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Upgrading my current system, help

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October 7, 2010 12:52:58 AM

Okay, to start things off, the desktop/PC in question is an HP a6203w Pavilion desktop I purchased from bestbuy a few years ago. The upgraded parts I have done to it, is 4 gigs of PC@ 5300 (667) DDR2 RAM, an ATI Radeon XFX 5770 1gig Video card, with a Corsair 550VX PSU unit.

The only thing left is the motherboard/processor, which are still the stock ones that came on this PC.It has an AMD Athlon 64 x2 4400+ 2.3ghz proc upgradable to the 5600+ 2.8ghz processor, which I think falls short of today's standards.

It is a normal/average sized case, and I have both the motherboard and case dimensions, and it is a micro-ATX motherboard with on-board network and sound.

I would like to get a better processor and a motherboard that supports future proofing and such.

Thanks.

So far I have been recommended to the following:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The video card and PSU I already own and have installed:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I just recently came across that video card from a family member for cheap, as his case won't fit it. I also have this video card, if I need to downgrade video for wattage concerns.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any input, advice, and such would be great. If it helps, I play games like WoW, Dragon Age (plan to get sequel next yr) and Sims 3. My MAIN goal for this motherboard/pcu/psu/gfx setup, was some form of future proofing. I don't care if I can maxx full aax8 every game out there, but at least low to mid on good framerates of 30 to 40.

Thanks again.
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 1:16:06 AM

Well, first up you have no wattage concerns. That's enough PSU to run any single GPU system.

This 785G board will have more robust voltage regulation, important for stability and some mild overclocks:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

However, if you want future upgrades easily you had best just bite the bullet and get DDR3.

ASUS M4A88TD-M/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Blackline DDR3 4GB CL7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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October 7, 2010 1:24:11 AM

Yeah the only reason I was recommended that is because they were assuming I would carry over the 4 gigs of DDR2 I have now. I would like to save as much money as I can, but stretch it as far as it can go. Bang for the buck. Also, the motherboard and processor will be being bought over the next 2 to 4 months, depending on budget. I'm a working college kid.

Also not sure if it matters but my current board is a micro-ATX and an average/normal sized HP tower, NOT slimline. I have measurements of both case and board if needed.

I don't mind having onboard audio and network if that would save money. My current Mobo is 10/100mbps LAN and an 8channel audio. Nothing fancy on those two notes has to be done, just equal to or what not.

Also lastly, if for any reason that PSU shorts out, I have a 430cx by corsair on hand for backup, would that run all the stuff as well?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks.
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Related resources
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 1:40:25 AM

All modern boards have good audio and networking, no issue there.

The 430CX would probably handle 5770, at least for a while. Your max gaming load is not likely to go over 300W.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 1:42:32 AM

On the board, I took your word that it's mATX. Case size should not be a factor until you get a large CPU cooler or larger video card.
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October 7, 2010 1:52:35 AM

mATX? micro I suppose? So both boards should fit?

If you need me to I can link you to the mobo specs page of my stock mobo as well as my case/desktop specs.

The audio/networking wasn't a concern, but I was just saying, if it came down to the line. The PSU SHOULDN'T be failing on me, but I have the 430cx just in case, because I'm not sure how long Newegg's RMA will last if my current PSU does fail.

Again, I also have that 5670 I linked above, that was my original card which I put in for an upgrade, I only got the 5770 due to a family member having a TINY case and it wouldn't fit.

So I have the option of downgrading to that card, and the backup PSU.

If my money plays out right, I will get the DDR3 Ram, the DDR3 Mobo, and the Phenom x4 965 Black. (I have heard bad things about Asus and I was sent to gigabyte products, any thoughts?)

If money doens't play out right, I will just get the DDR2 Board, and PCU, and such.

Another question, since I'm using the stock HP system case, will there be any cooling issues? If so any idea on fans I could/should use/mount? (again I can link you to spec page if you need)
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 2:26:50 AM

As far as I can tell it's a standard mATX tower, and will work fine. I have no internal pics, so if you want to provide some that would settle matters.

You may be lacking in cooling a bit. If money is tight just cut a hole and mount a fan over the top of it on the outside.... towards the bottom of the side panel blowing in.

fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cover
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-or-
http://www.jab-tech.com/YATE-LOON-120x120x20mm-Case-Fan...
http://www.jab-tech.com/120mm-Black-wire-fan-grill-pr-2...
http://www.jab-tech.com/Laser-cut-fan-grills-c-340-p-2....
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October 7, 2010 2:39:02 AM

Cute a hole where? On the top or side of the case? sorry I'm new to this. You say mount a fan over the top of IT, IT being the case, on the outside, pointing towards the bottom of the side panel, with air blowing in?

Also, here is pic of internal

http://www.geeks.com/largePic_All.asp?InvtId=GS354AAR&P...

if that link doesn't work, when you google/yahoo the HP a6203w, the geeks.com link has pics.

Also, should I buy these parts in pieces as I get money, or all at once when I have lump sum?
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 2:57:43 AM

Ah good you supplied that, the case is a reverse-mount type.

On the cover that comes off the side, put the fan right in the center. You are just cutting a circular hole with 4 screw holes to match the fan. Place the fan on the OUTSIDE of the hole, routing the wire back through the hole before screwing it on. The fan should be blowing in. That is because your case is somewhat narrow and you want to conserve what space you can there.

You also have what looks to be a 120mm fan mount in the back of the case, you can probably mount another fan inside to blow air out here... if you end up having to move it outside that's OK, just make sure it sucks air out.

If you can hang on to the money newegg frequently has combo deals that will save you. No good ones today but it changes.
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October 7, 2010 3:11:42 AM

Okay, gotcha on the deal and combo thing. But gah Imma newb, What can I use to cut the hole lol I have no power tools. I dont wanna FUBAR my comp case....>.< any other options for cooling?

Edit:

Here is some more, not sure if it matters but my tower is in a small area enclosure kind of, on the bottom area/alcove of my computer desk. I have about 3 inches on each side of the tower until it hits a wall, an open back, open front, and about 8 inches until it hits bottom of desk (top of alcove)

Secondly, if i don't put hole in side of case, will I have enough cooling just using the 120mm fan placement on the back of my case?
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 4:15:22 AM

You can always leave the side off and point a house fan in there :) 

Or spring for a new and inexpensive case that already comes with two fans?

Note promo code and free shipping:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Two fans, will fit full ATX as well as Micro. Will fit all your current hardware.
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October 7, 2010 4:17:38 AM

Okay, answer the questions on my above edit also please.

Hmm a new case is my last resort if need be, because I am noobish when i comes to removing everything and placing them all in new case. Trying to avoid PITA/FUBAR'ing my computer and screwing things up if i can. Leaving the side off is an option but like I said, see above, due to alcove......but on that note, i'm headed out for the night, bed lol. I will check this thread out tomm and continue our discussion, thanks so far.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 4:38:07 AM

If you are replacing the motherboard you are already doing the hard part. There is nothing else to screw up. We are talking 7 parts here not 30.

If you need to keep your case in a desk like that then you need a front fan. The case I linked has one. Yes, you need adequate cooling to keep those expensive-to-you parts healthy.

I have used this case many times in this same situation:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
But you would need to add a fan to the front, it only ships with one.

As to your current case and cutting, it can be done with just a drill by drilling many smaller holes rather than one big one. Drill against a board or such. Sounds like you might not have the room for a fan in your desk though.
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October 7, 2010 4:52:55 AM

Ok, I know I said I was going to bed...so maybe I'm not right atm lol.

Well, are there ANY solutions, cost effecient and low labor, to keeping my current case, and still keeping everything cool? I can get the back fan for sure, the side fan cutting a hole in the case is one problem, the air flow in the alcove is another.

Both the cases you linked, will they have adequate room, for everything? I suppose I lose my external hard drive bay, and all my SDIMM ports and memory card readers though....or would I?

New case, and cutting hole in current case, will be done if last resort. I'm just trying to feel out ANY/EVERY possible option here. Would moving my tower to another area (free air, no walls around PC) would that help any? I can if so.
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 9:37:49 AM

Just go with the one fan and monitor temps closely. Take the side off and blow air into the case with a house fan if needed, and upgrade the case down the road. We are going into winter and the lower temps will help.
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October 7, 2010 2:56:06 PM

Okay, due to my gaming needs not being that high, and me not wanting to fry my computer, I might just call it safe, go with one fan on the back (blowing outwards or inwards?) and a household fan if needed and go with the good DDR2 MoBo, and the Processor, and use the lower end 5670 instead of the 5770, to make sure temps stay as low as I can, by using the lower end items.

So my low end system would consist of, stock case, back 120mm case fan. (May have to take side off, and/or move comp, and/or use house fan, depending on temps)

Downgrading to using this GPU

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Using the 550 PSU having the other PSU on backup (will it lower temps any to use the 430 PSU?)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The DDR2 Mobo, using my current RAM and the upgraded Proc

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think with that video card, PSU, Processor, and 4 gigs of DDR2 Ram, I should be fine for at least low settings to mid settings on most games with decent/smooth FPS. Considering those games are along the graphical scale of Dragon Age, Sims 3, and such.

I will also get a temp monitoring program.

What all other options, any and all, besides what we've discussed so far, for cooling? Because that appears to be our main concern.
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October 7, 2010 6:11:25 PM

Okay, hmm.. so 550 would be cooler, staying with current case, getting the 5770, and staying with the DDR2 Mobo, keeping my current RAM, and getting the processor, and later on when money comes in, upgrading case/fans and new motherboard and moving over all my hardware.

Sound good?

Also,

I found this PSU, cheaper and modular, but No idea how modular stacks up against non modular, I just noticed it had removable wires for MAYBE more cooling.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-341-...

And lastly, would it be possible to get your email, or maybe a messenger id? (yahoo, msn, etc) so if I need any help or assistance in the future? Because you have been a HUGE help.
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October 7, 2010 6:15:54 PM

I personally would not spend any money on upgrades towards a ddr2 platform. either get the bare minimum of what you need to run your current setup, or go for an am3 upgrade, that is what i would do imo
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 7, 2010 6:56:32 PM

nfarnham2001 said:
Okay, hmm.. so 550 would be cooler, staying with current case, getting the 5770, and staying with the DDR2 Mobo, keeping my current RAM, and getting the processor, and later on when money comes in, upgrading case/fans and new motherboard and moving over all my hardware.

Sound good?

Also,

I found this PSU, cheaper and modular, but No idea how modular stacks up against non modular, I just noticed it had removable wires for MAYBE more cooling.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-341-...

And lastly, would it be possible to get your email, or maybe a messenger id? (yahoo, msn, etc) so if I need any help or assistance in the future? Because you have been a HUGE help.



Sounds fine.

The PSU was never properly tested and I have no real opinion other than to stay with well tested units.

If I'm available I'm checking this site :)  I do actually have a life ya know, and more than enough relatives and friends demanding my computer help ;) 
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October 7, 2010 7:44:33 PM

Yeah lol, sorry. We all have lives to attend to, I know I do.

So that OCZ wasn't properly tested? gah..... Now I don't wanna touch it lol, can't afford to spend money on something that will fry. The only reason I was getting it was modular/no wires for better cooling, will it be that much of a difference between the corsair with the spare non used wires?

Also, lastly, to make sure my system stays cool, what temps am I aiming for at idle and for load?
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 8, 2010 6:04:05 AM

You want to be under 40C at idle and around 60C at full (Prime 95) load.

If you were looking at modular PSUs consider a Seasonic M12II 520... see the PSU guide for more selections in that range.

I don't think spare wiring is a big issue as long as you have room in your case to tuck them away.... might be hard in that HP case.
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October 8, 2010 5:42:01 PM

Okay then, it is settled. I am going to keep my original case, put a 120mm fan at the back, run that with my video cards both 5670 and 5770, (but not at once lol), do temp checks, and with my power supply (I will see what cables I have that are loose, and check if those are removable on the modular)

First thing to upgrade will be the motherboard, then processor, then I will do temp checks again, and if need be I will then upgrade the case, and lastly if money allows it, hard drive and cd drive. Depending on money and such, it may be DDR2, it may be DDR3 MoBo.

Thanks again for all the help, you've been a lifesaver. I will probably be well into, or done, with this build/add-on festival in a few months, by spring at the latest, and I will keep in touch.

Oh the 40c and 60c was processor? or video card? or is that overall inside temp?
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a c 113 B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
October 8, 2010 10:19:26 PM

CPU temps, according to HWMonitor.
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