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Upgrade recommendations

  1. Interested in possibly upgrading my desktop computer[​IMG]. Its several years old and I'm thinking of possibly trying to get it a little closer to being decent. I have a Macbook Pro that I use for things like Pro Tools, Logic and Melodyne, but I'd like to maybe make my PC decent as well. Any recommendations that won't break the bank are appreciated.

    System Information:
    Make & Model: HP-Pavilion GX776AA-ABA a6342p
    Processor[​IMG]: Intel Pentium Dual CPU E2180 @ 2.00GHz
    Installed Physical RAM: 3.00 GB
    Motherboard: ASUS Benicia 1.01
    Chipset: Intel P35/G33/G31
    PSU: 250 watt
     
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,003   +1,503

    A few questions might help you get on the right track.
    1. What is your budget? (Comments do seem to stretch this question abit)
    2. How do you use your PC?
    3. If you play games, what titles do you play and what resolution do you want to use?
    4. Are you planning on building or buying a pre-build system?
     
  3. Nick McKinley

    Nick McKinley TS Rookie Topic Starter

    1. I haven't really narrowed down on a budget. I'm not looking to spend a fortune, or make my computer cutting edge. Not really looking to spend more than is necessary.

    2. Most often I simply use my PC minimally (internet, music, watching movies and tv shows). I will hopefully, however, need to run the development tools for CryENGINE 3 and Unreal Engine 3, as well as occasionally playing games. (the system requirements for these SDK's state: Video Card: nVidia 8800GT 512MB RAM, ATI 3850HD 512MB RAM or better (SM 3.0 minimum)

    3. Most of my gaming is done on consoles, but I am interested in playing games like Diablo III, Guild Wars 2, Borderland 2 on my PC although I don't need to run them on the highest settings.

    4. I've never upgraded a computer before so I'm not really sure what this means?
     
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,003   +1,503

    I'm sorry about that, my mistake. You are looking to upgrade only a few components. I asked the question as if you would be getting a whole new PC.

    Newegg parts list:
    1. Motherboard - MSI Z77MA-G45
    2. CPU - Intel Core i5-3450 Ivy Bridge
    3. Memory - Crucial Ballistix sport 8GB (2 x 4GB)
    4. OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
    Total cost - $450

    Keep in mind if you decide you want more graphical power than the on-board graphics, your power supply may need to be replaced. The 250W PSU that is listed in the HP specs will not be enough power to support any mid range graphics adapter. Unless you get an extremely power hungry graphics card, a 500W PSU should be fine.

    I added the OS because you will likely be upgrading from an OEM version of Windows that is bound by license to the motherboard that HP put in the machine. If you are upgrading from an OEM install of Windows and you change motherboards, a new copy of Windows will be needed. I chose Windows 7 Home Premium because it was cheapest but you do have the option of Windows 7 Professional for an additional $40. I did not select the 32-bit versions because you need 64-bit to use all 8GB that I have listed in the parts list. If you think an Intel Core i3-3220 would be enough CPU power for you that would save you an additional $70. Personally I think you should go for having 4 physical cores (4 threads) in an i5 ( the i3 is a dual core with hyperthreading giving it 4 virtual threads).
     
  5. Nick McKinley

    Nick McKinley TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your help! I may end up waiting to upgrade until I graduate and have more disposable income, but one last question. Would my system be able to handle a better graphics card such as the SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6670 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102988) so I can run an extended desktop until then?
     
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,003   +1,503

    Sure you can fit a HD 6670 in your PC but you will still need more power from a PSU than 250W's.
     
  7. hood6558

    hood6558 TS Booster Posts: 292   +44

    Cliffordcooley has your best answer - when you upgrade yourself instead of buying a new complete system, you get much better components for the same money. $450 is cheap for the latest chipset, processor, and RAM, and your upgrade path is assured (in 2 years an i7-3770K might go for $100). Walmart still has AMD dual core 1.3 GHz systems for $398 that are probably slower than your present system!
     


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