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What Should I upgrade First?

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August 8, 2012 7:19:53 PM

Hi guys, i need some upgrade advice on which component of my low-end pc i should upgrade first, the computer was built a few years back by me. The specs are:

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit (Genuine)
MB: Asrock Alive NF7G-GLAN
CPU: AMD Althon x2 240
RAM: 5gb (4 slots available, 3 used 2gb, 2gb, 1gb)
GPU: ASUS AMD Radeon 5450
PSU: 500w OEM Power supply
HARD DRIVE 1: 250gb Seagate 5400 RPM SATA 2 Hard Drive
HARD DRIVE 2: 1tb Hitachi 5400 RPM SATA 2 Hard Drive

Ive narrowed my choices down to a processor, ssd drive and GPU, the options are listed in more detail below:

GPU: Sapphire HD 6870 1GB GDDR5 (£140)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 - QUAD CORE 3.0Ghz (Best CPU My MB Supports) (£80)
SSD: Either Samsung 830 128GB or OCZ Vertex 4 128GB

I know that both the ssd and gpu will be bottlenecked due to either the cpu, sata 2 ports or pcie slots, but i plan on upgrading the whole system in the future, and due to my current financial standings i can only afford one of the above listed at the current time, if you see that there better components than above for the same listed price please inform me, and which ssd will perform better? Thanks In Advance To the Tom's Hardware Community :) 

More about : upgrade

August 8, 2012 7:47:48 PM

projectlll said:
Hi guys, i need some upgrade advice on which component of my low-end pc i should upgrade first, the computer was built a few years back by me. The specs are:

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit (Genuine)
MB: Asrock Alive NF7G-GLAN
CPU: AMD Althon x2 240
RAM: 5gb (4 slots available, 3 used 2gb, 2gb, 1gb)
GPU: ASUS AMD Radeon 5450
PSU: 500w OEM Power supply
HARD DRIVE 1: 250gb Seagate 5400 RPM SATA 2 Hard Drive
HARD DRIVE 2: 1tb Hitachi 5400 RPM SATA 2 Hard Drive

Ive narrowed my choices down to a processor, ssd drive and GPU, the options are listed in more detail below:

GPU: Sapphire HD 6870 1GB GDDR5 (£140)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 - QUAD CORE 3.0Ghz (Best CPU My MB Supports) (£80)
SSD: Either Samsung 830 128GB or OCZ Vertex 4 128GB

I know that both the ssd and gpu will be bottlenecked due to either the cpu, sata 2 ports or pcie slots, but i plan on upgrading the whole system in the future, and due to my current financial standings i can only afford one of the above listed at the current time, if you see that there better components than above for the same listed price please inform me, and which ssd will perform better? Thanks In Advance To the Tom's Hardware Community :) 

It all depends on what you do on your computer. Each upgrade will improve an aspect of the computer. If you play games, the I'd go with the video card. If your just an average user than go with a cpu upgrade. If you need to load applications fast, than the SSD is for you. The vertex 4 will probably preform better,. Hope this helped
August 8, 2012 8:49:54 PM

Well, I do a range of activities, ranging from intense video editing to gaming and everything in between
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2012 9:08:07 PM

What is the "500W" OEM PSU? If it's a cheapie that came in your case, it may really be good for no more than 350W. It would support a video card upgrade to nothing more than a HD7750. That card would still be a giant leap ahead of what you have.
Your hard drives are slow; 7200RPM is the standard for desktop hard drives. They'd be fine as data drives though, so you could add the SSD as your boot drive.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2012 9:14:04 PM

from my perspective you're putting lipstick on a pig. what's your budget ?
a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2012 9:44:00 PM

swifty_morgan said:
from my perspective you're putting lipstick on a pig. what's your budget ?


I Agree with you.

@op, if you really want to make that computer a bit better then you will need this

*8GB of DDR3 Memory @1600Mhz

*Phenom II X4 Black edition

*Coolermaster's 212 EVO CPU cooler for overclocking

*A nice 550w+ QUALITY PSU

*SSD (128GB) Vertex 4

*If possible (but not really necesary) a 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 Harddrive (its a lot faster than your current HDD's)

*If you have a crappy case then get a Coolermaster's HAF 912 with a few extra fans (Red led fans to make it cool :D )

*get a 6850,6870,GTX 560, GTX 560ti or a GTX 480 <---- this one cost ~200$ but be carefull...its hot!! (But extremely fast)
a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2012 11:12:35 PM

Aqualipt, the OP clearly stated his budget does not permit that.

Will your budget allow the SSD and HD7750 (800MHz version that needs no auxiliary power) or HD6670 (still a big jump over the HD5450) ? Do not buy a stronger video card unless you also either confirm the quality of your PSU or replace it.
The only item you're likely to want to move to your next PC is the SSD. When building new, you will be very unlikely to choose AMD, and you will probably want a stronger graphics card than the HD7750 unless gaming is a low priority and/or your games are relatively undemanding (e.g. casual or Flash-based games) and/or your resolution is modest (e.g. 1280x1024 or 1440x900) and/or you don't mind a lot of settings turned down to "medium."
a b B Homebuilt system
August 8, 2012 11:28:56 PM

seeing how all but the operating system in his old machine is nearly useless, why would anybody suggest getting an SSD when that money could be used for ,more appropriate stuff ?
August 8, 2012 11:53:48 PM

The PSU is from a HP gaming machine, its my brother's and he gave it to me when he needed to upgrade for dual 570s, I'm also not a 24/7 gamer, ill usually play for around an hour or two a week. And the only game I really needed to play is battlefield 3, and I will build a new machine in around 6 months, the budget will be 700 pounds and the upgrade I buy now will have to be transferable to that pc.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2012 12:01:10 AM

in all honesty, if i were to build now i would look at i5 processors. in 6 month's you'll have 700 pounds.............. what do you have right now ? and for 700 pounds you can probably get a substantial machine. why not wait until then and buy everything together ? That way there will be no regrets on purchases made now that you might regret later.....
a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2012 12:04:44 AM

Onus said:
Aqualipt, the OP clearly stated his budget does not permit that.

Will your budget allow the SSD and HD7750 (800MHz version that needs no auxiliary power) or HD6670 (still a big jump over the HD5450) ? Do not buy a stronger video card unless you also either confirm the quality of your PSU or replace it.
The only item you're likely to want to move to your next PC is the SSD. When building new, you will be very unlikely to choose AMD, and you will probably want a stronger graphics card than the HD7750 unless gaming is a low priority and/or your games are relatively undemanding (e.g. casual or Flash-based games) and/or your resolution is modest (e.g. 1280x1024 or 1440x900) and/or you don't mind a lot of settings turned down to "medium."


no no no...the 7750 is a really low-end card, either get more money to buy those upgrades or save to buy a new PC, there is no point in upgrading a PC with a 2009 CPU, a low-end GPU and nice SSD...

Btw...even if you upgrade your CPU to a phenom II it will get completly destroyed a cheap G850.

Here is a benchmark of the FX 8150 vs the i5 2500k http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=434

if you look at the botton you can see how the i5 2500k (wich is using a less powerfull GPU, slower and less ram and a crappy motherboard) destroys the FX 8150, that because AMD sucks and even if you buy the Phenom II X6 your fps will be even lower than the FX 8150
a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2012 12:05:15 AM

swifty_morgan said:
why would anybody suggest getting an SSD when that money could be used for ,more appropriate stuff ?

projectlll said:
...and the upgrade I buy now will have to be transferable to that pc.


That's why. As my previous post implied when I said "the only item you're likely to want to move to your next PC is the SSD," almost anything else might be money wasted, but the SSD could be kept and moved, and even now would make some things feel snappy.
If the 500W PSU is from a HP gamer, it might be okay; not great, but okay. It might even support the HD6870 (if it has two PCIe power cables; I would not use adapters), but it should certainly be able to handle a HD6850 or HD7770.
August 9, 2012 12:16:18 AM

^+1 If the the psu can actually put out close to it's rated - sink the most money possible into a gpu and bring it with you to your next build.
-Bruce
August 9, 2012 1:05:56 AM

Thanks for all the advice guys, i will probably now just buy the ssd, and then build then machine in 6 months, the components will be based on prices at the time, but it is more than likely it will be an intel machine. :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2012 1:13:22 AM

projectlll said:
Thanks for all the advice guys, i will probably now just buy the ssd, and then build then machine in 6 months, the components will be based on prices at the time, but it is more than likely it will be an intel machine. :) 


Good choice!
a b B Homebuilt system
August 9, 2012 1:19:25 AM

Yep, good plan.
!