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pickel182 02-09-2013 02:37 PM

Refreshing an outdated PC
 
Hey All heres the long story short. I have a pc a friend built for me some time ago. Recently replaced the graphics card with a geforce GTX500 series and now I am thinking it's time to upgrade my motherboard and CPU. I currently have a M2N-SLI [asus.com] and I am not sure what kind of CPU I am using. I'm looking for something in the price range of around $200. I have seen the microcenter deals but I didn't build this computer myself so I am a little wary about buying parts that may not be compatible with what I already have.

Thanks in advance for your help!

prozac4312 02-09-2013 03:00 PM

New motherboard and CPU = new memory, as well.

pickel182 02-09-2013 03:40 PM

Thanks for the response Prozac. Im assuming I need new memory because the ram I have is not compatible with the newest tech. I'm really confused about the relationship between the cpu/motherboard. Does the motherboard sometimes come with the cpu? Is that what my m2n-SLI is? I have read a lot of guides on replacing the motherboard and unfortunately they just confused me more :(

Jeffbx 02-10-2013 07:50 AM

If you just want a speed boost to what you already have, I'd say just replace your primary HD with an SSD drive - that will do more for your speed than anything else. Plus that's much easier than swapping out the guts of your machine.

oyouno 02-10-2013 08:44 AM

We need to figure out what your current system is.

You can download and install/run cpu-z which will tell you everything.

]http://www.cpuid.com
But generally going from your old motherboard, you'll most likely want a new cpu+mb+ram to start and SSD at the very end if needed.

dhc014 02-10-2013 09:35 AM

Please download a program called Speccy from Piriform. It gives an excellent summary of the hardware in your computer.

With the latest bios, your motherboard can support some Athlon II or Phenom II processors which would likely be a nice upgrade. http://support.asus.com/cpusuppor...me=M2N-SLI

Here's a summary of specs that the OP posted in a PDF later:
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
AMD Athlon 64 X2 BE 5000+
Asus M2N-SLI
2x1GB DDR2-800
ATI Radeon 2600 XT (On par with Intel HD 4000)
Samsung HD203WI 2TB 5400RPM SATA II HDD
Seagate ST3750640AS 750GB SATA II HDD

pickel182 02-10-2013 04:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hey guys here is a system summary I did a while back (attached)

Thanks for all of your insight. What is the SSD for? I am aware of what a solid state drive is but i thought it was just a new hard drive technology. It seems from what you are saying the ssd has something to do with the mobo. I already have 2 sata HDD but im thinking the SSD is for something other than just storing your programs etc.

DHC mentioned upgrading the processor. Do you think a processor upgrade would be able to handle a game like skyrim for example? Im not looking for all quality settings at max i just need a workable PC that I can play a game on every once in a while. Also looking to install windows 8 if that means anything.

Thanks to all for your help so far. I feel much closer to being able to get this bad boy up and running.

Jeffbx 02-10-2013 08:14 PM

In any modern computer, the hard drive is the biggest bottleneck of any of the components. Upgrading from a mechanical HD to an SSD will give you the biggest speed boost of any other component. You would want to replace the c: drive with the SSD and use that to run windows & all of your apps.

However, from your report it also looks like you only have 2gb of ram installed - are you running 32 or 64-bit windows? If you're running 64 bit, you'll want to also bump that to 4GB.

pickel182 02-11-2013 01:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeffbx (Post 57496166)
In any modern computer, the hard drive is the biggest bottleneck of any of the components. Upgrading from a mechanical HD to an SSD will give you the biggest speed boost of any other component. You would want to replace the c: drive with the SSD and use that to run windows & all of your apps.

However, from your report it also looks like you only have 2gb of ram installed - are you running 32 or 64-bit windows? If you're running 64 bit, you'll want to also bump that to 4GB.

Thanks for the info. I will look into a SSD. I am currently running windows 64 bit. I will also look into the ram...anything particular I should look for when buying RAM? Most places recommend buying the cheapest you can find. Also I am guessing I need to get DDR2 and not 3.

pickel182 02-11-2013 01:37 PM

Another super noob question. By upgrading the ram you are saying I should buy 2 new sticks of 1Gig ram to supplement the 2 I already have correct? I know some motherboards support more ram but I'm not sure what the max is for my board.

Jeffbx 02-11-2013 01:59 PM

OMG yes - upgrade to 4GB first. 2GB is the absolute miminum required to run Windows 7 64, so that by itself will give you a speed boost. Combine that with an SSD and it'll be like you have a new computer.

For the RAM, yes, you have to match what you have already, which is DDR2. You have 4 slots on your MB, so you just need 2 more 1GB sticks to pop in there. And I would qualify your choice - you should buy the cheapest you can find that comes with a lifetime warranty.

Max for your board is 8GB [asus.com], so you'll be fine with 4x1GB

dhc014 02-11-2013 03:18 PM

If you're going to buy new RAM, it might be more worthwhile to upgrade your motherboard and CPU as well. Buying DDR2 right now is not a good idea since you won't be able to use it in any future systems or upgrades. It has been out of production for years so the supply of it has dropped and prices have gone up. DDR3 is much cheaper in larger quantities. You can get 2x2GB (4GB) DDR3 for around $25 instead of paying the same amount for only 2GB of DDR2.

Here are some recent slickdeals that might have been good for you:
$37 CPU - Dead now
$19 AR motherboard - Microcenter in-store only


Do you live near a Microcenter? They have other good deals on CPU/Motherboard combos.

Also, who will be doing the work if installing the new parts. I an not yet convinced that you would be able to swap out a motherboard/CPU. It's not hard, but it just doesn't sound like you have any experience.

pickel182 02-11-2013 07:53 PM

Thanks Jeff and DHC. You guys have been way helpful.

DHC. Im not exactly near a microcenter but if I could get a much better PC for the prices you quoted I would totally make the drive. I'ts just difficult for me to judge a good deal when I don't know the difference between good and great.

Jeff I think your line of thinking will probably work best for my situation. I dont need this thing to be a beast I just want it to work pretty well. One question though. Max ram is 8 so wouldent It be better to get 2X2Gigs of ram bringing my total to 6?

Thanks both for your help :)

dhc014 02-11-2013 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pickel182 (Post 57517658)
Max ram is 8 so wouldent It be better to get 2X2Gigs of ram bringing my total to 6?

Buying 2x2GB would mean that you're spending even more money on obsolete technology. 4GB of DDR2 costs around $45. You wouldn't get much of a boost from that $45.

DWad 02-11-2013 10:59 PM

Simple part compatibility:

Motherboard and processor must have the same 'socket'. Examples are LGA1155, FM3, FM3+, etc. This is so the processor fits into the motherboard correctly, and the motherboard knows how to communicate with the processor (and vice versa).

The RAM must fit the motherboard (mobo, for short), but most RAM will say 'desktop' or 'laptop' ram to make it easy. Then, you have DDR2 and DDR3 ram as the most common types. Any new mobo will support DDR3 ram (and DDR2 as well), but older mobos only supported DDR2. I think DDR3 mobos are always backwards-compatible with DDR2 (aka a DDR3 mobo will always support DDR2) but don't quote me on that. Also, get 'non-ECC' ram.. ECC is for servers, which you're not building.

Video cards need to fit into a certain type of slot - PCIe, PCIe 2.0, PCIe 3.0 are the most common now. Check what slots your mobo has open, and if you have a compatible video card, then you're good. Some of the slots are backwards compatible, but check Wikipedia for your mobo's specific slots to make sure it can handle your video card. AGP is a very old standard, basically useless now, but you might occasionally see AGP cards around.

Hard drives (and SSDs) use SATA 2.0 or SATA 3.0 connections (aka 'Sata 3Gbps and Sata 6Gbps, which are the speeds that the 2.0 and 3.0 standards can handle, at maximum). I'm pretty sure they're backwards compatible, so you can use a 2.0 drive with a 3.0 connector (and vice versa) but you'll only get 2.0 speeds. Hard drives and SSDs also come in different sizes(which only matters for compatibility with your case), where 3.5" is the 'desktop' hard drive size, and 2.5" is the 'laptop' size. SSDs are usually 2.5", but most come with mounting kits so you can fit it into a 3.5" slot in your case (and most cases now have 2.5" slots for SSDs). I think some SSDs are 7mm, but generally those are more expensive. Don't quote me on that last part though, I could be crazy.


Other things to keep in mind-
1. Video card is the most important thing for games and most other graphics-intensive tasks. An i3 processor is enough power for gaming as long as you have a good video card.
2. Ram speed is not that important. DDR3 is a worthwhile boost over DDR2 ram, but don't pay more for faster DDR3, as it will not be a noticeable difference, and that money is better spent going toward a better processor or video card.
3. 8gb of ram is enough for most people. Unless you realllllly have a lot of junk open at once, or multiple graphics-intensive games, or do a ridiculous amount of video editing or something, 8gb should be fine. Then again, ram is cheap, so if you think you might want more than 8, 16 isn't a budget-buster. But you'll only notice that extra ram if you 'saturate' your current ram by having a lot of stuff open or programs that take up a whole lot of memory to run.
4. I'm tired, hope that helps :).

oyouno 02-12-2013 12:03 AM

I would not waste any money on buying more old ram to put into your system.

I would start with just going out and getting a good deal on a new AM3+ motherboard that works with your current processor (as well as newest amd processors that you will upgrade to later on) With the new mother board, buy ddr3 1600 or higher ram to go along with it. 4gb if you are using win 7x32bit or 8gb if you have win 7 x 64bit running.

After you complete those steps, I would look into a new processor and than later on a SSD.

Jeffbx 02-12-2013 07:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pickel182 (Post 57517658)
Jeff I think your line of thinking will probably work best for my situation. I dont need this thing to be a beast I just want it to work pretty well. One question though. Max ram is 8 so wouldent It be better to get 2X2Gigs of ram bringing my total to 6?

No, not really. You'll get a huge bump in performance by going from 2 to 4GB, but only a tiny incremental going from 4 to 6. I'd save that money for when you're ready to replace the machine. But by upgrading those 2 components (SSD & adding RAM) you can get probably another couple of years out of this machine.

pickel182 02-12-2013 07:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DWad (Post 57520858)
Simple part compatibility:

Motherboard and processor must have the same 'socket'. Examples are LGA1155, FM3, FM3+, etc. This is so the processor fits into the motherboard correctly, and the motherboard knows how to communicate with the processor (and vice versa).

The RAM must fit the motherboard (mobo, for short), but most RAM will say 'desktop' or 'laptop' ram to make it easy. Then, you have DDR2 and DDR3 ram as the most common types. Any new mobo will support DDR3 ram (and DDR2 as well), but older mobos only supported DDR2. I think DDR3 mobos are always backwards-compatible with DDR2 (aka a DDR3 mobo will always support DDR2) but don't quote me on that. Also, get 'non-ECC' ram.. ECC is for servers, which you're not building.

Video cards need to fit into a certain type of slot - PCIe, PCIe 2.0, PCIe 3.0 are the most common now. Check what slots your mobo has open, and if you have a compatible video card, then you're good. Some of the slots are backwards compatible, but check Wikipedia for your mobo's specific slots to make sure it can handle your video card. AGP is a very old standard, basically useless now, but you might occasionally see AGP cards around.

Hard drives (and SSDs) use SATA 2.0 or SATA 3.0 connections (aka 'Sata 3Gbps and Sata 6Gbps, which are the speeds that the 2.0 and 3.0 standards can handle, at maximum). I'm pretty sure they're backwards compatible, so you can use a 2.0 drive with a 3.0 connector (and vice versa) but you'll only get 2.0 speeds. Hard drives and SSDs also come in different sizes(which only matters for compatibility with your case), where 3.5" is the 'desktop' hard drive size, and 2.5" is the 'laptop' size. SSDs are usually 2.5", but most come with mounting kits so you can fit it into a 3.5" slot in your case (and most cases now have 2.5" slots for SSDs). I think some SSDs are 7mm, but generally those are more expensive. Don't quote me on that last part though, I could be crazy.


Other things to keep in mind-
1. Video card is the most important thing for games and most other graphics-intensive tasks. An i3 processor is enough power for gaming as long as you have a good video card.
2. Ram speed is not that important. DDR3 is a worthwhile boost over DDR2 ram, but don't pay more for faster DDR3, as it will not be a noticeable difference, and that money is better spent going toward a better processor or video card.
3. 8gb of ram is enough for most people. Unless you realllllly have a lot of junk open at once, or multiple graphics-intensive games, or do a ridiculous amount of video editing or something, 8gb should be fine. Then again, ram is cheap, so if you think you might want more than 8, 16 isn't a budget-buster. But you'll only notice that extra ram if you 'saturate' your current ram by having a lot of stuff open or programs that take up a whole lot of memory to run.
4. I'm tired, hope that helps :).

Great help that clears up a lot for me. I think I am going to get the SSD and see how much that helps. I don't need a powerhouse PC. Just looking to sharpen this old beasts claws a bit.

DHC I completely understand your point about buying outdated ram for this but for me I think it makes sense to try some minor things like using an SSD and upgrading the processor. After that I'm pretty confident that this PC will be running much better.

Also this whole quest for an updated PC happened when I tried to install windows 8 on this machine and was unable. Looking at my system specs though I don't see any reason why I should not be able to install W8 correct? I have seen a number of issues with installing W8 but I will post another thread on that when the time comes.

Once again I can't thank the community enough for all your help on this. This is a great website with great people!

oyouno 02-12-2013 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pickel182 (Post 57525176)
Great help that clears up a lot for me. I think I am going to get the SSD and see how much that helps. I don't need a powerhouse PC. Just looking to sharpen this old beasts claws a bit.

DHC I completely understand your point about buying outdated ram for this but for me I think it makes sense to try some minor things like using an SSD and upgrading the processor. After that I'm pretty confident that this PC will be running much better.

Also this whole quest for an updated PC happened when I tried to install windows 8 on this machine and was unable. Looking at my system specs though I don't see any reason why I should not be able to install W8 correct? I have seen a number of issues with installing W8 but I will post another thread on that when the time comes.

Once again I can't thank the community enough for all your help on this. This is a great website with great people!

stay away from Win8. Win 7x64 is where its at.

pickel182 02-12-2013 03:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oyouno (Post 57529564)
stay away from Win8. Win 7x64 is where its at.

Not that I'm saying you're wrong but what makes you say that? I just bought a new laptop with 8 on it and it took a little while to get used to but really i'm not seeing much of a difference.

pickel182 02-12-2013 04:35 PM

Just a quick update for everyone. I remembered I had some parts from a few pc's laying around here...found 2 sticks of 1 gig DDR and an AMD Athalon 64X2 Dual core processor 4200+

This is off a HP Pavillion slimline s3307.

Will that AMD processor work with my board? Wouold that give a decent performance boost?

Thanks for your helping!

dhc014 02-12-2013 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pickel182 (Post 57538434)
Just a quick update for everyone. I remembered I had some parts from a few pc's laying around here...found 2 sticks of 1 gig DDR and an AMD Athalon 64X2 Dual core processor 4200+

This is off a HP Pavillion slimline s3307.

Will that AMD processor work with my board? Wouold that give a decent performance boost?

Thanks for your helping!

It is on the supported CPU list that I linked in my first reply. It would be a downgrade from your 5000+

pickel182 02-12-2013 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dhc014 (Post 57540104)
It is on the supported CPU list that I linked in my first reply. It would be a downgrade from your 5000+

Thanks DHC. I will keep on the hunt for processors that you listed.


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