Currently have a ten year old computer and don' t have enough to buy new, is this worth buying?


#1

I realize the PSU is going to gimp it to maybe at best a gt1050 but considering I currently have a GT720? still an improvement.

It won’t be something BAD at least in hthe short term. CPUboss puts even the weakest i3 as eating my computer’s lunch plus even if upgradeability is minimal, its still a thing that can be done (more ram, better processor) and being relevant and sensical rather than ‘why would i ever touch this box again’


#2

I would check out the local Goodwill computer works first. They might well be able to cobble together something for a similar price more geared to future gaming upgrades.


#3

What is your budget? Can you pay more?
Once again I will plug these guys and they have an online shop.
https://interconnection.org/

If you can afford one of the business grade refurbs you will have a box that will last a long time and be easy to open up for upgrades.


#4

What objective are you trying to hit?

If you want it to feel nice out of the box, I’d strongly consider looking at the 8GB of RAM options(especially with mechanical HDDs, you’ll feel the difference). At the same price point, though, that knocks you back a generation or two on CPUs, so it’s probably not such a good plan if you are just purchasing something to serve as the basis for an upgrade.
You have to go up to this one, at a minimum, to get a Core i and 8GB out-of-box:

If the objective is to be the basis for copious upgrades, the considerations change a bit; classy chassis and ideally non-terrible PSU become more important, number of RAM slots rather than how many are full now, etc. Also, ‘low profile’ becomes your enemy in a fairly serious way.

(edit: if the objective involves games, as the mention of graphics cards suggests; I’d really be careful about the RAM. Since this generation of consoles all have 8GB, basically all the stuff targeted at them or ported from them will…disagree… with having half as much; and most likely in a way that will not be mitigated by a willingness to crank down the resolution and graphical prettiness sliders.)


#5

Looking at absolute most at $170 all expenses included (Edit: Wait… Walmart’s saying there’s still like seven bucks and change in gift card money left from past actions. $130 in walmart money, and $46ish in a visa gift card.) Yes that is a pittance and no finding something even remotely ‘good’ is an idiot’s trip given the local goodwill and craigslist are throwing up hardware that is either a bare improvement over what I have or actively worse.

I’m not a hardcore gamer; a few 2d ‘retro’ titles on steam, trying to do things with RPG maker, etc. Warframe is the thing that pushes my ystem the most (and technically current box does not meet the minamum processer requirements. As much grief as I give DE for how they respond to player complaints they practice an obscure black magic for code optimization.)

I don’t really need a lot. If it wasn’t for the fact trying to multitask with my current box can feel sluggish as windows tries deciding what needs to keep running, warframe being fairly pokey, and the fact i actually would like to record play sessions for youtube along with other ‘light’ content creation (no streaming because I am well aware that real time streaming takes an absurd amount of grunt.)

Basically, my current box has no upgradeability that would make any difference. Having something that either is or could upgrade to quad core and room for sixteen or thirty two gigs of ram would make for enough wiggle room down the road.

One thing i plan on down the line is a gt1050 since low power consumption and would give decent 'oh hey I can just casually drop in things friends are playing such as left 4 dead, doom, etc.

The biggest concern I have with the box i linked to is lenovo and ive read how office centric machines can have proprietary non upgradeable power supplies (given my target card? not as big of a problem as it could be.) The more troubling thing is reading how it is picky about ram that it will accept as compatible.

So the plan is to use the graphics card i have for now (the troubling thing is I must have lost the slim bracket for it.) Then if/when I get that done give this box to my older brother so he has a dedicated office machine.

That looks like the best option avalible given my budgetary concerns.


#6

W7 runs fine on 4GB, I don’t know about W10.


#7

Observe caution; after I initially posted that, I looked at HP’s spec page. 320w PSU is surprisingly decent for the type assuming it isn’t total junk; but(despite having a desktop look) all PCIe slots are said to be low-profile. I’m not sure if this is true. Spec sheet says low profile; but “removal and replacement procedures” doesn’t make the slots look low profile unless the scale in the pictures is deeply odd.

W10 runs OK on 4GB; where things get dicey is asking it to share with whatever software you actually have in mind.


#8

Can confirm. W10 works ‘fine.’ Not obviously going to hell like vista did back when it wasa thing.

Probably HP covering their own bases or they’re taking the specs for the small formfactor variant and aren’t accounting for the tower variant’s case design. However as I was looking at a low profile card for the full time card? I can probably live with it… most likely.


#9

“Low profile” isn’t anything a hacksaw won’t fix, in the worst case; I’m mostly just puzzled by the ambiguity of HP’s documentation. The specs say low profile; but the diagrams show a mini-tower case wide enough for a standard size optical drive bay, which would only be low profile if you’ve made some sort of serious mistake.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised, I remember running across some HPs based on little mini-motherboards that took DC in directly from a power brick; but were still installed in a normal minitower case; with the PSU slot just blanked out. Weirdest thing, I thought people paid a premium for small. Possibly why these ended up being listed where I was bottom feeding for parts at the time…


#10

Given what you’ve indicated are you’re plans here.

I’m going with no. All the machines linked here appear to be pretty old machines. Refurbished or not. Not a ton of info listed in terms of specifics. The processors involved were first released 5 or 6 years ago. They’ll still preform well compared to their more recent equivalents. But looking at some of the other specs listed. USB 2.0, vga as the only video out etc.

You’re talking about an older box. With a likely to be discontinued chipset (intel does that a lot). Older mobo, And a stripped down proprietary one. That may not even be able to run your desired gtx1050. None the less hook up to other modern bits. Upgrade path will be extremely limited. The case will be a terror to work with (again proprietary).

It’ll be better than what you have now. But, especially with everything transitioning right now in terms of base tech. Connectors ram type. Chipsets etc. I think you’ll find yourself in the exact same place rather shortly. Or searching out outdated parts to get it going.

I’ve been in that position before. And when your mono fries and you find your only option is a single model of dodgy refurbed equipment. That’s worse than the one you’re replacing. Things get expensive or they get “I don’t have a computer”.

It might be worthwhile from the standpoint of scavenging the processor and HD. Buying a cheap mobo and combining the stray bits of your current box with the new one to assemble something. But all of those parts. Referbed or NOS mobos, i3’s and 500gb hhds. Even 4g ddr3 sticks can be had stupid cheap these days. In which case you can usually find better old parts stupid cheap and get yourself further with more upgrade potential.

The better approach to this is to use your current PC if possible for base parts. And find used parts
via Craigslist, eBay, reddit, etc.

Or Troll thiftshops, yard sales, The reuse center of your local dump etc. For free parts. Honestly I was given 3 boxes of similar vintage. Stripped them of anything useful (not much honestly, weak ass machines). Shits out there.

This seems like $150 bucks that’s going to require you to spend another $150. And another. Sounds like you may be stuck with Walmart bucks. Which is tough. I’d try to see what I could score for free or near free before making a decision. Maybe save wallyworld for something else I needed.


#11

I’d agree that it isn’t the spot one would want to be in; but the alternatives aren’t necessarily all that attractive unless the dice fall your way on scoring a handy discard: if your luck falls correctly, you could certainly pick up something rather nicer just because somebody doesn’t know that it just needs an OS wipe; but you could also wait a while for that to happen; depending on your local scrounging options.

In terms of upgrade path; it is unpleasantly common to not have a very good one for any upgrade that is actually worth making. If the CPU socket hasn’t changed it’s rare to find a reason for a new motherboard aside from the old one dropping dead. If it has; now you are out a CPU and motherboard(and quite possibly RAM).

I got stuck with that a while back, when a motherboard died. Had an LGA1155 I was quite satisfied with; but by the time I went shopping there was only a single(ghastly, cut down) option at retail(Microcenter, not some office supply place); and going LGA1150 would have allowed me to keep my RAM; but cost me a new CPU and left me behind the curve; while LGA1151 would have also involved new RAM. Luckily Newegg obliged; but there just isn’t all that much reason to move within what a given CPU ties you to, unless a motherboard is a total disaster; and actually going for the newer features tends to mean swapping out a lot.

In terms of GPU compatibility; PCIe is pretty tolerant: don’t bet on SLI/Crossfire; but that’s irrelevant because it’d blow the budget out of the water anyway. Aside from that; PCIe 1 through PCIe 3 mostly play nice; and the real-world performance differences of a 16x link at different speeds aren’t that high(and, since older PCIe revisions tend to imply older CPUs, or GPUs depending on which one is the limiting factor, those will tend to swamp the effect outside of carefully arranged test scenarios).

The one very unpleasant thing about the HP 6200 here is that it doesn’t use a normal PSU. Oddball connectors on the motherboard. Ebay has them for under $20 shipped; so it’s survivable(motherboards also under $20 shipped as of writing); but there is little excuse for a wonky PSU in a box big enough to fit a real one. It isn’t fatal; but if there is an alternative I would certainly avoid it if I could.

It is unfortunate that Walmart money is in the mix; that cuts down your options a bit; but corporate refurb-boxes are actually a fairly solid starting point(except the tiny USFF ones, those can go die): they do have a tendency to the proprietary(and in this case specifically, the HP 6200 has a moderately bad case of it; if we could find something ATX in a similar price range it would be markedly preferable); but they also get stamped out in massive numbers so refurb and new old stock FRUs remain available for years; and while their components are utterly prosaic; they are also designed by people who want to honor as few warranty claims as possible.

We don’t want to go too far back on CPU, it has to be a decent bump to be worth spending anything; but there is no way that the budget is going to cover something punchy and new:

Ideal case would be something that will take 4 slots of DDR3(markedly cheaper than DDR4; and quantity matters more than speed); and either 8GB out of the box or arranging to hit at least that upon purchase; ATX PSU and motherboard strongly preferred.

That’s the one sticking point on this 6200. I’d like to find something that doesn’t use an oddball PSU. Especially if you ever want to bump to a GPU that requires PCIe power connectors; that will be a problem.

I need to go to bed soon; but will try to do a little rummaging.

(Edit: The Dell 790 checks the boxes I would want in terms of not spitting on the good name of ATX connectors; but all the ones available are either SFF, which are rubbish for GPUs(Be Warned, a number of the Dell SFFs are both low profile and limited to 25watts on the PCIe slot, which is absolute rubbish), or more expensive. This one has a slightly nicer CPU; the more standard PSU; and the 790s I ran into were pretty well behaved; but it’s an extra $20 for half the RAM and smaller HDD. It strikes me as the nicer machine of the two; except on further reading that suggests that the PCIe slot will only do 35w bus power; while the MT configuration of the 6200 supposedly supports the standard 75w. Damn it. You just can’t win here(and the Lenovo M82 is slightly more expensive than the HP and also non-ATX, so it has little going for it; can’t find anything on PCIe wattage. Also datasheets are harder to come by when you give your computer a model number already reserved by a popular anti-materiel rifle, thanks Lenovo…).

Is the GPU you are planning on using fully bus powered; or does it have a PCIe power connector(direct from PSU)? If it’s a purely bus powered card; the 790 motherboard will be a potential issue; while if it’s feeding from the PSU it will(except at the very high end where they demand maximum wattage from all sources) likely be easier on the motherboard but a real problem if you are stuck with a proprietary PSU, which makes the 6200 a potential problem.


#12

(Sorry for the repeat posts, editing on a phone is not pleasant)

Edit: for reference, what is your current situation in terms of GPU, motherboard, RAM and any bits that might be cannibalizable? You stated your GPU; but I don’t have a sense of exactly what would count as worthwhile CPU improvement; and knowing whether you have current RAM you could pop into a somewhat newer system makes a difference, especially with the 4GB refurbs going for somewhat less than the 8s.

You mentioned capture/streaming, which brought two considerations to mind: on the Nvidia side, “Shadowplay” is the hardware assisted capture option(the GPU obviously gets a look at each frame before it is displayed; at some point they added a hardware h.264 encoder, I think originally to support streaming to their ‘shield’ thing; but it also supports dumping to disk.) No capture meatgod is free; but this arrangement is vastly easier on the CPU than traditional software encoding is. Not sure if your current card is nee enough to support; but definitely worth checking. AMD has something analogous, I think they call it “ReLive” at this point.

Also, for capture, you would really want a second HDD if you can either harvest from your current system or scrounge up elsewhere: the absolute bitrate requirements of desktop capture are pretty modest; but HDDs suck at multitasking in a serious way, so asking one to handle juggling your game’s assets and accept a video stream without either cratering your load times, dropping frames, or both, isn’t a good bet.

Even a total junker of a drive should be fast enough as long as it is only being asked to handle the video(anything even remotely modern has a pretty decent linear read or write speed thanks to high areal density; it’s just that not even 15k RPM SAS monsters can avoid sucking when conflicting demands push them in the direction of more random I/O. Just be sure that nothing except the video recording is going to that drive(having your pagefile on that disk when not recording isn’t a bad way to go; but you would want to avoid it when you are).

Obviously less nice than a zippy SSD; but those get expensive fast once you want something large enough for games and video; while spreading the I/O load across an extra spindle starts nice and cheap.


#13

My current computer’s motherboard maxes at an e6700 processor, 4 gigs of ram, and has a 320 watt power supply. There is literally nothing outside of the graphics card and MAYBE the case and optical drive that could be salvaged for something new. Plus most of my buget isn’t real money and is instead walmart money. So that further limits my options.

I appreciate your words but ‘salvage and build up’ doesn’t work when nobody around me has anything better that they’re willing to let go (the local goodwill doesn’t even have a computer section. the ‘electronics’ section has random what looks like broken children’s toys a few too worn out keyboards, curling irons, and the like.


#14

Compatibility issues I was thinking more to do with bios/software and power connectors. The psu may not have the correct power connector. Some 1050s require a 6 pin. Some are powered through the board. But putting new hotness graphics card is older mobos often requires a bios update for them to be compatible. These can be hard to find for legacy boards. Are are often completely unavailable for older proprietary boards used in name brand economy PCs like this. Older chipset instructions/drivers likewise may be incompatible with certain parts or choke performance.

Like I said I’ve wound up in this situation before (though with higher end bits). Built something quick with sale parts without brushing up on the state of hardware at the time. I got a very good deal but nearly everything I built with was on its way out the door. When something in the mobo toasted itself (and an hd) I found there were no parts to fix it. Mobos with my chipset had been discontinued. Mobos with ide cables were hard to find. Plugs for graphics cards had changed entirely. Ram was different. Buying something newer meant I’d have to discard everything and start from scratch. A legacy, refurbed board a little newer than mine, with both sets of connectors was the only way to rebuild the box without upgrading CPU, Ram, replace all my drives. And I couldn’t afford that. There was only one option that fit the bill mono wise. It was cheap though.

I managed to keep that box going for about a year or so after that. But if anything else had broken I’d have had a really hard time getting it going. And been Without a computer of any sort for a good stretch of time. As it was I went without for a good 4 months while I tracked down stuff. And I ended up with an extremely, extremely limited upgrade path. Basically being able to choose from slightly nicer legacy parts. As I went through rebuilding the thing what should have been a sub $150 repair job grew. Shit I need a new psu, this one has none of the right plugs. Shit I need a new graphics card this one won’t connect to the board. Shit I can’t buy that graphics card. No bios available will support it.

It became my shortest lived PC. All the while it was rapidly falling behind performance wise, And pretty soon couldn’t run anything I needed it to. I got like 2 and half years out of it. The subsequent build was the most expensive I’ve ever done. Because nothing save a single hard drive could be carried over. And the big savings in home building are in splitting the costs of parts and periferals over multiple builds.

The boxes everyone is pointing to here are right on the cusp of that. Looks like mobos and processors for these chipsets are readily available. Mostly used and refurbed. But there are some “new” ones out there. If something breaks in a bit, or upgrade can’t happen now it’s entirely possible that finding parts becomes extremely difficult. You’re starting behind the performance curve as well, in a system where it may be impossible to catch up or keep current. And that’s doubly true with Intel’s rapid forced obsolescence cycle. These boxes are from the heart of that. Every new release is incompatible with the last in some fashion.

You’d have to be pretty lucky to get newer, better parts for free. But these same parts can be had free or near free elsewhere. Often pretty easily. And better parts can be purchased for that price on the used market.

If OP weren’t looking to burn off Walmart gift cards or what have. looking elsewhere. On the used market. To rebuild what he has would be the best idea. As it stands see how much can be reused from the current system. See what can be scored for free or less than $50 locally. then try to find the Walmart deal if that doesn’t pan out.


#15

What do you plan on doing with the PC? If it’s any kind of gaming you’re going to be disappointed. But if it’s just simple spreadsheet and office related stuff it should work even if it a bit slow. The biggest slow down here is likely your HDD. I don’t know what model of HDD that Lenovo uses but I’ll bet it’s going to be a dog when it comes to speed. I could see you putting something like Puppy Linux on it and it working fine, though.


#16

Have you considered buying the parts for a new pc from Walmart? Can you spend your visa gift card money elsewhere?
What are you planning to do with your current pc? Will you sell it? do you think you can trade it for parts?


#17

Quoting myself because i already addressed the ‘what are your intentions and plans’ phase.


#18

Hmm I think it might work if you don’t do anything like Warframe. Retro titles with state-based emulators will do fine then (basically, no hardware level emulators which even would kill my i5 on the best of days). You might want to look into a video capture card if you can spare the change in the future as that could offload recording processing to that instead of having the CPU or GPU do double duty.


#19

Dude my current box does mostof warframe pretty OK if I keep everything turned off. I’m mostly just trying to get a better experiance with what i have at this stage with some light future proofing.


#20

Hmm, I’m looking at the specs and some forum discussion about the PC itself and it doesn’t look good. IMO I would do a hard pass on it and save up to build a new PC for around 500 USD. Unless you’re in a dire situation monetarily then I would try to make it work but the big thing I worry about is this post I found here discussing the way the motherboard and additional components to power it (https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkCentre-A-E-M-S-Series/M82-tower-intentionally-crippled-power/td-p/1160477). If the motherboard’s connector is non-standard replacing the PSU will be a nightmare. It’s why I hate modern desktops, every dirtbag corporation can’t stop trying to make things non-standard which should be standard.