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Upgrade Advice


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#1 Gothmog

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 01:55 AM

hi my comp just turned 3 and I want to see if i can do a little upgrading to stay up to speed with today's apps. I'm looking for advice on which part you think is my greatest bottleneck and what to upgrade it to/with.

My main areas for upgrades I can think of are: CPU, graphics, and memory. Of these I will list what I have. I want to improve load times etc, but I dont want to spend so much that I could just buy a new computer. But if you think that a new computer would be faster and cheaper than what I have please give me any info

CPU: P4 2.8 GHz 478 pin
Graphics: ATI Radeon 9000 Pro 64 Mb
memory: 512 Mb (1 stick) I think that it is PC133 SDRAM based on comparison in everest's benchmarking section.

here are some specifics I pulled from Everest
--------[ CPU ]---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CPU Properties:
CPU Type Intel Pentium 4A, 2800 MHz (21 x 133)
CPU Alias Northwood, A80532
CPU Stepping C1
Instruction Set x86, MMX, SSE, SSE2
Original Clock 2800 MHz
Engineering Sample No
L1 Trace Cache 12K Instructions
L1 Data Cache 8 KB
L2 Cache 512 KB (On-Die, ECC, ATC, Full-Speed)

--------[ GPU ]---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Graphics Processor Properties:
Video Adapter ATI Radeon 9000 (RV250) (ATI Radeon 9000 Pro)
GPU Code Name RV250
PCI Device 1002 / 4966
Transistors 36 million
Process Technology 0.15u
Bus Type AGP 4x
Memory Size 64 MB
GPU Clock 274 MHz (original: 275 MHz)
RAMDAC Clock 400 MHz
Pixel Pipelines 4
TMU Per Pipeline 1
Vertex Shaders 1 (v1.1)
Pixel Shaders 1 (v1.4)
DirectX Hardware Support DirectX v8.1
Pixel Fillrate 1096 MPixel/s
Texel Fillrate 1096 MTexel/s




My other parts of mention are CD-RW drive, DVD-RW drive, 2 HDs:Seagate 80GB Baracuda(active C partition), brand new 320 GB WD Caviar in 3 partiotions, and all this runs on XP home

Thanks in advance for your replies

--EDIT
Oops forgot to put my mobo stats, and both HDs are EIDE
--------[ Motherboard ]-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Motherboard Properties:
Motherboard ID 62-1018-001131-00101111-040201-SiS65X$935_Release 10/18/2002
Motherboard Name Unknown

Front Side Bus Properties:
Bus Type Intel NetBurst
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 133 MHz (QDR)
Effective Clock 533 MHz
Bandwidth 4267 MB/s

Chipset Bus Properties:
Bus Type SiS MuTIOL
Bus Width 16-bit

Edited by Gothmog, 15 March 2006 - 01:58 AM.


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#2 HitSquad

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 08:30 AM

Hi Gothmog.
If I were to upgrade that system, I'd start with the video card first, memory second.
Forget the cpu, it's still good enough for now. Your report doesn't list mobo maker but I think it may be Elite.
Socket 478 is history anyway. Before you upgrade, make sure the power supply is not already at capacity.
You're currently running 4 drives and some of the newer cards suck the juice, as will added memory.
As far as increasing load times, one of your stated goals, OS tweaks and reducing running applications and unneeded services can help dramaticly without adding hardware. But if you want to run more current applications, those two upgrades are a must.

#3 Enthusiast

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 12:57 PM

What aps are problematic?

The mobo is running old type ram. There are still good mobos for 478 processors around. Check and see if your processor has hyperthreading technology. Some of the 2.8 478s do. If so, a mobo that supports it would be faster. Replacing the mobo to a more current one would also entail replacing the RAM (two DDR 3200 512s or more) but follow Ram placement directions exactly if you want it to work.

The video card should be sufficient for most aps except games with intensive graphics needs or graphics intensive CAD programs.

More memory is always better.

Make sure your power supply is adaquate if you decide to upgrade.

See what your paging file is set for and being that you have two hds put it on the slave drive. It will be slightly faster and won't cause as much fragmentation on your main drive. It should be set for 1 1/2 times the amount of RAM.

Edited by Enthusiast, 15 March 2006 - 01:00 PM.


#4 linderman

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 06:40 PM

I agree with the addict !!


If I were in your shoes I would grab a Asus P4-800 sereis board (I really like the P4P800-E deluxe)
then you would need 2 matched sticks (dual channel kit) sticks of 512 PC 3200 this board will run in dual channel capacity which will be a rocket compared to the set-up you have now

a new video card would be a welcome addition >>>>> llok on ebay for the following >>>>> your CPU is plenty powerful enough by far >>>> your mobo & ram are your wekaest link by far !!

pay heed to the PSU questions >>>> very seriosu considerations

I would price the follwing and see if you can swallow the pill

check ebay on the following:

Asus P4P800-E deluxe
PC 3200 DDR dual channel 512 kit (2 x 512 sticks)
Antec SP-500 watt PSU (should be around $68.00)
ATI 9800 Pro 128mb

I would not hesitate to buy these components used as long as the seller has a high feddback happiness rating like 100 sales and 99.9% happy

Edited by linderman, 15 March 2006 - 06:42 PM.


#5 linderman

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 06:49 PM

like this one (has onboard video already)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ASUS-P4SP-MX-mATX-P4-M...1QQcmdZViewItem




this one is better of course

http://cgi.ebay.com/Asus-P4P800SE-Socket-4...1QQcmdZViewItem


video card
http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ATI-RADEON-9800-PR...1QQcmdZViewItem


PSU
http://cgi.ebay.com/Antec-SmartPower-2-0-S...1QQcmdZViewItem


memory
http://cgi.ebay.com/Corsair-Valueselect-2x...1QQcmdZViewItem

Edited by linderman, 15 March 2006 - 06:56 PM.


#6 HitSquad

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 10:15 AM

I for one see no cost effective reason to replace the old socket 478 board with another socket 478 board for the sake of faster memory or even HT. That's just chucking good money down the drain. Socket 478 will soon be gone. Not to mention he'll have to mess around with XP activation again with a new mobo.
Granted, sdram ain't the greatest but doubling it up and installing a respectable video card will help greatly.
I certainly wouldn't buy any main computer components from e-bay, used or new. I don't care what the sellers rating is. I think lindermans whole point here is just a quick, easy and inexpensive upgrade until he's ready for a new system.
Oh well, just my opinion I guess.

#7 stevealmighty

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 11:15 AM

Be careful with ebay. I've had a friend get burned on a processor he bought, it was fried when he got it. On the other hand, I've had another friend get a radeon 9700 pro and have it work perfectly. Personally, I seldom use ebay, and when I do, it's for an inexpensive purchase so if I get a crappy product, I'm not out that much money.

It is possible to build a new computer from scratch on a budget. I just finished piecing together mine, and spent under $800. It took about 4 months, but I got good deals, sales, free shipping ect. I can run Adobe photoshop, adobe premier pro with no problems. I can also run guild wars, far cry, battlefield 2 (BF2) and BF2 special ops in the higest resolution with no problems at all. You've just got to be smart with what you buy and look for combos, like a mobo w/processor combo, a case with psu combo, mail in rebates on ram etc etc.

Here's what I put together for under $800, including shipping and handling:

Abit mobo
celeron 2.95mhz cpu 533mhz fsb
2 GB ddr400/pc3200 ram (2X1 gb sticks)
550W psu
200gb western digital hdd
dvd/rw super multi drive (LG)
case (case is rather cheap though...)
SB! Live 24bit soundcard
nvidia 6800GS

See, not bad at all for the price....I've "pimped my pc" LOL! :thumbsup:
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#8 linderman

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 07:22 PM

as far as getting burned on ebay I have bought over 100 computer parts on ebay and never been burned !!


and just for info's sake >>>> have you ever heard of a credit chard charge back ??????? yeah; you call you bank explain the situtation and they reverse the charge to your account.


as for the upgrading ??? its a matter of personal opinion I certainly respect the views of those above >>>> but I still stand firm on the perfromance boost that you can obtain from a modest $400.00 or less upgrade

as far as socket 478 being obsolete >>>> someday they will >>>> so will everything else released >>>> componet manufacturers release new models like firing machine gun bullets in an effort to get us to flock to the latest and greatest waste of big bucks no $500.00 processors for this dude; not when I can wait 12-18 months and buy the same processor new for one half that cost.

I sell many custom built computers >>>> you would be hard pressed to see the diff between the specs I posted above and a big dollar dual core 3800+ amd rig running in SLI mode !!! there will be a slight diff in speed and video but not enough to make the average guy let loose of the money !!

One thing I noticed big time since I started building custom computers and upgrading them is this; if you show the average user the machine assembled and running they are about to buy they will not buy it; the only exception to this rule is if "the machine they were accustomed to is four years old or older"

most of the new computers people drool to own dont live up to the expecations and the hype that they expected to get!

thats my two cents worth

#9 Gothmog

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 11:40 PM

wow, thanks for all the input.
HitSquad seems to get my line of thinking. I want to upgrade, but not catch up to a current gaming rig. as it is right now, I can run HL2 and some other new-gen games. Right now from what I read I get the feeling that all my current parts are goin out of style like the 5.25" floppy ( or the 3.5" now!) and I want to grab some obsolete parts cheap, throw em' in and seal up the case(metaphorically of course). That way I'll have this one thats old, but better than when I bought it. and good enough for a relative when I send it out to pasture. Now, to respond to some of your comments...

The mobo brand on the box given to me w/ the comp is PCChips. After that i dont know much. I threw in the serial the software pulled incase someone had a reverse look up index

In PCMark's proc section it did say that HT was present, but disabled and in a separate thread I had some people tell me how to go about activating it, but I put that aside for now. What kind of performace gain would it give me anyway?

My main problems with aps are of course the games, but only longer than preferred loading screens and not able to hit high res on new games(or use water effects) I think that some of the slow down might be from age since I havent reinstalled windows in a long time, but I cant b/c my XP disk is hiding from me. I do have the product key sticker on the side of my case though, would I be able to use a bootleg to reinstall and use my authentic key?

for the vid card, are there cards that are cheap now that will give me noticable difference in performance? When I got this 3 years ago I thought I was getting a super card, but I think now in hindsight that it was just a super card for the money, although the guy I had put the system together thought it was pretty unusual(I think his main customers wanted home office stations).

Lastly for the memory. I have 3 open slots at first glance. I doubt the mobo would support 2GB of Ram and Im pretty sure matching pairs is the way to go. Is that old RAM a lot cheaper than the new DDR? or have I waited too long and SDRAM is expensive b/c it is rare? Also Im not sure if all 4 slots are the same or if there are 2 SDRAM and 2 legacy varieties etc.

#10 Gothmog

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 11:55 PM

steve I have some ?s about that system you built. last summer I had a pipedream about building a system , but that never got off the ground. So now I'm coming back to that idea now that all the new tech of last year is less pricey.

I had always thought that for performance machines the celuron chip was not the way to go. Is it just much cheaper to get a celuron and put more money elsewhere, or am I misinformed about Intels chips?

did you consider a SLI configuration for video? If so did you choose one card b/c performance increase in SLI is over-rated? I ask b/c I have heard both pro and con for it and not sure what to believe

Also I have heard some people say that sound cards are becoming less important b/c onboard sound is improving so much. btw can you give me the model of your mobo so I can piece together an idea for a system?

#11 Enthusiast

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 10:09 AM

I for one see no cost effective reason to replace the old socket 478 board with another socket 478 board for the sake of faster memory or even HT. That's just chucking good money down the drain. Socket 478 will soon be gone. Not to mention he'll have to mess around with XP activation again with a new mobo.
Granted, sdram ain't the greatest but doubling it up and installing a respectable video card will help greatly.
I certainly wouldn't buy any main computer components from e-bay, used or new. I don't care what the sellers rating is. I think lindermans whole point here is just a quick, easy and inexpensive upgrade until he's ready for a new system.
Oh well, just my opinion I guess.


XP activation as long as his COA was valid amounts to a phone call, and just replacing the MB without replacing the HDs, the optical drives or the video card won't trigger it anyway. The mobo would make much more difference than replacing the video card, and so will the ddr RAM.

The 2.8 Pentium 478 if it has HT technology is fast enough. The mobo should be around a hundred, the RAM another hundred - for $200 it would be a steaming machine (as long as the power supply was sufficient).

This isn't a case of trying to upgrade a Pent II or III, and the fact that they have stopped making the 478 chips in P4s doesn't matter.

#12 linderman

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 06:22 PM

I personally am 100% convinced smart money builds computers with the hot parts of 12months ago. you get good performance without paying the insane long dollar just released price. I can remember waiting for a Mobo and CPU to hit dealer shelves for the first time >>>> pay the insane money to buy them then six months later they were worth DRASTICALLY less where is the brain in that situtation ??????

#13 Enthusiast

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 09:00 PM

See if you can figure out which motherboard you have.

http://www.pcchips.com.tw/PCCWeb/Products/...nuID=22&LanID=2

#14 linderman

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 09:29 PM

you will find this utility a very useful tool for learning info about your system & its free

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System...e-Edition.shtml

:thumbsup:

#15 Enthusiast

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 10:27 PM

Everest 1.51 is better than 2.0 because it has full functionality which was reduced in subsequent freeware versions until a freeware version was no longer offered.

You can get it at oldversion.com

It has software detection functions that versions after did not include.




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