I am definitely new at upgrading PCs. I've done a bit of repair work on the family's laptops and desktops over the years, but the only upgrades I've done was upgrading my old laptop from 3GB RAM to 4GB RAM (because my 1GB chip burned up... lol).
I'm sure this forum will probably flame me for having a Gateway. Go ahead, get it over with. It was a great buy for the included hardware, so I jumped on it.
I've had this pc for over a year, and I feel like it's time to either upgrade or get something new.
The PC's specs are as follows...
Intel Core 2 Quad 8300 (2.5GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 4MB L2 cache)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
4GB DDR3 Dual-Channel 1333MHz Memory (2 x 2048MB Modules) "Expandable to 8GB"
640GB SATA Hard Drive (also using an external 2TB drive via USB)
Integrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD
Available Expansion Slots: 1 - PCI-E x16, 1 - PCI-E x1
220W Power Supply
I use an Apple Wireless Keyboard and a Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 both via a USB bluetooth adapter. The PC stays hooked up to my Sony HDTV via HDMI.
This PC has been great for the duration of my ownership. The only problems I've had is that one of the nine USB ports stopped working, and I don't think the card reader has ever worked. I only tried it once, but it didn't work then. Oh, and every now and then, the sound quits working until I restart it.
I use it primarily as a HTPC, with occasional word processing, gaming, or other use.
I would like to upgrade the graphics card, RAM, and possibly the hard drive.
For the graphics, I was thinking of the Sapphire Radeon HD4650 1GB DDR2 PCI-Express Video Card. I know my power supply is a big issue in this department, but from what I've read, others have used this card in the SX2800 series PCs without issue.
For the RAM, I was looking at a Kingston HyperX 8GB kit (2 x 4GB modules) 1600MHz 240-pin DDR3.
This is where I get confused. On Gateway's website, it says my PC is expandable to 8GB of RAM. But I just cracked the case open, and I have 4 slots. Two are currently occupied, #1 and #3.
Does that mean I can only use two of the slots? Or can I actually upgrade to 16GB of RAM (4 x 4GB)?
Or can I only use four 2GB chips?
I'd love to get two of these kits and upgrade to 16
My third possible upgrade is the hard drive. I'd love to have a solid state drive. I have an external 2TB drive, so storage space isn't much of an issue. I also have a 2.5" 250GB drive left over from an old laptop that I'm not using. I've seen the kits to turn your 3.5" drive slot into a dual 2.5" slot, but I'm worried about how that might work in this PC.
The internal hard drive is in a strange slot (strange to me anyways) that is attatched to the DVD drive. There is very little room on any side of it. I'd love to have a 64GB SSD/250GB HD combo stuck in there... does anyone think I can make that work?
Also... does anyone think that Windows 7 Ultimate is worth the money?
Thanks in advance for any help with this project.