Upgrade advice

i've been reading alot of articles but would still like some advice.
i have a dell dimension e521.
amd x2 3600
160gb hdd
dvd rewrite
305w psu
9600gt graphics
3gb 667mhz ddr2
windows vista 32bit

it's time to upgrade and i would like to build my own. i'm aware that i'm not able to upgrade the btx platform.

the computer is used for microsoft office word, excel and powerpoint. web surfing and the kids homework. most strain, i suspect, is my gaming, which is solely rpgs. i'm getting to the stage where the cpu is not enough for newer games and the gpu is solely on the pcie as there is no power lead to run to it.

with my needs in mind, i've assumed an am3 am3+ mobo and athlon ii 3ghz onward is enough. 64bit os and ddr3. i'd like to leave room for future upgrades. 550 watt psu. is it worth having an sli mobo and getting another 9600gt, which is cheap to buy in the uk.

i've assumed that new or not for the mobo and psu. not sure if that's right, but this is based on threads i have read. not many people buy used and tend to share thier experience if it's all good.

my moniter is 19inch. not wide screen. it won't be replaced unless it stops working.

your advice is welcome. i'd like to keep the budget as low as possible without skimping on anything important. i'm assuming thepsu and mobo are priorities?

many thanks
11 answers Last reply
More about upgrade advice
  1. It would be easier if you just fill this out:


    Do you intend to use any parts from that old dell?
  2. The link moornix provided would help for recommendations. Especially the statement " budget as low as possible" since that can mean very different things.

    If you are not reusing parts also take a peek at toms system builder for ideas:

  3. I see nothing from your dell that can be reused, except possibly the dvd burner, and that is only a $20 part.
    Not even the os.

    You are looking at a $700 budget or so for what you want.

    sli of low powered graphics cards is not recommended, read this on microstuttering:

    From a cpu point of view, there are NO amd cpu chips that are winners at any price level on this report on best gaming cpu's for the money:
  4. thanks.
    here is what i have

    dell e521
    cpu athlon 64 x2 3600+ (1.9ghz)
    3gb pc2 5300 (2x1gb + 2x512mb)
    9600gt 512mb gddr3
    305w dell psu
    160gb hdd st316081 2as scsi (partitioned for os)
    windows vista 32 home premium sp2
    philips dvd+-rw dvd8881 scsi
    19" dell moniter mouse + keyboard.
    labtec speakers.

    Approximate Purchase Date: no rush

    Budget Range: trying for £200

    System Usage from Most to Least Important:my uses are mainly for web browsing, powerpoint, word, excel and gaming. the gaming is limited pretty much to rpgs that i take forever and a day to complete and if it;s good, i'll replay them. next ones in line are skyrim, mass effect3, witcher2, dragon age 2, duece ex.
    not concerned about playing at maximum settings and resolution.
    Parts Not Required: unsure what can be or shouldn't be reused

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: ebuyer or recommended uk sites?

    Country: England

    Parts Preferences: open

    Overclocking: not bothered either way

    SLI or Crossfire: advised against?

    Monitor Resolution: no idea. can't seem to find that info

    Additional Comments: i've already bought some items. i may have been hasty and gone against some advice already given regarding amd/intel, but i thought the budget and uses made them a good purchase.?

    antec earthwatts 500 psu £20 (used)
    athlon ii 260 cpu £31 (new)
    Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 Socket AM3+ 7.1 £54 (new)

    all advice welcome and appreciated.
    explaination of advices is welcome too. It just helps me understand a little bit more.

    many thanks
  5. is it worth using parts from the dell? i'm wondering if it's worth using the hdd and getting a ssd, then upgrading the hdd at a later date. i presume the gpu is fine for what i need and the dvd is much of a muchness to any other?
    will i need 64bit os?
  6. I think a complete rebuild is in order.
    Monitor.speakers, keyboard are reusable.
    Possibly you could reuse the case, and the HDD and dvd drive if it is a sata connection.
  7. i thought the case would be redundant due to being btx?
  8. explainitlikeimanidiot said:
    i thought the case would be redundant due to being btx?

    If your case is BTX, it is obsolete, and should be replaced also.
  9. quick update.
    parts collected
    antec earthwatts 500 psu £20 (used)
    athlon ii 260 cpu £31 (new)
    Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 Socket AM3+ 7.1 £54 (new)
    novatech vulcan v2 (2xusb2 plus 1x usb3) £19 (new)
    2x2gb gskillddr1600 cl7 £16 (new)

    going to use vista 32bit os at the moment as i have it already
    going to use existing dvd in new build.
    as for hdd, i was going to keep original and fit a 60gb/120gb agility3, but after a bit of research thought, maybe better to replace hdd and fit an ssd later if warranted.
    so which hdd? was looking at ones £60 mark from these


    any suggestions?
  10. none?
  11. quick update.

    assemble quite easily but had trouble installing vista. ended up taking to pc shop round the corner and they could not work out why the hdd and dvd were not being recognised when booting. anyway they swapped the hdd and installed vista.
    i got it home and installed windows 7 32bit but then found one of the rams to be faulty. replaced both with kingston 1333mhz cl9 and all is fine and hunky dory.

    i am very pleased with my efforts and would like to thank you all for your help

    it's worth building your own!

    i now have
    novatech vulcan ii case
    Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3
    kingston v+200 90gb sata3
    200gb seagate hdd
    2x2gb kingston 1333mhz ddr3
    philips dvd rw
    his hd4850 1gb ddr3
    antec earthwatts 500
    amd ii x2 260
    windows 7 32bit

    all the parts came to £200 plus a £60 bill from the repair shop
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