Best way to upgrade my computer?

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#1 Posted by Redsox44 (524 posts) -

My computer isn't fantastic for gaming, but it's pretty decent. Specifically I have an APU, an A6-3600 with an AMD Radeon HD 6530D GPU. I'm a noob to PC gaming and don't know much about proper ways to upgrade but I'm pretty sure I can't just stick the highest end graphics card out there and expect everything to be great. I would like to improve my performance in games at the 1600x900 resolution I play at and I frequently play more demanding games in a 1280x720 window just to get a playable performance. I'd love to just get a completely powerful new gaming PC but don't have the money for that so working with I have will have to do.

So if any more tech savvy people can give me suggestions on how to go about this I'd appreciate it.

Specifically this is the exact computer I have

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#2 Edited by Justin258 (14373 posts) -

Have you replaced that power supply? It's only 300 W; if you get a better graphics card you'll probably need a better one of those as well.

I'd say that a new graphics card would make that computer better, though the processor isn't exactly much to brag about and will probably end up being your bottleneck.

Also, you could lower the settings and turn the resolution up. Or lower the resolution and turn the settings up, whichever you prefer. You can turn both up when you've saved up enough money to buy a really good gaming computer with a better processor and graphics card. Honestly, I think you'd probably be better off putting aside money for a new computer and just suffering with 1280 x 720 resolution until then.

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#3 Posted by Redsox44 (524 posts) -

@believer258: Thanks for the reply and yea saving for a better computer would probably be better but if a new power supply and graphics card can boost my fps up 10-20 on the same settings I'd go for it because I don't even spend enough time playing to justify spending that much right now.

@believer258 said:

just suffering with 1280 x 720 resolution until then.

Eh won't stop me from enjoying my games.

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#4 Edited by Nate (798 posts) -


I had a similar CPU and a decent GPU (Radeon 6850) and I was able to run games pretty well in 1920x1080. Most the time I was on medium settings. On that build my CPU was definitely the bottleneck. On your higher resolution, you'll be struggling with that GPU.

You could always upgrade in pieces. It's always nice to do a completely new build, but for now you could get a decent GPU for $150-200 and get a 500-750W power supply for $50-100. You could get a new GPU, but that 300W power supply would burn out really quick, if not right away. If it were me I'd probably take a step up to like a $250-300 GPU (like a GeForce GTX 570) if you have the money and get a new PSU as well. Then if you can save up some money for a few months (or even a year if $ is tight) get a new case, motherboard, ram, and cpu. That's kinda what I did and it worked well.

Then again if you have $800-$1200 sitting around for a new build, just do that :)

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#5 Posted by JDillinger (189 posts) -

If that really is only an x16 slot and not an 2.0 x16 or above you're kinda screwed on the videocard front.

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#6 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1261 posts) -

I'd suggest you save about 700 bucks and build yourself a PC that's about ten times better. Ain't much you can do now as you need a new PSU for a new graphics card.

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#7 Posted by Redsox44 (524 posts) -

@Nate: Thanks for the advice, I think I will just tough it out with this computer and save for a completely new build, most games I play work well enough, the only game I own that doesn't no matter what settings is The Witcher 2 so just staying away from games with those kind of requirements shouldn't be too hard.

And by the time I save up enough money there should be some sweet new builds I can make to play all the newest games. :)

I don't even think there's any PC powerhouse games that will be out of the range for my computer coming out this year anyway besides say Metro, AC3, and Crysis 3. ( Probably forgetting something. )

The games I'm looking forward to for PC are XCOM, Dishonored, Borderlands 2, and Free to Play games like Planetside 2, Hawken, and Mechwarrior Online, which are guaranteed to be optimized as best as possible for lower end machines.

So yea waiting for next year won't be a problem.

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#8 Edited by Justin258 (14373 posts) -

I seem to remember this thread getting locked. Was it unlocked? Or am I nuts?

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#9 Posted by Redsox44 (524 posts) -

@believer258: Yea, you're not crazy, it was unlocked.

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#10 Edited by Shivoa (1528 posts) -

That HP website has given me a good laugh, that's a misreading of Llano (AMD's APU) as 'Liano' by someone and ending up on an official HP website spec page is rather great.

You need a new PSU ($50-60 for a 550W Corsair or CoolerMaster should see you sorted) because 300W isn't ideal for a dedicated GPU of any type. The CPU isn't really fast (ok, it's not fast full stop but it's still not a terrible buy with that iGPU on the die - I've got a nice cheap laptop with the mobile Llano inside) but as long as the game can use all four cores then it shouldn't actually hold you back for a while (and you can stagger your upgrades so this year is new PSU and new GPU and then in a year or two it'll be time to get a new CPU/RAM/mobo installed in there to upgrade that side of the equation).

I don't think you'd be disappointed by the enormous increase in settings and framerate if you got an AMD 7850 for $200 to go with the $50-60 on a new GPU and it looks like it'll all work (but make sure your case will be long enough for the GPU, I know from the specs that something like this will fit perfectly in the PSU slot but I'm not sure how much space there will be in this slightly smaller than normal case for the GPU and the 7850 is 9.5" long). If you can't spend in the $300 area for this upgrade cycle then there are slower GPU options but I don't think it's sensible to avoid upgrading the PSU at this time. $150 buys you a generation older slower GPU from AMD or GTX560 from nVidia but the disadvantage of last gen is both of those cards perform worse than the 7850 but also suck down more power (so generate more heat). Walking much below the $130 price point and tyou rapidly start to throw out a lot of performance for every dollar you don't spend so I'd consider those last gen cards the minimum you should think about buying (and they totally blow away the iGPU you currently run, even at the not-1080p resolution you run at).

Edit (posted above as I looked up figures/links for the above): Specs say it is 2nd gen (ie 2.0) PCI-E x16 slot so should be totally fine with any of the cards we're discussing to run as fast as they need.

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#11 Posted by Redsox44 (524 posts) -

@Shivoa: Thanks for the detailed reply, if that new PSU and a 7850 is all I need to do to get a good increase I'll do it.

Will have to check if they fit later. Thanks dude.

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