Need help upgrading

Wasn't sure if this was Prebuilt or New build...
I upgraded my computer a few months ago and was happy with the enhanced graphics, though now I want to upgrade even further to get smoother processing and better speed. I'm tired of the lagging and inability to run my Games, with my recording or Livestreaming software without hiccups. This is the first time I've asked for help from anyone on this so hopefully I'm doing this right and can get some help. This is my desktop I want to upgrade.

Current Computer specs:
HP Pavilion
Model: p6-2108p
Processor: AMD E2-3200 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics 2.40 GHz
RAM: 6.00GB
System: 64-bit Operating system (with Windows 7 Home Premium)
Windows is activated on it

The current upgrades in it are:
Link - Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Link - Galaxy 56NGH6HS3KXZ GeForce GTX 560 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

I am not looking for answers that say just to buy a new computer, this computer is rather new.

Approximate Purchase Date: Sometime soon? Between now and January 2013
Budget Range: As a student my budget isn't massively high, though I could spend up to ... $400 I think.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming / Recording / Live streaming, Movies, surfing internet.
- - - In case it is asked, types of games I play range from Sims 3 to Skyrim, Fallout 3, etc.
Are you buying a monitor: No. I currently am happy with my HP S2031 Series Wide LCD Monitor.

Parts to Upgrade: Uncertain. I want to, for sure, upgrade my Processor, generally I find that 3.0 + GHz is better than anything for gaming purposes, and currently mine is 2.4. Perhaps Motherboard if needed? Case as well.
- - - This is the case I was looking at and really like, not only for price but it seems to have significant enough airflow?
Do you need to buy OS: Not sure. Hopefully not? If it is possible to transfer OS without re-installation due to it being installed on the computer when I got it, to a new motherboard since I paid for it already, then no? I'm not sure on this though. Help needed (assuming this is only in reference to if a motherboard was purchased?)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg
Location: Bozeman, Montana, United States
Additional notes: If Motherboard doesn't need to / shouldn't be changed I was thinking this would work for the Processor?

Basically... as I stated before, I'm looking to upgrade something, or several things, provided it doesn't kill my budget. I've heard that the Holly motherboard is not good for gaming purposes, and obviously this is a mini tower so upgrade space is limited (Reason why I was considering a case move). Though as I've only upgraded the Power supply and graphics card, I felt I needed some outside opinion(s) on the matter with tips and hints for an outside opinion. I'd like this to be as painless as possible. I've heard it is possible to upgrade the motherboard without needing to re-install the OS? However I'm a little nervous as this is upgrading / building the HP up better.

As I'm kind of new to this I'd really like a kind opinion and help on the matter, Thank you.
10 answers Last reply
More about need upgrading
  1. yes, that A8-3870K CPU should work. if you want more performance than that, then you're looking to spend more as well.

    with your PSU and GPU, everything should be in your budget. as for performance, you should see some improvement prior to the upgrade. you're still bound to see some hiccups, but an improvement nonetheless.
  2. Generally the speed of the processor is not what counts. My Celeron G530, rated at 2.4GHz can blow holes in my Athlon 64 X2 4600+, also rated at 2.4GHz.

    Core architecture is also important.

    In my experience, I have upgraded a motherboard without reinstalling the OS. The thing is it doesnt always work. Usually it cannot be done on OEM versions of Windows (which you would not have).
  3. Thanks for the fast replies!

    So would there be a recommendation to upgrade the Motherboard as well? Or will things be better with just the processor upgrade? As for core architecture, I'm assuming that is the brand/way the processor core is manufactured? Any recommendations for anything or does upgrading the processor sound like enough?

    Also, I've never preformed a case change before, is that too terribly hard and would the case I posted work for what I need? The micro-tower worries me with the air flow space, it seems pretty tight fitted already and it seems to get pretty hot.
  4. if you're ready to buy a motherboard as well, you may as well go the whole nine yards and buy a better CPU like the Phenom II X4 955BE, an FX-4300, a Pentium G2120/G8**, or an i3-2120/3220. it's somewhat doable, with some compromise on spending on the other parts and/or stretching out your budget a small bit. otherwise, if you're budget's very restrictive, not much else you can do.

    EDIT: if you're changing the motherboard as well, you'll need a fresh install of Windows 7/8, so more spending there.

    as for case changing; some of the most common mistakes beginners make installing the parts into a case are forgetting the motherboard standoffs and the I/O shield. a good rule for beginners; like it or not, spend the time reading the manuals, twice if you have to.

    other than that; righty tighty, lefty loosy, and make sure everything is securely screwed/locked in place. arranging the cables/wiring, though, is a challenge most of us with experience still find difficult sometimes.
  5. Your AMD E2-3200 is not a very strong cpu.
    It has a passmark # of 1521.

    It uses socket FM1, and the strongest cpu that will fit is the A8-3570K quad core which has a passmark # of 3679.
    That is a nice jump for $105.
    I think just replacing the cpu is the best thing to do.
    There will be no issue of reactivating windows since the motherboard will be the same.
    You might need a bios update to recognize the a8-3570K

    For heavy multitaksing, I would think that 6gb would be good, but that is a strange size that might be leaving you operating the ram in single channel mode. Amd cpu's are somewhat sensitive to ram speed, so replacing the ram with a fast 8gb kit would not cost that much. check with a ram vendor configurator to see what kits are compatible with your motherboard.
    8gb should be about $40.

    With your budget of $400, you can do much better, but you will need to change out the motherboard and cpu.
    For example a i5-3330 quad will cost $190 and has a passmark # of 5975.
    A socket 1155 motherboard will cost $50-$100.I think you will need a M-ATX size to fit in your case.

    Allowing $40 for 8gb of ram, you are well under your budget.

    In theory, windows 7 oem is tied to the motherboard.
    But, Microsoft has been very understanding with replacing a motherboard.
    After all, if a motherboard fails, and a identical replacement is not readily available, then it is reasonable to substitute a different one. When asked, the key question to answer is that this copy of windows is being used on only one pc.
    Most likely, you will be able to activate using your original activation code.
  6. Yeah I know about it not being a great CPU and using the FM1 slot, mainly the reason why I want to upgrade. But thank you so much for the replies!

    So perhaps for starters just upgrade the Processor to the one I linked to? I don't know a whole lot about BIOS so could someone elaborate further about that kind of update?
  7. looked around for the motherboard on your PC and it seems it supports up to an A8-3850

    not much in regards to upgrading the BIOS to accommodate it for an A8-3850K;

    so you're stuck with an A8-3850. which is a slightly lower clocked (by a 100mhz, if i recalled) non-overclockable A8-3850K. not a massive setback fortunately.
  8. Its not like he would be able to overclock the K anyway with an HP board.
  9. alechart said:
    Yeah I know about it not being a great CPU and using the FM1 slot, mainly the reason why I want to upgrade. But thank you so much for the replies!

    So perhaps for starters just upgrade the Processor to the one I linked to? I don't know a whole lot about BIOS so could someone elaborate further about that kind of update?

    BIOS = Basic Input Output System.
    It is the firmware recorded in a chip that controls the basic functions of a PC.
    It can be changed to correct minor flaws or support new cpu's .
    If you have owned the pc for some time, it may not support the new A8 chips.
    You can determine the current bios level by downloading and running CPU-Z.
    Then go to HP support and look for bios downloads and instructions.
    There should be a list of what the current bios levels fix or supports.
    If your current level supports the A8, then great.
    Otherwise, you will need to download the latest bios and use it to update your pc.
    Do not update a bios just to be current. Do so only if it will fix an issue that will impact you.
    Be very careful to read and understand the process.
    A failed bios update can permanently render your motherboard inoperative.
    One reason might be a power failure during the update.

    Since you are considering a motherboard/cpu replacement anyway,
    a failed update is not the end of the world.
  10. Thanks for everyone's help and replies. I think for now I will go ahead and update the processor and see if that fixes most of the lagging/hiccups. If I don't see an improvement then I'll return the processor and likely go the whole route with a new motherboard. I'll likely put off a case change as well, just in case. Thanks again for everyone's help! It's much appreciated.
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