Build Advice I think I got a really great deal! Need help on next step to first gaming pc

Oct 4, 2019
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Hi all!
I picked up a Lenovo Thinkstation p300 with an I7-4790 cpu for just $80 last night! I was super excited, I've been looking for a deal like this for a while. I need some advice on increasing the ram as well as advice on my upgrade plan.

I believe it has this ram: PC3-12800 DDR3 1600 MHz type RAM 8gb. I read that this motherboard can utilize dual ram so I want to get an identical stick of ram to do that but am worried I'll end up getting the wrong one. Can anyone point me in the right direction as far as how to tell if they'll be dual channel compatible?

My other next steps are to upgrade the PSU and GPU. I'm planning on going with an RX 580 nitro for the gpu.
Thanks in advance!
 

jimmysmitty

Polypheme
Moderator
My suggestion is to get a matched pair for memory and just pull the existing memory. This will give better odds at stability. You can get pretty much any, my personal go to would be Corsair Vengance LPX 1600MHz DDR3 if you can find it.

As for the PSU, get either a Seasonic or Corsair and since the RX 580 requires a 500W PSU I would go for a 600W for some breathing room.
 
Yup, that is a good deal.

I also suggest picking up a matched set of DDR 3 1600, or even just 1333. RAM speed isn't a huge factor in performance with the 4th gen CPUs. I've got an i5 4590 and notice absolutely no difference between 1066, 1333, and 1600. So I run 16GB of Kingston HyperX 1333.

As for the GPU, the RX 580 is a good match for the CPU. If you've got something like a 450W PSU I wouldn't worry about an upgrade, but anything less, then yeah, an upgrade would be a good idea. Also, if the system doesn't have an SSD, I SUPER recommend getting one. They are pretty affordable these days and will make all the difference in the world as far as system boot times, general responsiveness, and game load times.
 
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jimmysmitty

Polypheme
Moderator
Yup, that is a good deal.

I also suggest picking up a matched set of DDR 3 1600, or even just 1333. RAM speed isn't a huge factor in performance with the 4th gen CPUs. I've got an i5 4590 and notice absolutely no difference between 1066, 1333, and 1600. So I run 16GB of Kingston HyperX 1333.

As for the GPU, the RX 580 is a good match for the CPU. If you've got something like a 450W PSU I wouldn't worry about an upgrade, but anything less, then yeah, an upgrade would be a good idea. Also, if the system doesn't have an SSD, I SUPER recommend getting one. They are pretty affordable these days and will make all the difference in the world as far as system boot times, general responsiveness, and game load times.
I agree on the SSD but I would still move away from the stock PSUs. OEMs are not known for using the best quality ones or even ones that have the required PCIe plugs. The only case where OEMs put quality PSUs is in server devices because no company would buy a server with PSU failure rates like OEM systems have.
 
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Azzyasi

Distinguished
Jan 24, 2011
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Be aware these workstations have their quirks:

  1. Only just enough PSU watts (so any gpu upgrade needs a new PSU as well, or a new CPU, or OC)
  2. Propietary PSU (in shape and size and some even in connectors to match the propietary MB connector)
  3. Whitelist in BIOS (It's a small list of aproved hardware.. so changing the ram, cpu, gpu, even storage will result into failure to boot). There are ways to copy the original BIOS, decompile it, and add the FRU for yopur specific hardware then compile it again, flash it to MB and hope you won't brick the computer.
  4. Propietary stuff everywhere, on MB connectors, on case, on MB screw holes and sizes.. so don't think about changing the case or putting another MB in that case.
  5. Porpietary software. While odd, some workstations only work with the aproved Dell/HP/Lenovo version of Windows, and stuff like that. So the hardware looks for the correct SLIC of the windows. (actually the other way around, but point is that just an ordinary windows is a hastle sometimes on propietary workstations, and laptops)
  6. OC is almost always out of the question.
Keep in mind that if you encounter boot issues after upgrades, don't blame a faulty component, it's likely a whitelist in bios.
 
Reactions: Dryeetz
Oct 4, 2019
18
0
10
0
Be aware these workstations have their quirks:

  1. Only just enough PSU watts (so any gpu upgrade needs a new PSU as well, or a new CPU, or OC)
  2. Propietary PSU (in shape and size and some even in connectors to match the propietary MB connector)
  3. Whitelist in BIOS (It's a small list of aproved hardware.. so changing the ram, cpu, gpu, even storage will result into failure to boot). There are ways to copy the original BIOS, decompile it, and add the FRU for yopur specific hardware then compile it again, flash it to MB and hope you won't brick the computer.
  4. Propietary stuff everywhere, on MB connectors, on case, on MB screw holes and sizes.. so don't think about changing the case or putting another MB in that case.
  5. Porpietary software. While odd, some workstations only work with the aproved Dell/HP/Lenovo version of Windows, and stuff like that. So the hardware looks for the correct SLIC of the windows. (actually the other way around, but point is that just an ordinary windows is a hastle sometimes on propietary workstations, and laptops)
  6. OC is almost always out of the question.
Keep in mind that if you encounter boot issues after upgrades, don't blame a faulty component, it's likely a whitelist in bios.
Dang, I don't know how I haven't heard of this before. I'll keep a close eye out while I upgrade, hopefully I don't run into those whitelist problems. Thanks a bunch for the heads up!
 

jimmysmitty

Polypheme
Moderator
Be aware these workstations have their quirks:

  1. Only just enough PSU watts (so any gpu upgrade needs a new PSU as well, or a new CPU, or OC)
  2. Propietary PSU (in shape and size and some even in connectors to match the propietary MB connector)
  3. Whitelist in BIOS (It's a small list of aproved hardware.. so changing the ram, cpu, gpu, even storage will result into failure to boot). There are ways to copy the original BIOS, decompile it, and add the FRU for yopur specific hardware then compile it again, flash it to MB and hope you won't brick the computer.
  4. Propietary stuff everywhere, on MB connectors, on case, on MB screw holes and sizes.. so don't think about changing the case or putting another MB in that case.
  5. Porpietary software. While odd, some workstations only work with the aproved Dell/HP/Lenovo version of Windows, and stuff like that. So the hardware looks for the correct SLIC of the windows. (actually the other way around, but point is that just an ordinary windows is a hastle sometimes on propietary workstations, and laptops)
  6. OC is almost always out of the question.
Keep in mind that if you encounter boot issues after upgrades, don't blame a faulty component, it's likely a whitelist in bios.
Except for the whitelist I agree although it never hurts to have extra juice. I have a Corsair AX860i that I have used in two system builds so far, well more than I need. However I like to run near 50% as 50% is where you get the best efficiency in a PSU and it will also last longer due to less wear on the PSU.

Most OEMs don't provide a QVL list for memory however since he is running Intel he should be able to buy from most major manufactures like Corsair or Crucial without much in terms of stability so long as he purchases a matched pair of memory sticks.

As for proprietary, I haven't seen many OEMs do that except Dell who loves to make proprietary designs from the case to the motherboard connection. Most stick with the ATX standard though. From what I can find online that box looks to be a normal ATX box so should be able to use a standard ATX PSU.

One other thing is to check the length of the GPU you want to buy vs what your case will fit. Looks like 9.5" should, maybe a bit longer.

As for the PSU itself, just remember that the 80 plus is only a sign of efficiency and not a sign of quality. While the majority of the time a 80 Plus Gold or Platinum is typically a good PCU there have been some that use inferior components and just barely eek out the 80 Plus rating. The best thing to do is set a budget and find a set of PSUs in that area, +/- 10% on the price for wiggle room, and research them. If you can't find anything or are not sure never be afraid to ask. We have many PSU experts here that will gladly tell you if a PSU is garbage and help you find something that would fit your budget and wattage needed.
 
Reactions: Dryeetz

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