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Question Looking to overhaul my ancient computer

TubeTote

Senior member
May 11, 2006
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Hello, looks like nobody has been posting in this thread in a while. I have a really old computer, originally built back when we were still using XP (yes most of those specs at the bottom are accurate, but I have overclocked the CPU to 2.8). I now have the machine running 7 but need a serious overhaul. I want to keep the case because I love it (Antec Aria). The case limits me to a 300 W power supply (it is custom sized), but since I am not a serious gamer it should suffice (though I do want the best possible graphics card that can work with the build and power supply). I haven't built a computer for nearly 10 years so I have not kept up with the current hardware at all. Wondering if someone out there can give me some suggestions. Will need to purchase Windows 10 and would like to keep the hardware budget under $500 (might go a bit higher if it's worth it). Will need motherboard (micro ATX), memory, graphics card, processor (stock fan is usually fine). I can use existing HD and SSD (I use SSD for OS and HD for storage). Can't think of anything else I would need at the time. Thanks in advance for any responses.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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I'm sorry to inform you this, but DO NOT use a "case PSU" that is only 300W and ten years old for a new build!
 

TubeTote

Senior member
May 11, 2006
388
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Thanks for the input Larry. I didn't realize that 300W was not enough...I was under the impression that computers had become overall more efficient, and saw some 'middle of the road' GPUs that didn't seem to require much power. Also gathering that the age of the PSU could become an issue. As much as I love the Aria case, maybe I need to reexamine using it for the new build.
 

Pohemi420

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2004
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Yeah it's not just the low wattage but the age, and who knows how close to a 'real' 300W it put out when it was brand new. That needs replacing to be confident that the new system can last you years, once again. ;)
If you need a new case, it doesn't need to be fancy per se, but the cheaper you go, the more likely there may be misaligned motherboard standoffs, or fan mount screw holes, etc...just something to consider. Read reviews, they help.

What do you use the PC for?
 
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VirtualLarry

No Lifer
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Is modding your existing case to take a newer ATX PSU out of the question? What about a smaller "SFX" or "TFX" PSU?
 

TubeTote

Senior member
May 11, 2006
388
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Yeah it's not just the low wattage but the age, and who knows how close to a 'real' 300W it put out when it was brand new. That needs replacing to be confident that the new system can last you years, once again. ;)
If you need a new case, it doesn't need to be fancy per se, but the cheaper you go, the more likely there may be misaligned motherboard standoffs, or fan mount screw holes, etc...just something to consider. Read reviews, they help.

What do you use the PC for?

Thanks for the reply. For now I use it mostly for basic computing, nothing really too demanding...but I would like to get Audacity, or some other more basic music production software going, and be able to have at least a decent gaming experience.


Is modding your existing case to take a newer ATX PSU out of the question? What about a smaller "SFX" or "TFX" PSU?

Hmmm...I looked into putting in a conventional sized PSU way back when I originally built the computer because I wanted more power, but was not successful in finding a PSU that would properly fit at that time. I like your idea and need to do a little research regarding SFX and TFX PSU's. That might be my best option if I can make it work.
 
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Pohemi420

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The Aria does look like a nice little case, if you can find a newer PSU that will fit. You might not have the newest USB ports at the front of the case but it'd save you some coin and let you keep the case you know you like.

Some of those newer PSUs are pretty compact, being made for mini-ITX or HTPC cases, so something like that might very well work out.

Edit: I did see an Antec branded PSU, same type/size and fit as the 300W that was included in the Aria case, but it was still only 350W. It was on Amazon from a 3rd party seller for $38 shipped (assuming you're in the US).

Most of the higher wattage SFX factor PSUs I've found are pricier too though, like $80+
 
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TubeTote

Senior member
May 11, 2006
388
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Hey thanks for the input, VirtualLarry and Pohemi420...for now, I did go ahead and order the 350W replacement PSU. The 350W PSU came out a bit later when there was a design change in the Aria (mine is the older model), but in the reviews I saw that people had no issues replacing the 300W with the 350W. Great solution for now, and I will look into SFX and TFX PSU's at a later time because it would be great to get something more updated and powerful in the future.

Now on to the rest of the build. This case can have heat buildup issues, so I need to consider that. A low profile GPU works best for air flow. Also need to consider price because I need to try to keep it around $500 - $600 for motherboard, processor, GPU and memory. I might upgrade components at a later time but for now need bang for buck. I'm going to start shopping around and see what I can find, and any suggestions are appreciated.
 

TubeTote

Senior member
May 11, 2006
388
5
81
The Aria does look like a nice little case, if you can find a newer PSU that will fit. You might not have the newest USB ports at the front of the case but it'd save you some coin and let you keep the case you know you like.

Some of those newer PSUs are pretty compact, being made for mini-ITX or HTPC cases, so something like that might very well work out.

Edit: I did see an Antec branded PSU, same type/size and fit as the 300W that was included in the Aria case, but it was still only 350W. It was on Amazon from a 3rd party seller for $38 shipped (assuming you're in the US).

Most of the higher wattage SFX factor PSUs I've found are pricier too though, like $80+
You are correct in that the front USB ports are the slower ones, but I don't really use them for much. The front even has a port for firewire, which was awesome back when I had a use for it.
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
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Aug 22, 2001
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You can start hunting for an older low profile vid card or settle for a horribly overpriced GT 1030 within the budget you have.

My advice is buy a $125 Ryzen 3200G $95 ASRock B450M Steel Legend with 2x8GB 3200. Dual channel is a must for APUs. It won't be far behind that GT 1030, and whatever you are playing now will play much better. You can add a GPU in the future when prices are better. You could take your chances with NextWarehouse on a $190 3400G, they claim they will get stock on the 14th. It has SMT which means double the threads of the 3200G and better Vega 11 v. Vega 8 iGPU. Either makes a great ultra budget gamer while waiting out the madness of the GPU market.
 
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Pohemi420

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Oct 2, 2004
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Yeah I started looking last night, but got too tired and trailed off to bed, heh. Sorry.

But I had looked at the 3400G and wondered if it might be sufficient for your uses, as it'd save you from having to try to acquire an almost-guaranteed overpriced GPU in the current market.

The Vega 11 iGPU might be plenty to run your games, depending on what games you are talking about. It might choke a bit on AAA titles like Call of Duty, etc. but should run casual games pretty well, save money/effort in hunting for a separate card, and save power/heat from the system.
 

TubeTote

Senior member
May 11, 2006
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Thanks for the input, guys. I had a look at this model of the GT 1030...


Great reviews, and from the Q & A it looks like it would do fine with the 350W PSU (just received that yesterday). Some say it runs cool but others that it can have heat build-up issues, and I can admit the fan-less design makes me a bit nervous as the last time I used one in this machine it fried up. I run mostly older games at higher settings (such as Fallout 3, perhaps my fav of all time) and anything newer I am fine with medium to lower settings. I am in agreement that GPUs seem very high priced these days.

I didn't realize that they are making such products like the iGPU, that is an interesting idea and, as you said, might stave off heat problems and save some money. I'm wondering how a set up like this would compare to the 1030 as far as performance.

Time to do some more research. I really appreciate your ideas, thank you.
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
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Aug 22, 2001
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Thanks for the input, guys. I had a look at this model of the GT 1030...


Great reviews, and from the Q & A it looks like it would do fine with the 350W PSU (just received that yesterday). Some say it runs cool but others that it can have heat build-up issues, and I can admit the fan-less design makes me a bit nervous as the last time I used one in this machine it fried up. I run mostly older games at higher settings (such as Fallout 3, perhaps my fav of all time) and anything newer I am fine with medium to lower settings. I am in agreement that GPUs seem very high priced these days.

I didn't realize that they are making such products like the iGPU, that is an interesting idea and, as you said, might stave off heat problems and save some money. I'm wondering how a set up like this would compare to the 1030 as far as performance.

Time to do some more research. I really appreciate your ideas, thank you.
If you go 1030, here is a actively cooled model that will save you a little money https://www.ebay.com/itm/ZOTAC-GeForce-GT-1030-2GB-GDDR5-Low-Profile-Graphics-Card/383369680504?hash=item59429d1678:g:LMMAAOSwBuFeHP5L
 
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TubeTote

Senior member
May 11, 2006
388
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Thank you for that, I would definitely feel better about a fan cooled GPU in this case. Another thing that I noticed is that, when I searched for the GT 1030, there are many suppliers offering a low profile fan cooled version but there are none in stock. Most of the suppliers want for me to reserve the card for future purchase, but with the prices dramatically lower (as in less than half price for ones that are currently shipping). This is making me want to wait for a couple of weeks before purchasing one...or maybe pre-ordering. I'm wondering if the cards will sell out before they are actually available to be shipped. The 1030 does seem like a great fit for my build, but I will keep my options open for now.

This being the case, I think I will focus more on the motherboard, memory and CPU for the time being. I'm researching the ideas that you guys suggested. I may be able to spend a bit more than on the 3200G, and I am leaning towards the GPU over the onboard graphics simply so I can easily upgrade and have more money to spend on the CPU and memory. It does look like the Ryzen 5 series would be the best choice for my needs (basic / common programs, mid level gaming experience, non-professional multi track music recording and rendering). Any thoughts on this is appreciated since there are so many options that it is mind-boggling. I have been using pc parts picker to check for compatibility issues.

Thanks for your input it is very helpful.
 

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