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Need Help First Time Upgrading

Last response: in Systems
August 25, 2011 1:52:15 PM


First time poster, but I have been lurking for a few months now. I would like to upgrade my system to be able to handle newer MMO's that are coming out in the next few months. I would like to keep my budget around $2-300 and I would like to be able to do it myself. I have no experience doing this type of thing, so any direction, help, tips would be greatly appreciated.

My current system is
Model : Gamer Power 918i
Type :Gaming
Processor : Intel Core i3 550(3.2GHz)
Processor Main Features : 64 bit Dual Core Processor
Memory : 4GB DDR3 1333
Hard Drive : 1TB SATAII
Optical Drive 1 : 24X DL DVD+/-RW Drive
Graphics : ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB
Audio: Sound card - Integrated
Ethernet : 10/100/1000 Mbps
Power Supply : 480W
Operating System : Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Special Features : NZXT GAMMA Gaming Tower
CPU Type : Intel Core i3
Installed Qty : 1
CPU Speed : 550(3.20GHz)
L3 Cache Per CPU : 4MB
CPU Socket Type : LGA 1156
CPU Main Features : 64 bit Dual Core Processor
GPU/VPU Type : ATI Radeon HD 5450
Graphics Interface : PCI Express 2.0 x16
Memory Capacity : 4GB DDR3
Memory Speed : DDR3 1333
Form Factor : DIMM 240-pin
Memory Spec : 2GB x 2
Memory Slot (Total) : 2
Memory Slot (Available) : 0
Maximum Memory Supported : 8GB
HDD Capacity: 1TB
HDD Interface : SATA II
Optical Drive Type : DVD±RW
Optical Drive Spec : 24X DL DVD+/-RW Drive
Audio Chipset : Integrated
LAN Speed
Front Panel Ports
Front USB: 2
Front eSATA : 1 x e-SATA (based on motherboard availability)
Front Audio Ports: 2
Back Panel Ports : PS/2
Rear USB : 8
External Bays : 4 x external 5.25" drive bays
Internal Bays : 6 x internal 3.5" drive bays
PCI Slots (Available/Total)
1 x PCI-Express x16
1 x PCI-Express x1
2 x PCI

Physical Spec
20.78" x 7.48" x 17.64"
28.00 lbs.

I hope that someone can help me, and/or at least send me in the right direction. I have done a little homework and have two ideas for upgrades, but I could really use some advice.

Thanks in adavance,


More about : time upgrading

a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 2:19:37 PM

Your biggest gains are going to come from upgrading the CPU and GPU. The HD 6870 you listed is a great choice and would give you good gains on the graphics side. After that upgrade your I3 would become your bottleneck. An upgrade to an I5-760 (or other quad core) would be nice. ...even more nice with a little overclock to around 3.5GHz.

With the CPU and GPU upgrade your power consumption would be around 400w. You MIGHT be able to get by with your stock 480w PSU, but ideall an upgrade is in order. The Antec 550w you listed is fine as would the Corsair 600w linked below (on sale).

CPU Cooler (for overclocking) -

Hope this helps!
August 25, 2011 2:24:49 PM

This helps tremendously, however, I am unsure about the installation of all of this. Is this a difficult upgrade to do? I would hate to destroy everything, I have been known to break things.

Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 2:33:29 PM

If you read a few tutorials online, understand the concepts, and TAKE YOUR TIME... you won't have any issues with performing those upgrades. They are all straight forward with the exception of the CPU Cooler install. It isn't difficult either, but being a somewhat universal cooler you will have to use the adapters for your LGA1156 socket. The instructions provided with the Hyper 212+ are easy to follow.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2011 3:53:14 PM

I see no reason to upgrade the cpu now, it's capable of hanging with a powerful graphics card.

A new graphics card and psu are up your alley.

While a 400w psu would be adequate for that system with a 6870, you can't pass up this deal:

$29.99 after rebate and promo code