Author Topic: Upgrading my PC  (Read 3309 times)

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Offline Martok

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Upgrading my PC
« on: April 28, 2012, 05:05:07 AM »
As my computer is now 5 years old, I'm using part of my tax refund to spiff up the old girl a little.  I'm not intending anything fancy, for the most part:  All I'm doing for sure is replacing a couple fans, and adding 2 more Gigs of memory (to my current 2 Gigs).  Very modest. 

Except...  I'm wondering if it would also be worthwhile to upgrade my processor.  I currently have a dual-core, but have been considering moving up to a quad-core.  Given that I play mostly strategy games, is this something that would be worth doing? 

Also, I'm thinking -- only thinking, mind you! -- about finally ditching XP and getting Windows 7.  I'm extremely wary of doing so, as I've heard about folks having major problems getting older games to run (STW, MTW, and my beloved BOTF all immediately come to mind) -- but I know I can't stay on XP forever, and everything I've seen for Windows 8 thus far gives me the impression I ought to give it a pass (and I'll burn in hell before picking up Vista).  So do I upgrade yet?  Or do I wait for Windows 9 in a few years? 



Advice and opinions are welcome and appreciated! 

« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 11:34:29 PM by Martok »
"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
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Offline Shelldrake

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2012, 06:37:39 AM »
Congrats on the income tax refund Martok...I ended up writing the government another cheque. :(

Before you upgrade your cpu you need to find out whether your mainboard supports quad core processors. If it does I would recommend the upgrade, especially if you can maintain the same or better speed in cpu cycles. You will also benefit from improved cpu architecture which equals better performance and better multitasking. I went from a dual core AMD cpu to a quad core and really noticed the difference. However, if your gpu is also 5 years old you might get better bang for your buck with a gpu upgrade.

Microsoft plans to continue XP support until April 2014 so you still have time to consider the move to windows 7, assuming that retail copies will continue to be available once windows 8 is released later this year. BOTF runs fine on my windows 7 netbook and laptop. I don't know firsthand about STW and MTW but understand that the issue is with dx11.
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Offline Martok

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2012, 11:42:09 PM »
Thanks Shelldrake; much appreciated.  Since I'm woefully ignorant when it comes to PC's, though, I need to ask a couple clarifying questions: 

1.)  Does mainboard = motherboard?  And in either case, how do I find out if it supports quad-core processors? 

2.)  What's my gpu?  (Yes, I'm that dumb!) 




Microsoft plans to continue XP support until April 2014 so you still have time to consider the move to windows 7, assuming that retail copies will continue to be available once windows 8 is released later this year. BOTF runs fine on my windows 7 netbook and laptop. I don't know firsthand about STW and MTW but understand that the issue is with dx11.

Ah, I was not aware support for XP had been extended to 2014.  At one point, I remember reading Microsoft was going to terminate XP support *this* year, so my thinking was still locked in on that.  Thanks for the info! 

Yes, I've heard dx11 (and I think even dx10) give STW/MTW fits...to say nothing of their inability to play well with Nvidia video cards (which I also have to be careful of).  I really don't want to lose the ability to play those two games, so am still very torn.  Good to know, however, that at least BOTF runs well for you on Windows 7. 

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

"As long as there's bacon, everything will be all right." - Toonces

Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 05:15:34 AM »
If you can get a peek at your motherboard you may be able to see the model number and google it for specs. If not, you could start with the computer model number. If you want to post it here we could try to find out for you. As much detail as you can provide is recommended.
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Offline Martok

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2012, 05:29:13 AM »
Well my machine was home-built (a friend helped me put it together), so I guess I'll have to check out the motherboard.  (For that matter, I'm guessing I could probably dig up my old NewEgg order and look it up that way too...) 

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

"As long as there's bacon, everything will be all right." - Toonces

Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2012, 06:03:16 AM »
That would be the way to go. The newegg page itself may have some info about processor options for your board. If not, then the manufacturer will probably have specs at their website. Browsing old reviews on line sometimes reveals interesting facts about a piece of hardware also.
Vituš ér enn - eša hvat?  -Voluspa

Nothing really rocks and nothing really rolls and nothing's ever worth the cost...

"Don't you look at me that way..." -the Abyss
 
'When searching for a meaningful embrace, sometimes my self respect took second place' -Iggy Pop, Cry for Love

... this will go down on your permanent record... -the Violent Femmes, 'Kiss Off'-

"I'm not just anyone, I'm not just anyone-
I got my time machine, got my 'electronic dream!"
-Sonic Reducer, -Dead Boys

Offline Shelldrake

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2012, 06:40:53 AM »
Martok, gpu = video card. :)

EDIT: Maybe keep your eyes open for a second hand laptop with XP to run STW and MTW when you do upgrade to Windows 7. You should be able to get one for a couple hundred max that should work nicely as long as it has a good dual core processor and an independent graphics card (stay away from integrated graphics).
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 06:49:01 AM by Shelldrake »
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Offline Martok

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2012, 04:57:16 PM »
My motherboard

And while I'm at it, here's my current processor


Also, I meant to ask:  This is the RAM I currently have in my computer.  Am I going to want to stick with getting more DDR2 memory, or is there something better (yet still compatible)? 




Martok, gpu = video card. :)

Aha, thank you! 

In that case, I'm fine.  Slick Wilhelm kindly donated his "old" one to me, which is still an order of magnitude better than my old (old) video card. 



EDIT: Maybe keep your eyes open for a second hand laptop with XP to run STW and MTW when you do upgrade to Windows 7. You should be able to get one for a couple hundred max that should work nicely as long as it has a good dual core processor and an independent graphics card (stay away from integrated graphics).

[whining mode] But I don't *want* to get a laptop/second computer! [/whining mode]  :P 

Joking aside, I have considered the possibility, but remain reluctant.  Partly because I instinctively rebel at the thought of "needing" two computers, and partly because having a laptop would make it too easy for me to get hooked on always having a PC at my disposal.  I strongly dislike being a slave to that kind of...dependency. 


That being said, I realize that ultimately, I may have no choice.  Sooner or later, the OS, software, and hardware alike are going to advance to the point where at least some of my old games simply won't be able to run on them.  I guess I'm just trying to put off that evil day for as long as possible... 

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

"As long as there's bacon, everything will be all right." - Toonces

Offline Shelldrake

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2012, 05:49:39 PM »
Since your motherboard has an am2 cpu socket you can't upgrade to a quad core. The fastest cpu that you can put in is an athlon x2 6400 @ 3200MhZ which would give you a nice boost in performance...if you can find one used since amd has disconinued the athlon x2 line. You probably will also need to update your motherboard bios.

Your other option is to upgrade mainboard, cpu and RAM with a combo deal but that will run you $200-$300 depending on what you choose. For example,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.876652 @$247 for 6-core cpu and mainboard
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148419 @$28 for 4GB DDR3 RAM
"Just because something is beyond your comprehension doesn't mean it is scientific."

Dean Edell

Offline Bison

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2012, 09:41:05 PM »
If you still have your XP discs you could do a dual OS install, that would solve all your problems.

Offline Martok

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2012, 11:50:44 PM »
Your other option is to upgrade mainboard, cpu and RAM with a combo deal but that will run you $200-$300 depending on what you choose. For example,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.876652 @$247 for 6-core cpu and mainboard
+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148419 @$28 for 4GB DDR3 RAM

Thanks again Shelldrake.  This sounds like it might be the overall better option, especially since I'm not wild about the idea of purchasing a used CPU (to say nothing of finding one in the first place).  And no, I don't mind paying that much. 




If you still have your XP discs you could do a dual OS install, that would solve all your problems.

Yes, I still have my XP disc. 

Perhaps the more pertinent question -- since I already have XP installed as my OS -- is:  Can I do a dual install with Windows 7, but without needing to reinstall XP as well? 

And a secondary question:  How big is Windows 7?  I only have a 250 Gb hard drive (currently about half-full), and I have no idea how much of a consideration that might be. 

"Like we need an excuse to drink to anything..." - Banzai_Cat
"I like to think of it not as an excuse but more like Pavlovian Response." - Sir Slash

"At our ages, they all look like jailbait." - mirth

"If we had lines here that would have crossed all of them. For the 1,077,986th time." - Gusington

"Government is so expensive that it should at least be entertaining." - airboy

"As long as there's bacon, everything will be all right." - Toonces

Offline Bison

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 12:10:56 AM »
Well I'd consider getting a second harddrive.  One for XP and one for Win7.

Offline Shelldrake

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Re: Upgrading my PC
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 05:49:01 AM »
I was in the same position as you and did a mainboard, cpu and RAM upgrade. All went well but keep in mind that you may need to reinstall your XP operating system. I was fortunate and did not have to but YMMV. I recommend this article from Arstechnica.

http://arstechnica.com/hardware/news/2007/09/how-to-install-a-new-motherboard-without-reinstalling-windows.ars

Even if you don't decide on a dual boot OS it would still be a good idea to pick up a second hard drive if only for backup storage. A 500GB 7200 rpm drive will run you $80. I recommend cloning your OS onto the new drive and using your old drive as the backup unit.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136769
"Just because something is beyond your comprehension doesn't mean it is scientific."

Dean Edell