Not computer savy at all, need help with computer upgrade for a gaming computer.

hey guys,
like the tittle says, i'm not very good at the whole computer upgrade thing. i recently acquired a gateway desktop Model GM5643E. the specs are below:
-Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600@ 2.40GHz 2.39GHz
-memory(RAM): 3.00GB
-system type: 32-bit OS (windows vista)
-graphics card: i didn't see one in the system properties screen but i saw this on a Sticker on the side- Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100.

I want to upgrade this computer so that I can play games such as Battlefield 3 (games that need good computers to function properly). I also want the Computer to be able to run adobe photoshop and adobe premier pro for video editing. Any help would be much appreciated. again i know nothing about upgrading a computer. thank you for you consideration. -Jr.
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  1. The least expensive upgrade to make it suitable for gaming would be a discrete graphic card. But we need to know your PSU size in watts, the resolution of your monitor, and your budget. Is this your PC: http://support.gateway.com/s//PC/R/1014859R/1014859Rnv.shtml
  2. clutchc said:
    The least expensive upgrade to make it suitable for gaming would be a discrete graphic card. But we need to know your PSU size in watts, the resolution of your monitor, and your budget. Is this your PC: http://support.gateway.com/s//PC/R/1014859R/1014859Rnv.shtml


    thank you for you response. I honestly dont know what PSU stand for, but im gonna guess power supply? haha if it is its 400 watts and correcto-mundo. that is the exact computer that i have. in my mind i knew the graphics card would be the first thing i would have to change. my budget for this computer i about 500-600 dollars. any more advice on what particular graphics card i should get would be much appreciated a well as if i need more RAM and a new processor. also do i need to upgrade to windows 7 or 8? thank you!
  3. clutchc said:
    The least expensive upgrade to make it suitable for gaming would be a discrete graphic card. But we need to know your PSU size in watts, the resolution of your monitor, and your budget. Is this your PC: http://support.gateway.com/s//PC/R/1014859R/1014859Rnv.shtml


    and my monitor is my 42 inch tv which is 1080p.
  4. Good. 400W will give us some leeway... if it is a real 400W. Some ratings are less than honest, let's say. Do you have a cable from the power supply (PSU) that looks like this: http://images.madeinchina.com/p/717/4357717/6-Pin-Power-Adapter-Cable-for-PCI-Express-Video_4357717.bak.jpg
    That is a PCIe power cable. At least one of them from your PSU, would indicate it is a real 400W unit. Games like BF3 are very graphically demanding, especially at higher resolutions like 1920x1080. You will need to have a graphics card of substantial power to play it at that rez with high settings and not get stutter-y frame rates. I'd like to recommend a AMD HD 7850 for you, but it will depend on the nameplate rating on the side of your PSU. Is there any way you can see the nameplate? Or is it located on the back side of the unit the way it is mounted?
  5. I would just get a good used graphics card to get a little more time out of your other components. I picked up a GTX 560 for £60 on ebay which would do you fine until you want to replace the cpu/mobo/ram etc.
  6. Did you say 500-600 dollars? you could buy a new psu and a nice gpu for that

    http://www.amazon.com/Seasonic-80Plus-M12II-620-BRONZE/dp/B003HE260I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364488140&sr=8-2&keywords=seasonic+520
    should give plenty of spare watts and a gpu like a 7850 or 7870 xt/le if you want extra performance, if you go with a 7850 you'll have around $250 left or if you go with a 7870 you'll have around $200, (i don't live in american so rough guess) either way buying a new psu and gpu with a 500-600 budget will leave you with some money left over enough for a second gpu if you really wanted
  7. I forgot to add..
    How many memory slots does your motherboard (MB) have? The one in the specs page above shows 4 x DDR2 800MHZ max slots. Unless you decide to upgrade to 64 bit Win7 (or Win8), you are limited to a max of 4GB of memory with 32 bit Vista. But the catch is, DDR2 RAM is obsolete now and demands a premium price when you find some.

    Unless you can read your PSU's label, I'm going to assume it is this power supply: http://support.gateway.com/s/POWER/6501066/6501066mvr3.shtml
    That shows that the +12V rail(s) can handle 30A max. That is important to know when choosing a graphics card because the card gets its power from the +12V rail (or circuit). The HD 7850 requires 130W at max usage. That relates to about 11A on the +12V rail. So, if the above PSU is the one you have, it should be sufficient.

    This card should be just the ticket for your PC if the PSU is the one I linked you to. And it comes with 2 free games!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202004
    Your Q6600 quad core and the DDR2 memory might be a slight bottle-neck for the card, but should give you great frame rates at high settings. A slightly less powerful card more evenly matched to the Q6600, might be one of these:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20600007779%20600286767%20600298539&IsNodeId=1&name=Radeon%20HD%207770%20GHz%20Edition
    Or the new HD 7790 that is yet to come out.
  8. clutchc said:
    I forgot to add..
    How many memory slots does your motherboard (MB) have? The one in the specs page above shows 4 x DDR2 800MHZ max slots. Unless you decide to upgrade to 64 bit Win7 (or Win8), you are limited to a max of 4GB of memory with 32 bit Vista. But the catch is, DDR2 RAM is obsolete now and demands a premium price when you find some.

    Unless you can read your PSU's label, I'm going to assume it is this power supply: http://support.gateway.com/s/POWER/6501066/6501066mvr3.shtml
    That shows that the +12V rail(s) can handle 30A max. That is important to know when choosing a graphics card because the card gets its power from the +12V rail (or circuit). The HD 7850 requires 130W at max usage. That relates to about 11A on the +12V rail. So, if the above PSU is the one you have, it should be sufficient.

    This card should be just the ticket for your PC if the PSU is the one I linked you to. And it comes with 2 free games!
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202004
    Your Q6600 quad core and the DDR2 memory might be a slight bottle-neck for the card, but should give you great frame rates at high settings. A slightly less powerful card more evenly matched to the Q6600, might be one of these:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20600007779%20600286767%20600298539&IsNodeId=1&name=Radeon%20HD%207770%20GHz%20Edition
    Or the new HD 7790 that is yet to come out.



    Yup, just looked at it and that is the exact PSU, thanks again man. you provided a lot of useful information. ill be sure to look into that graphics card. I will also upgrade to windows 8. but do you think i need more RAM? I read around and people have said that RAM is never a bad thing, especially with how cheap it is to upgrade. I really want to edit videos on adobe premiere pro CS5.5 as well as play video games. Any suggestions on what I should get to upgrade my RAM? and would you suggest I upgrade my processor as well? Thank you so much. -JR
  9. Yes, definitely add more memory... if you go with Win7 x64 or Win8 x64. As long as you have Vista x86 (32 bit), it can only address 4GB of memory. Windows 7 & 8 64 bit operating systems can directly access up to 192GB of memory (Professional) or 16GB (Home Premium)
    The exact amount you can upgrade to will be determined by your MB, however. I would surely think your board would accept at least 8GB.
  10. clutchc said:
    Yes, definitely add more memory... if you go with Win7 x64 or Win8 x64. As long as you have Vista x86 (32 bit), it can only address 4GB of memory. Windows 7 & 8 64 bit operating systems can directly access up to 192GB of memory (Professional) or 16GB (Home Premium)
    The exact amount you can upgrade to will be determined by your MB, however. I would surely think your board would accept at least 8GB.


    so if i upgrade to windows 8, i dont have to upgrade my ram? my computer will automatically be able to have 16GB of ram ounce i update to windows 8? or if i upgrade to windows 8, i will be able to purchase more ram for up to 16 GB? im sorry but im a total noob at this. haha. thank you very much!
  11. ohgwannabe said:
    clutchc said:
    Yes, definitely add more memory... if you go with Win7 x64 or Win8 x64. As long as you have Vista x86 (32 bit), it can only address 4GB of memory. Windows 7 & 8 64 bit operating systems can directly access up to 192GB of memory (Professional) or 16GB (Home Premium)
    The exact amount you can upgrade to will be determined by your MB, however. I would surely think your board would accept at least 8GB.


    so if i upgrade to windows 8, i dont have to upgrade my ram? my computer will automatically be able to have 16GB of ram ounce i update to windows 8? or if i upgrade to windows 8, i will be able to purchase more ram for up to 16 GB? im sorry but im a total noob at this. haha. thank you very much!


    That depends on how much RAM your motherboard allows.

    Personally, I scrap the idea of upgrading, and just go with an entirely new build.
  12. This would be my upgrade path for you, personally:

    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/NffK

    CPU - AMD FX6300
    MB - ASRock 970 Extreme3
    RAM - G.Skill Ripjaws X (2x2 GB) 4 GB DDR3 1866 MHz
    HDD - WD Caviar Blue 500 GB 7200 RPM
    GPU - Asus Radeon HD 7770 GHz edition 1 GB DDR5 VRAM
    CASE: Zalman Z9
    PSU: Cooler Master GX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze ATX
    OS: Win7 Home (64 bit)

    That entire upgrade is $570, if you re-use your PSU, and you could, then it drops down to ~$530 and you can re-use your current monitor/keyboard/mouse...if you have a sound card, you can reuse it, if not, you can buy a Sound Blaster Audigy for ~$20
  13. 8350rocks said:
    This would be my upgrade path for you, personally:

    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/NffK

    CPU - AMD FX6300
    MB - ASRock 970 Extreme3
    RAM - G.Skill Ripjaws X (2x2 GB) 4 GB DDR3 1866 MHz
    HDD - WD Caviar Blue 500 GB 7200 RPM
    GPU - Asus Radeon HD 7770 GHz edition 1 GB DDR5 VRAM
    CASE: Zalman Z9
    PSU: Cooler Master GX 450W 80 PLUS Bronze ATX
    OS: Win7 Home (64 bit)

    That entire upgrade is $570, if you re-use your PSU, and you could, then it drops down to ~$530 and you can re-use your current monitor/keyboard/mouse...if you have a sound card, you can reuse it, if not, you can buy a Sound Blaster Audigy for ~$20


    Nice man! thanks for the input. just might do this. but is there a video that can teach me how to install all this. again im not computer savy at all. with my luck, i just might blow myself up putting all that together. and do i need the new case? any intel could help. thank you! -Jr.
  14. Since the case is only $35...I would recommend it...rather than trying to shoehorn everything into your current case it will be easier to do a fresh install.

    As for videos and how-to sections, there's a lot of good material out there...I am sure you could easily YouTube some instruction better than I could sit and try to explain it to you.

    A couple of tips to keep in mind though:

    1. Be sure you ground yourself to the case/Mobo at all times when working on your computer, that means touch the case before you start and keep your hand on it, or use a ground strip. (Just keep one hand on the case while you're doing something...you typically will for leverage when installing things...but be mindful of it...static electricity can be bad for PC parts understandably)

    2. NEVER turn anything on until you're sure everything is properly assembled, and connections have been checked and double checked.

    3. When installing your CPU, be EXTREMELY careful as the pins on the bottom can be easily damaged and that will really make a good day go bad...make sure you put the CPU in 100% lined up and square.

    4. The total build time for a fresh build is likely about 2 hours in this case, and then it will probably take you about 4+ hours to install windows.

    5. Make sure to read the literature that comes with your MoBo, it will explain any instructions that are "special" for setting up your BIOS and ensuring the version is the newest. It will also show you what connections are where so you can get an idea of what you're connecting to where if you're unfamiliar.

    6. It all sounds alot more complicated than it is...once you get into it, it's really pretty simple...
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