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How do you transform a business computer into a mild gaming set?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 MustardPC

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 03:32 PM

Hi all,

About 3-4 years ago, my family subscribed to an internet service provider that had a bundle. The bundle included your regular internet connections and also a free Lenovo 3000 J series computer. Upon using it, I was fairly happy with playing small web browser related games. The word processing and web surfing was decent but after a year or two, I desired a more powerful computer.

Since my family did not want to be wasteful, they suggested I upgrade the J series. So I called my more computer-handy friend over and he helped me upgrade parts of my computer.

The original specs were:

2 sticks of 512 MB RAM (DDR2)
AMD sempron 3400+ at 1.8ghz (AM2 socket)
A Lenovo Model L-NC51M motherboard with integrated nvidia 6100 graphics card
80gb hard drive
290 watt power supply
Windows Vista Home basic

My friend upgraded my computer to:

3GB ram (one 2GB stick and one 1GB stick)(DDR2)
Radeon HD 4670 1GB DDR2 graphics card
450 watt power supply

So the motherboard, processor and hard drive are still the same. Right now I am wondering what processor to upgrade to.

My computer friend suggested I use the AMD Athlon II X2 250 Dual Core Processor http://ncix.ca/products/?sku=56116&vpn=ADX250OCGMBOX&manufacture=AMD

Even though that processor is a AM3 socket, my friend said it should also fit into my AM2 motherboard. But he said I might need a BIOs upgrade for my motherboard.

Besides the processor upgrade, I also want to get a better hard drive as my C: drive has only 5GB left. My computer motherboard is quite old so it only supports the ATA cable hard drives. And the hard drives I saw on ncix.com were only up to 160GB for about $100.

So my questions are, should I upgrade my motherboard so that I can get decent hard drives? What other processors should I try to upgrade to? And if I upgrade my motherboard, are there newer DDR2 motherboards that support sata hard drives?

I would like to make use of my upgraded parts as much as possible if the upgrade of motherboard is unavoidable.

Sorry for the wall of text and thanks for your help!

Edited by MustardPC, 04 September 2011 - 03:37 PM.


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#2 killerx525

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 05:01 PM

A standard 500GB hard drive is plenty for most users.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#3 DJBPace07

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 05:02 PM

Changing out the motherboard, along with the CPU and RAM, is a more extensive upgrade. Not all AM2 or AM2+ motherboards take AM3 CPU's and certainly not upcoming AM3+ CPU's. I'm not at all certain there is a BIOS update available for you or even if it would allow for AM3 CPU's. Whatever you get should allow for AM3+ CPU's for future upgrading paths.

Since you're in Canada, I will use Newegg.ca.

Motherboard: ASUS M5A97 EVO AM3+ AMD 970 - This is a basic AM3+ motherboard using the AMD 900 series chipset. This is also backwards compatible with AM3 CPU's. Additionally, it allows for DDR3 RAM, SLI and Crossfire, USB 3.0, and SATA 6. This is far more up-to-date than what you have. When the new AMD "Bulldozer" FX CPU's are out, this will take them. $119

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz - No gaming build should be using a dual core CPU, certainly not an Athlon II CPU. This is a good quad core CPU. If you really need a budget CPU, the AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz would work, but it is less powerful than this Phenom II CPU. If the games you play are simple Flash games, even the AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz would work, the Phenom II's are a higher class of CPU over the Athlon II's. $114

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - AM2 motherboards don't take DDR3, but AM3 and AM3+ motherboards only take DDR3. This is a single stick of RAM and should do well, unless you do video editing or have many windows open at once. You need a 64-bit operating system to use 4GB or more of RAM. $23

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD7500AALX 750GB SATA 6 - This is plenty of space given how little you have used so far. $59

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - You need this, your current operating system will not carry over. You need to reinstall your operating system anyway, but, the license of that computer probably prohibits you from transferring it to a new one. Besides, Home Basic is... awful. $109

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#4 killerx525

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 05:07 PM

I believe the graphics card is a AGP based from the Lenovo document i found but i could be wrong.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 07:03 PM

If it only takes AGP, you will need a PCI-E card. The XFX HD-667X-ZAF3 Radeon HD 6670 1GB is one of the better cards you can use. Alternatively, you can use the XFX HD-657X-ZHF2 Radeon HD 6570 1GB, which is less powerful.

If you don't want a discrete card, you can go for the following. You only need to swap out the same items below with the items in my list above. Everything else, RAM, OS, and HDD, remains the same as my original build.

Motherboard: MSI A75A-G35 FM1 AMD A75 - This has the same features as the one in my build, but this uses FM1 CPU's, not AM3+/AM3/AM2/AM2+. $104

CPU: AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz - This has the graphics card and CPU on one chip AMD calls an APU. Essentially, this is a Phenom II clocked at 2.9GHz. paired with a Radeon 6550. Note that the FM1 chips are sort of deadending already with AMD's upcoming successor to the Llano, Trinity, taking a different incompatible socket. Trinity will have the Bulldozer core for the CPU portion and a Radeon 7000 series graphics portion for that area of the chip. $139

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#6 killerx525

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 01:09 AM

It would be a waste to see a graphics card go to waste.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#7 MustardPC

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 11:44 PM

Thanks so much for your help. Sorry for the super late reply but school exams distracted me. I have given up trying to upgrade my old computer. I now have a $750 budget to work with. If I were to build from scratch what parts would you recommend? Mainly focusing on the CPU and graphics card. I cant seem to find a good balance between the two.

And with new parts coming out I am overwhelmed.

#8 killerx525

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 08:41 AM

Building from scratch with that budget is adequate. Well since this is for gaming, you would want to focus more on the graphics card then the processor since games are more GPU bound.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png





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