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Upgrading an HP Computer

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December 23, 2011 9:46:01 PM

Hello. I've had a prebuilt HP computer that was gifted to me for a few years now. It was solid, but certainly not everything it could be. Last year, I decided to upgrade the Video Card to an eVGA Nvidia 460 1Gb and upgrade the Power Supply to 750W. That was the easy part, and now I'm starting to think about the next step (Largely for SW:TOR, but I'd like to run other newer games on it well also).

The computer currently has a 2.1 Ghz Triple Core processor with 3 Gb of DDR2 RAM on a 32-bit Vista. I'm looking at upgrading all three of the things I just listed, and the motherboard to make those upgrades possible. Unfortunately, this is where I hit the end of my computer knowledge.

It was recommended to me that I buy my motherboard and CPU together as a bundle to ensure they work well together, and since I need to upgrade both anyway, I definitely see the logic. With that in mind, I caught a glimpse of this:
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Probably pretty low end, but 3.6 Quad sounds pretty attractive to me, and that motherboard can have 8 Gb of RAM at DDR3, which is good enough for what I need. And then there's the price.

So then comes two questions. First: How can I make sure that my case fits Micro-ATX, and more importantly will work with that motherboard (EDIT: Completely forgot to give any information at all about what I've got now. The only info I could find on my current motherboard was this from AIDA32: Motherboard ID 06/20/2008-MCP61P-NARRA3-00). Second: Are there any red flag, don't get this you moron, signs that I'm missing?

With a 3.6 Quad Core, 8 Gb RAM, and an eVGA Nvidia 460 1Gb, how well off will I be, and is there anything else I should consider.

Thanks for your time, and I apologize if I posted in the wrong section.

More about : upgrading computer

December 23, 2011 9:56:02 PM

Get a new case. You can keep the case & upgrade the "guts" for years.
-Bruce
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December 23, 2011 10:47:57 PM

The Bulldozer processor included in your package deal is usually used for these sorts of package deals because the retailer can't sell either the processor or the board.

People generally consider FX processors from AMD to actually be worse than the previous generation's processors and tests have to some extent validated that argument.

I would avoid the bulldozer processors if I were you.

Here are two much better bundles among their choices

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

AMD Phenom II X6 1035T 2.60GHz AM3 Processor and ASUS M5A78L-M LX AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboard and Seagate 1TB SATA 3G Barracuda® Green Hard Drive Bundle $250

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

MSI H61M-P23 B3 Intel H61 Motherboard and Intel Core i3-2120 3.30 GHz Dual Core Processor Bundle $240

The i3 2120 and the Phenom 2 6 core 1035 is pretty good too. Not awesome but at least not bad.

The first deal also gives a 1TB hard drive which runs like $100 right now.



As for the case question, a good case makes a lot of difference in overall PC operation. You won't find very many people around here with a plain jane stock case.

Most of the people here are committing at least $500 to their build and the reduced temperatures for CPU, GPU, and PSU from a good case greatly increase their longevity.

The case deserves about 10% of the whole budget, imho.

In fact, you could probably lay out a low to mid range gaming system budget something like this

Case = 10%
PSU = 10%
Processor = 25%
Hard Drive = 15%
RAM = 10%
Graphics = 30%

Something kinda like that. A $600 system would put out about $60 for the case. My system is worth about as much and I paid $60 for my case, but I ripped off newegg pretty bad the case is worth a lot more than that.
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December 23, 2011 11:17:46 PM

Ok. Seems odd, 2.6 6 core being better than a 3.6 quad, but that really just shows how little I know.

If it's really worth it, I'll grab a case. I see that they have better ventilation than mine and the one I linked has a bunch of built in fans (that the reviewers seemed split on). So I can see the advantage.

Here's the breakdown I've got.
Case: $50 8%
Video Card: $180 29%
Power Supply: $90 14%
Processor/Motherboard: $250 40%
Hard Drive: $0 (Either cannibalizing my old one, or the free one with the first linked combo)
RAM: $50 8%
Total: $620

OS: $100


I'm looking at that first link. While the 2.6 number seems underwhelming, I trust you that it's better than the Bulldozer.
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a b α HP
December 24, 2011 3:17:27 AM

*You need to look at the best CPU and Graphics combination for GAMES, not generic benchmarks.

You definitely should wait for this video card which should be out in a few weeks:
AMD HD7950

(Here's an HD7970 link. Much more details for HD7950 such as pricing and benchmarks after launch around January 9th 2012: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1805/1/ )

The HD7950 will perform at perhaps 80 to 85% of the HD7970 and hopefully cost about $400. It will be well, well worth the money. The 28nm process makes it use a lot less power. Benchmarks vary a lot.

***In particular, the HD7970 performed at 2.5x faster than my HD5870 in Batman Arkham City which is very demanding on High Settings at 1920x1200. My HD5870 averaged 32FPS and the HD7970 got 81FPS. (This means you'll get over 60FPS with the HD7950 but at a lower cost and noise envelope.) Performance is not as high with most other games however that's because Batman AC is cutting edge and can utilize features like Tessellation and other architectural changes that, going forward, make it even more important to have a new card and will justify the cost.


OTHER:
I'm very knowledgeable in building computers and I like to periodically help somebody build a system from scratch. If you are interested in opening an anonymous dialogue here I'd be happy to help you design the best gaming system to fit your price range. It's too hard for me to simply spit out a few parts ideas but I can easily help you put together a great system with a few exchanges.

It can get confusing very quickly.

You can easily design and build a system now (with help) and use your existing graphics card while waiting for a better one; I'm already seeing issues in parts choices as well as potential issues such as whether your PSU supplies sufficient Amperage on the +12V rails.

Anyway, if you'd like to open a dialogue and do it right just let me know. I'm a retired radar technician who's built many gaming systems and read about computers for fun. Plus it's Christmas and I need to escape the kids who are coming soon...
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December 24, 2011 7:31:58 AM

You don't need to take my word for it

Look at this webpage which is generally the best one I know of for comparing how processors compare to each other.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/146?vs=434

I preset it to 1090T vs FX 8000 series because the FX 4000 series isn't listed there.

If you look at the tests, the FX 8000 series wins in some cases and loses in some cases to the 1090T.

The FX 4000 series is quite a lot worse than the 8000 series and I am quite sure it would lose in all of the tests because of this.

Here is a page where people are discussing whether the 1090T or the FX 6000 series is the better processor, 80% vote for the 1090T.

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-318271_10_0.ht...

Another thread choosing between 1090T, FX 4100, and 2 others, where the FX is viewed poorly.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1150272/x4-955-fx-4100-3850-...

I think if you just search 1090T vs FX-4100 then you will have a hard time finding any thread that actually advocates more for the FX out of those options.

The problem is that FX chips just plain have a worse IPC (instructions per cycle) which just plain makes it less efficient than the Phenoms at doing the exact same thing. The FX use more cycles to execute the same number of instructions. You have to load them up with power in order just to break even with processors that have a better IPC.

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a b α HP
December 25, 2011 12:25:06 AM

+1 Raiddinn

AVOID this processor for gaming. Check out the $1200 system (high end bulldozer) vs. the $600 i5-2400 system for gaming. The bulldozer chip as currently delivered just doesn't game. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-fx-6100-ove...

Instead find a MB / CPU combination built on the i3-2100 family or the i5-2300, 2400, 2500 families. Make sure the intel number has FOUR digits, not the older i3 or i5 that has three digit numbers. (The AMD mentioned (Phenom II X6 1035T ) is also an option, but only if you get a great price so you can put more money into video card. Intel is kicking AMD right now pretty hard). I'd look really hard at the I5-2x00 processors.)

Now is a great time to be buying MB + CPU. Lots of good chocies at good price points. Aside, glad you are planning on getting memory too -- teh DDR2 you are using won't work with the new MB. You will also need a new copy of windows to go 64-bit, the OEM 32-bit from the older HP rig won't go 64 bit on your new system).
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a b α HP
December 25, 2011 12:31:30 AM

Oh, forgot. Video.

You have a nice card. "eVGA Nvidia 460 1Gb"

It will give you nice framerates, but at some point you'll need more. One option is just to buy a new card that is stronger in a year or two. A second option is to pick up a second gtx460 and run them in crossfire. To run cards in crossfire you need a MB that support crossfire and two PCIe slots that will run at least X8 PCIe. If you want to consider running crossfire then choose a MB that is crossfire certified. (I don't run crossfire or SLI, however the gtx460 scales nicely...) http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/crossfire-sli-scali... yes, it can play crysis...
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