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Upgrading Suggestions

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Anthony Noon, Dec 29, 2007.

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  1. Anthony Noon

    Anthony Noon Thread Starter

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    I am currently thinking about upgrading my PC; however I only know the basics of computer hardware, but when going into in-depth analysis of what would be best for me I would have no clue where to start.

    The purpose of upgrading is to play newer computer games with better frames per second at a decent resolution, not necessarily on maximum graphical settings. I am running Windows XP Home Edition, and do not wish to upgrade to Vista.

    My computer is a Gateway 820 GM, the system specs are on this website,
    https://support.gateway.com/s/PC/R/4055/4055sp3.shtml

    I was thinking about getting a better graphics card, from 128mb to 512mb. As well adding around 1 gig of ram. However I don't know enough about hardware to know exactly what I am doing.

    I would like just to know how to increase my performance within the ball park of 250-350 American dollars.

    I would prefer to buy from a shop, but I am willing to buy from an online retailer. This all depends on your advice. Side note, only had 3 computers in my life, my first had a hard drive size of 1.99 gigs, and that was huge then; how the times do change.

    Thank you for your time,
    Anthony Noon
     
  2. Mcbee

    Mcbee

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    Upgrading may not be straightforward. The spec list for your computer is not detailed enough to give a simple answer. Firstly the power supply is not listed. Most of the big name brands only fit a PSU that is sufficient for listed specs. Upgrading your GPU may require a new PSU. If it is an ATX PSU then changing is easy. Secondly the list doesn't state if memory is dual channel or not. If not you just need another Gig of DDR400 memory. For best results with dual channel you need two sticks of identical memory. If you can't match the original you would need to get 2Gig of DDR400 (2x 1Gig). Lastly the GPU. the GeForce 8600GT would be a good upgrade but probably means changing the PSU as well. Buying from an online store will save you a lot if you need to purchase two or three items.
     
  3. Anthony Noon

    Anthony Noon Thread Starter

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    Could you possibly tell me a way to find the information you need? I am sure there has to be a way to find out.
     
  4. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Look at my sig below - download PC Wizard.... but also confirm - open the case and count the memory sticks (5inch RAM modules)... and the number of slots available vs. those filled.

    For budget:
    - ATi 3850 card
    - $60~80 450~500watt PSU..

    Since your PC is not too old, YOU should be able, in the future replace the CPU with Core2Duo type chip - IF the gateway bios ALOWS it.
     
  5. Anthony Noon

    Anthony Noon Thread Starter

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    The report says as follows, I didn't see anything that said about the power supply. Also I know there are 4 slots for ram on this computer, 2 are currently being used (apparent from the text bellow).

    Can you please link the hardware, I am not very familiar with simply ATI then a number. I would like to be precise when I eventually make a purchase.

    Side note, I see you use Opera, I liked it but I couldn't give up spell check, do you know of an add-on for Opera that puts in spell-check, or if its in already.

    For confirmation, this is the system report from PC Wizard below.

    Thank you.


    PC Wizard 2008 Version 1.81
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Owner:
    User: Owner
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.01.2600 Service Pack 2
    Report Date: Saturday 29 December 2007 at 07:26

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


    <<< System Summary >>>

    > Manufacturer : Gateway

    > Mainboard : Intel D915GSE

    > Chipset : Intel i915G

    > Processor : Intel Pentium 4 530 @ 3000 MHz

    > Physical Memory : 1024 MB (2 x 512 DDR-SDRAM )

    > Video Card : ATI Technologies Inc Radeon X300 Series

    > Hard Disk : WDC (250 GB)

    > DVD-Rom Drive : TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-H552B

    > DVD-Rom Drive : HL-DT-ST DVD-ROM GDR8162B

    > Monitor Type : LG Electronics L1720P - 17 inches

    > Network Card : Marvell Semiconductor (Was: Galileo Technology Ltd) Yukon 88E8050 PCI-E ASF Gigabit Ethernet Controller

    > Operating System : Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.01.2600 Service Pack 2

    > DirectX : Version 9.0c (December 2007)

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ***** End of report *****
     
  6. Mcbee

    Mcbee

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    Two 512Mb would suggest dual channel. You need two more 512Mb (matched pair) to make 2Gb total.
     
  7. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    For the power supply you'll need to open up the case and read the sticker on the power supply.

    Almost certainly you'll need to replace the power supply, eMachines use poor quality and low wattage power supplies.
     
  8. Anthony Noon

    Anthony Noon Thread Starter

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    Well for the memory I already knew I was going to have to buy in pairs, and honestly I am not worried about the ram part of this upgrade because I have done it before, go me. The only part I am worried is now the power supply unit and the graphics card.

    Just a few questions.

    Is this the ATI 3850 graphics card that Compiler is suggesting?
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814241068

    I was also talking to a friend of mine, and in the future I will be dual booting linux, and I remember now that ati graphics cards aren't really linux friendly, so I was wondering if the "GeForce 8600GT" is a good choice.

    If so, is it appropriately priced at new egg or do I have a better chance of finding it cheaper else where?

    I searched the computer and the power supply unit stated its maximum output is 305 volts, and I think thats the number I needed to know. Compiler stated I needed one with 450-500 volts output correct?

    I would like to be pointed to a manufacture of good quality power supply units if you know any.

    Once again, thank you for your time.
     
  9. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    It should Watts that you are looking for.
    Quality brands are FSP/Fortron, Enermax, Antec, PC Power & Cooling, Sparkle, OCZ, to name a few.

    The HD3850 is the better card then the 8600GT, ATI has been working on Linux drivers this year and the cards apparently perform really well in Linux. AMD/ATI's own drivers are posted on their site and the 7.12 does support the HD38x0 series even though it doesn't state so.
     
  10. Anthony Noon

    Anthony Noon Thread Starter

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    Then the ATI HD 3850 will do nicely. The only thing left is to know if I should just go for 2x1gig or just put in another 2x512mb for ram. After knowing that I can order all three parts and go on my merry way of upgrading.

    Thank you once again for all the advice so far.
     
  11. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    The specs on the Gateway site say sits expandable to 2GB's. So if you have 4 memory slots then thats 512MB per slot, if you only have two slots then you'd want to get 2 x 1GB sticks. 2GB's of RAM is more then enough for Windows XP, and just fine for Vista.

    You can re-check the memory gain, or scan at www.crucial.com
     
  12. Anthony Noon

    Anthony Noon Thread Starter

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    I was thinking just adding 2x512mB to bring the total to 2 gigs, and I agree I feel that 2 gigs well be more than enough, I am happy with one but just thought might the heck not just in-case I do get vista.

    I was able to get a shopping cart going on newegg, tell me what you think.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814241068
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817148027
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145440

    ATI 3850 $209.99
    A question is it says PCI-E 2.0, is that compatible with my PCI-E 16x slot?

    500watt power supply, wasn't on your list but the reviews seem really good,
    and look at that price, I needed to stay in budget. $39.99

    2 x 512 mb of Ram, I have bought from Corsair before and no problems,
    and doesn't look like other people have gotten many problems either. $59.99

    Grand total with tax and shipping is $335.35, not including a 15 dollar mail in rebate for the PSU.
     
  13. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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  14. Anthony Noon

    Anthony Noon Thread Starter

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    Yes I am very sure I have 4 slots, I opened the tower up this morning, hope it still has 4 heh heh.

    About the graphics card, it states its PCI-E 2.0, and my computer has a PCI-E 16x graphics card slot, will it work? (I am slowly learning about these things so bare with me)

    I will take your advice and take one of those two, didn't think the PSU I put would be that great at 30 something.

    Thank you.
     
  15. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    PCI-E 2.0 is backward compatible to PCI-E 1.1. But I just rechecked and it appears your board is a PCI-Express 1.0a version and 2.0 is not fully compatible with that. However the ATI HD38x0 cards do apparently work on those slots anyway as they detect the interface type.
     
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