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Help Me Upgrade My Computer!

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#1
Hi everyone,

My desktop is probably about 5 years old now and badly in need of an upgrade. I'm thinking of asking for some components for Christmas and probably buying some myself too, although the budget is tight. I'm wondering what is vital to upgrade now and what could be delayed for a little while. Here's the specs:

Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core CPU 5600+ ~2.8GHz
4GB DDR2 RAM 800MHz
Two HD's totalling 750 GB, several year-old WD Greens.
ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb
Asus Xonar D1 soundcard
Asus M2N-MX Motherboard
ATRIX Extreme Power 650W ATX12V P4650W PSU
Galaxy Black ATX Case
Windows 7 64bit OEM
DVD Drive

I'm thinking the CPU and RAM have to go, and as a result the motherboard as that probably doesn't even support above dual core.

But what could stay? I'm guessing I could keep the hard drives, sound card, case and disc drive. If budget gets really tight, I could even make do with the old GPU for now.

But am I right in thinking that a new mobo will invalidate my Windows license and I'll need a new one? If so I'll probably buy Windows 8. And what about the PSU - it's 650W, but I've been told it's a crappy 650W one. Unfortunately I don't understand power supplies, but here are the specs:

AC INPUT 95-250VAC 5A 47-63HZ

+3.3V 30A | +5V 30A | +12V DC1 14A | +12V DC2 15A | -5V 0.5A | -12V 0.8A | +5VSB 2.5A |

My realistic target that I eventually want my computer to have is:

Quad Core i5 Sandybridge/Ivybridge CPU
8GB DDR3 RAM 1333/1600
GPU along the lines of Ati 7850/Nvidia 560 Ti

Or something equivalent. I've been looking at motherboard bundles as I thought that might be a good way of approaching this. There are some good ones on this page; I'm looking at the ones up to the £350 mark. http://www.scan.co.uk/3xs-overclocked-bundles

The Intel ones look good, but out of interest, what makes the £345 bundle worth over £100 more than the AMD ones that are £220-230ish?

This is my first proper DIY upgrade, and I've been looking at doing it a couple of times in the past but it never happened. I'm hoping that the third time's lucky. Before I was considering buying a whole PC, but I think I'll be brave and upgrade my old one myself. It's not too hard/risky is it?

Thanks in advance for reading all of this and giving advice; I seriously appreciate it! :)
 

RCoon

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#2
Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core CPU 5600+ ~2.8GHz
4GB DDR2 RAM 800MHz
Two HD's totalling 750 GB, several year-old WD Greens.
ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb
Asus M2N-MX Motherboard
Look to replace that stuff.
CPU&MOBO&RAM>GPU>SSD

psu is okish, case is ok, sound card will have a purpose, maybe xD

bundles are ok, but more often than not you can choose your own kit for the same price. Intel's are beating AMD at gaming in most areas, though that didnt stop me from going AMD ( i can still pull off 60fps+ on every game i play with my graphics cards ) and AMD is cheaper (but power hungry, my overclock requires 1.48v).
Any i5 mobo and 8gb(or16gb) ram with 1600 speed is more than capable, most will recommend the i5 3570k or 3770k. Corsair Dominator 1600 ram is a reliable and safe bet. Motherboard is more other peoples areas, I've always stuck with Asus sabertooth route, but for overlocking there are better boards, and there are also cheaper perfectly reasonable boards. I guess all you will need is 1 PCIE 16x lane, 4 sata 6gbps ports and a socket to fit either 990fx or ivybridge.
For graphics, try and keep to the current gen, so instead of the 560ti, think more 660+ and 7850+

I'm assuming you're in the UK, so shop you should look at are Ebuyer, Scan, Dabs, CCL online and overclockers. Never hold back about calling them up, many will price match each other.
 
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#3
And what about the PSU - it's 650W, but I've been told it's a crappy 650W one. Unfortunately I don't understand power supplies, but here are the specs:

AC INPUT 95-250VAC 5A 47-63HZ

+3.3V 30A | +5V 30A | +12V DC1 14A | +12V DC2 15A | -5V 0.5A | -12V 0.8A | +5VSB 2.5A |
Hi,

if you read this review of your power supply you can see there are many flaws with it (couldn't pass 362.77 watts, the wattage is clearly overrated by a big margin, the 3.3V and 5V rails are out of ATX spec at high load which could damage PC hardware etc.). So don't use it for a new build. Replace it with something much better that wouldn't burn your new to build PC. Look for brands like e.g. Corsair or Seasonic.

Perhaps this one: Corsair TX550M*

Positive reviews: JonnyGuru.com, Hardwaresecret.com.

Those upgrade bundles kinda look decent, but did Scan.co.uk include the "overclocking tweak" in the set? I would overclock it myself, it's much safer. Perhaps it's better to choose your own motherboard, ram and processor. Because for that price for the cheapest IvyBridge bundle Scan is asking for, you can choose yourself a better mid-range motherboard, ram and a better CPU cooler.

How about this setup:
Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 motherboard + Intel Core i5 3570K + G-Skill RipJaws 2x 4GB PC3-1600 ram + CM Hyper 212 EVO cooler
 
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#4
I think the Intel bundle REAAALLy worth the price. The performance difference is huge if the aplication hunger for IPC.
 

RCoon

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#5
How about this? Overclock yourself, much cheaper and easier.
 

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brandonwh64

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#6
Gaming rig, I would do a I5 3570K with Z77 motherboard and 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz or above, GTX 680 GFX and a Corsair/Seasonic 750W PSU
 
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#7
Why build a rig with a 750w PSU if it won't come even close to that wattage?

A decent 450~520w should be more than enough for a complete overclocked gaming rig.
 

brandonwh64

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#8
Why build a rig with a 750w PSU if it won't come even close to that wattage?

A decent 450~520w should be more than enough for a complete overclocked gaming rig.
Never hurts to have the extra juice if you want to upgrade later to SLI or a bigger card or more. Why buy something that is bare minimum when you have to buy it AGAIN later on...
 
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#9
Thanks a lot for all the responses guys. Great advice there TC-man; rather than look for more expensive components for £350, I looked for all of those components separately, and I can get them for about £300. Because I'm on a tight budget, I thought I'd try sticking to the components they've used, rather than spend £30-40 more on the mobo etc. Unless I'd find a big benefit from a mid-range mobo? Bear in mind I'm restricted for money and will probably never do SLI/Crossfire. With that in mind, I'd agree with Tonim that a powerful, more expensive PSU isn't really necessary in this case.

With the components Scan used plus a Corsair PSU and perhaps an Ati 7850, I'll be looking at just over £500. Will there be anything else I need for building my PC, like extra cables, tools, thermal paste?
 
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#10
I don't have much idea how are the prices in EU, but i think a Z77 Extreme4 from ASRock and an i5 3570K should fit very nice in your needs without clearing your pockets.

Stick with a budget PSU, like Corsair CX430V2, a mid range GPU (7850 1GB is a greeeat deal!) and your rig is done, but probably for a little more than £500.

@brandonwh64

I said that based in prices and efficiency, since the better efficiency range for the PSU is around 60% of load.
 
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#11
Ugh, I keep forgetting that I have to factor in the price of Windows, too :mad: Am I right in thinking that the mobo change will invalidate my Windows key?

Do you have any idea what will happen? Will I be unable to use Windows at all or will it just keep bugging me to license it properly?

It's only £25 for a Windows 8 Pro upgrade at the moment, although the problem is, that's just an upgrade - I'm guessing that wouldn't work with my then-invalidated Windows 7 license.
 
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#12
KK, make sure and check out this link here ... I'm not sure if Win 7 is cheaper than Win 8, but if you buy Win 7 you can upgrade to Win 8 for only $15. Hope that would save you some money but I have not compared prices. You don't need a license/key so far on that site, check out the original thread here.
 
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#13
KK, make sure and check out this link here ... I'm not sure if Win 7 is cheaper than Win 8, but if you buy Win 7 you can upgrade to Win 8 for only $15. Hope that would save you some money but I have not compared prices. You don't need a license/key so far on that site, check out the original thread here.
Thanks, but unfortunately Windows 7 isn't currently much cheaper than 8 in the UK.
 
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#14
I have another question - since I am trying to get as low an entry price as possible from this upgrade with the plan of slowly upgrading further in the coming months, can I omit the CPU cooler for now and stick with the stock? I wouldn't consider overclocking it until I bought another cooler.
 
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#15
Sure
 
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#16
Thanks, that's good to know and I don't know why I didn't think of it before...

Basically, I've put this off for years now because it's such a big investment and I've never managed to cobble together enough money at the time. I've got an opportunity to manage it now though, so I'm trying to spend the bare minimum, but without risking damage to my PC or buying crappy components that I'll need to change again straight away and so spend more money overall. For the former reason, I still think I'll change the PSU. That review someone showed me earlier was enlightening (and frightening) :eek:

Also, I've rang 2 computer shops, the one I originally bought the machine from and a local place I've taken it to for repair in the past. Both of them seemed to believe that even with the new motherboard etc, if I reinstall Windows it should activate okay. If that's true, that's great news as it's another thing I can put off and an even greater chance that I should be able to go ahead with this.
 
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#17
Yes, thats exactly what I did. Slow upgrade path. The MB CPU and ram are the big chunk. And yes windows will activate fine. If its a retail version you may have to make a call but its not an issue. with the OEM version oddly enough I never had to call. And Ive reinstalled at least 15 times. And changed every part twice

Go ahead and fill ouot the userCP / system specs so it easer to check your parts list for later questions
 
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#18
Yes, thats exactly what I did. Slow upgrade path. The MB CPU and ram are the big chunk. And yes windows will activate fine. If its a retail version you may have to make a call but its not an issue. with the OEM version oddly enough I never had to call. And Ive reinstalled at least 15 times. And changed every part twice
Fantastic. That is funny, I'd have thought OEM would be less likely to reactivate. Well it's an OEM 32bit Vista, with a student 64bit Windows 7 Pro upgrade that I got cheap because I was at uni. Even if I have to put up with 32bit Vista for a while and not even be able to utilise all of my RAM I won't be too upset; as long as I can actually use my computer for the time being :)
 
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#19
i'm fairly certain you can do a full install with a Windows 7 upgrade disk so use that. You cant upgrade a 32 bit to a 64 bit
 
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#20
i'm fairly certain you can do a full install with a Windows 7 upgrade disk so use that. You cant upgrade a 32 bit to a 64 bit
That's great - I've just Googled it and seen how you do it. I'd better try and find the installer I had for that, as it was a couple of years ago and it was a downloadable file. Just so you know though, it did actually work upgrading from 32bit Vista to 64bit Windows 7.
 
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#21
Gaming rig, I would do a I5 3570K with Z77 motherboard and 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz or above, GTX 680 GFX and a Corsair/Seasonic 750W PSU
If you don't OC a high end 670 is a better deal. Same performance as a 680 (Faster even) for 100 bucks less.
 
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#22
If you don't OC a high end 670 is a better deal. Same performance as a 680 (Faster even) for 100 bucks less.
I'm thinking a GTX 660 or ATi 7850/7870 is more realistically within my budget. I was initially thinking of the 7850, but after reading more into it I'm now leaning towards the 660 or 7870. I can't really stretch to ~£300 for a GPU though unfortunately.
 
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Case TT Kandalf L.C.S.
Audio Device(s) Soundblaster ZX/Logitech Z906 5.1
Power Supply Seasonic X-1050W 80+ Gold
Mouse G502 Proteus Spectrum
Keyboard G19s
Software Win 10 Pro x64
#23
My ex-wife cooked her PC I built her last summer because she thought she was capable and tried to upgrade her RAM(I do blame ASUS a bit tho with the "one clip" RAM slots) You can actually lock the clip without the RAM being properly seated. ANYWAYS it was an i5 760 on a P55 MoBo well trying to source a P55 MoBo as a quick replacement turned out to be a dead end(they were costing as much as top of the line X79 boards)
Well long story short I replaced the works with an "Upgrade Bundle" like what you were looking at. i5 2500K and a Z68 MoBo. SO totally different.
I always buy OEM copies for builds so this was no different. My concern of course was would it activate. YEP no issues at all. The way I figure it is as long as your not activating it "all the time" it seems to happily accept a total hardware change.

TL;DR
Windows 7 OEM should activate on new hardware just fine as long as you haven't activated it recently
 
Joined
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System Name PC
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Storage 120GB Kingston SSD, 2TB HDD
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Software Windows 8 64bit
#24
TL;DR
Windows 7 OEM should activate on new hardware just fine as long as you haven't activated it recently
Thanks, that's good to get extra confirmation of that. Only thing that wasn't good to hear, is that you can fry your PC doing something as simple as not quite seating the RAM properly... :twitch:
 
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System Name Hellbox 3.0(same case new guts)
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Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengance Pro 2400
Video Card(s) Sapphire Tri-X Fury (Unlocked to Fury X)
Storage WD Caviar Black SATA 3 1TB x2 RAID 0 2xSamsung 850 Evo 500GB RAID 0 1TB WD Blue
Display(s) ASUS MG279Q 1440 IPS 144Hz FreeSync
Case TT Kandalf L.C.S.
Audio Device(s) Soundblaster ZX/Logitech Z906 5.1
Power Supply Seasonic X-1050W 80+ Gold
Mouse G502 Proteus Spectrum
Keyboard G19s
Software Win 10 Pro x64
#25
Thanks, that's good to get extra confirmation of that. Only thing that wasn't good to hear, is that you can fry your PC doing something as simple as not quite seating the RAM properly... :twitch:
Yeah for someone not totally "in the know" ASUS's single clip RAM slots can be deceiving. But when she told me it went bad the answer was pretty obvious. Just have to make sure to push down on both ends to be sure they are seated correctly.