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Upgrading my $200 PC?


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#1 rhino1366

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 06:46 PM

So here it is:

Processor: AMD Sempron LE-1150 (single core, but w/ HT tech.; 2.0 GHz; 256 KB L2 cache).
Motherboard: ASUS M2N-MX SE Plus (NVIDIA nForce 430; Realtek ALC662).
Memory: 2x512 KB (speed - 1ns).
Int. graphics chip: NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE (512 MB shared).
HDD: Hitachi 160 GB (7200RPM; cache size 8 or so).
ODD: LG DVD-RAM (don't know, if such can write DVDs... speed is unknown).
Chassis: some ordinary chassis, lol.
Power supply: unknown, but enough for any tasks (for now).

Also, it has a deactivated Liquid Cooling System (manufacturer said it's not needed).

So, the reason I'm asking for an upgrade, is that I can't play "smoothly" even such a low-res. game as Mount&Blade 1.011 on it. The main thing is a GPU, that I'm thinking about to change to NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT 512 MB GDDR2 PCI-E. The thing I don't want to change is a motherboard... it suites me well (with my old ports). Though, Realtek ALC662 is good too.

If you have any good suggestions - I'll be glad to listen to you.

Note: any suggestion(s) must be smart and qualified, as I've said.

Here's my motherboard's picture:

Posted Image

On future - thanks for any kind of help!

rhino1366 :thumbsup:

P.S. If I'll forget something - I'll make an edite. Hoping on a fast reply.

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 12:49 AM

I certainly hope that memory is for the CPU not the RAM. For $200 don't expect much other than internet surfing and word processing. Nevertheless, you do have a recent motherboard which will help with upgrading.

Here are some things you can try:

CPU: According to Asus' CPU compatibility list, you can choose from several AM2 processors. The AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000 3.1GHz is one of the fastest dual core's you can get for your board. Note that you may have to update your BIOS to use it. Asus CPU compatibility list

Memory: Your specs don't list the amount of RAM you have now, but you can get up to 4GB with that motherboard. You can do that with the OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066. Or, if you're on a tight budget, you can get 2GB such as the OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066. Memory is cheap so get all you want. Asus Motherboard Specifications

GPU: Here is where things can get messy. You can end up spending a huge amount of cash very quickly. I do suggest getting something more powerful than a 9400 GT. That is a very weak card. The 9800 GT is more powerful, and more expensive, but will provide a better experience. Alternatively, you can go for the 9600 GT if you want to save some cash.

PSU: All of these upgrades will require a good power supply. I suggest a 450W to 500W PSU. The Corsair line of power supplies are very good, the CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W should do the trick.

Edited by DJBPace07, 31 January 2009 - 12:51 AM.

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#3 rhino1366

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 03:03 AM

Things I've forgotten to ask:

1. Can my DVD-RAM write DVDs?
2. Is it possible to use an ATI's GPU on NVIDIA's chipset motherboard, like mine?

Mate, thanks for helping me, but your vision of my budget is too "high".

What comments from you will be, if I'll say, that my vision of upgrading is such:

1. CPU = leave alone.
2. Mainboard = leave alone.
3. RAM = upgrade to 2 GB of DDR2-800 (CL4).
4. GPU = upgrade to NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT 512 MB GDDR2 PCI-E.
5. HDD = leave alone.
6. ODD = leave alone or upgrade to DVD+/-RW (at least 16x; LightScribe tech. is under question).
7. Chassis = leave alone, but unlock the 80mm rear fan.
8. PSU = upgrade, if it's necessary.
9. Get a UPS by your recommendation! :thumbsup:

That should get on $125 without PSU and on $150 with PSU... though, it's without UPS. ;)

And as of what is weak and what is not - you should note, that my PC got 1575 3D Marks in 3DMark03 Demo... here's 9400 GT's performance:

Posted Image

Please, consult me on my current upgrading plans... thanks! :huh: You're involvedness is very appreciated! Thanks again. :huh:

rhino

P.S. What for do I need, if I need an EPP and/or ECC techs. for the RAM?

#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 05:13 PM

You did not specify a budget, so I put up the list not knowing how much you wanted to spend. Yes, you can use ATI graphics cards on NVidia chipsets. Which vendor you use should be a consideration if you choose to use SLI or Crossfire, neither of which your motherboard supports. With your current processor, you will be bottlenecking your GPU if you get a new one. The CPU cannot send information fast enough to the GPU. Most current games run best with multiple cores, especially when the clock speed is higher than the one you have. If the one above is too much, you can get the AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000 which is about $30 less. I also don't know what wattage your power supply is, so my suggestion there remains the same. In order to write DVD's, you would have to get a new drive. Almost any will work, but I suggest Lite-on drives.

Here is a revised update list:
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000 - The 6000 model I listed above is the fastest your motherboard supports. The 5000 is still much more powerful than what you have now since its clock speed is 500MHz faster and is dual core. $55
RAM: OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 - This is the 2GB version that is listed above. The 1066 memory is faster than the 800 and will give better performance. Non-ECC memory is preferred with this PC. $36
GPU: Galaxy 95TFE8HUFEXX GeForce 9500 GT - The 9500 GT series has more stream processors and a higher clock speed than the 9400 GT, as you can see in the graph above. There is currently a $20 rebate going on for this card. This card requires a 350W power supply. $54
PSU: Your current wattage is unknown, so I can only make general suggestions here. Corsair, Seasonic, and Silverstone make some very good PSU's, if you're looking into getting a new one.
UPS: I don't even have one of these, but then again I'm sitting in downtown Brooklyn where the power very rarely goes down. Most home users do not need this as they only provide about ten minutes worth of power, unless you have a critical web server running, this is largely an unnecessary expense. If you're wanting something that will clean up the power coming into your home, you can get high quality surge protectors which can normalize the power before it hits the computer.

You don't need EPP or ECC for your RAM. Both of these technologies will increase the price of the RAM. However, SLI-ready memory does have EPP which will make overclocking easier. If you see yourself doing this, EPP can be useful. It is included with the RAM I chose, but you can get almost any DDR2-1066 pair of sticks and they will work fine without it. You also don't want ECC since it will slow down your memory, if you're a gamer, this isn't helpful.

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#5 rhino1366

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:38 PM

"...high quality surge protectors..." - very interesting, but I do need a protection for more of the loss of energy and computer's switch off, that causes HDD problems and all data corrupted.

P.S. All info from you is very interesting and valuable... so, thank you a lot! :thumbsup:
P.P.S. Any thoughts on how to avoid, what is was mentioned? Thx. :huh:

rhino

#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 10:28 PM

I'm assuming you're using Windows. If the power goes down while the PC is on, the data is protected since NTFS is a journaling file system that writes to the disk in such a way that a power outage won't cause your entire drive to crash. However, if you are writing a file to the drive as the power goes down, that will corrupt that file. Very rarely does a power outage cause catastrophic damage to the drive. Nevertheless, backup regularly to ensure your data stays safe.

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#7 the_patriot11

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 01:47 AM

yes you can put an ATI GPU on it, I am running an ATI card on the same chipset on my system.

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.





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