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Thoughts on upgrading HP Pavilion a6130n

Last response: in Systems
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November 27, 2010 5:39:39 PM

It's been many moons since I have done anything more than changed out a video card. I am thinking about upgrading my current machine. Really all my machine is used for is web surfing, flash game playing (kids), bit torrenting, watching avi/mp4 files and World of Warcraft.

Here is my current setup with Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit:

Hardware
Base processor
Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5000+ 2.6 GHz (65W)
* 2000 MT/s (mega transfers/second)
* Socket AM2

Chipset
* GeForce 6150SE nForce 430

Motherboard
* Manufacturer: ECS
* Motherboard Name: MCP61PM-HM
* HP/Compaq motherboard name: Nettle2-GL8E
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

PSU
300w

Video
NVidia Geoforce 6800 (512mb)

Memory
Component Attributes
Memory Installed 3 GB (2x1GB, 2x512MB)
Maximum allowed 4 GB (4 x 1 GB) (32-bit OS)
Speed supported PC2-5300 MB/sec
Type 240 pin, DDR2 SDRAM

Expansion slots
Slot type Quantity
PCI Two (One available)
PCI Express x16 One (used)
PCI Express x1 One (One available)


I think my biggest bang for the buck is to upgrade my video card. However, I don't think I can do that without upgrading the PSU. The PSU I have does not have the connectors needed for the newer cards, nor does it have the power.

Looking around NewEgg I picked a OCZ StealthXstream II OCZ600SXS2 600W ATX12V v2.2/ EPS12V for the power and a PNY VCGGTS4501XPB GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 for video.

What I don't know is if the GTS 450 will work with my chipset or if there are issues with a PCIe 2.0 card working in a PCIe x16 slot.

I could spend 600-800 on a new computer (with some major wife begging), but, the only way that kind of money will be an upgrade, imo, is if I build my own. I have not done that since the pentium II days and am feeling a bit lost at the prospects. However, if I can upgrade and improve my graphics significantly, I'm good with that too.

Thanks for your help!
November 27, 2010 6:27:11 PM

I like the PSU you list. With the current rebate pricing its $30 after rebate, and that is hard to beat. you probably could get away with the Antec Earthwatts Green 380w instead at $44.99, which is less up front, but doesn't have the rebate.

with your system, teh GTS 450 is probably overkill. I'd adree with $600 we can build a much better system for you. a better match to your current system, for less money:
XFX Geforce 9800GT 512MB: $99.99 w/ $30 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 27, 2010 6:58:17 PM

Why is the GTS 450 overkill? Where is the bottleneck? The PCI slot or the cpu? Is the extra 512 ram wasted on the GTS 450?

I'd love to build my own, but feel kinda selfish relying on this community for help when I don't really have much to contribute...

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November 27, 2010 7:14:03 PM

Your CPU and the PCI slot are BOTH bottlenecks on the 450's GPU. The 9800 (Which is $70 after its rebate) or a HD 4850 ($87.99) will not have that bottleneck.
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November 27, 2010 7:57:09 PM

Do you think I'll see much of a difference? Or am I just throwing good money after bad a minor improvement?
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November 27, 2010 8:51:27 PM

you'll see significant improvement, as the 9800 is still 3 generations better than your 6800.
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November 27, 2010 9:16:30 PM

I think that may be the route I go then. I've been pricing bare-bones systems and I can't put one together for 600 bucks.

Shuttle + OS http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
i7 CPU http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
8 GB RAM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2TB HDD http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GTS 450 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm at $830 and I'm sure there's tons of stuff I'm missing...
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November 28, 2010 1:49:07 AM

for $600, you want an AMD build. the trick is combos. gimme a bit and I'll post one for you.
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November 28, 2010 2:20:57 AM

Here's a quad-core Athlon II build for $580.92

Athlon II X4 640 (3.0 GHz) and MSI 870 w/ USB 3 and SATA 3: $182.98 w/ $10 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mushkin Enhanced 4 GB DDR3-1333 kit: $49.99 w/ $10 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sea Sonic 520W 80+ Bronze PSU: $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LG 22x DVD burner + NZXT mid-tower case: $57.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Seagate 1TB Barracuda 7200.12 HDD: $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Zotac GTX 460 1 GB video card: $179.99 w/ $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $580.92 with $40 in rebates, so $540.92 after the rebates
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November 28, 2010 3:48:17 AM

Wow!! That looks amazing. I just showed this to Mrs Claus and I think she's on board.

I'm assuming I can pick up a 64bit Windows 7 as the OS. Also, should I double up on the ram to 4GB? Finally, do I need to do anything about cooling the CPU?

Thanks so much for your help!!

jim
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November 28, 2010 4:04:22 AM

Windows 7 OEM is on sale for $85

Your current monitor is what resolution?

You might consider a new monitor as an eventual upgrade. The GTX 460 in that build can manage a 1920x1080 screen (so you could hook it up to your HDTV if you have one)
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November 28, 2010 4:24:46 AM

I have a Samsung SyncMaster 220WM Widescreen LCD Monitor, max res is 1680 x 1050, which is what I run now. I am building a house that I prewired to run HDMI from my theater (which is where this computer will live) to the Media hub for the house. So, yes, I will be able to run this to my HDTV. I think I'll need to add a sound card though, unless that mobo can push sound into the HDMI out on the card...

Do I have to show something to order that OEM copy of Windows? Or can I just order it and "sell" the system to my wife? <g>

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November 28, 2010 4:42:52 AM

the video card can push the sound, it has HDMI out. The OEM copy comes with no support from microsoft, and can't be transferred to a new computer once loaded
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November 28, 2010 5:04:15 AM

I think I'm set. That hdd you included in your spec needed to be part of a combo to get that price, so I found a combo with Win7 professional OEM (couldn't find one with home). My total after rebates and shipping comes in at 630.91. Wow.

I can't wait to get this all delivered so I can put it all together. I'm also pretty jazzed about having a computer without all that crap that the HPs of the world include in their systems. (just having all that crap not running would probably give me a nice performance boost...)

Again, I can't thank you enough for the help.
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November 28, 2010 10:03:38 AM

Congrats and happy building!
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!