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  1. #1

    Time to upgrade my computers

    After not having touched my computers for a couple of years, I could need to upgrade them, but I have zero experience with building and components (other than more or less knowing their names). I live on two different places, so I have two different computers.

    Because I’m so inexperienced, but interested in learning, I hope you don’t mind me including some general questions.
    - Are there any sites where I can learn about the components of the computer, perhaps information about the different brands (e.g. what the different brands are known for etc.), news on components (much like MMO-C frequently posts news on the WoW front)?
    - How do I best maintain my computer? I know running disk cleanup and defragmentation is good, and I should probably run it more frequently. Any rule of thumb for how often I should do this? What about drivers and BIOS? I have never really touched those things before. It sounds logical to update these things, but I have no idea how often, how important it is, or which components I should update my drivers for.
    - I have never thought of running WoW in 64-bit (I assume it runs 32-bit as default). What’s the different between running in 32-bit and 64-bit?

    Onto the computers themselves. I’m not really sure where I can easily read off all the components, but I’ve at least tried. By going Start -> right-click on Computer -> Device Manager I do find some components. I have also checked by typing ‘msinfo32’ and ‘dxdiag’ into the Run commandline.

    Due to my inexperience I can’t really give you a budget, since I have no idea what the price ranges for the different components are. However, an explanation of usage and desired settings will hopefully help.

    I mainly use the computers for WoW and Internet. I might begin frapsing and possibly also streaming in the future. I don’t need to run everything on ultra and still have a very good FPS, but I don’t want to drop below good. Again, it depends on price ranges, because I honestly have no idea what I can expect to spend if I want the computer to be so and so good.

    This first computer is from 2008. I think the monitor works well, but then again, I don’ t have anything to compare with. Let me know whether you think the monitor should be switched out.
    ... What I’m really looking for is to upgrade some of the components on this computer. The fact that I’m currently playing with a resolution of 1200x800 instead of 1920x1080 (which is optimal with this monitor) kind of says something about how much this could need an upgrade. I’m simply not able to play on the optimal resolution comfortably. Even at this resolution I need to tweak most settings down to low.
    ... Despite this computer being from 2008, it has a solid amount of RAM, so I suppose I don’t need to switch out those. I suspect that I need to switch out the graphics card, though. I heard that if I invest in a good graphics card, it can last for 4-5 years.
    ... If it helps to find the rest of the components, the computer is a Dell Inspiron 546. I don’t even know whether I can safely upgrade the components of a premade computer like this.

    Monitor: Acer V243HQ
    CPU: 2x AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor
    CPU Cooler: Can’t find one. Maybe I don’t have one?
    Motherboard: Can’t find it.
    Memory: 8GB, can’t find the name of it.
    Storage: 450.68GB, can’t find more information about it, but it’s a HDD.
    Storage: 15GB, same as a above.
    Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 4300/4500 Series
    Case: No idea where I can read this off, but it’s a Dell.
    Power Supply: Can’t find it.
    Optical Drive: HL-DT-ST DVD+ -RW GH30N ATA Device
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium

    This other computer is from 2010. I bought this computer off a website where my starting point was a premade gaming computer. I then switch out components based on user reviews. This is the closest I have been to building a computer of my own.
    ... The computer still works great, but I think it might be on time to upgrade my monitor from 2002 (/grin). I have been looking at this monitor, as it’s on sale. I have no idea how good it really is, but the user reviews are mostly positive. The site is in Norwegian, but you can see the name of the screen and the price of it (in NOK), and that’s hopefully everything you need to know. Also, here is everything that has anything to do with computers that are currently on sale.
    ... Something I’m also very intersted in knowing is how this setup will work if I switch from 1280x1024 to 1920x1080. I currently run with mostly high settings and have 100+ FPS in 10-man raid outside combat. Is there anything I will need to upgrade?

    Monitor: Dell 1800FP
    CPU: 4x Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU 750
    CPU Cooler: Can’t find it.
    Motherboard: MSI MS-7636
    Memory: 4GB, can’t find the name.
    Storage: 465.76GB, can’t find the name of it, but it’s a HDD.
    Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 5670
    Case: Cooler Master, can’t find anything else on it.
    Power Supply: Can’t find it.
    Optical Drive: Optiarc DVD RW AD-7240S ATA Device
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium

    Keep in mind that I live in Norway. Also, if more information is needed, let me know, and I will see what I can do.
    Last edited by Arctagon; 2013-01-17 at 03:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Arctagon View Post
    - Are there any sites where I can learn about the components of the computer, perhaps information about the different brands (e.g. what the different brands are known for etc.), news on components (much like MMO-C frequently posts news on the WoW front)?
    http://www.techpowerup.com/ http://www.bjorn3d.com/ http://www.anandtech.com/ http://www.tomshardware.com/ http://www.guru3d.com/
    http://www.hardware.no/
    http://www.sweclockers.com/ http://www.nordichardware.se/ http://www.techsweden.org/ if you are comfortable with Swedish.
    All these sites post news about computer related hardware and most of them also have good articles and reviews you can checkout.



    Quote Originally Posted by Arctagon View Post
    Due to my inexperience I can’t really give you a budget, since I have no idea what the price ranges for the different components are. However, an explanation of usage and desired settings will hopefully help.
    It is very hard for anyone to suggest new parts for your computers if they have no idea of how much you are willing to spend.
    Just say how much you would want to spend and perhaps a maximum you could possibly spend if the performance increase is worth it.

    Example: I have €500 but for a significant performance increase I would be willing to stretch that to €750.

    This makes it a lot easier for people to help you.
    Last edited by n0cturnal; 2013-01-17 at 03:59 PM.
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  3. #3
    Bloodsail Admiral Sturmbringe's Avatar
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    I don't know anything about AMD CPUS, but my CPU dates from 2008 as well, and I am playing WoW at 1920X1080, all settings at ULTRA. However, I am using an expensive GPU (GTX 580 SOC). If you are sure that your CPU dates from 2008 as well, then with a moderate overclock, a PCI 2.0 motherboard and a decent and capable GPU, you should be able to enjoy WoW at ULTRA settings and 1920X1080 resolution and excellent FPS as well.

    In order to discover the names of your PC components, use CPUZ.

    http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

    Link to my rig is on my sig.
    Last edited by Sturmbringe; 2013-01-17 at 03:59 PM.
    NINJA TURTLES as the next playable WoW race/class combo. WoW has got Kung Fu Pandas, Pokemon and recently even Transformers in it, so I don't see how Ninja Turtles would be any less pathetic than current "WoW" is.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by n0cturnal View Post
    http://www.techpowerup.com/ http://www.bjorn3d.com/ http://www.anandtech.com/ http://www.tomshardware.com/ http://www.guru3d.com/
    http://www.hardware.no/
    http://www.sweclockers.com/ http://www.nordichardware.se/ http://www.techsweden.org/ if you are comfortable with Swedish.
    All these sites post news about computer related hardware and most of them also have good articles and reviews you can checkout.
    Thank you!

    It is very hard for anyone to suggest new parts for your computers if they have no idea of how much you are willing to spend.
    Just say how much you would want to spend and perhaps a maximum you could possibly spend if the performance increase is worth it.

    Example: I have €500 but for a significant performance increase I would be willing to stretch that to €750.

    This makes it a lot easier for people to help you.
    I know, but I don't even know how many components I need to switch out in order to get where I want, which makes it even more difficult to give you a budget. I was thinking that if I explain what my desired settings are, I could be told what I may expect to spend. Take the graphics card as an example. I have no idea how much a very strong graphics card is worth versus a weak one. I don't need the best of the best (that would tackle ultra with ease), but I don't want the worst either. I aim for something that is fairly good, something that would suit well with good/high settings. You also know what I use my computer for.

    I was hoping that all the information I gave would help in shaping the solution build. The straightforward way may be to determine a build based on a budget, and then you will have to see how well that build may perform. But isn't it possible to go backwards? Determine the price based on the desired performance? To me it looks like an equation -- you can just switch things around. Then again, I'm no expert on this area, so I don't see this through knowledgable eyes. Thing is, I could realistically buy anything, but I want to spend as little as possible while still being able to play comfortably with my desired settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sturmbringe View Post
    I don't know anything about AMD CPUS, but my CPU dates from 2008 as well, and I am playing WoW at 1920X1080, all settings at ULTRA. However, I am using an expensive GPU (GTX 580 SOC). If you are sure that your CPU dates from 2008 as well, then with a moderate overclock, a PCI 2.0 motherboard and a decent and capable GPU, you should be able to enjoy WoW at ULTRA settings and 1920X1080 resolution and excellent FPS as well.
    As you could see from my post, there are many components I wasn't able to find information on. It is a premade computer, a Dell Inspiron 546, that was bought in 2008. If all the components are from 2008, I do not know. I also just got to know that my father, who is the one that bought the computer, chose some of the components himself, like the memory.

    In order to discover the names of your PC components, use CPUZ.

    http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html
    Thank you! I will try this out.
    Last edited by Arctagon; 2013-01-17 at 06:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    A $700 system will run WoW very well. However you'd be looking at about $900-1200 to be doing recording and streaming. I see people spend upwards of $1500 on a system for that, but I find it's unnecessary, unless they're doing something like actual rendering and CAD work.

  6. #6
    It is possible to do it "backwards" but it makes things harder, also without any kind of budget at all it makes it really hard to tweak the builds and get as much performance as possible out of the money spent. Sometimes you have to compromise to fit a build in the budget that is given to you.

    We get a lot of people that come here and expect to play games on high/ultra settings but then end up having a budget of $400.

    If you could just provide a roof that would be very helpful. For all we know your budget might not even be enough.
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  7. #7
    For the 2010 computer, you could possibly upgrade the GPU and maybe go for something like a 7750, which would be a good upgrade over the 5670. It doesn't require any PCIe power connector. You'll most likely have to play modern games on low settings if you plan to play at the highest resolution that your monitor supports. If your power supply has one 6 pin PCIe power connecter, then you can opt for a 5770/6770 but ONLY if it is significantly cheaper than the 7750, otherwise don't bother. If you plan on a beefier GPU then more information on your prebuilt is needed such as dimensions of the case and also the power supply. My guess is the power supply is probably poor quality. CPU wise, its a good and back in 2010 the i5 750 was the recommended choice in terms of price/performance, that was until Sandy Bridge arrived on our shores early 2011. There is also overclock potential with the i5 750 but if you're new to overclocking then it is inadvisable to do so.

    For the 2008 computer, I wouldn't bother considering an upgrade. Keep it as a relic if you must, but consider purchasing an new system entirely if you're desperate for a second system in your household.
    Last edited by Drudgery; 2013-01-17 at 07:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n0cturnal View Post
    For all we know your budget might not even be enough.
    It's true. Sometimes people say "I'm willing to pay whatever to get a 'nice' system" or "I effectively have unlimited funds in building this, but don't want to waste money" and then as soon as something like a $1200 system gets mentioned, they go "WTF, I COULD BUY A USED CAR INSTEAD"

    You can easily spend anywhere from 700-1500 without starting to push diminishing returns on performance.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by n0cturnal View Post
    It is possible to do it "backwards" but it makes things harder, also without any kind of budget at all it makes it really hard to tweak the builds and get as much performance as possible out of the money spent. Sometimes you have to compromise to fit a build in the budget that is given to you.

    We get a lot of people that come here and expect to play games on high/ultra settings but then end up having a budget of $400.

    If you could just provide a roof that would be very helpful. For all we know your budget might not even be enough.
    I'm not trying to get as much performance as possible. As long as I can play on an optimal resolution with good (middle tier) settings comfortably, I will be happy. And as I said, I could realistically buy anything. But alright, I can give you a budget. Let's say $500. I'm sure some of it can be reused.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Arctagon View Post
    I'm not trying to get as much performance as possible. As long as I can play on an optimal resolution with good (middle tier) settings comfortably, I will be happy. And as I said, I could realistically buy anything. But alright, I can give you a budget. Let's say $500. I'm sure some of it can be reused.
    $500 as in 2800NOK?

    That will not be enough to fix both computers, it is enough to get some upgrade to the i5 build.

    Adding this parts to your i5 build would be a nice upgrade:

    http://www.komplett.no/k/ki.aspx?sku=742667#info
    http://www.komplett.no/k/ki.aspx?sku=760515
    and possibly http://www.komplett.no/k/ki.aspx?sku=657501 if your PSU is of a bad model.
    (To find out what PSU you currently have you need to open up your computer and read the name or specs of the one inside.)

    You could go with this GPU instead but I personally don't think it is worth the drop in performance for ~300NOK.

    As for the Dell you pretty much need to replace everything for it to be worth it.
    Technically you could just replace the GPU and possibly PSU on that build as well but that CPU will hold you back.

    A full new build will cost you from 4000NOK for a very low end computer.
    Last edited by n0cturnal; 2013-01-17 at 10:52 PM.
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  11. #11
    Just to clarify a couple of things. Initially, I was imagining a new monitor for the 2010 computer and a few new parts for the 2008 computer, but I see now that I will likely need to upgrade more than just that. Do you by any chance know approximately how well the 2010 computer will perform at 1920x1080 without any upgrades, except from the screen? It would be nice to know, so that I have a starting point.

    Other than that, I found the order list with all the components on it, which may help further.

    CPU: Intel Core i5 Quad Processor i5-750 (Quad Core, 2.66Ghz, Socket 1156, 8MB, 95W, Boxed w)
    CPU Cooler: I suppose I don't have any?
    Motherboard: MSI H55M-E33, H55, Socket-1156, DDR3 (DDRIII, mATX, 1xPCI-Ex(2.0)x16, GbLan, OC Genie, D)
    Memory: Kingston ValueR. DDR3 1333MHz 4GB, CL9 (Kit w/two matched ValueRAM 2GB DDR3)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB SATA2 (16MB 7200RPM)
    Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 5670 512MB GDDR5 (PCI-Express 2.0, DVI-I, HDMI)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 310 Black/Orange (Fan: 1x 120mm Behind, ATX, mATX, 2x USB, 1x Audio, )
    Power Supply: Corsair VX 550W PSU (ATX 12V V2.2, 80 Plus, Standard, 1x 6pin, 1x 6+2-p)
    Optical Drive: Sony NEC Optiarc DVD±RW burner AD-7240S (DVDRW 24x, DL, RAM, SATA, Bulk, Black)
    Operating System: MS COA Label Windows Home Premium 7 (Nordic, 32/64 bit)

    Let's focus on this build first.

    Quote Originally Posted by n0cturnal View Post
    So this is a good monitor? If so, I might very well go for it.

    I greatly appreciate the help you're offering and the time you take to do this, n0cturnal (and everybody else), so please bear with me. :b
    Last edited by Arctagon; 2013-01-18 at 02:59 AM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Arctagon View Post
    Just to clarify a couple of things. Initially, I was imagining a new monitor for the 2010 computer and a few new parts for the 2008 computer, but I see now that I will likely need to upgrade more than just that. Do you by any chance know approximately how well the 2010 computer will perform at 1920x1080 without any upgrades, except from the screen? It would be nice to know, so that I have a starting point.

    Other than that, I found the order list with all the components on it, which may help further.

    CPU: Intel Core i5 Quad Processor i5-750 (Quad Core, 2.66Ghz, Socket 1156, 8MB, 95W, Boxed w)
    CPU Cooler: I suppose I don't have any?
    Motherboard: MSI H55M-E33, H55, Socket-1156, DDR3 (DDRIII, mATX, 1xPCI-Ex(2.0)x16, GbLan, OC Genie, D)
    Memory: Kingston ValueR. DDR3 1333MHz 4GB, CL9 (Kit w/two matched ValueRAM 2GB DDR3)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB SATA2 (16MB 7200RPM)
    Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 5670 512MB GDDR5 (PCI-Express 2.0, DVI-I, HDMI)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 310 Black/Orange (Fan: 1x 120mm Behind, ATX, mATX, 2x USB, 1x Audio, )
    Power Supply: Corsair VX 550W PSU (ATX 12V V2.2, 80 Plus, Standard, 1x 6pin, 1x 6+2-p)
    Optical Drive: Sony NEC Optiarc DVD±RW burner AD-7240S (DVDRW 24x, DL, RAM, SATA, Bulk, Black)
    Operating System: MS COA Label Windows Home Premium 7 (Nordic, 32/64 bit)

    Let's focus on this build first.
    Oh good, that is helpful. You have a quality PSU so you won't have to get a new one.

    The only thing to really hold that buld back is the GPU, it just isn't good enough to get good FPS on higher settings.
    My advice would be to get the 7850 I linked that is on sale from Komplett, with that added you can play most games on med/high settings for a few years.
    WoW will run at ultra with a 7850. Most current games except for the really graphic intense will run at high settings.

    Here is a comparison of your current card vs a 7850. (6670 is just a renamed 5670)

    Quote Originally Posted by Arctagon View Post
    So this is a good monitor? If so, I might very well go for it.
    It is a good monitor for that price yes. It get really good results from user reviews. http://alatest.co.uk/reviews/monitor...-175260897,29/
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by n0cturnal View Post
    My advice would be to get the 7850 I linked that is on sale from Komplett, with that added you can play most games on med/high settings for a few years.
    WoW will run at ultra with a 7850. Most current games except for the really graphic intense will run at high settings.

    Here is a comparison of your current card vs a 7850. (6670 is just a renamed 5670)
    I take it this is with a resolution of 1920x1080? If so, this sounds great.

    Also, I will try to get more information on the older build, so that we can get somewhere there too.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Arctagon View Post
    I take it this is with a resolution of 1920x1080? If so, this sounds great.

    Also, I will try to get more information on the older build, so that we can get somewhere there too.
    The comparison is made in 1680x1050, around 15% less pixels than 1920x1080 but the ratio between the cards should remain the same.
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  15. #15
    The Insane DeltrusDisc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturmbringe View Post
    I don't know anything about AMD CPUS, but my CPU dates from 2008 as well, and I am playing WoW at 1920X1080, all settings at ULTRA. However, I am using an expensive GPU (GTX 580 SOC). If you are sure that your CPU dates from 2008 as well, then with a moderate overclock, a PCI 2.0 motherboard and a decent and capable GPU, you should be able to enjoy WoW at ULTRA settings and 1920X1080 resolution and excellent FPS as well.

    In order to discover the names of your PC components, use CPUZ.

    http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html

    Link to my rig is on my sig.
    Sorry dude, but not every CPU is even overclockable at all, especially to amounts that will truly show any noticeable improvement. ESPECIALLY ones that come in Dell etc prebuilts.
    i7-5820K | ASUS X99- Deluxe | Crucial 2x8GB DDR4 2133MHz | eVGA GTX 760 SC | Crucial MX100 512GB | Crucial M500 240GB | Crucial m4 128GB | Western Digital Blue 1TB | Western Digital Black 1TB | SeaSonic X660 Gold
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  16. #16
    What's your budget? in NOK. Just PM me and I can help you set up a nice system based on your budget (fellow Norwegian) and if I were you I would scrap the AMD, keep the intel as a second PC with a minor GPU upgrade and try to get a nice affordable main system. Can probably re-use some parts from the AMD computer as well.

  17. #17
    I really appreciate your offer, Lemmiwink, but I think the best solutions come through discussion, so I'd like to keep it to this thread.

    I wasn't able to get any more information about the older computer, so I had to wait until next time I was physically in proximity of it. Now, I don't know if this helps much, but here is a link to the system: http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=2663148

    I also took a look inside the computer (for the first time since ... ever), and I found out that we got the computer in the middle of April 2009. Anyway, I think I managed to locate the components. I must say it was a lot of fun studying how everything was put together, and it was tempting to disassemble everything, but I resisted the urge. Either way, here are the rest of the components:

    CPU Cooler: All the label on the CPU cooler says is 'Made In China ------- DP/N 0K640N ------- CN-0K640N-72449-941-03B8-A00'
    Storage: Hitachi Deskstar HDP725050GLA360 500GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
    Case: Dell Inspiron 546
    PSU: Delta Electronics DPS-300AB-24A (300W in other words)

    Is any of the parts salvagable?

  18. #18
    Here are some articles

    1) Motherboard information

    2) A forum post about someone wanting to upgrade their CPU. They have the same machine as you

    Where are you based?

    Maybe you could go for a CPU and GPU upgrade and use that machine to play on lower resolutions, maybe a maximum of 1680x1050.

  19. #19
    The Insane DeltrusDisc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arctagon View Post
    I really appreciate your offer, Lemmiwink, but I think the best solutions come through discussion, so I'd like to keep it to this thread.

    Storage: Hitachi Deskstar HDP725050GLA360 500GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
    Is any of the parts salvagable?
    This is the only thing from your AMD system I would salvage, honestly, and only to move the data off of it onto a newer HDD, because frankly, I doubt this HDD has much life left in it, given its age and that it isn't a Samsung or Western Digital HDD.

    Also, good move saying you want to keep discussion open in this thread as opposed to PMs, some people PM me but I really prefer people being open to more opinions, helps to make sure you don't get ripped off or anything. More opinions is always better!

    Honestly though, everything else in that Dell is just ancient stuff you shouldn't worry about anymore, it really won't do enough for you to bother anymore. If you have the budget for it, I'd build a whole new computer to replace this and then with the Intel i5-750 I would just upgrade the GPU as that CPU is still pretty decent. You could probably also get away with sticking in an SSD if you want some added speed and snippiness overall to that rig, but that I'd only suggest after you build the full new rig and stick in a new GPU.
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  20. #20
    Hitatchi Deathstar, so lovely.
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