I have a Compaq computer that I use at work for routine things - web browsing, email. I occasionally use programs that need more memory (virtualization, dragon naturally speaking), and rarely encode video.
The computer is a CQ5320F - cheap computer, dual core AMD processor (Athlon II), maxes out at 4GB DDR3 RAM.
I want to upgrade the least expensive way possible - so, I intended to keep the power supply, hard drive, case, CD drive - If possible keep the usable memory and just upgrade the mobo and processor as well as add memory as needed.
I currently have a 1 GB and 2 GB stick of DDR3 memory - (7-7-7-20)
So, I figured I'd be going with an AMD processor and gigabyte board - ideally at $150 or less total spent if I can pull that off - including the added memory (to get up to 6 to 8 GB).
So, any advice off the top of anyone's head would be great. You guys always provide the best buying advice.
Good choice for the motherboard. Register with newegg to get their email promos so the promo codes work for future upgrades, and get this ram instead:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $30 after promo code and it's a little faster. Add this cpu so you see some real performance boost: http://www.amazon.com/AMD-Phenom-3-4Ghz-512KB-4000MHZ/d.... Amazon is cheaper than newegg. Without the cpu change, you're wasting your money. Remember also you'll need a new windows coa for any non compaq board unless you already have an oem generic version of windows 7. Your original windows installation looks for a small bios file identifying your motherboard as geniune compaq everytime you turn on your system. I know from first hand experience.
It's best to use all 8 pins with a 125w cpu such as the 965; lesser cpus might run fine with just 4 pins from the connector installed; many are divided into two 4 pin sections for older 4 pin boards. Here's the ps brands I know work well: corsair, antec, ocz, enermax, seasonic, and xfx. Newegg has some decent 500w units for $50-55 after rebate.