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suggestions for upgrading my dads computer please

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by jtn3833, Jan 5, 2014.

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  1. jtn3833

    jtn3833 Thread Starter

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    i haven't been keeping up with new hardware as i once did so i'm hoping some of you might be able to make some suggestions for my fathers computer. he doesn't have a lot to spend so upgrades are preferable to a new rig.

    he has a dell xps 420 desktop has an ati radeon hd 3600 graphics card, 3gigs of ram, and runs vista on a 28" monitor.

    he likes playing games and the rig is showing it's age. he'd like to play borderlands 2 and farcry 3, but if he could run them, i don't think they would run well.

    i know more ram is needed.

    1- the specs on his computer state, "One PCIe x16 graphics slot with support for PCIe 2.0 future graphics cards." if the system will run a PCIe 2 card, why don't they say that, or is it a firmware update to the PCIe port or something else?

    2- any suggestions on a graphics card in the $100 - 150 range that might let him keep this system going, playing borderlands 2 & far cry 3 for another few years until a new computer is in the budget?

    thanks, i appreciate your time,
    jtn
     
  2. TheShooter93

    TheShooter93 Malware Specialist

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    First Name:
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    Hello jtn3833,

    The following will give us a better picture of the hardware in the system:

    Download and save the TSG System Information Utility (SysInfo.exe).

    After it's been downloaded and saved, double-click it to run it.

    Information about your computer will appear.

    Return here to your thread, then copy-and-paste the entire text here.

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

    Before we get too into it though, I want to warn you that OEM systems (especially Dells) come with a power supply with the minimum required wattage to power the hardware initially installed.

    Upgrading the amount of RAM or to a larger harddrive would be acceptable, but if you're looking at getting a new graphics card (which would be the best choice when concerned about gaming) it's going to be near impossible to find a card within the power supply's limit that is also going to give a noticeable performance increase.
     
  3. jtn3833

    jtn3833 Thread Starter

    Joined:
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    here you go...
    ----------------------
    Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.2
    OS Version: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium, Service Pack 2, 32 bit
    Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz, x64 Family 6 Model 15 Stepping 11
    Processor Count: 4
    RAM: 3069 Mb
    Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 3600 Series, 256 Mb
    Hard Drives: C: Total - 461515 MB, Free - 69241 MB; D: Total - 15359 MB, Free - 11215 MB; F: Total - 190779 MB, Free - 38946 MB;
    Motherboard: Dell Inc., 0TP406
    Antivirus: avast! Antivirus, Updated and Enabled
    ----------------------
    as you can see his graphics card only has 256mg, so i figured it, along with ram would be quick, relatively inexpensive upgrades.
    i hadn't considered the psu issue, good point. at least dell doesn't use proprietary connectors (last time i checked), so upgrading the psu is possible, just adds to the cost.

    thanks for taking a look,
    jtn
     
  4. atled

    atled

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    What size power supply, (in watts) does he have now?

    I think it supports the common/standard 24-pin ATX power supply, so swapping out shouldn't be an issue if it is needed.
     
  5. geek117

    geek117

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    You can upgrade the RAM:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226214

    Above is a 4GB kit. If you purchase two of those kits, you will max out the system.

    Unfortunately there's nothing you can do about the processor at this point due to the age of the system, but you can upgrade the power supply and video card if need be. As long as you make sure to have the power supply to support it, a Geforce GTX 650 Ti should have enough power to run those games, with performance comparable to a GTX 560 (See performance data below).

    http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-650ti/performance

    I wouldn't hold your breathe on FarCry 3, unless you play it on the lowest settings. Borderlands 2 may be more realistic, but I would still be concerned about the performance of the processor keeping up with everything else.


    As TheShooter93 mentioned above, you will still need to upgrade the power supply. In all, you're probably looking at $250-300 in upgrades. He may be better off building a new system from a NewEgg hardware bundle. If you keep an eye on their e-mail deals, a complete system can be had for $300-500 minus a video card. That may be more worth his while.
     
  6. captainron276

    captainron276

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    Since you have a 32bit system it would not be advisable to waist money on memory as the most it will show is 3.25 to 3.50 megs.
     
  7. Tanis

    Tanis

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    Shane
    I would advice checking the physical size and shape of the PSU though. Dell don't normally use their own proprietary connectors but they have used non-standard sized/shaped PSUs. If that is the case the OP will have to buy a new PSU direct from Dell.

    For the OP, what is the 7 character Dell Service Tag number for the machine, it should be on a sticker on the case. With that we can look up the exact system details direct through Dell.
     
  8. TheShooter93

    TheShooter93 Malware Specialist

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    The amount of RAM the graphics card has (not to be confused with the RAM already installed on your motherboard) doesn't necessarily reflect the overall performance of the card. It is one aspect, but benchmarks in graphics processing is a better way to compare graphics cards. Here is a very good site for doing so: http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/

    Dell does not use proprietary connectors, so yes, you can upgrade the PSU along with the graphics card (assuming you can find a PSU that will fit in the tower properly).
     
  9. techn3rd

    techn3rd

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    I think the max ram supported by his motherboard is only 4GB, no?
     
  10. geek117

    geek117

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