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Need to upgrade my computer but need help!

By darkmt ยท 22 replies
Jun 8, 2006
  1. I am looking to upgrade my computer's processor, motherboard, and possibly vid card, but I don't know how to or what to get. I am looking for a combo that will run all the newest games (oblivion, ect.) but I don't want to go to over the top. I have a 300 gig hd and 2 gig ram, and 2 dvd rom drives, one a burner. I have a nice case and all I am just looking for new mobo, vc, and processor and I was looking for suggestions. I was wondering too, if i would need to wipe my hard drive and reinstall windows, would I need a new heatsink (if so can you suggest a good one), and would I need a new case and moniter. Thank you for the help.
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    Hello, and welcome to Techspot!

    One thing to keep in mind is that Intel is releasing a new CPU in a month or so, and it looks like it is going to be a very good platform. Many people are waiting for that to be released before building a system.

    Can you give is the details of the ram you want to re-use? DDR? DDR2? What speed?

    What form factor is your case? ATX or micro-ATX? This will determine what kind of motherboard will fit in there.

    recommended that you do.
    CPUs come with a stock heatsink, so you don't NEED to get a new one. However some people do like to get 3rd party heatsink/fans to either help with extra cooling or to reduce system fan noise.

    If you answer my questions above, then give us an approximate budget you want to work with, we can help make suggestions. Also please provide a list of what you will need (monitor? keyboard/mouse? etc)
  3. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    No, unless you buy an OEM CPU...
  4. darkmt

    darkmt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    My RAM is DDR PC3200 and the case (I think) is an ATX. Right now I have a Chaintech Motherboard. 7NJL6 Nvidia nForce 2 Ultra 400+MCP-S, whatever case that fits in, If i find the box I'll find out, and I have a good mouse,keyboard, although my moniter is pretty old, its still my first moniter I got with my EMachine like 5 years ago. My budget is about 500 to 1,000 but cheaper is better. I have all that money to thank for scholarships, and I'm wasting it on my comp but I wanna be a programmer/desiger so it helps anyways, also with my hd I have tons of games on it (it is 300 gig) many of which I borrowed from friends and got nocd cracks, is it possible to just copy them onto my old hd and then copy them back later thanks!
  5. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    Here's a good budget level gaming setup:

    ASUS A8N5X Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 $75

    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ $139

    Graphics: $150
    eVGA 256-P2-N553-AX Geforce 7600GT CO 256MB

    Power Supply
    (don't know what you have now, but I doubt it'll be enough so I'd recommend this)
    FSP Group (Fortron Source) 450W - $52

    Total so far: $416

    If you want to spend more, put it into your graphics card and get a 7900GT (for example)
  6. darkmt

    darkmt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    I will post my power supply later once I find out what it is but isnt that processor not fast enough for some newer games. One of the games I want to play is Oblivion, which I know needs a lot of speed in a comp.
  7. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    the minimum CPU for oblivion is a 2GH pentium4 or equivilent, recommended CPU is a 3GHz pentium4 or equvilent. The Athlon64 3500+ is "equivilent" to a 3.5GHz pentium4 and is more than enough to run oblivion.

    also, if you don't know what PSU you have now then I'm guessing that it came with your case, so you will need a good PSU to replace the generic one that came with your case.

    Don raises a good point about waiting for Conroe (Intel Core Duo), but that will require that you buy DDR2 RAM, if you want to re-use your current 2GB RAM then your best bet is a socket-939 AMD Athlon64 system.
  8. darkmt

    darkmt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    Well thank you for the suggestions. Is it possible to upgrade my moniter for cheap, I mean its still the big bulky moniter I got from my parents when they bought me my emachines a few years back.
  9. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    that depends on what you consider to be "cheap". you can buy flat panels for a little over $100, but they are low resolution and slow response time models and wont be as good as the CRT you have now for gaming. gaming requires a fast response time or your screen will appear to "lag".

    you need to decide what size you will need, then what resolutions you need, and then look for one with a response time of 8ms or less (anything more than 8m is too slow for gaming)
  10. darkmt

    darkmt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

  11. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    barebones kits are pictured fully assembled, however they will ship each component separate (it will not come assembled). so I still think that you are better off picking the components separately, that way you can fine tune what you want.

    as far as that specific kit is concerned... its about the same price as the individual components would be, so you really wouldn't be saving much, and then you're stuck with stuff you may not want.

    the processor is nice, the motherboard is nice, the case is cheap but will still be fine. i don't know anything about "x-finity" power supplies, they look nice but I have never heard anything good or bad about them, but beware!!! -if you click on the PSU from your link it brings you to a 350w "ultra" PSU, they make unreliable garbage PSUs so be careful and make sure they don't send you that PSU instead!

    bottom line = IMO the CPU and mainboard are nice, but i think you'd be better off buying them separetly and buying a known good power supply instead of risking it.
  12. darkmt

    darkmt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

  13. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    it looks pretty, but that's about it. I wouldn't buy it. I didn't realize that "ultra" makes those x-finity power supplies.

    according to this power supply guide, the "ultra" brand is on the list of Un-reccomended and Unscrupulous Power Supply Companies.
    It comes with a limited[/B] lifetime warranty, but they don't tell you what the limitations are. I think you'd be paying for the looks and not the quality.

    My antec power supply has almost identical specs as that ultra, yet antec rates it at 380w, not 500w. i think that speaks for itself.
  14. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    rofl. I can imagine the limitations are: "we will provide lifetime warranty if you send the unit back to China at your own expense. Damages covered under this warranty does not include non-functioning product, or product that doesn't function as intended." :D
  15. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    haha :D

    seriously though darkmt, you should buy a power supply from a known reputible company like Antec, Enermax, Sparkle, or Fortron. this will help ensure that your system is provided with stable voltages, consistant amperage, and reliable protection circuits for years.

    the power supply is the most important component in your whole system. it controls how every other component operates (unless it is self powered), and it has the ability to take out your whole system if it dies. cheap power supplies have a tendancy to die and take at least the motherboard with it. byt in a quality power supply, in the unlikely even that it does fail, it will go down alone without taking anything else with it.

    also, 350watts is generally all a single video card system needs. if you want a dual card system or think you may want to upgrade to one in the future, then get a 450w or higher.
  16. darkmt

    darkmt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    no like i said i'm interested in a budget setup so thank you for the suggestions and hopefully I'll be happily playing oblivion on my new computer in a month or two!
  17. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    just because you're on a budget doesn't mean that you have to buy low quality parts
  18. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    some high end cards require their own PSU now. Also many top end AGP and PCI-E cards won't work well with a PSU less than 450W
  19. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    the few cards that require an independant PSU will come with one.

    as for the other ones, the card manufacturer's specs will state the wattage as a safety so that it will work with cheap PSUs that cannot provide the amperage that they're rated for. after all, most people use cheap power supplies and think of them as the last thing that would cause a problem with a video card. so if they buy a card and it doesn't work right because their power supply is garbage, they then think that the video card is defective. the video card makers do not want that to happen.

    i suppose that there are always exceptions, and you can never have too much power. so to be on the safe side, you may want to get a 450w anyways, but it's not needed.
    use a PSU calculator to see the actual requirements and get another 50w above that.
  20. darkmt

    darkmt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    I was just wondering if EVGA is the best manufacturer of vid cards cuz I am willing to throw down a few extra dollars for a card that will run better. Sound doesnt bother me too much. I was just wondering, and also would I need much more to run a 7900 GT over the 7600?
  21. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766

    What type of PSU are you getting? 7900GT IMO is worth every penny for it performance.
  22. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    the company that makes the PSU is the important factor, not the total wattage.

    whatever video card you want to buy, read the manufacturer's specs for power supply amperage/current requirements. this is what cheap power supplies lack, and good power supplies provide.

    don't worry about the wattage, worry about the amperage. 12v rail (or rails) are most important. the total wattage of a PSU is calculated from all power rails, but each PSU provides different power levels on each rail which will alter the total wattage but may not provide that power where it is needed.

    hope that clears things up a bit. :)
  23. darkmt

    darkmt TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 17

    that didnt really clear things up i aint all that great when it comes to this stuff. can you suggest a good 7900? (newegg or other site link) Like for example this card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814133166 is it better than the evga or what? i mean i just really need help picking out a good 7900 and fast thanks!
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