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View Full Version : Should I Upgrade or Build?


cjmabry25
01-18-2010, 09:05 PM
Ok, so I just recently started playing PC games, and have found that there is so much more versatilaty with PC gaming, ie. modding, dedicated servers, etc., and have decided to start doing some more PC gaming. So far I've just been wanting to play most Source games, like CS:S, TF2, Portal, Half-Life(s), GMOD, etc, but I would eventually want to play games like Borderlands, maybe Fallout 3, Mass Effect 2, L4D 1 and 2, and any other newer games at medium settings. Even TF2 and Portal run at 15-30 fps.

My current specs are:
Dell Dimension C521
AMD Athlon 64 3200+
Ati Radeon x1300
2.5 GB RAM
80 GB HDD

I just upgraded the RAM from 512mb to 2.5 GB, but have realized that I'm going to need to upgrade the GPU and maybe the Processor if I want to play games like Borderlands, Mass Effect 2, and any newer games at decent settings. And definately get a bigger HDD.

BUT, I have a slim case, which only holds low-profile video cards, and from what I've read, it's going to be a huge pain to switch the stuff inside to a bigger case. (see this (http://forums.techguy.org/hardware/575889-dell-c521-case-swap.html))

So, I was wondering, should I:

A)Buy a new case, so I can get a new GPU and maybe Processor.
B)Sell this PC and build a new computer.
C)Buy the best low-profile GPU that's avaliable.

If I go with A, I want to know if my motherboard would still be usable down the road. What I'm trying to say is, what do I need to look for in a mobo. Is there anything stopping me from buying the best Video Card, Processor, and HDD on the market and putting them on this mobo?

And I really don't want to do C because I want to get a PC that will last me for a long time. one that I can upgrade when newer games come out.

Thanks. Hopefully I can figure out if I want to just sell this one or try a case swap.

GoDMiN
01-18-2010, 09:13 PM
I would do B
If I go with A, I want to know if my motherboard would still be usable down the road. What I'm trying to say is, what do I need to look for in a mobo. Is there anything stopping me from buying the best Video Card, Processor, and HDD on the market and putting them on this mobo? CPUs using different socket types ect. It would be like trying to put a Original PS controller in a USB socket.


Whats your budget if you have one?

Vork
01-18-2010, 09:16 PM
I think B also.

cjmabry25
01-18-2010, 09:16 PM
I would do B
CPUs using different socket types ect. It would be like trying to put a Original PS controller in a USB socket.


Whats your budget if you have one?

Mu budget? hmmmm... I'm not really sure. I'm 16 with no full time job but can make money, and have about $200 right now, but I don't wanna spend more than $500. If I sold the PC though that could go toward the funds.

Bulletbrain7
01-18-2010, 09:19 PM
Build from scratch. I am finding it really satisfying to build and upgrade my own PCs'. I have bought from Dell, Gateway, local and boutique builders. My own builds have really been better.

Sure, you have to run out and buy a replacement PSU, GPU, mobo, RAM, drives... when things go wrong and when you don't want to wait for that RMA service to be finished and you need things up and running now. (good way to build up spare components.)

It really helps to have multiple PCs that you can swap and test parts with. Or have an extra of those components listed for those bad moments.

If you can afford to build up some inventory you can literally keep your PC(s) running all the time with little headaches.

It will take a few months to feel comfortable, but after a while you can trouble shoot really well and with confidence.
-----

Obviously, you have to do this over time. I have been building up my inventory over the last few years. But you got to start somewhere. For the longest time, I was just collecting parts month after month before I did my first complete build.

GoDMiN
01-18-2010, 09:30 PM
Are you using DDR2 ram?

If so maybe something like this

ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131381

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103688

XFX HD-575X-ZNDC Radeon HD 5750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150465

COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119203

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139008

Total = $389 + S&H




If not, change the mobo to this one (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130250&cm_re=amd-_-13-130-250-_-Product) and get whichever of these you can afford.

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231133

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231275

You could also add in this HDD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148395), but should use you're current one and your DvD drive

Build from scratch. I am finding it really satisfying to build and upgrade my own PCs'. I have bought from Dell, Gateway, local and boutique builders. My own builds have really been better.

Sure, you have to run out and buy a replacement PSU, GPU, mobo, RAM, drives... when things go wrong and when you don't want to wait for that RMA service to be finished and you need things up and running now. (good way to build up spare components.)

It really helps to have multiple PCs that you can swap and test parts with. Or have an extra of those components listed for those bad moments.

If you can afford to build up some inventory you can literally keep your PC(s) running all the time with little headaches.

It will take a few months to feel comfortable, but after a while you can trouble shoot really well and with confidence.
-----

Obviously, you have to do this over time. I have been building up my inventory over the last few years. But you got to start somewhere. For the longest time, I was just collecting parts month after month before I did my first complete build.

That and its good knowledge to have imo.

cjmabry25
01-19-2010, 12:05 AM
Are you using DDR2 ram?

If so maybe something like this

ASUS M4A78 Plus AM3/AM2+/AM2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131381

AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103688

XFX HD-575X-ZNDC Radeon HD 5750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150465

COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119203

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139008

Total = $389 + S&H




If not, change the mobo to this one (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130250&cm_re=amd-_-13-130-250-_-Product) and get whichever of these you can afford.

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231133

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231275

You could also add in this HDD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148395), but should use you're current one and your DvD drive



That and its good knowledge to have imo.

Wow thanks so much. I really didn't think I could build one for under $500. I'm gonna do some more research tonight and come back with my findings and more questions tomorrow.

Oh, and P.S.:

I just beat Portal, it was amazing. :D

Europhoria
01-19-2010, 01:27 AM
It would also be great to tell us what country you're in. Most people here would assume you're from the US/CA so they would show you parts from Newegg who do not ship overseas. $500US should be enough to make a budget PC though. My only amendment to GoDMiN's list would be a 5770HD for around $20 more. Either XFX Radeon HD 5770 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150447) or SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102858) would be good. Both have a decent cooling unit strapped on and will provide a reasonable bump in performance for only a few extra bucks.

GoDMiN
01-19-2010, 12:38 PM
It would also be great to tell us what country you're in. Most people here would assume you're from the US/CA so they would show you parts from Newegg who do not ship overseas. $500US should be enough to make a budget PC though. My only amendment to GoDMiN's list would be a 5770HD for around $20 more. Either XFX Radeon HD 5770 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150447) or SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102858) would be good. Both have a decent cooling unit strapped on and will provide a reasonable bump in performance for only a few extra bucks.

ek did the prices change? >.>

yea get the 5770 for sure.

cjmabry25
01-19-2010, 03:26 PM
I'm in the US. But I noticed you posted an HD 5770, but there were two different ones. What's the difference? I see this a lot when reading through the forums - multiple versions of the same video card.

GoDMiN
01-19-2010, 07:35 PM
XFX made one, Sapphire made the other. Both are highest of high end brands so you cant really go wrong. I own a Sapphire myself, however will be getting a XFX next time I get a card most likely. Just to expand my experience with other brands really :p HIS is another very good brand of card for ATi, their as good as XFX and Sapphire, I've owned a few of theirs.

cjmabry25
01-20-2010, 01:34 AM
XFX made one, Sapphire made the other. Both are highest of high end brands so you cant really go wrong. I own a Sapphire myself, however will be getting a XFX next time I get a card most likely. Just to expand my experience with other brands really :p HIS is another very good brand of card for ATi, their as good as XFX and Sapphire, I've owned a few of theirs.

I see. Thanks for that :P

HL2-4-Life
01-20-2010, 02:10 AM
That build recommendation from GoDMIN looks pretty good, swap to a HD5770 and you'll be set for an awesome gaming experience. Since this is a totally new build, I'd go with 64bit Win7 Home Premium....btw, is that 80GB HDD SATA or PATA? If it's SATA, then keep it and use it for your primary drive where you'd install the OS. Grab a 640GB to 1TB HDD and partition it into two-three smaller partitions where you can store games and whatnot. I believe in keeping primary OS drive separate from other HDD's, my main gaming rig has a 128GB SSD solely for OS. My HTPC has a 74GB Raptor for OS and nothing else.

nicholson101
01-20-2010, 03:55 AM
I would go with B too... So refreshing once in a while!