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Upgrade Advice - series 2!

Last response: in Systems
July 19, 2009 3:01:55 PM


Being so strapped for cash that i can not afford a new rig...i thought i would replace the motherboard,cpu,memory and graphics card of this system I use currently.

I would like to ideally get these items purchased for under £170. Not including the hd4850 i have in post that cost me £68.99

Intended system purpose Gaming - cod5 - Warhammer online - farcry2
Current System (its an updated mesh matrix g70 pro from meshcomputers -4 years old-)

The case is a Meshcomputer case, which has rear fan and side fan (rear fan works some days other not).

PSU - hec-550td-pte (550w)

AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4400+


Sata Hardrive 250gig , no idea what brand.

GeForce 7800 GTX 256mb (HD 4850 IN POST TO REPLACE THIS)

Module 1 DDR, PC3200 (200 MHz), 512 MBytes, Hyundai Electronics
Module 2 DDR, PC3200 (200 MHz), 512 MBytes, Hyundai Electronics
Module 3 DDR, PC3200 (200 MHz), 1024 MBytes, GEIL
Module 4 DDR, PC3200 (200 MHz), 1024 MBytes, GEIL

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 (Build 2600)

Resolution 1680 x 1050 on viewsonic VX1940W

My questions

1) Should I replace the PSU - hec-550td-pte (550w) which is now 4 years old?

2) I will get 4 gig of ram (2x2gig) on the new system but continue using windows XP till i can afford to get vista 64bit..will that cause problems other than not running at max effiency?

3) Will a mATX motherboard be fine for the case? or will i need ATX? Neither seem to be same size as the currently in use Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe which is ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.5cm)

I cant find the specifications for my case in terms of fitting a modern motherboard, is it possible i take out motherboard and wont have what i need to fit a new one (obviously i should check first but in general could i have issues?)

4) Budget wise does this work?

£60 for a cpu E6300 2.8GHz Socket 775 2MB Cache
£40 for 4 gig ddr2 800mhz
£40 motherboard - unknown due to mATX / ATX issue

Leaves me with about £40 for a new psu if poeple think i should replace my current one, but most recommended psu I can find are £65+.

5) Will the end system if all goes to plan be ALOT better than what i have currently? hoping for cod5 max settings.

If someone could answer the put forward questions and provide any general advise would really appricate it. cheers.

More about : upgrade advice series

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2009 3:35:33 PM

1. Well, it's not a good PSU and should not be used. I would say you have been lucky getting by for 4 years (if indeed it's not causing issues) but you can't expect it to last much longer.

2. No.

3. Do you have a link for your case? I can't say for sure, although mATX should be OK.

4. Possibly. I would not expect Intel to be the best budget choice.

ASRock 770 AM2+ board

AMD x2 550

OCZ 1066 mem

Corsair 450VX
July 19, 2009 3:53:21 PM

Cheers for the swift informed responce!

I dont have any case information its a mesh case, best i found so far is a picture of it.

Ringing mesh tomorrow when they are open to see if they can pull me up some details.

Your choosen products are ace, but tad over budget.

£219.88 assuming free delivery options for all products.

Being as though i cant resist a better spec i will just not eat for a month and go for your selections pending no other better suggestions / mind numbing deals.

thanks again.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2009 11:13:04 PM

I really just went to known good retailers and didn't hunt for prices.

The X2 550 should beat out the E6300, although they are close in performance. I think the X2 550 is closer to the E7400.

The Corsair PSU is a good one. This OCZ PSU would be an ADEQUATE choice. Just so you have options ;)

Your other option would be to get an E5200:

Put it on a good board:

With a good cooler:

And overclock it a good bit. New processors actually overclock well, not like your old one. You can get a decent OC on the X2 550, but the E5200 will probably match it for speed once cranked up.

Only go that route if your case has good air flow.
July 20, 2009 8:59:45 AM

I have been playing with figures and numbers and since i dont really fancy overclocking to high levels, ill stick to your first suggestion, its only a bit more money and i really like the corsair psu. Infact the x2 550 has even got 5 squid cheaper than yesterday. yey.

£214.93 total now for psu,cpu,ram,mobo, seems to be more value for money in amd.

My only worry right now is , is 450w enough?.. but the Corsair 450VX seems solid and calcs i use suggest 450w is more than enough.. just paranoid ;p
July 20, 2009 9:25:53 AM

Could i go for a cheaper mobo than the one below?

Asrock A770DE AMD 770 Socket AM2+ 8 Chanel Audio ATX Motherboard

Although it supports crossfire, i would need to replace psu as well, just dont think ill be doing that anytime soon. Wont be overclocking either.

Will be getting this cpu - AMD Phenom X2 550 Black Edition 3.1GHz 6MB L3 Chche Socket AM3 Retail Boxed Processor

Regarding my case mesh said it has the screw points for mATX and standard ATX.

thanks again.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
July 20, 2009 4:34:22 PM

I would suggest that you see how the 4850 works out first.

Gaming performance is mostly determined by the strength of the graphics card. You should see a nice boost with the 4850.
The 4850 requires a 450w psu and a 6 pin pci-e connector. Your psu should be ok. Keep your current psu if it has been good so far. It is not highly regardes for quality, but why replace it if it is still doing the job?

If you upgraded your cpu, I think you will be disappointed. You will get improved fps only if you are running a cpu intensive game or a much stronger vga configuration.
Check out how much cpu you are using now by activating the task manager and look at the performance tab. Unless you are near maxed out, spending your incremental funds on a cpu will not give you good returns.

If the rear fan sometimes works, replace it. Yate-loon fans are good, quiet, and cheap. Perhaps install one in the front of the case too.

The ram configuration is not ideal, but 3gb total is OK.

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 20, 2009 9:12:55 PM

ampot said:
Could i go for a cheaper mobo than the one below?

Asrock A770DE AMD 770 Socket AM2+ 8 Chanel Audio ATX Motherboard

Although it supports crossfire, i would need to replace psu as well, just dont think ill be doing that anytime soon. Wont be overclocking either.

That's not a crossfire chipset. The board might have a second PCI-E slot, but it's not going to be true crossfire. That's just ASRock being creative as usual... they have rigged up some sort of partial crossfire potential.

I don't think there are any cheaper boards to choose from. Not that are AM3 compatible AM2+ boards.

Yes the Corsair is fine. It has more amps available on the 12V line than cheaper, higher wattage PSUs.
July 20, 2009 11:28:45 PM

Cheers again for the great advise Proximon, sound, quick, helpful, really learning alot.

Many thanks Geofelt for the responce. I have intended all along to see how the new card helps, before i jump ahead.

But i really had thought a 3.1 processor with 6 mb cache would be a noticeable improvement on 2.3 with 1mb, obviously including the improvements from 200mhz ddr1 ram to 1000mhz ddr2 as well. Only way i can do this is a complete re vamp.

My 7800gtx already uses a 6 pin connector so i should be fine for now. Just worried its on its last legs and may take something out when it goes. So do hope to replace it soon ish.

Warhammer seems to be cpu intense for where my main issue lies, which is basically too many players on screen, cant move. Cod5 seems to be mostly graphics issues, being as though if i go near water or alot of foilage i can barely move for fps drop. this is at min settings.

When my new card arrives I will post my results from the card update and who knows may keep me happy till i can afford to spend the usual kinds of money i want to on a system.

Thanks again Alot!
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2009 1:08:20 AM

Warhammer Online. I had missed that. Yes, you would see big gains from processing power especially in very large keep sieges and such. I speak from personal experience where in-guild machines were compared. In real time over Ventrillo. Same cards different processors. My overclocked E8400 was getting much higher frames than stock Q6600s.
August 22, 2009 12:16:15 AM

Update a month later.

Still too poor to buy the bits. But still planning to do the suggestion first put forward. Think its a solid setup. Shame the prices have not moved at all. Infact pretty sure its slighty more expensive :( 

The Hd 4850 512mb made Cod5 run like a dream, dont play warhammer anymore so no idea if that would of helped at all. Unlikely where it matters anyway.

Looking at this as replacement fan (turns out my current fan completly not working now lol) . Was considering Yate-loon but cant find a uk supplier i like with one.

Akasa 12cm Silent Cooling Fan

thanks again.