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Upgrading the HP Pro 3500

Upgrading the HP Pro 3500

I often see posts here on the forums where someone is asking if it is possible to upgrade their prebuilt desktop to make it capable of gaming. Most of the time, the answer is yes, and here I come with proof. I have upgraded a HP Pro 3500 with a fast affordable used GPU and a more powerful PSU.


Prefer b-roll over written text?  Watch my video here:


Component Selection


I chose the GTX 770 for the GPU as it’s a still a very capable card for 1080p gaming by today’s standard and it can be picked up quite inexpensively on the used market. The GTX 770 is based on the same fully unlocked 28nm GK104 Kepler chip as the one found in the GTX 680. The GK104 chip packs 1536 CUDA cores and a 230W TDP. The GTX 770 is available in both 2GB and 4GB variants both featuring 7GHz GDDR5 on a 256-bit bus. The MSI GTX 770 Gaming OC variant I have is overclocked out of the box by 5%, resulting in close to 3.4 TFLOPS of compute performance. The MSI GTX 770 Gaming OC barely fits in the HPs compact MATX case, so a smaller GPU would make the upgrade process ever so slightly smoother.

For the PSU I chose the Cooler Master B600 for one reason, I already had one on my test bench. I would recommend going with a slightly better quality unit than the B600, so feel free to check out the PSU tier list by @STRMfrmXMN:


When it comes to the stock specs of the machine, the HP Pro 3500 is more than adequate. Its Ivy Bridge quad core i5 3470 is no slouch and with 8GB of ddr3 ram you should (in theory) be able to watch a YouTube video and browse the LTT forums at the same time with no slowdowns. The 500GB mechanical drive is not the fastest thing in the world, but it is large enough to house a few games and you can always add a SSD later down the line. The board is nothing fancy, and lacks both USB3 and SATA6. This however is not much of as issue as it has three PCIE 1x slots for expiation cards that can add these features.



Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHz

HP Pro 3500 Motherboard (H61)

8GB (2x4Gb) DDR3 1600MHz CL11

MSI nVidia GeForce GTX 770 Gaming OC

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB

Cooler Master B600 (600W)


Upgrade Process and Benchmarks

The upgrade process in video format can be found at 1:10 and benchmarks can be found at 4:28.




A quick note on GPU temps

Due to the compact nature of the HP case, the airflow situation for the GTX 770 was far from ideal. With the stock fan profile, the card ended up at 81c and 1084MHz on the core. This however was easily fixed by applying a more aggressive fan curve in MSI afterburner, resulting in GPU Boost kicking in although at the cost of a slightly louder system.





Overall, upgrading a prebuilt is defiantly something to consider for the gamer on a budget. You could go the used route like I did here and buy a last gen GPU and a more powerful PSU, or you could get a new card like the GTX 1050Ti which does not require auxiliary power, and skip the PSU part all together, making for an easier upgrade. As always, the choices are many with PC gaming, and this is just one of them

[GUIDE] LGA 771 Mod for Dell Vostro 220 [GUIDE] LGA 775 BSEL Mod [BUILD] The Mighty Radeon-Powered Dell [VIDEO] Evolution of Intel CPUs

Can you game on an 8-year-old i7? Is the 4-year-old GTX 660 still relevant? Upgrading the HP Pro 3500

Main Rig:


CPU Intel Core i7 4930k @ 4.3GHz | Motherboard ASUS P9X79 Deluxe | RAM Hynix 32GB (8x4GB) 2133MHz CL11 | GPU Gigabyte GTX 980Ti G1 Gaming | Case NZXT Phantom 410 | Storage Samsung 850EVO 500GB, Seagate Barracuda 2TB | PSU Cooler Master G650M (650W) | Monitors x1 Dell U2515H, x2 Dell 1907FP | Cooling Noctua NH-D14 w. x2 NF-F12 iPPC-2000 PWM | Keyboard Logitech G610 ORION BROWN | Mouse Logitech Performance MX | OS Microsoft Windows 10 Pro x64

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good stuff

when people are on a tight budget i always recommend buying a Dell Optiplex with an i5 and windows for like $250 and then upgrading it


I wish more people saw the value proposition of upgrading prebuilts

Photography / Finance / Gaming

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  • 2 years later...

I have a I7-3770,16 GB @1333 MHz memory, GTX 1050 TI, Fatality sound card, and a Wi Fi PCIe card. It runs GTA 5 on High settings at 1080p at 60FPS. 


I did need to upgrade the CPU cooler to a Noctua NH-L9x65 for the CPU. It was throttling when I would run GTA 5 at 80c. Upgrade that stock cooler, it is not enough. I also have my case which is a old d220 MT HP Compaq case, with 2 Noctua 120mm fans to help with cooling and I upgraded to a 95 MM fan in the back exhaust. Now it maxes at 65c for CPU and GPU. Also it is silent.


I did not like the HP Pro case. It did not have a floppy drive bay for my card reader, and I needed 2 5 1/4 bays for my Bluray drive and front audio panel for the Fatality sound card.


Everything in that PC is used with the d220 MT case. I couldn't do that with the stock HP 3500 Pro case. Font panel is solid plastic. It also has only one bay for optical drive. That would heat up with a I7-3770. It takes a lot to cool it. OH yes, 16 GB Memory. Corsair Vengeance 1866 running at 1333 MHz, no XMP support by board. No official support for 16GB, only 8GB, but it works. It's maxed out. Except for GPU. Might try a GTX 1660 one day. Corsair VS 500 for PSU. Don't see a need for anything larger. 


With I7-3770 instead of I3-3240 cooling is critical. It will hit 80c+ with the I3 cooler that was on the board even though it does have official support.

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Also I should say that rebuilding the prebuilt might have more value like I did it. Cabling not the best because I have 2 SSDs and a hard drive in it. Also molex for card reader. Only one I could get with 4 USB 2.0s on it. PSU is a mess, but it works.



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  • 7 months later...

I was given a HP Pro 350 (released in 2012) by my old father in-law here in Nov. 2019. He paid $90 for it in 2017. It had a G645 with 6GB DDR3 PC3-12800U, one Micron 4GB stick and one Samsung 2GB memory stick and it ran at 1333Mhz. It ran super slow with Windows 10 Pro ver. 1903. - snail crawl.  Since Windows 10 is a huge memory hog had to upgrade it.  The Motherboard : Foxconn 2abf motherboard aka H-CUPERTINO2-H61-uA TX (Cupertino2) version 3.10. As it has been indicated any HP Pro 3500 will accept Intel Gen. 3 cpu's even though HP Specification does not say that. I've upgraded to i7-3770 (non-K)  $32 - $45 and Micron DDR3 PC3-12800U 4GB (part number or model 8JTF51264AZ-1G6E1) 2x4GB under $20. Updated Bios v8.14  to v8.19 download application file sp70375 size 3.63MB and it works perfectly and easy to install as just click on the file. What an improvement twice to three times faster. CPU runs at 3.9GHz as if it is in Boost Mode and RAM is now running like XMP mode at 1600MHz timings of 11-11-11-28.  Yes! with a 300 Watt Power Supply you could install a GTX 1050-ti as power requirements is so little which is so weird for a more recent GPU. You could try 2x8GB of memory, then for a very outrageous price still for i7-3770K between $120 - $160 only if you wish to try Overclocking which actually means purchasing a Z77 motherboard (LGA 1155) that allows you to use the UEFI Bios Menu. A comparable GPU to the integrated HD 4000 is the GeForce GT 710. For another big upgrade get a 600 Watt, 650 Watt or 750 Watt Power Supply Unit  Bronze or 80 Plus non- modular ($40 to $90)  and you can install GTX 760, GTX 770 or  GTX 970 or R9-280 or 290. Note that the motherboard PCIe connection / lanes may not be capable of delivering the necessary power for the GPU to function properly. Is it really worth spending so much to make a huge upgrade ?? probably NOT but it is always fun to make an obsolete PC capable of becoming an useful PC for the next couple years. I had only invested $32 for i7-3770 cpu and $7 for 1 stick of Micron 4GB  as now browsing the web, MS Office 2016,  streaming video, watching movies using VideoLan VLC Media Player is nice. CPU temperature stays below 45 c at 3.9GHz. Go wireless using a Linksys/ Cisco AE2500 Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Adapter, Wireless Mouse and USB or Wireless Keyboard. Any 15" to 24" LCD/LED Widescreen Monitor for 1920x1200 Resolution is kool.

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