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Need to upgrade my computer

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July 19, 2012 3:49:31 AM

Hello everyone, just from the start I am 17 and attending school but I do know quite a bit about computers.

So I have a kind of crappy computer that a family member gave me because they thought I could do something better with it and I am seriously thinking about upgrading the motherboard and CPU and probably RAM too.

System Specs:
AMD Athlon ~1.3GHz processor
NVIDIA AWRDACPI Motherboard (Chaintech 7NJL6)
1.5GB of PC3200 RAM
100gb Seagate Barracuda HDD
ATI Radeon 9250 256MB AGP Graphics Card (I have a better one that is PCIe x16, this board doesn't support)
Rosewill LC-B400 ATX 400W Power Supply
3 Case Fans
1 CPU Fan

Basically what I am looking for is a cheap yet efficient method of upgrading my motherboard, cpu, and ram.
I'd also like an motherboard that has a PCIe x16 extension slot.

Any ideas? It'd be greatly appreciated.

More about : upgrade computer

a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
July 19, 2012 5:43:11 AM

Well we need a budget, what the PC is used for, etc to better advise ya ^^

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
a c 146 V Motherboard
July 19, 2012 5:47:03 AM
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Welcome to Tom's Hardware Forums,
For mobo: ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX $60 free shipping http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For CPU: AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz $109 free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For ram: Crucial 8GB DDR3 SDRAM $59 w/shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You're looking at about $240 but there are a few concerns here...
Let me first explain my concerns are not issues that will prevent your computer from working so here goes.
The Chaintech mobo you're looking to replace used a 20 pin power connector to the mobo, newer mobos (virtually all) use a 24 pin. Chances are good your PSU only has a 20 pin connector - it will work but you will want to upgrade your PSU - you may want to do that if only to run your video card (note that the mobo does not have vid capabilities on it's own) - that upgrade will probably run ~$75 -it can wait but I wouldn't wait too long - Start a new thread here before purchasing since PSU's aren't always what they say they are and their proper operation is very important. We can help separate hype from fact.
Your OS - If windows OS, it will balk severely at the new hardware and may choose not to run. If a flavor of Linux, you shouldn't have such issues. You may find that you have to purchase a copy of Windows 7 ~$100 if you want to keep using windows. If you are close to the family member who gave you the unit, you can both attempt to call MS (license is for original owner I believe) tell them you simply did a hardware upgrade and they may be able to help you keep your current OS operating (I've never personally dealt with that).
About my choices for your hardware (and options) I chose an AM3+ mobo so the CPU can be upgraded if you choose to later - it does not have a lot of features of a higher end board, you may want to look inot putting a little more money into the mobo to give yourself the best upgrade advantage in the future.
The CPU is the least expensive AM3+ CPU, again, upgrades are possible for future consideration.

Sorry for the long winded answer, just wanted to cover everything I thought of there. Good luck with your upgrade.
Related resources
July 19, 2012 9:58:29 PM

Best answer selected by sterynkng14.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 146 V Motherboard
July 20, 2012 12:01:36 AM

Hold off on that PSU, I have not found any reviews of it (the only DiabloTek PSU I found reviewed failed miserably). Give me a few, I'll try to get you something inexpensive but workable - you might look at Corsair, Seasonic, FSP, or Superflower PSU's in the meantime...
July 20, 2012 1:33:43 AM

Alright, thank you. Just reply in here once you do find something. Again, thank you I really appreciate it :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 146 V Motherboard
July 20, 2012 3:38:36 AM

Starting with highest price - these are solid PSU's that should outlast a few builds
OCZ ZS Series 550W at $79 free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green 500W at $69 + $4 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W at $60 + $10 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
These are all highly rated PSU's - more expensive than the one you were looking at but the quality difference can't be compared.
You can read about them at JonnyGuru, HardwareSecrets and HardOCP - and a few other sites - I perfer those three since they are the "real deal", they overload the PSU's, torture them, tear them apart and give a useful evaluation - if you can't find a positive review from those guys, you probably don't want the hardware...
July 20, 2012 4:58:47 PM

I have no problem with the prices and they look good. Thank you so much I appreciate it, it may take a few weeks to get the money to upgrade but once I do, I will report back on here of any problems or if it works :)  thank you so much, I really do appreciate it :) 
July 20, 2012 5:02:55 PM

Oh okay and I've got a question or two more.

I probably will need SATA cable connectors to connect my board to my HDD so where could I find that and how much am I looking at

Also, what sort of case should I be looking at? It doesn't have to be flashy or anything I just need something that will fit all my pieces in. Although I am sure my current case could do the trick.
July 20, 2012 5:05:45 PM

And the price for all this is well worth it because it will be the upgrade I had needed it and it will caused for future upgrades to be easier so I appreciate it.
July 20, 2012 5:18:22 PM

Also what would be a cheap yet efficient SATA HDD I do not need alot of storage space, only around 100gb or so
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 146 V Motherboard
July 20, 2012 7:15:41 PM

Your new mobo will come with 2 sata cables, you can get additional ones from newegg, frozenCPU, Directron or any other on-line retailer.
The price of SSD's has come down to the <$1/GB mark which makes them highly affordable and you really can't compare the speed between HDD's and SSD's. I think these are good deals for SSD's
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos 120GB for $94 (I paid $160 for this about 5months ago)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
OCZ Agility 3 120GB for $99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you do go with an SSD, you should use it for your operating system/boot drive Assuming your OS is getting upgraded also (to Win7)
for an HDD
Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB for $70 including shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I should explain also, the reason I use Newegg links to products is because of their descriptive value - no endorsement and no guarantee that they have the best prices - although I do like using them.
July 20, 2012 10:14:34 PM

Alright cool, thank you. That's all I can think of at the moment but if I can think of anything else I'll let you know.

Thanks for all the help!
July 20, 2012 10:28:54 PM

Oh and about the computer case?
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 146 V Motherboard
July 20, 2012 10:42:23 PM

Computer cases are a personal taste thing since you are the one who'll be looking at it day in and day out - they range in price from rediculously inexpensive (read cheap - although they do hold the parts) to rediculously expensive and everything in between. Shopping for computer cases is actually rather fun, I'd suggest spending a few hoours at the newegg site comparing what is what. Look for the features you like, don't get sold on the first one you see, they all have advantages, they all have drawbacks.

One more thing, take the newegg reviews as being near worthless...
July 21, 2012 2:25:47 AM

Alright cool, I was going to ask to suggest a site but you had already done so which I shall thank you for :)  you've been much help and I will definitely have to check it out. Once I build this computer I'll place a reply in here or if I have anymore questions I will do so. Until then, talk to you later. Thank you so much.
July 21, 2012 2:32:32 AM

Okay, one last question that I can think of right now.

I found this nice computer case and it suits my taste and is rather inexpensive in my opinion

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

So my only question here is that, does it come with the case fans? Because, it discusses it in it's details and shows fan in it during the pictures. Would this be typical for it to? Or is it just showing that it could have one and where it would go?
July 21, 2012 2:37:04 AM

Nevermind, I believe I have my answer when it said preinstalled. Haha
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 146 V Motherboard
July 21, 2012 4:50:36 AM

The challenger is a good choice, I'm using it to house my i5 rig - you can add two more 120mm fans to the door panel but you don't need to as it has good airflow with just the three fans.
July 21, 2012 8:38:02 PM

Oh and not to mention my graphics card is an okay one, it's efficient yet inexpensive ATI Radeon HD 3650 ~2297MB of memory

It's done well with MMO's i've played online (World of Warcraft) and works decently
!