PC upgrade advice

Discussion in 'General' started by MikeH, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. MikeH

    MikeH

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    Hi, could someone please advise on upgrading my PC.
    My present PC specs are: AMD Athlon XP 2400+
    1GB PC2100 RAM
    2 x 120GB Hard Drives (IDE)
    Pioneer DVD RW DVR-108 (IDE)
    LG HL-DT-ST DVD RAM GH 22LP20 Lightscribe (IDE)
    STD Floppy Drive
    NVIDA GeForce FX 5900XT (Ultra 1100XT Golden Sample) (AGP or PCI socket)
    SoundBlaster Live (PCI)
    WinTV PVR 250 (for recording from VHS video) (PCI)
    4 x USB Card (PCI)
    Win XP Pro
    New (unopened) Win Power 450W PSU.

    I would like to upgrade motherboard, cpu and ram to utilize an AMD dual core or greater. My main PC uses are Photoshop, Autocad, Sonar Audio Recording. A faster machine would be of greater benefit. However, I want to re-use my existing hardware, with possibly the exception of the graphics card if I could get a motherboard with built-in graphics. I am not a gamer! As noted, all the hardware is IDE and PCI, and modern motherboards usually only cater for 1 IDE drive socket and 2 PCI card sockets. I start looking at motherboards and slowly get motherboard blindness and lose interest - probably due to my age (61). Can anyone please recommend a suitable motherboard and cpu for my requirements - I don't really want to go to very top of the range prices? Are adaptors available to connect SATA cables to IDE devices? If so, could I connect 2 IDE devices to one adaptor, or would I need 2 adaptors? Have I missed anything? Any advice would be extremely appreciated.


    Thank you.
     
    MikeH, Sep 27, 2010
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  2. MikeH

    Ian Administrator

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    Hi Mike, welcome to the forums :wave:

    It may be worth upgrading those hard drives if you are anywhere near needing more space - plus there will no doubt be some performance gain by doing so (unless they were fast 120GB drives). A 500GB/1TB drive doesn't cost too much nowawadays.

    As you use Autocad and Photoshop, you could easily use 4GB RAM - so I'd make sure that you go for a 64-bit operating system (Windows 7 x64) if you can. If you've got a 32 bit OS and want to re-use it, you'd be limited to buying ~3GB.

    Another thing that is worth checking out is the type of connection your monitor uses - just make sure it's something compatible with the onboard video card :thumb:.

    Do you have a budget to work to, just so that we can have a rough estimate of what sort of products to pick? (or would you just like ideas based on budget/balanced/high-end components?). :)
     
    Ian, Sep 28, 2010
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  3. MikeH

    V_R @120Hz Moderator

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    Hi Mike,

    Ian has noted some good points.

    I would honestly be thinking if i was you to simply get a new tower, no offence but most of that hardware is quite old now. That 450w PSU isn't going to be much use either in my opinion.

    Whats your budget?
     
    V_R, Sep 28, 2010
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  4. MikeH

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    Aye, I'd think about mothballing the current machine, ignoring the 450W PSU and starting afresh.

    A very capable AMD-based machine can be built (or purchased tailor-made) for a very reasonable budget.

    Give a budget and we'll have something to work to.
     
    floppybootstomp, Sep 28, 2010
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  5. MikeH

    MikeH

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    Hi, thanks for the welcome and advice so far. Sorry haven't replied sooner as been away with work.
    I'm trying to reuse as much hardware as possible to allow more funding for motherboard and cpu. I don't really need new HD's as the two 7200rpm drives in the PC are nowhere near full and I've also got 3 external HD's that are nowhere near full. And I don't really want to spend time transferring the contents of the HD's to new ones. I was hoping for a motherboard with built-in graphics as it would free up a socket, and as I'm not a gamer I don't really need a top range/speed card. I'm hoping to upgrade my monitor to a wide-screen so the connection to the motherboard/graphics card shouldn't be a problem. I don't necessarily need the fastest cpu available, I just want a faster performance than an AMD XP 2400+, and I thought that just a dual core might do the job. At my age it's difficult to get rid of hardware I'm used to and is still working. Sad, I know......By the way, there are 3 of us using Win 7 at work and it's not good at 64- bit with Photoshop CS4 - keeps crashing and stuff so we use 32-bit and it's fine. However, Autocad 2010 keeps crashing and losing work, so I reverted to using Autocad 2008 which does not seem to crash as often. We also have trouble opening card readers with Win 7 on our stand-alone PC's, but our network PC's with XP has no problem. We can't fiddle with the PC's ourselves as they are government owned.
     
    MikeH, Oct 1, 2010
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  6. MikeH

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    Still no budget then eh?

    The reason CS4 keeps crashing using Win 7 64 Bit is probably because of dated hardware.

    It runs fine for me on a four year old machine using Win 7 64 Bit, as does all other software and latest games.

    Ok, let's assume you keep the case, hard drives and optical drives.

    This means you need:

    Motherboard with integrated graphics
    Memory
    CPU with stock cooler
    Power supply (very important)
    Possibly a new widescreen monitor.

    Again, I politely request available budget.

    And also monitor size.

    By the way, if you change motherboard etc your old Windows installation is extremely unlikely to run on it due to different motherboard drivers so you will have to do a fresh installation of Win 7. The key word here is backup.

    And less of the age thing please, I am less than two years younger than you and hopefully I don't have one foot in the grave yet ;)
     
    floppybootstomp, Oct 1, 2010
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  7. MikeH

    V_R @120Hz Moderator

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    FWIW: CS4 ran fine on my Win 7 64 bit machine before i upgraded to CS5.
     
    V_R, Oct 1, 2010
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  8. MikeH

    muckshifter Captain Crunchie, Retired Moderator

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    welcome to PCReview

    we need a budget to assist further, or just as a laugh. ;)

    not so, motherboard with "built-in" graphics actually have less sockets, however, they all seem to give you a graphics socket anyway, so that one may build a slightly better system. So in your case, you'll have a socket wasted ... In my opinion, they are to be avoided.

    Adobe! Potoshop!! 64bit!!! :lol: :lol: that's a good one that :lol: sorry, not laughing at you. Isn't CS5 Adobe's 64bit attempt?? ;)

    sincere apologies to you young sir, I'll try to stick to the subject in hand. :D


    :user:
     
    muckshifter, Oct 1, 2010
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  9. MikeH

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    Ah yes, the integrated graphics.

    Generally to be avoided I agree but they do have their place and I use an Asus M4N78-VM motherboard with integrated Nvidia 8200 graphics in my media machine for watching films and it's perfectly acceptable.
     
    floppybootstomp, Oct 1, 2010
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  10. MikeH

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    A suggestion

    Here's a suggestion only.

    4Gb of memory, good for CS4. Get just 2Gb and save around 35 quid.

    Integrated graphics.

    Solid dependable PSU.

    I have no idea what the current case is like.

    [​IMG]
     

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    floppybootstomp, Oct 1, 2010
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  11. MikeH

    V_R @120Hz Moderator

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    lol Mucks, CS5 and Lightroom here both 64 bit, and running fine. Am i just lucky? :D
     
    V_R, Oct 1, 2010
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  12. MikeH

    muckshifter Captain Crunchie, Retired Moderator

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    no, that's how it should be ... ;)


    :user:
     
    muckshifter, Oct 1, 2010
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  13. MikeH

    MikeH

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    Hi, again. My budget is probably about £250 excluding new monitor. The monitor I'm thinking of getting is Samsung SyncMaster 2443BWT - 24" - widescreen TFT active matrix LCD display. We use them at work and they appear to be very good for what I require.
    The suggestion by floppybootstomp seems quite interesting and about the budget price I had in mind. My existing case is an ATX 420mm high x 440mm long, with 3 x 5.25"bays and 2 x 3.5" bays and various fans I've fitted to the front and side.
    I intended to use Win XP as the music software that I work with might not be compatible with Win 7 - I'll have to check. Not sure if Autocad 2006 would be compatible with Win 7 either.
    I wouldn't agree that Photoshop CS4 64-bit crashes on work PC's because of dated hardware as the machines and software are only 7 months old. We also have a professional Illustrator who comes in 3 times a week and he won't use the 64-bit, he says the 32-bit is more stable.
     
    MikeH, Oct 1, 2010
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  14. MikeH

    bootneck02 VIP Member

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    One thing I have noticed in this conversation is that the existing hard drives is the compatibility of the cables and connections with a new Motherboard. You may need to look at that.
     
    bootneck02, Oct 2, 2010
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  15. MikeH

    floppybootstomp sugar 'n spikes Moderator

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    You have four PATA (IDE) Devices, two hard disks and two optical drives.

    The board I specced has one PATA port as is common with most current motherboards.

    This will take two of the devices you have, if you upgrade your motherboard you'll need to replace the other two.

    If it were me I'd replace the hard disks as 120Gb is tiny and the older a hard drive becomes the higher the likelihood it will fail.

    An opitcal drive failing is a minor inconvenience, a hard drive failing can be a disaster.

    Mind you, a DVD-ROM & DVDRW are quite a bit cheaper to replace, no more than £30.00 the pair, whereas a pair of 500Gb drives will be around £90.00.
     
    floppybootstomp, Oct 2, 2010
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  16. MikeH

    bootneck02 VIP Member

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    I have a Samsung HD501LJ SATA conection you could have but postage might be a problem as they are 1lb & 7oz in weight at Aria they are Samsung HD502HJ F3 500GB 3.5" SATA II Hard Drive
    500GB Capacity, SATA-II Interface, 7200RPM Spin speed, 16MB Cache[​IMG] £31.71 (inc. VAT)]

    See them at http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Hard+Drives/SATA+(Serial+ATA)/?p=cF9icmFuZD00NSZwX3N0eWxlPSZwX3Byb2R1Y3RzUGVyUGFnZT0m You could much of your other bits and pieces there also there and the the customer service is very helpfull.
     
    bootneck02, Oct 2, 2010
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  17. MikeH

    Abarbarian Acruncher VIP Member

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    Them F3 hdd's are as fast as stink and a steal at the price. [​IMG]
     
    Abarbarian, Oct 2, 2010
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  18. MikeH

    MikeH

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    Right, I've been having a serious think after the advice from everyone.
    I'll upgrade motherboard, cpu, psu and RAM - probably as recommended by floppybootstomp, and get a SATA HD as recommended by bootneck02. There, I've made a decision....my wife will be proud!!!!
    Bootneck02, what would you want for the HD including postage? Every little saving will help towards purchase of new monitor.
    Thank you all again, it is very much appreciated.
    Mike
     
    MikeH, Oct 2, 2010
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  19. MikeH

    bootneck02 VIP Member

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    Hi MikeH You can have it for £10 I will have to see how much the post is. I will securley delete everything on it and format it for you and let you know how much the postage is on Monday, if that is OK with you. I will also ensure there is a SATA cable with it.
     
    bootneck02, Oct 2, 2010
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  20. MikeH

    MikeH

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    Thanks, bootneck02, really appreciate it.
     
    MikeH, Oct 3, 2010
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