case is pretty plain as of now anyway, and want something that goes more with the huge monitor and 5.1 surround sound. What are your top choices for a Case/PSU and graphics card with that being a precursor to the CPU/Motherboard/Ram upgrade.



SILVERSTONE LASCALA SST-LC13-S ATX Media Center / HTPC Case: $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The black model is an additional $20

A DAAMIT HD4850

Combo Deal: $172
BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX A2+ AMD 790GX HDMI / AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Windsor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 89W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCombos.aspx?Item=N...
The master PCIe x16 slot is on the lower end of the mobo and will work well with the Lascala case.

November 5, 2008 7:05:17 PM

I have to say that I was pretty hesitant buying things from TigerDirect.com, but about six months ago I spent a little under $300 and got a decent barebones system from them. I just checked with them today and found two deals that you might consider.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

The second link is a good deal. I have that same system, but the case that they sent me was different and I bought some Kingston RAM because I have never had a problem with Kingston and use it in all of the servers that I work on. At $139 for the system you can spend $200 on a video card and still be well under your $500 budget.

The computer won't be the best but if your gaming needs are like mine you will be fine. I saw that you mentioned WoW. That is pretty much the only game I play. With a GeForce 6800 card I get a steady 30fps with all of the details on high. If you get a decent card like a 8800 or 9800 you'll be set.

I will be honest that I was really skeptical buying some cheap "BioStar" motherboard and case for under $200. All of my previous computers have been built on Asus boards with $$$ parts. The way I look at it, the deal was so inexpensive that even if I had to go buy a better board later it would be worth the hassle. I've been pleasantly surprised by how stable the system has been.
!