upgrade or custom build, advice needed

  wilson1978 13:11 26 Jan 2008

i have been using a pc for a while now and have decided its time for something better. i have become interested in building a computer for my self but i thourght as a beginner it would be better to upgrade the one i have to start with, but i could do with some advice.
i have a very basic pc at present, hp pavilion a708 uk with intel celeron d 330, 80 gb HD, sis real256 graphics. i would like to overhaul the lot. i want to play good modern games,heavy office use,store music and general internet usage. is my mother board suitable for good upgrades? i suspect it is not so i need one that will take my current components but have plenty of scope for upgrades as i want to do it gradually due to cash flow. i would appreciate any advice as i am keen to learn.

  Totally-braindead 13:36 26 Jan 2008

I'm sorry but in my opinion its not worth upgrading and you would be better with a new PC.
The reasons are click here that is your board. Now it might be possible to upgrade the processor but its unlikely to be a huge boost and its AGP for the graphics so you could fit a better card but whatever you buy would die with the PC as a newer PC would not be AGP but would be PCI Express and the two are competely different.

Now depending on what you do with it at present you might be able to extend its life a bit without going bonkers cost wise. Its using onboard graphics I think you say so you could spend say £50 and get a basic graphics card but this will not turn it into a gaming machine, it would play a lot more but not the very latest. You could also either add a second hard drive £30-40 or buy an external hard drive, and lastly you could, depending on what you have add more memory.

Any money spent on an internal hard drive or a graphics card or memory will die with the PC as its very unlikely they could be used on a new PC. And since its not really an option to upgrade the processor then theres no real point in going overboard with any upgrades.

Think about it for a while and then decide. An external hard drive as an example would be good as you could put all your music on it and then use it on a new PC. Memory is cheap, maybe £20 for 512mb and a fairly cheap graphics card would help a bit. But upgrading to play the latest games is not an option in my opinion. Sorry.

  Totally-braindead 13:40 26 Jan 2008

Oh an a final thought. Building your own is fun, I do it and you learn a lot but building a complete new PC from scratch actually costs more than getting a prebuilt system. I'm not trying to put you off just making you realise that if you did build your own it wouldn't save you any money.

  wilson1978 14:55 26 Jan 2008

thanks for the advice and i apolagise for posting on another thread too but i posted it here first then thourght it was more suitable on the other thread, ill be more carefull in the feuture. after what you have told me i would like to build my own because i have developed an interest in it and it could be fun! ill do more research on components and compatability make a list of parts to match a budget and go from there. if you have any advice on a good starting point or direct me to the best info to help me make a decesion i wood appreciate it.

  sunny staines 16:18 26 Jan 2008

go for a barebones bundle and recycle your drives, cards etc.

building your first pc is a great expirence,do you have anyone to oversee you put one together.

  martjc 16:29 26 Jan 2008

...in your area? This is a good place to start if you really want to build your own PC.

Reason being, you'll have a number of traders competing with each other, so prices will be low. Also, you can go to these traders for advice; they'll be pleased to give as much as you require. Ask lots of questions. You will also be able to buy the parts you require at your leisure.

Do spend some time deciding what you want and build your baby over several weeks/months. Believe me, it's worth it in the end. Every time I build a new machine it is better than the last one and when I first boot it into working order, I present the image of Dr. Victor von Frankenstein as I declare "EEt's ala-iive!"

Hee-hee! Sometimes it frightens the missus!

But it IS a great feeling. And, of course, you will know where you are when you decide to upgrade it.

Best of luck!!!!

  wilson1978 17:25 26 Jan 2008

there are no computer fairs in my area {lowestoft} that i know of. i have not got anyone to watch over me. ive been reading up on step by step guids on the physical building and im not a complete stranger to messing around with electronics although not with items as sensative as a pc. my main problem is selecting components. my ideal situation is to salvage as much as i can from my pc and upgrade them gradually,but i dont want to limit my upgrading too much by doing this, any sugestions? i do want a much more powerfull machine but part of the project is to learn and have something i can be proud of also to be able to continue to develop my machine and knowledge.

  Scottiedogg 21:38 26 Jan 2008

I have to agree totally with Totally-braindead. Building a new PC is great fun, upgrading will give you a sense of achievement but (and it is a big but), Buying a new machine will save you a lot of money. As for recycling existing components, the only one you are likely to recycle is your HDD due to compatibility with newer motherboards. If you want to play the latest games, get a new one (office, internet, photo's etc would work ok though.)

  Scottiedogg 22:29 26 Jan 2008


Why not buy a new one for every day use & gaming compatibility and keep your current one to use as a learning tool - Upgrade it to your hearts content without the risk of damaging/losing important data...

  wilson1978 23:31 26 Jan 2008

thankyou all for your advice i think im going to have a good think on what to do. loosing data is not a problem as i am mainly using a laptop for the important stuff and i always back up info, the other pc never gets used at the moment as it is too slow. the laptop is a hp g5000 and ive been told by someone when i was away last week on a course in kingston that it couldn't be upgraded for gaming etc.

  Totally-braindead 17:58 27 Jan 2008

Whoever told you that about the laptop was correct, other than perhaps adding more memory you can't do much with a laptop. And the graphics cannot be upgraded at all.

It is good fun and as well when some part fails, when you have built it the repairs seem less daunting if you know what I mean.

The problem with a new build in my opinion is compatability. Now its fairly easy to pick a motherboard though the choice is overwhelming and to pick a processor and to check it is supported, as long as you pick a board with a PCI Express slot then too you have no problem with a graphics card as any PCIE card will fit you just have to choose one within your price range, again the choice is daunting but compatability isn't an issue.
Now memory to me can be the stumbling block to many new builders, I mean the stuff looks the same and maybe theres slight differences between 2 chips but a particular board might not like a memory chip with a different parity for example.
Now because of this I would suggest you look for either a motherboard bundle which consists of a motherboard, processor and memory which is compatible or look at a barebones which is the same but with a case and power supply.
If you want a fairly high end graphics card then I would get a decent branded power supply as well.
And going back to memory which might be an issue, if you do decide to go the whole hog and build completely from scratch then I suggest you buy memory from Crucial as they guarantee it will work.

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