Some questions on upgrading a free computer I got

I recently was gifted a really low spec computer from a friend who said he didn’t need it anymore. I’m somewhat savvy, but I know a lot more of you guys are even more savvy and would be able to help me in upgrading this computer as much as I can for as little money as possible. Below are the specs for the computer in its current state.

OS: Windows 10 Home 64bit

Processor: AMD FX-6300 6 Core 3.5GHz

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 710 1GB Dedicated Graphics Card

Ram: 8GB’s DDR3

Storage: 128 GB SSD (this I have enough common sense to know will need expanded greatly)

I know it’s kinda shitty, but it was free. I’m hoping for input on how to make it pretty reasonably good without breaking the bank. I’m looking to spend maybe around 600 or so at most, but I’m willing to be flexible on that and go more if needed. Like I said, I know a little bit but I’m not genius with computers. If anyone has any ideas, hit me with them. If there’s anything you need to know, I’ll add it if I forgot it.


The problem you’ve got with that aged system is that there’s very little you can reasonably upgrade without gutting it and essentially building a new computer, basically getting a case, PSU (assuming it’s good enough) and Windows license out of it.

On the plus side those are definitely worthwhile things to get for free and your budget should cover a decent budget system (prices are pretty good on GPUs and storage right now, not as bad as they have been on RAM, and the Intel/AMD competition means you can get a great CPU).

That said, where in the world are you and what is your currency? You just said ‘600’, is that dollars/pounds/euros/other? :smiley:
Also if you can find out the make and wattage of the PSU that determines a lot, and do you have the peripherals you need (mouse + keyboard, speakers/headset, monitor)? What is the native resolution of the monitor you have if you do have one for it?

EDIT: Oh, and I’m assuming given where you asked this that you’re primarily interested in gaming on this machine? If there are any other major uses you intend beyond gaming and general browsing/basic productivity let me know.


Yeah, it’s for gaming. I have a mouse and keyboard, and a small TV that I’m using as a monitor via HDMI cable. I’ll try to figure out the wattage and such on the PSU.

Also, sorry, yes. Dollars. I’m in the US.

Upgrade your CPU from an FX-6300 to a AMD FX9590 Eight Core
The benchmark on your FX6300 is 6384 compares to the FX9590 at 10,192
Amazon shows one for around $110

Upgrade your Graphics card from the GeForce GT 710 to a GTX1050 Ti 4GB
GT 710 bench shows a G3Dmark of 678 and the GXT 1050Ti shows 5960
Walmart has one for about $85

The FX-9000 series can be problematic due to their high TDP of 220W. You’ll need a motherboard that supports the FX-9000 series CPUs, a liquid CPU cooler, a case with a good airflow near the motherboard VRM components, and a sufficiently powerful PSU (one source says the FX-9000 series CPUs need 54 amps or more available on the 12V rail).
Speccy will get the make, model and bios on your motherboard. Post that info, but you’ll hafta read the psu label to get its wattage.:full_moon_with_face:

The AMD FX-8350 , $75 , is almost as fast as the 9k series and does not require mongo power.

Before you change cpu’s it might be a good idea to update the motherboards bios first.

Boot from the ssd and use hdd’s for games. Works well.

Something I have been use to over the years, anytime I install new hardware, as long as it wasn’t the hard drive, windows was good to go. I just recently upgraded a few parts in my rig… and even though I did not change the hard drive, windows no longer was a valid copy. Apparently now, just changing a video card could use your copy of windows license key up and they will try and make you buy a new copy. After a couple of days of raising hell, they eventually gave me a key to reactivate my windows. Just something worth a mention you may want to look up.

# Reactivating Windows 10 after a hardware change

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RedEye, Flavrans and CPU have given you good advice on how to spend a couple of hundred dollars to eke some more life out of that ancient motherboard, however with your stated budget of around $600 I absolutely wouldn’t bother. By ripping it out and spending your full budget you’ll definitely get a far better system that stays capable of running modern games for a lot longer and has room to do incremental upgrades in future years.

Looking solely at Newegg (sorry for lack of links but I’m doing this hastily at work!) here’s a system built on a six-core mid-range Ryzen CPU, 8GB of nice speedy memory (at the point just before faster RAM starts to get rapidly more expensive and shakily supported by all but the fanciest motherboards), and a very reasonable price on a capable mid-range AMD GPU that will run most games at Ultra detail at 1080P resolution and reasonable frame-rates. All on a well-specced motherboard that can easily take more or faster RAM, and CPUs and GPUs of the next generation or two if a couple of years down the line you have a few more hundred to spend and want to keep up with the latest games or a higher-res monitor.

X370 Motherboard - $90
AMD Ryzen R5 2600 - $170
8GB DDR4 3000 RAM - $56
AMD Radeon RX580 8GB - $200
Western Digital Black 1TB - $73 (I’m stealing RedEye’s suggestion - keep the SSD as a boot drive and get a nice big HDD for games and data. You can always replace the SSD later.)
Total price = $589

All that assumes you have a decent PSU; if you need one might as well get a good one from a known brand, well-rated for power efficiency with modular cables and room to expand because it should last you many years:
600W 80PLUS GOLD certified from big brand like EVGA - $70.
If that takes you over budget, drop the Ryzen R5 2600 (which is a little overkill for this machine right now) down to a four-core low end R5 or an R3 (like the 2200), to offset the cost of the PSU and keep you under or around $600.

Good upgrades in the next couple of years are another matching 8GB of RAM to take you up to 16GB, that’s relatively inexpensive, and if you do drop the CPU down to a cheaper one to afford a power supply or something else you could look at getting a beefier one from next year’s 3000 series Ryzens, or the generation after that (should all still work in that MB with a BIOS update). For a more responsive PC in general you could keep an eye out for good deals on M.2/NVMe SSDs to replace the current one as your boot drive, with more space so you could put your favourite or most played games on it and get faster load times. As long as you’re just using an old (presumably 1080P/HD) TV I wouldn’t worry about upgrading the GPU. If a few years down the line you get a 1440P or 2160P (4k/UHD) monitor then you’ll want to save up and put some cash into whatever the best GPU you can afford at the time is.

(If you have absolutely no interest in upgrading this machine again we can probably readjust some of the spending away from flexibility and future-proofing and invest in a little more bang for buck.)


Flavrans hit the nail on the head

If you have a micro center near you, the 1700x is $149. ( in-store only, as are most of the mc deals i see posted)
I get a lot of deals from watching this thread.

Obviously, RedEye9 meant raw_bean. But yes, I too agree with raw_bean. Replacing the FX-6300 with an FX-8350 on that old motherboard is probably not worth it. In terms of single thread performance, you are not going to gain much.

The Ryzen 5 2600 is also $149.99 at Micro Center. It’s newer than the 1700x, has comparable overall performance with only 6 cores vs. the 8 in the 1700x, has slightly better single thread performance, and uses less power (65W vs 95W).

But don’t forget to factor in the Windows 10 license. With a new motherboard and CPU you essentially have a new computer. Unless it’s a retail license, you may not be able to transfer the license to the new computer. If it’s an OEM or free upgrade license, it’s forever locked to the computer it was activated on. However, word is that if it was a free upgrade from a retail edition of Windows 7/8, you are allowed to transfer the license once (but don’t quote me on that).

Another thing you can do is decide on and get the GPU first, and then see how far that takes you in terms of gaming performance on the old system. Then you can take some more time to save up some more cash and decide on what to do next, look for better deals, etc. But there’s always a slight risk that an old system won’t post/boot with a recent GPU. If you are lucky, it can be solved with a BIOS update, if a newer version exists.

Good point on the Windows 10 license possibly being non-transferable, that said if you shop around a new license key shouldn’t be too expensive, last one I bought was £26.

Oops on the name mixup :open_mouth:
I’m gonna get my next key from

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