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Upgrading CPU + Possibly Motherboard Need the Upgrade, But No Idea What I'm Doing!

#1 User is offline Kharen 

Posted 08 January 2017 - 10:45 PM

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  • Location:Eastern Washington University
I bought my desktop off Newegg a few years ago, refurbished but everything works great. It used to pretty much run anything I threw at it, from simple things like a PlayStation 2 emulator to more modern stuff like Arkham Knight. A week or so ago, I bought a copy of Fallout 4 after receiving a cell-phone VR headset for Christmas, and finding out that FO4 had drivers that I could use to make it a 3D VR game that was compatible with a streaming program that would let me use my headset.

Turns out, my computer's a bit more of a hodge-podge of components than I thought. The last person who opened it up to fix something (Just dust, but it kept the thing from running) told me that the CPU was probably the biggest bottleneck, and that the graphics card was actually pretty good. I figured that upgrading the CPU and motherboard (if needed) to match my graphics card would be a good idea, until I tried to look up what I needed. Now I'm just confused.

My current hardware is:

Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit (Used to be Windows 7, which came with the computer, but I did the free upgrade when 10 came out)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 @ 3.00GHz
RAM: 8.00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 532MHz (7-7-7-20)
Motherboard: Dell Inc. 0C27VV
Graphics: 2048MB ATI AMD Radeon R7 200 Series
Storage: 931GB Western Digital WDC WD10EZEX-75ZF5A0 ATA Device

(Don't ask me what most of that means, I just used a program to scan my computer)

My birthday is in a few days, and I might be able to get an upgraded CPU as a birthday present. I don't want anything overly amazing, just something a bit more modern than what I've got. I did a bit of research myself, and found out that people were upgrading from my CPU all the way back in 2009, so I can see that it's pretty old.

Any suggestions on what I should get, or directions I can use to upgrade? I'd rather just upgrade the CPU itself, because I read that it's as simple as just swapping out the two pieces. If that's absolutely impossible to do, I suppose I could get a new motherboard, but I'd need directions on how to swap things out. I've never done anything like this before. (Also, I read from some places that I'd need to buy a new copy of Windows, while other places said that the same one should work. What's the deal there?)

#2 User is offline Krigo 

Posted 08 January 2017 - 11:23 PM

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that's a pretty old CPU! What budget are you looking at? You will have to upgrade your motherboard too.

For a mid-range CPU, I would recommend an i5-6500. Here's a PCPartPicker link with a motherboard included.

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/tTbMRB

For something on a lower budget, I would recommend an i3 6100, which would still perform nicely for gaming, but I'm not too sure how well it would do for VR.

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/bMFVJx

You might possibly want to upgrade your GPU for VR. But I would leave that for someone who knows VR gaming better.
This post has been edited by Krigo: 09 January 2017 - 12:07 AM

#3 User is offline Kharen 

Posted 13 February 2017 - 01:57 AM

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Been a while, but I figured I might as well post how things turned out.

I bought the i5 CPU and the motherboard that you recommended. They came in the mail, and I finally got a chance to get everything put together over the weekend. My mother used to work on old computers, so I took it home from the college so she could help me out.

You know how there's the little removable plate that goes on the back of the computer case, for the various ports and slots to stick out of? We got everything disassembled, following some directions I found online to make sure that we weren't forgetting anything, and found out the the case to my computer doesn't have a removable plate at all. The slots for the ports and everything was physically part of the casing itself, with no way to remove it. It's all one giant solid piece of metal!

So, I'm back at the college now, using a low-end backup laptop that I have for schoolwork. My computer is still at home, completely disassembled into loose components on the dining room table. I had to order a new case to put all of the components into, and it doesn't arrive for about three days. I'm just hoping that none of my siblings decide to touch any of the components and short them out, and that none of my family's cats decides to check out the new "empty" box sitting on the table. (They're all outside cats, but they do manage to run in the house from time to time. Fortunately, they don't usually head straight for the table.)

My mother says that in the worst-case scenario, if something happens to my computer, she'll get me a replacement one. The only problem is, since it has a mid-range graphics card along with the new components that I had just gotten, an equivalent replacement desktop computer might end up costing more than she thinks it will. Until the weekend, I'm stuck using my laptop, which won't play any of my PC games, and considering that the building here on campus that had all of the student recreational facilities like a gaming computer center and whatnot is being redone, there's not much here to pass the time until then.

Still, as long as nothing bad happens, I should have my computer working, along with a neat new case with a huge clear window looking into the insides with some LEDs and stuff, by the weekend.

#4 User is online winterhell 

Posted 17 February 2017 - 03:32 AM

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Huh?
It takes minutes to detach the important components like GPU, ssd, ram, and put them back in their box. I guess you have installed the cooler on the motherboard so putting that one back in the box is not an option. In any case its less work that writing the post.
I don't know why you took that risk. The original boxes are not available anymore?

#5 User is offline Amnimator 

Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:37 AM

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Yeah, keeping them out on top of a table might not be the best idea... Hoping nothing bad happens to it.
Also, obligatory "phone vr" comment. I tried the whole streaming phone VR thing, horrible experience. Good news is that for real VR, prices are going to go down like crazy by the end of this year and Bethesda are making an official Fallout 4 VR for Steam VR and Project Scorpio. You might be interested to know that other manufacturers are currently making their own Steam VR headsets, Vive and Rift won't be the only ones in the market.
Microsoft is also taking the price down themselves to around $299: [Linky]
Expect to hear more about them in GDC. There's also a good possibility Fallout 4 VR will end up on Microsoft's VR ecosystem as well (They aren't likely to officially support SteamVR, because Microsoft). I'm just saying you might want to be patient for Bethesda's official VR implementation and pocket some money for a PC headset in the mean time.

#6 User is offline Kharen 

Posted 17 February 2017 - 04:46 PM

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First off, I bought my PC off Newegg as a refurbished model. Considering the price, it seemed like a damn good deal. It's worked perfectly up to this point, with no hardware issues. I just finally got to where the ancient CPU inside of it couldn't handle what I was wanting to do. Because I got the PC pre-built, there weren't any boxes for any of the components. I was trying to get it taken care of while home for the weekend, and I simply didn't have the time. I absolutely had to come back to college. As far as the new CPU and motherboard, of course I still have the boxes. I just didn't have a safe container for the graphics card, RAM chips, etc. that were originally in the computer.

As for the phone VR set, it was a cheap set that I had gotten for Christmas. I didn't buy it myself, and it's just been something to play around with until I eventually upgrade to a self-contained headset. Yes, the VR effect has an insanely limited field of view, and the resolution is very low, but it does let me test out things like head-tracking and how the games themselves would control in VR. For one thing, I'm wanting to tinker with the free-look camera that Dolphin has with games like Wind Waker and Sonic Colors. My current headset should let me see just how the games function and how I need to tinker with the settings.

Anyways, now that it's Friday and I finally finished my classes, I should be able to get back home for the weekend and get my PC put back together. I bought a new case and it arrived the other day, so I should be able to get all of the components reassembled. The only drawback is that my new motherboard doesn't have a slot in it to plug in additional USB ports, so the ones built into the front of the case are going to be absolutely useless. On the bright side, my desk here in my dorm room is very narrow, and because of the room layout, I have to place my computer tower sideways in order for all of my cords to reach the plug-ins, so I wouldn't have easy access to those front slots anyways. I always end up using the slots in the back, and the new motherboard has six of them, the same as the old one.

#7 User is offline Kharen 

Posted 21 February 2017 - 06:00 AM

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So I finally got my PC "finished". The new case I ended up getting is amazing! The entire computer after it's fully assembled still weighs less than the old case by itself after it was emptied out. It's got some blue LED lights to light up the interior, some built-in cooling fans, and the entire side of the case is a window to see the insides. My favorite thing about it is that the cooling fans run a lot quieter than before. It used to be this loud rumbling beast that could drown out whatever I was doing unless I wore headphones. Now, it's so damned quiet that if my eyes were closed, I wouldn't be able to tell if it was running or not!

The reason that I say "finished" in quotation marks is because it still isn't quite usable just yet. It turns out that the four sticks of RAM that my old motherboard used don't physically fit in my new one. The new motherboard requires DDR4 RAM, and I ended up having to order a stick online tonight. It should be here by Friday, so it's not that much longer of a wait at least. I used to have four sticks of 2GB each, and I bought a single 8GB stick for the new setup, so I'm not gaining or losing anything from the switch, and I should be able to buy another one if I want more later. There was a package for sale at Best Buy in-store, but the only package was 2x8GB and cost much more than I was willing to spend at once.

At this point, all that's left to do is wait until Friday, plug in the RAM, and boot the thing up. I might have to put in my MS account information to re-activate my Windows 10 license, but I already checked ahead of time and it's tied to my account already so it will re-activate after I tell Microsoft that I changed parts and am not trying to install Windows to an entirely new computer.

It's still killing me that I can't use my main PC for a while longer. They're doing renovations on the student recreation building here at the college, so there's not really much to do, and my laptop doesn't run games very well. I can't even play un-modded Minecraft without using the Windows 10 version.

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