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Old 01-20-2010, 10:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need some help, Upgrade or New???

My brother-in-law built my current rig for me about 5 years ago. He hasn't kept up with any of this for the past few years, so I'm not sure if I should go to him with this.

Here's what I got going on...
I have about a $500 budget and I'm not sure if I should upgrade my 5 year old PC or build a new one. Besides surfing the web and downloading music, I do a little video editing with Windows Movie Maker and some light gaming, so I believe $500 should be enough money to suit me for now.

I wasn't sure if putting a new processor, adding RAM and a decent video card on a old mother board would be worth it.

Here's what I'm thinking of doing atm...

edit: after doing more research I've decided on these parts...

Right now all I have is integrated graphics in my motherboard.
I'll add a SAPPHIRE 288L Radeon HD 4650 1GB 128-bit DDR2 AGP 8X HDCP Ready Video Card - $84.99
(my brother-in-law says I need a AGP card because of my motherboard)
Link
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I have two 512MB sticks of DDR2 SDRAM.
I'll add one G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - $93.99
Link
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I have a AMD Athlon 64 X2 3000+ 1.9GHz processor
Replace with a AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - $99.00
Link
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Right now I have a 120GB (i don't remember any other specifics).
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $55.99
Link
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Just a few of questions...

Shouldn’t I be able to swap out the processor and hard drive with no problems? I’m not sure what kind of power supply I have (i think a 550 watt), but would these chages cause a concern for that? And can I add the two sticks of 2GB RAM in my empty slots along with my current two 512MB sticks to give me 5 GB total, right? Last, should I do something like I have listed here, or should I just go ahead and spend $500-$600 on a completely new computer?

...and if all of this just looks throw together, it's because I have barely a clue as to what I'm doing, that’s why I need your help…lol...and sorry for the long length. I'm not sure what all I needed to add to make it clear as to what I want to do. If any other info is needed please let me know.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

if your mobo has an agp slot, its probably not worth putting anymore money into it, its just old tech. i would just go ahead and and start replacing it with new parts.

do you know the make and model of your current psu and case? if the case isnt restrictive and if the psu isnt crap, you might be able to salvage those along with your current optical drive and hdd and replace just the cpu, mobo, ram and gfx card.

but just to let you know, you would not have been able to use ddr3 ram if youre currently using ddr2. you cant mix and match ram.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

and you may not be able to use that processor, I would think there's a good chance your mobo won't support am3. For $500 and your uses, you could probably just buy a cheap prebuilt somewhere. Catch a newegg special or maybe a woot deal.
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

a psu is power supply, right?

I openned up my case..

ATRIX PSLI-500BLK..it's a 500watt.

As for the case model. I don't have a clue...there's no writing on it anywhere.
It was a cheaper one, about $35.00, when the computer was built 5 years ago, so if I go that route I'll replace it too.
I'll probably take beherenow's advise and look for a newegg speacial.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

you mean getting a prebuilt? maybe on semi-rare occasions will you find a prebuilt that actually has good parts or actually has decent parts for the price. and sometimes it can still come with some crap parts, like generic psus that will not work if you want to upgrade the gfx card.

i would still stay build it yourself, but this is up to you.
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

After reading some more, I came across this link...
$400 Gaming Build

Is that a good list to go by, for a first time build? I think I'll go with the AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz Quad-Core AM3, the 500GB hard drive and the Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit video card.

The psu he has listed is a 400W, would there be a problem if I use my current 500watt psu? Also I have a decent DVD burner, so that saves me $25 right there. All of that would be just over $500.

Also, as for a OS. I can get Windows XP, but if I understand correctly it's only compatible with DirectX 9 and lower…right? So wouldn't I need to purchase Windows 7? Only that would put me about $150 over my budget, which I could probably come up with if I have to.
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Old 01-21-2010, 02:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

I don't see any reason why you're current psu wouldn't work, worth a shot to save some dough. As for an OS, are you a student? know someone who is a student? If so you could get a copy from their school for less than $20, maybe free.

As for my suggestion of a prebuilt, I stand by that. Sure there are some that are junk but there are also plenty out there for a decent price, with decent components. If you are not 100% sure you can build one yourself, I would still suggest it. You may not save as much as you think by building your own, especially when you consider software that can come on a prebuilt, including an OS. That being said, I did build my own pc.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

yea, that link has a good list of parts.

unless you feel comfortable using a 5 y/o psu from an unknown brand and taking a chance with it with your new parts, i would buy a new one from a reputable brand and the ones listed in the link are good.

yes you can reuse your dvd burner.

win xp supports upto dx9, so i believe that even if you have dx10 or dx11 compatible hardware, youll still only be able to run games in dx9. (if Mak, or someone else with more windows knowledge comes by here, OP and i would appreciate any further input on this)
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Old 01-21-2010, 05:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

Quote:
Originally Posted by gkel55 View Post
a psu is power supply, right?

I openned up my case..

ATRIX PSLI-500BLK..it's a 500watt.
That power supply is a piece of crap. Atrix doesn't even make PC power supplies anymore.
Atrix Home Page
Plus, if the power supply was for an AGP mobo it probably has a 20-pin mobo connector and new mobo's require a 24-pin connector. And it probably doesn't have any 6-pin or 8-pin pci-e connectors for modern age video cards.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need some help, Upgrade or New???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin Man View Post
win xp supports upto dx9, so i believe that even if you have dx10 or dx11 compatible hardware, youll still only be able to run games in dx9.
Would I be able to use my current hard drive with all my new hardware or is it formatted (if that's the correct term) for all of my old components? I've lost a few installation CDs for some of my programs and it would also save me having to purchase a new hdd and os right now.
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