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Thread: 'Upgrading' a PC

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    'Upgrading' a PC

    Hello All,

    I'm new here so please be gentle with me.

    I'm in the market for upgrading my PC, but not in the orthodox way as I don't have alot of money. Plus I've not built a PC since 2004, so I am abit out of sorts!

    I'll be buying used bits off eBay to keep costs down, I am aware I may get dud parts and am only doing this to keep costs down by paying £20 for CPU etc and it not working is a risk I'll have to take

    My current spec'd PC is as follows:
    AMD Athlon XP3000+ (Yes its goddamn slow)
    1Gb DDR400
    Asus A7N8X Mobo
    160Gb HDD
    Geforce FX5200 256Mb AGP 8x Graphics card.

    Now I want to upgrade to an Intel dual core, I am either thinking a Pentium D 820, a Pentium Dual-Core 1.8GHz E2160 or a Core 2 Duo E4400. Now which is the fastest out of those in terms of usability, I'll be using older games. One of which has minimum requirements of a 1.7GHz CPU (its from 2006) and this is where I get confused as the Dual-Core and C2D are only 1.8GHz, will it run these games ok??

    I've already selected a motherboard with is an ASrock 775Dual-VSTA, which allows me to 'upgrade' it in increments as it supports both PCIe and AGP aswell as DDR and DDRII.

    In addition I am confused with all these new fangled (well new to me) graphics cards. When I left the PC world the fastest and greatest cards were ATi Radeon 9700/9800 Pros and Geforce FX5950s! Now I am looking at a used PCIe card and don't have a clue which to go for.

    My motherboard only supports PCIe 4x so does this limit me in cards? or can I run a 16x card albeit slower?

    Like above I am mainly running older games and would like to watch iPlayer in HD, most of which run alright on the FX5200 at lower resolutions/frame rates etc. I want to be able to run them at full speed. So was looking at ATi X700Pros and HD2400s.

    Can anyone help me with this? I understand most of the above kit I am mention is from 2007/2008 but will be fast enough for me I think.

    Cheers

    Craig

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    ALT0153™ Rob_B's Avatar
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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Biggest question is.... whats your budget? Upgrading in stages will cost you more overall (possibly) & you'll still never have a rig where every part is great.

    So, you have a HDD (IDE/SATA?) & a monitor/KBM so thats a few things left to buy. Don't think of the total cost of parts as you can obviosly sell of your current bits albeit not for a massive amount it'll all add up.

    You need

    Mobo
    RAM
    CPU
    GFX
    PSU
    HDD (possibly)

    Give us your budget & let us rip with it!

    Edit: DO NOT get the Pentium D, also where are you seeing the mobo, can't find anywhere selling it myself?
    Last edited by Rob_B; 20-05-2010 at 07:24 PM.

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    The ASrock 775Dual-VSTA has the PCI-E running only at PCI-E 1.0 4X.

    The best way forward would be the save as much money as possible and replace the main parts of your PC in one go.

    Also do you have a copy of an OS too??
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 20-05-2010 at 06:50 PM.


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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Firstly you absolutely must not get a Pentium D, truly terrible chip.

    Dont worry about the clock frequency of the chips. It stopped being relevant a while ago, at least in forming cross chip comparisons (ie your AMD 3000 is so called because it gave supposedly equal performance to a 3.0ghz Intel chip, despite being much lower clocked)

    I think your PC has got to the stage where upgrading is more hassle than its worth in many ways. Although as has been said above, some things can be carried over for sure like the hard drive, optical drive.

    The only thing about buying parts on ebay (in addition to the risk of 'duds') is that the delivery costs can add up fast. The first ever PC I built I did out of ebay parts, and it ended up costing the same in total than if I had got a much higher spec all in one go from a retailer.

    For what you want to use your PC for, I would suggest that modern integrated graphics would suffice, especially if you went for an AMD PC now, where something like a HD3200 integrated chip has quite alot of GPU oomph - but it really depends on what you mean by older games.

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Just wondering but what is your budget? You may be surprised at what you can get.

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by Champman99 View Post
    Firstly you absolutely must not get a Pentium D, truly terrible chip.
    That's not necessarily true, there are some Conroe-based Pentium D processors out there. Bad naming strategy by Intel

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Hi,

    My budget is really non existent. I probably have about £60ish. So far I've sourced a Pentium D for £8.50, and the motherboard for £20 and am bidding on an ATI Radeon X3450 for £7 but don't know if it'll even run on the mobo at all.

    So far I am thinking of keeping the HDD, as I really only use about 60Gb of it and will keep the RAM. The GFX card will be the next to be replaced.

    I use the PC for mainly Rail Simulator and MSTS, so I really don't need the latest a greatest. Its just this XP3000 is getting very slow and really can't keep up anymore. I noticed the other day it can't even run ITunes and IE at the same time without stuttering!

    Craig

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Another gig of RAM wouldn't hurt if your budget is that low, perhaps better to get more DDR (for now) until you have a bit more cash at some point in the future?
    Have you tweaked your OS ie disabled all unused services/ports etc? Every little helps.

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    I thought that the Pentium D was essentially a CoreDuo processor without the re-branding?

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    The Pentium D is basically a pair of separate Pentium 4 cores in one CPU. I have seen a few E2140 and E2160 processors go for around the £15 and these are far faster than most Pentium D processors.

    I would suggest that you look for an 8600GT or 8600GTS instead of an HD3450 or HD4350.


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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post
    That's not necessarily true, there are some Conroe-based Pentium D processors out there. Bad naming strategy by Intel
    No thoes are Pentium Dual core

    As CAT just said the pentium D was two non-HT pentium 4's under one heat spreader, they where not that bad, but not that good ether.

    I went from an athlon XP2400+ to a 3.0ghz Pentium D on a ASrock 775Dual-VSTA for the step by step upgrade, mainly because at the time the pentium D was far cheaper than the (then) new Core2Duo and DDR2 was still quite pricey and I had a decent 6800LE (unlocked to GT level) AGP graphics card.


    For a budget of £60ish . . . ummm flip knows, you'll need to do a lot of bargin bidding and expect to lose.

    Pentium D for £8.50, and the motherboard for £20
    That's pretty good for the cost, for graphics card I'd look for an ati x1950 or nvidia 7950gt (the top end dx9 series)
    Or an ati 3850 or 3870

    You will need a new PSU, your current one will not cope with the higher demands on the 12volt (if it's the same sort of age as the rest of your system)
    The issue here is you're looking at at least £30, while you can get cheaper you're risking your whole system with a very cheap psu.
    And that's half your budget at a very minimum.

    eg http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Corsair-VX450-...item2c54929644

    and a good example of a psu not to go near with a barge pole
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/NEW-700-W-SATA...item3cabb5840b
    price + 700w right sure, the fact that you cannot pull 700w from that number of connectors without going wildly over ATX spec should be a big hint to how reliable that 700w number is.

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    I'd strongly recommend trying to put that £60 on a bank account, don't touch it, and try to save up a bit more over the next couple of months. You'll get a much better, longer lasting computer is you can stretch up to just £100 - you can buy a basic brand new system for about that, e.g.

    Celeron E3300 (dual core 45nm) £36
    Cheap s775 motherboard (could save more by getting one second hand) £33
    1GB Generic DDR2 (can buy a second stick later as an upgrade) £20
    NVidia 8400GS or ATI HD4350 ~ £25

    Total cost of £115, but it's all brand new, with full warranties etc. and will be a big step up from your existing system.

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    With a budget like that I imagine you are not going to get alot.

    I would bide my time. Forums generally have for sale and wanted sections available with enough posts where bargains can be had. With enough posts you can get free postage form some companies too.

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Thats the problem, I'm really not the type to save. I'm a here and now person.

    Plus when I last built PCs back in 2003/2004 Celerons were poor, I remember building a 2.2GHz Celeron Northwood system and it being slow as hell. After a few weeks it was upgraded to a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 Northwood which was much faster. So I am reluctant to buy a Celeron now if you know what I mean.

    As for PSU I've found a 620w PSU on Microdirect £13, and at that price I'm willing to give it a go.

    Finally memory really confuses me. Whats all this DDR2 stuff? When I left the PC world if you had a FSB266 you used DDR266, and if you had a FSB800 you used DDR400. What on earth do you use now? Now I've got the Pentium D and it runs at FSB800 what DDR2 do I use?? This is confusing I tell you!

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    If you can save a little more then you can get a better PC. In my experience, cheap PSU's are trouble.

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    Re: 'Upgrading' a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by iCraig View Post
    ... when I last built PCs back in 2003/2004 Celerons were poor ...
    There's a clue in there somewhere... You can't apply 7 year old experience to new hardware. You're far better off reading reviews of the actual hardware than rejecting it based on your experience of hardware that is an entirely different architecture! The Celeron E3000 series are based on 45nm Core 2 Duos, are decent processors at stock speeds, and have a reputation for overclocking like nobody's business! They're also very energy efficient and cool-running.

    Quote Originally Posted by iCraig View Post
    As for PSU I've found a 620w PSU on Microdirect £13, and at that price I'm willing to give it a go.
    Please, good lord, no! While you might get away with this, anything goes wrong with that PSU and it's likely to kill some or all of the rest of your PC!

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