Upgrading to a gaming PC; Is all this compatiable with eachother?

By VinceIP · 11 replies
Sep 16, 2006
  1. My current PC, well, SUCKS. Hasn't bee upgraded at all since I got in in '98, except for a new 20 gig hard drive from the old 4 gig hard drive, and 64 MB of RAM.

    Finally time to modernize it, so I can play some games. I at least want to run World of Warcraft with some great quality, with no lag. I went to NewEgg and whipped this up:

    Motherboard: $49.99
    BIOSTAR NF325-A7 Socket 754 NVIDIA nForce3 250 ATX AMD Motherboard
    5 PCI Slots
    Max 2 GB memory supported
    Not too sure if this is the one for me. I need help here.

    Processor: $89.99
    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Orleans 2.2GHz Socket AM2 Processor Model ADA3500CNBOX
    Suicide Overclock jump reports of 3GHz, working stable.
    I'm pretty confident this is a good choice for me. I wanted to get a much more powerful Processor, but I just don't have that money.

    Graphics Card: $89.99
    POWERCOLOR X800GTO256MBDDR3 Radeon X800GTO 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card
    Apparently runs CounterStrike perfectly.
    Built-in fan, I believe.
    DirectX 9 and OpenGL 2 support.
    This one, I thought, was a really incredible deal for that price. I'm not ENTIRELY sure yet, but I think it's looking good.

    Hard Drive - $94.99
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    Greatest Hard Drive deal I've ever seen. Around $100 bucks for 320GB of storage. I can go lower if my budget demands, though.

    DVD Burner: $33.99
    SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe Technology Black IDE Model SH-S182M/BEBN - OEM
    Just your average DVD burner. I didn't know they were this cheap, so I'm a bit worried. I REALLY need a functional burner.

    Total: $358.95

    What do you guys think? I can salvage my old Sound Card, Case, and Power Supply from my current PC. I think. How much power will I need to run all this? Will I need a new supply? I'm unsure what my current one puts out. I'm also not sure if my sound card will be compatiable with the new motherboard. Will my case even fit this? It's an old, clunky Compaq Presario case. The old nasty ones you see at the library :). I just don't have the cash for a new one.

    Alright, that's it. Is all my hardware compatiable with eachother? Also, how can I check my current system specs exactly?
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Couple of major problems here.

    The CPU and graphics card you have chosen will not work with that motherboard. You need to choose a socket AM2 motherboard with a PCIe x16 graphics slot. Something like this:

    I also notice you haven't mentioned ram. You will not be able to use your current ram in this new system. Look at at least 1Gb of DDR2 800 ram.

    Your power supply also will not be enough to power this new system. Have a look at the Antec SonataII case, which comes with a nice solid power supply for $75 after rebate:
  3. VinceIP

    VinceIP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Great, thanks. So, buying this motherboard instead will be compatiable with everything I have chosen right?

    I haven't picked out the RAM yet because I've been hunting around for a gig really cheap. I'm on a really harsh budget; which brings me to my next complication. I need to shrink this price now (well around $500) down to about $350. I can definately settle for a cheaper hard drive. The thing I'm worried about downgrading is the new CPU, which I know will be crucial for playing semi-powerful games; same with the graphics card. Suggestions?

    Alright, I picked out some good-priced RAM.

    RAM: $55.99
    OCZ S.O.E 512MB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model OCZ2SOE800512
    Apparently, some users have said OCZ RAM has trouble with or just simply doesn't work with AM2 motherboards. Can anyone confirm this?

    This all comes to a subtotal (not including shipping) of $529.93. Quite a problem; this is all for my birthday. I don't have a job, and my mother said she'd only purchase this stuff for me in the price range of $350 or so below. Hopefully I can find some sort of soultion.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    If you want to go the AMD route I'd look for a socket 939 board. They are old enough that they should be fairly cheap, yet modern enough you can find them with PCI-e for graphics.

    I know it kills you to walk away from 320 for $100, but when you are trimming budget down you have to sometimes leave the cheapest price per gig. You can get a 160 gig drive for around $60, and thats not too much more per gig.

    You may also have to drop to slower ddr2 ram, but this also depends on the motherboard you choose.

    Take a good look at 939 motherboards and see if you can find a processor/ram/video card based around that.

    You could also take a look at Techspots Budget PC Buying guide. I based a system around that and was able to get everything for cheap. Check out what I did here: https://www.techspot.com/vb/topic57952.html
  5. VinceIP

    VinceIP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Slower DDR2 RAM? I'll definately look into it. But how much exactly will this affect my PC's performance?

    I don't exactly need a powerhouse; but something that will at least let me play some games. Back to Newegg!
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Not going to affect you too much.

    Back with the TS Budget PC Buying guide that $100 Pentium D 805 is supposed to be an insane overclocker. TomsHardware was able to get it to run at 4.1Ghz (compared to its stock 2.66) and lots of people are getting it to run a 3.33 without much problem. Thats probably a lot better buy than a 3500+ and not much more money. I'd seriously consider that, the price difference between that and the 3500+ can be made up by dropping to a 160 gig hard drive. But then where to cut the rest of the money from...
  7. VinceIP

    VinceIP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Here's another processor I found; great price, excellent power and overclocker.

    Processor: $64.00
    AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice 1.8GHz Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3000BPBOX
    Will be compatiable with a cheaper socket 939 motherboard. It's very cheap, and reports have overclocked it to 2.3GHz.

    I haven't picked out a socket 939 motherboard yet. Mostly because I like your idea of going with the Pentium. I've never been too comforable with the idea of overclocking, but I can try. That's a significantly greater amount of power.

    Anyway, another thing I've been thinking about is Ebay. Yeah. Ebay. There's some pretty good quality processors and motherboards there which I've looked at, for MUCH cheaper, around the $20-$50 range! Ebay is practically a giant online garage sale though, so I'm wondering if the hardware I recieve will be in working order (all of the sellers say that their products work). I'm willing to take that risk though, becuase price is my highest priority at the moment. What do you guys think?
  8. VinceIP

    VinceIP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Gosh, I hate being unemployed.

    I just decided to scrap a new HD altogether. I'm going to reformat my current 20 Gig hard drive and work with that for now. I'm afraid I had to drop a gig of RAM too. I picked out a stick of 256 MB for now:

    RAM: $29.99
    AMPO 256MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 333 (PC 2700) System Memory Model 35134588-P
    Cheapest I could find. There was a 1 GB stick of RAM for $33, but sold out of course. Once I get some more cash, I'll run over to Best Buy for some more.

    I also was wondering if a new case is absoulutely neccesary. The one I have in my cart right now is $90. However, there is a power supply on sale for $30, which cranks out 400 Wats. Is the sufficent? Because if it is, that beats the hell out of a $90 case. I'm at a subtotal of $300 right now, which is just barely over my budget.

    Scrapping the hard drive really helped, and if I can scrap the case in exchange for a cheaper power supply, then I think I'll be set. That is, if all this hardware will work together.

    EDIT: Power Supply - $19.99
    LOGISYS Computer PS550ABK ATX12V 550Watts Power Supply With SATA and 20/24 Pin connectors.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    You don't need a $90 case with a psu. You can get by with a $15-25 case just fine, and the buy your own PSU.

    I'd be wary of a 550W power supply for $20. 400W of decent quality will be sufficient for your system.

    You will probably be ok with a cheap 550W for a while (if it works initially) just because you aren't going to be pulling many amps.
  10. VinceIP

    VinceIP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Alright, I got some new stuff. I'll post exactly what I have in my shopping cart right now. I know I don't have a motherboard yet; I just can't decide which one is right for the rest of my hardware. I need help with that.

    Processor: $64.00
    AMD Athlon 64 3000+ Venice 1.8GHz Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3000BPBOX

    Graphics Card: $89.99
    POWERCOLOR X800GTO256MBDDR3 Radeon X800GTO 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card
    I've been thinking about downgrading this for a cheaper price. I'm having a hard time letting go though, because this thing should be able to play Oblivion or WoW on medium graphical settings at least.

    RAM: $51.99
    AMPO 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) System Memory Model 35145588-P
    I upgraded to 512 MB and DDR 400; PC 3200 seems to be what most motherboard on Newegg are compatiable with. I may decide to downgrade back to 256 MB is neccesary.

    Power Supply: $19.99
    LOGISYS Computer PS550ABK ATX12V 550Watts Power Supply With SATA and 20/24 Pin connectors.

    DVD R/RW+: $33.99
    SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe Technology Black IDE Model SH-S182M/BEBN

    That's it, except for a motherboard and a new case if I can afford it (or if I NEED a new one).

    This is ALL compatiable, right?
  11. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The Pentium D may be a good overclocker but understand the fact that due to its NetBurst architecture it is way slower than an Athlon 64 having a lower frequency. So I'd go with the AMD if I were u.
    As for a PSU, look for one that has a good deal of amps on the +12V rail(s). Excellent, reliable brands include Antec, Fortron FSP, CoolerMaster, Enermax, Thermaltake and OCZ. There is another called PC Power & Cooling which is the king of them all, but it's probably way too expensive for u. So stick with the other brands and u can never go wrong. I've personally used Antec and OCZ PSUs and have never been disappointed with them.
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