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Computer Component Upgrades


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Hiya folks,

Had my desktop computer for around 4 years now, and it certainly shows. I'd like to upgrade the components but not done this kind of thing for many years. Here are the specs of my computer currently:

Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1

System Manufacturer: HP-Pavilion

System Model: KP304AA-ABU a6421.uk

BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4400+ (2 CPUs), ~2.3GHz

Memory: 3072MB RAM

Available OS Memory: 3070MB RAM

Graphics Card name: ATI Radeon HD 3400 Series

Display Memory: 1531 MB

Dedicated Memory: 252 MB

Shared Memory: 1279 MB

Got these details by typing dxdiag in the run box.

At some point I'd like to do a bit of gaming, but in general I'd like to upgrade the components to bring it more up to date. I like the idea of changing the case as mine is knackered, and also putting some silent fans in!

Any of you guys into this sort of thing?

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You should try going into a local PC shop, You could get one built for gaming. depending on how much you want it to rock you could get a good one which can play anything no problam, which cost me £800 really good if you looking to get into gaming.

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Nova tech ! Build your own custom gaming PC for around 500 much cheaper than the high street. You can even request them to build it for you.

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Problem with your PC is its HP, they use custom parts and are very hard/expensive to upgrade!

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You might be able to increase your RAM which will certainly help. Also get a new graphics card if your motherboard supports it, I paid £150 for my Nvidia GTX 560 Ti.

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Blueband,

What games would you like to play? Solitaire or BF3?

What's your budget?

Would you be happy to do the assembly yourself?

Your current specs are respectable for everyday use, but frankly they won't be any good for modern games. As long as you have a reasonable budget then you'd be best off building a completely new system rather than trying to salvage a sinking ship.

I'll help you spec one out if you like, once I know the answers to the above.

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It looks like your processor's pretty up to date, although there are more powerful ones out there, which might become neecessary if you're going for high-end gaming. In the first instance though, I agree with GodAtum about sticking more RAM in - that's neither very expensive nor partricularly difficult, but should help your machine out. Before you head down to the shop, do have a look at your manual to see whether there's a limit to the amount of memory that your motherboard can take - mine (which is also bult around an AMD64) could go up 2GB, if I remember correctly.

The other thing that's fairly straightforward to work on is hard drive capacity - like memory, the more you have the merrier. Your post didn't say what HD capacity you currently have, but the last time I upgraded you could pick up drives that held tens of gigabytes, for not very much money. You could also consider getting more than one drive - one for your operating system and program files and one for your data.

As for graphics and sound cards - I'm probably not the best person to ask as I'm not a gamer. Well, unless you include retrogaming, but I'm presuming that you'd like something more sophisticated than a 48K Atari 8-bit?

Edited by Smiley Culture
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It looks like your processor's pretty up to date. ...

The Athlon X2 was released in 2005... It's slow by modern standards.

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The Athlon X2 was released in 2005... It's slow by modern standards.

Ah, well there you go. I have to admit I don't use my PC for gaming beyond Solitaire and Worms!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nova tech ! Build your own custom gaming PC for around 500 much cheaper than the high street. You can even request them to build it for you.

Agreed, I've used Novatech for years. I used to visit their store in Portsmouth fairly regularly, but since I moved, it's all mail order now.

Last time (couple of years ago), I built up my own computer from a barebones bundle from Novatech, so supplied with case(3 fitted fans), 750w power supply and FOXCONN H55M Motherboard, (Intel core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, 2.8GHz, 64 bit). I shoved in a NVIDIA Ge Force 8400 GS graphics card (I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means!), Netgear wireless network card, 1TB SATA hard disk, CF/T-Flash/XD etc card reader and a Samsung Writemaster optical drive. Whole bundle cost £550 and works a treat for me and is certainly fast enough for my everyday needs.

The other great thing about building your own PC, is you don't get all of the 'bloatware' that the big manufacturers insist on loading in with the Operating System. I've actually just last weekend, built a family member a whole new PC from all of the spare parts I had from previous computers. They now have a much better bit of kit than they had before, despite some of the parts dating from 2005(ish).

I'm currently on Windows 7 Pro, but looking forward to upgrading to Windows 8 when it is released (October I think?).

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I'm currently on Windows 7 Pro, but looking forward to upgrading to Windows 8 when it is released (October I think?).

26th Sept for retail channels. It's already available on partner channels and VLA.

You might be able to increase your RAM which will certainly help. Also get a new graphics card if your motherboard supports it, I paid £150 for my Nvidia GTX 560 Ti.

If you do that you'll need to install the 64bit version of Windows.

Problem with your PC is its HP, they use custom parts and are very hard/expensive to upgrade!

Nope, they're all standard parts now.

Your machine is too old to be worth investing in upgrading. Get a new one!

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After reading up, I must admit a new computer does seem the best option.

If you're wondering what to buy, take a look at forums.overclockers.co.uk. Plenty of people that are happy to help there.

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+1 for overclockers.

One issue is that you've only got 32bit Windows 7 - which maxes out the amount of RAM you can install. See if your licence allows you to install the 64 bit version - if not you'll need to get a news OS licence in order to go 64 bit - and the benefits these days of 4 or 8GB of RAM are pretty massive. In terms of new licences you can get OEM ones which are cheaper if you buy one at the same time as a major bit of hardware like a hard drive or CPU.

In terms of building your own PC I'd recommend having a look at http://www.pcgamer.com/tag/pc-gamer-rig/

They offer a decent roundup of the best components, and these days a "where to save some money by downgrading" section. They've also had some useful guides to how to assemble the machine. If you're going to reuse your monitor then that saves some money, and probably means you don't need such a beefy graphics card.

Also try running the Windows Experience score tool. It will let you see which bits of your machine are letting you down the most if you want to upgrade specific bits.

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+1 for overclockers.

One issue is that you've only got 32bit Windows 7 - which maxes out the amount of RAM you can install. See if your licence allows you to install the 64 bit version - if not you'll need to get a news OS licence in order to go 64 bit - and the benefits these days of 4 or 8GB of RAM are pretty massive.

Vista and 7 are licenced for both 32 and 64bit so no new licence required.

In terms of new licences you can get OEM ones which are cheaper if you buy one at the same time as a major bit of hardware like a hard drive or CPU.

Microsoft withdrew the hardware requirement nearly a decade ago. OEM licences are not designed for end user to use.

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