Need help - I don't know CRAP about building!!

Hi All
Last year I bought a HP Pavilion M8330F(GX612AA) because I got a super screaming deal on it. I realize that the video card is okay but was told that I could upgrade it easily.
I can't really seem to play basic video games like Battlefield 2 on any sort of high settings so I'd like to buy a video card and upgrade. This is my challenge.

I am not computer literate whatsoever but give me a big block chevy and I can make it scream...ya know? So I know I can certainly learn but have no one to teach me.

I'd like to upgrade the video card and this motherboard that is in here looks to be PCI express x16. Going on various websites to find a killer video card seems to narrow my choices. Can I put a PCI express x16 2.0 in this slot and make it work or are they not compatible whatsoever?

I like the features of the HP m8330f but am not married to them. If I have to buy a new motherboard and switch out all the components, I could probably do it but am scared to death that I'll burn something up. I realize that the 2.0 is probably newer technology than the regular express if I have to do motherboard and video card at the same time, is there a way to do it so the dual sata disk drives will still work together or is this a huge pain in my butt?

Any help would be appreciated.
6 answers Last reply
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  1. "Can I put a PCI express x16 2.0 in this slot and make it work"

    Yes, as long as the power requirement for the new video card does not overwhelm the mediocre PSU in your existing box. Ignore the 2.0 vs. 1.X labeling, as long as it fits a PCIe slot that's all you need to worry about.

    If you have the DIY itch, start from the ground up, working from an existing HP box trying to turn it into a DIY box is silly for reasons real and imagined. BF2 will run perfectly on any current card, so there is that.
  2. Read my reply under the post "first time building a computer" on page 2 in this section. It's so long that I won't try to retype it; it would take 30 minutes.
  3. pcie 2.0 cards are compatable with older pcie 16x slots so you shouldn't have any problems. if your only playing bf2 and older games a 4850 would probably be all you need but i was looking at your specs and a ram uprgrade to ddr 2 800 from ddr2 533 would be cheap, less than 60 bucks for some 2x2 gig kits and if your running a 64 bit os you can add a total of 8 gb $24.99 after $30.00 rebate
  4. Post the componet list for what you have now GPU, CPU, MEM, PSU, OS etc.

    As far as the best choices for GPUs take a look at this list.,2064.html

    And this chart from Toms:,799.html

    Figure out what you want to spend and jump in. Google a VC install and you'll probably find a video online to help you.

    It depends on what games you want to play and at what resolution you are going to play, some games are better suited to a particular vc. Personally I want to upgrade to a HD 4870 1gb mem card since I game at 16x10 res and or possibly the HD 4850 1gb mem. Nvidia has several very good cards also like the 280, 260, 9800 gtx+.
  5. Your m8330F has a 4 banger of a graphic card (8500GT) and a tiny fuel pump (300w power supply). You'll need to replace the fuel pump with a 500w or better one and replace the Graphic motor with a high powered one. Like everything else most is going to depend on your budget. For about $200 you can get decent performance with a $50 500w power supply
    and a good low upper level graphic card (HD4850)

    Budget answer that won't require a new power supply, but would give you better performance is a HD4670 at $80

    Higher end answer is the same power supply(500w) and a HD4870 or a GTX260 216

    as with all prebuilt computers that get upgraded, you need to keep an eye on your temperatures. Download a hardware monitor and keep an eye on them.
  6. mahoney, I tried something similar with a dell I had. Major manufacturers have too many proprietary parts to really make it worth your time and money to do major upgrades. My recommendation would be to put together a budget and make a new post with your budget and desired result. ie: I can spend $1000, I'll reuse my keyboard, monitor and mouse and i want to play BF2, WoW etc. There are some very knowledgeable (if somewhat spelling challenged) ppl on this forum and most are happy to help you spend your money.

    There are a few DiY guides here and worst case scenario you can wing it. ;) Actually 10 months ago I was in the same position you are in right now. Now I would never consider buying a pre-built OC. It's a lot easier to do then most ppl think and like working on your car it is a lot more satisfying then having someone else do it for you.
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