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Upgrading my PC - help me make a wise decision!

Last response: in Systems
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January 29, 2012 6:18:35 AM

Hi forum!

I just finished writing out my post only moments ago and mozilla decided to close on me, so this one is going to be quick.

I want to update my pc as my flashy core 2 duo from four years ago is no longer flashy =( I need some advice with as to what I need to upgrade, but I'm not good with hardware so bear with me.

What I use my computer for? Casual gaming and general internet browsing - i.e. I want to play games like Skyrim and The Sims 3 and have them look pretty and not stutter, but I don't necessarily want to spend up and crossfire/overclock as I don't know enough about PCs to do that safely.

What I think I need to upgrade? I'm thinking I need a new CPU,motherboard and operating system (want to upgrade from vista -> 7). I'm not quite sure about my psu and ram though...

What are my specs?

Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @2.83ghz
Intel DG33BU - AAD79951-407 motherboard (not sure what numbers I'm meant to quote here...)
4gb of DDR2 ram
Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti
300gb hard-drive space (wouldn't mind buying a terrabyte extra)
620w Antec PSU
19" widescreen monitor
Windows Vista Operating System

What are my questions?

What would be a good CPU/motherboard combination that will work well with my PSU and GTX 550 Ti?
Should I buy another tower that is suited to my new motherboard to be safe?
Will I be able to utulize my DDR2 ram, or will I need to buy new ram for the new motherboard? Is there a motherboard that can support my DDR2 ram, or am I better off just buying new ram?
32 or 64 bit windows 7?
p.s. I'm willing to spend between $1,000 - $1,500 AUD

Thankyou!
January 29, 2012 7:27:41 AM

You don't really need a new tower unless for some reason yo don't like your current one. I'm presuming it's an ATX tower. As for the other bits....I'd say Win 7 64bit definitely. I've been running it since it came out and haven't had any problems with anything other than really old 16bit stuff that I never expected to work anyway.

Cpu: I'd say can't go wrong with an Intel Core i5 2500k

Memory: However much you can afford within your budget (I personally have used Corsair value RAM for ages and it's been more than fine but I'm no overclocker) oh, and yeah you will need to upgrade your RAM cos new intels use DDR3 not DDR2 (sorry).

Motherboard: Whatever Socket 1155 you can afford. I've had Asus boards for my last two PCs (one AMD based and the current Intel based <see hardware spec on my profile if you wanna know more>). However there's tons of reviews on Tom's and other places MSI and Gigabyte seem to have pretty good names for themselves these days as do AsRock but they tend to be budget boards (usually).

The PSU should be more than adequate at 620w so unless it's really old I'd keep it. I mean if it's ancient and you're scared that it might fail then maybe look at a similar powered replacement.

There is one other possibility though, and I only mention it because it's what I've done. I used to have a Conroe core E6600 (C2D 2.4Ghz) in my system but I did a little searching on eBay and managed to grab myself a Core 2 Quad Q6600 for less than $50 (paid a little over £30 for it) you could possibly go that route which would give you a little more life in your system (maybe look at X6800 or something like that). Though I think it would only be a stop gap upgrade and you're gonna have to bite the bigger upgrade bullet sooner rather than later.

That said though if you're only interested in the Sims 3 and Skyrim then recommended spec for Skyrim

Recommended:

Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
Memory: 4GB System RAM
Video Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible NVIDIA or AMD ATI video card with 1GB of RAM (Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 or higher; ATI Radeon 4890 or higher)

Well the only thing you don't have there is 'Quad core' which is do-able on your board (Socket 775)
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 29, 2012 7:32:31 AM

smokincloa is right. You'll need new ram (ddr3). I suggest getting new MB, RAM, and CPU, and reuse everything else.
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January 29, 2012 8:44:53 AM

Quote:
smokincloa is right. You'll need new ram (ddr3). I suggest getting new MB, RAM, and CPU, and reuse everything else.


so my four year old motherboard should be fine? would it be compatible with a newer intel CPU?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 29, 2012 8:55:44 AM

No, I said to get a new MB. Your old MB won't be compatible with a new cpu.
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January 29, 2012 8:59:29 AM

abekl said:
No, I said to get a new MB. Your old MB won't be compatible with a new cpu.


oh my bad! I totally brushed over the MB...So 4 gig of DDR3 ram, new CPU, new Mobo, windows 7...

Now just to make the choices!
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January 29, 2012 9:03:25 AM

Your motherboard (MB) is socket 775 so it's compatible with socket 775 cpus of which there are a few that are more powerful than your current chip. However you might have to do a bios update.

For instance this is the list of chips that are compatible with my board. I would think yours would be similar

http://www.cpu-upgrade.com/mb-ASUS/P5W_DH_Deluxe.html

But as you've realised if you want to upgrade to something truly decent you'll need a new motherboard
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January 29, 2012 9:08:29 AM

New motherboard definitely a better choice. You can opt for Asus P8Z68-V/GEN3 (COMPATIBLE with Ivy Bridge processor), DDR3 RAM for 8GB (cheap nowadays) and your graphic cards + PSU + casing good for now. Corei5 2500 is the best choice for your money and later you may consider upgrade IB processor since it is around the corner already!
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January 29, 2012 1:20:28 PM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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January 29, 2012 7:22:00 PM

So this is what I've decided on...Let me know if you'd suggest changing anything at all!

-8gb of DDR3 Ram (let me know if there are any specific brands I should lean towards)
-Intel Core i7 2600
-Asus P8Z68-M Pro Z68
-Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
-Seagate SATA3 2TB Barracuda 64mb cache (for some extra hard-drive space)
-Antec Nine Hundred Two (to make my new computer look new ^_^)

Any extras you guys think I might need?

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!