Partial System Upgrade

I apologize if I have picked the category for this, but from what I was seeing I gathered this is where I should put this since I am kind of blending a few of the other categories.

I have an HP Pavilion Elite e9105z Desktop PC that was customized and order from HP in summer of 2009 and am looking to upgrade a few parts of it. I am going to add a wireless connection to it and would like to update the graphics card since I think that is the biggest bottleneck in my system other than the harddrive.

My System:
Since that link has a list of options, I'll try to cover my choices here so if I miss one give me a holler and I'll figure out what I have:

- Phenom II X4-945 (D) (3.0GHz / 3600 MHz HT3) AM3; 2 MB L2 + 6 MB shared L3 cache (95W)
- 8 GB (4 x 2 GB) DDR2 PC2-6400
- 750 GB 7200 rpm SATA 3G (3.0 Gb/sec), when I go to upgrade my system I will grab a secon one and set up RAID 0 to increase the speed here, but that isn't until I see Windows 8 and determine whether I will bother with this system or not
- 16X DVD(+/-)R/RW 12X RAM (+/-)R DL LightScribe SATA
- no tv tuner stuff
- no wireless networking stuff (hence the reason I need to upgrade that) , I have an ethernet port at the 1/100 level
- GeForce GT220 - not bad, but not good either
- integrated sound

- 2009m (my monitor) runs at 1600x900, I know it is below the resolutions all the different tests for graphic cards I have seen but that is what the monitor itself handles best

The Motherboard:

As I mentioned above, I will be adding wireless capabilities to my desktop since the university I am transferring to doesn't offer wired connections to the internet and really wish I forked ou the extra few dollars when I ordered my computer to get it built-in since I have found that the inside of my computer is quite a bit more complex than I had realized. I was going to grab an internal one, but haven't found any online yet and saw how my friend's desktop (similar build to mine, but several months newer and with the internal wireless stuff) and don't know whether it would be worth it to go that route or to get one that will have the attenaes sticking out the back.

Following that research I found that there are multiple variations of PCI Express slots and wikipedia really didn't explain it well enough in English for me to be certain about that. According to HP's site, I have one PCI Express x16 and three PCI Express x1 slots. I don't know the difference or if it even matters for wireless internet.

I figure that while I am in there, I might as well look into upgrading my graphics card as well. I've run into terminology difficulties there and am not quite sure what my comp will support other than being fairly certain my power supply will likely need to be upgraded as well. I am also not entirely sure what port(s) these deal with since it goes back to my computer have a couple different types of PCI Express slots and me not understanding whether dualslot was refering to space it takes up in the back or ports it attaches to.

I'm not looking at going top-end level stuff so I Can run Crysis 2 seamlessly at max settings or anything by any means, but I'd like to be able to play Mass Effect 3, Borderlands 2 or Firefall at mid-high rates without an issue and my current card seems to have issues with Borderlands without lowering settings a fair bit around the board.

I'd prefer to stick with a nvidia card as well, I've had good luck with them in the past and feel more confident in where I see them going as far as gamin is concerned unless someone has a compelling reason for me to go the radeon route. I suppose I'd also like to not to have to worry about heating issues either. I don't want to have to install more fans or better fans elsewhere.

So any advice, tips or suggestions would be lovely. I am not planning to start this project until early August or so, so if there is anything coming down the pipeline that would be worth wating for to either get or wait for to have prices on something else go down I am all up for that. Optimally, I'd like to come out without feeling as if I should have just gotten a new desktop.

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More about partial system upgrade
  1. first you got a 350 watts psu so you will need something bigger to run higher graphic card,the pci-e 16 is version 1.0 so you limited for graphic upgrade the you could use one of the pci 1x for your wireless card,check your motherboard and system specs
  2. scout_03 said:
    first you got a 350 watts psu so you will need something bigger to run higher graphic card,the pci-e 16 is version 1.0 so you limited for graphic upgrade the you could use one of the pci 1x for your wireless card,check your motherboard and system specs

    I know I have a 350watt psu and planned to have to upgrade that for a more powerful unit, but after doing some research after you started talking about pci-e versions I found a tool that scanned my computer and my pci-e x 16 is version 2.0 so that should open up some options for cards unless dual-width refers to number of ports on the mobo instead of physical size. My current card also requires pci-e x 16 2.0 as well.
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