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Advice on barebone or buying parts

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January 17, 2010 2:29:20 PM

I'm attempting to build a computer from scratch. I'll have to do it over a couple months for fiscal reasons. Looking around I can buy the following for $200, then I think I just need RAM and a hard drive as I can transfer my Windows XP not OEM license from my dead computer to my new computer, and i already have a monitor keyboard mouse from my old computer. I think that's kinda an old processor, right? Or is that an OK price for that stuff and I should go for it? it doesn't say what model motherboard it is unfortunately.


Intel Dual Core 2200
ATX 400w Case
Gigabyte Motherboard
January 17, 2010 2:48:01 PM

Your also need to provide more specific information about the components in the possible $200 purchase as the specific models make a huge difference in value. Iis the processor an e2200 or is 2200 the speed of the processor? What case and PSU? Mobo? Are these new or used components? If you can't find out these things I would pass on the deal.

Are you sure you can transfer your OS? Is your O/S from the old computer from a retail box edition, OEM, or did it come with a computer system?

If you are trying to get into something cheaply over time, what else can you reuse from the old computer? What went bad on it? What about replacing what went bad and upgrading - even if it is the mobo, cpu, memory it might enable reusing the case, PSU, video card, DVD, and OS - until you can upgrade them.
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January 17, 2010 3:04:06 PM

Hi everybody. I know the components are new, i just got emailed about it with those limited details. either way I'm starting to think its not a good deal if i'm getting that older processor, case, PSU, and mobo with onboard everything. something just doesn't seem right, or i have the bad feeling in a year or two i'd be kicking myself.

Yes, I confirmed I can transfer the OS, it wasn't OEM or preloaded with the computer.

The old computer is a P4 3.4GHZ with a very small power supply (remember from when i was looking into video cards) 1GB stick plus two 256MB sticks of DDR PC3200, and a hard drive with a growing number of bad sectors. I'm not positive but I think all my stuff is so old or beaten down (hard drive) that I have to start all new. Plus it has a 256MB PCI video card. Right now all the computer is used for is internet, writing papers, and playing the Sims 2 which is slow but playable.

I'm not trying to be totally cheap, but I don't have a lot of cash right now so if i can build something to last a few years that'd be great.
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January 17, 2010 3:08:10 PM

I've inquired about more details, i'll let you know when i get them.
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January 18, 2010 12:02:24 PM

Yeah, you're right, that is a good deal. I could probably throw an inexpensive video card in there and would have no problems whatsoever. I doubt I could reuse my current one. Thanks for the advice.

I'm just worried about Windows 7, as a lot of the software I have is older. It works great on XP but I'm afraid if I go to 7, I won't be able to use much of it without issues. I guess I could install my copy of XP on the machine?
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January 20, 2010 12:21:58 AM

rockyjohn said:
In the low budget category, often you can find the best deals by buying a system on sale at the local computer store.

Examples from Frys -

Compaq with Athlon II X2 240, 3 GB RAM, 500 GB HD, onboard graphics and Win 7 - $330
http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...

emachines with E5400 dual core processor with 4 GB RAM, 750 GB HD, and Win 7 - $350
http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/ROP/ads.aspx?advid=...



Hey RockyJohn. I found out details on that barebones. Intel Dual Core 5200 (2.5GHz), Gigabyte G31-ES2L motherboard (or asus equivalent), and a
choice of several ATX cases for $199.

What other stores other than Frys could I look at for a complete unit? I dont think I've ever seen a Frys store before.
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January 20, 2010 2:01:20 AM

Well where do you live?

Have any stores like MicroCenter, Walmart, Costco, CompUSA, Circuit City, or Office Max? Look for the weekly ads in the local newspaper.
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January 20, 2010 11:52:07 AM

Thanks guys. I'm in EST, so we have Walmart, Costco, Office Max. Looks like I need to go check out their websites.
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January 24, 2010 5:29:26 PM

Hi guys. It's a little more than I originally planned on spending, but OfficeMax has a P6330F on sale for $600.
What do you think of that? I think this would last me a lot longer since it's got a much newer processor in it. I know I'd have to add a video card in there eventually, not sure what kind though would be best.
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January 25, 2010 1:16:16 AM

Please provide a link for the computer.
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January 25, 2010 2:33:53 AM

If you are ready to spend $600 for system without a graphics card then you might consider the following - or at least compare with the Office Max sysem:

CPU
AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor – Retail - $99 and free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GT-UD3H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $95 AR + $8 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK – Retail - $109 with free shipping
Timings 8-8-8-21
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Card
ASUS ENGTS250/DI/512MD3 GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail - $110 AR plus $7 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case
Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $50 AR and + $15 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 -– Retail $40 AR + $6 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $55 and free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD RW
Pioneer Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner LabelFlash Support - OEM - $35 and free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders – OEM - $105 with free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total Cost AR
System after rebates but no operating system, no graphics card and before taxes - $512
Operating System - $105
Suggested graphics card $117


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January 25, 2010 2:04:02 PM

Just a few comments about the PC you selected:

CPU - the i3-530 is one of the newly released mainstream CPUs and I have no idea how fast it is relative to application performance

CASE - small case, won't handle real large graphics cards

Memory - uses 3 sticks - don't know what this says about dual-channel memory, but obviously at least part is not working in dual channel, which means slower performance

Graphics - only states " Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD" is Intel's integrated graphics solution - but does not tell what model it is and therefore how powerful it is - although this does not matter if you are planning to put in a video card from the start

PSU - only 300w. This is one of the big issues with purchased systems and will require upgrading to 450w to 500w before getting a good graphics card. If you can find a system with at least 350w could limp by with basic graphics card. Here are HP specs:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

Good price though - newegg is selling it for $670 plus shipping:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 25, 2010 2:20:37 PM

Thanks rockyjohn. That's the part I'm worried about, is having a small power supply. I did like that it was using the newer Intel CPU, even if its only i3 compared to i5 or i7 which are sure are loads better. Kinda sounds like its not so great of a deal if the case is small and if the power supply would have to be replaced anyway to put a decent graphics card in there.

My big problem is knowing what to buy that will work together, not doing the actualy physical putting together. Like how big is a big enough power supply, what components will work with what, what kind of graphics card to buy. Guess I'm stuck to grunt work haha.
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January 25, 2010 8:03:56 PM

Its really not that hard.

The graphics cards generally state the minimum PSU requirement - but it you are planning to use only 1 card then 450w to 500w is generally ample.

For which graphics cards, just look at the THG recommendations on what to buy at different budget levels.:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...

Pick about where you think you might be and then see what gaming level that buys by looking on the THG for that card and maybe the one above and below and compare and adjust:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/gaming-graphics-char...

And just look at some of the instructions and model builds - see the top four stickies on this page:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-31-322.html

And these model builds:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/269162-31-recommended...
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/build-your-own-pc,9482...

To narrow it down further and see recommendations for specific components, just to to the Homebuilt forum and read some of the posts by people asking for reviews and recommandations on systems near your budget level.
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January 25, 2010 8:50:26 PM

Thanks. I just spent some time reading them. After looking some more, I think I'll be able to spend 500-600 max. It looks like the last gaming computer they built was 700, which is out of my range. It doesn't need to play any intense games, just Sims 2 and maybe some sports games.

Also, another question, if I put XP on the system, will the newer processor perform not as good as with a new copy of Windows 7.
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January 26, 2010 1:15:35 AM

Windows 7 would be a little faster - but not enough for you to worry about. Much better to spend any additional funds on getting a faster processor or graphics card rather than new OS. \Although XP is no longer supported by Windows, I beleive, other than providing continuing security updates. And in a few years those will stop at which time you should migrate over if still on XP.

In the $500 to $600 range, the best option still might be to purchase a system for $400, upgrade the PSU for $50, and spend $100 on a basic graphics card for a total of about $550.
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January 26, 2010 10:51:41 AM

I should probably just go with Windows 7 to start with then probably.

The computer i was going to replace actually stopped working last night, so now I'm really in a pickle. I think I might just have to buy that one from OfficeMax for now. Then do the PSU and video card later, or next month and skip buying groceries for a couple weeks :-) What kind of power supply and graphics card do you think would be my best bet to put in that HP from OfficeMax? with the small power supply i'm sure it wouldn't be worth it to try to find a graphics card that would work with that small power supply.
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January 26, 2010 5:08:55 PM

Sorry to hear about your PC. Are there any other vendors you can look at?
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January 26, 2010 5:14:31 PM

I tried looking through all the salespapers for stores in the area, that seemed to be about the best one for my price range, minus the PSU and video card. the real unfortunate thing is that i have to have a working computer on thursday, so i'm rushed.
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January 26, 2010 5:29:31 PM

Here is another PC you might consider - although it needs to be shipped and would cost even more to have by Thursday - with a quad core processor, 430w PSU -so it should accommodate a moderate mainstream card - and already has a low end nVidia GT 220 card installed:

CyberpowerPC Gamer Infinity 3315 Core 2 Quad Q8200(2.33GHz) 4GB DDR2 500GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit - Retail - $590 + $25 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

edit: I just checked and the $25 shipping is for guaranteed 3 day shipping - $52 for 2 day shipping.
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January 27, 2010 11:35:26 AM

Thanks RockyJohn, I didn't see this till today. I'm going to ask a few people if I can borrow an old computer for a week or two, just so i'm not screwed for Thursday.
I wanted to take my time and do the right thing with this, and that computer dying really isn't allowing me to do that.
Who knows, maybe if i can get a loaner that will allow me to save an extra hundred or two and get something better. Thanks again for all your help. Ideally, what size PSU should I be looking for?
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January 27, 2010 3:53:55 PM

For a single graphics card 450w to 500w.
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January 27, 2010 6:37:09 PM

Thanks rockyjohn. I couldn't find a loaner, so looks like I'm going shopping tonight!! pray for me haha.
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January 28, 2010 6:14:25 PM

Well, i made a purchase. I got a p6310y from best buy. What do you think? it fit my price range.
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January 28, 2010 9:16:42 PM

I did not see that one listed at Office Max. Please provide a link.
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January 29, 2010 5:30:52 PM

It looks like a pretty good little system with a nice quad core processor.

Unfortunately the PSU is only 300w - but that is to be expected in that price range.
Here are the specs in case you have not located them yet:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

Did you pick it up so you are using it now? If so - what do you think about it. I think it has pretty good graphics for onboard video. Might be able to handle everything you do except for gaming and faster video encoding - if you do those.

What is going on with the memory? Does it have 3 sticks @ 2GB and if so does the dual channel still work in the paired memory? I would think after you upgrade PSU and add video card you may want to match up another stick of memory to make the last set work in dual channel as well. But should be no hurry on that unless first set is not working as dual channel.
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January 30, 2010 2:01:01 AM

This computer is getting some good reviews on Best Buys web sight and was think of buying it my self. Did some google searching and came to this sight. I did notice in the store it is only 3 sticks @ 2gb per but is upgradable. I plan on putting in a new power supply and a ATI 4850 graphics card. Should I put in another stick of ram right from the start or can I wait to do that later?
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January 30, 2010 2:20:26 AM

As long as the one pair in one channel is working as dual channel memory, then there should be no hurry upgrading - that pair should be more than enough and you have one stick "extra". I presume it does work in dual channel, or else adding the third stick, if it took the other two out of dual channel, would actually have a negative impact. Still I would like confimration of that in the system.
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February 1, 2010 1:19:57 PM

I'm not really sure how to tell if the dual channel works or not with the third stick, is there a way to check?

Also, it's been used for a couple days and I really like it. The graphics card seems to be ok, tried the Sims 2 on it and it works ok, although the stuff in the game seem to have been more detailed with my old radeon 9250 pci card in my old computer. not sure if that was a better card than whats in the new one, or if i just need to tweak some settings. but this is SO much faster than my old computer, very noticeable in everything from the web to even the load time of games, that I'm very happy for now. I would definitely recommend this computer to you DanB on my initial impressions. I haven't found a complaint yet for only spending $600.

Hopefully this month can figure out what power supply and video card will work in here to really make this thing play my games amazingly.
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February 2, 2010 10:00:08 PM

Thank you for letting me know how you like it. As for the graphics card and power supply I guess it really depends on what kind of games your playing. It seems like the people on this forum know what there talking about so I am sure they / I can help you out if you have any questions.

Side note be sure to check the size of the graphics card you choise to know that it fits.... :(  made that mistake one time.
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February 2, 2010 11:11:32 PM

Danb_333 said:
Thank you for letting me know how you like it. As for the graphics card and power supply I guess it really depends on what kind of games your playing. It seems like the people on this forum know what there talking about so I am sure they / I can help you out if you have any questions.

Side note be sure to check the size of the graphics card you choise to know that it fits.... :(  made that mistake one time.


Yeah, I guess that's my problem, is knowing what physical size PSU and graphics card will fit in there. I'm hoping only to spend another $200 to upgrade both, and to buy them both from best buy. Anyone have any suggestions from the best buy website of what i could get? I'd like to be able to play the Sims 3, sims 2, and some sports games.
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February 3, 2010 12:56:26 AM

Do you have to purchase from Best Buy? Their prices are not as good as newegg, especially on video cards:

At newegg, you could get:

BFG Tech BFGEGTS250512OCE GeForce GTS 250 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - Retail - $130 with free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec earthwatts EA500 500W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.2 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "Compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply - Retail - $70 with free shipping

The most comparable at Best Buy is:

EVGA - GeForce GTS 250 512MB DDR3 PCI Express Graphics Card - $145
(Note only comes with a 2 year warranty compared with lifetime on BFG unit above
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/EVGA+-+GeForce+GTS+250+512M...;jsessionid=E431643DB110A56B09F60278D25E39D7.bbolsp-app05-30?id=1218135446998&skuId=9638575&st=GTS 250&cp=1&lp=3

Antec - EarthWatts 500-Watt ATX CPU Power Supply - $90
Same power supply just cost $20 more
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Antec+-+EarthWatts+500-Watt...;jsessionid=B37E4C4196666B7107F3F9D9F1098070.bbolsp-app04-04?id=1188560188623&skuId=8545158

So $35 more at best buy for almost comparable - but defitnitely a lower warranty on video card.

The power supply is standard ATX spec so it should fit, but you can check its measurements and compare with what you have. The video card is 9" long so it should fit - that is not long for a video card - but I don't know what size your case allows so you might want to measure it and allow for a power connector on the end.
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February 3, 2010 11:57:10 AM

Nah, don't necessarily have to purchase at Best Buy, just figured it might be easier since its by my house. So are those the same graphics card from newegg and best buy in the links you sent, or is one better? I tried reading those graphic cards links you posted mid-way through this thread, that's a lot of info, a lot of which confused me haha.
I'm only ever going to have this one graphics card in there, I think some computers allow two, which even if mine did I wouldn't do. I'd like to spend around 200 total, give or take a little bit if it'll provide a huge improvement.
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February 3, 2010 11:59:53 AM

also, that power supply doesn't say its AMD compatible, which is what that computer has. should i be worried?
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February 3, 2010 3:09:45 PM

Of the graphics cards - the first one that is cheaper on newegg is the better card. They are both from the same reference design so will be similar in speed, except that the BFG card is a little faster because it is OC, and is my preferred manufacturer in part because they have a lifetime warranty compared to only 3 years on the other, as I mentioned before. So cheaper and better.

And yes the PSU will work fine with an AMD board - all systems - AMD and Intel - conform to ATX standards that ensure compatibility. I have that particular PSU in one of my systems.
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February 3, 2010 3:12:47 PM

HOLD the PRESSES - Better deal coming
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February 3, 2010 3:13:08 PM

OC as in overclocked? is that what the Effective Memory Clock 2240MHz (vs. 2200MHz standard) line is referring to?
I guess since the manufacturer is overclocking it, i guess they know best! i've never overclocked before because i was afraid i'd melt or blow something up.
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February 3, 2010 3:13:24 PM

Holding!! :-)
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Best solution

February 3, 2010 3:17:15 PM

I found an even better deal on the graphics card - same BFG GTS 250 card - but with 1 GB memory instead of only 512 MB and for only $117 after mail in rebate and including shipping. So more memory for $13 less.

BFG GTS 250 1GB PCI-Express Video Card - $110 AR plus $7 shipping
http://www.frys.com/product/5866223?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...

However it is only available for backorder so you might have to wait a little to get it - you can call them and see if they have a date. Or if you live near one of their stores, the local store might have it - several stores in San Jose where I live have it.
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February 3, 2010 3:23:45 PM

Sounds great! so I could get the card from frys and the psu from newegg.

Should I be worried that the card is backordered from frys?
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February 3, 2010 3:24:10 PM

rjo98 said:
OC as in overclocked? is that what the Effective Memory Clock 2240MHz (vs. 2200MHz standard) line is referring to?
I guess since the manufacturer is overclocking it, i guess they know best! i've never overclocked before because i was afraid i'd melt or blow something up.


Yes that is what it is . Also, while it does not say it, the core clock has a small OC at 750 MHz vs. 738 MHz standard. Both are negligible OC that naturally are covered by manufacturers lifetime warranty. You can OC a little more safely if you need more peformance, the card even comes with software tools to help do that.
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February 3, 2010 10:35:48 PM

Thanks. Looks like if i get the power supply from newegg or buy.com and get the better yet cheaper 1gb graphics card, i'll save like 48 bucks over best buy!
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February 4, 2010 12:10:51 AM

You can put the $48 towards upgrading the CPU in a year or two when much faster ones are available. And then in 2 to 3 years you can upgrade the graphics card to one twice as fast for about another $100. And then in 4 or 5 years you can finally BYO.
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February 4, 2010 12:37:31 PM

Oh, I like the sounds of that!! Thank you VERY VERY much for all the help rockyjohn. I'm going to order the stuff tonight, so hopefully I'll have it all installed by next week sometime. I just want to open the case up and measure the power supply and area the video card would go in, although i'm assuming it would fit.
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February 4, 2010 12:55:32 PM

Good plan - with the PSU, if you can see the label with make and model it might be easier to look up specs online and see measurements.
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