Tight budget -- help me upgrade this old PC

I have built PCs in the past but don’t have the budget now to do so. I’ve been given the PC whose specs are below, and I’m looking to upgrade it somewhat – at the very least, obviously, I’ll add more RAM. I’m sure the motherboard is some proprietary thing, so upgrading that is not an option. Not sure about a video card, and I’m not sure if I could move up to an SSD drive. Thoughts anyone? An extra 2G RAM would be about $75. What’s my budget for upgrades? Probably not over $200.

Here are the specs:

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[TD=“class: DocText, align: left”]Component[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, align: left”]Details[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, align: left”]Subscore[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, width: 100, align: left”]Base score[/TD]
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[TD=“class: DocText, width: 125, bgcolor: #eaeaea, align: left”]Processor[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, bgcolor: #f0f0f0, align: left”]Intel® Core™2 CPU 6300 @ 1.86GHz[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, width: 75, bgcolor: #f5f5f5, align: center”]4.8[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, width: 100, bgcolor: #e0e0e0, align: center”] [TABLE=“width: 100”]
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[TD=“align: center”]3.5[/TD]
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[TD=“align: center”] Determined by lowest subscore[/TD]
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[TD=“class: DocText, width: 125, bgcolor: #eaeaea, align: left”]Memory (RAM)[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, bgcolor: #f0f0f0, align: left”]1.00 GB[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, width: 75, bgcolor: #f5f5f5, align: center”]4.5[/TD]
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[TD=“class: DocText, width: 125, bgcolor: #eaeaea, align: left”]Graphics[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, bgcolor: #f0f0f0, align: left”]NVIDIA GeForce 7300 LE[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, width: 75, bgcolor: #f5f5f5, align: center”]3.6[/TD]
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[TD=“class: DocText, width: 125, bgcolor: #eaeaea, align: left”]Gaming graphics[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, bgcolor: #f0f0f0, align: left”]382 MB Total available graphics memory[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, width: 75, bgcolor: #e0e0e0, align: center”]3.5[/TD]
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[TD=“class: DocText, width: 125, bgcolor: #eaeaea, align: left”]Primary hard disk[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, bgcolor: #f0f0f0, align: left”]125GB Free (234GB Total)[/TD]
[TD=“class: DocText, width: 75, bgcolor: #f5f5f5, align: center”]5.5[/TD]
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[TD=“class: SubText, colspan: 4, align: left”]Windows 7 Ultimate[/TD]
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[TD=“align: left”]System[/TD]
[TD=“width: 100%, align: left”] [HR][/HR][/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Manufacturer[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]Dell Inc.[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Model[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]Dell DXP061[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Total amount of system memory[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]1.00 GB RAM[/TD]
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[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]System type[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]32-bit operating system[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Number of processor cores[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]2[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]64-bit capable[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]Yes[/TD]
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[TD=“align: left”]Storage[/TD]
[TD=“width: 100%, align: left”] [HR][/HR][/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Total size of hard disk(s)[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]234 GB[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Disk partition (C:)[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]125 GB Free (234 GB Total)[/TD]
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[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Media drive (D:)[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]CD/DVD[/TD]
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[TD=“align: left”]Graphics[/TD]
[TD=“width: 100%, align: left”] [HR][/HR][/TD]
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[TD=“colspan: 2, align: left”] [TABLE=“width: 100%”]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Display adapter type[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]NVIDIA GeForce 7300 LE[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Total available graphics memory[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]382 MB[/TD]
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[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”] Dedicated graphics memory[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]128 MB[/TD]
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[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”] Dedicated system memory[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]0 MB[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”] Shared system memory[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]254 MB[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Display adapter driver version[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]9.18.13.783[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Primary monitor resolution[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]1680x1050[/TD]
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[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]DirectX version[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]DirectX 9.0 or better[/TD]
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[TD=“align: left”]Network[/TD]
[TD=“width: 100%, align: left”] [HR][/HR][/TD]
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[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Network Adapter[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]NETGEAR 108 Mbps Wireless PCI Adapter WG311T[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Network Adapter[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]Intel® 82566DC Gigabit Network Connection[/TD]
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[TD=“width: 10”][/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, width: 260, align: left”]Network Adapter[/TD]
[TD=“class: SubText, align: left”]Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter[/TD]
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That’s a Dell Dimension 9200. 2GB of DDR2 RAM for it costs $50 which is double what DDR3 RAM costs. I’m not sure it’s worth upgrading anything in it other than saving $500 for a $400 modern Dell on sale + $100 for video card.

What does Speccy tell you?

What OS are you using? Vista?

Maybe get up to 2GB RAM if you can find it for <$50 and find a reliable used NVIDIA 9800GT card for <$50 you can get the system up to 2008 gaming standards. That CPU is pretty terrible, alas.

SSD, any money put towards this would be wasted.

I misspoke. I can get 2GB RAM for it for $37 from crucial.

The OS is Win 7 “Ultimate” whatever that means.

Thanks!

is that a single 2GB DIMM or are you replacing 2x512MB with a single 2GB? Or 2x1GB? Or 4x512MB? I can’t recall if you can mix and match sizes/speeds.

Its 2x512. The crucial scanner says I could add 2x1G to the other two slots for a total of 3.

I’d say the RAM (32-bit OS, so no real point past 3GB) and a cheap SSD (it’s SATA, so no issues there), video card if you’re gaming on it.

You can go for an awful cheap Dell box for a $300-$400 that will run rings around your rig, even with upgrades.

Here’s one

$349 with coupon. It’ll surpass the performance of your current rig by quite a bit, and give you the luxury of a modern platform. (USB3, fast memory, etc).

Thanks, I’ll give it a look. Is the coupon on that page? Or is to be found elsewhere?

Yeah, I would not upgrade that computer. Save your money for a new one.

Hmmm… looks like the coupon only works on $599.99 and higher systems.

Here’s one on Newegg for $409.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883155857

If you buy from Dell, you usually have sales tax. If you live outside of CA, you probably don’t have sales tax from Newegg, so the price narrows.

It looks like you can install a video card in the future to give it a boost. Keep in mind, it’ll probably only take a low-profile card or or a lower-power one due to the power supply, but even those low-end 7700s can be decent.

I think the answer is: don’t.

If you spend $50, it’s 10% of a new PC. $200 is 40% there.

The $410 Dell from Newegg is not ideal since it can’t fit a discrete video card. You’d have to find a cheap dell in a mid/micro-tower form factor with a 300W+ PSU and room for a video card. The Vostro mini tower desktops used to support that but they don’t seem to be available anymore.

For example this Gateway $420 daily deal would fit a video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883113259

Core i5 too, better than an i3. 300W PSU. 8GB RAM. Specs here: http://www.gateway.com/gw/en/US/content/model/DT.GE0AA.004

$600 list price. I’m sure it will be $420-500 on sale again eventually.

So ideally it’d be this + a $80-100 video card.

I agree, it’s not something you can upgrade easily. You’re better off saving up to buy the cheapest new one you can.

http://shopping.hp.com/en_US/home-office/-/products/Desktops/HP-Pavilion/E6S59AV?HP-Pavilion-500-210qe-Desktop-PC&003=6572897&010=E6S59AV#ABA&ci_src=16996395&ci_sku=E6S59AV#ABA&aoid=141187

HP Pavilion 500-210qe desktop for $529.99 + shipping (reg. $599.99 | use coupon LOGICBUY20)

• Windows 8.1 64
• 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-4430 processor [3.0GHz, 6MB Shared Cache]
• Intel HD Graphics [DVI-D]
• 6GB DDR3-1600MHz [2 DIMM ]
• 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
• Microsoft Office Trial
• Security software trial
• SuperMulti DVD Burner
• 7-in-1 Memory Card Reader, 2 USB Ports (Front), Audio [Front 2USB3.0]
• No TV Tuner Card
• Integrated Sound, DTS Audio
• HP USB keyboard and optical mouse
• Wireless-N LAN card (1x1)

That’s a pretty good deal. Pop in a $125 nvidia 650Ti and you’ll be good to game.

Obviously much more expensive than free.

Agree with everyone, don’t upgrade, except MAYBE 30 dollars for memory.

Check this site once in while, you do see some stuff < 300 that would be an okay upgrade.

Example from yesterday: http://slickdeals.net/f/6365356-refurbished-famous-brand-debranded-hp-desktop-pc-amd-a10-5700-3-4ghz-4gb-ddr3-ram-1tb-hdd-radeon-hd-7660d-graphics-card-reader-usb-3-0-win-8-280-free-shipping-newegg

280 dollars with a 7660.

Also check techbargains.com

Eh. A SSD can be transferred to another PC later on, and it will make a huge difference, so…

A SSD would also be totally wasted on his current PC now too with his tiny budget.

Thank you all for the feedback. I’m going to look into slickdeals and techbargains. Meantime, one member here has been nice enough to offer RAM that he has gathering dust that would work in this box, and I may take him up on that.

You guys are great.

I totally disagree. While he probably won’t see more than a fraction of the benefits from the SSD, I can say from experience that putting a SSD in an old laptop makes a HUGE difference, especially if you’re just doing standard productivity stuff. An SSD and a fresh install of Windows can really breathe new life into an older machine.