Wanting to Upgrade, but....

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MSTechie

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...I have no clue what to watch out for and where to start. I'm looking at trying to upgrade my CPU, video card, and buying a 2nd 1TB+ internal hard drive, and wanting a powerful computer without having to spend more than I want to ($800 is my limit). I upgraded my video card not too long ago to a ZOTAC card with GeForce 240 on it (I was a little tight on cash at the time), and now I want to make my computer a little more powerful than it is. I already have a 500+ P/S (I'm not at my computer at the moment, but I'll be able to provide more accurate stats when I do) but everything else, except the video card, is stock from when I bought it. I know that you guys are going to need more detailed info in order to give any suggestions, so is there some kind of tool that I can use to display what my computer's hardware currently is (e.g., motherboard type, CPU socket type, video card processing unit, etc.) so it'll be easier to give recommendations?
 
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The TSG Utility suggested by managed will provide basic specs, but the information needed to give you meaningful feedback is a bit more comprehensive. I suggest CPUID's PC Wizard for this info source. Click here for a look at what PC Wizard can provide and there is also a download link. The program is free and is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit systems.
 

MSTechie

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Alright, thanks guys! Any tips for a guy who's about to upgrade his computer for the first time?
 

foxidrive

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It probably helps to know what your main PC interests are. Gaming, video encoding, database crunching, web surfing, etc. What do you want to improve the most?
 

managed

Allan
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Alright, thanks guys! Any tips for a guy who's about to upgrade his computer for the first time?
We can't help until we know what hardware you have now and what you use the computer for.
 

MSTechie

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I'm wanting to upgrade the computer to a powerful gaming computer, but I'd also like for it to be powerful enough to multi-task like a boss (excuse the pun).

This is what I currently have according to PC Wizard:

Mainboard : Dell 0K068D
Chipset : Intel P31/P35
Processor : Intel Pentium E2220 @ 2400 MHz
Physical Memory : 6144 MBDDR2-SDRAM
Video Card : NVIDIA GeForce GT 240
Hard Disk : Western Digital WD6400AAKS-75A7B0 ATA Device (640GB)
DVD-Rom Drive : Toshiba-Samsung CDDVDW SH-S243N
DVD-Rom Drive : GGEMD GNORMLCARSVDD
Monitor Type : Dell Computer DELL S2209W - 22 inches
Network Card : Realtek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
Operating System : Windows 7 Ultimate Professional Media Center 6.01.7601 Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
DirectX : Version 11.00
Windows Performance Index : 5.9 on 7.9

My mobo is fit for a 775 LGA Socket on the processor.
 
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You left out the most important part of your computer, the PSU. This is where you do not want to skimp.
 

foxidrive

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It seems to me that MSTechie hasn't got a lot of things to upgrade for performance, as the video card was updated. He'll have to source a second hand CPU from ebay and that's about it. Maybe some more RAM if he needs it.
 

MSTechie

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Sorry, I forgot to include that. It's a 530W Raidmax Hybrid PSU.

If I need to, I'm willing to upgrade my mobo as well.
 

crjdriver

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Raidmax is at or very near the bottom of pw supply mfg in terms of quality.

Next you have a dell mb. You need to contact dell to see what cpu you can install. Just because it is socket 775, does NOT mean the board supports all cpus based on that socket.

FWIW I would not waste money attempting to upgrade a dell computer. Dells are fine for work apps like office, etc [I think we must have well over 3000 of them at work] however they are not really upgradeable in any real sense. You can install more ram or a larger hd however that really is about it. You have installed a different video card however that is a 5yr old card that was low to mid range when it was introduced.

Honestly if you want a high end computer, do not waste your money trying to upgrade what you have; build a new system.
 

MSTechie

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Jun 23, 2005
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Depspite the fact it's a Dell computer originally, could it theoretically be possible to change out the mobo and swap it out for a better one? I mean, yeah, it'd be awesome to build a brand new system, but I'd still like to not break the bank. Money's flexible, but still has a limit.

And I'm not so sure I agree with the comment on Raidmax. I've had this PSU for a little over a year and a half now, and it's been great to me and my computer.

And let's assume that I go ahead and decide to build a computer from the ground up. What all would I need to get to successfully do so, and what are some suggestions on what I would need to build one? Do remember, I know a thing or two about computers, but the art of building one from the ground up is a brand new concept to me.
 

foxidrive

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You might be happy with a swift ebay quad core CPU, if Dell says it can accept one.

Processing tasks will be a lot faster. Video/audio encoding etc.

Otherwise you will probably need new ram, mobo, CPU but the rest should be useable if you are happy with the video card - gamers generally like the cutting edge stuff though.
 
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