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Old 03-15-2009, 10:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

Hey, I've been wondering whether or not I should buy a new computer (barebone, no need for keyboards, mouse, monitor) or just upgrade my existing one.

This is my current build:
MoBo: Asus P4B533 Motherboard
Processor: Pentium 4, 2.6gHz
Memory: 1GB DDR
Graphics: Nvidia FX 5500 (256MB I believe... not quite sure)

It's quite old... would it be better if I just bought a new one? My maximum memory is 2GB according to Crucial. Also, I'm kinda noob at this, so I really don't even know what a MoBo does, could somebody explain to me? Is it critical in system upgrades?

So yeah, should I upgrade my existing computer, or just get a new one? Please list the parts I should buy too, but keep it under $300. Preferably $250.

Thanks!
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

The motherboard is the large board in your computer that connects everything together. It's very important because it decides what you can have in your computer; CPU(s), DIMMs, GPU(s) etc.
In your case a new computer will be required for any decent upgrade because your mobo is a socket 478 with an AGP slot, a 20 pin power and space for only two DDR DIMMs. All this means that the only componants you will be able to take over to newer hardware is the drives, maybe the case and there is a remote possibility you could reuse the PSU.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

Thanks for the quick reply and for answering my MoBo question. So if it connects everything together, how can you tell if a MoBo is good? How compatible it is with other products?

Btw, I forgot to mention, my drive is WDC WD800AB-00CBA1 (What it says in my device manager) 80 GB, IDE. I'm pretty sure my PSU is useless. IIRC, it had like 180W...

What parts do you think I should buy?
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

With such a little budget, I would upgrade the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and PSU for now. If you budget allows after those parts, upgrade to a dedicated graphics card, instead of intergrated, which is most likely what you would have to use for a while, unless your FX5500 is a PCI card. Even then the onboard graphics of a newer generation board may be better than the 5500.

Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TA790GX XE AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards

Newegg.com - AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor - Processors - Desktops

Newegg.com - Rosewill Stallion Series RD450-2-SB 450W ATX V2.2 Power Supply - Power Supplies (not the greatest, but will suffice.)

Newegg.com - OCZ Vista Upgrade 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE 100248L Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

That brings you to right around $300 with shipping, or you can stay at $250 without the graphics card. With this setup you will have to use optical drives, and hard drives out of your current setup, until you can get the extra for those.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

You don't really need the 3850, the onboard graphics with that motherboard are around the same performance. Later on, you can get that 3850 and Hybrid Crossfire, but it's not necessary.

So I would dumb the video card and use some of that money on getting a good set of RAM.

Newegg.com - G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

the 3850 is light years ahead of the onboard 3200 that board has, but the 3200 is also light years ahead of that poor ol fx5500 he's running. I say go with the amd setup and go with that onboard and if you're unhappy you can throw in a good card for the hybrid crossfire.
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

3300 Pete. And yeah, i see what you're saying. The onboard handles most games at decent resolutions and higher settings pretty well on it's own, which is why I was thinking to stick with that for now until he can afford a really good card, instead of throwing money away on the 3850 up front. :P
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

Quote:
Originally Posted by 95BlackGA View Post
With such a little budget, I would upgrade the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and PSU for now. If you budget allows after those parts, upgrade to a dedicated graphics card, instead of intergrated, which is most likely what you would have to use for a while, unless your FX5500 is a PCI card. Even then the onboard graphics of a newer generation board may be better than the 5500.

Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TA790GX XE AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards

Newegg.com - AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor - Processors - Desktops

Newegg.com - Rosewill Stallion Series RD450-2-SB 450W ATX V2.2 Power Supply - Power Supplies (not the greatest, but will suffice.)

Newegg.com - OCZ Vista Upgrade 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE 100248L Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

That brings you to right around $300 with shipping, or you can stay at $250 without the graphics card. With this setup you will have to use optical drives, and hard drives out of your current setup, until you can get the extra for those.
Hehe, I will probably go with this one, thanks But, will is my HD compatible with this motherboard? Aren't there like different types of hard drives lol.

Also, what's hybrid crossfire?

Sorry for being so noob

[EDIT] Oh ****... I forgot to tell you guys, I live in Canada... so can I still use newegg? Will the shipping be like amazing expensive now?
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

Your hard drive should be compatable, because the board should have one PATA (IDE) slot for your kind of hard drive.

You can use newegg.ca, it's Canada's version of newegg. The prices will be more expensive.

Hybrid Crossfire is taking the onbard 790GX graphics and adding in another ATI card to run in Crossfire, for increased performance. It only works with the ATI HD 3400 series though.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Should I buy, or upgrade? ~300

You're not going to be able to do the same build if you're using CAD...you have to look up the prices on the same parts to get an idea. You could always dumb the mobo down to a 780G chipset, since it still has decent onboard graphics, for starters.
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