$200 upgrade possible?


D

DK

My machine is 7 years old (Sempron 2200+) and it's getting
slow with modern applications and web sites (are they designed
to compensate for an increase in processor speed?). It's not been
used for complex things, so it's hard to justify spending more than
bare minimum on it.

Things I have:

- Really nice "silent" case that I wish to keep
- Two PATA drives (300 Gb each)
- 256 MB Nvidia Quadro card, AGP (suits all my needs
fine; is used for an occasional hardware stereo).
- Two optical drives, both IDE.
Monitor (VGA only)

I don't like dealing with hardware frequently, so I decided
to get a CPU that's roughly 10 times faster. Which should be
about the speed of Phenom II X4 830 or Core2 Quad Q8300 -
and up, if possible..

A new CPU will require a new MB. A new MB will require new
memory. I am fine sticking with XP for few more years, so 4 GB
should do. $100 CPU + $60 MB + $40 RAM should be possible.
Problem is, cheap motherboards for modern CPUs no longer
offer neither IDE nor AGP. So the additional expense would be
SATA HDD + DVD-RW all the while losing a great video card and
relying instead on integrated video that won't do hardware
stereo.

For about $300-$350 I could buy a complete computer that would
provide everything I need - the goal however is to be able to stay
within $200 upgrade budget. The more I look into it, the more
I am starting to think that this is totally unrealistic.

Thoughts? Thanks!!!
 
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S

SC Tom

DK said:
My machine is 7 years old (Sempron 2200+) and it's getting
slow with modern applications and web sites (are they designed
to compensate for an increase in processor speed?). It's not been
used for complex things, so it's hard to justify spending more than
bare minimum on it.

Things I have:

- Really nice "silent" case that I wish to keep
- Two PATA drives (300 Gb each)
- 256 MB Nvidia Quadro card, AGP (suits all my needs
fine; is used for an occasional hardware stereo).
- Two optical drives, both IDE.
Monitor (VGA only)

I don't like dealing with hardware frequently, so I decided
to get a CPU that's roughly 10 times faster. Which should be
about the speed of Phenom II X4 830 or Core2 Quad Q8300 -
and up, if possible..

A new CPU will require a new MB. A new MB will require new
memory. I am fine sticking with XP for few more years, so 4 GB
should do. $100 CPU + $60 MB + $40 RAM should be possible.
Problem is, cheap motherboards for modern CPUs no longer
offer neither IDE nor AGP. So the additional expense would be
SATA HDD + DVD-RW all the while losing a great video card and
relying instead on integrated video that won't do hardware
stereo.

For about $300-$350 I could buy a complete computer that would
provide everything I need - the goal however is to be able to stay
within $200 upgrade budget. The more I look into it, the more
I am starting to think that this is totally unrealistic.

Thoughts? Thanks!!!
I was going to recommend what I got, but my CPU has been deactivated by Newegg and may/may not ever be in stock, and the
MB is OOS. Anyhow, here's what I bought about 3 months ago for $171:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131669 $52.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103846 87.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231425 29.99 + Free Shipping on the whole order.

I unlocked the CPU with the MB BIOS to make it a 4-core instead of the native 2-core. Runs great with no problems.
The MB has a PATA connection that would take care of the two HDD you have, and SATA optical drives are dirt cheap. I
picked up a TSST DVD-RW with Lightscribe for about $20, but that was a couple of years ago. The GeForce 7025 video is
pretty decent, although I have a GT 240 that I put in it (from my old setup).

So I would think your goal could be met +/- 10% if you shop around. Quite often, Amazon will still have some stuff that
the electronics places like Newegg, Best Buy (shudder), etc. have put to rest.
 
R

Red Cloud

My machine is 7 years old (Sempron 2200+) and it's getting
slow with modern applications and web sites (are they designed
to compensate for an increase in processor speed?). It's not been
used for complex things, so it's hard to justify spending more than
bare minimum on it.

Things I have:

- Really nice "silent" case that I wish to keep
- Two PATA drives (300 Gb each)
- 256 MB Nvidia Quadro card, AGP (suits all my needs
fine; is used for an occasional hardware stereo).
- Two optical drives, both IDE.
Monitor (VGA only)

I don't like dealing with hardware frequently, so I decided
to get a CPU that's roughly 10 times faster. Which should be
about the speed of Phenom II X4 830 or Core2 Quad Q8300 -
and up, if possible..

A new CPU will require a new MB. A new MB will require new
memory. I am fine sticking with XP for few more years, so 4 GB
should do. $100 CPU + $60 MB + $40 RAM should be possible.
Problem is, cheap motherboards for modern CPUs no longer
offer neither IDE nor AGP. So the additional expense would be
SATA HDD + DVD-RW all the while losing a great video card and
relying instead on integrated video that won't do hardware
stereo.

For about $300-$350 I could buy a complete computer that would
provide everything I need - the goal however is to be able to stay
within $200 upgrade budget. The more I look into it, the more
I am starting to think that this is totally unrealistic.

Thoughts? Thanks!!!


I tried to upgrade but I scratched out...I've no complain at speed
(2.0Ghz Sempron system). Only problem I have is can't play some modern
game software I just need a better AGP card and more memory.
 
D

DK

I was going to recommend what I got, but my CPU has been deactivated by Newegg
and may/may not ever be in stock, and the
MB is OOS. Anyhow, here's what I bought about 3 months ago for $171:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131669 $52.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103846 87.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231425 29.99 +
Free Shipping on the whole order.

I unlocked the CPU with the MB BIOS to make it a 4-core instead of the native
2-core. Runs great with no problems.
The MB has a PATA connection that would take care of the two HDD you have, and
SATA optical drives are dirt cheap. I
picked up a TSST DVD-RW with Lightscribe for about $20, but that was a couple
of years ago. The GeForce 7025 video is
pretty decent, although I have a GT 240 that I put in it (from my old setup).

So I would think your goal could be met +/- 10% if you shop around. Quite
often, Amazon will still have some stuff that
the electronics places like Newegg, Best Buy (shudder), etc. have put to rest.

Thanks so much! I really liked your picks. Following your recommendations,
I was able to fit into $186:

$58 ASUS M4N68T-M V2 from a local store ($3 of it is taxes)
$42 from Newegg for 4 GB memory + SATA DVD-RW
$86 from eBay for Phenom II X4 840 ($6 of it is shipping) - I would much
rather have unlocked X2 555 but not feeling like gambling and with the price
being the same, the quad CPU felt like a safer choice.

The most surprising thing is that it looks like I might be able to keep
my old very quiet Zalman CPU cooler, so no extra for this and the cooler
should be able to handle conservative OC without a problem.
 
S

SC Tom

DK said:
Thanks so much! I really liked your picks. Following your recommendations,
I was able to fit into $186:

$58 ASUS M4N68T-M V2 from a local store ($3 of it is taxes)
$42 from Newegg for 4 GB memory + SATA DVD-RW
$86 from eBay for Phenom II X4 840 ($6 of it is shipping) - I would much
rather have unlocked X2 555 but not feeling like gambling and with the price
being the same, the quad CPU felt like a safer choice.

The most surprising thing is that it looks like I might be able to keep
my old very quiet Zalman CPU cooler, so no extra for this and the cooler
should be able to handle conservative OC without a problem.
Good for you! I think you'll be happy with your selections.
I was looking at the 840 when I bought my 555, but at the time, it was about $50 more. I figured two cores were plenty
:) My 555 actually has six cores that are able to be unlocked, but I stayed with four in case something breaks down on
it. Then I can pick another, or if worse comes to worst, I can go back to the original two cores. I really haven't
noticed any difference between two and four in my everyday usage. I just leave at four 'cause I can :)

One of the reasons I went with the MB (besides the fact that I like and have had nothing but good luck with Asus) is
that the chipset was close enough to my old MB that I didn't have to re-install WinXP. I downloaded the drivers from
Asus before installing the board and updated the drivers afterwards. Took me longer to physically install the board,
neaten up the wiring, etc., than it did to have Windows back up and running. And if I decide to move to Win7 on this
machine, the MB supports it also.

Merry Christmas to yourself! Good hunting!
 
F

Flasherly

I tried to upgrade but I scratched out...I've no complain at speed
(2.0Ghz Sempron system). Only problem I have is can't play some modern
game software I just need a better AGP card and more memory.

I did that with both a 478 Celeron D (2.6Ghz) and an 754 Athlon 64
(1.8Ghz) -- moved the AMD to an Orleans 2.6Ghz (AMD2 - new MB) and the
Celeron to a Pentium 4 (3.2Ghz - $9 used processor "bump").

Big improvements. That P4 especially has more "guts" to it. Raw
processing power plus a better CPU caching scheme makes the
difference. Memory is memory, and there's only so many ways half a
ton of basic programs, select one, to fit either in one or eight cores
(for performance graphing). . . so . . .

AGP. I suspect you're just going to have to get real about that.
Noway, Chief, except for non-graphics can AGP be compared to PCI-E
boards. It's like comparing kumquats to black diamond watermellons,
over a range of specs PCI-E video cards have evolved into, and that's
at PCI-E's sub-$50 lowend. Hard to believe how they're now spec'd,
some w/out fans, to run hotter than hell. Total Rebate City
territory, (or Game City as it were), though. . .so many on continuous
rebates schemes, I guess they're hardly ever worth advertising for
"deals" anymore.
 
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D

DK

One of the reasons I went with the MB (besides the fact that I like and have
had nothing but good luck with Asus) is
that the chipset was close enough to my old MB that I didn't have to re-install
WinXP. I downloaded the drivers from
Asus before installing the board and updated the drivers afterwards. Took me
longer to physically install the board,
neaten up the wiring, etc., than it did to have Windows back up and running.

Same here. I hope to not have to reinstall XP. The countless tweaks and
program settings would a total drag to reconstruct. I currently have
Asus A7V400-MX and it's been totally trouble-free for 7.5 years. Can't be
happier with these entry-level boards. Have P6TD Deluxe at work, though.

Would you mind describing the exact procedure on what you did to
update XP for the new config? My understanding is that a "repair install"
will be required at a minimum because I am moving from one to quad
CPU but I have never done this before.

Thanks!

- Dima
 
S

SC Tom

DK said:
Same here. I hope to not have to reinstall XP. The countless tweaks and
program settings would a total drag to reconstruct. I currently have
Asus A7V400-MX and it's been totally trouble-free for 7.5 years. Can't be
happier with these entry-level boards. Have P6TD Deluxe at work, though.

Would you mind describing the exact procedure on what you did to
update XP for the new config? My understanding is that a "repair install"
will be required at a minimum because I am moving from one to quad
CPU but I have never done this before.

Thanks!

I had a dual core Athlon II so I didn't have to do a repair install of XP. I
was lucky enough that when it came up, all I had to do was cancel out of the
new hardware wizard and just run the driver updates that I had already
downloaded. I also stayed with the default 2 cores upon installation; I
didn't unlock the other cores until it was running as it should.
I don't think you'll have to do a repair install just because you're going
to multiple cores. They're all on the same CPU, so your HAL shouldn't
change. Before doing anything, I would create a disk image. Can't be too
careful on something like this. I've had it happen in the past where I
didn't have an image, and ended up doing a clean install, losing everything.
I learned real a quick after that incident.
 
D

DK

I don't think you'll have to do a repair install just because you're going
to multiple cores. They're all on the same CPU, so your HAL shouldn't
change.

Oh, I didn't know that. Nice (if true - but I'll find out soon).
Before doing anything, I would create a disk image. Can't be too
careful on something like this.

Absolutely. I am imaging my boot disk (which is only 4 Gb) weekly
as part of the backup strategy. Wouldn't want to do anything to the
system without having a good image to go back to. Still keep an
image of the original pristine install of XP + basic programs - a
whopping 400 MB file, LOL. These days a single Adobe program
takes 2-3 more space on a disk...

- Dima
 
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S

SC Tom

DK said:
Oh, I didn't know that. Nice (if true - but I'll find out soon).


Absolutely. I am imaging my boot disk (which is only 4 Gb) weekly
as part of the backup strategy. Wouldn't want to do anything to the
system without having a good image to go back to. Still keep an
image of the original pristine install of XP + basic programs - a
whopping 400 MB file, LOL. These days a single Adobe program
takes 2-3 more space on a disk...

Good deal! Let us know how it goes, or if you need any help with it.
 

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