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Need help upgrading my old computer?

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November 27, 2012 2:23:04 AM

I have a 3-4 year old computer that needs an upgrade to run smoother and be able to run windows 8. I currently have a Gateway DX4300 and I think all I need is a new GPU and PSU to make this machine run a lot better.

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

I need help determining the best possible video card this guy can handle with stock CPU and Motherboard. I am thinking along the lines of a Radeon HD 6770 and with a PSU of around 750W? Would this work on the old gateway?

Would my computer be able to support a new video card such as a Radeon HD 6770 or higher? Could it support a high graphics card such as the Radeon HD 7850? I know I need a new PSU to support a new Video Card so would a 750W be sufficient or should I go higher?

More about : upgrading computer

a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 2:38:33 AM

Hey there!

You are definitely on the right track. I agree that a new GPU could prolong the life of this machine. It wont be "fast" but it will be able to game decently.

In order to make good suggestions -- what resolution is your monitor and what types of games are you playing? What is causing you to want to upgrade? This will help us gauge if it is your processor or graphics that are currently slowing the machine down.

You are overshooting PSU wattage requirements by a lot. The important thing is quality in a PSU. A high quality 450w power supply can run most cards. A 500w can run any single card. The best PSU makers IMO are Seasonic(the best), Corsair, Antec, XFX, PC Power, Enermax, and some others. Typically, the higher the efficiency rating the better for lower power use and cooler temps.
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November 27, 2012 2:45:39 AM

Thank you for the help so Far I did not know that about the PSU's at all that helps a lot and saves me a lot of money.

My current monitor resolution is 1680x1050.

I really only play RTS types of games such as Starcraft 2, Total War series, Stronghold, Company of Heros, etc.. As well as Minecraft.

I am wanting to upgrade because the newere the game the slower my machine seems to respond such as empire total war shogun total war and sometimes starcraft. I want to be prepared for the new titles to be released next year. I am also trying to upgrade to windows 8 and the Radeon 4650 that I have now is not supported by windows 8, they only have drivers for 5000 series and higher I believe
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 3:09:57 AM

deadlockedworld said:
Hey there!

You are definitely on the right track. I agree that a new GPU could prolong the life of this machine. It wont be "fast" but it will be able to game decently.

In order to make good suggestions -- what resolution is your monitor and what types of games are you playing? What is causing you to want to upgrade? This will help us gauge if it is your processor or graphics that are currently slowing the machine down.

You are overshooting PSU wattage requirements by a lot. The important thing is quality in a PSU. A high quality 450w power supply can run most cards. A 500w can run any single card. The best PSU makers IMO are Seasonic(the best), Corsair, Antec, XFX, PC Power, Enermax, and some others. Typically, the higher the efficiency rating the better for lower power use and cooler temps.


XFX PSUs are made by Seasonic, some Antec models are made by Seasonic, and some of those others also have models that are made by Seasonic. You are way oversimplifying your branding recommendation.

Otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly. My only concern is the CPU, but it's not too bad, granted it's no better than even an Athlon II x4 of the same frequency since it basically is an Athlon II x4 (it's L3 cache is locked) and 2.6GHz is a low frequency for those CPUs. If it was at least Nehalem instead of Stars or at least Stars with a higher frequency and some L3 cache, then I wouldn't be worried, but it is what it is.
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November 27, 2012 3:20:25 AM

blazorthon said:
XFX PSUs are made by Seasonic, some Antec models are made by Seasonic, and some of those others also have models that are made by Seasonic. You are way oversimplifying your branding recommendation.

Otherwise, I agree wholeheartedly. My only concern is the CPU, but it's not too bad, granted it's no better than even an Athlon II x4 of the same frequency since it basically is an Athlon II x4 (it's L3 cache is locked) and 2.6GHz is a low frequency for those CPUs. If it was at least Nehalem instead of Stars or at least Stars with a higher frequency and some L3 cache, then I wouldn't be worried, but it is what it is.



Unfortunetly I am a noob when it comes to upgrading my PC and I have no idea what you just said. So I have a crappy CPU? a 2.6 GHz quad core is not powerful enough? So would upgrading my GPU be pointless?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 3:27:10 AM

Fres9056 said:
Unfortunetly I am a noob when it comes to upgrading my PC and I have no idea what you just said. So I have a crappy CPU? a 2.6 GHz quad core is not powerful enough? So would upgrading my GPU be pointless?


GHz and core count does not equal performance. It's much more complicated than that. Suffice to say that your CPU is on the low end spectrum, just above the Intel Pentium G2120 in average gaming performance as measured in average frame latency (FPS is misleading, average frame latency is much more realistic). Don't worry about what that means if you don't understand it.

You most certainly would see a huge difference with as graphics upgrade. It simply won't be as huge as it would be if you have a much better CPU. For example, a Phenom II x4 980 (or overclocked lower end model of the x4 900 family) would have a huge advantage and it'd still be only in the mid-ranged section of performance.

However, a graphics upgrade is easily much more prudent for you. A CPU upgrade too would help, but if you can only afford one good upgrade, go for the graphics. If you give a total budget to work with, I can see if you can fit in a decent CPU upgrade with a great video card upgrade.
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 3:29:12 AM

I refreshed your thread before posting. One poster was wrong about your cpu if u go by gateway's support page.

Your cpu is less powerful than an athlon II x4(at least the decent ones that are 3ghz+),

I googled your gateway dx4300 and found gateway's support pages for that series. The processor range looks like it goes from somewhat older semprons to the original phenom x4s(2.6ghz max on 9950be with only 2MB L3 cache) and athlon x2s vs athlon 64 x2s(I know little about the former and quite a bit about the latter. A fast 3ghz A64 x2 dual core or faster might be ok). The games you mentioned don't require a ton of graphics grunt, but I imagine some endgame scenarios with a bunch of AI units might potentially get bogged down on whatever cpu you have in there. Depending on the graphics settings you are trying to use on the integrated amd graphics or any add in card at that res, your performance issues may be more or less based on either your gpu or you cpu.

If you read Tom's November gpu buyer's guide, you'd know that the latest drivers have boosted performance on gcn based hd7000 series radeons to the point that they have moved up in the hierarchy chart. The 7750(a card with only a 55w tdp and no power connectors required beyond what the pcie x16 mobo slot supplies)is now equivalent to the hd6770 in performance. Graphics wise, it should work quite well for all the games you mentioned at your res.

Again, however, I am concerned that you cpu may prove to be a noticeable bottleneck in the gaming scenarios you put forth. That could limit the potential of your new card. You might be able to save even more money not only by not needing a new psu, but also by going with an even lower performing card like a hd6670 ddr3 which has a relatively low tdp and gets by on what the mobo's pcie x16 slot can provide as well. Just something to mull over.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 3:41:27 AM

jtenorj said:
I refreshed your thread before posting. One poster was wrong about your cpu if u go by gateway's support page.

Your cpu is less powerful than an athlon II x4(at least the decent ones that are 3ghz+),

I googled your gateway dx4300 and found gateway's support pages for that series. The processor range looks like it goes from somewhat older semprons to the original phenom x4s(2.6ghz max on 9950be with only 2MB L3 cache) and athlon x2s vs athlon 64 x2s(I know little about the former and quite a bit about the latter. A fast 3ghz A64 x2 dual core or faster might be ok). The games you mentioned don't require a ton of graphics grunt, but I imagine some endgame scenarios with a bunch of AI units might potentially get bogged down on whatever cpu you have in there. Depending on the graphics settings you are trying to use on the integrated amd graphics or any add in card at that res, your performance issues may be more or less based on either your gpu or you cpu.

If you read Tom's November gpu buyer's guide, you'd know that the latest drivers have boosted performance on gcn based hd7000 series radeons to the point that they have moved up in the hierarchy chart. The 7750(a card with only a 55w tdp and no power connectors required beyond what the pcie x16 mobo slot supplies)is now equivalent to the hd6770 in performance. Graphics wise, it should work quite well for all the games you mentioned at your res.

Again, however, I am concerned that you cpu may prove to be a noticeable bottleneck in the gaming scenarios you put forth. That could limit the potential of your new card. You might be able to save even more money not only by not needing a new psu, but also by going with an even lower performing card like a hd6670 ddr3 which has a relatively low tdp and gets by on what the mobo's pcie x16 slot can provide as well. Just something to mull over.


The system in the Newegg page clearly states that there is a Phenom II x4 810 as the CPU. The Gateway page is probably out of date in CPU support for the motherboard or the motherboard in the Newegg system is different from that normally used by the system from Gateway.

I said that it is equal to an Athlon II X4 of the same frequency and there are several models around its frequency (as well as some that are lower), so my point on its performance relative to Athlon II x4 stands correct even if you ignore where I stated "of the same frequency".

Furthermore, no dual core at 3GHz will beat even the Phenom II x4 810 in average gaming performance. No AMD dual-core of that frequency will even come close.

Also, anyone with much knowledge about the AM2+ and AM3 platforms should know that all AM3 CPUs have a DDR2 and a DDR3 memory controller and are physcially compatible with the AM2+ motherboards and DDR2 memory used by the older AM2+ generation. Gateway's support page, again, is probably just out of date or used a different motherboard from what is used in the Newegg system. If it supports Phenom II x4 8xx models, it should support at least some Phenom II x4 9xx models too.
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November 27, 2012 3:47:38 AM

I wanted to stay away from upgrading a lot of parts because then maybe just buying a new computer all together would be best? I have a friend that afford me his CPU for cheap because he is upgrading. He would be giving me this

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

Would this work with my existing motherboard? I have no idea whats in my computer or how to find out. I see his GPU takes 125W which seems high so I am sure I would need a new PSU just to run that, not even including a new GPU. With this CPU what would be a good GPU to compliment it?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 3:50:08 AM

Your motherboard probably doesn't support 125W TDP CPUs like the Phenom II x6 1090T. It's a decent CPU, I know because I have one, but IDK if your board supports it. Some AMD boards only support 95W models and that's especially common among OEM systems such as yours. A 95W model such as the Phenom II X4 960T would probably be a better option.
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November 27, 2012 3:52:15 AM

Also something that will change this whole discussion. According to my system properties and "a sticker on the side of my computer" I actually have a AMD Phenom II x4 9750 processor.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 3:55:15 AM

Fres9056 said:
Also something that will change this whole discussion. According to my system properties and "a sticker on the side of my computer" I actually have a AMD Phenom II x4 9750 processor.


Alright then, that does change things.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 4:03:14 AM

Quote:
Here is actual specs of my actual system.

http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/gateway-dx4300-03/4507...

So what does this change? do I still need a new CPU and what GPU would work better for my current CPU if it is a good one. Also would my motherboard be better and allow a new CPU?

Thank you guys for all your help and time


Your CPU is probably quite similarly performing to an Athlon II x4 @ 2.6GHz and your upgrade options just shrunk to not worth it without a new motherboard. Again, I'll have to reiterate my earlier question: What is your budget? Depending on the budget, a CPU upgrade is possible, but it would need a motherboard replacement to be worth-while and possibly also a RAM replacement (both are cheap, so I wouldn't be worried, especially if you sell the RAM and maybe the board that you have).
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November 27, 2012 4:09:50 AM

blazorthon said:
Your CPU is probably quite similarly performing to an Athlon II x4 @ 2.6GHz and your upgrade options just shrunk to not worth it without a new motherboard. Again, I'll have to reiterate my earlier question: What is your budget? Depending on the budget, a CPU upgrade is possible, but it would need a motherboard replacement to be worth-while and possibly also a RAM replacement (both are cheap, so I wouldn't be worried, especially if you sell the RAM and maybe the board that you have).




Lets put a budget of $200 without adding my friends new processor. What would be a good Motherboard to compliment the Phenom II x6 1100T

Thank you guys for all your help and time
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 4:51:46 AM

That board does support that CPU, but it would probably need a BIOS update. Newegg seems to ship it with an older BIOS version that needs to be updated before using. You'd need to borrow your friend's Phenom II x6 or another AM3 CPU to do that, but only temporarily.

That video card is a decent 7750 with a free game, so it's a decent deal, but this 7770 can be had for a mere $10 more and would be a significant improvement over even that 7750:
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-video-card-gvr777...

Also, this:
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/amd-cpu-fd4300wmhkbox

This CPU is a little faster, uses quite a lot less power, and the same price at $120 as the FX-4170 from Newegg.
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November 27, 2012 5:16:01 AM

blazorthon said:
That board does support that CPU, but it would probably need a BIOS update. Newegg seems to ship it with an older BIOS version that needs to be updated before using. You'd need to borrow your friend's Phenom II x6 or another AM3 CPU to do that, but only temporarily.

That video card is a decent 7750 with a free game, so it's a decent deal, but this 7770 can be had for a mere $10 more and would be a significant improvement over even that 7750:
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-video-card-gvr777...

Also, this:
http://pcpartpicker.com/part/amd-cpu-fd4300wmhkbox

This CPU is a little faster, uses quite a lot less power, and the same price at $120 as the FX-4170 from Newegg.


Id hate to bother you any more but would you be able to recommend a Motherboard that would be compatible with the CPU you just suggested?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 5:18:41 AM

Fres9056 said:
Id hate to bother you any more but would you be able to recommend a Motherboard that would be compatible with the CPU you just suggested?


The board that you chose is listed as compatible on the website so long as it gets its BIOS update.
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 11:54:55 AM

blazorthon said:
XFX PSUs are made by Seasonic, some Antec models are made by Seasonic, and some of those others also have models that are made by Seasonic. You are way oversimplifying your branding recommendation.

Yep, I am aware. Thats what we are here to do, simplify for people. Seasonic models are reliable.
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 12:08:31 PM

So I apparently missed quite the party here last night. I disagree that this user should be considering motherboard/processor upgrades on a gateway. He is not an enthusiast, and this could be a huge headache for him. He would need to buy a new copy of windows, would no longer have reinstall/support disks/etc. Fine for someone with the time to deal with that, but maybe not for the average person.

What you should really be doing is saving for the next PC.

The original course of action works as an intermediary step. However, as noted the weaker processor means this can only take you so far - less far than I had initially hoped. You have to decide if you want to put more money into this PC or not.

Are you interested in building/modding your next PC? If so, you could get better GPU/PSU parts now, then reuse them in a new PC in a year. If not, you should try to get away with the cheapest upgrades you can. That 7770 is the absolutely most expensive thing that should be considered. Could get away with cheaper - particularly at a 1080x1600 resolution.
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November 27, 2012 2:59:02 PM

Well I just bought a new CPU and motherboard because they were on a very good sale.

I got this CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

I did not purchases them newegg however because tigerdirect had them for $117 together after MIR and instant rebates. I hope I made a good purchase. I may or may not put this into my existing computer. I might just start slowly piecing together a new computer entirely. I will be purchasing this GPU and PSU soon after I have more money (after holidays).

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


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

Am I on a good track? Was my purchase smart? I'm crossing my fingers....
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 3:04:46 PM

Hey there,

Yea - if you are going the new PC route these are ok choices. All you are missing is the DDR3 memory to go in it and a new OEM copy of Windows. You can reuse the DVD drive.

The complication in upgrading I was referring to above was based on the fact that your Gateway OS isn't going to work on a new motherboard.

I see no reason why you can't reuse your gateway case for now. Although if you want to, this is a great deal for the money:
Corsair 200R - $34 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-Te...
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November 27, 2012 3:11:24 PM

Ok good I'm glad i didn't waste money. I figured id reuse the memory in my gateway but it is DDR2 so I guess I purchase these:

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

Thank you for the case recommendation. I will try my gateway case at first but if it doesn't fit I go with what you suggested.

I am not an enthusiast like you said I am a casual gamer nothing extreme and just want a cheap but lasting computer.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 3:24:48 PM

Actually, OP, just so you know, you shouldn't need to buy a new OS. Simply call MS support and tell them that you're replacing a failed motherboard in an OEM system and they'll usually fix everything up for you.

Also, your memory choice is a great kit, but it is sold out :( 
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November 27, 2012 3:55:45 PM

Its good that you say that. I actually just purchased and installed Windows 8 on my PC a week ago and now that im getting new hardware I was worried I wasted my money. I just email Microsoft telling them that I just upgraded and now I need a new motherboard so I hope the respond with good news and give me another license or I will just call them as soon as I am ready to install the new pieces.

Also Im glad I picked out good RAM, it wasn't sold out when I posted that, it must have went quick. But ill just wait until its back in stock.

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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 4:04:41 PM

As I recall, Windows 8 (OEM) doesn't have all of the same restrictions in its license as previous OEM Windows and you might be able to simply re-use its install key anyway, but you can't really be too careful :) 
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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 4:35:43 PM

It should work (the motherboard underclocking the memory to DDR3-1066 7-7-7-18 or thereabouts by default), but I make no guarantees.
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a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2012 5:04:19 PM

Ah! You purchased windows 8. My bad - I was telling you that your Gateway Disk OS would not work on a different PC. A plain copy of Windows would work though.

The motherboard supports DDR3 1333, so there isnt really a reason to get such fast memory. That said, it is really cheap.

This would be another cheap option: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 27, 2012 5:53:07 PM

Thank you so much. Purchased! Now I just need to figure out how to out all these parts together. I can't thank you guys enough for helping me and taking your time out for me.
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