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  1. #1
    Network Hub Rath's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    392

    New PC acquired, upgrade advice?

    Ok, some context.

    This evening at work, I was asked to chuck some knackered hardware in the skip, one item of which was a small-form PC that looked like it was in pristine condition. I asked what was wrong with it, and was told that a customer had returned it due to some sort of software error that was causing some kind of endless startup-repair loop, and that after two of our ridiculously untrained personnel had looked it over and attempted repairs, the sales manager decided it was a write off and gave the customer a replacement.

    Rather than throw perfectly good hardware away into a watery skip, I decided I'd disassemble it and flog the individual parts. But before I did, I decided to boot the thing up out of curiosity more than anything else, and it did seem to be stuck in sort of endless loop that hadn't gone anywhere after an hour. So I decided to try and force a factory restore with keyboard shortcuts during bootup, and lo and behold, after a fifteen minute restore process, I was into Windows proper. Shut down and restarted a couple of times, no issues encountered each time, so it looks like the software issue is completely fixed. So I've now got a fully working new PC. For free. I consider myself one lucky bastard.

    It's by no stretch of the imagination a gaming PC though, but I'm wondering whether it could be used as the basis for a decent gaming machine with a couple of upgrades.

    Specs as listed on the Acer website, http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model/PT.SFF02.027

    ACER AX3960-U4102

    - Windows® 7 Home Premium - 64-bit version
    - 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i3-2100 Processor (3.1GHz, 3MB total cache)
    - 4GB DDR3 SDRAM (can support up to 16GB maximum memory)
    - 1TB hard drive
    - Intel® HD Graphics 2000
    - Intel® H67 Express chipset
    - 16X DVD±R/RW
    - 220 watt LiteOn PSU

    Case dimensions:
    Height 10.6"
    Width 3.9"
    Depth 14.5"

    So it's a pretty small case (the exact height of a Pringles can), but I'm not opposed to changing the case if necessary. There's a Maplin next door to my workplace that has some pretty reasonable midi cases. But as I'm pretty inexperienced when it comes to hardware (the most of ever attempted is installing extra RAM, and not cocking that up was something of a surprise to me given my general cack-handedness), I'm not sure what I'm doing when it comes to GPU and PSU upgrades and I thought I'd ask you gents of RPS for some advice. Can this machine in this case be used as the starting point for a mid-level gaming machine? Or if not, would I be better off just keeping it under my TV as a media player? I've got an OK budget considering that I've started out with this not having spent a single penny on it.

    Here she is partially undressed:

    IMG_0202a.jpg IMG_0203a.jpg
    Last edited by Rath; 02-03-2012 at 10:36 PM.

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