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Potato2k4

Building A Computer/choosing Upgrades

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Well first of all it feels great to be back home :P (Some of you may remember me from what seems like an eternity ago, back when TechTV turned into G4 and most of us moved here.)

So onto my question:

Is there some sort of guide or website that could help me start chosing parts and such?

My specs now aren't bad by any means, but I'm thinking of this as a future project anyway.

My specs now:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4200+

1GB RAM (2 x 512 w/ 2 slots free)

nVidia GeForce 6150 LE

250GB SATA HD 7200 RPM

WinXP MC

As far as any upgrades would go I would think my graphics card could be updated and a sound card would benefit me but I don't know how to choose between everything thats on the market.

EDIT: Also I was wondering if theres a way to ensure I don't buy parts that get technologically surpassed within a month, if you know what I mean.

Edited by Potato2k4

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If you do some gaming, a graphics card would be a great upgrade. The next best upgrade would be more ram. You could also add a second harddrive and use if for backing up purposes. It may also make sense to get a quality power supply.

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What motherboard are you using? This will determine just how far you can upgrade your present system without buying a new mobo.

Well, unfortunately it's a pre-built from HP.

If you do some gaming, a graphics card would be a great upgrade. The next best upgrade would be more ram. You could also add a second harddrive and use if for backing up purposes. It may also make sense to get a quality power supply.

This is most of what I was planning, except that I'm not sure if there is PCI-Express compatibility which would really thwart any solid upgrade for a video card.

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http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/generic...=reg_R1002_USEN

It does have PCI-E 16x

Also, the max memory per slot is 1gig. So you could add up to 2 mroe gigs of ram and keep the old ram

This is what I was thinking of first, but as a gamer what would hold priority in RAM vs Graphics card? I don't play high graphics games really, just WoW and Counterstrike, so ram seems to make more sense to me.

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http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/generic...=reg_R1002_USEN

It does have PCI-E 16x

Also, the max memory per slot is 1gig. So you could add up to 2 mroe gigs of ram and keep the old ram

This is what I was thinking of first, but as a gamer what would hold priority in RAM vs Graphics card? I don't play high graphics games really, just WoW and Counterstrike, so ram seems to make more sense to me.

I agree with your theory.

If you're interested though. I have a PCI-E Nvidia 6600GT for sale :thumbsup::blush:

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I think you would get much better gains in game performance with a video card. 1 gb of ram with XP is pretty good.

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I think you would get much better gains in game performance with a video card. 1 gb of ram with XP is pretty good.

Shanenin, WoW is a ram hog and less graphicly intense. And CS is pretty old isnt it?

Someone correct me if Im wrong.

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I think you would get much better gains in game performance with a video card. 1 gb of ram with XP is pretty good.

I think I can solve both problems by getting a stick of ram and a video card :P

Now, how do I choose a video card? I don't need one of those brick-sized beasts that are $500. I just need to choose a decent card to keep this thing alive lol.

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How much are you looking to spend for a graphics card?

Well I'm pretty lenitent but no more than $180. I don't need all that much power anyway so I think that should be plenty.

As far as ram goes, should I spend a bit more and just replace the 512's and up everything to 4GB? or is that overkill? Maybe 2GB is enough...

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XP (32-bit) won't be able to use 4 gigs. If you get 4 gigs, usually 512MB-1GB of it will be distributed to hardware; and Windows will only see (and use) about 3.5 gigs.

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XP (32-bit) won't be able to use 4 gigs. If you get 4 gigs, usually 512MB-1GB of it will be distributed to hardware; and Windows will only see (and use) about 3.5 gigs.

I kinda expected something like that.

Is there a difference between 1stick of 1GB or 2sticks of 512MB?

And also I have no idea what specs to look at on a video card.

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Before I would slap a PCI-E graphics card in I would install a name brand power supply with at least 450W in that HP. HP isn't noted for using decent power supplies, just as other OEM PCs. I would also make sure the case has good airflow. Use rounded IDE/floppy cables, neaten the cabling to improve airflow and check to see if you can add case fans. You should be able to buy a decent graphics card, power supply, case fans, cables and extra RAM for less than $250.00.

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Is there a difference between 1stick of 1GB or 2sticks of 512MB?

Only if your motherboard requires RAM modules to be installed in pairs (mainly for the dual channel feature) or if you plan to add more modules later (higher density per slot leaves more slots for upgrades later).

Tomshardware.com usually publishes a "best gaming graphics card for the money" article now and then, with recommended graphics cards for various price categories.

If all you needed to do was to add a graphics card, I would probably go for a Radeon X1950 or 3850, but I do agree with the others that you will need to also consider upgrading the PSU in the process. However, you can go ahead and add more RAM now (maybe 2x 1GB) and leave the graphics card + PSU upgrade for a later time when you get more funds.

xtremesystems.org has a good list of recommended and not recommended PSUs if you are concerned about quality.

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