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Upgrading girlfriends comp, on a budget.

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November 2, 2011 2:27:01 PM

ok, for the last few years my girlfriend has been using a dell p4 system, socket 775.
I checked to see if it could take a dual core as a simple upgrade but I dont think there is a bios fix for it so that seems to be a dead end compatibility wise, she wants to be able to play co op games like dead island and upcoming titles assuming they dont suck like colonial marines, to just generally not have to play on low setting because of her cpu.

she has a 9800gt an 1920x1080 monitor and a coolermaster case, she would be happy sticking with xp but as her dell came with an oem install an os is going to be needed, ideally for less than £250, asin as close to £200 as possible, im failing here tbh.

We need a hard drive as the one in her comp is about 8 years old and tiny, 150 gb i think, motherboard cpu, ram if we get a ddr3 mobo (she has 4gb of ddr2) cpu obviously and an os, ive not come close, I was thinking of getting an oem win xp but didnt trust the sites.

heres what i got thus far coming grossly over budget


cpu+ ram £118.64

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004FA8NPK/ref=ox_sc...

hd £42.02
http://store.cbccomputers.com/products.asp?partno=ST310... (gone for 1tb for max storage though maybe a 500gb one would be fine for now, compared to 150gb 500gb is a huge step up)

os win 7 64 bit £76.49
http://www.kikatek.com/product_info.php?products_id=186...


and the cheapest mobo I could find
mobo £42.66
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004S9JXPW/ref=asc_df_B004S9...

£203.32 without os, then a whooping £279.81 with win 7 64 bit, Im selling this as a computer than in a few years could be upgraded with a different cpu, was maybe thinking about one of the dual core pentium s on the 1155 socket im just aware the main purpose of this upgrade is to give her a smoother experience while playing games, I'm sure the 1155 pentium would kill a p4 reanimate it then kill it again but compared to the i3 it does seem anaemic
b.t.w her PSU is sufficient the craptastic one that came with her comp died some time ago and was replaced with a reasonable 500w unit.

any help bringing the build closer to the target from her perspective will be very much appreciated, I feel very much like im trying to force the square shape thought the round hole with the budget and expected improvements, not being able to compromise and go with win xp is a bit of a bum, i just havnt found a reputable site selling for less than £50, £50 for win xp seems a bit steep given its outdated by 2 generation (not got any hate for win xp, only upgraded to win7 64bit myself on the expectation that by now we might have a few more games requiring/using DX11, ho hum).


Ty in advance, and excuse the rather jumbled nature of my post




November 2, 2011 2:43:32 PM

For a upgrade like this, spend the extra and grab Windows 7. What is your budget and why don't you spend your own money and get the OS for her. :D 
IMO, you may also need to grab a better GPU if she want play Dead Island without the crappy graphics, but she can play first to see how it goes?
Although it will be quite embarrassing when the game won't run properly after all this upgrade. :p 
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November 2, 2011 3:59:26 PM

lp231 said:
For a upgrade like this, spend the extra and grab Windows 7. What is your budget and why don't you spend your own money and get the OS for her. :D 
IMO, you may also need to grab a better GPU if she want play Dead Island without the crappy graphics, but she can play first to see how it goes?
Although it will be quite embarrassing when the game won't run properly after all this upgrade. :p 




the reality is that atm im far too broke, redundancy and illness being factors, ive seen dead island benchmarks where the 9800gt holds its own, were talking about playable and basic settings as opposed to unplayable on pretty much the lowest settings, If i had money I would take great delight in building computers for people close to me as a hobby, as this is not the case im here asking if its possible to cut some costs or compromise to boost her gaming potential, the budget as above would ideally be no more than £250.
now I have answered your questions perhaps you could go some way as to provide a suggestion that indicates you have read my question.
People "game" on llano a 9800gt is as far as im aware about the same, if not slightly better, sorry for any hostility, but your questions seem somewhat irrelevant, potentially what you meant to do was start a separate forum topic on why rebus doesn't just buy something himself that wouldn't require any budgeting, my financial situation is pretty weak/desperate hence a budget and hence my frustration that rather than answer within the boundaries of my post you made the suggestions that you did.
ty regardless assuming you intention was on any level to be helpful rather than just glib.
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Related resources
November 2, 2011 6:01:50 PM

Your link to CPU + RAM showed the CPU but not the ram. Ram, I'd recommend DDR3 - 1333 CL 9 @ 1.5 V

CPU
I3-2100 has the HD2000 IGP. Id spend 10/15 ponds more and get a I3-2105 which has the better IGP (intel HD3000)

MB. Only mention as food for thought.
Specs:
On two slots a PCI-e - 16x That is fine for later upgrade to a dedicated GPU for better game play.
Back panel. shows only D-sub for Video output. While this is OK, a HDMI would be better. Depends on monitor, and future monitor upgrads.
No Sata III ports (Has 4 Sata II ports. Unless you plan in future to Upgrad to a SATA III SSD (They are expensive) so only SATA II is OK
No USB 3 ports - Only important if looking for speed on thumbdrives or External B/U HDD.

Gaming, HD2000. Here is a link to performance for the 2000 (Site loads slow!, games are on left side, down aways.
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-2000-100...

Sorry I can not see where to shave off more money.
The Win 7 would be much easier for instal as it supports the new system where as XP you may find you need to down load a F6 driver to support the newer chipsets. If willing to (can try) your XP, but if it is an OEM Dell version it is tied to the Dell system. May, or may not load. May have problem activating it - may have to call uSoft and explain that your old MB died.
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November 2, 2011 6:17:49 PM

RetiredChief said:
Your link to CPU + RAM showed the CPU but not the ram. Ram, I'd recommend DDR3 - 1333 CL 9 @ 1.5 V

CPU
I3-2100 has the HD2000 IGP. Id spend 10/15 ponds more and get a I3-2105 which has the better IGP (intel HD3000)

MB. Only mention as food for thought.
Specs:
On two slots a PCI-e - 16x That is fine for later upgrade to a dedicated GPU for better game play.
Back panel. shows only D-sub for Video output. While this is OK, a HDMI would be better. Depends on monitor, and future monitor upgrads.
No Sata III ports (Has 4 Sata II ports. Unless you plan in future to Upgrad to a SATA III SSD (They are expensive) so only SATA II is OK
No USB 3 ports - Only important if looking for speed on thumbdrives or External B/U HDD.

Gaming, HD2000. Here is a link to performance for the 2000 (Site loads slow!, games are on left side, down aways.
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-2000-100...

Sorry I can not see where to shave off more money.
The Win 7 would be much easier for instal as it supports the new system where as XP you may find you need to down load a F6 driver to support the newer chipsets. If willing to (can try) your XP, but if it is an OEM Dell version it is tied to the Dell system. May, or may not load. May have problem activating it - may have to call uSoft and explain that your old MB died.




hey, ty for your suggestions, was only going for the slower HD graphics as the 9800gt ill pwn any of intels integrated solutions, I was trying to keep the system on the 1155 socket so my gf could upgrade at a later date was tempted to get an old duo on the 775 socket, yeah im also thinking not using win 7 would be a waste. I wasnt intending to re use the xp on the old dell as im sure i would struggle getting it replaced as im switching not only the mobo but the socket, Ive heard they can be fairly anal about whom they help, thanks for your input anyway.
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November 2, 2011 6:27:31 PM

One point - SB cpu is the way to go.
Game performance will vary depending on wheather the game is CPU intensive, or GPU intensive. For CPU games the SB will rung circles around the older CPUs.
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November 2, 2011 6:28:45 PM

Since you're tight on budget,go with AMD
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November 2, 2011 7:03:00 PM

ubicray said:
Since you're tight on budget,go with AMD




Now I am an amd fanboy but I cant reassure my gf that there will be a future with an am2+ board nor really an am3+ board, as much as I love AMD, bulldozer isnt for desktop, or at least not yet anyway, the 1155 socket still feels the way to go, an i3 will offer about as much game as my phenom 955 unless I went athlon which wouldnt be massively faster than the p4 in anything single threaded I dont reallly see what route to take with AMD atm, If it were for me id be going BD and singing La La La anytime anyone attempted to say anything to me about benchmarks.

Really appreciate any responses even though im feeling im asking for too much for too little, first time round i thought i was broadly in budget then looking at the list I prepared the next day i realised i hadnt accounted for a motherboard :heink: 
Im a winner, so yeah its the need for a motherboard that took me over the edge also not being able to get a cheap oem windows xp, I know it would be sinful putting xp on a SB system but its a better compromise than putting win 7 on a pentium 4.


If I was in this position last year it would most likely have been an am3+ board with a phenom dual core I would have been aiming for. Ive used an athlon quad clocked to 3ghz and despite better graphics it really didnt seem to load games much faster than the pentium 4 I had previously, at worst push it would be a compromise.
Holding out for intel for her system thus far, even the 1155 pentium would probably feel snappier than most of AMD's offerings atm unless im much mistaken.
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November 2, 2011 7:29:09 PM

AMD Bulldozer is for the desktop. you can grab a cheap AM3+ board and a nice CPU on the cheap.

AMD Athlon II X3 450 @ 3.2GHz.............. £56.66inc. vat
http://www.ebuyer.com/238326-amd-athlon-ii-x3-450-3-2gh...
Asus M5A78L-M LX..........£40.15inc. vat
http://www.ebuyer.com/269070-asus-m5a78l-m-lx-amd-socke...
Corsair 4GB DDR3 1333...............£19.04inc. vat
http://www.ebuyer.com/178943-corsair-4gb-2x2gb-ddr3-133...
Win7 Home Premium 64bit.............£85.68inc. vat
http://www.ebuyer.com/259863-microsoft-windows-7-home-p...
select "5 free working days= free shipping"
Cart total inc vat: £201.53

Then grab HDD
WD 250GB SATA III £39.99 (free shipping in UK)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Western-Digital-Caviar-SATAIII-...

total
£241.52

*HDD are really expensive right now...



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November 2, 2011 8:11:26 PM

rebus_forever said:
Now I am an amd fanboy but I cant reassure my gf that there will be a future with an am2+ board nor really an am3+ board, as much as I love AMD, bulldozer isnt for desktop, or at least not yet anyway, the 1155 socket still feels the way to go, an i3 will offer about as much game as my phenom 955 unless I went athlon which wouldnt be massively faster than the p4 in anything single threaded I dont reallly see what route to take with AMD atm, If it were for me id be going BD and singing La La La anytime anyone attempted to say anything to me about benchmarks.

Really appreciate any responses even though im feeling im asking for too much for too little, first time round i thought i was broadly in budget then looking at the list I prepared the next day i realised i hadnt accounted for a motherboard :heink: 
Im a winner, so yeah its the need for a motherboard that took me over the edge also not being able to get a cheap oem windows xp, I know it would be sinful putting xp on a SB system but its a better compromise than putting win 7 on a pentium 4.


If I was in this position last year it would most likely have been an am3+ board with a phenom dual core I would have been aiming for. Ive used an athlon quad clocked to 3ghz and despite better graphics it really didnt seem to load games much faster than the pentium 4 I had previously, at worst push it would be a compromise.
Holding out for intel for her system thus far, even the 1155 pentium would probably feel snappier than most of AMD's offerings atm unless im much mistaken.


lp231 said:
AMD Bulldozer is for the desktop. you can grab a cheap AM3+ board and a nice CPU on the cheap.

AMD Athlon II X3 450 @ 3.2GHz.............. £56.66inc. vat
http://www.ebuyer.com/238326-amd-athlon-ii-x3-450-3-2gh...
Asus M5A97 Pro..........£78.42inc. vat
http://www.ebuyer.com/270702-asus-m5a97-pro-970-am3-8-c...
Corsair 4GB DDR3 1333...............£19.04inc. vat
http://www.ebuyer.com/178943-corsair-4gb-2x2gb-ddr3-133...
Win7 Home Premium 64bit.............£85.68inc. vat
http://www.ebuyer.com/259863-microsoft-windows-7-home-p...
select "5 free working days= free shipping"
Cart total inc vat: £239.80




thats an awesome contribution thank you, will be considering it for sure, having used an athlon I can attest they will provide an improvement in gaming over a p4 but until there is a final destination more appealing than BD, were attempting to assure a degree of future proofing, still though a good build.
I didnt mean to say bulldozer cant be used for desktop just that atm an overclocked phenom seemed the quicker option in most cases so BD comes off as a step backwards.
will be waiting till the end of the weekend before checking to see what the final options are and either upping the budget or potentially following your route, would the athlon x3 be better than a dual core phenom? well ill have a look now actually.
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November 2, 2011 8:46:18 PM

Basically any modern CPU whether be dual core, triple, or quad will be a significant improvement over that P4. Also this is your gf machine, why worry so much about upgrading? With this setup, it will last a good 3+ years.
Also I've edited my post as I forgot to add the HDD.
And the mobo has been changed.
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November 2, 2011 9:08:05 PM

Note that the X3 might be unlockable to a 4 core. Do not count on it though, but it can be a nice surprise. The X3 cpu actually have 4 cores, but have 1 core disabled, sometimes because it is damaged, while other times it is just fine. If the motherboard support easy unlocking, it only takes 1 modification in the bios, super easy.

The board Ip231 linked does support the unlocking.

I recently bought a set up almost identical to the one Ip231 listed to use as a secondary machine at school/work. I have been quite pleased with it. I was luckily able to do the core unlock, but I have left it disabled so far, because I have no need for the extra power usage/ heat at school, but it has been plenty fast enough with 3 cores active.

I would see if any brick and mortar stores still have any cheap hard drives, their prices may not have raised yet due to built up stock. If she isn't storing media or installing tons of games, 250Gb could be enough.
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November 2, 2011 9:23:20 PM

Pending availability, you should be able to get a Phenom 2 x4 840 + motherboard for really cheap. Like $90 USD for the combo which is probably like L50.

I don't see any real reason you would want more than 150gbs on a gaming computer so no real need to do anything there unless she can't put down the video recording devices (unlikely if she is a gamer, in my experience).

If you really want another HD, you can get a HD someone took out of their DVR when they upgraded it, 500 gbs for like $15USD or so on ebay. She will probably have to hit F1 every time she starts the PC, but it is a minimal price to pay for paying like 1/3 of the cash price. Then you could boot and install stuff on the 150 and let her save data to the 500.

As for OSs, I can't comment. I game primarily on an XP, but I don't play the latest and greatest either. Most of my games are at least a year or two old.

If you want a new video card an ATI HD 5830 will do about double what the 9800 will do and for only about $100 USD.

You could get 4 gigs of RAM for like $40.

I don't keep close track of exchange rates, but all that stuff should probably come under L250 even with Windows 7.

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November 2, 2011 9:27:57 PM

Before you jump on that MB - make SURE it will play the games you want to play other wise you will end up also buying a GPU.

Could not find much, but that MB uses a ATI Radeon 3000 IGP. found this
quotethis graphics is pretty weak for gaming. none of the new games released in or after 2007 can be played on it.
some older games like Quake 3 Arena, Doom 3, Counter-Strike Source or Sims 2 can be played.
End quote.

I did find the ATI Radeon 3200 m and it is way below the Intel HD2000, let alone the Intel HD3000. Do not know how the ati 3000 and Ati 3200m stack up

But do do your homework - or you may end up spending more after your initial purchase - need to keep GF happy.
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November 2, 2011 9:31:54 PM

AxemanACL said:
Note that the X3 might be unlockable to a 4 core. Do not count on it though, but it can be a nice surprise. The X3 cpu actually have 4 cores, but have 1 core disabled, sometimes because it is damaged, while other times it is just fine. If the motherboard support easy unlocking, it only takes 1 modification in the bios, super easy.

The board Ip231 linked does support the unlocking.

I recently bought a set up almost identical to the one Ip231 listed to use as a secondary machine at school/work. I have been quite pleased with it. I was luckily able to do the core unlock, but I have left it disabled so far, because I have no need for the extra power usage/ heat at school, but it has been plenty fast enough with 3 cores active.

I would see if any brick and mortar stores still have any cheap hard drives, their prices may not have raised yet due to built up stock. If she isn't storing media or installing tons of games, 250Gb could be enough.


Yep, supports Core unlocking
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November 2, 2011 9:55:30 PM

I'm thinking AMD Llano ... Get an A8-3850 ++ a micro ATX motherboard from GIGABYTE shouldn't cost too much and will give pretty good graphics performance too.


Check out Overclockers.co.uk for computer parts. They are generally the cheapest in UK.
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November 2, 2011 10:05:25 PM

just to recap, already has a 9800gt so integrated graphics will not be needed.
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November 2, 2011 10:12:25 PM

your initial setup should be fine. a 9800GT is more than a little long in the tooth these days, but should be ok until you get another 100-150 pounds to drop on a better video card (109 should get you a HD6850/gTX 460, while 150 gets a GTX 560/HD6870)
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November 2, 2011 11:11:06 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
your initial setup should be fine. a 9800GT is more than a little long in the tooth these days, but should be ok until you get another 100-150 pounds to drop on a better video card (109 should get you a HD6850/gTX 460, while 150 gets a GTX 560/HD6870)




I have a 5870, when/if I upgrade ill probably pass on my psu and the 5870, a 9800gt will suffice at 1080 with reduced settings so itll do for a while longer, I think the improvements from it not being constrained by the p4 will be pleasing for now.
otherwise I agree, I had a 9800gt before I had the 5870
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November 3, 2011 12:59:35 AM

I hate to suggest a dead path but you may want to look into an AM2+ board with
they are soooo cheap,

This is a situation where you take what you can get.

http://www.ebuyer.com/238326-amd-a [...] 450wfgmbox
this proc
http://www.ebuyer.com/search?page=1&store=2&cat=222&fil...
any motherboard on this page.
90 dollar upgrade then buy windows and some hard drive space.
This will be a huge upgrade.

You have money for windows. All done.
to keep it cheap keep the 150GB HD or more likely 250GB is what you already have and it is enough to do what you want.
Tell your old lady to not be a data hoarder.
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November 3, 2011 12:36:04 PM

hoping to try and squeeze a bit more cash out of "the old lady" (were 28me and 25, old lady caused much lols), for the i3 build, but as I say, we will be considering al the suggestions here sometime next week to decide the best options.
ty for the quality of the suggestions thus far, your making this site proud :p .
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November 3, 2011 2:56:14 PM

spentshells: the slight amount saved on an AM2+ board will be lost because DDR2 is more expensive than DDR3
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November 3, 2011 3:33:03 PM

They already have 4GB of ddr2 screwysqrl so save... ;) 
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November 4, 2011 5:58:15 PM

assuming I get no more input I wanted to thank everyone who has posted so far, I will post the decision we make as and when.
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!