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Please help regarding upgrading/or purchasing new PC

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Clifford_Strange, Dec 20, 2011.

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  1. Clifford_Strange

    Clifford_Strange Thread Starter

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    Hi everyone,

    I am new to the forum and I have very limited computer knowledge concerning hardware and specs (things have moved on quite a bit since I last invested in a PC in 2001...). Any help and information would be greatly appreciated!

    I previously only used my PC to play WoW, however I am considering purchasing the new Bioware MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

    However, even though any GPU and CPU names mean nothing to me nowadays, I am mighty sure my meager little Dell Vostro 200 will not run this game.

    My question is, would I be able to cheaply upgrade my current PC to run this game? If so what additional GPU, RAM or CPU would people recommend? Or if even with certain upgrades my current PC would not be able to run this game, what cheapish PC would people recommend? All I would require from the computer is to run the new MMO on fairly high settings with a very stable frame rate.

    My current computer specs are:

    Dell Vostro 200
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz Processor
    2 GB of RAM
    232 GB Hard Drive
    Nvidia Geforce 8300GS
     
  2. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    First Name:
    Frank
    Do you have the Slim Tower or Mini Tower?

    What's the 7-character service tag number on the sticker?

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Both models support up to 4 GB of RAM, so adding more RAM is an option you have.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    If you're going to upgrade to a more powerful video card, you want to make sure the power supply can handle it.

    From what I can determine, the Mini Tower model has a 300 watt power supply and the Slim Tower model has a 250 watt power supply.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
     
  3. Clifford_Strange

    Clifford_Strange Thread Starter

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    Thank you very much for your quick reply Flavallee!

    I have the Micro Tower not the slim version (which I purchased as I hoped it would allow me more space to upgrade in the future! I hope...)

    The 7 character Service Tag Number is: FJWP33J

    That is good to hear, if I can upgrade the computer to run the game I would make sure it has 4GB RAM, however do you know whether this model of computer would support DDR3 RAM? I have no idea whether the different versions of RAM are cross compatible or not.

    About the power supply, where can I check? I had a quick look, and although most of the writing was in Chinese, it did state "Do not exceed 160W power outage" and there was another 160W on the label as well, however that does seem very low. Is it easy to change the power supply?

    I'm guessing the motherboard I have requires a PCI GPU? If so could you recommend any that would suffice to play Star Wars: The Old Republic and be compatible with my machine?

    Another piece of information: I think my budget will be around £200-£300, however if slightly more investment is needed that might be ok. I had previously looked at getting a whole new PC, which was around £500+, however I thought that is slightly excessive in order to just play one game... therefore if I can upgrade that would definitely be my favoured route!

    Thanks again for your help!

    Edit: There are two additions I am thinking of adding:

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-160-EA&tool=3
    EVGA GeForce GTX 460 Superclocked 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY-203-CS
    Corsair XMS3 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C9 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit



    Firstly would I be able to add these components to my PC? And if so should that allow me to run Star Wars: The Old Republic on decent settings?
     
  4. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    According to service tag number FJWP33J, here is the Dell support site that's specific ONLY to your Dell Vostro 200 Mini Tower desktop.
    I suggest you add and save this site in your browser favorites/bookmarks list so you can readily refer to it when needed.

    According to its system configuration section, it came with
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.3 GHz processor
    2048 MB(2 GB) of DDR2 PC2-5300(DDR2-667) RAM
    NVIDIA GeForce 8300GS 256 MB integrated graphics
    320 GB hard drive
    The power supply wattage isn't mentioned.

    Here is the on-line section for installing and removing components.

    Here is the on-line section with the specifications.
    It confirms that up to 4096 MB(4 GB) of RAM can be used - up to 1024 MB(1 GB) in each of the 4 slots.
    It confirms that DDR2 PC2-5300(DDR2-667) or DDR2 PC2-6400(DDR2-800) modules can be used.
    If you do increase the amount to 4096 MB(4 GB), make sure they're all DDR2-667 or all DDR2-800.

    The motherboard has a PCI Express x16 slot for adding a video card.

    If that desktop has only a 160 watt power supply, you'll definitely need to replace it with a 400 watt or higher model.

    ------------------------------------------------
     
  5. sonexpc

    sonexpc

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    What is your budget for this upgarde or new computer
     
  6. Clifford_Strange

    Clifford_Strange Thread Starter

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    Thank you very much for all that information, I did not know that you are able to track down the specifics of an individual PC, very helpful! I shall definitely save that website/information, that is extremely useful thanks.

    So I need DDR2 RAM, that is good to know, I shall hunt down additional RAM. From looking at the Motherboard I could only see two RAM slots as opposed to four though, will the additional two be in a different location? I just want to make sure I get the correct size RAM (Either 2x2GB or 4x1GB DDR2 RAM). I shall look at the Motherboard soon.

    I shall get a new power supply then. The Graphics Card that I posted, EVGA GeForce GTX 460 Superclocked 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card, states it has PCI-Express 2.0, is that different to x16? Or would that Graphics Card be compatible with my Motherboard and allow me to play Star Wars: TOR with decent settings? I'm sorry for all the questions but all theses names and numbers go right over my head!

    sonexpc = My budget is roughly £200-300, the lower the better! But if additional investment is needed I shall look into that.
     
  7. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    The Dell specifications site for the Vostro 200 Mini Tower and the various memory sites shows 4 slots for it, so yours may have a different motherboard with 2 slots.

    Go here, then allow the Crucial System Scanner to load and run. Once the scan is finished and displays a report, copy-and-paste that website link here so we can view the report.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
     
  8. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    Does you Vostro 200 look like the attached pic?

    I purchased 6 or 7 machines in 2008 from a company that was going out of business and a Vostro 200 was one of them. Although the service tag indicated it was a Mini Tower model it was the slim model that used half-height graphics cards. I don't recall what power supply it had since after I loaded a fresh installation of Windows I sold it pretty quickly.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Clifford_Strange

    Clifford_Strange Thread Starter

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    Hi Win2kpro,

    That is similar to mine, however mine is the Mini Tower as opposed to the slim one in that picture. I think they are very similar however.
     
  10. gberger

    gberger

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    They are not the same - the mini-tower (which you have) will support normal video cards (with an upgraded power supply) while the slim line requires half-height cards.
    You can most likely use any generic power supply in your system. Dell used to require a proprietary power supply, but your system is not that old if it is running a Core 2 Duo. (Don't bother asking Dell, they won't give you a straight answer on that - they want to sell you one of theirs for twice the price).
     
  11. sonexpc

    sonexpc

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  12. Clifford_Strange

    Clifford_Strange Thread Starter

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    Firstly, thank you very much everyone for all your help and replies, it really is very much appreciated!

    flavallee - I just checked my motherboard again and you are 100% correct, I do indeed have 4x RAM slots, so the first thing I shall do is purchase 2GB more RAM. I scanned my computer as you recommended and here are the results:

    Memory Type: DDR2 PC2-5300, DDR2 PC2-6400, DDR2 (non-ECC)
    Maximum Memory: 4GB
    Currently Installed Memory: 2GB
    Total Memory Slots: 4
    Available Memory Slots: 2

    So as far as I am aware all I need to do is purchase 2x 1GB DDR2 PC2-5300 (which is the memory already installed as far as I'm aware) and place them in the empty slots.

    sonexpc - so would you recommend ATI over Nvidia? As in the case of those two cards at least? Looking at the benchmark performance the Radeon certainly looks much better! Thanks alot for the suggestions, I have no idea what I'm looking at when it comes to GPU's.

    And just to sumarise: If I was to purchase another 2GB of RAM, a 500-600W power supply and MSI ATI Radeon HD 6850 Cyclone Power Edition 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card, would my PC be able to handle newer games and specifically the new Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO?

    I'm guessing because the computer already has a dual core processor I thankfully should not need to upgrade that?

    Thanks so much everyone!:)

    Edit: For a power supply, would just a cheap 500W one like this do?

    http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-062-OP&groupid=701&catid=123&subcat=
     
  13. sonexpc

    sonexpc

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    Don't be cheap on the supply 80% computer problem is first cause by power supply.. buy something at least is coolermaster / thermaltake / Antec/ Corsair... the basic 500W Model of these kind is OK enough
     
  14. Clifford_Strange

    Clifford_Strange Thread Starter

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    Wow, I did not know that, thanks for that information I shall definitely invest in a better power supply then.
     
  15. flavallee

    flavallee Trusted Advisor

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    Frank
    Thanks for the update on the motherboard and the number of slots it has.

    Going "cheap" with a power supply is NOT what you want to do.

    -------------------------------------------------------------
     
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