Can I upgrade my 5 year old computer to play video games?

by on August 19, 2011

Q: I have an old desktop that I would like to upgrade. My computer is about 5 years old and I use it for running only a handful of programs (iTunes, a few games, and Mozilla) Primarily for the gamesI play I need a new processor and video card. Instead of buying a new computer I was planning on just getting those two (CPU and Video) and installing them myself. I am not sure what would be compatible with my computer or if I would be wasting money.
If I currently have intel and put a new intel processor in the computer could I run into problems? Furthermore if I have a videocard from a different company will I be able to plug it in and have it work. My other concern was for my power source. I am not sure if these are valid concerns or if there are even more things I need to be considering. I’d be happy to send my information to anyone that could assist. Thank you in advance.

2 Responses to “Can I upgrade my 5 year old computer to play video games?”

    I’d be happy to help you out.

    At five years out, if you’re looking to play some current 3d games in all their glory you’re probably going to be best off building a new system.

    You’re not going to be able to buy a current Intel CPU and have it work with your current motherboard. Intel and AMD have been using different CPU sockets almost every year recently so even a motherboard from two years ago won’t work with current gen processors. You’ll also need new RAM, as DDR3 is the current standard.

    The good news is, building a new PC has become more affordable than ever before, and there are probably some parts we can still keep from the old PC.

    I’ll need the following information to help you out

    1. System Info: Click Start>Run.. Type in dxdiag and click ok. On the window that pops up Click on Save all Information… save the text file to your desktop.

    2. Budget for Hardware Upgrades.

    3. Games you want to be able to play.

    E-mail all the info to

    Picked as best answer

    If you’re interested in doing a full system build, something similar to this one might work out well for you: (check out the rest of the article (this is page 4) as well as the rest of the site, it’s great for getting yourself up to date on current tech)

    A few things to tweak for bringing the price down:

    I’m guessing your Windows 7 32bit license was purchased separately, you should be able to contact the vendor or Microsoft directly about trading in the 32bit License for a 64 bit one. The 64bit Windows 7 will allow you to support more than 4GB of RAM. So that knocks $100 off your price.

    You can also forget about the SSD, and secondary storage mentioned on their, and just either one of these:

    Anyway read though the full Sandy Bridge buyers guide to get a good feel for current tech. Make sure if you decided to keep any of your old drives to check your new motherboard-to-be and make sure that it still has an ATA plug on it to support it. Most new motherboards have maybe one ATA data plug and everything else is now Serial ATA. (Google the terms if you need to see some pics of the plugs I’m talking about).

    Now, if you want a quick performance boost for your existing system to hold you over until you have the money for the big upgrade, upgrade your ram.

    Some good options:
    A) A set of two 2GB sticks of RAM:
    B) A set of two 1GB sticks of RAM:

    Based on their being only a $15 price difference between running with 4GB of RAM and 2GB of RAM. I’d suggest just going with an option out of list A. Just replace your existing RAM with the new sticks.