Upgrading system DIY...

By sambeatson ·

I've got a new confidence since I fixed my computers overclocking error basically by taking it apart and putting it back together after cleaning the "gunk" off the processor and fan, and cleaning a lot of dust from the fan. Now I'm working fine.

However, I want to play Assassins Creed and probably need an upgrade anyway to my system, not only for gaming purposes.

Here are the failures:

Minimum: Dual core processor 2.6 GHz Intel? Pentium? D or AMD Athlon? 64 X2 3800+
You Have: AMD Sempron(tm) Processor 2500+

Video Card
Minimum: 256 MB DirectX? 10.0?compliant video card or DirectX 9.0?compliant card with Shader Model 3.0 or higher (NVIDIA GeForce 6800+ / ATI Radeon X1600+)

You Have: RADEON 9600 SERIES (ATI Radeon Graphics Processor AGP (0x4150))

Video Card Features - Minimum attributes of your Video Card Video RAM: Required - 256 MB , You have - 128 MB
Video Card 3D Acceleration: Required - Yes , You have - Yes
Video HW Transform & Lighting: Required - Yes , You have - Yes
Vertex Shader Ver.: Required - 3.0 , You have - 2.0
Pixel Shader Ver.: Required - 3.0 , You have - 2.0

So it looks as though I need an upgraded processor and video card.

Is it as simple as replacing the parts with better parts, or will I need to complete rebuild the machine?

In other words will I lose my work, software and settings if I upgrade to Athlon 3800+ and change the video card?

In summary,

Can I simply change the processor?
Can I simply change the graphics card?
And can I simply add to the current 1G RAM?

Thanks for your expertise.

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All Answers

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Simple answer is yes, to all. There is a but..

But doing these installs means going into the bios each time making sure that it is ok.
If it is then do a shutdown and place the next item on to your motherboard.

Can I simply change the processor?
Yes, if the processor is compatible.

Can I simply change the graphics card?
Yes, if the graphic card is compatible.

And can I simply add to the current 1G RAM?
Yes, if it is compatible with the one you have in already, same speed, but 2gb will be better.

Add RAM, Step By Step. Now that you have your RAM and are ready to install it, you need to properly prepare your computer and its surrounding area to avoid trouble. Static electricity is your biggest enemy, so leave the chips in their antistatic bags until you are ready to install them, and make sure you discharge all static electricity from your body before you start the installation. You can do this by touching any metal portion on the inner frame of your computer case, but make sure you leave the computer plugged in (and turned off) before doing so because the power cord provides the ground wire for the case. You might want to spend $5 to $10 on a special antistatic wrist strap to keep you grounded throughout the entire installation.

The next step is to remove the outer shell of your computer case and then move or remove any cables or internal components blocking your access to the memory slots. Mark any cables you detach so you know where they go when you're ready to reassemble everything.

Now for the easy part: installing the memory chips. The first rule is to never touch the metal contacts on the bottom of the chip because the combination of oil from your fingers and electricity running through the chip may corrode the contacts. This causes errors and may even prevent the chip from working at all. In addition, always make sure any notches along the bottom of the chip line up with the corresponding plastic tabs in the memory slot. The notches keep you from installing the chips upside down. Finally, never rock the chips back and forth in the slot or use too much force to secure them to the motherboard. This can damage their delicate metal contacts, and any excess force might crack the motherboard.
When installing legacy RAM such as a 72-pin SIMM, insert the memory chip into the slot at an angle and press upright until it snaps into place. Do not push it straight down into the slot or else the holding clips won't engage. If you need to unseat an old chip to make room for the new one, simultaneously open the clips at both ends of the slot, tilt the chip down at an angle, and gently remove it.

DIMM chips, such as SDRAM and DDR SDRAM memory modules, are different. With these chips, you need to first press down on the clip handles on both sides of the slot until they are completely open. This ejects a chip already in the slot or prepares an empty slot for the insertion of a new chip. Next, gently place the chip you're installing into the slot so it is standing vertically, and then press down firmly on both ends of the memory chip until the clips lock into place. You might need to grab the handles and close them manually to properly seat the chip; make sure both ends are secure before you boot the computer because it is possible to mistakenly clamp down only one end while not making contact with the other.

A RDRAM RIMM installation works similarly. Open the tabs on either side of the slot to eject an existing chip and to prepare the slot for a new chip. Gently put the memory chip directly into the slot so it is standing vertically, press down firmly on both ends of the chip, and make sure the clamps on both ends lock completely as you seat the chip. If you need to install any C-RIMMs, repeat this procedure for the empty memory slots.
Test The Installation. Testing the new memory is actually harder than installing it simply because bad memory chips cause all sorts of errors that are difficult to pinpoint. After you install the extra memory in your computer, turn on the monitor and watch it carefully while you boot the system. Many computers display a memory check (or some other indicator) on-screen to display how much memory the system has; these numbers should match the amount of total memory installed in your system. It also is a good idea to access the computer's BIOS (Basic Input/ Output System) and see the amount of installed memory it now reports. The process for doing this is in the documentation that came with your computer.
If all the information appears correct on the boot screen and in the BIOS, let Windows load and watch for errors. Everything should go smoothly, but if it doesn't, you may need to take the new memory chips out, put your old ones back in, and see if the same error appears again. If it doesn't, there is a possibility that you purchased faulty memory chips, so you should take them back to the store (or to a friend's house if you purchased the chips online) to test them on a different computer. Local computer shops might also provide a memory testing service, so consider this type of option before you return the potentially bad chips.

In most cases, the computer boots normally after you finish the installation, and Windows loads faster than it did previously because of the extra memory you installed. Right-click My Computer and select Properties (WinXP users might need to click Start, right-click My Computer, and select Properties). Choose the General tab to see the amount of memory Windows now reports (usually listed toward the bottom). If the amount listed doesn't match the amount of memory installed in your computer, it might be because of bad memory, but frequently it's because you didn't push one (or more) of the memory chips in all the way so it isn't (they aren't) making proper contact with the motherboard. Turn off the computer, look at the memory chips (again, taking all the proper precautions before opening the case), and make sure each chip firmly locks into place. Sometimes a chip that looks secure becomes loose if the computer case moves at all after the installation.

If the amount of memory Windows reports is correct, the next step is to run as many applications as possible to see if doing so generates any unusual errors. Memory is a very fickle thing, and it sometimes runs fine for hours before abruptly crashing due to an improper installation or an error in the chip design itself. Sometimes these errors are minor and only cause a single program to crash; at other times, these errors can cause a computer to freeze completely. In either case, all memory errors should be limited to flaws within your software and not be because of faulty memory chips themselves, so that's why it's imperative that you replace bad memory chips.

As soon as you no longer see any unusual errors (if you see any at all), you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the performance boost your memory upgrade provided.

Thank you to Tracy Baker on the info.

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.
If this info is useful, please mark it helpful. Thanks

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New Motherboard

by TheChas In reply to Upgrading system DIY...

Unless my thinking is wrong, I believe you will need a new motherboard to switch to a dual-core processor as required for the game.

The first generation Sempron processors were designed for socket A (462). Plus to take full advantage of the newer graphics processors, you will need a 16X PCIx slot.

I'm not sure you can increase the RAM on this system to 2GB.

If you can determine what specific make and model motherboard you have, we can look up the specifications and verify what your options are.

Now, if you do need a new motherboard, there is a very good chance that Windows will lock up when you attempt to boot up and you will have to start over.

The better you prepare your system for a motherboard upgrade, the better your chance of success.

Start by making a full backup of your system.

Then, make sure you have ALL of your product keys, serial numbers and account settings printed out or written down.

Go to device manager and uninstall ALL of the system hardware.

Install the new motherboard, CPU, RAM and video card.

With the hard drive disconnected, make sure the system boots up and you can enter BIOS setup.

Connect up the hard drive and boot into safe mode.

Once safe mode has found all the hardware it can, reboot into normal mode.

Install drivers as needed starting with the chip-set driver on the motherboard CD.

A new motherboard will generate an activation event. Once you are comfortable that your system is running properly, you can activate Windows.


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Post Deleted

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to New Motherboard
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This can be used as well

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Upgrading system DIY...

It is from the M$ Knowledge Base and is called How to Replace a M'Board;en-us;824125

The problem here is the M'Board not the CPU. As Sempron's originally came as a Socket A and can be a Socket AM2 you may require a new M'Board depending on what your M'Board actually can support.

If you have a Socket A M'Board you need a new M'Board if you have a Socket AM2 you may be able to use the existing M'Board or you may require a new M'Board depending on exactly what your current M'Board can support.


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More trouble than it is worth!!!!!!!

by 1bn0 In reply to Upgrading system DIY...

Upgrading a "Gaming" machine is a MONEYPIT!

To get the most value for your money invest in a new setup. Upgrading never seems to get you where you want to be. I never recomend changing/upgrading more than two components of a system. Any more and it is usually better value to look at something new to replace it.

You spcifically ask "will I lose my work, software and settings if I upgrade"

The answer to that is covered by Murphys Law, Now that you have asked the answer is most likely YES.

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