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Upgrade for really old computer. Stuck!!!

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November 29, 2009 12:03:35 AM

Hi all, I have a really old PC with an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.2Ghz, 512KB L2 Cache), 1GB DDR ram, and a BFG Geforce 7600 GT OC 256MB. Needless to say, it's unbelievably slow, and I need an upgrade.

For the time being, I'm trying to enjoy Dawn of War 2 (great game btw, clears my head), but the terrible performance makes the game unplayable. As a student, I don't have much money, so I can only afford a partial upgrade, and I need to choose.

Should I get:
A. New motherboard, a AMD Phenom II X2 550 Callisto, along with 2GB of DDR3 (~$260).
or
B. A new ATI Radeon 4670 or Radeon 4770 ($70~$120).

I realize that only choosing one of the two routes will not lead to amazing increases in performance. But seeing as this PC is primarily for occasional gaming, I'm reluctant to upgrade everything.

Thanks!

More about : upgrade computer stuck

November 29, 2009 12:13:23 AM

SuperYogurt said:
Hi all, I have a really old PC with an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.2Ghz, 512KB L2 Cache), 1GB DDR ram, and a BFG Geforce 7600 GT OC 256MB. Needless to say, it's unbelievably slow, and I need an upgrade.

For the time being, I'm trying to enjoy Dawn of War 2 (great game btw, clears my head), but the terrible performance makes the game unplayable. As a student, I don't have much money, so I can only afford a partial upgrade, and I need to choose.

Should I get:
A. New motherboard, a AMD Phenom II X2 550 Callisto, along with 2GB of DDR3 (~$260).
or
B. A new ATI Radeon 4670 or Radeon 4770 ($70~$120).

I realize that only choosing one of the two routes will not lead to amazing increases in performance. But seeing as this PC is primarily for occasional gaming, I'm reluctant to upgrade everything.

Thanks!


To be honest, I'd go with A.. You'd have a faster pc.. Because that rig you currently have is kinda eh.. You could always use your current gfx card, and save up to get a better one.

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a c 122 B Homebuilt system
November 29, 2009 12:49:47 AM

Yep. Definitely time to upgrade.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 29, 2009 1:35:41 AM

B would simply be pointless. Those are much too fast for a single core.

A would get you a much faster CPU and RAM and a current motherboard that might allow for drop in CPU upgrades. (course you could go with a Athlon II x2 or x3 would be better for you in my opinion). Then save up for a graphics card. You can get a older generation 3870 on ebay for $60.

Also don't forget a new PSU, most likely you need one. The Rosewill Green Series on newegg seem decent enough and have deals fairly often.
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a b B Homebuilt system
November 29, 2009 2:32:19 AM

Err $260 could get one a quad with 4GB on a DDR3 platform these days hehe

Ya if budget allows a better PSU
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November 29, 2009 4:25:53 AM

a.) is probably your best bet because of the fact that the motherboard enables u to upgrade everything else then you can through in the video card
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November 29, 2009 6:03:16 AM

Just a thought, but is that 7600GT AGP or PCI-E? if its AGP you'll need to budget some kind of graphics card into a).
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November 29, 2009 5:45:57 PM

Thanks everyone. The 7600GT is PCI-E. Still haven't really made up my mind. I'm tempted to go with the CPU/Mobo/RAM upgrade as well, but its much more expensive than a simple graphics card upgrade. Any other thoughts?
PS. I have an Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU.
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November 30, 2009 1:46:55 AM

That PSU is more than enough, sicne your hardware won't draw too much power. Most good gaming rigs don't use above 650W, so yours is plenty.
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November 30, 2009 2:38:59 AM

If you went with Rolli's suggestion you could get 2GB DDR2 and a 4670 and still be within your original $260
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November 30, 2009 4:32:25 AM

pci-e and really old is an oxymoron. and put that single core too slow argument back in your daddies walletts kids..

slap a vid card in. Simple.
and if you want a nice system, make sure the ram is your vids DDR is derivative of the system. 800 DRR? find a card at 400 or 800 etc etc.

the earthwatts 380 is ok...and apfc Really works, its been a great one. but I did personally run into trouble in a non-aced case ( a happy go lucky grounder..by its own design)

crappy case? let the sparks fly with more power...its for those that think dual core is a winner. :pt1cable: 

or you could do something crazy and paint it. and cover that damn i/o shiled on the outside. its miraculous.

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November 30, 2009 11:37:23 AM

With 260$ u get that combo of rolli59 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.295701 and this video-card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... along with this RAM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... X2

or next combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

plus video-card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ,or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... but it will cost some extra but u will use some extra juice from the new Psu.
U have lots of choices...have fun.

Almost all have nice rebates. Is nice to live in America. :bounce: 
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November 30, 2009 11:47:54 AM

SuperYogurt said:
Thanks everyone. The 7600GT is PCI-E. Still haven't really made up my mind. I'm tempted to go with the CPU/Mobo/RAM upgrade as well, but its much more expensive than a simple graphics card upgrade. Any other thoughts?
PS. I have an Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU.


The 7600GT should do you just fine for the time being. I'm useing the 8600GTS (well yes, it is better, but only by so much) and it plays games like CoD4 flawlessly.

You'd be stupid to go for a GPU upgrade. You need to understand that its your CPU thats holding you back more then your GPU. Infact, it could just be the core problem.

If you already own a PCI-e GPU, then don't even consider upgrading the GPU first. Go for the Motherboard bundle, as most above have reccommended, if you go for the GPU upgrade... It would be a damn shame.
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November 30, 2009 11:50:24 AM

O, and I forgot to mention. Wouldn't it be better of if you got a GTS250? They run much more cooler then the cards you picked out. Not sure if they are cheaper though.

(Don't be fooled by the 9800GTX+ rebagde... It's infact on a whole new board, running 55nm and it runs way cooler and is OC'd more then the 9800GTX+ just thought I'd let you know.)
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November 30, 2009 12:15:27 PM

Looking better at second combo,let loose .Poor case and a sure DOA PSU. Not usable,not to mention with a Ati 4770. Anyway, u have allot off choices in this price.
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November 30, 2009 12:50:09 PM

Wow, thanks a lot for all the combo suggestions. Unfortunately I forgot to mention that I live in Canada, so the Newegg.com combos don't apply for me. I've taken a look at everything though and I've searched for equivalent combo deals on Newegg.ca.

So in the face of all the great rebates, I'm wondering if maybe I should just strain my savings and upgrade everything as a Christmas present to myself (ie. MOBO/CPU/RAM/Video).

For CPU: should I get the Athlon II X2 250 (cheaper) or the Phenom II X2 550 (more future proof?).

MOBO: Should I get one with DDR3 AM3 or DDR2 AM2+?

For the video card, how's this?: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
(ZOTAC GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3: 85$ +tax -$5 mail in rebate)
Would I need a bigger PSU than my Anthec Earthwatts 380W?
Really looking for a graphics card for under 100$, so I think this is the best I can get. HD4770 and GTS250 are off the table for now (too expensive).

Thanks for all the help everyone! Really glad for all the answers, as I was feeling quite lost (first time buying so many parts for a big upgrade).
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November 30, 2009 2:44:31 PM

SuperYogurt said:
For CPU: should I get the Athlon II X2 250 (cheaper) or the Phenom II X2 550 (more future proof?).


Tut tut tut... Neither. Go for the Phenom II X4 if you want future proof by a few years. Or at LEAST a IIX3.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=96&p2=80

Right now, most games are just about taking FULL advantage of a Dual-Core CPU. But times are changing and games that will come out in the next year or so, will be utilizing Quad Core's. Right now these benches don't look like much, but if you benched the same CPUs a year down the line, you will see how a Quad-Core CPU was the right choice to go with.

IF your max budget can not fit a AM3 board, then without a doubt go for a AM2+ the only difference would be that it supports DDR2 rather then DDR3. (and a few more little things - for now.) Now, people will debate this, but I would say go for a AM2+ board. Get 6GB of DDR2 800 ram and be done with it. BUT this is only if your original budget can not handle a DDR3-1600 build.

For a GPU. I would say go for the HD4850 (which is equal to the GTS250-ish) I know you said you had a budget, but going for a mainstream card today, would only result to another upgrade in the next year or a result of you playing games on low-medium with low resolutions. Although the 9800GT you picked out is not to shabby. I own the "Eco" version to the Zotac and it only draws around 50W's. (Zotac 9800GT Eco) It also handles GTAIV and Crysis at not-so-bad basis. I mean, I can run GTAIV on 1280x1024 on medium settings 40+ FPS... I hated Crysis anyways but I could still play it on medium settings. I'm useing these two games as an example, as they are two of the most graphical intensive games on the market.

Yes, you would need a PSU upgrade. I would suggest a 500W for a start, just incase you may want to add more HDD's/GPU's.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

So...

- Phenom II X4 CPU
- AM2+ or AM3 Motherboard
- 6GB DDR2 or 4GB DDR3
- 9800GT or HD4850/GTS250
- 500W PSU


Just to ask. Could I interest you in a Intel Quad-Core build instead?
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November 30, 2009 3:24:22 PM

Get a good board and The Athlon II X2 250 or 245-240. If u are only into mild gaming and maybe office apps, it will do just fine and with the extra 30$-50$ get a better video card or memory RAM. Overclock that CPU and it will become very valuable . A ddr3 main-board is more commonsense these days maybe,the future is DDR 3, so u get these good board ddr3 for a future cpu upgrade only.
Example:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... x2..and get later that video board (maybe Christmas gift)with a good PSU.
and with that CPU u need:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
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a c 103 B Homebuilt system
November 30, 2009 7:27:01 PM

bgd73 said:
pci-e and really old is an oxymoron. and put that single core too slow argument back in your daddies walletts kids..

slap a vid card in. Simple.
and if you want a nice system, make sure the ram is your vids DDR is derivative of the system. 800 DRR? find a card at 400 or 800 etc etc.

the earthwatts 380 is ok...and apfc Really works, its been a great one. but I did personally run into trouble in a non-aced case ( a happy go lucky grounder..by its own design)

crappy case? let the sparks fly with more power...its for those that think dual core is a winner. :pt1cable: 

or you could do something crazy and paint it. and cover that damn i/o shiled on the outside. its miraculous.


Hey kid could you please put that into plain old English so us old farts can understand it!
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November 30, 2009 9:21:52 PM

You know what sucks for you? Is the fact that yesturday Amazon was doing the Athlon II X2 3.0Ghz for $39! :D 
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November 30, 2009 10:55:32 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. The Phenom II X4 is way too expensive for me, and I probably won't need something like that for at least another 3~4 years. Same thing with an Intel Quad core build: too far away from my budget..

The Athlon II X2 250 does look very interesting. If that deal was on Amazon.com, I wouldn't have been able to take advantage of it in any case. If it was on Amazon.ca ... then damn!

I do game very mildly, but once in a while I run into something I really like, and I'd like to be able to play it decently. Just how much future proofing would the Athlon II 250 give me? vs. the Phenom II 550? What about the Athlon II X4 620 Propus? I've read good things about it.

So far:
AM3 motherboard (100$) with 2GB DDR3 (50$)
Nvidia 9800GT (80$)
Athlon II X2 250/Athlon II X4 620/Phenom II 550 (75$~110$)

This already puts me over budget by ~80$, so I can't go higher than this. I'm just trying to decide on the CPU now.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2009 1:23:33 AM

Unless you overclock don't waste the money on the Phenom II 550. Get either the top Athlon II x2, either of the x3's or the x4. With todays games they seem to max out on using triple cores, and the top x3 is at 2.9 gigahertz per core while the x4 is at 2.6 gigahertz per core. It probably doesn't affect too much and future games may use 4 cores.

I personally went with a triple core (Phenom II x3 720, before the triple athlon II's came out), but it's really just a judgement call. I'd say either of the x3's or the x4 is what you should decide between.
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December 2, 2009 5:17:15 PM

Think I'll go with the Athlon X4 620, seems more future proof than the other two, and has good performance in today's games too. Also very slightly cheaper than the phenom 550. Intel is just too expensive for me, based on what I've read, AMD has the best performance/dollar in the budget/mainstream sectors.

Thanks for all the help!
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December 4, 2009 10:49:33 PM

Nice suggestions here. I'm trying to figure out similar choices on a similar budget myself.

Cards I've considered:
ATI 4650/70 upwards range (£35-45 here at best)
4870 and CrossFire/x2 (£70+)
GeForce 8600 and 8800 GT/GTS (£25-50 here at best)
9600 GT and SLI (£60 each)
GeForce 9800 GTX, GTX+ and SLI Variants (£90-£125 each)

...although I prob won't be doing this for a few months, sticking to CPU, M/Board and RAM for the £200 range.

Am looking at the Athlon X4 620, X3 425-435, X2 245
and Phenom X3 710/720, X2 545

So many choices!
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December 5, 2009 1:53:31 AM

arakrazy said:
GeForce 9800 GTX, GTX+ and SLI Variants (£90-£125 each)


What are you high? £100+ for a GTX/GTX+? Just get a GTS250 and be done with it. It's a revised GTX+ and it sells for around £80 on ebuyer and £70 on ebay.

Just a tip.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 5, 2009 6:21:56 AM

+1 GTS 250 - apart from just the wee bit frames its efficiency particularly at idle really shines when placed side by side with a 9800GTX+

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December 5, 2009 2:34:51 PM

godbrother said:
What are you high? £100+ for a GTX/GTX+? Just get a GTS250 and be done with it. It's a revised GTX+ and it sells for around £80 on ebuyer and £70 on ebay.

Just a tip.


Thanks man. Still trying to figure this all out - so much info out there. That's why I love you guys and this site!
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December 5, 2009 6:34:09 PM

(Sorry for thread hijacking, not got any answers in my own thread)

This is the first time I've heard about the 250. I didn't see it in my brief look at the charts and reviews at the time (2 months ago)
The GTX260 I'd heard/seen was one to watch, but at GBP110+, was just out of budget.

For my requirements, I'm spending sub GBP180 to upgrade the CPU, MBoard and RAM, and am going for
2GB RAM GBP30
If DDR2 then pair with an AM2+ board, else DDR3 with AM3, (dual channel)
Board approx GBP60
Perhaps find a board with Hybrid XFire to eke out a lil more performance per $
Athlon II x3 425/435 approx GBP 55
try and find a cheap GPU to match up with Hybrid board (ATI 2400, 3450, 3470) for approx GBP10-40...
but I heard their performance was so lousy...?
So might even push a bit and spend enough for an ATI 4550...but those old Geforce are the same price (GBP40 or less) and still give better performance?
http://www.tehyoo.com/product_info.php?products_id=7017
GBP1!?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 6, 2009 8:33:26 AM

Well if i were looking for cheap 'gaming class' performance w.r.t an IGP i would hit the HD 4670 minimum - its not a bad 1280 x 1024 card actually hehe
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December 10, 2009 12:27:28 PM

arakrazy said:
Thanks man. Still trying to figure this all out - so much info out there. That's why I love you guys and this site!


The GTS250 is pretty much the same as the HD4870. Which ever one is cheaper, go for it. BUT the GTS250 runs cooler, and is way more effecent then the HD4870. So on a long run, I would say that the GTS250 is a better choice. But it all depends on how much you can get them for.

I was watching a GTS250 sell for £63 on ebay last night. Seriously, just go onto ebay and get a used one. Save you even more ££ so you could invest that else where like more ram or a new PSU perhaps.

Hope this helps.
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December 10, 2009 12:36:05 PM

arakrazy said:
(Sorry for thread hijacking, not got any answers in my own thread)

This is the first time I've heard about the 250. I didn't see it in my brief look at the charts and reviews at the time (2 months ago)
The GTX260 I'd heard/seen was one to watch, but at GBP110+, was just out of budget.

For my requirements, I'm spending sub GBP180 to upgrade the CPU, MBoard and RAM, and am going for
2GB RAM GBP30
If DDR2 then pair with an AM2+ board, else DDR3 with AM3, (dual channel)
Board approx GBP60
Perhaps find a board with Hybrid XFire to eke out a lil more performance per $
Athlon II x3 425/435 approx GBP 55
try and find a cheap GPU to match up with Hybrid board (ATI 2400, 3450, 3470) for approx GBP10-40...
but I heard their performance was so lousy...?
So might even push a bit and spend enough for an ATI 4550...but those old Geforce are the same price (GBP40 or less) and still give better performance?
http://www.tehyoo.com/product_info.php?products_id=7017
GBP1!?


I just thought I'd let you know, going onto ebay and looking for a GPU is the better option for you. Two weeks ago I won a Asus 1GB 8800GT for £38. They average on bids for around £40. The 8800GT is the same as the HD4830. And I'm sure already that you've heard of the 8800GT. It was an awesome card in its day, and to be honest, it pretty much still is.

8800GT or 9800GT or HD4830. You should be able to pick either one up for around £40 on ebay. For the rest, I would reccommend:

4GB DDR2 800Mhz Generic Ram or 2GB DDR3 1600Mhz
AM2+ Motherboard with SLI support or AM3 Motherboard with SLI support. (go for the cheapest)
Highest IIX3 your budget allows (seen as you can't got for a X4)
and a well known 500W+ PSU (like OCZ's 480W)

You should be able to fit all this into £200.
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December 10, 2009 1:25:48 PM

ahhhhh just purchased everything last wkend/earlier this wk!

Thanks for the info, I shall ask further ahead of purchase nxt time... :( 

Can you get micro ATX SLI boards? I bought an ATX board by mistake and it was Crossfire enabled, but realised when I got home I'd got the wrong size. The microATX variant had no Crossfire - I'm guessing there's no room on such a crammed dsign.

I got an AM3 board, 2GB DDR3 Ram, Athlon II X3 435, and 1GB Radeon 4570 from non ebay shops and offline for £190 or so.

Perhaps in future new PSU...realised the stock 1 I have is 250W! It may not even run everything I have.

Definitely heard of the 8800 GT. Thought I'd mentioned it as 1 to get - perhaps was on another thread. I wrote little notes for myself in a text document to keep track of research, prices, links etc. and it went

"4550 = £30
4650 = £35 (play.com), £40 scan, aria, mDirect
4670 = £50
4850 = £80

Geforce GT 220 = £45
Geforce GT 240 = £60
Geforce GT 250 = £70
8600GT = £30 (ginger6.com)
8600GTS = £40 ebay, or higher
8800GT = £90
8800GTS = £95
9600GT = £40
9600GSO = £40

9600GSO takes it, over ATI 4670 as £10 cheaper. Power?
may go 4650 for price and power
9600GT takes both by 1 pip at same price"

....where basically I then went for the 4650 as it was cheap and I didn't need a beefier PSU.

Perhaps I shoulda saved £30 by going for AM2+ Mboard and DDR2, and put that towards a PSU
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 10, 2009 7:20:26 PM

No, there's just normal ATX power supplies. I have no idea why its seperated that way.
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December 10, 2009 8:58:05 PM

Cheers
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December 10, 2009 10:49:45 PM

^^ woh woh... Easy tiger. Just becuase its 500W+ it dosn't mean its a deal. If its to good to be true, it most probbally is.

You need to understand, its not about the Watts of a PSU, its about the build quility, the ammount of amps it has etc etc.

A simple 480W OCZ PSU will outperform a 700W generic peice of crap for £20!
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 11, 2009 11:02:41 AM

Agreed - study specs like amps on 12V rails, efficiency and if it is rated at peak or continuous power hehe
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December 26, 2009 12:42:51 AM

Definitely true guys, unfortunately I was going for a quick fix rather than digging deeper into my pockets. Spent £16 at a local store, and after some initial teething probs has been cool.

Once my budget is back on track I'll take my time and upgrade all the non decent parts, but for now I have an awesome lil budget system!

PS. The non-POST-ing issue...Lord knows how it was solved!

Check:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/viewbbcode.php?conf...
or
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-275881_13_0.ht...
(sorry for the dbl alert batuchka)
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