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Upgrading Gaming Computer

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May 9, 2012 9:29:14 PM

Hello everyone.

I have a gaming computer that was built in 2008 by a friend of my brother, and I know it's outdated. I was hoping I could get some feedback from here to see what I can do to improve the stats, or what needs to be replaced. Or if need be, get a new computer.

Here are links to the parts.

-Case: Tuniq 3 IC-TQ3-US-SVBK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The case is nice and roomy so I probably wont be changing it.

-Motherboard: MSI P6N SLI Platinum LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Video Card: GeForce 9600GT
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Power Supply: Mushkin Enhanced 550200 550W ATX12V SLI Ready Modular Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Definitely want more RAM

-Hard Drive: HITACHI Deskstar 7K160 HDS721616PLA380 (0Y30006) 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

This computer also runs Windows XP, though I'd rather run Windows 7.

I'm not extremely tech savy but I think I could replace a few parts, I'll just have to do my homework.

Thanks.
May 9, 2012 9:46:25 PM

how about keeping this current system as a home server or as backup and build a new one...If you like the idea, what's your budget? Please state the purpose as well.

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May 9, 2012 9:53:14 PM

That would be an alright idea, though I was hoping I could re-use some parts.
I don't game as heavily as I used to, I play games that run fine on my Dell laptop lol. But the laptop is supposed to be for school so, I wanted to use my desktop again.

My budget is approx $600-900, so I have quite of flexibility for a low budget gaming computer.

So,
-Light Gaming
-$600-900 budget
-Would like to re-use any parts if possible
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a b 4 Gaming
May 10, 2012 12:25:58 AM

"I play games that run fine on my Dell laptop..."

Your system is not bad, actually, if that is your target. The 9600GT was an excellent card and may be as strong or stronger than the video in your dell laptop. More video is always good -- you'd need to spend $130 to see noticeably better video than the 9600GT. Check this ref, last page, find your 9600GT, look for cards at least 3 tiers higher. That puts you in the $120+ range. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

Your CPU, E4500, is decent. Buying a new CPU for this board is expensive. Suggest maybe seeing if you can overclock the CPU a bit. Stock for this CPU is 2.2GHz. Read the MB manual for overclocking. I personally wouldn't touch voltage (i'm a wimp) but would happily add in a couple hundred mhz. That's a nice MB for OC'ing http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sbm-mid-cost-system... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/650i-sli-motherboar...

Grab another 2GB of memory. 4GB is plenty and your WinXP is probably 32-bit. You can also download WIN8 and try that free for a while, or buy an OEM win7 64 for <$100.

----

If you want to step up, then look at an i5 based system like this one. (Since you want a balanced system, not a pure gaming build). Prices will ahve gone down from last Dec for video, disk, etc. You'd still need to buy windows.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-overclock-p...

CPU Intel Core i5-2400 $190
CPU Cooler Intel Boxed Heat Sink and Fan $0
Motherboard MSI PH61A-P35 $70
RAM Wintec AMPO 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 3AMD31333-4G2K-NHR $25
Graphics Sapphire 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1 GB $180
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500 GB SATA 6Gb/s $50
Case Xigmatek Asgard II B/B CPC-T45UC-U01 $30
Power Antec EarthWatts Green EA430D 430 W $45
Optical Samsung 22x DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222AB $17
Total Price
$607
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May 10, 2012 1:25:55 AM

Now that I think about it, I should have given a more in depth reason to why I wanted to update. It's not so much update as replace certain pieces.

I have a feeling something in my computer is failing or about to fail but I don't know what it is. The specs on the computer now should run the games I play fine, but instead I am slammed with fps lag. It is four years old so I'm sure something needs to be replaced, but I'm not tech savy enough to know exactly what.

I think the graphics card is fine, could the CPU be failing?

It loads programs slowly and freezes on most loading screens in games, the gameplay is also choppy because of fps lag.

Also, if I remember correctly, the computer freezes when I use the default defragger, but I use Auslogics instead.

Sorry I should have stated this in my first post.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 11, 2012 1:41:27 AM

CPUs very rarely fail.

Hard drives could cause the problems you are seeing. defrag problems point you there.

Software problems could also. (so could lots of other things).

Suggest:
1. Do a surface scan of the drive. Kick it off when you leave house for work/school or when you go to sleep. It'll run for hours.
2. Look at the SMART data on the drive. (Goto device manager, find what drive you have e.g. seagate, WD, etc., download smart diagnostic from manufacturer. See if the smart data predicts a failure
3. Can you reformat your disk? Or do you have a lot of data you can't lose. After a few years all sorts of bad/broken software is partially installed on a PC. formatting and reinstalling windows fixes all that.
4. Run some benchmarks and then compare your PC to other PCs of the same hardware to see if anything is structurally wrong with PC
5. download REALTEMP or equivalent and see what temps you are pushing. CPU throttling could do this if your heat sink is full of years of dust or fell off the CPU.

post results.. ?
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