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Computer Upgrade: HP Pavilion Slimline s3230.uk

Discussion in 'Tech Support' started by Dwitty, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Dwitty

    Dwitty Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    I bought this computer from a friend for £150. It includes the computer itself, 17” screen, keyboard, mouse and windows 8 (or 7, depends on what I ask him for). But I’m wanting to upgrade it.

    I’m wanting to upgrade it enough to comfortably play EVE – which I enjoy but don’t play purely because I own a shitty laptop that melts into slag whenever I try – and some higher resolution, non-laggy Minecraft as well.

    Unfortunately, I know nothing about computer hardware – better to say less than nothing, really – and need some help:

    - What are this rigs limits?
    - My budget for a new computer was £400-500, so it’s £250-350 for upgrades.
    - The recommended, and I’d prefer to aim for recommended over minimum where possible, specs for EVE are thus.

    GPU: Whether or not I get the ATi Radeon 5750 or the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 I’ll need a better PSU (it’s 160w atm). Are those cards even compatible with the computer? Am I missing something?

    RAM: I don’t think I need to upgrade the RAM, but 2GB is limited and the maximum it can support is 4GB. I’ve got this recommendation, thoughts? Am I right in thinking I just need to buy another 2GB rather than a 4GB? Does it make much difference price wise (it’s about £40 for the Crucial 2x2GB)?

    PSU: I’m thinking 450w so I can get the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 but beyond that I’ve no real idea what to buy or where. I know it’s an important, oft underrated, piece and shouldn’t be skimped on. Any suggestions?

    Prices: estimated about £240 ish, leaving about £100. Is there anything else I should be getting that’s essential to an upgrade?

    Current ideas:
    PSU - Coolermaster Silent ProM 500W Modular PSU - £69.97
    GPU - EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Free Performance Boost Refurbished Graphics Card - 768MB - £82.92
    RAM - Crucial Dimm Desktop Memory Upgrade (4GB Kit - 2GBx2,240-pin,DDR2 PC2-6400,Cl=6,1.8v) - £39.67

    Total cost (inc shipping): £192.56

    EDIT: Suggestions so far:

    Go for ATi Radeon 5770 rather than ATi Radeon 5750 if going for ATi.
    Get thermal paste, watch YouTube video on how to apply the stuff. Don't blow bubbles.
    Take pic of mobo before starting so I know where all the connections go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  2. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I've consistently heard good things about the 5770 as far as price/performance goes, so I can second that rec over the 5750. Be sure that you look up not just the recommended stuff for Eve/Minecraft though but actual reviews from people playing those games with your GPU of choice. You might be able to get something better on your budget, but it depends on your needs (and your screen resolution!).

    I think to some point your CPU might limit you as well, but not sure how much.

    I do strongly suggest getting a new set of 2x2GB RAM instead of just buying a new 2GB stick to add to the one you have. And 4GB isn't bad these days - 8GB is becoming the new standard but 4GB is fine. I think this is better RAM for probably the same price, but I'm not sure if you can get it for that price where you are... I thought there was a .co.uk version of Newegg but my interwebs are acting up.

    I don't know anything about the specific PSU you linked, but I generally see Antec EarthWatts being suggested for budget builds. Sometimes Corsair.

    My internet is acting up too much to continue or look stuff up to try and help. It's in and out due to weather and I've already had to restart Firefox three times writing this so...

    I'll end with suggesting you go to HardForum.com and make a thread in the General Hardware section. Answer the stickied set of questions and tell them that you just got X computer and have Y amount of cash to upgrade it (same as you did in this post), and see what they say.

    If it comes down to it I'd trust folks here at DLP, as you actually know us to some extent, but I've found that site to be helpful as well in getting suggestions. They keep up with the the prices/benchmarks and whatnot constantly.

    I don't know if it's possible to upgrade your processor on your budget, as that might require upgrading the Mobo to make it worthwhile, but they'd probably have an idea.

    Either way... congrats on your new computer. :) I hope you get it going good and can save as much as your budget as possible (for your next rig!).
     
  3. bob99

    bob99 High Inquisitor

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    Honestly, I'd get a different computer, that one is really old. I'd get some help from someone in England who knows computers. I don't know how much computers cost over there, I'm just going off of google and seeing that you spent around $250. And I'm seeing much better deals on ebay. http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Pavilion...0850583162?pt=Desktop_PCs&hash=item4d083b427a For instance, that inclueds a 20in monitor, is much better, and is much newer. And is cheaper ignoring shipping.

    Another thing you need to consider is the case, since computer manufacturers have a bad reputation for using cases that make it hard to upgrade. Right now you are probably limited to low profile graphics cards. Also your cpu is outdated. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,3106-5.html It's at the bottom section for AMD.

    So, as Cheddartrek said, I wouldn't put any money into upgrading this. You would basically want to replace a lot of parts. You would want to get a new motherboard, which means a new cpu and ram. The motherboard is old, you might be able to use the 460 with the card in an older pcie slot, but you are limiting the gpu by doing that. And the ram is DDR2, which is out dated.

    You could, however probably build a decent low end gaming rig with the money if you got a refund from your friend. I know $650 to $800 will definitely get you a good setup in the states, I just don't know how much stuff costs in England.
     
  4. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Decent low end gaming rig for $650-800? Hell yeah bob99, I built the one I'm using atm for closer to $720 in Feb 2011 and I'm still playing stuff on High Settings (though that budget didn't include the monitor).

    But he does make good points Dwitty. You got a decent deal on a computer for general use, but by the time you spend the rest of your budget on upgrades you might have been better off saving another 100 and building... but I don't know European prices very well.

    I mean, here's a build for just under $525 on PC Part Picker that I found. I don't know what the parts would cost in Europe, and there's a few other things about the build (not sure about that Mobo, you could replace the SSD with a regular drive and save cash, maybe upgrade the CPU and downgrade the GPU which is a lot more than you need)... but still, it's a list of complete parts for that price.

    I do hear costs are higher over there though.

    What I'd do in your case is take the minimum/cheapest upgrades possible to get the gaming performance you want (if possible), then save the rest like crazy. Maybe you can even resell your current POS again and recoup 50% of the cost when you get ready to build in a year or so.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  5. Panther

    Panther Third Year

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    I think he meant that the "decent low end gaming rig" could be bought from the refund money ($250) and that $650-800 would be enough for a good rig.
     
  6. Dwitty

    Dwitty Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Minus the case, which isn't available, the price for that is £402, without delivery charges.

    Working off of that this would be £526.77 (and is essentially the same as what you've got up there, with a few bits and pieces added on). But it's over budget, if only by £26.77 prior to delivery charges, and would cost £184.21, excluding delivery charges, more than upgrading the older one. That's £184.21 I'd rather have for something else, if possible.

    If it was literally impossible to upgrade the slimline to what I wanted, then I'd hand it back. If that were the case I probably would get the above, but ... if it's not then it's just not worth it.
     
  7. Sacro

    Sacro Seventh Year

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    Well, the thing is that your CPU will limit your GPU. The CPU may be fine for EVE (man, they have some weird requirements) but if you plan to play something else, say Mass Effect for example, then you won't be able to play it on max settings since the CPU wouldn't be able to handle it.

    Oh and ask if the Win 7/8 version you will get is 32 or 64 bit, since with 32 bit you most likely won't be able to use the full 4 GB RAM (if you decide to get 4 GB of course).
     
  8. bob99

    bob99 High Inquisitor

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    I think your cpu should be fine, most of the $500 budget builds on tomshardware seems to use $50-$90 cpus and $170-$210 gpus. I think your gpu is a problem, it seems to be over priced for the performance. Just use that as a guide if you want to change it. http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-cpu-review-overclock,review-32582-3.html

    A 650 TI 1gb would be a much bettter choice, it is a lot more powerful than the 650 and I think you would save a few pounds. If you wanted a much more powerful card, a 7850 would be a good choice, I think you could get a 1gb/2gb for around 120/130 pounds. Just check this out if you want to look at other gpus. http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/gaming-graphics-card-review,review-32586-3.html

    You could probably get away with 4gb instead 8gb. It shouldn't make much of a difference, and 8gb will require a 64bit OS as Sacro said. I don't know if I would get an ssd. I heard they are awesome, but you can get a 1tb hd for less money. It depends on how much space you need I guess. I also don't know if you can get away with a 380w psu. It will be riskier if you change gpus.
     
  9. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Keep in mind that if he upgrades his CPU he needs to choose an upgrade path that allows him to keep his current MoBo, otherwise he has to buy a new MotherBoard as well.

    His motherboard only supports up to 4GB. If he wants more than that he needs a new MoBo. Though he will need a 64bit OS to use all 4GB, yes.

    Also I'd go for a 400-600 PSU I guess, though Antec is supposed to make fantastic budget PSUs so that's a good one to stick with.
     
  10. Dwitty

    Dwitty Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Eh, I misspoke and should've been clearer. I didn't mean that specific build, but rather that I would go for a custom build if I couldn't upgrade the slimline. I only gave those parts a passing glance when I was picking them, and just did it to get an idea of how much a mid-range PC would cost. I picked them by looking for the cheapest part with a high rating with a lot of reviews on PCPartPicker.

    That said, if I was going to build my own I'd want to get a really decent 500w (or more) PSU so I could carry it across builds, and because everything I've read suggests investing in a good PSU is wise. I'll probably also move the best parts from this upgrade onto my first actual build, which won't be for a year or two, if I can/want to.

    @Sacro: I'm pretty unlikely to play anything else. I'm not a big gamer, the only games I stick with are ones I can get involved in the politics and such. And I play Mass Effect on the Xbox. :D

    Thanks for all the help guys, and Cheddar. I'll let you know how it goes. :p

    EDIT: Took 20 minutes to work out something I'd actually want to buy, and that's within my budget. What do you all think of this? (In my defence, I've not looked in detail at any of the parts and spent most of time reading up on mobo compatibility).

    Link

    Again, it's more than upgrading the Slimline, but it's well within budget even if I add £20-40 for delivery charges. I think I'm being tempted...


    Upgrade Wise: It'll cost a lot less than I thought. I spoke to my friend and he had a look at the case to see what I could do with it. The GPU has to fit a "Low Profile Bracket" so this should just slot in. I thought "fuck it" and went cheap on the PSU (following Cheddar's advice to just go cheap with this one) and got this:

    PSU - Antec EA-380GREEN 380W EarthWatts Green PSU - 80Plus Bronze - £40.48
    GPU - VTX3D 1GB Radeon HD 5450 DDR3 Graphics Card with Low Profile Bracket - £23.94
    RAM - Crucial Dimm Desktop Memory Upgrade - £40.39

    Total Cost of Upgrade: £104.81
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  11. bob99

    bob99 High Inquisitor

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    I don't know, it doesn't seem bad for a low end build if you don't want to do a lot of gaming. Eve seems like it doesn't require a lot. Minecraft has a bad reputation for hogging a lot of resources though, but you should run that ok.

    The only thing is you don't need a sound card. That mobo has 7.1 sound onboard.
     
  12. Sacro

    Sacro Seventh Year

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    If you don't plan to play anything else, then I guess that the CPU should be fine. I just spoke out of experience with an 4800+ in combination with a GTX 260 OC - while the GPU was only at around 20-30% load the CPU was at 100%.

    Also 380W should be more than enough for your setup.
     
  13. Deplore

    Deplore Seventh Year

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    I hope you aren't wanting to play in any resolution above 800x600... that graphic card is...to put it delicately...slow. Honestly, the only thing it's good for is playing TF2 and adding extra monitors (eyefinity), that's about it.

    I realize that you didn't really want to return your slimline to go the custom built route, but com'on dude.
     
  14. Dwitty

    Dwitty Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    Update:

    The GPU didn't fit (too many adaptors) so I returned that and am awaiting a refund from Amazon. Used that money, which had been spent without being missed, to buy Medieval Total War II: Gold Edition, Age of Mythology, Age of Empires Collectors Edition and Civ IV. In other words, games I'm likely gonna lose months to all over again.

    Without the GPU I didn't need the PSU, which I hadn't gotten in the first place. Problem solved and money saved.

    RAM went in no bother (except one tiny little broken bit of plastic that holds the front of the case on, I put it down to a learning experience).

    Mouse was a little slow so I used my own. Ordered a decent gaming one for not much. Same goes for the keyboard.

    Dug out an older, 5" bigger, screen with inbuilt speakers. Thinking up a use for the impressively versatile 17" monitor I now have spare. Might sell on gumtree to some unsuspecting fool customer.

    Total cost (including new mouse and keyboard) for the new PC: £209.34. Minus the £30 Amazon gift voucher I got for Xmas and it is: £179.34.

    Playing EVE on near highest quality at twice the FPS and without having to worry about overheating: Fucking EPIC

    Cheers all, and fuck the haters.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  15. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Congrats on a machine that is doing exactly what you wanted! Glad it worked out.
     
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