1. #1

    Looking to upgrade my desktop's RAM, Graphics, and Case

    I am looking to upgrade my desktop's RAM and Graphics. Since this is my first time doing any kind of computer upgrade I figured I'd make one of these posts for some guidance (I browsed through the forums for a while and couldn't quite find a similar post).
    I'm looking for kind of an "above average" gaming computer, and also something that can do Android development using Eclipse with the ADT plugin somewhat smoothly (it runs kind of sluggish on my current setup).

    HP Slimline s5-1200z Desktop / AMD A6-3620 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics 2.20 GHz / 4GB Memory

    Here are some of the technical specs:

    System Information
    Code:
       Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
               Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
    System Manufacturer: Hewlett-Packard Company
           System Model: s5-1200z
              Processor: AMD A6-3620 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics 2.20 GHz
                 Memory: 4.0 GB RAM (3.49 useable)
    It currently has integrated graphics which I think is AMD Radeon HD 6530D. One question I have is when I looked at the HP product information website (I can't post a URL link yet, unfortunately) it said that it took PCI Express x16 graphics cards, but I noticed on Newegg that the GPUs are sectioned off into 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, are they all the same or no? What does the difference mean, is that release dates or drivers?

    Since the Slimline is so small, I figure I'll need a new case to fit the GPU (which is fine with me because it'll make future upgrades simpler). But my only question right now is about the PCI Express x16 specifications.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    not good with computers
    chaud's Avatar
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    Yeah, you will need a new case and new PSU at the least. All of the GPUs are backwards compatible, so PCIe version doesn't really matter.

  3. #3
    What kind of graphics card are you looking for and what games do you play? If you play MMO's with that processor I'd just get a LP 7750/GTX650ti and do nothing else with the computer as you won't get amazing performance anyway. Try to stay as cheap as possible and don't waste a ton of money upgrading on that CPU, it's low-end budget at best and a better card than those would just be bottlenecked anyway.

  4. #4
    Brewmaster Vayshan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZCubed View Post
    it said that it took PCI Express x16 graphics cards
    Don't worry about that. The 16x are the data transfer lanes of the PCI-E slot. If you have a PCI-E 16x graphics card and you plug into a 16x PCI-E slot it'll make use of all the available lanes. The 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 are the speeds at which the slot operates. For example a PCI-E 16x 1.0 slot can move the same amount of data as a PCI-E 8x 2.0 slot.

    Just think of it as a multilaned highway between two cities (the graphics card and your motherboard). When you've got 16 lanes between city A and city B you can move a lot more goods at once than say if you'd have only 8 lanes. Now the 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 determine the speed at which you move all those goods. See those as the engines in the cars moving between the cities. 1.0 goes at 250MB/s per lane, 2.0 does 500MB/s and 3.0 hauls a massive 1000MB/s.

    But paint me clueless... but how can you only have 3.49GB RAM at your disposal when you have 4GB physical and a 64-bit OS?



    Quote Originally Posted by chazus View Post
    ~400mb or so is reserved for system and hardware. That and possibly for vram since it's an APU
    You, sir, painted me. And facepalm at myself for not seeing that ><
    Last edited by Vayshan; 2013-04-13 at 08:45 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vayshan View Post
    But paint me clueless... but how can you only have 3.49GB RAM at your disposal when you have 4GB physical and a 64-bit OS?
    ~400mb or so is reserved for system and hardware. That and possibly for vram since it's an APU
    Gaming: Dual Intel Pentium III Coppermine @ 1400mhz + Blue Orb | Asus CUV266-D | GeForce 2 Ti + ZF700-Cu | 1024mb Crucial PC-133 | Whistler Build 2267
    Media: Dual Intel Drake Xeon @ 600mhz | Intel Marlinspike MS440GX | Matrox G440 | 1024mb Crucial PC-133 @ 166mhz | Windows 2000 Pro

    IT'S ALWAYS BEEN WANKERSHIM | Did you mean: Fhqwhgads
    "Three days on a tree. Hardly enough time for a prelude. When it came to visiting agony, the Romans were hobbyists." -Mab

  6. #6
    Bloodsail Admiral Killora's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazus View Post
    ~400mb or so is reserved for system and hardware. That and possibly for vram since it's an APU
    It's mostly the APU. The APU sets some ram aside for itself.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by chaud View Post
    Yeah, you will need a new case and new PSU at the least. All of the GPUs are backwards compatible, so PCIe version doesn't really matter
    PSU is processor system unit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemmiwink View Post
    What kind of graphics card are you looking for and what games do you play? If you play MMO's with that processor I'd just get a LP 7750/GTX650ti and do nothing else with the computer as you won't get amazing performance anyway. Try to stay as cheap as possible and don't waste a ton of money upgrading on that CPU, it's low-end budget at best and a better card than those would just be bottlenecked anyway.
    I mostly just play Indie games I find on Steam sales, but also Starcraft 2 and pretty much any Valve game. Right now on my current setup I can play at these games on average settings. I should've mentioned my budget or price range originally (my bad), but since I need to upgrade the case as well my budget for just a GPU is like <=$100. I can't post a link yet, but I'm eyeing a Cooler Master Elite case at about $40, and now I'm looking at the set of GPUs you linked above.

    I'm hoping that I can do future upgrades as well. So once I get these parts (and later on, more money) I can change the motherboard out and do all that fun stuff to have a really custom computer. The computer I have right now is just a hand-me-down of sorts, and this is my first time looking at the hardware.

    Thanks for the help!

  8. #8
    not good with computers
    chaud's Avatar
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    PSU is the power supply. You can get a 7770 for around $100, but it would likely require a new PSU.

  9. #9
    PSU stands for Power Supply Unit.

    And with a budget of ~$100, there's not really much - the choice is between the 7770 and the 650. My suggestion? get the case and new PSU now, and save for a 650Ti BOOST.

  10. #10
    My suggestion would still be to get a 7750 which doesn't require a 6-pin connector. When you have acquired it, start saving for a new MB/CPU/case/PSU that is any point buying a good video card for.

  11. #11
    Moderator chazus's Avatar
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    Pretty much...


    $60 for 6670. An upgrade, but bottom of the barrel. Save a few bucks
    $80 for 7750. A better upgrade, worth the money.
    $100 for 7770. People buy new budget gaming systems with these. If you know you won't be upgrading a lot, it might be worthwhile to get this, but may need a new PSU as well.
    Gaming: Dual Intel Pentium III Coppermine @ 1400mhz + Blue Orb | Asus CUV266-D | GeForce 2 Ti + ZF700-Cu | 1024mb Crucial PC-133 | Whistler Build 2267
    Media: Dual Intel Drake Xeon @ 600mhz | Intel Marlinspike MS440GX | Matrox G440 | 1024mb Crucial PC-133 @ 166mhz | Windows 2000 Pro

    IT'S ALWAYS BEEN WANKERSHIM | Did you mean: Fhqwhgads
    "Three days on a tree. Hardly enough time for a prelude. When it came to visiting agony, the Romans were hobbyists." -Mab

  12. #12
    I decided to go with a Cooler Master 430 case and 8 GB Corsair RAM, but I'm having troubles getting the computer to start up (and I haven't even moved the RAM in yet). All I've done at this point is moved the parts from the HP Slimline to the case. I think the problem is with the "power" cord that comes with the case. I connected it to "FOD" on the motherboard. Another thing I'm having troubles with is the PSU from the HP Slimline-- it doesn't have a long enough cord to reach the Mobo when its in the Cooler Master case without dangling. I think I can post pics now, so I'll see if I can post one soon.

    Thanks all for the help!

  13. #13
    Moderator Uggorthaholy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZCubed View Post
    I decided to go with a Cooler Master 430 case and 8 GB Corsair RAM, but I'm having troubles getting the computer to start up (and I haven't even moved the RAM in yet). All I've done at this point is moved the parts from the HP Slimline to the case. I think the problem is with the "power" cord that comes with the case. I connected it to "FOD" on the motherboard. Another thing I'm having troubles with is the PSU from the HP Slimline-- it doesn't have a long enough cord to reach the Mobo when its in the Cooler Master case without dangling. I think I can post pics now, so I'll see if I can post one soon.

    Thanks all for the help!
    So wait, you haven't got any RAM in the new unit?

    There's your problem. PC can't start without RAM.

  14. #14
    Just an FYI... almost all of these HP slimlines use a specialized connector on the power supply that goes to the motherboard.

    It's just like ATX, yet about 30% smaller. You will need an adapter. http://www.directron.com/hp24mini.html?gsear=1

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