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Can you help me make my Acer desktop better for gaming? (Video card, Ram)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Kitten Communism, Oct 22, 2014.

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  1. Kitten Communism

    Kitten Communism Thread Starter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    18
    Greetings,

    I brought an Acer computer last year with a small budget. It is by no means a powerhouse, but it sufficed plenty so far for my usual needs. Lately, though, I begun to be interested again in PC gaming and I was looking for the possibility to upgrade this computer in order to make it decent, or even good, for gaming. Here are my specs:

    Model Number: ax1470-ef308
    (It's similar to this one in size, http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1188410 but has slightly different specs, as follows.)

    CPU: AMD A6-3620 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics
    CPU Speed: 2.2 GHz
    GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6530D
    Power: ACER - Acer Liteon PS-5221 220 Watt Power supply - http://www.amazon.com/ACER-Liteon-PS-5221-Power-supply/sim/B00457A6QM/2
    RAM: 3.6 GB
    OS: Microsoft Windows 8 (build 9200), 64-bit
    (If you need additional info, tell me and I will provide.)

    I'd love to be able to run modern games, but I have no idea of what I should expect and how much I should spend. I'd be more than pleased if I could run, say, Battlefield 4 at medium to high settings, but I don't know if this is a realistic expectation to have. My budget is around 300 to a maximum of 400$.

    (GPU)
    I spotted this video card in a recommendations article;
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107-4.html
    The Radeon R9 290. It seemed to me as a very appealing choice.
    -Would my computer be able to handle it?
    -Would there be a better card for my needs, in a similar price range?
    -What kind of performance should I expect from it/or an alternative card?

    (RAM)
    Additionally, my Ram is in the 4gbs ballpark.
    -Should I upgrade it to 8gbs or more?
    -And if I should, is it important to choose a specific brand of ram module over the other?

    Also, if current games are out of the question, would there be a cheaper card I could get that could enable me to play mid-range games that were released during the past few years? I'd love to run something like The Witcher 2 at decent settings, or Dawn of War 2 and Starcraft 2 at a relatively fluid pace.
    Finally, is there anything else that's important and that I should know? I'm still somewhat new to PC gaming hardware. Any support would be greatly appreciated!

    PS: Additional mention; I am canadian.
     
  2. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    52,875
    First Name:
    Rob
    It's probably unrealistic. Acer's are generally not quality machines. It'll never perform as well as proper gaming system and the components may not last, and most will have to be replaced.

    RAM is the least of your issues.

    Your main issue is the useless 220 watt power supply. There isn't a single gaming, or almost any card, that will work it such a low wattage power supply. You will need a new one, a quality one of at least 500 watts for a good gaming card. A PSU like this will cost close to $70 and more if you want a truly good one.

    And since the Acer is a slim proprietary case you will need a new standard ATX case for any standard ATC power supply and to provide adequate cooling and space for the graphics card. Probably another $70 for a quality case.

    Next is the video card. A good gaming card like the R7 290 is around $170.

    RAM should ideally be at 8GB for a good gaming system, add another $70 or so for a quality set of 2x4GB RAM kit.

    And then there's your CPU...it sucks for gaming. And that Acer motherboard may not take a faster better CPU. It's equivalent to a top-end processor from about 2007/2008. And even the best processor in the A series isn't a good performer for gaming.

    And the Acer motherboard...also sucks, unreliable, not optimized for performance, all around a basic budget board.

    Honestly, we tell this to a lot of people. Sell your system for the $200 it's worth and start from scratch. The result will always be better.
     
  3. Kitten Communism

    Kitten Communism Thread Starter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    18
    Oh damn! I was afraid of that answer!

    It seems it would be wiser for me to start putting aside some money and actually buy a new computer instead of trying to upgrade this one. I would have final question and then I'll be set for the moment;

    -About how much money do you think I should put aside in order to be able to afford an adequate gaming desktop?
    I'm looking for something that could run modern games at mid to high settings, but I don't want to break the bank. Roughly how much do I need for that?

    By the way, thank you very much for the help so far. It is greatly appreciated!
     
  4. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

    Joined:
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    52,875
    First Name:
    Rob
  5. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Frank
    If your budget is only $300.00 - $400.00, there's no way that you're going to buy a good gaming desktop.

    There's a big difference between having a desktop for basic use and having one for gaming use, and one of the big differences is the much higher cost for faster and better quality hardware.

    Listen to Triple6 and crjdriver and the other hardware/gaming experts.

    ----------------------------------------------------------
     
  6. GripS

    GripS

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,113
    Just wanted to chime in here and say that you can build a decent gaming rig for far less than the 1500 dollar one. It's a balance of how much you really game and how good you want the games to look.

    Personally, if I were to do a budget system that can still hang with the big dogs, I would do something like this:

    Intel Core i5 4690k - $260
    Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler - $35 - (this cooler will allow you to overclock the CPU should you decide to, though it is fast enough as is)
    Asrock Z97 Extreme3 - $119
    G.Skill Ripjaws X 2x4gb RAM - $70
    Corsiar CXM 750watt PSU - $90
    Corsair 200R Carbide Case - $60
    Sapphire Dual-X Radeon R9 280 - $190.00
    Recycle your existing CD/DVD Rom drive from your old system - Free
    Recycle hard drives from your old system* - Free

    Total cost is $824.

    This system will play any game out there at medium/high settings at 1920x1080 resolution. I'm assuming you already have a decent Monitor and keyboard/mouse.

    I would also recommend an SSD if your budget allows it. A good sized one, since games these days take up a lot of space, and its a good idea when investing in SSD's to go with a bigger drive size. The cheapest one at a larger size appears to be the Adata USA premier SP610 512gb SSD for 240 on Amazon right now. This is a dramatic improvement in overall performance in how 'fast' the system seems to respond when opening and loading applications. I recently made the jump to SSD's and I'm not sure why I waited so long to do so.

    If you go the SSD route, use your existing hard drive(s) for storage space and video/music files. Your SSD should be your boot drive and where all your games are installed. SSD's actually have a bad reputation for longevity, but those are the old days. Modern SSD's will last just as long, if not longer than a standard hard drive.

    Hopefully this helps you make a more informed decision.

    Toms hardware regularly produces articles on the best CPU, SSD, Video Card, etc for the money. That's where much of this info came from.
     
  7. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
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    First Name:
    Rob
    Don't forget the copy of Windows 8, the one from the Acer is not re-usable.

    You also loose most of the value of the existing system by removing those two parts, the price of selling the system as a whole should offset the price of a new hard drive and optical drive.
     
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