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Advice Requested on Upgrades to my GT5238E

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by LauraWert, Sep 29, 2008.

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  1. LauraWert

    LauraWert Thread Starter

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    I have a Gateway GT5238E. That I have owned for about 1½ years now. It's been a great computer until recently.

    My DVD/CD burner seems to have decided to be a cup holder. First I couldn't get Windows to recognize it, and now that it does, it won't recognize when I put in a blank media. Though it still plays DVDs. I really need a working burner, so I need a new one.

    While I'm at it, I thought I would add a couple of other things, like more RAM. I currently have 1024MB of RAM split between two slots. I would like to add 2-2GB more, if I can find it. The memory I have now is PC-4200 DDR2 - dual channel. Am I stuck using PC-4200 or can I use another type, like PC5400? Also, can I mix the 2GB RAM with the 512MB RAM, like 2 GB, 512MB, 2GB, 512MB? I have 4 slots and can add 2GB per slot.

    Also, I would like to add a video card. Right now I just have onboard video and I've found it's not enough for what I would like to do. What would be a good video card for me to get? I like to play games and use the social site, Second Life, but it said my video wasn't enough. From the specifications page, I have 2 PCI conventional, 1 PCI-e x1 and 1 PCI-e x16 slots available. (I have no clue what is the difference, but it seems to matter with video cards.)

    I currently have Windows XP Media Centre Edition - SP 3.

    I already have a 600 Watt power supply that I just haven't added yet.

    Rather than list all the specifications here, I am going to include a link to the page at Gateway where my specifications are, if you don't mind.

    http://support.gateway.com/s/PC/R/1009189/1009189sp2.shtml

    I haven't changed anything on the computer yet, but I sure would like to. I just want to be sure I'm making the best use of my money, when I do make the upgrades.

    Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. (Even if the suggestion is to get a new computer. I'm just not sure I'm ready for Vista yet.)

    Thanks Laura :confused:
     
  2. shinybeast

    shinybeast

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    Hello, if you mix memory speeds it will run at slowest speed. You should be able to run faster memory (mobo info at Gateway says you can run DDR2 800 (PC6400) I'd get a second opinion, to make sure). Might be better off losing the memory that's in there and getting two (or four) sticks of something better. Usually better off not mixing memory speeds but can be done. That 'puter still has a lot of useful life. Getting off of the onboard video would help a lot (depending on how much you want to spend). As far as choosing video card I would suggest the Tom's Hardware site and look for best video card for x$. They keep up to date about the best price/performance of current cards in different price ranges. As always - with a grain of salt...
    Good luck
     
  3. BG-0

    BG-0

    Joined:
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    You can use up to DDR2 1066 RAM(According to Crucial.com) in that, however, I'd suggest 800. However, not all DDR2 800 RAM modules work in that.. This 2x2 GB kit is (according to Crucial) compatible http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=E0FD4274A5CA7304. If you do get a 2x2 GB DDR2 800 kit, DON'T use the old ones with them, that will slow both memories down. Also, XP won't recognize more than 3.25ish GB of RAM, so it's no use anyways.

    Continued(omnomnom, yummy noodles): What games would you like to play? Do you want to play them with something like 1600(1900?)x1200 resolutions and all the settings to the max? What brand is your "600W PSU"?
    Good DVD-burner: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827129032, just add a SATA connector cable(a few bucks).
     
  4. LauraWert

    LauraWert Thread Starter

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    Thanks so much for the information everyone. I really do appreciate it.

    BG-0 - I like playing games like The Sims 2 and CSI and Law and Order. I haven't had trouble running those, but when I went to the Second Life website, it stated my video wasn't fast enough to run it. The way I see it, when you can't run a website because you need a video card, it's time to go get one. Plus I'm sure any games I install in the future are going to need a video card. In the past, if it didn't run, I just uninstalled it, but I don't want to do that anymore. My current games will run better too.

    I bought an Ultra V series 600 watt power supply. It says on the box that it is NVIDIA SLi Ready. The salesperson at TigerDirect said that it was a good quality one. I bought it a while ago and haven't gotten around to installing it.

    I'm going to try and get 2x2GB sticks of memory and removing the 512MB memory altogether. That way, if I ever decide to upgrade to Vista, it will be simple to add 2 more sticks at that time. Thanks also for the brand name suggestions. The last time I bought memory, it was $200 for 1GB. I think it was sometime in the '90s. It helps to know a few good brand names.

    I'm still not sure what kind of video card to get, but I'll take my computer specs to the store and see what the tech guys there suggest. They seem to be pretty good.

    Thanks again. Laura

    My plan is to install one thing at a time, make sure everything works before I install the next thing. I've also already backed up everything on my external HDs, just in case.
     
  5. BG-0

    BG-0

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    Okay, about the vid card. You have enough power for any single card, and two cards really isn't worth it. Now you'll just need to decide how much you're going to spend on it.
    A great mid-range one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102770
    Great choices, if you don't want ultimate performance: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150247 or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161252

    Then the ridicilously good ones: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103066 or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127360 (These will be a bit of a struggle, even for your 600 W power supply.)

    And great, still not extremely overdone: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125225 or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133229
     
  6. LauraWert

    LauraWert Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
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    BG-O Thanks for the terrific suggestions. I was a little stumped first because newegg.com does not deliver to Canada, but a quick search for newegg.ca resolved that issue. You have given me some great advise on what to look for and at various price ranges, which I appreciate.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to look up all of these items for me. It's much appreciated. I'll get to work on my "new" old computer soon.

    All the best
    Laura
     
  7. LauraWert

    LauraWert Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
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    Sorry folks, for some reason, it posted the same post twice. So I thought I would change this one.

    Thanks for understanding.
     
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