Guide: how to give your PC a second life inexpensively

With the passage of time computers are being surpassed by the appearance of new components and technologies, a reality that ends up leading many users to have to face an update to give a second life to their equipment before completely discarding it in favor of a new PC.

This is achieved through what is known as partial updates, a resource that has been used almost since the birth of modern computing and allows us to continue to take advantage of components that still offer good level of performance, even if accompanied by other new parts.

Nevertheless at the time of choosing the parts with which to give that second life to our computer we may have doubts or budget may be so tight that we don’t know where to begin. That is why we put together this guide in which we help you make such a complicated decision, according to the main objective you want to achieve.

The latter is very important, since it is obviously not the same to update a PC to give it a second life for games than to use it at a more basic level, such as in web browsing, office automation and multimedia content playback.

In this article will focus on the setup needed to give a second life to equipment for games with different budgets.

First steps

First of all you should be clear that you have two great options when looking for components, you can search the market secondhand between individuals or retailers selling new or restored components.

The latter are products that normally have been used for a short amount of time and have subsequently received a “new” setting, which means that they function as well as new products and that they have a warrantee of one or two years.

If your budget is very small and you want to do a large update (CPU, RAM, and GPU for example) to play current titles the secondhand market might be your best option, since for a minimum cost you can get a good amount of components.

Keep in mind that if you’re going to go for used components is best to buy them in your area and try to try or to see a demo before getting them to see that they work correctly.

In case you have a bigger budget or want to update less components the market for new or refurbished components should be your first choice.

Finally should you also keep in mind the features of your current equipment, the components that will not be updated and their compatibility with the ones you want to put them together with and in this sense is essential to ensure the following:

  • That you have space to mount them
  • That your motherboard has the necessary slots to take advantage of them.
  • That the power supply is sufficient.
  • They do not interfere with other components by their position or placement.
  • That the operating system we use is compatible.
  • That your components will not produce a serious imbalance.
How to give a second life to a gaming PC

At the time of playing the GPU (graphics card) and CPU (processor) are most important. It is important to note that although the former has a greater weight in most cases we must always meet a minimum in the second to enjoy optimal performance.

This is because the performance of the GPU depends on the power of the CPU, and if it does not meet the minimum requirements of a game, it will not be able to reach its full potential.

Today the minimum recommended to play with guarantees is a 4 core processor type AMD FX 4300 or second-generation Core i5. We will also achieve acceptable performance with two-core and four-core solutions from the Core i3 4000 series and Kaby Lake based Pentiums.

If we do not meet the minimum at the processor level we should think about updating that component first and then go for a more powerful graphics card.

To this we should add a third key component, the RAM memory. Currently the minimum to enjoy an optimal game experience is 8 GB if possible with speeds above 1.600 MHz. If we do not meet this minimum we will experience serious jerkiness in the games that can greatly affect the user experience., even if in theory, with more than 30 FPS.

That being said we can clarify the following key points:

  1. The first must be RAM. If we have less than 8 GB we will have to update to that number.
  2. Second, we must check the CPU. If we do not meet the minimum mentioned it will have to be updated.
  3. If we meet the two points above we must invest all or almost the entire budget in new graphics card.
Advice for a 100 dollars budget:

If you meet the minimum CPU and RAM requirements, we recommend that you look for a graphics card in the secondhand market. Here are some references you can use to help you:

  • GTX 660-Radeon HD 7850 with 2 GB of GDDR5: around 50-60 dollars.
  • GTX 770 with 2 GB of GDDR5 or Radeon HD 7970 with 3 GB of GDDR5: between 90 and 100 dollars. If you can find a 4 GB version of the GTX 770 for 110 dollars, it is worth it.

If you do not meet the requirements of RAM and CPU is better that you have a little more to make a truly optimal upgrade.

Advice for a budget of 150 to 200 dollars:

If you meet the CPU and RAM requirements we recommend that you invest the entire budget in the graphic card, as this will be the best way to give a second life to your equipment you have in mind to game.

Due to the lack of Radeon RX graphic cards and their the in price we recommend that you take a look at secondhand market to have more options.

We again give you references to help you:

  • GTX 1050 TI of GIGABYTE with 4 GB of GDDR5 for 149,60 dollars. Reconditioned with two-year warranty.
  • In the secondhand market: GTX 1060 of 3 GB for 150-160 dollars, GTX 1060 of 6 GB for 180- 200 dollars. Radeon RX 470-570 and 480-580 are overpriced, but if you can find them for the same prices for the two NVIDIA models that we have cited, it would be a good buy.

If you don’t meet the requirements at the level of RAM or CPU you can try to get to the minimum we have given above (FX 4300-Core i3 4000 or Core i5 2000) and 8 GB of RAM, and invest the rest in a new graphic card.

In the case that you have less than 100 dollars take a look at the secondhand options that were shown earlier.


Advice for a budget of 300 dollars:

If we meet the minimum CPU and RAM requirements we can give a second life to our PC with a medium-high graphic game card, but unfortunately prices have risen a lot due to the mining of crypto-currencies and it is difficult to find models at a good price.

Overall use these recommendations as your guide:

  • This GIGABYTE GTX 970 is a good option in the secondhand market. Good performance and a guarantee for 215.15 dollars.
  • If you want a bit more performance and a new graphics card, this GTX 1060 6GB is the most balanced we can find right now. It costs 279 dollars.

If you don’t meet the minimum RAM or processor requirements you can upgrade those two components without problems and should still have around 150 dollars left, that you can use to buy a GTX 1050 TI as we indicated in the last point.

If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments.

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