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Looking into upgrading my current build


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#1 K-Pock

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 11:47 AM

I'd like to convert my current computer into more of a media box, it's a rig I built myself a couple years back, and I'm looking to upgrade, here's my current specs:

Antec NeoPower 500W PSU
Abit IL9 Pro Motherboard
Pentium D 830 3.2 GHz Dualcore
3 GB DDR2 667 RAM
120 GB SATA HDD
160 GB SATA HDD
Dual booting Vista Business and Windows 7 Beta 7000

I'm really looking to upgrade my processor. What I mostly do is photography, photo editing software (Adobe Photoshop CS2, and the rest of the Creative Suite), video and audio. I'm wondering if I would be better suited to get a high end Core 2 Duo, or is it worth it for me to look into a Core 2 Quad? It's a LGA775 socket motherboard.

I'm also interested in adding a TV Tuner card for recording over the air television, and possibly cable and FM radio (I've seen these cards with FM in some of the HP Media Center PCs but never in stores...)

Any suggestions for me? I'm looking to keep the budget under $150 if possible for the CPU. Thanks!

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#2 fairjoeblue

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 12:54 PM

The Abit IL9 Pro has pretty limited upgrade possibilities.

According to the CPU support list,

http://www.abit.com.tw/cpu-support-list/mb...45p_il9-pro.htm

You can forget the quadcores & the newer C2D's .

If you want a decent upgrade you might want to consider a motherboard & CPU .

I would go with a ,

Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16819115206

Or if it's affordable to you ,

Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16819115037

Of course you would need a new motherboard that supports the CPU.

On the real side,
Unless your computer is having problems what you have may not be "cutting edge" any more but it's still plenty acceptable.

My "media box" has a Pentium D 920 2.8GHz CPU , 2GB 667MHz memory, PCI-E Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB video card,Sata hard drive, XP Pro .
It's performance is more then acceptable.
A media center doesn't have to be a super computer.
The first one I built used a P4 1.7GHz CPU & 512MB PC133 SDRAM & worked well

"I'm also interested in adding a TV Tuner card for recording over the air television, and possibly cable and FM radio (I've seen these cards with FM in some of the HP Media Center PCs but never in stores...) "

Buying a TV Tuner card for a computer to get "over the air" TV is kind of like buying a new cadillac to drive to the dollar store.

I have a TV Tuner card I bought off of ebay for $20.
It came with the TV Tuner card, remote, sound cable [goes from the card to sound in on the motherboard or sound card] & the disk with the drivers & TV software.
It works great !
I have it attached to cable though.
It doesn't have the radio but there are cards that have a FM Tuner on them.

Edited by fairjoeblue, 28 March 2009 - 01:09 PM.

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#3 hamluis

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 01:43 PM

I'll just second pretty much what Fairjoeblue said about the specs required...you don't need a powerhouse to video, graphics, audio.

What you do need is max RAM supported by the board and at least 1 hard drive which you can devote to your multimedia functions (storage, scratch).

I'd go for a motherboard bundle within your budget (I would probably go AM2/AM2+ AMD board) because a lot of good boards are out of favor just because of the Big Push on quad-core. I'd be willing to guess that 75% of the persons with quad-core systems don't realize any benefit in the mundane things they use their systems for.

You would probably also require new RAM but it cannot get any cheaper than it is today. The advantages of running dual-channel RAM make it almost necessary, IMO.

I suggest taking a look at Tiger Direct's website, since (IMO) Newegg tends to carry more current inventory as their main focus.

Louis

#4 K-Pock

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 02:55 PM

Of course you would need a new motherboard that supports the CPU.

On the real side,
Unless your computer is having problems what you have may not be "cutting edge" any more but it's still plenty acceptable.

"I'm also interested in adding a TV Tuner card for recording over the air television, and possibly cable and FM radio (I've seen these cards with FM in some of the HP Media Center PCs but never in stores...) "

Buying a TV Tuner card for a computer to get "over the air" TV is kind of like buying a new cadillac to drive to the dollar store.

I have a TV Tuner card I bought off of ebay for $20.
It came with the TV Tuner card, remote, sound cable [goes from the card to sound in on the motherboard or sound card] & the disk with the drivers & TV software.
It works great !
I have it attached to cable though.
It doesn't have the radio but there are cards that have a FM Tuner on them.

What about something like this?:

Intel DG41RQ Motherboard CPU Bundle - Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 2.80GHz

I'm more interested in the processing improvements for Photoshop than for video and stuff. As far as the TV Tuner, aren't there typically several stations broadcasting in HD now? At least the ones who have made the transition already.

I'll just second pretty much what Fairjoeblue said about the specs required...you don't need a powerhouse to video, graphics, audio.

What you do need is max RAM supported by the board and at least 1 hard drive which you can devote to your multimedia functions (storage, scratch).

I'd go for a motherboard bundle within your budget (I would probably go AM2/AM2+ AMD board) because a lot of good boards are out of favor just because of the Big Push on quad-core. I'd be willing to guess that 75% of the persons with quad-core systems don't realize any benefit in the mundane things they use their systems for.

You would probably also require new RAM but it cannot get any cheaper than it is today. The advantages of running dual-channel RAM make it almost necessary, IMO.

I suggest taking a look at Tiger Direct's website, since (IMO) Newegg tends to carry more current inventory as their main focus.

Louis

Thanks for the advice guys, I looked at TigerDirect and found the bundle posted above, and that would be upgradable to 8 GB DDR2 800. I usually prefer Intel over AMD, luis, but if you've got a suggestion I'm open to it. I'm just more familiar with Intel, haha. Should I look into a motherboard with DDR3 support or is that even worth the extra at the present?

#5 fairjoeblue

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 03:08 PM

I looked at the motherboard in the combo on the Intel site.

I think the combo is a good deal .

Intel usually makes good quality , dependable, motherboards.

Overclockers don't usually buy Intel because Intel traditionally doesn't provide overclocking featurers.

If you don't overclock Intel is usually a good choice.
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#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 03:11 PM

If you're going to be putting this PC in a living room or some other location where a quiet PC is preferred, having a quiet case and CPU fans would be a good idea. In the U.S. there has been a digital transition, but just because it is digital does not mean it is HD. The digital transition only overs over-the-air transmissions, converting it from analog to digital. Often, if you want HD, you need to get it over-the-air, which can be difficult depending on where you live, or get digital cable and subscribe to an HD tier. You also need to have a display capable of displaying HD programming at 1080p to get the most out of it. I suggest AMD as they typically are cheaper than Intel. But you will need to purchase more than just a new CPU if you get one though, you will need a CPU, new RAM, and motherboard. This will put you over your $150 budget. As for TV tuner cards, I have this one and I really like it: AVerMedia AVerTV Combo PCIe

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#7 fairjoeblue

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 03:20 PM

On the TV stations broadcasting over the air in HD,

Yes, they are.

Your computer isn't a HDTV though.

Being able to receive HD signals isn't going to make a monitor or TV automatically "HD" .

I have my "regular" TV hooked to cable, as well as my media computer, both work but NETHER show a "High Definition" picture, just plain old TV .

The ONLY practicle reason to hook a computer to a HDTV is to play movies in HD off of the computer, or games , or use the TV as a monitor.

I don't know about HDTV's but I can tell you from expierence that "regular" TV's make HORRIBLE monitors.
[Great for watching movies though]
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#8 fairjoeblue

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 03:29 PM

Other then being PCI & not PCI-E my $20. TV Tuner card has all the same features & probably works as well .

I read up on TV Tuner cards before I bought one,
From what I read all use 1 of 3 different chips & all work about the same.
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#9 hamluis

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 04:16 PM

I have no suggestions :thumbsup:...you're the buyer and it's your system. When it comes to system components, the buyer is always right...assuming that some real thought went into the purchase beforehand and he/she really obtained whatever it was that was in mind.

I generally prefer AMD processors because I think they are better values, dollar for dollar, for someone like me who buys products when they are no longer being pushed as the current rage. Intel processor/prices drop, but it seems that the AMD processors that are comparable...cost less and that's what suits me :huh:.

I'm not into the "fanboy" scenario, but I am not prone to pay more for similar capabilities. I am not trying to impress the unknowing...with what a "super" system I might have.

FJB is right about the reception...if you want HD, you need an HD capture card. Some are available. I suggest taking a look at whatever is available at the Hauppauge website to get an idea of how complex it can all be.

Louis

#10 K-Pock

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 04:17 PM

Being able to receive HD signals isn't going to make a monitor or TV automatically "HD" .

I have my "regular" TV hooked to cable, as well as my media computer, both work but NETHER show a "High Definition" picture, just plain old TV .

Yeah, I know that, I have a 22" monitor connected through DVI that I'm using, I won't be hooking it to a standard def TV.

Also, yeah, I'd never done any overclocking but I've given it some thought. I saw another one here:

Gigabyte EP43-UD3L Motherboard CPU Bundle - Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 2.80GHz

Definitely seems to be a better spec motherboard for the price, but I'm not sure on the brand.

Edited by K-Pock, 28 March 2009 - 04:21 PM.


#11 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 04:22 PM

Just to clarify my previous point: HDTV is being broadcast over-the-air, but just because a local station switched from analog to digital doesn't make the content HD. This is because the switchover is nothing more than a signal change. The digital transmissions over-the-air can have HD and SD content, though the majority of it is SD. The more common method of getting HD programming is through digital cable or satellite and subscribing to an HD package. Whether or not you get HD over-the-air depends on your location and the environment around you since the HD signals don't penetrate structures and landscapes very easily. So, if you live in a valley, you may not get many HD stations or if you live in a high-rise facing the wrong direction, my problem, you may not get certain stations. Your PC can display HD content under certain conditions. First, you must have a monitor with a resolution capable of displaying the content along with powerful enough hardware. Next, you need either an HD antenna or HD cable or satellite service. Finally, you need to have it properly connected to your PC or monitor, a few of the cable providers disable some of the outputs on the back of their cable boxes making it a little difficult to connect them to a PC or monitor. Occasionally, cable providers will encrypt some of their channels preventing the PC from recording. Gigabyte is a good brand, along with Asus, XFX, eVGA, and ASRock.

Edited by DJBPace07, 28 March 2009 - 04:23 PM.

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#12 K-Pock

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 04:23 PM

I have no suggestions :thumbsup:...you're the buyer and it's your system. When it comes to system components, the buyer is always right...assuming that some real thought went into the purchase beforehand and he/she really obtained whatever it was that was in mind.

I generally prefer AMD processors because I think they are better values, dollar for dollar, for someone like me who buys products when they are no longer being pushed as the current rage. Intel processor/prices drop, but it seems that the AMD processors that are comparable...cost less and that's what suits me :huh:.

I'm not into the "fanboy" scenario, but I am not prone to pay more for similar capabilities. I am not trying to impress the unknowing...with what a "super" system I might have.

Louis

I may take a look at the AMD too, I agree, no point paying more for something that performs just as well. I'm just more comfortable cause I know about Intel, but there's no better time to learn, I suppose. :D

#13 K-Pock

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 04:28 PM

Just to clarify my previous point: HDTV is being broadcast over-the-air, but just because a local station switched from analog to digital doesn't make the content HD. This is because the switchover is nothing more than a signal change. The digital transmissions over-the-air can have HD and SD content, though the majority of it is SD. The more common method of getting HD programming is through digital cable or satellite and subscribing to an HD package. Whether or not you get HD over-the-air depends on your location and the environment around you since the HD signals don't penetrate structures and landscapes very easily. So, if you live in a valley, you may not get many HD stations or if you live in a high-rise facing the wrong direction, my problem, you may not get certain stations. Your PC can display HD content under certain conditions. First, you must have a monitor with a resolution capable of displaying the content along with powerful enough hardware. Next, you need either an HD antenna or HD cable or satellite service. Finally, you need to have it properly connected to your PC or monitor, a few of the cable providers disable some of the outputs on the back of their cable boxes making it a little difficult to connect them to a PC or monitor. Occasionally, cable providers will encrypt some of their channels preventing the PC from recording. Gigabyte is a good brand, along with Asus, XFX, eVGA, and ASRock.

Yeah, that's right, haha, I wasn't thinking clearly. Even so, I'm not so worried about whether or not it's HD, I'd just like to record some TV shows every now and then, plus pull in local FM stations if possible. We're up on a mountain, and we've got an antenna mounted on the roof, so the reception should be pretty good, antennaweb.org reports plenty of available stations for my location. So Gigabyte's good? I'll do some more research on that board then for sure!

#14 fairjoeblue

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 11:20 PM

"I may take a look at the AMD too, I agree, no point paying more for something that performs just as well."

The AMD dual core & quad CPU's have less then HALF the cache of most comparable Intel CPU's .
As AMD has always done, they rely on a higher front bus to give the illusion of equal performance.
That has always caused a cooling issue with AMD CPU's.

Go back through the threads & compare how many you find by people having problems with AMD CPU's to how many are from people with Intel.

I'm not trying to start a "which i9s better" argument because there is none.
I'm just pointing out that they are by no means equal & you get what you pay for.
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#15 DJBPace07

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 04:27 AM

There are fanboys, and girls, on either side of the AMD/Intel argument just as there are in the NVidia/ATI one. On one side, Intel enthusiasts say that their chips have more cache and thus is more efficient. AMD enthusiasts say that their chips don't need all the cache since it uses it more efficiently. Quality issues are rare with either company and should not detract you from any manufacturer. Intel is usually more expensive but have slightly better performance than AMD, with the possible exception of the i7's which are vastly superior. AMD is good for more budget conscious users in that you get more processor for less cash.

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