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Upgrading Old PC to Gaming Powerhouse

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 18, 2011 6:40:18 AM

Hello,
Lately I have been thinking and planing for an upgrade on my 4 year old computer whose detailed specifications can be found here:

(Just in case you dont wanna click on that:
Chipset: Intel 945GC
Memory sockets: 2 x DDR2
Front side bus speeds: 800/533 MHz
Processor socket: 775
Expansion Slots:
1 PCI Express x16 slot for graphics card
1 PCI Express x1 slots
2 PCI slot


CORE 2 DUO E4400
Operating speed: Up to 2.0 GHz
Number of cores: 2
Socket: 775
Bus speed: 800 MHz
Processor upgrade information
Socket type: 775
Motherboard supports the following processor upgrades:
Core 2 Duo (Conroe) up to E4300
Pentium D (Presler) up to 960 (3.6 GHz)
Pentium 4 (Cedar Mill) up to 661 (3.6 GHz)
Celeron D (Cedar Mill) up to 365 (3.6 GHz)
Celeron D (Prescott) up to 355 (3.33GHz)


Integrated graphics using Intel GMA 950
Use up to 256MB of PC memory (with 512MB or more total PC memory)
Also supports PCI Express x16 graphics cards


I have upgraded my RAM to 2GB.)

I want to transform this to a gaming machine.
I want to play all latest games at real good quality [max that my budget can allow]. NFS Shift, Shift 2, Hitman, Crysis, WoW etc. I am buying a 21" monitor [full HD] so would like the games to run at good resolution (more than 800x 600) and FPS (more than 60).

I have been lingering around markets and people and have short-listed these:
1) Monitor is BenQ G2220HD price is 7150Rs OR ~150$
2) Sapphire HD6790 1GB GDDR5 Graphic Card - Price is Rs 7715 OR ~ 160$
3) Cooler Master GX 450W Rs. 3215 OR 60$
4) 500GB Internal Hardrive Rs. 1800 OR 35 $


Here i go with the questions:

I would like to know if this configuration would "match and work" on my motherboard and processor.
If the games will be limited my Processor speed in-spite of the graphics card, if yes, then can I save some money by buying a lower graphics card.
I have windows 7 installed on this machine now, and its windows drive has like 100 MB remaining free after all tweaks due to small size of my C:\, so I would like to keep this original HDD as intact, and install a fresh Windows copy on the new one and install games on it itself. This way my windows "less space problem" would be solved and I would be able to access my data on original drive too. So whats the way to do this. Or do u recommend a dual boot and install some other OS for gaming purposes. I am not a big fan of DMA related errors.

Thanks a lot for reading. Expecting replies :) 

July 18, 2011 7:03:39 AM

it's really not worth keeping. you cant do much to make that computer functional at even the lowest end of modern settings.
(even warcraft which runs on low end machines would struggle, especially with the updated zones since the last exp pack)
maybe keep the case and drives, then install some cheap amd equipment, a cheap am3 motherboard and one of the cheaper phenom 2's. building off that cpu and mb isn't going to get you anywhere though.
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July 18, 2011 3:28:34 PM

It CAN play some games, the core 2 duo is going to get you further then the phenom 2 just because of the hyperthreading capabilities, out of your processor choices check which ones have both 2 physical cores and 2 logical cores, that will help keep down on the bottleneck that is inevitably going to happen when upgrading to a much newer graphics card.

As for memory you're definitely hold back there. 4 Gig's is minimum for a good gaming rig and most people go for 6 or 8 at much higher DIMM then what you have. This is a definite bottleneck but it wont be TOO bad if you have the 533 MHz supported memory.

Your HDD you picked out should be large enough for gaming and installing a dual boot OS is fine if you want that hassle. Personally I would just copy and past all of your stuff from your old one to the new one to cut back on clutter and the inconvenience of a dual boot.

I think this will work, but its not going to be anywhere near high end. I've got an old pentium 4 machine with one physical core and a hyperthreaded one and I upgraded the memory to the highest I could and threw in an Nvidia gt 220 and I get around 30 fps in fallout 3 at the higher settings.

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a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2011 5:40:22 PM

Frizzo said:
it's really not worth keeping. you cant do much to make that computer functional at even the lowest end of modern settings.
(even warcraft which runs on low end machines would struggle, especially with the updated zones since the last exp pack)
maybe keep the case and drives, then install some cheap amd equipment, a cheap am3 motherboard and one of the cheaper phenom 2's. building off that cpu and mb isn't going to get you anywhere though.



funny my C2D E4500 @ 2.93 and a HD 5670 OCd play
Crysis Warhead 1920x1080 gamer settings
Crysis 2 at 1920x1080 DX9 hardcore settings
Metro 2033 1920x1080 high settings DX 11 no AA
plus many other games like Witcher 2,Bioshock 2 etc

so if the OP can OC that C2D to close to 3.0 ghz and put a GTX 460 768mb/HD 5770 in there
then the OP can definitlely handle modern games at medium to high settings between 1680x1050 and 1920x1080 res


though investing too much into a LGA775 isnt smart unless the parts for example the video card and the HD
will be used for future build
definitley dont do a CPU upgrade just hopefully OC
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July 18, 2011 7:54:09 PM

There's no way his motherboard supports overclocking, its a stock motherboard and CPU.
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a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2011 8:08:00 PM

didnt see any model or spec on mobo on OP original post
so I dont know that

OP is that a factory or custom tower?

what is good is that all the upgrades the OP are planning
monitor,HD,video card,PSU can all be used for future build
so it wouldnt be a waste of money

the fact is that CPU and socket 775 is not going to make
a "gaming powerhouse"
with a decent GPU it could handle medium setting gaming on most games
but definitley not a powerhouse

but OP can use all the new parts on a new build if they dont want to do a full Mobo/CPU/RAM upgrade right now
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a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2011 8:11:05 PM

ragenalien said:
It CAN play some games, the core 2 duo is going to get you further then the phenom 2 just because of the hyperthreading capabilities, out of your processor choices check which ones have both 2 physical cores and 2 logical cores, that will help keep down on the bottleneck that is inevitably going to happen when upgrading to a much newer graphics card.

As for memory you're definitely hold back there. 4 Gig's is minimum for a good gaming rig and most people go for 6 or 8 at much higher DIMM then what you have. This is a definite bottleneck but it wont be TOO bad if you have the 533 MHz supported memory.

Your HDD you picked out should be large enough for gaming and installing a dual boot OS is fine if you want that hassle. Personally I would just copy and past all of your stuff from your old one to the new one to cut back on clutter and the inconvenience of a dual boot.

I think this will work, but its not going to be anywhere near high end. I've got an old pentium 4 machine with one physical core and a hyperthreaded one and I upgraded the memory to the highest I could and threw in an Nvidia gt 220 and I get around 30 fps in fallout 3 at the higher settings.



none of the Core2Duo/Quads have HyperThreading
sitll a C2D can equal or beat any Phenom x 2 at equal clock speeds

a good cheap budget CPU would be a Rana x 3 450 or I3 SB or Pentium G620 Sandybrige

but it doesnt look like the OP wants to do mobo/cpu/ram change
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July 18, 2011 9:03:55 PM

If you check his link at the top it shows that he has a factory made tower, an older model. It doesn't support oc.
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a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2011 9:15:16 PM

Sorry my mistake didnt check the link
My apologies
most factory towers cant be OC BUT
in limited instances some factory towers can be OCd
I did it with my Dell Optiplex 745
I have a E4500 2.2/800FSB OCd to 2.93/1066FSB
this is how you do it
http://www.overclock.net/intel-cpus/341123-intel-bsel-v...

if the OPs mobo supports 1066FSB the OP can mod his CPU to go about
700-800mhz higher using BSEL mod
Many users have done it successfully including myself
I have had my E4500 ocd for about 4 months 24/7 on
I had an E4300 ocd prior to that

cost me $10 USD for circuit pen,$10 for thermal paste

My E4500 is equal to an E7500 in benches
just below an E8400 (2050 Passmarks vs 2200 Passmarks)
beats the E6700 in benches


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July 19, 2011 2:37:33 AM

Thanks a lot for replying.

See, the problem is, considering the price of new CPU these days I could buy one investing 200$ more and get a brand new one, but unfortunately, I Cant. I cant afford it right now.
I had in my mind for buying a PS3, thats fine, but buying 5 games of PS3 would have left me unclothed!
Most of people here sugest that the current MB and uP are just qualifying and wont allow me play at ultra high resolution at ultra speeds, and I can overclock if i want to extract the last drop of juice. But my biggest doubt is cleared that these upgrades would in fact work on PC, and as king smp said, yes i would use these parts when i buy a new PC some years down the line. Why would I again buy a Graphics card. I would try getting a GX460 768MB.

Lets see, Simple question... with on updates i mentioned on post, if i consider games of pre 2010 era, at decent resolution and good FPS, would my gaming experience be equal to a PS3?
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a b U Graphics card
July 19, 2011 2:58:09 AM

with a GTX 460 at 1680x1050 and even at 1920x1080
you should definitley be able to play pre 2010 games at mostly high settings
games like Left 4 Dead,Oblivion,Far Cry 2 will all play at high settings and res
I know I had a Dual Xeon pentium 4 based 3.2 with a Nvidia 7600gs that would play those no problem
even games like Crysis Warhead and Bioshock 2 will play at medium to higher settings
with that E4400 and GTX 460


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July 19, 2011 3:52:34 AM

The current generation of counsels are more then 5 years behind in hardware, and considering what has been released since then its a wonder they even still work. The PS3 has A LOT of physical cores, it uses a custom IBM CPU the has 6 physical cores and a 7th backup one. That said it has quiet a bit of power in that area, but its still outdated power, your CPU is a few years newer. A PS3 has a quarter gig of dedicated VRAM and another quarter of regular RAM, hence why they can only do so much. Your upgraded computer can easily out play a PS3 and even more easily beat the even older 360.
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July 19, 2011 5:25:36 AM

king smp said:
with a GTX 460 at 1680x1050 and even at 1920x1080
you should definitley be able to play pre 2010 games at mostly high settings
games like Left 4 Dead,Oblivion,Far Cry 2 will all play at high settings and res
I know I had a Dual Xeon pentium 4 based 3.2 with a Nvidia 7600gs that would play those no problem
even games like Crysis Warhead and Bioshock 2 will play at medium to higher settings
with that E4400 and GTX 460


Thank you so much for this on the point reply. The demon which I am going to play at home may not be able to play ultra latest games, but I am quite happy if it would handle all others singlehandedly. :jakebarnssmiley: 

ragenalien said:
The current generation of counsels are more then 5 years behind in hardware, and considering what has been released since then its a wonder they even still work. The PS3 has A LOT of physical cores, it uses a custom IBM CPU the has 6 physical cores and a 7th backup one. That said it has quiet a bit of power in that area, but its still outdated power, your CPU is a few years newer. A PS3 has a quarter gig of dedicated VRAM and another quarter of regular RAM, hence why they can only do so much. Your upgraded computer can easily out play a PS3 and even more easily beat the even older 360.


Thanks for clarifying. Now i am doubtless about CPU vs PS3. :jakebarnssmiley: 
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July 19, 2011 5:26:23 AM

thats really big smilee.
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a b U Graphics card
July 19, 2011 1:47:26 PM

I like your choice of upgrades in original post
since they all can be moved to new build
nothing wasted
smart move
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a b U Graphics card
July 19, 2011 1:49:42 PM

though careful with coolermaster PSUs
i would stick with XFX,Antec,Seasonic or Corsair
they make some good inexpensive PSUs
hopefully one of those is available where you are at
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July 19, 2011 4:20:10 PM

king smp said:
though careful with coolermaster PSUs
i would stick with XFX,Antec,Seasonic or Corsair
they make some good inexpensive PSUs
hopefully one of those is available where you are at


One of friend told me to buy a high quality PSU and suggested me this one. Its pricey. I understand that choosing a bad PSU can make my graphics card burn out soon, so I am actually spending 50% of graphics card's worth on PSU. Isnt it good or worth?
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a b U Graphics card
July 19, 2011 4:27:29 PM

coolermaster makes some great cases and coolers but
its PSUs arent as good as Antec,Seasonic,Corsair,XFX
stick with one of those brands
there are other good brands but those four are usually the easiest to find
and are the best
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July 29, 2011 3:03:02 AM

Best answer selected by moronictides.
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a b U Graphics card
July 29, 2011 3:40:54 AM

thank you for selecting me as Best Answer
let us know how it works out
please dont be a stranger :) 
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a c 271 U Graphics card
July 29, 2011 1:24:36 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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