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What should I upgrade first?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by saltydawgs, Jan 19, 2006.

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  1. saltydawgs

    saltydawgs Account Closed Thread Starter

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    I've got an older computer, and I think *know* its about time to upgrade...what should be upgraded first? And please remember, I'm on a tight budget...

    Proccesor: Intel P4, 1.5 GHz
    Memory: 256 mb SDRAM
    HDD: 40 Gb
    Video: 128 Mb Nvidia Ge-force FX 5200
    OS: Windows XP
    Sound: Onboard
    Mobo: Board: ASUSTeK Computer INC - Bus Clock: 100 megahertz

    + i know if i upgrade the mobo, everything else needs to be upgraded too (almost) so lets keep that in last resort shall we?

    Thanks! (if im missing anything, please let me know)
     
  2. microwally

    microwally

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    Well in another thread I think you are talking about getting 1gb of ram. That should be a great start. Your video card is decent, but not the best, and you may possibly be able to get a better processor if you give us the model # and bios version of the motherboard.
     
  3. saltydawgs

    saltydawgs Account Closed Thread Starter

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    Board: ASUSTeK Computer INC. P4B-LA REV 1
    BIOS: Award Software, Inc. 3.05 08/28/2001

    i believe this is what your asking for
     
  4. thingamajig

    thingamajig Banned

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    What type of applications do you run, why do you want to upgrade, and how tight is the budget? :D

    Memory is definitely the weak link in your configuration. 256mb is skimpy for XP.
     
  5. microwally

    microwally

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    Well you could go up to about a P4 2.2 because the motherboard only supports a 400mhz front side bus. You could go with a Celeron up to about 2.8 and still get the 400mhz front side bus. The ram is SDRAM so the best frequency you can get is PC133.
    I would say stick with the 1.5 and a single stick of 512mb ram.
     
  6. saltydawgs

    saltydawgs Account Closed Thread Starter

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    +yea i was thinking memory was pretty low (vista is recommended you have more than 512!)
    ++budget isnt really that 'tight' i just dont want to spend too much $$
    +++ i would like the computer to be faster (load up, and apps) and im a slight gamer, so speed up things there
     
  7. saltydawgs

    saltydawgs Account Closed Thread Starter

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    cool, thanks...see im just stalling and procrastinating until VISTA comes out, therefore i plan to buy a powerful rig once vista is available, (im saving up, but really need to upgrade this one for the time being)
     
  8. thingamajig

    thingamajig Banned

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    I agree - add some RAM and save your money.
     
  9. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Do not waste your money upgrading the memory to a gigabyte on that system. Any newer system you eventually upgrade to will not be able to use the obsolete SDRAM you're buying. Also, there are very few applications that will benefit significantly from more than 512mb of memory. I'd limit any memory upgrade to an additional 256mb.

    Truthfully, you're trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I'd put the money in an interest bearing account until you have the funds to do a meaningful upgrade. Yes, that will most surely involve replacing most of the parts you have! You have an old and slow MB and processor, obsolete memory, small hard disk, and a slow graphics board. That pretty much covers the whole system. :)
     
  10. microwally

    microwally

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    Sound advice John.

    And I love that saying. LOL
    And whatever you do salty don't disable that old computer once you get a new one built. Just leave it in a corner, ready to run if you need it. You will almost certainly need it when your shiny new Vista system refuses to run due to some missing service pack.:rolleyes:
     
  11. WarC

    WarC

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    I'll add my voice to the chorus. For that machine, the immediate and cheapest fix would be another 256MB of good PC133 SDRAM.

    After that, it becomes a matter of preference and application: If you are heavy gamer or play graphic intensive games, I'd spring for a good AGP video card (they range from about $100-$300).

    If you are more into general apps, then I would go for the P4 2.2GHz processor (stay away from Celerons!)

    Beyond that, it is new system time! The 2.2GHz processor w/ 512MB of RAM will still be a fairly "fast" machine for awhile, though...Especially if you are not a hardcore gamer. It would be noticeably faster than your current configuration.
     
  12. jiml8

    jiml8 Guest

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    I agree about (a) increasing the amount of RAM and (b) limiting the amount you buy.

    But, before spending any money on RAM (or anything else), I would be figuring out whether/how much I need. This is easy enough; just open up the task manager and look at the performance tab. It will tell you about system memory usage. What you want to look at is pagefile usage during ordinary computer use.

    You can get this information by looking at the "Commit Charge" box. The "Limit" value is the amount of physical memory plus pagefile memory that is allowed on your system. If the "Total" value is typically smaller than the total Physical Memory, then you are not using your pagefile much and probably won't benefit from more memory.

    If the "Peak" amount is close to the "Limit" amount, AND the "Total" value is typically greater than the total Physical Memory, then you are routinely and perhaps heavily using your pagefile, in which case you will benefit considerably from adding RAM.

    Do you need to upgrade your processor? Well, I guess it depends. What are you doing with the machine; is it processor limited? When you look at the performance tab on the Task Manager, is the processor commonly running at 100%? If so, why? Is it your application, or is it some malware that has taken over the system? If malware, clean it up and see if the processor usage drops. If processor usage is commonly at 100% because of your application, and the application is properly written (not busy waiting), then you need to upgrade.

    Video? Depends. Are you a gamer? If so then you always need to upgrade. If not, you probably do NOT need to upgrade.

    Hard drive? Larger and faster is always better, without exception, because the HD is usually the system bottleneck, no matter how fast it is. So, do you need to upgrade? Maybe. How much space is available on your HD? Are you running out? Are you doing I/O bound work, that is running the HD hard, so that you spend a lot of time waiting on I/O?

    Really, upgrading a working machine just because it is getting a bit old is a senseless activity. Any hardware that has been available for probably the last 8 years is fast enough to run any modern application except games, simulations, and numerical processing applications. Generally (except for the cases specified), unless you have a specific bottleneck which you have clearly identified, you will derive little or no benefit from upgrading.

    If you want to upgrade "just because", then that is fine. But don't do it just because the machine is getting older.
     
  13. saltydawgs

    saltydawgs Account Closed Thread Starter

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    youve got a good point...1 question though, what do you mean by I/O bound work?
    thanks
     
  14. jiml8

    jiml8 Guest

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    I/O bound work? Database work is the most common example. Video editing would also do a lot of disk I/O.

    Basically any work where a primary function involves doing disk I/O.
     
  15. TechOrNot

    TechOrNot

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    Wow! This all sounds so interesting! Told me I can actually upgrade my Processor? Is that true. What else is involved with changing your processor. I have an older machine PIII with 733mhz processor speed and 256 mb RAM but it runs really slow no matter what. Any input is highly appreciated.

    Thanks,
     
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