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Can my PC be upgraded to run these modern games?

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April 24, 2012 8:48:24 PM

Hi, I'm new to the site. Sorry if this is posted in the wrong area!

I am fairly new to building PCs. My experience is limited to replacing GPUs, PSUs and RAM sticks, pretty much. That being said, I've spent a great deal of time researching how to build PCs over the last year and still have no clue what I'm doing. That's why I'm here. It's just not my thing, I guess.

Current PC problems: My PC's power is waning. Loading times of games, opening files and even system boot are so slow I want to cry. WIndows Vista is pure trash. I have problems on a daily basis, which all end up essentially being because I have VIsta. Sad.

I want to know: Can I upgrade my current Desktop (details below) to play modern games? Can I use any of the parts inside to upgrade? Is it futile and I just need an entire new system?

Parts I want to keep from inside my PC, if possible: My dual GPUs. They seem to still work fine even for newer games. All of my CD drives are fairly good as well.

Applications I need to run: Whatever the newest Photoshop is. Diablo III. Guild Wars 2. TERA Online. Borderlands 2. The Witcher 2. Aliens: Colonial Marines.

The most requiring application there is definitely Aliens: Colonial Marines, but there are no system requirements available for it yet. It's made by the same company as Borderlands 2 and uses the same engine.

This is what's recommended for Borderlands 2:
"Core 2 Quad Q6400 2.13GHz
Athlon II X3 440
GeForce GT 545 DDR3
Radeon HD 4830 512MB
4 GB RAM
Win 7 x64
DirectX 9
HDD Space 8 GB"

When I need it: My current rig runs Diablo 3 and TERA for the most part, so it doesn't need to be right this minute, but it would be nice to get it sooner and enjoy these games even more! I want a new Harddrive with a better, high-def Operating System as soon as possible. At the very latest, I need a modern system by November.

My budget: My gaming budget is non-existent. I am expecting about $500 extra from some sales this summer and I have a credit line at Best Buy with about 500 available right now, but Best Buy is stupidly expensive. The only thing I would usually consider buying from Best Buy is software because of the designated sale prices, such as on the Operating Systems.

My current PC:

Dell XPS 720
Windows Vista 32-bit
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 / 2.4 GHz / 8 MB L2 Cache
2x 2GB DDR2 RAM / 1333 MHz (No idea what model, but it's corsair brand)
2x Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX+ / 512 MB RAM
Super Slow 320 GB HDD
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer / 7.1 Surround
Nvidia nForce 680i SLI
750 Watt PSU (It has some weird Dell proprietary dual main power connectors. It doesn't seem to work with other motherboards)

So this PC is over 4 years old. I've invested around $3600 in it. It was a plain old Dell XPS 720. I put new RAM, new GPUs, a new HDD and new CD drives in it a couple years ago. The motherboard, PSU, and CPU are all original to the system.

A few questions:

My monitor uses DVI and the native resolution is 1600x900. Is this going to take advantage of Windows 7 x64? Do I need to get HDMI?

Does my motherboard support USB 3.0. SATA 3.0 and DDR3? If not, is it worth upgrading to get those?

Thanks, guys :) 
April 24, 2012 9:17:41 PM

You spent too much modifying that Dell PC. It's cheaper to built your own. My current Q6600 PC is almsot 5 years old and it only cost me $1300 in 2007. I upgraded the 8800 GTS to an ATI 5850 in October of 2009 but it plays any of the current games at 1920x1200. I wouldn't reuse anything from that system. It doesn't support USB 3.0 without adding a PCI card. It probably already has SATA 3 but not the newest SATA 6 and definately can't run DDR3.
April 24, 2012 9:24:46 PM

Thanks, Deadram. I don't feel that the whole system is useless. These GPUs still run modern games perfectly for what they do and even the physics work great. The cpu, hard drive and RAM just can't keep up.

I don't know where I can buy a prebuilt system that just doesn't have the GPUs. They were bought recently and I want to keep them.
Related resources
April 24, 2012 9:27:43 PM

Sykres,
Do you have a microcenter nearby?
April 24, 2012 9:30:33 PM

98's are rubbish today. You shouldn't have spent so much cash upgrading a dead end anyway. Either sell it or chuck it. A 7850 would murder the FPS of those 98's anyway.
April 24, 2012 9:41:07 PM

If you have a Micro Center near by you can get an i5 2500K for $179
If you buy the CPU you also get a $50 off select motherboards
This one below costs $139 less $50 so it ends up costing $89
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
It is SLI capable and the pair would run you ~ $280
If you thew in $50 worth of 8 gb 1600 Mhz DDR3 at 1.5 v or less you are still at only $330 for a sweet upgrade.
I'd recommend an 850 watt PSU. But if your existing PSU can handle the Dual 9800 GTX+ you can probably reuse it...
Get your new OS and HDD at Best Buy and you are good to go. Get a 1 Tb 7200 RPM HDD from Samsung or Western Digital for around $100. Avoid Seagate and Hitachi.
Maybe you could pick up a new case at Best Buy too.
April 24, 2012 10:22:10 PM

pacioli said:
If you have a Micro Center near by you can get an i5 2500K for $179
If you buy the CPU you also get a $50 off select motherboards
This one below costs $139 less $50 so it ends up costing $89
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
It is SLI capable and the pair would run you ~ $280
If you thew in $50 worth of 8 gb 1600 Mhz DDR3 at 1.5 v or less you are still at only $330 for a sweet upgrade.
I'd recommend an 850 watt PSU. But if your existing PSU can handle the Dual 9800 GTX+ you can probably reuse it...
Get your new OS and HDD at Best Buy and you are good to go. Get a 1 Tb 7200 RPM HDD from Samsung or Western Digital for around $100. Avoid Seagate and Hitachi.
Maybe you could pick up a new case at Best Buy too.


I appreciate your input. Unfortunately I'm not technical enough to understand some of what you said. What is an i5 2500k? A CPU?

I live in NH and I've never heard of Micro Center.

The mobo needs to be able to connect 2 main power connectors from my dell PSU. It doesn't look like it can to me, but I'd liked to be proven wrong.
April 24, 2012 10:32:43 PM

If you are not afraid of gutting your system you could spend about $500 getting a new case, motherboard, CPU, memory, and PSU to put your current parts on add to that Windows 7 should be around $600. That should get you to where you need to be CPU wise. From there you can get the HD when you have the money.

Example -> http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...
April 24, 2012 11:27:30 PM

sykres said:
I appreciate your input. Unfortunately I'm not technical enough to understand some of what you said. What is an i5 2500k? A CPU?

I live in NH and I've never heard of Micro Center.

The mobo needs to be able to connect 2 main power connectors from my dell PSU. It doesn't look like it can to me, but I'd liked to be proven wrong.


The i5 2500K is one of the most powerful Intel CPUs you can purchase to date. It trades blows with Intel's $1000 Extreme CPUs with nearly the same performance. And it only costs $220 regularly and Micro Center has in store pickup of the i5 2500K for $180. They also sell motherboards at a discount when you buy the processors there. Basically for $330 dollars you could get a screaming fast upgrade to your existing system with 8 Gb of fast DDR3 memory at 1600 Mhz and one of the best processors available today.

There is a Micro Center store in Cambridge MA, which should be pretty close to you.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
This is the processor ranking and shows the 2500K in the top tier with all the big boys.

Also if your power supply is only 4 years old it will likely be compatible with the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX. If it is not you could pick up an 850 watt power supply for around $100 on sale. Best Buy sells power supplies.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is $120 at the moment and is a very nice PSU.
The Dell mobo likely uses a 24 pin power cable along with a 4 or 8 pin supplemental cable near the processor. The Asrock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Z77 ATX motherboard has a 24 pin power connection plus an 8 pin near the CPU.
April 24, 2012 11:32:31 PM

I got mine for $195 after taxes, so the $180 is before taxes.
April 26, 2012 4:26:27 PM

azeem40 said:
I got mine for $195 after taxes, so the $180 is before taxes.


If you live in a state that has a sales tax, then yes you have to pay taxes...

!