View Full Version : Machine upgrade tips

31-03-2012, 10:39 AM
Hello, I've recently purchased a machine from a friend and I wouldn't mind upgrading it to be a bit more game friendly. At the moment its not bad, but I wouldn't mind playing some recent games.

My specs are:
Thermaltake Armour mx case (can be converted to water- cooled), asus p5k- se motherboard, intel q8200 cpu (core 2 quad) (overclocked from 2.33 to 2.9 ghz, 8gb ocz gold ram (4*2gb), 4 bays for hard drives (2 hard drives installed- wd 1tb storage drive, wd 300gb velociraptor 10,000rpm operating system drive, 500w power supply and a geforce 9600gt 1gb video card.

What upgrades would you recommend? I don't really wanna upgrade the cpu unless necessary cos I don't really know what I'm doing, but what about video cards? Would be looking for medium to high range.

31-03-2012, 11:10 AM
If you're wanting to extract much more from it a higher rated PSU is the first step, although that won't give you any performance leap.

Personally, I'd have put the CPU next on the list, but if you're avoiding that, then investigate the availability of a duplicate GPU for crossfire.

If you do turn your attention to the CPU, then fist of all investigate what the mobo will handle under the latest bios update before you buy.

31-03-2012, 11:14 AM
For games you dont need more than a dual core really, any remotely recent quad core will definitely be fine. I'd look at a new gpu. Do you have a budget?

31-03-2012, 11:32 AM
Thanks guys. I'm not ruling out changing the cpu it's just I've only changed one once, but someone will give me a hand, so no biggie really if that needs to be changed.
Na, no budget really, will take a look now on pricespy to see what the go is.

31-03-2012, 11:52 AM
Well the 680 and 7970 both came out recently so prices on older ati and nividia cards should be dropping. I see the MSi 560GTX dropped from like $300 to $170. It appears to be sold out everywhere though.

31-03-2012, 12:03 PM
If you do decide to upgrade the CPU you'd want to try and find something like a Q9650 or better or it's largely going to game the same as it does now, a core 2 quad is adequate for most current games so I'd focus elsewhere just keep an eye on trademe for any cheap CPU deals :)
My recommendations for a gaming upgrade on that hardware would be a HD 7770 graphics card if you want to stick with the same PSU or a GTX 560 or 560 Ti if you don't mind possibly upping the PSU to a 650W corsair or similar (500W might still be fine if it's a good one). All are huge leaps up from a 9600GT which is the weakest part of that machine and would be a nice upgrade. Going any higher is overkill with your other hardware.

Edit; actually with your ovelrclock you are about at the Q9650 stock speed level already so to upgrade further you're looking at a CPU / RAM / MB combo, best just to slap a graphics card in it and call it a day. You should get a decent amount of gaming life out of it still.

31-03-2012, 03:46 PM
asus p5k- se , intel q8200 cpu , 8gb ram ,500w power supply and a geforce 9600gt 1gb video card.

GPU for sure!!!! That's the bit that will make the most difference to your gaming.
It may involve changing the power supply too. BUt everything else is OK.

01-04-2012, 01:05 PM
Cool thanks everyone, I'll take a look at different video cards.
The HD7770 seems pretty good and quiet, tho theres not much price difference to jump up to the 7850, so may go for that.

01-04-2012, 01:16 PM
The 7850 is really really nice.

04-04-2012, 08:20 AM
From what I've tried on power calculators online I shouldn't need to upgrade my psu if I purchase th 7850, and def 7770.
My question is can I cause any damage if I try it and there is not enough power? Or will I simply just not get a display or something?

04-04-2012, 08:34 AM
It's likely to crash if it's not getting enough juice.

Small risk of data corruption, especially to the files that Window continues to mess with.

Greatest risk time is when the GPU is working hard (ie gaming).

Probably more a nuisance rather than a threat to your gear... but I'm guessiing a fair bit.

04-04-2012, 10:00 AM
What's the brand and model of your PSU? if it's a good one the risk is minimal and in fact a decent 500W PSU will run most single GPU setups except very high end cards.
On the other hand if it's a cheap generic 500W unit it could die spectacularly if you overload it and potentially take out other components in the process. It's with good reason so many times on this forum you will see people advising against cheap PSU's.

If you have a good one, and the calculators say it's high enough, then you are fairly safe. Those calculators tend to be fairly cautious.

My Media PC changes configurations a bit, but at it's best had an i5 2500, a GTX460, 4GB RAM, 2 HDD's, Blu-ray drive, all running on a SFF 450W silverstone PSU quite comfortably - which is a lot lower than I myself would normally reccomend for that hardware. The point is if your careful about checking the load and use a quality PSU then you can run quite a lot from 400-500W PSU's