Question Upgrading my old Desktop PC

Apr 1, 2019
Hello there!

About 7-8 years ago my parents were kind enough to gift me a PC of the brand Packard Bell, model imedia 3850.

Processor - Intel Core i5-2300 2.80GHz
Graphics Card - Nvidia GeForce GT420
Motherboard - acer h67h2-ad
Ram - 4GB
Supply Unit - hipro hp-d250aa0 (250W)

I would like to give a second life to this Desktop PC that has served me well.
Essentially my goal is to upgrade the graphics card and the ram to be able to play more modern games (rn, can't do any of that anymore).
From what I understand, it isn't that easy to upgrade a pre-built PC like that.

I'm looking at a budget of 300-350$ max.

It doesn't look like the newer graphics cards would be compatible with the packard bell case, it seems like it would be too big.

So I am turning to you guys, what would you recommend? Is it worth trying to upgrade it or should I just give up and look into building a new one and increasing my budget?
I've never built a computer before and my knowledge on the matter is pretty limited.

Thanks in advance! :)



So looking at your machine, you have 2 problems....

1: That 250W power supply is going to hold you back, although looking at it, it appears to be a standard design (a 'slim line' powersupply) so you can replace that with something with better output. I'd recommend upping it to a 500W unit if possible.

2: Space for the graphics card- looking at the inside shot, you are lucky that that graphics board actually has 2 slots dedicated to it (with the card slotting into the upper one and an empty space below). This means you can get up to a 'dual slot' graphics card- which opens up your options quite a bit but you'll need to be careful to make sure you don't try and get anything larger than dual slot (many cards these days can use 3 slots due to large coolers etc).

Memory should be easy enough as you have a couple of free slots so up that to at least 8gb. You may as well keep the existing 2 x 2gb modules so personally I'd probably add in an additional pair of 4gb to give you 12 total (should be plenty for most things).

Graphics cards wise, if you want to keep it simple and not replace the power supply then you need to look at a motherboard powered only graphics card. The best options at the moment would be the Geforce Gtx 1050 and 1050ti or AMD RX 560 cards. If you chance the power supply you could go a bit faster, to say something like a GTX 1660 or RX 570, assuming you can find one in dual slot form factor.


Is there another full-length PCIe slot above your GPU? If not you will be limited to single-slot GPUs. Not a huge deal considering your system, but you would just need to know before buying.
If you look at the open photo- the gpu is in the slot above the graphcis ports, which are on an extender plate for some reason (?)
Ah, yeah looking at it again that is frustrating- getting hold of single slot graphics cards is almost impossible.
Yeah, I didn't realize how scarce they are. I know there were some produced, like Inno3D GTX 1050 Ti (1-slot edition) and GALAX GTX 1070 Katana. But eBay is about the only place I see them.

GT 1030 is a rather cheap option for single-slot..
Apr 1, 2019
Thanks to both of you!

I will look into that. I am still afraid the graphics card like the gtx 1050 ti might be too big for the space (if you look at the fan, it's installed to the right of the slot, whereas the gt420 in my current pc has its fan pretty much take only up to the slot's end), I will go and try to measure how much I can afford in space.

Another question is cooling, the fans are extremely loud, which, itself isn't too much of an issue but I'd still prefer to keep as quiet as possible if it's not too complicated, are fans easy to change? Is water cooling better? if I want to change it will I need to upgrade the power supply?
this one will fit in the case with your psu profile gpu&cm_re=low_profile_gpu--14-137-320--Product and this is the specs of your system other then that for a low profile single slot gpu you will have to get a new psu check if it is a standard atx one .
There are plenty of GT 1030 that would fit. The R7 240 would be pointless.
I can't find the actual specs on the PSU. If it's decided that you shouldn't run the GT 1030, I would suggest replacing the power supply so you can get a better GPU. The GT 1030 is pretty much the minimum for gaming today. If it were my system I would get the GT 1030. If I wanted to spend more money and get better performance I would replace the power supply and buy a 1-slot GTX 1050 Ti.