A friend of mine wants to play current computer games. He has a fairly new Compaq with a surprising amount of upgrade-ability (per some research).
He has currently:
Celeron 2Ghz LLGA775
1 empty x16 PCIe slot
Broken Ethernet port (replaced with a PCI card)
Corrupted XP/Vista installation (currently loaded Ubuntu 10.04 for internet purposes).
I plan on wiping the OSs either way.
I have about 300 dollars to work with, but 150-200 dollars to spend is preferable.
According to HP, I can put a Wolfdale e7xxx chip in (65W TDP) and I have my pick of any PCIe card on the market. I'll probably have to put a new PS in to accommodate the new parts, should I choose this route.
The question is, is it even worth it, or should I get him to ante up for a whole new system.
Being that he won't be throwing away anything but a CPU, as he is currently using onbaord graphics, I figure that I can get a dual core Wolfdale for around $85, a Radeon 4650 on newegg for about $80 and a new 500w PS for about $50.
Worth $205 to be able to play games like Red Alert 3, Diablo 3, and other MMORPGs for a couple years?
They won't be too far off as to embarrass your friend.
The E6500 might actually perform better in older games than your Q6600, games that are single threaded.
The HD 5750 isn't far off in performance from a HD 4850 @ around 1680x1050 resolution. Here is a 5750 review to give you a better idea of gaming performance across a range of games.
Well, after getting a better look at his system myself, and taking an inventory of my own stuff, I have decided that before I actually purchase the new parts, that I would put in a few of my own leftover parts in from my recent upgrade (2x4770's replacing a single 8800GT and a 500W power supply). Looks like HP really screwed this guy as far as the PS: It is a 250W supply that didn't even have the proper 20+4 connector! After replacing the power supply, the built in NIC started working again. Shocker! With his low end processor, single DVD-DL drive and single HDD, it is obvious that the 500W supply I lent him will do just fine...
I havn't had a chance to load W7 yet, but so far, after loading Ubuntu 10.04 with the latest NVIDIA drivers, I was able to use 3D screensavers just fine. The speed of the computer was decent, all things considered.
Once I get W7 loaded properly, I am going to do a nice shakedown. If this is enough for him, I will probably just sell him my old stuff. Otherwise, I think the new processor and video card, along with his own PS is in order.
Just as a follow up: I just upgraded the power supply, and used one of the 4770's. It worked fantastically. LGA775 for casual to moderate gamers is just fine for games ranging from Starcraft 2 to WOW to some others... Windows 7 works great, and even fixed the network card issue. I have since removed the 2nd NIC, as it was serving no purpose.
His system can still handle a better proc, SSD, and some more RAM, should that time ever come, I will be confident that this is money better spent in his case.