pjevlc 21:57 11 Nov 2010

I have a Packard Bell Imedia MC 2770, which I’ve owned since early 2007.

Machine has served me well, only had one problem which I got fixed and actually resulted in me having a better machine than the original spec, i.e. it now has 3 GB of RAM instead of the standard 2.

I am considering upgrading my PC so I can also use it for gaming (the kids have the Wii which I also use every now & again – just for fun!!!) and I used to own a PS1 & PS2 and have dabbled with PC gaming too.

I know I need to update my graphics card from the factory fit ATI Radeon X1600 Series to something capable of playing today’s games & with that will bring the need to upgrade the PSU.

I’ve done some research into graphics cards – blown away by the many options there are!! I’ve seen that the Radeon 4850 is / was a good card , now superceded by newer cards I know, but the 4850 seems capable of playing some of the titles I’d consider getting. I’ve found a VTX ATI Radeon HD 4850 online for around £60.

Question 1 is, Is the VTX ATI Radeon HD 4850 a good option, or should I be looking at something more up to date, possibly with 1GB graphics memory instead of the 512mb of the 4850?

Question 2 is, would the CPU on my MC 2770, a core 2 duo E6400, 2.13GHz & be ok with the Radeon 4850 / whichever other card you think I should get?

To assist with question 2, I’ve contacted Packard Bell support and they say the MC 2770 has CPU support for Intel Core 2 Duo models with LGA775, max FSB of 1066 MHz. In theory, the “best” CPU I could get would be the Intel E7600 as that matches those specs. They retail for around £100, so not bank blowing, but would add another £100 to my upgrade cost.

If CPU also needs upgrading, then the upgrade cost will be graphics card + PSU + CPU, by the time I’ve added that together would I just be as well getting a PS3 / Xbox for my gaming desires?

Thanks in advance for your much appreciated help.

  GaT7 12:55 12 Nov 2010

No, your CPU will not need upgrading, especially as you're working on a budget. I've used an E2180 (inferior to your E6400) & a HD4870 graphics (GPU) with very good results.

Also, please be aware that the E7600 is one of the latter-day Core2Duos & the PB motherboard will most likely need a BIOS update in order to support it. It's very unlikely PB are still releasing newer BIOS versions 2-3 years down the line.

Yes, the GPU & PSU would need upgrading as you know. However, first check you have the necessary physical space in the case to fit them.

Today's GPUs (including the HD4850) are quite large length & breadthwise. These are the case measurements you want to check for the GPU click here - let us know what these are.

Measure the dimensions of your PSU & let us know. If it's a standard-sized one, then any other standard one will do.

So for a start, let's see if we can determine if the new components will fit, or will you also be needing a larger case. Then we'll discuss the actual upgrades, how much they'll cost & decide whether a PS3 / Xbox may be the better option. G

  pjevlc 23:57 12 Nov 2010

Hi Crossbow (and anyone else willing to help),

Thanks for your reply. I’ve done some research into the mobo after my post on here & like you say, it’s locked down so no options for overclocking & prob not compatible with the E7600. I e-mailed PB support and they told me “It was made by MSI for Packard Bell and is a uATX size. Its name for Packard Bell is Cuba”. If only I knew then, what I know now!!!

However, if my E6400 is good enough, then that’s £100 off the upgrade cost at least!!

I’ve removed my case cover and I have the following info. The case, is fairly large so I am hopeful that opens up some intriguing upgrade options.

The factory fit PSU is a “FSP 250 60HEN” providing 250w. Dimensions of the PSU are 13.5 cm long, 15cm wide & 8.5 cm high.

Current Graphics card (ATI Radeon X1600 Series) is approx 18.5 cm long & 12 cm wide. I think I could get something up to at least 2 cm longer in my case, plus as the PSU is 15 cm wide, I guess the G/C could be a max of a similar width too?

Total height from the bottom of the case to the slot where my current card is about 15 cm. In one of the slots currently is the TV tuner the machine was pre-fitted with and there is a good 12 cm between that and the G/C. I don’t use the TV tuner, so I could even take that out if it gets in the way as I don’t use the TV tuner presently.

Thanks in advance of your much appreciated help & support.

  pjevlc 00:03 13 Nov 2010

Forgot to add that it seems some older PB PSUs powered the monitor and / or speakers - my LG monitor & Logitech speakers have there own power supply, so one less obstacle (hopefully) removed!!!

  pjevlc 00:19 13 Nov 2010

here is a link to the inside of my case, there is 10 cm beyond my graphics card and the hard drive, so plenty of room? I say 2 as there are some bits of the mobo that may prevent something going in

click here

  GaT7 00:36 13 Nov 2010

A max of 20.5cm in length is going to be tough to work with even with the HD4850, which is ~23cm. Then you need to have space to attach the power cable which is another 2-3cm. You may be able to squeeze in a GTX 460 in though - they are ~21cm (& the 768Mb ones start at ~£120 click here). We'll need to find out the exact length of the one you'll be buying.

The space around it especially downwards (towards the TV tuner card) will be OK it would seem. While your present X1600 probably takes up a single slot worth of space, many of today's better GPUs occupy 2-3 slots on account of their large to extra-large coolers.

The height/width of the graphics card (as you see it) shouldn't be a problem as most have a standard height anyway. Perhaps I should've used thickness to describe it - this will be OK though as mentioned in the 2nd para above.

The FSP PSU is a standard one in terms of size, so this will not be an issue. A quality 500W one will be sufficient & is ~£50 - e.g. this Corsair 500W CX click here.

So you're looking at a max of £180 if the GTX 460 fits. How does that sound?

Here's a performance review of a 768Mb GTX 460 compared with many other past & present GPUs click here. If you were to look at its performance in CoD4 for example click here, you'll see it's better than the HD 4870, which in turn is better than the HD 4850 we've been discussing. There are many other games they've tested with it as you browse through the article. G

  GaT7 00:42 13 Nov 2010

Sorry, posted without refreshing.

Yes, the length & breadth looks more than adequate. The TV tuner will be better off in the lowest slot, or removed altogether as you suggest.

"Forgot to add that it seems some older PB PSUs powered the monitor and / or speakers - my LG monitor & Logitech speakers have there own power supply, so one less obstacle (hopefully) removed!!!"

I didn't understand this bit. If you are trying to wiggle out of buying a PSU, the present one simply will not do. The GTX 460 (& any other reasonably good GPU) requires a minimum of a good quality 400-500W PSU. G

  GaT7 00:46 13 Nov 2010

The PSU also needs to have at least 2x dedicated 6-pin PCI-E connectors. Their sockets can be seen in this pic click here (taken from the same review). G

  rdave13 00:51 13 Nov 2010

If you want to play games then why faff around a PC. Buy a console whether PS3 or X-box? A dedicated games machine. click here?_$ja=kw:xbox+consoles|cgn:Xbox+Console|cgid:646237651|tsid:11759|cn:Core+Xbox|cid:32076301|lid:49749610|mt:Exact|nw:search|crid:3722109601|kw:xbox%20consoles|pm:&mckv=mkwid|sFf3hAyfR|pcrid|3722109601|plid||kword|&gclid=CJCG5q_InKUCFYpO4QodUgc3jg

One here with a small hdd for £150 with usb ports for expansion.
You'll surely find similar for PS3.
Best thing is you'll know the games will work.

  rdave13 00:54 13 Nov 2010

Apologies my link has over run the page but still works.

  pjevlc 00:54 13 Nov 2010

Cheers Crossbow - much appreciated.

My point about the PSU was, seemingly it was used in some PB models to also supply power to the monitor & speakers which I discovered in my research. Mine does not and as its output is a max of 250w, already knew I needed new one.

Upgrade costs with the GTX 460 or your HD 4870 is good & I think that is the way I will go for now, until I save up for my own build system that if only I knew I could have done when I bought my PB, I would of - you live & learn and I guess the PSU & GPU upgrade is my first step towards that!!

Until then, your help will mean I can lock myself away from the Wii games and get on with some proper gaming!!!

Although, seeing the kids get the enjoyment they do out of the Wii, is similar to the buzz any decent PC Game can give me, but hopefully you see what I mean!!

Thanks again.

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