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Kids Xmas computer upgrade

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November 18, 2012 5:04:39 PM

Hi, I want to upgrade my kids computers on a budget. My youngest child (11) currently has an old single core Pentium 4 3.2 gig with 1-2 gig of ram (can't remember) and an AGP based Nvidia 6800 OC. Currently runs XP and really has not had any trouble running any programs/games he currently cares about. Other son (15) has a single core Athlon 4000 with 2 gig and a PCI-e AMD X1300 (had an X1950 but it died recently and i had the X1300 laying around). He has windows 7 and has has some trouble running some newer games. Neither are heavy PC gamers but I want to get them something that should suffice for not with an upgrade path in the future.

Budget is less than $250 a rig.
I only need to purchase CPU/MOBO/Memory/Video Card. I will reuse PS, opticals and HD's. They will probably get to pick out new cases separate from the listed budget.
I have 2 spare Win 7 licenses and would like to be able to dual boot with XP for some older programs.

Here is what I am considering

AMD A10-5800K CPU and video functions $119 with coupon code
Cheap A75 based FM2 Mobo $60-70 approx.......I want USB3.0 but don't care about the crossfire support of the A85X
One 2 X 16gig memory kit (8gig a machine) $60-70.....the mobo will probably only have 2 mem slots so single 8gig will allow another stick to be added later

Even the on board graphics of the A10 has to be much better than what they currently have and should play everything out now although details will need to be turned down some. I figured this setup can be upgraded with a video card when games finally require more video horsepower and later I can buy another 16 gig memory kit to increase both to 16 gig. It will be quite a while before I think the actual CPU would need to be replaced, especially when you consider what they are still using.

I would like to hear your opinion of this upgrade or if you have any other recommendations. Also If there is some special deal out there that you know of please let me know. I know some of you will recommend much more expensive setups but keep in mind what we are upgrading from and our budget. Thanks.

a c 146 à CPUs
November 18, 2012 5:29:36 PM

SonicXtasy said:
Hi, I want to upgrade my kids computers on a budget. My youngest child (11) currently has an old single core Pentium 4 3.2 gig with 1-2 gig of ram (can't remember) and an AGP based Nvidia 6800 OC. Currently runs XP and really has not had any trouble running any programs/games he currently cares about. Other son (15) has a single core Athlon 4000 with 2 gig and a PCI-e AMD X1300 (had an X1950 but it died recently and i had the X1300 laying around). He has windows 7 and has has some trouble running some newer games. Neither are heavy PC gamers but I want to get them something that should suffice for not with an upgrade path in the future.

Budget is less than $250 a rig.
I only need to purchase CPU/MOBO/Memory/Video Card. I will reuse PS, opticals and HD's. They will probably get to pick out new cases separate from the listed budget.
I have 2 spare Win 7 licenses and would like to be able to dual boot with XP for some older programs.

Here is what I am considering

AMD A10-5800K CPU and video functions $119 with coupon code
Cheap A75 based FM2 Mobo $60-70 approx.......I want USB3.0 but don't care about the crossfire support of the A85X
One 2 X 16gig memory kit (8gig a machine) $60-70.....the mobo will probably only have 2 mem slots so single 8gig will allow another stick to be added later

Even the on board graphics of the A10 has to be much better than what they currently have and should play everything out now although details will need to be turned down some. I figured this setup can be upgraded with a video card when games finally require more video horsepower and later I can buy another 16 gig memory kit to increase both to 16 gig. It will be quite a while before I think the actual CPU would need to be replaced, especially when you consider what they are still using.

I would like to hear your opinion of this upgrade or if you have any other recommendations. Also If there is some special deal out there that you know of please let me know. I know some of you will recommend much more expensive setups but keep in mind what we are upgrading from and our budget. Thanks.


What PSU do you have? If it's some crappy OEM type like Bestec I would consider getting a new PSU.
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a c 478 à CPUs
November 18, 2012 5:34:08 PM

Tell those deadbeats to get a job. Just kidding.

Why are you looking at 8GB / 16GB of RAM? 4GB is more than enough even when using the integrated graphics core. For example, using the Intel HD 3000 instead of the dedicated GT 550m graphic card in my laptop, plus having Firefox open with 12 tabs, and Mass Effect 3 running I am using about 2.9GB of RAM out of 4GB.

AMD's Trinity APUs do benefit from fast RAM though.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/amd-t...

The fastest Trinity APU has a graphic core that is basically as fast as a Radeon HD 5570 or Radeon HD 6550 (if one ever existed). How does that compare with the nVidia 6800 or Radeon X1950? Don't know too many generations apart.
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November 18, 2012 5:43:06 PM

PS's consist of an Ultra 650 watt and an older Antec 500 watt. I assume they both should be fine.

I agree that 16 gig of ram (per machine) is overkill now but 8 gig isn't much more than 4 gig and will certainly make the machine not seem laggy when lots of app are running.
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a c 132 à CPUs
November 18, 2012 5:53:16 PM

If you want to use the IGP for gaming, you really should go for 2x4GB per machine so they can run as dual-channel for double the memory bandwidth. Putting only 1x8GB (single-channel) cuts the bandwidth in half and roughly halve IGP performance.

If you want to get reasonable performance out of IGPs, you definitely want dual-channel RAM 1600MT/s or faster.

As for 4GB not being much more than 8GB, a large chunk of the first 4GB is eaten by the OS/GUI so going from 4GB to 8GB does give a whole 4GB extra. Unless your kids run multiple particularly memory-hungry games/applications at once such as tabbing between multiple running games, they are not likely to run out of memory any time soon.
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a c 478 à CPUs
November 18, 2012 5:54:10 PM

Ultra sucks, but since you are not putting much stress on it I guess it should hold up okay. I guess for next XMas you should buy them Radeon HD 7670s to improve performance, by then they should be relatively cheap since AMD may release the Radeon HD 9xxx series at the end of 2013.
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November 18, 2012 6:26:46 PM

Sorry, I meant the cost of 8 gig as compared to 4 gig (when compared to the total cost) wasn't that much more. I did forget about the dual channel memory though. That would make a big difference in gaming. I suppose 8 gig (2 X 4) would realistically be enough memory till it came time for another total upgrade (new mobo, proc, mem).

Its been a while since I really looked into building a new computer. The last budget "power" build I did consisted of an AMD Athlon XP 2500 Mobile chip (Barton core) on an Abit NF7 (I think) with the Guru overclocking hardware. I had dual 256mg sticks of low latency OCZ memory, 2 80 gig Hitachi sata HD's in Raid and an ATI 9800 Pro video card. The cpu ran 1.83ghz stock but I had it overclocked to 2.4ghz. I only recently got rid of the cpu/mobo. Sorry or the ramble, just reminiscing.
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a c 887 à CPUs
November 18, 2012 9:17:44 PM

If you are reusing drives make sure they are SATA since most new stuff does not support IDE.
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November 18, 2012 10:00:47 PM

Funny that you mention heater for the P4. A friend aquired a HTPC cube that had the 3.2ghz but had a bad PS in it. Being he was cheap, and the correct replacement PS was over $100 I took a spare full size PS and mounted it outside the case so at least it would work. Anyway while using it I realized the heat build up from the 3.2 was too much for the case and knew it as going to run hot so I helped him out by swapping his 3.2ghz for the 2.4ghz that was originally in my kids machine. I have plenty of fans in his case.

Thanks for the SATA note, I took for granted that the mobos still had an IDE port. HDs are sata but opticals are not but I think I have 2 sata drives laying around.

I have another option. Newegg has a Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 AM3+ based mobo on sale for $89 and it comes with a G.Skill 2 X 4 gig memory kit for free. They also have the low end FX-4100 for $95 after $15 promo code. This would leave about $65 for a discreet video card. Any opinions on this and a recommended graphics card in the price range?
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November 18, 2012 11:10:37 PM

It would not even be worth the money to upgrade those rigs. They are so archaic and slow that it is completely laughable (mind you, I will be saying the same thing about my current rig in eleven years).
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a c 887 à CPUs
November 18, 2012 11:15:20 PM

GoldenI said:
It would not even be worth the money to upgrade those rigs. They are so archaic and slow that it is completely laughable (mind you, I will be saying the same thing about my current rig in eleven years).

Upgrade with modern new motherboard and CPU does make sense!
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November 18, 2012 11:27:39 PM




That was the type of deal I was lookng for. I had been looking at the same one but with ddr3 memory for about the same price. I would rather the dedicated graphics and decided it was worth the little bit extra. I pulled the trigger for the Gigabyte mobo with the free 8gig of memory, the FX-4100 and the MSI 6670 with gddr5 memory. Total came to $563 (2 of each) with $60 in mail in rebates which pretty much caps me at my budget. Thanks for all the help :) 
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a b à CPUs
November 18, 2012 11:31:20 PM

Great quality ram like Samsung green will help.
http://www.frys.com/product/6798205?source=googleps

There is also AMD's performance ram. It's good quality and you can get 4gb for about $25.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There is also 8gb ram for 30 something, I'd get at least 1600 speed. 16gb is overkill, no reason for it. Even for "future" nothing in the near future will use it that much gb of ram.

The only reason I can think of to get 16gb of ram is to play around with ramcache programs that give you a little partition in the ram you can use to store files in. Very high speed (better than ssd), but it gets 'deleted' when you shut down the comp.



Ah nvm then. edit~
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a c 887 à CPUs
November 18, 2012 11:32:37 PM

LOL, do people not read before they post?
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a b à CPUs
November 18, 2012 11:34:15 PM

? No need to be sarcastic, when I clicked the reply button he hadn't posted yet. I looked up the newegg and frys' link, took too much time I guess.
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November 18, 2012 11:39:00 PM

Just my two cents:

I like your original plan of going with the A10-5800K. It's a respectable CPU that will get pretty descent gaming performance (well above their current computer's) when paired with a good dual channel memory kit. And, in the future, if you even need more GPU horsepower you can crossfire the IGP with a radeon HD 6670.

On the other hand, you could go for the dedicated GPU/CPU combo, as you had mentioned. If you do want to do that, I personally would go for the pentium dual core G860 (sandy bridge, 3.0GHz, 3MB L3). It is on the same tier for gaming performance as all the first gen bulldozer processors, and it only costs $75.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

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

Pair that with a cheapo LGA1155 mobo (no USB 3.0, but what can you do?)

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

a 2 x 4GB memory kit

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

Leaving you with roughly $90 for the video card, to stay within budget.

The Radeon HD 6750 is a very good option, and can be had for $87

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

It's a solid video card with 1GB DDR3 (not GDDR5 unfortuenently) and 720 Radeon Cores running at 700MHz.

Bringing the total cost per system (with superior gaming performance to the APU) to:

$249, including shipping.

Hope I helped
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a c 887 à CPUs
November 18, 2012 11:39:54 PM

NoUserBar said:
? No need to be sarcastic, when I clicked the reply button he hadn't posted yet. I looked up the newegg and frys' link, took too much time I guess.

He posted about the free ram at 7.00PM and asked advice on GPU just in case you missed it. Your post was not the first one that missed the intention, hence my comment!
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November 18, 2012 11:40:50 PM

oops, started typing before you posted.
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