#1 Posted by PopUp (39 posts) -

 Hey guys, I don't know much about PCs. I had mine built cheap to be able to handle games, but it just isn't cutting it with the release of games like The Witcher 2.

My specs:

 AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+
 2.7 GHz CPU
3.0 GB RAM
 Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition Service Pack 2 (build 6002), 32-bit
 GeForce 9500 GT

What aspects of my computer suck (aside from Vista :P), what aspects are good and what do I really need to improve?

If for example, I need a new graphics card, what ones should I buy at a reasonable price (I'm not looking to build a monster rig, just get some affordable upgrades)? Thanks for the help!

#2 Posted by ZoomyRamen (237 posts) -

What would your budget be? What resolution are you gaming at? What PSU do you have? 

#3 Posted by SammydesinasNL (840 posts) -

Although you could do with a better graphics card (I don't know your budget), it would be a good idea to overclock your processor or get a new one. Problem with getting a new processor though is that you'll probably need a new motherboard, and therefore also a new set of RAM. 


There are people with a lot more info on this kind of stuff than me on GB so GL;HB
#4 Posted by PopUp (39 posts) -
@ZoomyRamen said:
What would your budget be? What resolution are you gaming at? What PSU do you have? 
My budget is around £150 (I am poor). 1280x800, I'll need to check my PSU later when I get home.
#5 Posted by crusader8463 (14428 posts) -

Depending on how cheap you want to be, you could spend around $150-$200 on a new Geforce 460 1GB, or put a couple hundred with it and future proof yourself and buy one in the 500 series. Double check, but I think it's the 580 or 590 that everyone likes. You should also look into grabbing an extra GB of RAM. 


And of course, check your power supply to make sure it will be able to handle the new graphics card.
#6 Posted by crusader8463 (14428 posts) -
@PopUp: Not sure what that converts to in dollars, but if your budget is around $200 I would go pick up an EVGA GTX 460 1 GB. Look around for prices, but newegg.ca has them on for around $200-$220 + $10 shipping. If you can find it cheap, I would try to throw in that extra 1 GB of RAM also. Just make sure it's compatible.
#7 Posted by PopUp (39 posts) -
@crusader8463 said:
@PopUp: Not sure what that converts to in dollars, but if your budget is around $200 I would go pick up an EVGA GTX 460 1 GB. Look around for prices, but newegg.ca has them on for around $200-$220 + $10 shipping. If you can find it cheap, I would try to throw in that extra 1 GB of RAM also. Just make sure it's compatible.
Thanks man, but compatible with what? I'm very ignorant about these things, sorry. Also, while I'm at it, when do you need graphics card adapters, and what difference does my resolution make to what I should get?
#8 Edited by ZoomyRamen (237 posts) -
@PopUp: Not too demanding a resolution meaning you could go for a GTX 460 as suggested. It's a pretty great card that will handle everything at that resolution. This would be a very good card. If im honest however, the system overall looks like it could do with a rebuilding. Thought about saving up and building a new one? 

@crusader8463: No point getting an extra 1GB of RAM, he only has a 32bit OS. 
#9 Posted by ZoomyRamen (237 posts) -
@PopUp: If he is referring to the RAM he means whether the MoBo takes DDR2 or DDR3 RAM. If it's the GPU then I think whether the MoBo has a 16x PCIE-slot. The resolution means you won't need as powerful GPU to handle the graphics.
#10 Posted by PopUp (39 posts) -
@ZoomyRamen said:
@PopUp: If he is referring to the RAM he means whether the MoBo takes DDR2 or DDR3 RAM. If it's the GPU then I think whether the MoBo has a 16x PCIE-slot. The resolution means you won't need as powerful GPU to handle the graphics.
Thanks for all the help. One last question - is systemrequirementslab a reliable source of information? It says I can run the Witcher 2 at a good level, but this seems doubtful.
#11 Posted by canucks23 (1087 posts) -
@PopUp said:
@ZoomyRamen said:
@PopUp: If he is referring to the RAM he means whether the MoBo takes DDR2 or DDR3 RAM. If it's the GPU then I think whether the MoBo has a 16x PCIE-slot. The resolution means you won't need as powerful GPU to handle the graphics.
Thanks for all the help. One last question - is systemrequirementslab a reliable source of information? It says I can run the Witcher 2 at a good level, but this seems doubtful.
That always says i can run games way better than i actually can. It's not very accurate.
#12 Posted by ZoomyRamen (237 posts) -
@PopUp: You seem to pass the minimum requirements. It's a decent baseline evaluation but It's not properly representative of performance as their are a few other factors you need to take into consideration. 
#13 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1233 posts) -

RAM and processor is sort of fine, I guess. Get yourself a GeForce 460, should be in your budget. Also check what brand your power supply is and how strong it is before buying it - get back to us with that. You should be fine though.



#14 Posted by GetEveryone (4458 posts) -

Hmm. To make any worthwhile upgrades, like SammydesinasNL says, you'll likely need to replace your mobo.


Most of the new CPUs out require new sockets, and if you go that route, then you're just as well overhauling your system (as your graphics card is outdated and you'd be better off with DDR3).

There are some great mid-range cards out atm, which will set you back about 100-150 pounds. Problem is, if you upgrade that, your CPU will probably bottleneck your system.

I'm sure others can give you more helpful tips, but for 150 quid, I can't see what else there is to do.
#16 Posted by melcene (3034 posts) -

Now I feel old.  People are recommending GeForce 460s.  I remember when I had a GE Force MX440 and when I finally passed it along to my daughter for her first hand-me-down parts computer.  Apparently looking it up, we're currently in the 11th gen of GeForce models.  That MX440 was 4th gen.

#17 Posted by crusader8463 (14428 posts) -
@ZoomyRamen: Didn't notice the OS. Save up to upgrade to windows 7 64 bit asap.
#18 Posted by BeachThunder (12395 posts) -

I would actually recommend a gtx 460 768mb or 450, rather than a 460 1gb, especially at the resolution. Both of those cards can be found much cheaper.

#19 Posted by PopUp (39 posts) -
@crusader8463 said:
@ZoomyRamen: Didn't notice the OS. Save up to upgrade to windows 7 64 bit asap.
What are the advantages? (aside from improved UI etc).
#20 Posted by crusader8463 (14428 posts) -
@PopUp said:
@crusader8463 said:
@ZoomyRamen: Didn't notice the OS. Save up to upgrade to windows 7 64 bit asap.
What are the advantages? (aside from improved UI etc).
A much better performance. Vista is known as a system hog that takes up a lot of memory. For someone trying to get every bit of power from an older system that can make a big difference. Other then that, as you said, there are a ton of little UI things that make using the system a lot nicer. The big one being the search bar. I'm also a huge fan of being able to set your wall papers to rotate automatically at a set time. I have about 30 different wallpapers cycling every 5 min. For someone like me who gets tired of looking at the same thing this is amazing and almost worth the upgrade in and of it self.

Not sure how often of a problem it will be, but the other thing is game compatibility. Games are designed for Windows 7 now, so you may run into some problems running some games. Not sure how big of a problem it is since vista is just one iteration old, but it's something to look into.
#21 Edited by HitmanAgent47 (8576 posts) -

Your cpu is too bottlenecked to even run the witcher or a better videocard with a dual core. I would at least go to quad core first. See if your mobo is am3, then you can upgrade it. Once you done that, then upgrade the videocard, or you will not be able to play the witcher 2.

#22 Posted by monkeyroach (175 posts) -

See if your motherboard has a bios update for new cpus. Upgrade to a faster Phenom II chip and upgrade your videocard.

#23 Posted by kaos_cracker (700 posts) -

try and get maybe gtx 250 or something like that, its better than that one and not too much more expensive

#24 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -
@BeachThunder: Yeah, 1GB is overkill.
#25 Posted by PopUp (39 posts) -
@HitmanAgent47: Are you sure? I can run Dead Space 2, SC 2, Dragon Age and Arma 2 on normal settings without a hitch. Is the witcher 2 really unplayable for me?
#26 Edited by h0lgr (911 posts) -
@crusader8463 said:

@PopUp said:

@crusader8463 said:

@ZoomyRamen: Didn't notice the OS. Save up to upgrade to windows 7 64 bit asap.
What are the advantages? (aside from improved UI etc).
A much better performance. Vista is known as a system hog that takes up a lot of memory. For someone trying to get every bit of power from an older system that can make a big difference. Other then that, as you said, there are a ton of little UI things that make using the system a lot nicer. The big one being the search bar. I'm also a huge fan of being able to set your wall papers to rotate automatically at a set time. I have about 30 different wallpapers cycling every 5 min. For someone like me who gets tired of looking at the same thing this is amazing and almost worth the upgrade in and of it self.
Not sure how often of a problem it will be, but the other thing is game compatibility. Games are designed for Windows 7 now, so you may run into some problems running some games. Not sure how big of a problem it is since vista is just one iteration old, but it's something to look into.
This is NOT recommended if you only have 150 to work with. Don't get a new OS, use your 150 for a graphics card.
I'm sitting on Vista 32 able to handle anything the gaming business throws at me.
GTX 260 OC, it cost me around 100.
And I'm sitting on a 2.67 GHz Dual Core processor, pretty much exactly equal to yours.
NO PROBLEMS here.
I'm also on 4 gigs of ram (Yes, 32bit Vista restricts me to around 3 gig but it's really not that big a difference nowadays)
THE GRAPHICS CARD is what you need to upgrade first. When you do, you'll notice a huge difference!

*EDIT*: To give you a picture of how effective that kind of system would be,
I'm sitting on exactly that and can run Crysis 2 flawlessly, Crysis 1 on maxed config and games like Dirt 2 60+ frames.
Pretty much almost every game runs at 25+ FPS.
Only game that craps me up is like intensive firefights in GTA IV on highest, or Men of War Assault Squad 4on4.

Good Luck friend, hope you make the  right choice.
#27 Posted by crusader8463 (14428 posts) -
@h0lgr: That's what I suggested as well. The OS was a suggestion for something to save up towards getting down the line, along with an extra GB of RAM when he does upgrade to the new OS.
#28 Posted by crusader8463 (14428 posts) -
@PopUp: If you haven't bought a card yet, I literally just got done buying this one off newegg.ca since it was on sale. It's a 768 MB GTX 460 for only $132 with a $50 mail in rebate. The card came to $166 and change once you add tax and shipping, but when I get the rebate the card will only cost me $116. 

Worth looking into if you are on the hunt for cheap like I am.
#29 Posted by h0lgr (911 posts) -
@crusader8463: I know, but let's not confuse the guy: he has 150 to work with.
Get a new video card, it's the one thing that really SCREAMS for an upgrade the most on the list.
#30 Posted by crusader8463 (14428 posts) -
@h0lgr: Mhmm. Video card should be his #1 priority given his set up and budget imho.
#31 Edited by HitmanAgent47 (8576 posts) -
@PopUp: that's funny, I ran my gtx 460 with an amd dual core (stronger than your cpu) before and it stutter like no tommorrow. But do what you want and disregard my advice if you want to, I know i'm right. Just buy it and see what happens and if it doesn't work, then upgrade. You will run into a bottleneck with a stronger card. You can only have so many frames with that cpu bottlenecking it. It's not going to be strong enough to cope with the gtx 460. It's your money, i'm just being honest with my advice.
#32 Edited by Khann (2913 posts) -

You must find out what your motherboard is, so better advice can be given. Personally, I would save up for an entirely new PC, but due to your budget this obviously isn't possible. What I'm about to recommend is entirely dependent on your motherboard and power supply. Please run this and take a screenshot of all your hardware details. Then take the side off your PC case and find out what power supply you have. 


GTX460 768MB - 110
Phenom II X4 840 - 73 (This if you were maybe thinking of doing some overclocking)
Gig of cheap ram - 14

Really need more details of your PC to give proper recommendations. If the above setup was possible on your system though (budget/compatibility), you would be able to max out every game at 1280x800 (maybe a couple of tweaks here and there). 

PC gaming isn't as expensive as people think.

Also, these prices are only from one vendor. I'm not from the UK so I'm not entirely sure where the best place is to shop for PC gear. Maybe some UK folks could help with that?