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Beginner Builder/Upgrader, Need help!

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December 3, 2011 9:39:33 PM

Hey everyone,
I have tried my best so far to educate myself the best I could before posting questions on the forum. Right now I am trying to upgrade my current computer for the new Star Wars MMO later this month. In the past I have always bought my computer premade from a store, and my current computer I bought 3 years ago at CostCo.

Here is my current computer with every spec you could need;
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Docume...

I havent changed a thing since the day I got the computer. For the record, my budget is small. right now I only have about ~300 dollars to upgrade now, and 3-4 months from now another ~300-500 dollars to finish upgrading.

After some research, I think right now my CPU isnt totally terrible, but my GPU is. Right now I am planning on upgrading my PSU and GPU, and a few months down the road finish upgrading my CPU and MOBO. My ram seems to be ok and wont need upgrading (i think).

My question is this; what do I need to look for to make sure my new PSU/GPU will be compatiable with my current computer? I want to make a purchase online in the next day or two, but dont want to overlook something that a beginner like me would have no idea what to look for, and buy the wrong parts or ruin my current setup.

Based on my small knowledge of computers and my own internet research, these were the two products I was thinking of buying:

GPU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Will both of these fit in my computer case? Will these significantly upgrade my performance for my budget? Is installing a GPU and PSU too advanced for someone who is a -COMPLETE- beginner at this (me )?

side note; i just noticed that my motherboard is a micro-ATX, what does that mean? all i know is that they are smaller than a standard motherboard. how does this affect buying new hardware?

Sorry for so many questions, im trying my best to learn as much as i can, but all of the cables and termonology and knowing the right thing can be overwhelming. Thanks!

More about : beginner builder upgrader

a c 93 B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2011 10:41:33 PM

Quote:
side note; i just noticed that my motherboard is a micro-ATX, what does that mean? all i know is that they are smaller than a standard motherboard. how does this affect buying new hardware?


The thing you need to know about micro ATX is that you can run full size PSUs and video cards, but it will have a drastic effect on anything else you plan to upgrade. The thing with a lot of these pre built systems - especially anything HP, Dell, Apple, you name it make - it can be an incredibly tight fight if you plan to cram anything in there that's not a standard size. These manufacturers use proprietary and custom made components and a lot of times it's near impossible to upgrade these systems without starting from scratch.

What will make a difference will be to check the interior dimensions of your case. If you wanted to go full out there's not a lot of really good micro ATX Z68 boards out there right now, but I have heard good things about the Asus Maximus IV GENE-Z.

Quote:
My question is this; what do I need to look for to make sure my new PSU/GPU will be compatiable with my current computer? I want to make a purchase online in the next day or two, but dont want to overlook something that a beginner like me would have no idea what to look for, and buy the wrong parts or ruin my current setup.


Again - double check the interior dimensions of your case. If it will accommodate a full size PSU and GPU then you're set. You want to see if there's any way to route or condense the cables behind the motherboard, that will make for a much cleaner setup with room for future expansion. But the nice thing is now there's full featured, full powered GPUs that take up half the case size that their older counterparts did. Manufacturers are getting wise to power and heat consumption in their products.

Don't get a Rosewill PSU. Some of their products are good, others are just downright terrible. This would be a much better bet:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For SURE you want to upgrade your PSU before proceeding with upgrading anything else.

Quote:
Sorry for so many questions, im trying my best to learn as much as i can, but all of the cables and termonology and knowing the right thing can be overwhelming. Thanks!


Understandable. Once you get confident with all the terminology and stuff it becomes a lot easier - then you catch upgrade fever (or as my friends call it "Computer Upgrade Disorder" :lol:  ).
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2011 10:47:22 PM

+1 to the PSU

He is also very correct about micro ATX boards. If I were you I would just save up till you have enough to buy a whole new system
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 3, 2011 10:55:05 PM

Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
$109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1461-KR GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $199.99 and a $10 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This would be a much better upgrade for you and after rebate it comes to $299.98
The micro atx board limits you to a low number os slots for adding cards , you have one full length slot for your video card. When you do the next round of upgrades then you want to make sure you don't get a micro board. Installing a psu and video card is easy if you take your time and make sure you are doing it right , take a picture of the inside of your case before you start so you will have something to refer to for help. Before buying the video card measure the one you have and see what will fit if you take it out and then when you look at the card online it will give you the measurements of the card. The card I listed is 8.25" long and 4.38" tall so that will give you the measurement to look for inside your Pc.
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December 3, 2011 11:13:10 PM

Thank you for all of the replys.

So what I am hearing so far is that right now the fact that its atxmicro has no matter, except when i start to look at upgrading the cpu and other parts, i should just buy a new motherboard when i get to that part, and trash this microatx. however for my first round of upgrading the psu and gpu, my current motherboard works out fine. (as a side question, do i need to buy a certain type of psu/gpu knowing that later i wont have a micro motherboard? if in a few months from now ill have a brand new motherboard standard size and a new intel cpu, should i buy some sort of gpu/psu that will fit with that AS WELL AS my current setup?)

Another question of mine is about the compatibility. so far all of the replys have said just simply measure the dimensions. isnt there more to it than just dimensions for a psu/gpu upgrade? i was reading that there are different types of gpu 'slots'. is my current motherboard in the hp link i provided have the correct 'slot' for the gpu that i linked or the gpu that Inzone linked? I feel like simply making sure the dimensions fit is too simple, and there has to be more to it than that. and for PSU, is there certain types of PSU's that have different cables or something that have to match my computer? right now for PSU, all i know is that the wattage has to be sufficient, atleast 600w.

Also Inzone, could you be more specific as to why those two products you linked are better than the ones i linked? are they more compatiable with my computer? are they better brands? would i really need 750w? my limited research online showed me that a 600 or 630w would do just fine. also, without getting into nvidia versus ati, why is that graphics card so much better? its more expensive, and just just as many gigs (1gb).

Thank you so much for the responses
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2011 2:34:41 AM

Quote:
So what I am hearing so far is that right now the fact that its atxmicro has no matter, except when i start to look at upgrading the cpu and other parts, i should just buy a new motherboard when i get to that part, and trash this microatx. however for my first round of upgrading the psu and gpu, my current motherboard works out fine. (as a side question, do i need to buy a certain type of psu/gpu knowing that later i wont have a micro motherboard? if in a few months from now ill have a brand new motherboard standard size and a new intel cpu, should i buy some sort of gpu/psu that will fit with that AS WELL AS my current setup?)


Power supplies are pretty standard for the most part. So are GPUs, as long as your motherboard can support PCI-Ex2.0 you're good. If you're still planning on using that case, you'll be unable to run a standard ATX motherboard. There are good micro ATX boards on the market but you have to look for them. One of the best is the one I mentioned - the Asus Maximus IV GENE-Z. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Another question of mine is about the compatibility. so far all of the replys have said just simply measure the dimensions. isnt there more to it than just dimensions for a psu/gpu upgrade? i was reading that there are different types of gpu 'slots'. is my current motherboard in the hp link i provided have the correct 'slot' for the gpu that i linked or the gpu that Inzone linked? I feel like simply making sure the dimensions fit is too simple, and there has to be more to it than that. and for PSU, is there certain types of PSU's that have different cables or something that have to match my computer? right now for PSU, all i know is that the wattage has to be sufficient, atleast 600w.


That's not much of an issue. Everything's been standardized for the most part since about 2007. You can use any PSU you want as long as it fits the dimensions and your motherboard has a 12V 24-pin power connector and a +-4 or 8 pin power connector - which it should.

GPUS have used standardized form factors since 2007. They're not CPU dependant. You can use NVIDIA GPUs on an AMD platform or Intel platform, you can use ATI/AMD GPUs on either AMD or Intel platforms.

Read this about choosing a good PSU: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-psu-re...

Quote:
Also Inzone, could you be more specific as to why those two products you linked are better than the ones i linked? are they more compatiable with my computer? are they better brands? would i really need 750w? my limited research online showed me that a 600 or 630w would do just fine. also, without getting into nvidia versus ati, why is that graphics card so much better? its more expensive, and just just as many gigs (1gb).


Again - compatibility isn't an issue. The only time something wouldn't be compatible is if, say you're using an AM3 CPU on a socket 1155 motherboard. What you need to know about picking a power supply is that it's simple math. Your GPU requires a certain voltage, your motherboard and CPU require a certain voltage, add any and all optical, HD, and SSD drives you want to run. And that's it. As for NVIDIA vs. ATI, it's pretty much personal preference. Like Chevy V. Ford, like HBO v. Showtime. Bud V. Miller, and so on. Where the differences lie are the manufacturers. EVGA is the best NVIDIA maker on the market, hands down. Sapphire and XFX are the best ATI/AMD makers on the market.
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December 4, 2011 3:06:14 AM

inzone? Just why does he need a 750W HCG? It's a good PSU but overkill unless he decides to SLI GTX570's. A 600W certified PSU would be sufficient. I wouldn't get a GTX 560 either. Get at least a 560Ti. His current MB will handle it
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2011 3:14:09 AM

I have been building my own computers for quite some time and have researched and experienced a lot of different products , some good , some bad , so in the end I have come to a select few manufacturers that I use. In this forum I tend to recomend components that I would use in my computer. Currently I have Evga video cards , Antec psu , Intel cpu , Corsair ram and SSD. I go with Evga because they are in my opinion the best video card Manufacturer out there , thier tech support , customer service and products are top of the line , if there is a defect in one of thier cards they RMA it without question. Antec is a power suipply maker and that is what they focus on , I have always used thier psu's and I have tried others only to not be satisfied and come back to Antec. Roswill does not give me confidence because when I look at how many products the put out and they sell just about everything , they don't specialize in any one thing.
I prefer quality and performance over price.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2011 3:26:08 AM

DelroyMonjo said:
inzone? Just why does he need a 750W HCG? It's a good PSU but overkill unless he decides to SLI GTX570's. A 600W certified PSU would be sufficient. I wouldn't get a GTX 560 either. Get at least a 560Ti. His current MB will handle it


I didn't actually say he needed it , I was just working with his budget and trying to see what he could get within the budget amout that he listed. There usually is a number of posts in response to an initial post and in the end it is up to the person who started the post to decide what he wants to get for his computer. There is no maximum psu requirement like there is a minimum so if you can get a larger psu then why not.
A 560Ti is a much better card but is out of his price range it would have put the total over his budget amount.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2011 3:34:39 AM

EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$249.99 and a $20 rebate for $229.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-620 620W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
$64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So now this will be also under $300 and in order to get the 560Ti the psu had to be lowered.
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
December 4, 2011 3:34:48 AM

inzone said:
I have been building my own computers for quite some time and have researched and experienced a lot of different products , some good , some bad , so in the end I have come to a select few manufacturers that I use. In this forum I tend to recomend components that I would use in my computer. Currently I have Evga video cards , Antec psu , Intel cpu , Corsair ram and SSD. I go with Evga because they are in my opinion the best video card Manufacturer out there , thier tech support , customer service and products are top of the line , if there is a defect in one of thier cards they RMA it without question. Antec is a power suipply maker and that is what they focus on , I have always used thier psu's and I have tried others only to not be satisfied and come back to Antec. Roswill does not give me confidence because when I look at how many products the put out and they sell just about everything , they don't specialize in any one thing.
I prefer quality and performance over price.


I'm the same way. I prefer companies that specialize in their products and are good at what they do. I definitely agree with your sentiments about EVGA. I like EVGA, Sapphire, Intel, AMD, Corsair, Cooler Master, and a few others like that. What I don't like is companies that exist just to pump out products like Rosewill and they end up putting out a lot of cheaply produced crap. For me quality is king over quantity.
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December 4, 2011 3:46:35 AM

I say back down the PSU inzone suggested, but only to afford a better video card.
PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
199 after rebate mind you it put's you over 300 cash up front.
There is a 1 GB 6950 from xfx that would total up at 300 delivered with tax in, but the reviews on the xfx card are not that great.

There would be nothing wrong on buy the PSU originaly suggested by inzone it would actualy be awesome.
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December 7, 2011 4:38:53 AM

Hey guys, thanks for all of the advice. Today i looked at the measurements of my computer and might or might not have run into a problem.

The GPU I am looking to buy is this one, one of the ones mentioned above: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a reference, here is my current computer: http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Docume...

The GPU is 9 inches long, and 4.6 inches wide. length and width wise my case will surprisingly fit this. It might be a tight fit but it should work. however, I am a little worried about the depth of the card. everyone is saying that its the length of the card that's the kicker, but I am worried the 560ti might be too thick. Ive attached some pictures to help explain

On my motherboard there are these tiny cylinders (don't know what to call them) RIGHT next to my pcie slot. Picture one is showing the problem 'cylinders'. these cylinders go about 2 milimeters higher than the pci slot. For my current graphics card this is not a problem, because the thickness of my card is literally about 1 milimeter. However, if i get this new 560ti card, the thickness is nearly 2 inches, and (i think) would come in contact with those cylinders, making this motherboard only capable of having extremely thin graphics cards.

However, if you look at the 560ti, it almost seems as if it gives a little room between the slot and where the fan case starts, would you think this is enough room? With the 560ti fit in my mobo? again, length and width will fit.

also, with the PSU, whats the difference between these two?

1) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 'gamer' one #2, is about .3 inches too large, but #1 seems like it will fit. they are same price and same maker, can someone explain the differences besides dimensions?

Thanks for all your help, everyone here has helped me understand all of this tremendously. Thanks!
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December 7, 2011 4:41:54 AM

For the record the PSU needs to be 6 inches deep, 6 inches long, and can be 3.5 inches tall for it to fit (at the most)
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2011 4:56:54 PM

ghostwriter574 said:
For the record the PSU needs to be 6 inches deep, 6 inches long, and can be 3.5 inches tall for it to fit (at the most)


Any standard PSU will fit - for reference the dimensions of the Corsair TX650 are as follows - 5.9"(W) x 3.4"(H) x 6.3"(L). It may be a little tight but you can definitely manage to fit it in there.

Quote:
On my motherboard there are these tiny cylinders (don't know what to call them) RIGHT next to my pcie slot. Picture one is showing the problem 'cylinders'. http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/641/hpmobo.jpg/ these cylinders go about 2 milimeters higher than the pci slot. For my current graphics card http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/249/vidcard.jpg/ this is not a problem, because the thickness of my card is literally about 1 milimeter. However, if i get this new 560ti card, the thickness is nearly 2 inches, and (i think) would come in contact with those cylinders, making this motherboard only capable of having extremely thin graphics cards.


Now that is interesting - I don't know why they would make the board so you couldn't add a new video card, that makes no sense to me. You may want to contact HP's technical support about this issue - tell them you are planning to add a new video card in their system and see what they say.

Those "cylinders" are the capacitators - they're standard equipment on every motherboard you will buy. From the looks of it, your motherboard is a standard 775 micro ATX reference design. You have one standard PCI-e x2.0 x16 slot so the EVGA 560 will work - you just won't be able to run SLI or anything else.

From the specs you posted it looks like the PC includes a 300W power supply but fails to list anything else about it - if you can upgrade that you'll be good to go.

Quote:

also, with the PSU, whats the difference between these two?

1) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817371031
2) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817371048


There really isn't much until you get down to the micro details of the PSU. The Gamer series is made for SLI and Crossfire video cards, the other has the connections but it's meant more for PCs that don't require a lot of tweaking.
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December 7, 2011 5:03:11 PM

I am fairly positive the 6.3 inch wouldnt fit. right now my current psu is at exactly 6 inches and it is touching both sides of the case, any more and i wouldnt be able to put the case back on.

with that said Antec doesnt have a psu in my budget with more than 600w. what is another brand (besides corsair) that people like for PSU's? I might have to look outside antec and corsair to fit my needs and find one that fits the case. thanks!
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2011 5:20:41 PM

Quote:
I am fairly positive the 6.3 inch wouldnt fit. right now my current psu is at exactly 6 inches and it is touching both sides of the case, any more and i wouldnt be able to put the case back on.


That is a good point. It might get really tricky to find one that will fit the dimensions of your case without going over as most of the PSUs I'd recommend have the exact same dimensions.

Quote:

with that said Antec doesnt have a psu in my budget with more than 600w. what is another brand (besides corsair) that people like for PSU's? I might have to look outside antec and corsair to fit my needs and find one that fits the case. thanks!


There's PC Power & Cooling and Seasonic - but those are very high-end PSU manufacturers. Maybe try Thermaltake (I hear their PSUs are pretty well constructed), Cooler Master, or OCZ. Alternately maybe a fully modular PSU might work given your dimensions.
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December 7, 2011 5:30:10 PM

Best answer selected by ghostwriter574.
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a c 93 B Homebuilt system
December 7, 2011 5:39:04 PM

ghostwriter574 said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

this coursair should fit, although only 600w. is this one good enough?


Excellent choice, for the price they're very solidly constructed PSUs. I have the 430W version that I use in an HTPC build and it does exactly what I need it to do.
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