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Adding A Bit To An Older Pc


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#1 TheEmuRider

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 06:06 PM

Alright, well since I am awaiting my RMA on my new motherboard for my build, I figure I can do a bit to help this old dinosaur out.

CURRENTLY:
PIII 1ghz
Intel Easton motherboard with Solano i815E chipset (dell build)
256mb PC133 SDRAM
64mb Geforce 2 GTS
AGP 2.0 supporting 1x, 2x, 4x
Windows ME (bleh I know)

My queries:

I will definitely be upgrading to two sticks of 256mb, probably PQI power series since they are inexpensive and have good reviews. However, I'm having trouble deciding on a compatible video card that will improve performance and not be completely bottlenecked by my system. Since my AGP slot supports 4x, would I be able to use a "4x/8x" card? or only "2x/4x"? Im just not clear on whether a "4x/8x" card is simply compatible with either, or uses both bandwidths at the same time. My GF2 is running at 200mhz GPU and 166mhz memory clock... so something higher than that would be nice, maybe even 128mb.

Also, would it be wise to overclock is a bit? Looking in everest it seems to be performing slightly below 1ghz (996.16mhz, originally 1000mhz, and FSB is 132.88 mhz, original 133mhz). What would be a safe way to do some slight overclocking (if any at all, I've heard bad things about overclocking PIII's)? RAM timing is currently 3-0-3-3-6 but Im not sure if theres much I could do with that considering its PC133.

Last but not least, any other ideas on helping squeeze some more basic useablility out of a 7 year old PC?

Thanks in advance :thumbsup:

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#2 Mr Alpha

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 06:26 PM

Here are a bunch of tables and explanations of AGP compatibility.

About the graphics card. something with more memory would help yes, but you would quickly become CPU bound. A note: you can't compare the GPU clock across different arcitechtures to determine performance. Nor is the memory clock the only factor you need to look at to determine the performance of the graphics.

Overclocking is not a good idea. At 1 GHz you are at the roof of the PIII arcitechture. The 1.13 GHz PIII Intel released was a disaster.

You could get rid of ME and put 2000 on the machine instead.
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#3 TheEmuRider

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Posted 06 August 2006 - 06:53 PM

Wow thanks that website really helped alot!

Yeah, I figured overclocking a PIII was a bad idea but it doesn't hurt to ask.
Would putting 2000 or XP on this machine improve performance or only slow it down?

As far as the graphics card goes, I realize I would become CPU bound which is why I mentioned it. I'm looking for suggestions which would improve performance without being completely bottlenecked.

I'd like maybe a Geforce 4 Ti card... maybe 4400, but I cant seem to find them anywhere but ebay, and I don't trust "as is" auctions. What architecture does the FX series use? MX uses GF2 right?

Thanks again

#4 acklan

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 12:38 AM

I am assuming you are run a socket 370 chip. You can upgrade a socket witha plug and play adapter. It will allow you to run a P-III 1.4Ghz. It is not cost effective but the option is there. http://www.powerleap.com/PL-NeoT.jsp
RAM is the cheapest and best way to increase your preformance With that chipset you should be able to install 1Gb no problem, but at least jump to 512Mb.
With the video , the nVidia FX5200 would be cost effective.
I started upgrading my kids computers with XP Home. After 8 months I tried W2k Pro sp4 and loved it. I moved all the computers from 98 and XP to W2k, except for the one I am using now. It has XP Pro.
W2k has the security of XP and the weight of 98. It runs stable at 128Mb but even better with 768mb.
Remeber you will ever run with the newer computers but you can stretch the life out quite a ways.
All my computers are P-III 450 & 500Mhz with 512 or 768 Mb of RAM All but one is running W2k Pro but choice. Look at it as XP Lite. It is the best Windows for any computer under 1.4Ghz. IMHO
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#5 TheEmuRider

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 01:56 AM

Thanks acklan that helps alot, especially since you are coming from a PIII perspective. Will the FX5200 be an improvement on my current card?

Also, are you sure I can instal 1024 ram? I only have 2 dimm slots.

And yes it is socket 370.

#6 acklan

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 05:19 AM

You are welcome. I would go with the FX5200 AGP 128Mb. It's like a pickup truck, it won't win any races but it will get you across the line. Since that will never be a gaming machine there is no reason to pump money into it and try to make it something it's can never be. IMO
would have to research the motherboard, which I am happy to do, to tell you for sure. In my experience the PC100 motherboards that can handle a 1Ghz chip can also handle 512Mb RAM modules.
Please post the maker and model of your motherboard. You can use Everest 1.51 to determine the specs.
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#7 TheEmuRider

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 06:39 PM

As previously stated the motherboard is (according to everest):

Intel Easton Solano i815EEA

Everest also says I have 3 DIMM slots, but there are 2 visible... 3 would not make sense.

Also I am using PC133 RAM, but I could also use PC100. Do you recommend PC100 (and if so, why?)

Thanks again acklan... just trying to squeeze some more useablilty out of this while I wait for my new motherboard to RMA for the new PC :thumbsup:

EDIT: After digging through intel's website for product spec sheet I found that this board supports upto 512mb RAM.

Edited by TheEmuRider, 07 August 2006 - 06:42 PM.


#8 Hawkeye4

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 06:53 PM

Also I am using PC133 RAM, but I could also use PC100. Do you recommend PC100 (and if so, why?)


If you have both, the computer will only run at the speed of the slowest ram chip. IOW, it'll revert back to PC100, so if you already have PC133, get those.

#9 acklan

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 06:54 PM

All of my GX1 Dells only have 3 memory slots.

Posted Image

If your computer is a PC100 you will be fine running either, although your memory will be limited to the bus speed of the motherboard. So if your bus speed is 100Mhz, the memory will run at 100Mhz regardless of the memory's speed. It supports 512Mb modules or total?
What is the model of your Dell (I love older Dells).
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#10 Enthusiast

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 07:45 PM

One thing to consider -

Do not spend too much money on your old P3 as it is old technology and will always be slow no matter what you do to upgrade it.

You can buy a new PC for $299 (sometimes less!) that has Win XP and made with new technology. Tigerdirect.com has one today for $299 (with 512mb ddr ram, a dual layer dvd burner and a Internal Flash Media Reader) but has had others as low as $199 in the past.
http://www.tigerdirect.com/

They have a refurbished, off-lease HP Pentium 4 2.4GHz computer with 512MB of DDR memory and XP Pro for $219
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/Se...p;Sku=J156-4006

I am not pushing Tigerdirect but they are reputable and I have done business with them in the past. There are many other companies with great deals too like newegg.com

My point is that a new video card, a couple of sticks of ram and a new op system, whether it is Win2k or XP home may get close to or surpass the price of a new computer based on current technology and you would still have just an old, obsolete PIII.

Edited by Enthusiast, 07 August 2006 - 07:54 PM.


#11 TheEmuRider

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 02:39 AM

Point well taken, but I was only planning on spending about $100 when all is said and done ($50 for 512mb ram, $50 for the card acklan suggested). Like I said, I am currently building a new PC (AMD 64 3500+ Venice, EVGA Geforce 7600GT, 1gb ram etc, and I bought XP retail which as I understand is okay to put on multiple computers in your home?) but the motherboard was DOA so its being RMA'd and I want to keep the dell around for basic useability, so I decided to do a bit of an upgrade. I realize nothing is going to work wonders on it.

Those computers are great deals, though. I'll keep those in mind for anyone I know who is looking for an inexpensive computer.

Also, acklan, the motherboard supports 512mb total, according to the Intel specsheet.

Would I get the best speed by running 2 sticks of 256, or using all three slots in a 128/128/256 fashion? I assume 2 sticks of 256 for timing reasons, but if the three sticks would be alright then that will save me $25 on ram.

#12 acklan

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 06:05 AM

You have been misinformed. You can ONLY run XP on one computer. If you Buy the Retail version you can remove it from one and transfer it to another computer. If you have an OEM version it will live and die on the original computer you install it on. Microsoft will not reactivate it, if it is detected to be moved to a different computer\motherboard. At any rate, if MS detect thru the verification process it is running on two computers they will deactivate both instance when you update them.
being a new PC100, I believe you can run 3-256Mb minimum on that computer, especially since it is a Dell. I would not be surprised to learn it will accommodate 512Mb modules. At any rate place the 256Mb first and if possible use 2-256 instead of 1-128 & 1-256.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Windows-XP-Home-Full-V...1QQcmdZViewItem
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#13 Enthusiast

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 08:07 AM

As Acklan said - you cannot use any Windows operating system key on more than one computer. You will have to buy another copy of whatever op system you want to use.

Microsoft licensing agreement will let you use a retail version of Office on two computers - one PC and one laptop owned by the same owner, but not the operating system. Each computer must have its own unique key.

Adding the op system price to the components you approach the price of the computer at tigerdirect which comes with much more than your computer is capable of being no matter what you spend to update it.

Updates on old computers are seldom worth the price.

#14 TheEmuRider

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 04:50 PM

Oh I see. Yes, misinformed indeed.

Well thanks for the input guys, I think I will probably just get the ram first, see how that goes, then if necessary I will get that FX5200. I doubt I will upgrade this OS since it won't be necessary to have the XP abilities on this PC. Simply want to be able to browse the internet in a quicker fashion, be able to handle photo editing a bit better, and play some old games smoother.

Although that $220 computer is intriguing to me. I like the small form desktop approach.. my only concern would be the power supply, because I would definitely want to upgrade to a video card better than onboard. Nothing top of the line, of course, but something better than 64mb shared.

By the way, what acklan posted seems like a great deal compared to what I have seen.

Edited by TheEmuRider, 08 August 2006 - 04:53 PM.


#15 acklan

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 01:11 AM

I found you a few more.

nVidia MX5200 128Mb
nVidia MX440 128Mb
Inexpensive Desktops
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