Computer Help! (in Off-topic)


Adminedyit February 16 2010 5:20 PM EST

Alright my computer is a complete pile. Its slow, laggy unresponsive and old. Now the quickest fix would be to replace it, but the misses has shot that idea out of the water rather quickly.

So heres what i was wondering, since most of you here know a metric ton more about computers than i do, can i upgrade what i have now by getting parts etc.? I have a Dell Dimension C521 service tag 71884C1 for the specs on it.

I'd like to improve the processing speed and graphics ability on it so that i can actually enjoy online gaming a little bit instead of choppy lagging agony. And from the little bit i know about comps extra memory wouldn't hurt either.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 16 2010 5:23 PM EST

how old is your computer?

Eliteofdelete [Battle Royale] February 16 2010 5:24 PM EST

Eh, upgrading computers is usually not worth it and can be hard to do, especially with older models. Would probably be easier, both on you and your wallet, to just get a new computer for 300-500$.

Adminedyit February 16 2010 5:25 PM EST

4-5 years

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 16 2010 5:28 PM EST

got it from the service tag:

Ship Date: 11/20/2006

i would recommend saving any money that you would spend on upgrades for a new system. they are pretty much disposable these days with a lifespan of 5 years at the max end.

all i would put into that is cleaning up or restoring to factory settings and updating, that can give you a speed boost. don't forget to back up your data though.

all of this is my opinion, g'luck!

AdminShade February 16 2010 5:28 PM EST

If you're not afraid to open the case and get your hands dirty, try to find the prices for those components (CPU, graphics card and memory) and see what options you have.

The most critical will be the CPU though, if the pc is 4-5 years old, you might have a hard time finding one which will fit. If it does not, you need new memory, new main board and perhaps more.

Unappreciated Misnomer February 16 2010 5:40 PM EST

as soon as you said dell, all i see is 'non upgradeable'. i know the misses said no, but if all you need is a new tower with everything inside, futureshop or bestbuy type of places generally have something good for $500~

but since thats obviously a no go from the expense department, i agree to open that baby up carefully. have a few diferent phillip screw drivers on hand, a container for the screws and a good memory of how to put it back in order ;D

hopefully it still boots(on a side note: everytime i take apart my hp laptop i always end up with a few extra screws but she still works after i dig the dust out of the fan. )

then grab your winxp or what ever cd and re format, hopefully you have another pc next to it incase you run into any problems so you can google it.

Nehemiah February 16 2010 5:52 PM EST

sounds like to me, you got some cleaning up to do instead of replacing, i have a comp thats 11 years old and runs FAST.

the key to keep it running fast is to keep the back ground programs to a min. and also to run some spyware removers, multi removers would be ideal as they each catch different things the other misses.

the back ground programs can be turned off using a built in program, go to the start button, then click on run, then type : msconfig, dont click on any other tab except the last one, which says start up, then de - select everything. That should boost your comp.

i only have a couple of programs than run on start-up, one is a ram freeing program it also tells me how much cpu is being used when my comp starts, if its higher than normal i know i need to shut something down.

Some free software to remove spywares would be, BitDefender, there are more try using google, type/search spyware remover freeware.

Another program i use is called Process Terminator, it can find all programs running, that clt alt dlt doesnt even find for me, then i start shutting the programs that i dont need, careful with this list though, shuting down the wrong system progam can cause your pc to auto shut down, so make sure your not working on anything important when you use this.

God Bless you!

Jesus Loves you!

Eliteofdelete [Battle Royale] February 16 2010 5:54 PM EST

Running fast and running games fast are two different things ;].

Pwned February 16 2010 6:44 PM EST

I need to know your specs but most likely its your memory thats lacking. Dell likes to mess people up with that. Vista is a memory hog and it sucks up system resources like crazy. The best thing you can do is get some 2x2GB memory sticks and plug them in. They are the easiest/cheapest components to upgrade, that will actually make a noticeable difference.

Pwned February 16 2010 6:47 PM EST

The good thing about memory sticks is that you can easily transfer them over to a new computer if you got good ones.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 16 2010 8:13 PM EST

doesn't ram memory still run at the slowest speed of any stick in the banks?

AdminTal Destra [Forge Of Norn] February 16 2010 8:17 PM EST

if you replace all the sticks with 1g or even 2g sticks they run faster, you just have to have a program to use them all

Pwned February 16 2010 8:40 PM EST

Junk those sticks they are probably 512MB sticks I'll bet. Vista will eat memory. Can't really go wrong with more memory.

Flamey February 16 2010 8:42 PM EST

It's upgradeable.

"First, the basics. Our Dimension C521 came with a 2.4GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+, 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 memory, a 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive, and a half-height 256MB ATI Radeon X1300 Pro graphics card."

To be quite honest you shouldn't be experiencing all that much lag with that processor, it's nowhere near crap. It's a dual core. So easy does it, first upgrade the RAM. This is the simplest thing you could do and probably the most effective atm. You need DDR2 RAM. Currently you've got 1GB DDR2 RAM running at 533MhZ. When you go to buy the RAM you want an 800MhZ speed version of DDR2. I don't know the motherboard, so I'm not sure if it can accept a faster speed RAM.

So you want 2GB 800MhZ DDR2 RAM. This is fairly cheap, I have no idea what US prices are like, but it should be REALLY cheap. In this case you get rid of the old RAM because it's slow and will slow down the new RAM you buy.

Graphics: It's a really small case which limits the physical size. I'm reading on tom's hardware that this will work:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814162016

Flamey February 16 2010 8:43 PM EST

I forgot to mention, get these in your system and you're looking at a pretty sweet low-mid settings at high FPS.

Pwned February 16 2010 9:04 PM EST

LOl, see I knew it! 2x512MB sticks!!! I win! Vista needs at least 2GB to run OK. That card is currently out of stock at newegg but theres a bunch of similar ones too.

Eliteofdelete [Battle Royale] February 16 2010 9:34 PM EST

Your assuming he is running Vista on his machine...

Newlin [SeeD] February 16 2010 9:37 PM EST

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130395&cm_re=geforce_9500_gt_1gb_ddr2-_-14-130-395-_-Product

That card is a good one if you can find it for about 20 or 30 bucks cheaper. I have one that I got for 40 USD and I have been able to play Crysis on medium settings with very little lag. Just note that it is a few years outdated being GDDR2 instead of GDDR3.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 16 2010 9:42 PM EST

that case will require the low profile graphics card and a full size one will not work.

Adminedyit February 16 2010 10:05 PM EST

no vista running XP. also no boot disks, got lost in a few moves, so a few memory sticks and a graphics card is what you guys think will help?

>flamey, i dont have an ati card in this thing

subucni February 16 2010 10:24 PM EST

I will help until you have convinced you partner, subliminally over time, to purchase a new machine ;)

subucni February 16 2010 10:25 PM EST

eeek. *It

ScY February 17 2010 12:00 AM EST

In my opinion you could buy a cheap computer that is <5years old for about the same amount of money that it would cost to buy memory sticks/processor/graphics card. I dont know if you would install them yourself or pay somebody to do it or have a friend do it, but if you were planning to pay somebody to install the gear then DEFINITELY just buy a new computer.

If it is your first time installing components, you could have a bunch of problems (my recommendation would be to RTM) and it might be worth it to just get a new comp. Unless you are really into doing it yourself of course.

Pwned February 17 2010 12:08 AM EST

Total cost would be around $150, if your doing it yourself. If you can find a 5yr old pc for $150 thats better than what your gonna get after the upgrade then I say go for it too but..............your not gonna find one. Also did I mention transferring? When you do go buy a new pc, if you got good upgrades, you can bring the upgrades over to the new pc. Yay!


Got any computer geek friends? Ask'em to install it. I'll bet they like to look at your computer's insides. I know I do. :)

Demigod February 17 2010 12:11 AM EST

RAM's not that expensive for your computer and would be an easy boost if you're under 1 gig right now. But if you're looking for a new processor and graphics card, just buy a new computer.

Here's a link from an Ebay seller someone posted last year:
http://cgi.ebay.com/INTEL-DUAL-CORE-3-6GHz-OCed-GAMER-PC-w-NVIDIA-9400GT-1G_W0QQitemZ310179600531QQcmdZViewItemQQptZDesktop_PCs?hash=item4838251893

This PC is $398 before shipping:
3.6gHz OCed
4 gig RAM
9400gt

The cost is reduced by not including an OS. That means you'll have to reinstall your copy of Vista, but the savings is worth it.

Pwned February 17 2010 12:11 AM EST

flamey, I don't have an ati card in this thing



Its onboard you wont be able to see it AdminEdyit. Unless you have some other one.....?

Demigod February 17 2010 12:12 AM EST

Ooph. Dual core e5200 processor.

Pwned February 17 2010 12:19 AM EST

They over clocked it by a large amount and it only has stock fans = not good. The graphics card on it is pretty crappy too. Operating systems cost ALOT. This may seem like a good deal but I wouldn't buy it.

Adminedyit February 17 2010 5:09 AM EST

so sounds like upgrading it wont really be worth it, never thought of looking on Ebay to be honest. I might be able to con the high commander into releasing some funds but i doubt she'll go for more than 250'ish.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 17 2010 8:28 AM EST

sadly, you won't be able to get a much better gaming rig than what you have for that little without building it yourself likely over a period of time.

what game are you playing or do you play many?
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