Upgrading Questions need advice

Looking to upgrade my computer not looking to go with anything too crazy but enough to make a noticeable difference in game play. I know a little about upgrading computers my main concern is getting parts that are compatible with the existing/new parts (which I know little about but know this can be a big issue). I know I need a new graphics card and I would like more ram possibly a new processor and/or motherboard. Was also thinking about adding some fans or other cooling parts. The main point of this upgrade is to increase the performance of the games I play because I recently started playing games that are finally to much for my comp to handle without turning the graphics down.

Approximate Purchase Date: Month or so

Budget Range: $300 - $400

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming

Parts Not Required: mouse, monitor, keyboard, software

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: New to building, no real preference on parts

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

My current desktop specs:

Case - Coolermaster Elite 430 Gaming Case
Processor - AMD Athlon II X2 255 3.1GHz
Cache Per Processor - 2 x 1MB L2 Cache
Memory - 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3 1333
Hard Drive -1TB SATA II 3.0Gb/s 7200RPM HDD
Optical Drive 1 - 24X DVD±R/±RW Dual Layer Drive
Graphics - ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB PCI Express Graphics
Power Supply - 500W
Operating System - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
Chipset - NVIDIA GeForce 7025 Chipset
CPU Socket Type - AM3
CPU Main Features - 64 bit Dual Core Processor
GPU/VPU Type - ATI Radeon HD 5450
Graphics Interface - PCI Express 2.0 x16
Memory Capacity - 4GB DDR3
Memory Speed - DDR3 1333
Form Factor - DIMM 240-pin
Memory Spec - 2GB x 2
Memory Slot (Total) - 2
HDD Capacity - 1TB
HDD Interface - SATA II
HDD RPM - 7200rpm

CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra 2074

This is some of the parts I was looking at. Like I said before I have some knowledge but am still fairly new to this so any and all help is welcome. If it doesn't work with something else or there is something better or cheaper please feel free to correct me.

Graphics Card $69.99

Proccessor $109.99

Ram $46.99

Motherboard $89.99


Power Supply?
8 answers Last reply
More about upgrading questions advice
  1. With only $400 to spend, I probably keep as much current as I could. To me that means keeping the motherboard and the RAM and upgrading the CPU, Power Supply, and graphics card.

    Verify what model ASUS motherboard you have in there and check to see which quad-core CPUs are compatible. If this CPU is compatible, I'd seriously consider this upgrade:

    CPU - AMD Athlon II X4 645 OEM - $84.99
    Power Supply - Corsair Enthusiast Series TX650 - $89.99

    With a $300 budget:
    Graphics Card:
    HIS Radeon HD 6770 - $119.99
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 550 Ti - $119.99

    With a $400 budget:
    Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 480

    Yes, I know it's older, but I think it's the best card you're going to get in that price range.

    -Wolf sends
  2. Thanks for the reply Wolf.

    I was just wondering since I have a 3.1 ghz dual core how much difference would it be to have a 3.1 ghz quad core? Is it the amount of cores that matter over the speed? And as far as graphics cards go would it be better say to get a 1gb 256 bit card or a 2gb 128bit one? I guess what I'm trying to ask what should I look for to choose one graphics card over another?

    Oh and I have a NVIDIA GeForce 7025 motherboard.
  3. I'd think you'd see a modest performance increase by going with a quad-core over a dual core system. While most games still do not use more that two cores of a processor, Windows can shift some of it's tasks over to cores that are not being used.

    For graphic cards, I think, in your situation, through-put is more important than amount of memory. If your system only had 2GB of RAM, then I'd recommend getting a card that had more of it's own memory. Since you have 4GB installed, go with more through-put.

    For your motherboard, you need to find the specific model number and look it up on the ASUS web site. Their site's CPU Compatibility list should tell you what CPUs are compatible with your motherboard.

    -Wolf sends
  4. Oh ok sorry for the confusion. Like I said I'm still pretty new to this lol.

    I looked up whats compatible with my motherboard and the one you suggested wasn't on the list. So I found a few and this is what I came up with.


    Not sure if which I should go with there similar speeds and similar prices not sure how much difference .2 or .3 ghz really makes.

    And for graphics cards is there a way to see if its compatible same as for processors or any that fit will work?
  5. Pretty much any PCI-Ex16 graphics card is going to be compatible with your motherboard, so no need to worry about that. The main concern is whether your power supply can support it (the one I listed can handle any single graphics card on the market today).

    As for the processor, any of the three you listed will be an improvement. Get the best that's still in your budget range.

    -Wolf sends
  6. Is that the same with ram? Like would any ddr3 240 pin stick of ram work?

    Now with the power supply you suggested would I be able to add more later without having to upgrade that again as well? Or do you think I should go up to the 700s or 800s psu's? Because I do plan on upgrading further as my budget allows.
  7. No, not any DDR3 RAM will work. You'll need to make sure it's compatible with your motherboard. If you wanted to increase the amount of RAM you have, stick with DDR3-1333 RAM.

    The power supply I recommended will handle any single graphics card system you can come up with. If you intend to later upgrade to a dual-graphics card system (SLI/Crossfire), then go ahead and look at the 750-850 watt PSUs.

    -Wolf sends
  8. Ok I narrowed it down let me know if these are good choices.

    $170 GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) 2GB 192-bit GDDR5

    $120 AMD Phenom II X4 975 Black Edition Deneb 3.6GHz

    and then the power supply. Should these be fine?

    And Wolf thank you for all the help and dealing with my noob questions I really do appreciate all the help.
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