Build a $400 custom gaming pc? Or upgrade what I have?

I don't know the basics of computers. I had a friend help me build one several years back. I Currently have a HP p6203w. It has 4gb of ram, a 500gb hd, and a AMD Athlong (tm) IIx2 215 processor (2.70ghz). I also have a NVideo Geforce 7800gt video card in it that I bought several years ago. So my question is I have $400-$450 to spend. I would either like to build a PC for that price..or buy a video card. I know I will need a new PSU because the one I have is only 400w.

Approximate Purchase Date: In about a month. (11/1/12?)

Budget Range: $400-$450 (after shipping)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Play Guild Wars 2, League of Legends, surf the net, watch youtube videos.

Are you buying a monitor: No


Parts to Upgrade: If I am building a new computer then I will need everything (I don't need a keyboard, or mouse). But if the best bets to just upgrade my HP then I will need a new Video card and probably a new PSU.

Do you need to buy OS: no

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Ebay.com, newegg.com, tigerdirect.com (whichever places have the best prices)

Location: Cullman, Alabama

Parts Preferences: Nope

Overclocking: Maybe (Don't know much about overclocking)

SLI or Crossfire: Ill say no, because I don't know what it is.

Your Monitor Resolution: I think its 1920x1200...but I could be wrong on that..I am not at my pc atm.

Additional Comments: I want to be able to play Guild Wars 2 and League of Legends on high settings. Guild Wars doesn't have to be on ultra...but I do want it on high with good FPS. I will also be using movie editing software such as Sony Vegas

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I want to be able to play GW2 on high settings.


Again, I am either wanting to Upgrade the HP p6203w. So I can run Sony Vegas, and play GW2. Or I am wanting to build a new pc that can do both of those. I know the HP p6203w is not brand new (its a few years old). I don't know if in order to run those programs I would have to replace to much and it would just be cheaper to build new..or what. Anyways, sorry for any confusion. and thanks in advance for any and all help.

-Dan
16 answers Last reply
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  1. I was going to suggest you upgrade just the CPU and video card, but I'm not sure if HP locks down their motherboard to CPU upgrades.

    7750 probably your best option and would be a huge boost - your cpu would probably bottleneck it.

    7800gt 57 watts peak
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/gpu-consumption2006_5.html


    7750 uses about 90 watts? But many people say you can use a 300 watt psu with it so should be ok?
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7770-7750-benchmark,3135-14.html
  2. Neublet said:
    I don't know the basics of computers. I had a friend help me build one several years back. I Currently have a HP p6203w. It has 4gb of ram, a 500gb hd, and a AMD Athlong (tm) IIx2 215 processor (2.70ghz). I also have a NVideo Geforce 7800gt video card in it that I bought several years ago. So my question is I have $400-$450 to spend. I would either like to build a PC for that price..or buy a video card. I know I will need a new PSU because the one I have is only 400w.

    Approximate Purchase Date: In about a month. (11/1/12?)

    Budget Range: $400-$450 (after shipping)

    System Usage from Most to Least Important: Play Guild Wars 2, League of Legends, surf the net, watch youtube videos.

    Are you buying a monitor: No


    Parts to Upgrade: If I am building a new computer then I will need everything (I don't need a keyboard, or mouse). But if the best bets to just upgrade my HP then I will need a new Video card and probably a new PSU.

    Do you need to buy OS: no

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Ebay.com, newegg.com, tigerdirect.com (whichever places have the best prices)

    Location: Cullman, Alabama

    Parts Preferences: Nope

    Overclocking: Maybe (Don't know much about overclocking)

    SLI or Crossfire: Ill say no, because I don't know what it is.

    Your Monitor Resolution: I think its 1920x1200...but I could be wrong on that..I am not at my pc atm.

    Additional Comments: I want to be able to play Guild Wars 2 and League of Legends on high settings. Guild Wars doesn't have to be on ultra...but I do want it on high with good FPS. I will also be using movie editing software such as Sony Vegas

    And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I want to be able to play GW2 on high settings.


    Again, I am either wanting to Upgrade the HP p6203w. So I can run Sony Vegas, and play GW2. Or I am wanting to build a new pc that can do both of those. I know the HP p6203w is not brand new (its a few years old). I don't know if in order to run those programs I would have to replace to much and it would just be cheaper to build new..or what. Anyways, sorry for any confusion. and thanks in advance for any and all help.

    -Dan


    I'd opt for upgrading. The parts you would need to upgrade: GPU, Power Supply, and CPU.

    For the GPU, I'm recommending a 7850. It should max anything GW2 and LoL can throw at it, even at 1920x1200.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202004

    For the CPU, 3.0 GHz Athlon II quad-core. Fully compatible with the motherboards AM2+ socket and falls within specified Thermal Power Design, so there shouldn't be any compatibility issues. Easy as popping it in, strap on heatsink.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103871

    Needless to say, a 250w Power supply isn't going to power to it, so I'd recommend at least a 550W. Here is an 80+ Bronze one from Enermax
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817194095

    The sub-total as of now (excluding mail-in rebates, shipping and taxes) is $335, so should be well under $400 at the end of the day, especially considering all parts have Free Shipping atm.
  3. I looked into it more
    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=bph07139&cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&product=4006002#bph07139_compatible

    You can upgrade to any AM2+ CPU with a TDP of 95watts

    This is the best CPU you can get - if you can find it.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103696
  4. Definitely a new system. Hopefully you can reuse the optical drive at least.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.98 @ NCIX US)
    Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($105.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 370 ATX Mid Tower Case ($31.99 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $436.92
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-23 05:29 EDT-0400)
  5. FinneousPJ said:
    Definitely a new system. Hopefully you can reuse the optical drive at least.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.98 @ NCIX US)
    Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($105.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 370 ATX Mid Tower Case ($31.99 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $436.92
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-09-23 05:29 EDT-0400)



    Why do you say to build rather than upgrade?

    I also found

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-Phenom-II-X4-945-Energy-Efficient-3-GHz-Quad-Core-HDX945WFGIBOX-Processor-/300779240481?pt=CPUs&hash=item4607d6fc21

    Should I get that or

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103871&nm_mc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r&cm_mmc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Processors+-+Desktops-_-AMD-_-19103871

    BTW, thank you for the fast responses. I appreciate the help!
  6. Because you can get a brilliant system as demonstrated.
  7. the 3220 is much better than a Phenom II 945
  8. ScrewySqrl said:
    the 3220 is much better than a Phenom II 945


    Neublet said:

    Additional Comments: I want to be able to play Guild Wars 2 and League of Legends on high settings. Guild Wars doesn't have to be on ultra...but I do want it on high with good FPS. I will also be using movie editing software such as Sony Vegas

    And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I want to be able to play GW2 on high settings.
    -Dan


    In his case, that's hardly true. The Phenom II is more than adequate for his needs, and will actually be faster than the i3 with video encoding. Not to mention the chip itself is cheaper than the i3, and it doesn't involve changing out the motherboard nor RAM, which would make it significantly cheaper. Also, as software starts utilizing open library standards (OpenCL, OpenGL), the CPU will become less relevant in light of the 7850's massive compute performance. We already see this shift in the budget sections with the AMD A8-3870k starting to outshine the Pentium G630. And I believe Sony Vegas starting utilizing OpenCL since version 11.

    Quote:
    Today's story involved an APU that was available one year ago and a CPU that came around this time last year. Back then, we had older versions of many of these apps and very few examples of OpenCL-enabled software. Now, we can go back, maintain the same hardware platforms, and compare how the software side has evolved. In many cases, both AMD and Intel are enjoying big speed-ups as developers write more threaded code. But as we incorporate Open CL-based testing, AMD is clearly enjoying the most drastic improvements.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-llano-opencl,3284-12.html
  9. jerm1027 said:
    In his case, that's hardly true. The Phenom II is more than adequate for his needs, and will actually be faster than the i3 with video encoding. Not to mention the chip itself is cheaper than the i3, and it doesn't involve changing out the motherboard nor RAM, which would make it significantly cheaper. Also, as software starts utilizing open library standards (OpenCL, OpenGL), the CPU will become less relevant in light of the 7850's massive compute performance. We already see this shift in the budget sections with the AMD A8-3870k starting to outshine the Pentium G630. And I believe Sony Vegas starting utilizing OpenCL since version 11.

    Quote:
    Today's story involved an APU that was available one year ago and a CPU that came around this time last year. Back then, we had older versions of many of these apps and very few examples of OpenCL-enabled software. Now, we can go back, maintain the same hardware platforms, and compare how the software side has evolved. In many cases, both AMD and Intel are enjoying big speed-ups as developers write more threaded code. But as we incorporate Open CL-based testing, AMD is clearly enjoying the most drastic improvements.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-llano-opencl,3284-12.html


    So then the Phenom II would work better in the system that Finneous gave me or is there a better setup to work with that chip?

    And if I am understanding correctly, the Phenom will handle Sony Vegas better than the 3220 right? Will the graphics card Finneous listed be able to handle both GW2 and Vegas?
  10. Neublet said:
    So then the Phenom II would work better in the system that Finneous gave me or is there a better setup to work with that chip?

    And if I am understanding correctly, the Phenom will handle Sony Vegas better than the 3220 right? Will the graphics card Finneous listed be able to handle both GW2 and Vegas?


    I haven't found much in the means of official recommended requirements, but the minimum is an Athlon X2 4600+ (around 2.4GHz), and game-debate (which has really been a hit or miss in my experience) recommends a Phenom 9650, which is a 2.3GHz quad-core. Both the Phenom II and Athlon II that were recommended (they chips are identical except the Athlon II doesn't have L3 cache) are much faster than the 9650. It should handle GW2 at max settings.
    http://www.game-debate.com/games/index.php?g_id=684&game=Guild%20Wars%202

    As far as the new system goes: One of the main benefits of AMD platform is high compatibility. You don't have to build a new system as the Athlon II and Phenom II CPU's are fully compatible with Socket AM2+ systems. You can just pop the new CPU in your current machine.

    The 7770 should handle GW2 at max settings just fine. However, I'd recommend the 7850 because of the OpenCL acceleration will be much greater vs the 7770. There is a relatively big gap between the 7850 and 7770 in terms of performance.
  11. So just to clarify. Buy

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-Phenom-II-X4-945-Energy-Efficient-3-GHz-Quad-Core-HDX945WFGIBOX-Processor-/300779240481?pt=CPUs&hash=item4607d6fc21

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202004&nm_mc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r&cm_mmc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Video+Cards-_-Sapphire+Tech-_-14202004

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=

    and just install those into my current HP pc. Correct? If this is correc the only differences between my current pc (with these upgrades) and the custom one is the custom will have 8gb of ram. However, my HP will also have a cd/dvd burning.

    This is the PSU thats currently in the HP. Will it work for these upgrades (I don't want any overheating).

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=

    The Corsair is only $25 so its not a huge deal, but if the other will handle the upgrades just fine then no need to upgrade..right?
  12. Neublet said:
    So just to clarify. Buy

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-Phenom-II-X4-945-Energy-Efficient-3-GHz-Quad-Core-HDX945WFGIBOX-Processor-/300779240481?pt=CPUs&hash=item4607d6fc21

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202004&nm_mc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r&cm_mmc=OTC-pr1c3grabb3r-_-Video+Cards-_-Sapphire+Tech-_-14202004

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=

    and just install those into my current HP pc. Correct? If this is correc the only differences between my current pc (with these upgrades) and the custom one is the custom will have 8gb of ram. However, my HP will also have a cd/dvd burning.

    This is the PSU thats currently in the HP. Will it work for these upgrades (I don't want any overheating).

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=3938566&SID=

    The Corsair is only $25 so its not a huge deal, but if the other will handle the upgrades just fine then no need to upgrade..right?

    The stock PSU in the current machine cannot accommodate the upgrades; it is 250w from a virtually unknown source. No-name power supplies have a tendency of shorting out when pushed to their limits. The upgrades would require at least 350w - 400w. The 430W is just enough to power everything. Personally, I'd get a 500w or greater PSU, but if you don't plan to upgrade any further, the Corsair 430W should be fine. Everything else looks right. The current one (w/ upgrades) would also be more potent for newer games vs the new one because of the more powerful GPU. As I've stated before, there is a fairly large performance gap between the 7850 and 7770.
  13. Ok Thank you all very much. I will be purchasing these upgrades.
  14. I am not going to be able to have all of the money right away for these upgrades. What I was wondering is what parts would I need to upgrade to be able to play World of Warcraft on high or ultra settings. Along with doing video editing with Sony Vegas Pro?

    I also figured out that my monitor is 1600x900 (tho I am considering getting a new monitor, just not sure which one).

    Thanks in advance.
  15. Neublet said:
    I am not going to be able to have all of the money right away for these upgrades. What I was wondering is what parts would I need to upgrade to be able to play World of Warcraft on high or ultra settings. Along with doing video editing with Sony Vegas Pro?

    I also figured out that my monitor is 1600x900 (tho I am considering getting a new monitor, just not sure which one).

    Thanks in advance.

    GPU+PSU. PSU by itself is going to have zero effect on gaming performance, and your current PSU can't power the GPU.

    The CPU can wait.
  16. here's my suggestion:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($124.99 @ Newegg)
    Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M-DGS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($60.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: GeIL Enhance CORSA 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Hitachi Deskstar 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($64.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($74.98 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($29.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Amazon)
    Total: $446.90
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
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