Should I upgrade this PC or just build a new one? Cost is an issue.


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Mar 9, 2019
4
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I need help deciding how, or even if, I should upgrade my MOBO and GPU. I ordered this online as a gaming PC in 2011, I know I got ripped off, but there isn't much I can do about that now. I don't know much about upgrading PCs, but I am a fast learner and have learned a lot the last few days reading. I am having trouble finding answers. First, my PCs current working specs:

HP Pavillion HPE h9-1120t Phoenix
i7-3770 CPU Ivy Bridge
Pegatron Corp 2AD5 z75 motherboard (couldn't find much info on this mobo, other people seems to have issues with HP mobos around this time, it must have a 1155 socket, 4 RAM slots, PCIex16 slot)
Geforce GTX 545 GPU
12 GB RAM DDR3
HPE Liquid cooled
600w PSU


I recently purchased a GTX 1060 thinking it would be a quick/cheap upgrade over my GTX 545. The PC works fine, just runs games poorly, even at the worst settings. The PC was having verrry slow boot up times, some beeping, and odd screen displays after installing the GTX 1060 and new Geforce driver. When the PC finally reached a login screen after about 5-10 minutes the screen was zoomed in about 4x so that I could only see a small section of the login and desktop. I was able to log in and use the keyboard to run commands and stuff but, even with HP Smartfriend tech support, Tegra support (graphics card seller), and Nvidia chat support, I couldn't get it running properly. I did a BIOS update from HPs website and got just black screen upon startup. I put the old 545 GPU back in, and it works and starts up just fine as always. Am I missing something? Is this motherboard and GPU even compatible like Nvidia said it was? Does this have to do with this HP used MOBO's BIOS just sucking and would a similar MOBO from say Asus run a GXT 1060?

Also, I know it is not a faulty GPU. The card was refurbished and tested before hand. I know this because last week, when I received the card I called the supplier, Tegra on Amazon, and they concluded it was the card. They immediately sent me a new one. Well, the new one is having the exact same issues, so it must be a compatibility issue. HALP!

Is this PC even worth upgrading?
 

verdy_p

Reputable
May 28, 2014
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4,510
The "zoomed in " screen is a clear sign that you're runing Windows with a software SVGA emulation (1280x1024 only), and Windows failed to find a correct driver.

This is common in Windows 10: it attempts to use an outdated (and incomplete!) driver for nVidia display which NEVER works, so Windows finally boots using the basic SVGA software-only emulation.

Go to nVidia web site, lool for the "nVidia GeForce Experience" software, run it to install it. It will then ask you to create an account on nVidia or connect to your online account. Then the "nVidia GeForce Experience" software will download the correct driver for you and will install it (removing first the non-working driver that each build of Windows 10 is installing for every nVidia board...).

With this driver set, you'll get the correct resolution, the GPU acceleration for 2D, 3D, OpenGL will be available, you'll also get the nVidia CUDA and OpenCL extension, and extensions for extended shaders and effects (clouds, gouraud, transparency...), geometry accelerators, physics accelerations, accelerated raytracing for newedr boards, plus hardware video rendering accelerators (notably MPEG2, MPEG4/H.264 and H.265), VR acceleration (if you have a suitable VR device), hardware video encoding (for streaming your games online), color management (YUV...) and enhancement (HDR), and more color spaces and texture compression formats (for 3D scenes), resolution enahncement (subpixel, interpolations), and even text rendering enhancement (for scalable fonts), plus custom accelerations for HTML5 canvas in web browsers, plus specific sets of tunings for well known games or apps (including Flash/activeScript, or Javascript), display composition (with non-displayed frames computed in memory), or for virtualization softwares (Hyper-V) with management of virtual desktops and remote desktops in VMs by adding multiple virtual instances of the display board.

Note: reinstalling nVidia drivers is required after EACH installation of a new Windows 10 build (each update ignores or existing drivers, even of they are WHQL certified and digitally signed, replacing them with the same antique partial driver that never works!). So just run again the nVidia Geforce experience (and you'll note that it will reinstall the same certified version you already had before the Windows 10 build update). You'll note it's needed just because of the low resolution on fiurst boot (and the loooong time it takes during the 2nd reboot at about 60% while the Windwos installer is truing to install its own non-working display driver, until it fallbacks to using the software emulation).
 

verdy_p

Reputable
May 28, 2014
13
0
4,510
If you don't want to install the "nVidia Geforce Experience" tool and don't want to create an account on nVidia site, you may also want to go to "driverscloud.com" which will install a small tool that will make an inventory of your hardware and will allow you to download all updated drivers for your system without searching on many sites for specific "vendor/model id" (found in the properties of each device listed in the Windows Device Manager) from random unsecure sites or many outdated sites which propose unsafe "mirrors". This site gives you the choice of drivers (WHQL only, or newer betas if you want).
The downloaded drivers from this site are clean, their database is much more complete than what Microsoft has in Windows Update (which is also full of fake non-working and old drivers, as seen in the list of basic drivers featured in the Windows 10 image itself, many of them not working except on specific configurations from specific vendors/distributors that paid Microsoft for that). Windows Update does NOT have all WHQL-certified drivers.
Important drivers you'll want to update are (by decreasing importance):
CPU firmwares, memory controlers, bus drivers, power management drivers, USB/AHCI/XHCI drivers, SATA drivers, hardware RAID drivers, Ethernet drivers, display drivers, audio drivers, input drivers (mouse, keyboard, pad, joysticks and game paddles), SDcard readers, printer drivers, monitor enhancement drivers...
Most of them are more recent and more stable than those proposed by the official websites of the manufacturers (even wellknown brands)!
 
Mar 9, 2019
4
0
10
The "zoomed in " screen is a clear sign that you're runing Windows with a software SVGA emulation (1280x1024 only), and Windows failed to find a correct driver.

This is common in Windows 10: it attempts to use an outdated (and incomplete!) driver for nVidia display which NEVER works, so Windows finally boots using the basic SVGA software-only emulation.

Go to nVidia web site, lool for the "nVidia GeForce Experience" software, run it to install it. It will then ask you to create an account on nVidia or connect to your online account. Then the "nVidia GeForce Experience" software will download the correct driver for you and will install it (removing first the non-working driver that each build of Windows 10 is installing for every nVidia board...).

With this driver set, you'll get the correct resolution, the GPU acceleration for 2D, 3D, OpenGL will be available, you'll also get the nVidia CUDA and OpenCL extension, and extensions for extended shaders and effects (clouds, gouraud, transparency...), geometry accelerators, physics accelerations, accelerated raytracing for newedr boards, plus hardware video rendering accelerators (notably MPEG2, MPEG4/H.264 and H.265), VR acceleration (if you have a suitable VR device), hardware video encoding (for streaming your games online), color management (YUV...) and enhancement (HDR), and more color spaces and texture compression formats (for 3D scenes), resolution enahncement (subpixel, interpolations), and even text rendering enhancement (for scalable fonts), plus custom accelerations for HTML5 canvas in web browsers, plus specific sets of tunings for well known games or apps (including Flash/activeScript, or Javascript), display composition (with non-displayed frames computed in memory), or for virtualization softwares (Hyper-V) with management of virtual desktops and remote desktops in VMs by adding multiple virtual instances of the display board.

Note: reinstalling nVidia drivers is required after EACH installation of a new Windows 10 build (each update ignores or existing drivers, even of they are WHQL certified and digitally signed, replacing them with the same antique partial driver that never works!). So just run again the nVidia Geforce experience (and you'll note that it will reinstall the same certified version you already had before the Windows 10 build update). You'll note it's needed just because of the low resolution on fiurst boot (and the loooong time it takes during the 2nd reboot at about 60% while the Windwos installer is truing to install its own non-working display driver, until it fallbacks to using the software emulation).
I think I did this. I already had Geforce Experience, but I tried removing it and reinstalling it last week. This did not work. This week the Geforce Experience auto-downloaded the GTX 1060 driver, but this did not fix anything. After I update the BIOS I just get blackscreen with 1060 now.
 

verdy_p

Reputable
May 28, 2014
13
0
4,510
Note: the only reason you'll want to buy a new PC is because you need a new MOBO, and only because you need a new processor, or because you want to support more RAM. But even in this case, you may want to save cost: the box, the power unit, the monitor, keyboard, mouse.
Note: that new MOBOS will sometimes require you to buy also new RAM (e.g. going from DDR 3 to DDR4), or because you want to have faster interfaces (USB3 instead of USB2, SATA3@6Gbps instead of SATA2@3Gbps).

Sometimes you need a new processor only to get hardware virtualization.

Most of the time, upgrade is possible: going from 4GB RAM to 8GB gives a real boost, as well as buying an SSD (at least 128GB for Windows!) These are not losses.

Other options will give you modest gains. Normally your GPU board should work and can be safely reused if you later change your MOBO and CPU.

Don't buy a new CPU alone, it is not a good value unless you have bought a new MOBO. If you want more performance, the SSD is a must today for the OS, as well as RAM (8GB is a minimum today, you may want more if you have big games, or want to run VMs in Hyper-V: you can go up to 32GB for this case or if you are doing lot of video editing; servers want more memory but typically don't run on a desktop PC or notebook and require more extensive costs for the storage: more SATA/SAN controlers and ports, more Ethernet ports)

Today the most expensive part of the PC is the GPU board which is a separately replaceable part: don't buy a new PC for that! Then comes the cost of PC cases and cooling solutions, but it is also a separately replaceable part, just like the SSDs.

Note that you may want a new MOBO only for extending the RAM, because DDR3 is now difficult to find and starts being overpriced compared to DDR4 for the largest capacities (for DDR4 you'll need a new MOBO and new processor compatible with it): It's now difficult to find DDR3 modules of 8GB, except in the costly market for servers, but many motherboards only have 4 slots, and the maximum memory you can get with DDR3 is 32GB (it's still easy to find 2GB DDR3 modules, but with them your PC would not have more than 8GB...)

When buying RAM, buy the largest modules. Using small modules will be rapidely a waste, as you won't reuse them on the next PC. As well buying DDR3 is no longer a good value (and some vendors are selling refurbished models that may be already partly disfunctional, no longer working at maximum speed, or now instable when run in their "extreme" profile for which a heat dissipator should always be mounted: don't forget it if you want to maximize their speed, and do not underestimate the interest of a good and silent CPU cooler: water cooling is not necessarily a good choice, it's difficult and risky to mount if you're not experienced with it, and even more problementic when dismounting it if you want to correctly clean the fans outsiode your PC).

Each time you consider dismounting the CPU cooler, consider buying new thermal paste: once it has been unlocked, the existing thermal paste is damaged, partially "dried" and "cracked", and you cannot remount it correctly and get the performance you expected after cleaning the fans with a clean painting brush (with long hairs) and aspirator. Also don't use pressurized air sprays! they're dangerous, and rapidly too cold, you could crack the mobo or isolators and hurt yourself because they are rapidelmy extremely cold (and when warming, there's melted ice that is diffucult to dry and that will oxydate your contacts; extreme cold can also desolder components and connectors on the mobo). Air sprays are not very efficient compared to a simple brush (which you can improve by using a non greesy solvant: don't use therebentine, prefer medical alcohol, or fresh water to humidify the brush, but first start by cleaning with a dry brush to remove most dust).
 
Mar 9, 2019
4
0
10
Note: the only reason you'll want to buy a new PC is because you need a new MOBO, and only because you need a new processor, or because you want to support more RAM. But even in this case, you may want to save cost: the box, the power unit, the monitor, keyboard, mouse.
Note: that new MOBOS will sometimes require you to buy also new RAM (e.g. going from DDR 3 to DDR4), or because you want to have faster interfaces (USB3 instead of USB2, SATA3@6Gbps instead of SATA2@3Gbps).

Sometimes you need a new processor only to get hardware virtualization.

Most of the time, upgrade is possible: going from 4GB RAM to 8GB gives a real boost, as well as buying an SSD (at least 128GB for Windows!) These are not losses.

Other options will give you modest gains. Normally your GPU board should work and can be safely reused if you later change your MOBO and CPU.

Don't buy a new CPU alone, it is not a good value unless you have bought a new MOBO. If you want more performance, the SSD is a must today for the OS, as well as RAM (8GB is a minimum today, you may want more if you have big games, or want to run VMs in Hyper-V: you can go up to 32GB for this case or if you are doing lot of video editing; servers want more memory but typically don't run on a desktop PC or notebook and require more extensive costs for the storage: more SATA/SAN controlers and ports, more Ethernet ports)

Today the most expensive part of the PC is the GPU board which is a separately replaceable part: don't buy a new PC for that! Then comes the cost of PC cases and cooling solutions, but it is also a separately replaceable part, just like the SSDs.

Note that you may want a new MOBO only for extending the RAM, because DDR3 is now difficult to find and starts being overpriced compared to DDR4 for the largest capacities (for DDR4 you'll need a new MOBO and new processor compatible with it): It's now difficult to find DDR3 modules of 8GB, except in the costly market for servers, but many motherboards only have 4 slots, and the maximum memory you can get with DDR3 is 32GB (it's still easy to find 2GB DDR3 modules, but with them your PC would not have more than 8GB...)

When buying RAM, buy the largest modules. Using small modules will be rapidely a waste, as you won't reuse them on the next PC. As well buying DDR3 is no longer a good value (and some vendors are selling refurbished models that may be already partly disfunctional, no longer working at maximum speed, or now instable when run in their "extreme" profile for which a heat dissipator should always be mounted: don't forget it if you want to maximize their speed, and do not underestimate the interest of a good and silent CPU cooler: water cooling is not necessarily a good choice, it's difficult and risky to mount if you're not experienced with it, and even more problementic when dismounting it if you want to correctly clean the fans outsiode your PC).

Each time you consider dismounting the CPU cooler, consider buying new thermal paste: once it has been unlocked, the existing thermal paste is damaged, partially "dried" and "cracked", and you cannot remount it correctly and get the performance you expected after cleaning the fans with a clean painting brush (with long hairs) and aspirator. Also don't use pressurized air sprays! they're dangerous, and rapidly too cold, you could crack the mobo or isolators and hurt yourself because they are rapidelmy extremely cold (and when warming, there's melted ice that is diffucult to dry and that will oxydate your contacts; extreme cold can also desolder components and connectors on the mobo). Air sprays are not very efficient compared to a simple brush (which you can improve by using a non greesy solvant: don't use therebentine, prefer medical alcohol, or fresh water to humidify the brush, but first start by cleaning with a dry brush to remove most dust).
Thanks for the input everyone.

@verdy_p, good to know about the thermal paste. I would honestly keep the PC if it could run the GTX 1060, I do most of my gaming on consoles, but some games are PC only (like the new Enderal update to Skyrim). The i7-3770 isn't bad, just an odd socket (1155), the DDr3 doesn't bother me as the PC is actually pretty fast; overall it is a nice PC that just needs a new GPU. An SSD upgrade would help, but isn't an issue. I feel like my Formosa motherboard should be compatible with the GTX 1060. I am at a loss.
 
Mar 9, 2019
4
0
10
SOLVED Please let others know.

I was able to get my refurbished MSI GTX 1060 GPU to work on my Pegatron 2AD5 (HP's "Formosa") motherboard by DISABLING LEGACY SUPPORT in BIOS settings. It now works amazingly and I can run all my games on ultra setting (I am a console gamer so I don't have the latest titles on PC*). Basically a brand new PC for $200 as far as I'm concerned.

I did try disabling the BIOS's Secure Boot, but that messed my shit up, PC wouldn't start. To fix I removed the small watch-like battery out of the motherboard for a couple minutes, this reset the BIOS boot to default setting. Then I disabled the Legacy setting and the PC worked good, a slightly slower startup (like 45 seconds longer), but it ran my games just fine. I am a happy camper. An SSD upgrade is probably next.

Please spread the word, as I had a hard time getting answers on this topic because it is an outdated topic. Even HP support threads said it wouldn't work, as well as current HP Smartfriend tech support agents that I pay for said no

HP H9-1120t Phoenix:i7-3770 CPU, MSI GTX 1060, 12 GB DDR3, 1TB HDD, 600w PSU.
 
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