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Upgrading MB, CPU, RAM - need help


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#1 DarkMagician1350

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 05:04 PM

I am looking to upgrade my cpu (well motherboard, cpu, and RAM combination) and have come to the great debate.

I have always had an intel, but I have never been on either a core2 or amd. currently I have a p4 2.4ghz (478 socket) and then 1.2ghz celeron, so this is going to be a BIG step. what I've read is intel is better for overclocking, which I haven't decided if I'm doing yet, and amd is better at stock.

the other problem is, all the motherboards I'm finding don't have AGP slots, just PCI-e, and I read there is a converter to AGP, is this true?

I was looking to spend <$150 including case and components. I already have the powersupply and hard drives, as well as optical drives, so I think thats everything...tell me if I'm missing something.

I'm not looking for the best of the best, just a working computer since the one I currently have is failing (motherboard is failing). I'm not going to be buying for at least another half month (when paycheck comes in) but I will need a break down of prices to show the wife.


sorry if this is in the wrong place, and thank you for any help.

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 06:36 PM

Intel usually has the newer more expensive technology, but AMD is cheaper and has the multiplier-unlocked Black Edition processors. Some processors often chew up most of your budget of $150. A good mobo costs around $100 or so, RAM can cost the same if you need fast or high capacity RAM, the case about $50 - $100, and the CPU will cost $100 to $150. Nevertheless, if you take advantage of sales, rebates, and combos, you can save a large chunk of cash. There are currently no decent motherboards being sold at Newegg that have AGP. If all you want is a working PC without high-end graphics, get a mobo with integrated graphics. Note that if you have an OEM edition of Windows from Dell or another major manufacturer, replacing a motherboard that is not an exact copy will violate your license.

Motherboard: ECS A780GM-A AM2+/AM2 - This is a motherboard with on-board graphics which supports the latest AMD processors. Do not get a micro-ATX board, cooling can be a concern unless you are going for a home theater PC. This motherboard as an ATI Radeon HD 3200 on-board graphics card. $70 (Before $10 mail-in rebate)

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz Black Edition- This is a dual-core CPU at a decent clock speed and price. $79

Memory: OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) - Your motherboard takes DDR2-1066 memory, which this is. Your motherboard can support up to 32GB, you can get one kit now and another later. Note that you will need to have a 64-bit OS in order to use more than 4GB of memory. $63 (Before $30 mail-in rebate)

Case: ATOP AT751AL-35-12V Silver Aluminum - This is one of the cheapest aluminum Mid-ATX tower cases Newegg offers. Aluminum cases are usually of higher quality. $49

Final Price: $262.97 (Before Rebates) - $40 (Rebates) = $222.97

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#3 DarkMagician1350

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:42 PM

the 2 I was looking at were:

Core2duo 1.8ghz on ECS nFORCE570 SLI board with 512mb DDR2 ram

Athlonx2 2.0ghz on gigabyte board with 1gb DDR2 ram

both are from pricewatch.com, I have ordered parts from both vendors (PartsPC and AscendTech), so I trust them enough.

as far as the operating system goes, I didn't know that about windows, but I don't mind using Ubuntu. What ticks me off about that is the motherboard is the faulty unit and it seems that is a common issue with this compaq, so I don't want to replace the motherboard with another faulty unit...

what do you think of those 2 links?

#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 01:48 AM

The PC's at those two links are underpowered. The processors should not be less than 2.4GHz or so in a modern PC, anything less is just a waste. This is especially true if you plan on doing more than getting email and casual internet browsing. Once you go below about $75 for the CPU and roughly the same for the motherboard, the quality and power plummets. The cheapest Intel processor at 2.4GHz costs about $85, the motherboard $120. Are you planning on reusing the power supply from your old Compaq? Some Compaq models use proprietary connectors, you may want to check on this. If you do decide to go to Linux (The Kubuntu flavor of Ubuntu is similar in appearance to Windows) you should know that some of your software might not work correctly under WINE. I tried Kubuntu and Ubuntu for about a year, it was not a pleasant experience. I had to reinstall the OS a few times because of botched updates and drivers issues.

Here's another suggested combo, with a decent processor and motherboard, it does not have on-board video though: Athlon + Biostar Combo
You will have to buy memory separately if you get it since it uses DDR2-800: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
This combo should keep you within your budget, but purchasing a case might be required if you cannot use an old one.

Edited by DJBPace07, 15 January 2009 - 01:50 AM.

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#5 DarkMagician1350

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Posted 15 January 2009 - 05:23 PM

The PC's at those two links are underpowered. The processors should not be less than 2.4GHz or so in a modern PC, anything less is just a waste. This is especially true if you plan on doing more than getting email and casual internet browsing. Once you go below about $75 for the CPU and roughly the same for the motherboard, the quality and power plummets. The cheapest Intel processor at 2.4GHz costs about $85, the motherboard $120. Are you planning on reusing the power supply from your old Compaq? Some Compaq models use proprietary connectors, you may want to check on this. If you do decide to go to Linux (The Kubuntu flavor of Ubuntu is similar in appearance to Windows) you should know that some of your software might not work correctly under WINE. I tried Kubuntu and Ubuntu for about a year, it was not a pleasant experience. I had to reinstall the OS a few times because of botched updates and drivers issues.

Here's another suggested combo, with a decent processor and motherboard, it does not have on-board video though: Athlon + Biostar Combo
You will have to buy memory separately if you get it since it uses DDR2-800: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
This combo should keep you within your budget, but purchasing a case might be required if you cannot use an old one.


this isn't a primary computer, and its not like I do much on it. I play a couple of games, but they aren't very labor intensive on the computer. First is Knights of the Old Republic (I and II) and second is WoW (though not as much anymore). The 1.2ghz was handling both just fine (with 512mb AGP card), but the motherboard is dying. It's not surprising, the computer has lasted me since 2000 so it did a good job. If I had a car that lasted 8 years and the only reason to get rid of it was it stalled every so often, I would be thrilled. especially not having to have sunk any money into it over the years.

but I don't need a blazing fast computer, and I don't need much ram as I will still be using a 32-bit XP until Win7 drops...I refuse to use vista after using it on other people's computers.

I plan on using the power supply, but its not a stock one. I got it from my brother, its a 500w OCZ and fairly new. he said it was $25 after rebate and has a 3 year warranty. I also have a 320gb sata that I've been using as a back up (combined 3 gift cards to buy it...ran me $50 which seemed a good deal). It can become the primary if the new motherboard doesn't have more than 1 IDE since my optical drives will take that (dvd and cd-rw).

I've used Ubuntu as my backup OS in case windows ever messes up with viruses, and I like it. I have tried Kubuntu and its not terribly much different, I'm just accustomed to GNOME not KDE.


To be honest, the "upgrades" I was looking at were high speed single cores (3.0ghz+) and <2.0ghz dual cores. Like I said, I don't need more than that as its replacing a 1.2ghz single core.

I've now read too many conflicting things. my brother in law is telling me AMD's are better in the long run because they overclock cooler plus are half the cost, while other people have told me intel overclock better and cost the same as amd.

#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 04:53 PM

According to your initial post, you are replacing a Penitum 4 at 2.4GHz. That is what I was basing my suggestions on. AMD processors are not as cutting edge as Intel's but they are a more cost effective solution. If you buy a Black Edition AMD processor, it will be more easily overclocked since it has unlocked multipliers. Typically, only Intel's line of Extreme processors have this ability. AMD processors often use more power, depending on the processor, though Intel's i7 processors are power hogs as well. That OCZ power supply is sufficient to handle most mid-range components, it will work nicely with almost any build. There are very few single-core processors out there, you're largely stuck with dual-core processors. Note that if a program has not been designed to run with a multi-core setup, it will only use a single core. So if a program runs fast with a 3GHz P4 but cannot use multiple cores, it may perform slower on a dual-core processor with a slower clock. I found this out the hard way with The Sims 2. I have a quad-core but the game can use only a single core. That means I'm running the game at 2.6GHz. The AMD Athlon processor I listed above is about the slowest and cheapest AM2+ processor you can get. AMD does have OEM processors you can get, but you're forced to buy your own heatsink and fan which negates any savings you might have.

Alternate setup
AMD Athlon X2 BE-2400 Brisbane 2.3GHz - Slow for most cutting edge games, but will hold its own with older games. $50
ECS A780GM-A AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G - Same one as above. $70 (Before $10 mail-in rebate)
OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) - Same memory as above. $69.99 (Before $30 mail-in rebate)
Alternate memory: Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) - If you want to pay less upfront but not get a rebate, you can get this. $45

With the OCZ memory: $190 - $40 (Rebates) = $150

Intel Alternate
BIOSTAR TForce TG31-A7 LGA 775 Motherboard - A cheap Intel motherboard with on-board graphics. $59
Intel Pentium E2200 Allendale 2.2GHz - Intel's Pentium Dual Core chip. $70
Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) - This setup uses the same type of memory the AMD one uses. If you want to pay less upfront but not get a rebate, you can get this. $45

Price $174

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