jarle
jarle

Lv15 Ranger
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Member Since: 13th Mar 2007
Total posts: 1489
Posted:So, I made a blunder last year and brought a game I couldn't play (in my defence, the internet site said my comp was good enough), and as I'm currently heading into uni holidays I'll have the financial oppurtunity to upgrade, whoo!

Here's the problem: I don't know much about computers. What I need is:
- a new processer, preferably dual core
- DirectX 10.0
- a new video card, NVIDIA 8800 or equivalent

Given this shopping list, would is be better to upgrade my computer, or simply buy a new one? If the former, will I need a professional or am I able to install these components by myself? Is there anything I need to be aware of that I missed?


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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:I'd buy components... but if I were buying a new computer I would also just buy components.

You can't really get anything but dual core these days.

Video card you can install with no worries at all. Processor isn't really too hard, either.


If you bought parts for a whole new computer you could still put it together yourself just follow the instructions that you get with the motherboard.

DirectX10 is free online.


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zyonchaos
journeyman
Location: Anglesey, Wales, UK soon to be...
Member Since: 13th May 2009
Total posts: 77
Posted:First find out what the recommended settings for the game are,
Then find out what you already have in your computer, then work out what you NEED to replace.

http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/referrer/srtest
br>
Follow that link it will take you to a website, which will tell you if you can run the particular game you want. It is very straightforward and will tell you what you really NEED to improve.


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Computer bits are like lego these days.
They are all colour coded and its nigh on impossible to put something in the wrong place. If you are using force, you are doing it wrong.
You don't need a computer tech to make your PC if you a) know the correct operating procedure for a screwdriver and b) want to learn something


New processor (for dual core or more) generally means new motherboard.
New motherboard can mean new RAM.
Don't get the 8800, its a fairly old card by todays standards. Go for an ATI 4850 minimum, 4870 is preferred.

DirectX is software based and all modern components will run it with no problems.

It could be worth keeping the case of your old one, and moving everything into it, or you might as well just buy a full new PC from parts (you will save 1/3rd of the price if you build it yourself) and have a spare coputer to use as a fileserver, or a backup machine.


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aston
aston

Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
Location: South Africa
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2007
Total posts: 4061
Posted:Most games will install DX10 for you as well.

And I think most graphic card support it now, yes?


'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

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Fearpig
Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Member Since: 6th Sep 2003
Total posts: 279
Posted:I'd say it depends on how techie you are!
In my experience if you are going to build your own PC then you'll also need to install the operating system / drivers / patches... now this can be very straight-forward but if you do get compatibility issues or a glitch then it can be a pain in the arse to fix!

From your description of the system requirements its not a hard-core machine that you require... so you could get an off-the -shelf solution for around 300 (in the UK, cheaper in Oz I believe).

The question is what do you want to do with the machine? If you are going to become a gamer then I'd make the PC yourself as off-the-shelf gaming machines tend to be massively overpriced (by about 30% as said above)...

However if your not really a gamer then you could get by on a low spec off-the-shelf and let someone else worry about building it! Then it comes with warranties and support as well... (although if you then become a gamer you may need to upgrade!)

If you do go for an off-the-shelf I'd recommend Dell as you live in Australia you'll get routed to the Dell Australiasia support group if you have any problems and they are 10 x better than Dell Europe or Dell US!

</rant> smile


"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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Fearpig
Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Member Since: 6th Sep 2003
Total posts: 279
Posted:p.s. you do get warranties if you build it yourself but if you get an error you may well find yourself stuck between suppliers as they blame each other for the issue! Resorting to internet forums usually resolves this but its more techie / geek work!

"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:Aye - it's worth noting when costing up building your own PC from scratch, especially for gaming, you'll need to use Windows which costs a fair amount.
You can always use Ubuntu or similair free Linux builds, but for gaming this isn't ideal.

What game are you trying to run and what's your current spec?


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Originally Posted By: Fearpigp.s. you do get warranties if you build it yourself but if you get an error you may well find yourself stuck between suppliers as they blame each other for the issue!

Not if you can swap out a component and it works.
Then you can say "it was this componnent that wasnt working, when I replaced it, it worked2.

They can't argue with that then.


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jarle
jarle

Lv15 Ranger
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Member Since: 13th Mar 2007
Total posts: 1489
Posted:Wow, I'm amazed at the level of response AND the amount of detail, thanks! As I said earlier, I'm no tech specialised but I'm pretty sure I can build a computer given the components - I have a friend who can help me in any case. I've had another look at my current hardware as well as the (recommended) specs for the game - Fallout 3 - and here's what I know.

I have:
- 1.81 Ghz Processor 2800+
- 1GB RAM
- more than enough hard drive space
- not too sure what video card
- Windows XP, official version

What I need/want:
- 2.4 Ghz Dual Core
- 2GB RAM
- a range of video cards, I assume that one is as good as the next?
- Windows XP/Vista

So what I have in my head is this: Build it myself under supervision, and get a new processor, possibly motherboard, more RAM and another video card. I'd rather not get a new OS, at least not at this time - I'm not that hardcore of a gamer to justify the expense. DirectX isn't a major concern, and neither is hard drive space.

With video cards, should I look for any specific one, or just say 'I want X or equivalent'? Because I want to increase my RAM, do I need another port or cable or something? And what are Ghz?


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Fearpig
Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Member Since: 6th Sep 2003
Total posts: 279
Posted:Ghz = Giga hertz = 1,000,000 hertz

hertz just means per second! so 1.81Ghz when talking about a processor means 1.81 million calculations per second.

</geek>


"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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Fearpig
Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Member Since: 6th Sep 2003
Total posts: 279
Posted:You need to start from the motherboard...

Find out what motherboard you have and see if that supports a 2.4Ghz processor. Its usually written on the motherboard somewhere.

If not you need a new motherboard!

If so then you need to see your current memory configuration. How many physical chips is the 1Gb of RAM spread over.... 1 x 1024Mb (= 1Gb of RAM) or 2 x 512Mb.

e.g. http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/ram-motherboard1.jpg
br>
in this example you can see two chips (pointed at by a white arrow) and two empty slots.

So if you have 1Gb of RAM and no free slots then you need to take out all the chips and insert two shiney new 1Gb chips or one shiney new 2Gb chip.

If you have empty slots then bonus! You can just chuck in more RAM!

There are lots of types of RAM so make sure you get the right one! You can find out on your motherboard spec or its usually written on the side of the chips in there at the moment....


"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:RAM goes into the motherboard, your current motherboard should have a spare slot that you can put another gig of ram into.

XP is the best OS, I wouldn't bother "upgrading" to vista it just chews up more RAM to look pretty and do not much eles.


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Fearpig
Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Member Since: 6th Sep 2003
Total posts: 279
Posted:You can always stick in more RAM than you need but remember Windows XP only supports 4Gb of RAM anyway so more is a waste!

http://www.crucial.com
- is pretty good for memory


"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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zyonchaos
journeyman
Location: Anglesey, Wales, UK soon to be...
Member Since: 13th May 2009
Total posts: 77
Posted:Originally Posted By: FearpigYou can always stick in more RAM than you need but remember Windows XP only supports 4Gb of RAM anyway so more is a waste!

http://www.crucial.com
- is pretty good for memory

As far as I am aware they also have a RAM checker on the site aswell, which will check your computers motherboard and tell you exactly how much it will support and what RAM it will support then unsurprisingly give you a link to where you can buy it off of them lol.

Another useful link

http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php
br>
Download this little program and it will give you all the details you need on your motherboard, so then you can just google it and find out what it will support. So before you even take the side off of the case you can get all the gen you need.


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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:Technically XP can only access 3.8gb of RAM not 4, but yes wink

Personally, what I'd do is:
New motherboard
New RAM
New GFX card
New hard-drive.
Shove it all in your existing case with your existing CD/DVD drive and see what happens.

You could either ghost your current hard-drive onto the new one (depends how clean your current hard-drive is) which saves copying all your data across, or you could set the new hard-drive up as a secondary one, though you may find your old HDD is a bit of a bottleneck when it comes to speed (Probably IDE as opposed to SATA)


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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_SonRAM goes into the motherboard, your current motherboard should have a spare slot that you can put another gig of ram into.

XP is the best OS, I wouldn't bother "upgrading" to vista it just chews up more RAM to look pretty and do not much eles.

Except DirectX 10 - which doesn't work on XP frown


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philhews
newbie

Member Since: 25th Jul 2008
Total posts: 37
Posted:Originally Posted By: DurbsExcept DirectX 10 - which doesn't work on XP frown

True, though there is at least one project being undertaken to resolve this problem as many people believe (correctly in my opinion) that you shouldn't have to have Vista to run new games.


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Mother_Natures_Son
Mother_Natures_Son

Rampant whirler.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia!
Member Since: 1st Aug 2007
Total posts: 2418
Posted:I didnt know that about DX10... I thought I was running it, but I must only be running 9c or whatever it is...

That is dodgy as hell that you need vista to run Dx10... why would that be? Because you need less ram?!


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Seye
Seye

Geek
Location: Manchester, UK
Member Since: 27th Mar 2005
Total posts: 1261
Posted:Originally Posted By: Mother_Natures_SonI didnt know that about DX10... I thought I was running it, but I must only be running 9c or whatever it is...

That is dodgy as hell that you need vista to run Dx10... why would that be? Because you need less ram?!
Probably because support for XP is slowly winding up. With the imminent release of Windows 7 I imagine we'll start to see some people dropping support for XP completely.

Games (and game related gfx stuff) usually require fairly recent machines (or recent components) and it will be assumed that these have the most recent OS on them.


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Originally Posted By: FearpigYou can always stick in more RAM than you need but remember Windows XP only supports 4Gb of RAM anyway so more is a waste!

Its actually that Windows XP 32bit doesn't support more than 4Gb (3.8 Durbs wink ). The 64bit versions of XP and Vista support more than 4Gb though.


By the looks of your current machine, you will probably need a new motherboard and CPU anyway. The fact you have a single core 1.81 Ghz Processor 2800+ suggests to me that the motherboard will not be able to take a newish processor.

So unless you want to go down the buying 2nd hand bits, it worth keeping the case, hard drive and DVD drive, and buying new bits of everything else.

What sorta budget you looking at?

With video cards, get a specific one, rather than telling the computer shop person that you want the equivalent of X. They might not know how good X is, and will make the wrong choice. Depending on budget, I'd look at a 1gb ATI 4870. They have come down in price loads lately as ATI released the 4890. The 4870 is a really good card.

Originally Posted By: FearpigYou need to start from the motherboard...

Find out what motherboard you have and see if that supports a 2.4Ghz processor. Its usually written on the motherboard somewhere.

Generally you find the model of the motherboard, look it up on the manufacturers website and then look on the compatibility list. Motherboards don't have the compatibility list printed on them.

Originally Posted By: FearpigSo if you have 1Gb of RAM and no free slots then you need to take out all the chips and insert two shiney new 1Gb chips or one shiney new 2Gb chip.

If you have empty slots then bonus! You can just chuck in more RAM!


If only it was that easy wink
Motherboards both have a maximum single RAM chip value (they won't recognise a stick that is greater than 1gb for example) and motherboards also have a maximum total RAM value. If Jarle stick with their current motherboard, it is pretty likely that it can only support 2gb (3gb maybe) maximum in 512mb sticks. So if you put 1gb sticks in, it won't work.

Originally Posted By: zyonchaosAs far as I am aware they also have a RAM checker on the site aswell, which will check your computers motherboard and tell you exactly how much it will support and what RAM it will support then unsurprisingly give you a link to where you can buy it off of them lol.

Its true that. Its a handy tool smile



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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:buy a new PC - but not just because of a time-waster *cough* video game wink

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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jarle
jarle

Lv15 Ranger
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Member Since: 13th Mar 2007
Total posts: 1489
Posted:Haha, that'd be the easy way out!

Thanks for all the info guys! I'll get started on it after exams are done (mid-next week) and let everyone know how I go.


Kupo!

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MikefromGlos
MikefromGlos

Hitman
Location: Gloucester England
Member Since: 10th Jul 2006
Total posts: 985
Posted:Originally Posted By: FearpigGhz = Giga hertz = 1,000,000 hertz

</geek>

Well Technicaly isnt it 1,000,024


he he i am mike the amazing gloscircus person who is mike.

Officaly an exception to the Poi Boys are Girls Thing

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Fearpig
Fearpig

member - tee hee "member"
Location: Bethnal Green, London
Member Since: 6th Sep 2003
Total posts: 279
Posted:<sulk>

1GHz = 1,000,000Hz

only in computing terms do we incorrectly use terms like Mega, Giga, Tera when we actually mean Mega + a bit, Giga + a bit, Tera + a bit....

</sulk>

tongue2


"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger

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