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Old 06-17-2009, 05:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help with upgrades.

Hello,

My father-in-law built a custom PC for me a couple of years ago on a budget of 300 (roughly under $500) and it was great for what it needed to do then as I needed it just to play Deus Ex and whatnot on it.

I have recently bought the Sims3 for my girlfriend and it just keeps freezing, so I talked to my father-in-law and he told me to buy the parts I wanted and he'll fit them. As my username suggests I have no clue as to what to look for in upgrades and so I am wondering in a list of highest priority what I should upgrade first?

I have seen a previous Sims3 related post and it says to run CPUZ, so I have done and if anyone wants the .txt file to work out just what I have got then I'll send it, unless of course someone says to post in a later reply (although I think it's a bit long to post on here).

I am aware most if not all of my PC might be out of date / low spec / poor etc but any info on what the highest priority to replace would be appreciated.


PSU - X Power ATX-500 TD (bought about 6 months ago after previous PSU died)

Motherboard - ASUSTeK A7V600

Processor - AMD Athlon XP 2500+

RAM - No idea who makes it but I know it's 2x 514MB (which might be the main problem)

Hard Drive - Maxtor STM3320820A 320GB Hard Drive 7200RPM 8MB Cache

Graphics Card - NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT


Please post on what I need to upgrade first as I can't really afford to replace the whole lot in one go. Once again any help would be appreciated.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help with upgrades.

The processor there is the main drawback, followed by RAM and then GPU (since Sims 3 can always be run at minimum graphics).

Unfortunately your processor is a socket (Socket A) which AMD haven't been making for about 2-3 years, so unless you're lucky on eBay I doubt you can improve it at all.

RAM-wise you can upgrade it to 3GB (3x1GB sticks) PC2700, which it sounds like it could really do with, one 1GB stick of PC2700 is about 15 on Play.com, I believe. The minimum for Sims 3 is 1GB, but in reality you'd really need more.

Graphics card-wise you'd have to switch to AMD (if you don't want to play Sims 3 on minimum graphics, which the 6600GT just meets), as the best AGP graphics card nVidia provided is only slightly better than the 6600GT, but ATI have much higher-spec AGP cards (I can't remember what series).

But even if you manage to upgrade the RAM and graphics, the CPU is still going to be an enormous drawback on all the other factors. The only way you'll be able to improve CPU power would be a new CPU, which would undoubtedly require a new motherboard. But a new mobo will need a new GPU (different socket), and new RAM (DDR2 instead of DDR). In all, to really be able to play it without freezing you'll need what basically amounts to a new PC.

Sims 3 requirements for reference:
FOR WINDOWS XP
* 2.0 GHz P4 processor or equivalent
* 1 GB RAM
* 128 MB Video Card with support for Pixel Shader 2.0
* The latest version of DirectX 9.0c
* Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2
* At least 6.1 GB of hard drive space with at least 1 GB of additional space for custom content and saved games
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help with upgrades.

You meet the minimum requirements, but just barely. there's not much that can be done with a socket A (my wife's computer is socket A so I know... I am currently trying to cobble together the stuff to upgrade here to a newer socket).

Give us your budget and we'll see what we can cobble together. You can get away with a mobo, CPU, RAM, and graphics card. Your case, hard drive(s), PSU, and opticals will be fine as-is.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help with upgrades.

Thanks for the swift replies. At the moment my budget is around 300-400 although I could possibly stretch it if it means I won't have to do this for another couple of years as I've had a good run out of this computer.

After reading your comments I have been scrambling away at what I could be looking for but I get confused with motherboard compatability etc and most links on here are through Newegg and some of the motherboards that I'd like on there cannot be found in the UK.

As for RAM, is this any good - Kingston Valueram 2GB 667MHz PC5300 DDR2 RAM Non-ECC CL5 DIMMl for 15.99 from Play.com?


Any suggestions would be appreciated as this stuff is just mind boggling to me, how you people manage to know the ins and outs is amazing.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help with upgrades.

AMD CPU AM2 7850+ Black Edition Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Retail Box inc Fan Socket AM2+ (3yr Manufacturer's Warranty)- microdirect.co.uk

Gigabyte motherboard GA-MA78GM-UD2H AMD AM2 DDR2 micro ATX- microdirect.co.uk

Geil memory 4GB Black Dragon DDR2 PC6400 Dual Channel kit (2 x 2GB) 800MHz RAM (5-5-5-15) Custom BlackDragon PCB with LED GB24GB6400C5DC- microdirect.co.uk

Asus case TA881 Black midi midi tower NO PSU ATX- microdirect.co.uk

OCZ PSU 500SXS StealthXStream 500W (3 year Direct Manufacturer's PowerSwap warranty)- microdirect.co.uk

Western Digital 320GB hard disk drive Caviar SATA II 300 7200rpm 16MB oem (KS)- microdirect.co.uk

Sapphire ATi Radeon HD 4830 512MB GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI Retail- microdirect.co.uk

320.13 inc VAT. Download and use the Windows 7 Release Candidate for your OS until after it is released. You would have until June of 2010 to buy it.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help with upgrades.

Thank you very much Trotter. I've now ordered all of it from Microdirect as I did look around for cheaper bits but couldn't find the motherboard elsewhere.

What should I do about fans? At the moment my current PC is sort of in a premade computer desk cubby hole so might get a bit hot now and then.

Also as for Windows 7, is it a necessity? I'm fine with using XP but if I try Windows 7 and don't really like it, is it simple enough to revert back to XP?


Once again thanks, if it arrives on time I should have my new PC up and running by next weekend.
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help with upgrades.

The case has mounts for several fans, but I think it only comes with one fan installed if that. You would do well to add a couple of fans to it, if not fill all the mounts.

Don't put the computer in a cubby. It turns it into an oven for your components. If you have to do it, leave the door to the cubby open (if it has one) and remove the back of the cubby so air can move through. Heat is your enemy.

Windows XP will work. Set up a second partition and give Win7 a try. More than likely you won't boot back into XP. Once I installed Vista I never went back to XP, and now that I am running Win7 I haven't booted back to Vista. So, yes, Win7 is that good.
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AMD FX 8320 x8 Black Edition / Gelid Tranquillo / MSI 970A-G43
Sandisk Ultra Plus 128GB / Samsung 840 120GB / WD Black 750GB / WD Green 1TB
2x4GB DDR3 1600 - 2x2GB DDR3 1600
Win10 Ent 64-bit - Mionix Naos 7000 Mouse - CM Storm QuickFire Rapid Mech Keyboard


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