Help! Buying a Desktop PC


Certified Shitlord
So I have had my current laptop for about 3 1/2 years now and first question: Can I upgrade the video card on it? I'm pretty sure I can't but I figured I'd ask. It's a Dell Latitude D610 with 1GB of Ram and a 55GB hard drive (lolz, I know).

Secondly, I'm thinking of buying a desktop in the near future, what should I be looking for? I want something with power but that can be upgraded fairly easily. I like gaming and I'm hoping to if not buy a gaming rig, turn it into one over time. I don't have a lot of money, so cheap but efficient? Any ideas?

All help is greatly appreciated!


Registered Member
I can tell you that at least 95% of older laptops have their video cards integrated into the system meaning there is no way to upgrade the card.


Son of Liberty
just my experience... I've pretty much been the one in charge of the computers here at this office and I've learned that the best thing to do is to just spend about 6-700 on a custom built one by a Pro. Tell him/her what you want it for and they'll work the parts out on the budget, make sure to tell them you wanna upgrade it in the future and what you plan on doing.

any of the brand name out of the box PC's we've had here are a bitch. They are to expensive to fix, you can upgrade them but you're restricted on what you can upgrade to. I've had the Compaq Presarios, the one in the Cow Colored box (which is the absolute worst), and a few others that arent coming up in my memory now.

The best computers we've had/have here are the custom non-brand specific ones. You can basically upgrade to anything and the limits are only based on how much you wanna spend. They are also cheaper to maintain as the non-brand items are easily half the price in most cases.

from my experience that is the route I would take. Around here we've used Egghead Software, Geek squad (Bestbuy), and now we have a more local IT pro (ESP Technologies) that provides us with the stuff thats over my head. I'm in the market to build up a new comp myself... and I plan on just gutting my old Compaq Presario, use the tower and buy all new guts/wires/chords.


Certified Shitlord
So are those the places you went to upgrade or the places you went to get a custom PC? What would you suggest for custom PCs?


Registered Member
Best way to buy a custom PC is to order parts and components from the web and have them built for you, if you know someone who can put them together then your set. Not too hard putting the components together but it's risky when you don't know which will have less issues when you install all the drivers and things into Windows.
Best PC part site I have seen is this: - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more!

Cheapest prices you can get and there are lots of user reviews to determine when to stick with the cheaper parts or spring for the more trusted parts.


Son of Liberty
Well sorta both actually. The first two computers we had built were through Egghead, then when Bestbuy picked up on the "Geeksquad" thing over here I'd heard through the grapevine that they were good to do business with and were cheaper than egghead. They built us 1 more and cleaned out one of the existing ones. Finally when we switched to the T-line over here recently we stopped working with Geeksquad and started working with ESP, its more of a personal touch, the guy is out here within an hour or so whenever we need him and he's just got a better attitude towards dealing with a small business like us.

As far as upgrading, I actually did most the upgrading myself. Its not that difficult to plug in some extra memory or a new sound card on a Desktop. Anything thats more difficult than that we just had whoever we were dealing with at the time do the upgrading.

As far as upgrades.... my most recent one was a hard drive, went from a Western Digital to a Seagate, so far I havent had any trouble. But like they say, todays hot technology is tomorrows paperweight.


Guardian of the Light
I always thought that buying desktops was kind of a rip off, by no means am I saying that it's simply bad, that's coming from a guy who builds computers, most people don't do that.

If you custom build the computer yourself then you can put whatever you want in there. For what you're going to pay it's a way better deal to buy parts and put them together.

If you want something with power I'd make sure to get a nice processor (core 2 duo at minimum) with RAM just get as much as you want (PNY is my favorite), and of course you'd need a nice video card, I just got an Nvidia card and I'm very satisfied.

I say that building is the way to go.

And yes there are some people here who are awesome at building them.
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Trust me, I'm The Doctor.
Can you just build it yourself, Cons? We can help you pick cheap high-end parts and you can put it all together. Building a computer is straight forward these days, anyway. Almost everything is plug and play and the hardest part is hooking up the leads from the case to the motherboard.. and the book in the motherboard tells you how to do it.


Endangered Species
Im with dDave and DaStevez(<<sounds like an 80s Hip-hop duo), I say Build it yourself, technically it is easy!

Everything has a slot and you just plug it in. It realy is not that much more difficult than one of these. Seriously.

Practicaly every component and cable has a unique fixture, so it is impossible to put them in the wrong socket(and even then its labelled). The majority of the hardware is compatible nowadays anyway, so its 99.9% certain to work with the other components. All you have to know is what components you need and what components you want. It takes about 2-3 hours to build a PC from the bottom-up and you'll save hundreds of dollars and have the computer that is tailor made for you, you will also understand the machine better making it easier to diagnose, clean and upgrade.

I built a new machine about 3 months ago and it cost me a little under half the price than it would of in store and even then the one in store was not exactly how I would of liked it.

Building a computer is easier than changing an electric plug! If you tell us what you want to use the computer for and what your budget is Im sure we can all help. (The worst part of yoyur first self-build is when you buy the components...All that goes through your head is; are they the ones I want? will they even work?...should I leave this to an expert?)

The computer I built btw, the total price came to under £500 (about $900at the time, I'd imagine components are a fraction cheaper in the states). I have a Quadcore 6600, with 4gb 1066 RAM and an Nvidia 9800GT. With the money I saved I treated myself to a 2nd monitor.


Staff member
I'd normally recommend building it yourself (the desktop) but honestly nowadays you can get a nice desktop at the store for $400-$600 that will be pretty comparable to what'd you could build (on average) for the same price. Sure you can tweak it just how you want it if you build custom but honestly you won't save THAT much money.

5 years ago the price difference was much greater.

Buy an HP desktop. You'll be happy. Case closed.

Now I know we've talked about your laptop before. Sounds like you are in "computer lifetime limbo" at the moment. You COULD try to upgrade it but it's old enough that upgrades will be pricey. Then again you could get a new one but your laptop isn't really THAT old. You don't necessarily need a new one but the price of the upgrades will be maybe 1/3rd to 50% of the cost of a new laptop altogether. You gotta decide whether or not you want to wait it out a year and then get a new one or if you want to upgrade the old one. Also, upgrading anything on a laptop besides the RAM is a pain and many times isn't possible.

Last, if you can only do one right now get the desktop. You'll have a decent computer for gaming and from what you've said your laptop isn't terrible right now. You can survive on it for another year and you'll have a nice desktop in the meantime.