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Need Recommendations for PC Upgrade

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November 9, 2009 5:15:14 PM

My current pc is over 5 years old. I do a lot of online gaming and lately I get kicked out of games often. Therefore I would like to upgrade my system to a faster 64 bit system with better graphics card. I'm not sure which is the most cost effective way to go. Should I replace my mobo, processor, graphics, memory and operating system OR should I just buy a whole new system?

Here is what I've got: It is a Compaq Presario SR1318NX . Intel Pentium 4 w/hyper threading. *Processor 2.80Ghz, 1MB L2 Cache, 800Mhz Front Side Bus. Graphics is an Intel Integrated Chip Set. Running Windows XP SP3 Home Edition. It came with 512mb of DDR SDRAM. I have recently added memory to it, so it's now has 2.5gb of DDR SDRAM. It also has 3 - dvd r/w drives (2 internal and 1 external). It came with a 200gb Hard drive. I have added a 40gb internal hard drive and recently added a 1.5tb external hard drive.

I understand if I upgrade my mobo, processor abd graphics that I will also need to upgrade the memory too, since DDR is old and that's what I have.

Is it possible to buy everything I need already bundled? (mobo with processor, graphics card and memory on it). Meaning that I would just need to take out the old mobo and put in the new one? With the exception of installing/upgrading my operating system.

I've been checking out the prices of new systems out there and they are all better than what I have now. They are ranging in prices from $399 and up.

Any and all recommendations would be appreciated. I want to do this asap.

Thanks for the advice.
November 9, 2009 5:19:09 PM

if you get a new mobo it almost always requires an clean os install
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November 9, 2009 5:20:57 PM

What does a "clean" install mean?
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November 9, 2009 5:58:14 PM

Complete re-installation of the operating system, usually including a wipe of the hard drive so you will want to back up any important data to another storage medium beforehand as it will likely be wiped from the hard drive during the installation.
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November 10, 2009 12:48:14 AM

Ok, Well aside from the operating system, which I would be purchasing and installing as I stated.

I would like to get back to my actual question. Should I replace my existing mobo, processor, graphics and memory.....or......just buy a whole new system? Which is most cost effective. If replacing parts, could someone please recommend a good setup for what I am seeking to do?

Please read my initial post for details.

Thanks
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Best solution

November 10, 2009 1:47:25 AM

If you feel comfortable building your own computer, I put a build together for you. If you prefer not to, you could post some of the computers you're looking at and I could look at them for you.

Here's the build;

CPU- AMD Athlon II X2 2.9 GHz- $66
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO- Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H- $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Combo: cpu+mobo- $126
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM- Corsair 4 GB (this can be lowered to 2 GB for now if you need to save money) DDR2 800- $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case + PSU- Antec 380 W PSU- $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD (this isn't totally necessary as you have a few, but a new one would give you better performance)- Samsung F3 500 GB- $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner (also not necessary)- $28
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With everything (and the combo) this comes to $371
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November 14, 2009 8:17:01 PM

Thanks pepperman for the recommendations. You said that you would give your opinion if I was shopping around for a pc. Well I have one for you to look at. It's for sale at Frys Electronics. Let me know what you think about this one, in relation to what I'm trying to achieve. Thanks
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Acer MultiMedia Desktop PC w/ AMD Athlon II X2 215, 3GB, 320GB & Windows 7 HP - $299.99
Here are the specs copied from Frys website ad.
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Specifications:
Processor Info
Model: AMD Athlon™ II X2 215 Dual-Core Processor
Speed: 2.70GHz
# of Cores: 2
Cache: 2x512KB L2 Cache
Bus Speed: 4000MHz Front Side Bus
Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce 9200

Memory:
Size: 3GB
Type: DDR2
Speed: 800MHz
Total Slots: 2 DIMM
Open Slots: 0

Storage
Hard Drive: 320GB, 7200RPM, SATA
Optical Drive: 16X DVD?R/RW SuperMulti Drive - Write Max: 16X DVD?R, 6X DVD-RW, 8X DVD+RW, 8X DVD?R DL, 5X DVD-RAM, 48X CD-R, 32X CD-RW Read Max: 16X DVD-ROM, 40X CD-ROM
Media Drive: Multi-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader: CompactFlash® (Type I and II), CF+™ Microdrive, MultiMediaCard (MMC), Reduced-Size MultiMediaCard (RSMMC), Secure Digital™ (SD) Card, xD-Picture Card™, Memory Stick®, Memory Stick PRO™

Graphics
Type: Motherboard Integrated
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 9200
Memory: Shared
Ports: VGA, HDMI

Sound
Type: High Definition Audio
Channels: 5.1

USB
Front USB: 5
Back USB: 4

Networking
Wired: 10/100/1000 Base-T

Accessories:
Keyboard: USB Keyboard
Mouse: Optical Mouse

Expansion:
Slots: 1 PCI Expressx1 (Open)
1 PCI Expressx16 (Open)

Bays: 1 External 5.25" (Occupied)
1 Internal 3.5" (1 Occupied)

Size
Dimensions: 13.9"(L) x 3.9"(W) x 10.4" (H)
Weight: 12 Pounds

Software
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Applications: Acer eRecovery Management
Adobe Flash Player
Adobe Reader
CyberLink PowerDVD
eSOBI
Google Toolbar
McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009
Microsoft Works
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 (Trial Version)
MyWinLocker
Nero 9 Essentials

Warranty:
Warranty: 1 Year Limited

Additional Info:
Model: AX1301-U9032
Part Number: PT.SCM02.007
UPC: 099802295899
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November 14, 2009 8:38:07 PM

That's not a bad computer for $300, but keep in mind, you won't have many upgrade options (though for that price, you'd be hard pressed to build a computer better than that). If that doesn't matter to you, then this computer should suit you fine. The performance increase of this computer in comparison to your current one should be on the order of more than 50% in single-threaded operations, plus you'll have a second core.
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November 15, 2009 10:28:12 AM

if you are currently gaming on a 5 year old system with windows xp, what you should consider also is whether the games you are currently playing on xp are compatible with windows 7. A minor point maybe, but it is possible if you get a new system with windows 7 you may find you get kicked out of some of your favourite older games for altogether different reasons.
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November 15, 2009 6:45:33 PM

Heres a question. . . Regarding Graphics Cards. In your opinion, what is best to have? An Integrated Chipset or PCI Card type?

I would think the PCI type because then you can upgrade?

Also, ATI vs. Nvidia?

Pepperman's recommendation was for ATI, but that pc I was looking at has Nvidia. I also found a pc at Frys that is the same as the one listed above, but it has a bigger hard drive, more memory and a PCI type Nvidia Graphics card. It sells for $419.99 vs. $299.99.

Building my own computer would be fine, but I don't feel comfortable if soldering is involved in the build.

Thanks for the tip on gaming with Windows 7. I'm not sure that would be an issue. I'm not what you would call an avid gamer. Meaning I don't play Call of Duty or any of those games. I do play poker online (no for real money). I also have a child that plays Toontown all of the time. Thats where most of the issues are. We are often kicked out right in the middle of doing something. Toontown's technical help seems to point towards graphic cards and mobo's, drivers etc.

I appreciate all of your inputs.
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November 15, 2009 6:56:53 PM

I recommended ATI because it has the best price/performance ratio in the range you're looking at. A discrete card is nearly always better than integrated, but ATI integrated graphics (particularly the one on the mobo I suggested) is rather strong. If all you do is light gaming and surf the web, it will suit you just fine, plus the mobo has a PCI-E so you can always add in a discrete card should you ever need it. If you posted the model number of the other one you're looking at, we could evaluate it for you too.
As for building your own, you won't need to solder anything; it usually fits together like a puzzle where the answer key comes with the pieces.
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November 21, 2009 1:16:35 AM

pepperman, Here are a couple of options to take a look at that would be in my price range.

I appreciate your input.
Thanks again.

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Acer Desktop PC with AMD Athlon II X2 215, 4GB, 750GB HD, Nvidia GF 210 Graphics & Windows 7 HP
FRYS.com Item # 6059148 Acer
$419.99

Stay productive and get creative with the Acer® AX1301-U9052 small form factor PC. This dynamic and sleek entertainment center is 1/3 the size of a normal PC and features AMD Athlon II X2 dual-core performance, powerful NVIDIA® graphics, 4GB memory, the new Windows® 7 Home Premium and great media features that make it easy to power through tasks, explore the Internet and enjoy more of your digital media and entertainment.
Shipping: Call for Availability
Store Pickup: Available

Specifications:
Processor
Model: AMD Athlon™ II X2 215 Dual-Core Processor
Speed: 2.70GHz
# of Cores: 2
Cache: 2x512KB L2 Cache
Bus Speed: 4000MHz Front Side Bus
Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce 9200

Memory:
Size: 4GB
Type: DDR2
Speed: 800MHz
Total Slots: 2 DIMM
Open Slots: 0

Storage
Hard Drive: 750GB, 7200RPM, SATA
Optical Drive: 16X DVD?R/RW SuperMulti Drive - Write Max: 16X DVD?R, 6X DVD-RW, 8X DVD+RW, 8X DVD?R DL, 5X DVD-RAM, 48X CD-R, 32X CD-RW Read Max: 16X DVD-ROM, 40X CD-ROM
Media Drive: Multi-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader: CompactFlash® (Type I and II), CF+™ Microdrive, MultiMediaCard (MMC), Reduced-Size MultiMediaCard (RSMMC), Secure Digital™ (SD) Card, xD-Picture Card™, Memory Stick®, Memory Stick PRO™

Graphics
Type: PCI-Express x16 Video Card
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce G210
Memory: 512MB DDR2
Ports: DVI, HDMI

Sound
Type: High Definition Audio
Channels: 5.1

USB
Front USB: 5
Back USB: 4

Networking
Wired: 10/100/1000 Base-T

Accessories:
Keyboard: USB Keyboard
Mouse: Optical Mouse

Expansion:
Slots: 1 PCI Expressx1 (Open)
1 PCI Expressx16 (Occupied)

Bays: 1 External 5.25" (Occupied)
1 Internal 3.5" (1 Occupied)

Size
Dimensions: 13.9"(L) x 3.9"(W) x 10.4" (H)
Weight: 12 Pounds

Software
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Applications: Acer eRecovery Management
Adobe Flash Player
Adobe Reader
CyberLink PowerDVD
eSOBI
Google Toolbar
McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009
Microsoft Works
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 (Trial Version)
MyWinLocker
Nero 9 Essentials

Warranty:
Warranty: 1 Year Limited

Additional Info:
Model: AX1301-U9052
Part Number: PT.SCM02.008
UPC: 099802295943

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
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HP s5220f Desktop PC with Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor E5300, 4GB, 640GB HD & Windows 7 HP
FRYS.com Item#: 6060098
$399.99

Performance anywhere you need it

The HP Slimline offers a powerful PC where space is at a premium. Perfect for a small office or dorm, it can handle all your computing needs, like e-mail, word processing and more.(10) And the Slimline is flexible, so you can easily add or upgrade features and functions. The HP Slimline's sleek, modern styling, with chrome and accent lighting, looks great in any room.

Backed by HP's award-winning Total Care service and support
Sophisticated styling gives the Slimline the look of a top-price PC
Protected by Norton Internet Security 2009: Protect your PC out of the box
The front-panel 6-in-1 memory card reader makes it easy to transfer photos, music, and other files to and from your digital camera and other peripheral devices.
The SuperMulti DVD burner with LightScribe technology lets you create custom, silkscreen-quality labels and artwork directly onto LightScribe-enabled CD and DVD discs
Limit 1 per Household.
(when purchased between 11/20/2009 and 11/24/2009)

Specifications:
Processor
Model: Intel® Pentium™ Dual Core Processor E5300
Speed: 2.6GHz
# of Cores: 2
Cache: 2MB L2 Cache
Bus Speed: 800MHz Front Side Bus
Chipset: Intel® G31 Express

Memory:
Size: 4GB
Type: DDR2
Speed: PC2-6400
Total Slots: 2 DIMM
Open Slots: 0

Storage
Hard Drive: 640GB, 7200RPM, SATA
Optical Drive: Super Multi DVD/CD Burner with Lightscribe Technology
Media Drive: 6 in 1: xD, MMC, SD, SDHC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MMC+

Graphics
Type: Motherboard Integrated
GPU: Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 3100
Memory: 64MB to 256MB Shared
Ports: VGA

Sound
Type: High Definition Audio
Channels: 6
Front Ports: Headphone
Back Ports: Microphone, Line-In, Line-Out

USB
Front USB: 2
Back USB: 4

Networking
Wired: 10/100/1000 Base-T

Accessories:
Keyboard: HP USB Keyboard
Mouse: HP USB Mouse

Expansion:
Slots: 1 PCI Expressx1 (Occupied)
1 PCI Expressx16 (Open)

Bays: 1 External 5.25" (Occupied)
1 Internal 3.5" (Occupied)

Size
Dimensions: 15.91"(L) x 4.43"(W) x 12.24" (H)
Weight: 10.45 Pounds (approx)

Software
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit - makes everyday tasks simple — and makes new things possible.

Photo/Video: HP MediaSmart Software Suite: Your one stop multimedia & entertainment center to create photo slideshows, share personal videos, listen to your favorite music playlists and watch DVD Movies

Entertainment: Cyberlink DVD Suite Deluxe: Automatically fix and edit videos and create CDs and DVDs. Edit, burn and archive data to discs.

Productivity: Microsoft Works 9: Includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database and calender
Microsoft Office Home & Student Edition 2007 - 60 day trial version
HP Total Care Advisor 3.2: HP Advisor makes your PC easier to use -view your status at a glance, access support, discover more ways to use your PC, and navigate easily to your favorite software and services.

PC Security: Norton Internet Security 2009: Protect your PC out of the box. (60 days of complimentary live updates)

Warranty/Support
Warranty: 1 Year Limited
Tech Support: 1 Year, 24x7 Support online or Toll Free Phone

Additional Info:
Model: s5220f
Part Number: NY542AA#ABA
UPC: 884962290415
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November 21, 2009 4:22:01 AM

Between these two, you'd be better off with the Acer; the cpus are about the same performance, but for $20 more, you get a dedicated graphics card. The added HDD space is another bonus. Otherwise, both have 4 GB ram, both have Home Premium 64 bit, etc.
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November 21, 2009 5:42:54 AM

Thanks pepperman,

The Acer is the one I was leaning towards. Being that it was basically the same as that first one I asked you about that was $299.99.

For $120 more I would get a bigger hard drive (320GB vs. 750GB), more memory (3GB vs. 4GB) and dedicated graphics card (Integrated GeForce 9200 vs. PCI-E GeForce G210).

Now hopefully I havent waited to long and they will still have them in stock. If not, I may still go with your original recommendation and build it myself with the parts you suggested.

Thanks pepperman for all your help.
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November 23, 2009 10:53:26 PM

Anytime, that's what we're here for.
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December 17, 2009 3:23:20 PM

I have built many computers & sold many. I would lean toward the HP Desktop with the Intel Processor. Do not get fooled by the dedicated graphics card on the acer, the G210 is actually a very weak graphics card for playing games.

CPU wise, the E5300 is actually a much faster CPU vs the AMD. Do not compare CPUs by it's speed only, for example, your P4 2.8ghz is probably only about half as fast as as the E5300 at 2.6 ghz. This is because the E5300 is a later generation CPU that uses better and more advanced & efficient instruction sets & cycles. Never purchase CPUs based on the clock speed. You need to consult benchmarks or run your own benchmarks to compare CPUs of different brands & generations.

I agree with someone's post that you should build your own computer, it's rather simple, much like putting lego blocks together. The hard part is installing the software and configuring & optimizing the computer. But if you decide to buy the pre-built desktop, go with the HP and spend around $100 for a nice grahpics card, preferably Nvidia GTS 250 or above, or ATI 4850 and above.
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December 17, 2009 3:51:49 PM

In fact the AMD is slightly faster (albeit not by much, though benchmarks show this). If recommended the Acer build with the assumption he would be doing no upgrading, and that his tasks mainly consisted of light gaming and surfing the web.

As for the G 210; true it isn't a very powerful solution, but it is significantly better than the integrated 9200, and even better than the Intel 3100 (as seen here ). Had he wanted to do heavier gaming, I would have recommended upgrading to a more respectable gpu, but for what he said he wanted to do, he doesn't need to spend more (he can still upgrade with the slim form factor, he just needs a low profile card, which aren't too much expensive/ if not the same price as their full height counterparts).

I did suggest he build, but for the price he wants to spend, its not economical for him to do so.
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