Purchased an old computer for a song, want to upgrade it a bit.

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Klipt

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The extent to which I've upgraded computers in the past has been to switch out video cards. That's it.

I bought an old eMachine this weekend (at a yard sale!) for a song, and I realize I'm never going to create a screaming gaming machine out of it, but I do want to upgrade it a bit so it's usable.

Here's the link to it's spec sheet:
http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/emachines-t5048/1707-3118_7-32081796.html
Intel Pentium 4 524 / 3.06 GHz (pretty sure it's dual core)

I've already got 2GB of RAM coming (G.SKILL Value 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200))

I'm looking at video cards and am kind of on the fence about whether I should just spend ~$70 for a 9500 GT or spend twice the amount for a 9800 GTX. That's just a choice I need to make, I realize for the most part I'll get what I pay for. I realize that most any card is also going to require an upgrade to my power supply.

BUT HERE'S A BIG QUESTION:
I have an install of Vista available to me, and I have NO CLUE if Vista would really be any kind of upgrade over XP with only 2GB RAM on my computer. Will my junky computer run faster with Vista, or slower?

Thanks, any advice would be stellar.
 

Triple6

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Its a single core with HyperThreading to emulate a second processor.

The 9800GTX may be overkill for a Pentium 4 processor. But a card thats better priced is the Radeon 4850, similar performance for about 2/3rds the cost of the 9800GTX. Or a Radeon HD 5670 that is not too far behind the 9800GTX either but with more features. Both of those are about $90 on www.newegg.com. A 9500GT for $70 is a bad deal, horrible actually. For that price you can have a Radeon 4670 or 4770 that will wipe the floor with a 9500GT.

Absolutely needs a new power supply, the stock power supplies cannot power any decent video and also have a tendency to fail and take out the motherboard. You'll need a quality 450 watt or better for those cards.

XP will run better then Vista on that system.
 
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Personally I wouldn't spend any money upgrading an eMachine. The T5048 used an Intel D101GGC motherboard with a Pentium 4 524 processor. The Pentium 524 processor as you probably know is a 3.06GHz. with a 533MHz. FSB.

The D101GGC board was one of 2 boards Intel built using the ATI RADEON XPRESS 200 chipset. These boards were built about 2006 mainly as an "test" platform to compete in the "low end" motherboard market. Both proved to be very problematic and were discontinued within about a year or so.

As Triple6 stated your 1st concern should be the power supply. Most of the eMachines used Bestec power supply's that had a high rate of failure, and when they failed about 90% of the time they also took out other components, mainly the motherboard.
 

Triple6

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Thats true, I've never seen one of those boards perform well, always seem to have slow hard drive transfer speeds with higher then normal CPU usage.
 

Klipt

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HyperThreading? Hrrm... when I check the system info on the machine it actually lists two processors, one at 3.06 GHz, one at 3.07 GHz.... is this the effect of this emulating a second processor? Is the HyperThreading a major downgrade from actually having dual processors?

Thanks a ton for the advice on the video cards. I'll look into those.
 

Klipt

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Personally I wouldn't spend any money upgrading an eMachine. The T5048 used an Intel D101GGC motherboard with a Pentium 4 524 processor. The Pentium 524 processor as you probably know is a 3.06GHz. with a 533MHz. FSB.

The D101GGC board was one of 2 boards Intel built using the ATI RADEON XPRESS 200 chipset. These boards were built about 2006 mainly as an "test" platform to compete in the "low end" motherboard market. Both proved to be very problematic and were discontinued within about a year or so.

As Triple6 stated your 1st concern should be the power supply. Most of the eMachines used Bestec power supply's that had a high rate of failure, and when they failed about 90% of the time they also took out other components, mainly the motherboard.
Cheers, I'll get a new power supply off newegg asap.

But I'm already committed to putting a little cash into this project.
 

Triple6

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Yup, thats what HyperThreading is suppose to do. It doesn't come close to a true dual core CPU like a Core 2 Duo or even the older Pentium D's. Intel's claim was up to 30% faster in some scenario's but in reality it was usually less and sometimes it worsened performance.

Article on HT: http://ixbtlabs.com/articles/pentium4xeonhyperthreading/

Vista will run poorly on that computer, stick with Windows Media Center 2005.
 

Klipt

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Gah! Now you've got me considering whether I should just put ~$150 down on a new motherboard... this was suppose to be a cheap fixerupper.... how's that saying go? Spend a dime to save a nickel?

EDIT: thanks a ton for all the info btw. Gonna' have to think on this.
 

Triple6

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Well if you do that then you might as well do a full build and get some real upgrades and performance. For $150 you can get a decent AMD and motherboard. That CPU is going to hold you back no matter what you do. But any new board will use DDR2 or DDR3 not the DDR you ordered.


As a reference check out this review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2960/1
It shows the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition compared to the top end CPU's today. The P4 EE is a good deal faster then your 3.06Ghz P4.
 

Klipt

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Thanks for all the incredibly detailed info and advice.

After getting a little more feedback and finding out what a terrible computer this really is... I think I'm just going to slap an old 128mg video card I have laying around into this, and even return the 2GB RAM to newegg and instead order just another 512 to make the total 1gb...

I don't think this thing will be anything but frustrating trying to game on it. Better to put the least amount of money into it possible and just build a new rig sometime down the road.
 
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