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How to upgrade old HP Desktop

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  • Prebuilt
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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September 25, 2011 4:28:17 AM

Hi,

I am looking to upgrade an old HP Pavilion Media Center m8150n, which I've had for about 4 years now. The reason I'm upgrading is because I want to use it as a gaming PC (I don't really want to buy a brand-new one, since this PC is here, so I might as well just use it), and because it's RAM can go up so high, up to 90% after a minute of starting the PC, that it suddenly turns off whenever I play a 3D game like League of Legends (I assume because of the PC overheating) with Game Booster on, without any stuff going on around the background, and with the game's settings to Ultra Low, with the UI extremely small. It's quite frustrating that I can't even play a game with all of that, and still have the RAM going up like there's no tomorrow, which (I assume) results in my PC overheating like crazy, instantly turning off my PC.

I'm a computer newbie, so to speak, as I don't know much about how to upgrade PCs, meaning that I don't actually know what to upgrade my PC with, like, specific parts and what-not (I know that I need to replace the RAM though...). Although, I should be able to learn about these things later on, but not just this moment.

Specs are here, if they are necessary: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

Everything in the specs are accurate, except the GPU which is now a NVIDIA GeForce 210, which came from repairs since the computer got broken a year ago.

Assuming I had a budget of around $250/300, and assuming that, with a couple hundred bucks, I still wouldn't replace this old PC with a new one, what would you guys recommend getting so I can play games like League of Legends with a good (seemingly great would be nice though) FPS without having the frustration of having the PC shut down on its own due to the RAM going up?

Also, I assume that, with a new upgrade, the general condition and speed of the PC would get better, not just in video games. I am correct, right?

Anyways, thanks in advance! :D 

More about : upgrade desktop

September 25, 2011 4:54:31 AM

The geForce 210 is a good graphics card for DVD play back but its not capable of playing games
You are very limited in your graphics upgrade options because of the low spec 300 watt power supply , and since you almost certainly have vista 32 bit upgrading the RAM is not possible .
In some ways the best upgrade is to drop it from a fairly great height , and get a new computer,
but
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
should run and give you basic gaming
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September 25, 2011 5:23:08 AM

I checked the link, and it shows exactly what I need. But other than the GPU, what else are my options?

Also, do I need to buy RAM due to the fact that, even at start-up, I've already used up the majority of the RAM?
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September 25, 2011 6:16:17 AM

RAM usage doesn't go up with heat but heat will overheat a computer and shut it down. This will likely be due to dust. Open your case and vacuum it. Also you really don't need to upgrade you entire computer since its CPU is still enough for high end gaming. Your upgrade options will be ram and a graphics card. Outlander listed the fastest card that is currently in the market that your power supply will likely handle since its is uses little energy but has good performance. I would suggest for the ram that you replace all of it since it is really slow. Here is a link to some better performing ram http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... Remove your old ram even if their are extra slots since compatability issues could arise. Also if you have 4 ram slots buy two of these packs if you wish since you'll benefit from more memory and a bit faster speeds.
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September 25, 2011 6:51:27 AM

I'll be sure to get the GPU that Outlander suggest that I get.

I would also look into the RAM that you (phyrexian) suggested, although, the item in the link has apparently been deactivated. Are there any other RAM that you suggest I look at?

Also, I don't know exactly if I have four RAM slots. I'm guessing that I do, but I'm just not exactly sure, even after reading the specs. I'm also not sure if I have a 32-bit or 64-bit PC (As the number of memory I can get varies from bits, I think). Can you please tell me how to find out if I have the former or the latter of the PC bits?

Thanks, in advance as usual!
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September 25, 2011 5:01:42 PM

Here is the link to the same sticks of memory, I think I may have made a mistake with copying it. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Your computer's hardware can support 64 bit but your operating system might be 32 bit. You should be able to find this out through pressing the Start button then right clicking on computer and selecting properties. If your 32 bit your limited to 4 GB of memory so you won't be able to use 8 GB even if your computer had space for them.
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September 25, 2011 10:26:19 PM

Well, since my hardware can support 64 bit, I guess I could upgrade it to 64 bit (if my PC is 32 bit since I still don't know because I haven't checked yet) so that I can use 8 GB of RAM.

Although, I don't know what I should upgrade it with.

Should I upgrade it with 64 bit Vista or 64 bit Windows 7? What do you think?
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September 26, 2011 7:28:36 AM

7 is better it has more features and it is faster.
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September 26, 2011 8:14:23 AM

Well, I guess that solves it then.

Although, I still have 2 questions. One, how exactly do you vacuum the inside of a PC? And two, if I do get the Windows 7 64-bit, is my PC capped at 8 GB of RAM? I heard that, with 64-bit, you can virtually have limitless RAM, but is higher-than-8-GB-of-RAM possible for my to-be upgraded PC?

As usual, thanks in advance! :D 
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Best solution

September 26, 2011 9:13:48 AM

NEVER use a vacuum cleaner to clean inside a computer . Static electricity can build up in the vacuum cleaner and destroy sensitive memory chips if you touch the pipe in the wrong pace .
Use a can of compressed air to clean the inside of the computer if it is dusty .

Upgrading windows to a 64 bit OS is not going to help gaming with your computer , and the graphics card I suggested . The game wont use that much RAM that you need to do this upgrade .

If you have really high RAM usage then
1/ move all files you have stored on your desk top to a documents folder . While they are on the desktop they are in RAM
2/ Use msconfig to stop programs you are not going to use starting with windows .
http://netsquirrel.com/msconfig/msconfig_vista.html
If a program is on the start up list and is not a core windows process, your antivirus , your firewall , and maybe a program you want to use every day then you should stop it starting . When you do want it then clicking on the icon starts it still.
Most Vista installations use about 900 mb's of RAM
An use over that is probably the OS prefetching data it thinks you might need .

You do not need more or different RAM
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September 26, 2011 4:50:58 PM

If you can clear up the programs that are unnecessarily wasting ram memory it will save you money. Your not going to find games today that use 4 GB of ram. In the future yes, but by the time that happens your computer will be to old to play games adequately. Outlander good thing you corrected me on the my vacuum suggestion, I didn't know static electricity could build up under a vacuum.
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September 26, 2011 10:51:42 PM

Thanks for the tip about the computer cleaning tip. Anyways...

I have moved all the files I had in desktop to Documents. I have also accessed msconfig and removed some of the things at start-up that I don't necessarily need (actually, I still need to check it out as I still have yet to restart the PC).

I also changed my mind in buying a new OS, and more memory. I guess I'll just go ahead and buy the Graphics card that was suggested. Although, will this also increase the general speed of my PC, or just the gaming portion of it? If simply the gaming part, what do I need to do to improve the speed? Buy more RAM, or download some "PC-All-In-One-Cleaning-Tool"?

As always, thanks at advance! I'll edit the results of the RAM after I restart. RAM at the moment is actually idle at 67%. Will see if msconfig improves it slightly.

EDIT: RAM became idle at 61%. Not sure if that's significant enough, but at least it changed. Hoping to find another solution, unless 61% is actually good enough. Also, I forgot to mention about the PC's fans. They keep on clicking on and off, on and off nowadays. Started a few months ago. Should I be worried about this, or not?

EDIT II: I will actually try out playing League of Legends, and see if my PC itself will overheat because I will be checking the RAM as I go. I'll edit this once more once I get the results.
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September 28, 2011 11:02:25 PM

If your fans are dying you can measure their length to find replacements. Also make sure the power connector of the replacement is the same. If the power connector is called molex it connects to the powersupply.
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September 29, 2011 3:22:04 AM

Best answer selected by RandomDudeThatRan.
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