PC Upgrades...

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Ran
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PC Upgrades...

Postby Ran » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:57 am

I'm thinking about making some upgrades to my PC. First, I'd like to get a DVD burner. Newegg has them starting at $30. There was a cheap LG model that got some good reviews. Is there anything in particular I should look for?

Right now, my PC has 512 MB DDR SDRAM. What kind of upgrade should I put into this?

I'd like to get an external hard drive to store photos and music. I have about 15 GB of MP3s right now. An 80 GB hard drive should cover what I need. Again, are there any specs I should look for when choosing an external hard drive?

If there is anything else I should consider, let me know.

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Re: PC Upgrades...

Postby vynsane » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:43 am

Rogue II wrote:I'm thinking about making some upgrades to my PC. First, I'd like to get a DVD burner. Newegg has them starting at $30. There was a cheap LG model that got some good reviews. Is there anything in particular I should look for?


just make sure it writes to all the media out there - dvd-r/w and dvd+r/w, and try to get one that does dual-layer... that will come in handy.

Right now, my PC has 512 MB DDR SDRAM. What kind of upgrade should I put into this?


you need to find out how much ram your mobo can handle, and then get back to me... http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html <-- this download will give you an output of everything inside your computer, and http://www.crucial.com/index.asp <-- this site will help you figure out what kind of ram you have and how much you can put into it... you don't need to buy it there, but it's a great way to find out exactly what you can do to your machine. after that we can discuss RAM strategy, because it is that kind of commodity.

I'd like to get an external hard drive to store photos and music. I have about 15 GB of MP3s right now. An 80 GB hard drive should cover what I need. Again, are there any specs I should look for when choosing an external hard drive?


you don't want to skimp on this, as eventually you will need more capacity... HDD space is getting so ridiculously affordable, it doesn't make sense to get anything under 150gb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822154612

If there is anything else I should consider, let me know.


do you have a flat-panel monitor? how fast is the processor (belarc will let you know...) how old is the video card? do you even have one? (sometimes you're running on built-in mobo video, which robs the rest of the processes of power...)
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Postby Ran » Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:21 am

Thanks Vyn. I'll run that download tonight.

I already have a flat panel monitor. The video card is the only thing I've upgraded on the PC since I bought it. It is a Radion 9200 or 9600 (I think).

My daughter is getting to the age where she is playing games on the computer. Mostly educational stuff. So, my other thought is to put this computer in her room so she can play her games and watch DVDs on it, and get a new PC for myself. I would just need to justify it with a cost comparison to the wife and wait for the tax refund check in the spring. :wink:

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Postby Ran » Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:16 pm

2.15 gigahertz AMD Athlon XP
128 kilobyte primary memory cache
512 kilobyte secondary memory cache

163.91 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
84.94 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space

ASUS CRW-4824AH [CD-ROM drive]
SAMSUNG DVD-ROM SD-616E [CD-ROM drive]
3.5" format removeable media [Floppy drive]

Board: ASUSTek Computer INC. Kamet2 2.01
Bus Clock: 166 megahertz
BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 3.05 11/27/2003

Memory Modules
448 Megabytes Installed Memory
Slot 'A0' has 512 MB
Slot 'A1' is Empty


RADEON 9200 [Display adapter]
RADEON 9200 - Secondary [Display adapter]
VIA/S3G UniChrome IGP [Display adapter]
Mitsubishi DPoint M55LCD

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Postby vynsane » Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:35 pm

cool, everything looks pretty good there. the DVD burner and external storage drive are good ideas, but a RAM increase would really do your system a lot of good... with a quick search i found this page (scroll down to "response 4" or do a page-search for "kamet2") and it appears you have a max of 2 gigs of RAM capacity. that's awesome, as any increase will help you out. now to talk strategy.

RAM is one of the hottest commodities in the PC market. it's very expensive in contrast to hard drives, dollar for gig. right now with one slot filled with 512 mb and an empty slot, you might be tempted to go with a lower-priced 512 stick to compliment the one you already have, and you've got yourself a respectable gig of RAM. however, this isn't the best route to take, as once that one gig gets a little slow for your tastes, the only way to upgrade from there is to buy another two 1-gig sticks later, which will in essence make your purchase of the 512 a waste of money. depending on your budget, it makes more sense to buy at least a 1-gig stick to add to your 512, ending up with 1536 megs of RAM, better known as a gig and a half. this way, when it comes time to max out at 2, you're only getting rid of the 512 that (ostensibly...) came with your computer in the first place.

you're lucky they didn't cheap out on you and put two 256 modules in there. if that were the case, even a purchase of a gig stick would've only netted you and additional 768 mb... in that case i would've said just max it out and buy two 1-gig sticks to make the purchase worth your while.
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Postby Ran » Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:42 am

Thanks again. I'm going to space the purchases out over the next couple months, well at least the RAM and external HD.

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Postby Ran » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:01 pm

One of the guys I work with says he has an HP DVD burner with lightscribe. He is building a computer but never installed it. He said he'd sell it to me for $50.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... TC-17exta6

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Postby vynsane » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:25 pm

that looks like a good buy... the "lightscribe" thing is pretty cool - instead of writing on the top with a sharpie, you can use the burner to "etch" graphics and labels into the non-data side... and it writes a BUNCH of media... go for it!
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Postby jjreason » Mon Dec 25, 2006 9:24 pm

I did my scans as well, and I think I need to up my Ram and video card. I have a board that can handle 4 1 gig sticks of RAM - and only have the 1 installed. It's dual channel, so apparently adding the second stick will more than double it's Ram ability - but I don't understand that shit so well.

My video card is likely archaic by now, though it cost me about $180 last year - NVIDIA GeForce 6600.

How much would I notice (in terms of graphics improvements) by buying a new vid card and some Ram?
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Postby vynsane » Mon Dec 25, 2006 9:48 pm

that vid card seems pretty good - i'd wait on a new one. the RAM will greatly increase your ability both to have multiple programs open at the same time, and making individual programs faster. definitely add another gig... that would make the most difference.
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Postby jjreason » Mon Dec 25, 2006 10:01 pm

Copy that, 1 gig it will be. Damn, I love spending the money. 8)
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Postby Ran » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:50 pm

Looks like I'll be getting my external hard drive within the next week or two. I saw a 200GB Hard drive for $84 at Frye's Electronics. Can't remember the brand name. I might get the RAM pretty soon, also.

And, I finally got some blank lightscribe DVDs. I'm going to try a test DVD burn as soon as I can pull myself away from the NHL Playoffs.

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Re: PC Upgrades...

Postby Ran » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:08 pm

Our laptop is getting ready to die. The bottom third of the screen doesn't work and the power cord has a short in it. Since we only use it for internet, I'm not going to get anything fancy. As soon as our tax refund shows up, we most likely will get something for around $400 and has a webcam and a DVD drive. The only reason I'm getting the webcam is because my parents got one think it might be fun to talk to my kids. :roll:

While looking at laptops, I decided it might be getting time to upgrade the desktop. Well, I actually noticed that when I looked at the system requirements for some games and I realized I couldn't run them. My wife might let me spend around $500 (give or take) of the tax refund on a PC. There are plenty of PCs in the $500 range, but I not exactly sure what I'm looking for anymore. What are the minimums I should be looking for?

What I've done with my last 3 computers is buy one from off the shelf and then made upgrades (RAM, video cards, etc) as needed and they've all lasted over 5 years. What are the advantages of building one as opposed to buying one?

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Re: PC Upgrades...

Postby vynsane » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:41 pm

Ran wrote:What are the advantages of building one as opposed to buying one?


the advantages of building it yourself are that you know exactly what's in it, so if something goes awry you know what to replace. it can be cheaper sometimes, depending on how far you want to go. i put together a machine for my father-in-law for $130 for example. i had an old case kicking around and just filled it with new hardware. that was a DVD drive, motherboard, processor, ram and hard drive. add a cheap case and you're at ~$160, which isn't bad. if you need to buy the operating system, then it's going to be that much more, obviously.

the stuff i got him, with the addition of a mid-priced video card should be fully capable of running modern games.
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Re: PC Upgrades...

Postby Ran » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:42 pm

That's a lot less than I expected. I'm going to search for a "How To build a PC" guide later. For operating system, I just have to pick Windows or Linux?


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