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Upgrading Computer: <$300, Low Power, Gaming, etc...

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March 31, 2010 2:10:48 AM

Another setup in other post ----> (down)

Long time lurker, dont know why it took me this long to register. Now that my 5 year old computer is, well, old, it's time for an upgrade, haha.

Computer's on all day, so I want the electricity bill to be low; looking for a low wattage/budget build, but at the same time up to date. I mainly play TF2, which isnt so demanding I guess. A little photoshop, some DVD burning.

I'm running an AMD 3200+ with 1.5 gigs and a Nvidia 7600GT. i feel like my video card is still sufficient, although I have to run TF2 on low for decent FPS :-\... maybe i really do need an upgrade? Anywho,

New CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor or even AMD Sempron 140 Sargas, haha.

-Seems like 65W is a good wattage, but would I notice in a 80W? Should i really go for more cores or L3 cache?

New Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H

-Gigabyte never seems to fail me; this seems like a good option just in case I want to turn it into a HTPC in the future. Has PCI x16 2.0

New Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800

-Nothing special, but I'm sure it's compatible. No need to go DDR3 right?

As for everything else, I'm probably gonna reuse what i have to keep costs low. If my 430W power supply can power what i have now, I dont think it would have a problem powering these. My main concern is if these parts will last for another few years or so. Bought my 3200+ 2 weeks before the price DROPPED, and I always regretted how hasty i was to get it, haha. That was the last time i was up to date in this market.

Anything tip helps, any opinion will be taken :D .

More about : upgrading computer 300 low power gaming

March 31, 2010 2:17:13 AM

If you're not going to multitask, stick with the AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor, otherwise get a Athlon II X3 Rana processor for like $20 more.
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March 31, 2010 9:14:38 AM

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March 31, 2010 9:18:36 AM

^ This is a very setup...If the OP doesnt mind Biostar mobo, then surely this is a good one...
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March 31, 2010 9:31:38 AM

Err i think u have not followed Xtremesystems AM3 unlock/oc of Biostar 785/790GX series (actual enthusiast/owners) series so best drop down. I have built with almost all/any brand and it is those who are outdated or have little hands on DIY outside 1st tier mobo makers who are not in the know and just jump to conclusions IMO
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March 31, 2010 4:03:56 PM

I've used Biostar. Batuchka's upgrade path looks good. The only criticism I have for it is the single RAM stick. If the budget has even a little wiggle room in it, get two sticks for dual-channel mode.
A "430W" PSU sounds like an Antec. Hopefully it is an Earthwatts, but even the mediocre-reviewed Basiq should be able to handle these upgrades.
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March 31, 2010 10:50:41 PM

First off, thanks for the replies! Now new questions:

Since the recommendations are towards a 95W CPU compared to the 65W I suggested, I guess it doesn't really make a difference in terms of my electrical bill? Even though it's $30 more, but 15W lower, would it be overkill to get the AMD Phenom II X2 550 Callisto? This is my PS by the way.

I'm a Nvidia fanboy (with AMD stuff, yea, i know...), so I'm gonna stick to them. Is there a drop performance for using Nvidia with AMD that i dont know of?

I also remembered a year or two ago that DDR3 still wasnt the best option since it was still expensive and didnt give a notable performance boost compared to DDR2. Has that changed now? Just trying to make this as updated as possible.

So far:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana or 425

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H 785G or a cheaper alternative BIOSTAR A785G3 785G.

-Don't mind Biostar, using one right now actually for 5+ years. This one is cheaper, meaning more money for something else ;) .

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600, havent the best results with A-Data in the past :-\
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March 31, 2010 10:58:13 PM

Ouch, Thermaltake. Iirc, that PSU is probably good for 350W, 375W max. While I think it would be sufficient in the short term, I wouldn't trust it any longer than absolutely necessary.
The 380W Antec Earthwatts was out of stock when I looked earlier today. Hopefully Newegg will get more of them soon.
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March 31, 2010 11:11:42 PM

Yea, that was my plan in the beginning, it being a short term solution. neglected it as it just didnt die, so yea, here I am, haha. Thinking of getting the 500W Antec Earthwatts.
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March 31, 2010 11:32:37 PM

Even though that's the older one (the new one is 80+ bronze), it is definitely still a good choice. It has had only good reviews at sites like jonnyguru.com and I think also on hardwaresecrets.com.
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March 31, 2010 11:47:13 PM

Here's a very good quality build for $295 after MIR's + PSU.

Much better video card then the 5670
Good quality DDR3 motherboard (Even has crossfire! :p )
One of the best branded PSU's.


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April 1, 2010 2:10:39 AM

The HD4770 is only one tier higher than the HD5670, and lacks DX11. That mobo is x16,x4 so it is not suitable for Crossfire (but might be good for PhysX). Still, those are pretty decent choices, especially on such a tight budget. The mobo has 4 RAM slots, and any number of things about this build can be upgraded as budget allows.
Coming from a 7600GT, either video card will offer a remarkable improvement. If there is any wiggle room in your budget, start with Batuchka's, add Whitefang's PSU, and get two RAM sticks. You'll have a nice little system with future upgrade possibilities.
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