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PC upgrade recommendations?


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Hi all. I have a PC that is from 1999. It is as follows ....

PIII 600MHz (no clue on the FSB speed ... how do I find that out?)

Windows2000 Pro

640MB PC100 RAM

32 TNT2 Video Card

27GB Hard Drive (C:)

120 GB Hard Drive (Partitoned into 3 partitions)

17" monitor

CDRW drive

DVD Drive

Cable Internet connection

I am thinking about building my own PC.

Don't care about "modding" the case too much, but I would like a LCD readout of CPU temp, load, etc from one of the drive bays.

I want to make it a PC that will last me another couple of years. Should I wait for the "hyper threading" technology to come down in price? I mean the PC runs fine now ... just a little on the slow side. I just want a new toy that won't set me back too much.

Any suggestions? Any websites anyone can recommend me checking out? :blink::wacko:

Thanks in advance. :rocky:

Tony

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Cool, your CPU, RAM and GFX are in the most need of upgrading. You're gonna need a new mobo for that. How much are you willing to spend? Are you willing to go AMD or Intel or you got a strng preference? I would go AMD but that is your choice. Your ram is ungodly slow and should be upgraded to DDR. The TNT2 is a good card, but is nevertheless slow. As for the LCD readout, that can be done through software called Motherboard Monitor 5. It works great and we will make sure to reccommend a motherboard that is supported by it. And so far HT isn't all that great unless you do high end gfx work i.e. PS, 3DMAX etc.

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I would personally recommend NewEgg.com and GoogleGear.com. They are the two sites I have purchased from, and I have no doubt you could find most of your needed hardware items from these sites. Shipping prices are great, and they both have very high customer satisfaction ratings with Yahoo, Bizrate, etc. You could also check out PriceWatch.com. They usually have retailers with decent prices...but be sure to check out the ratings for the individual online stores...

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AMD athlon xp 1800+ or greater

kt333 or kt400 or an nforce 2 mobo

ddr ram 512 what ever speed the new mobo will support

msi gf4 ti 4200 64 or 128 ddr the msi has better memory and a gf4 ti 4600 htf

a sb live or audigy 2 oem card stay away from the audigy 1 if possible unless you want to mess a round with installing audigy 2 drivers to get the functions you were promised

a good tower case with good ariflow and room for fans and such

a 350 or 420 psu dual fan quiet with a good rail supply

everything else looks good to carry over

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FSB is probably 100, might be 133, but I doubt it. 'Hyper-threading,' which currently isn't that useful, since it requires dual-cpu compatible programs, wouldn't be something worth considering. Besides, it's mainly on the 2.6ghz and upper end cpus. What you are mainly going to need is a 2ghz or equivilant cpu, mb, ddr ram and a new gfx card. The other stuff can be carried over/updated as you wish.

Cheapest route, of course, is AMD, and a 2000XP will definately beat the pants of a 2ghz P4. For motherboard chipsets, pick a basic board based on the kt333 or kt400 chipsets, or pay $10 more and go ahead and get an nforce2.

For the digital display, you'll need a DigiDoc. It can also utilize 3rd party programs to display many things on its LCD panel.

Prices @ newegg.com:

CPU: $86 (2000XP) 2ghz P4 is $155

MB: $79 or 88 (Epox kt400 or nforce2) P4 mb is around $90 for a decent namebrand one

Ram: $66.50 (512mb Kingston PC2700 *Get 2 sticks of 256mb if you get an nforce2*)

GFX: $88 or 138 (8500 LE 128mb or Ti4200 128mb)

DigiDoc: Newegg doesnt carry them, but expect around $50

Edited by RooK
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Um...Stinger, you should read your link again. Remember, the AMD XP2000+ is technically a 1.67GHz chip. There is a substancial difference between the two processors here. So what is the P4 is more overclockable...I'll stick with the performance AMD delivers with "bang for the buck". :)

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Um...Stinger, you should read your link again. Remember, the AMD XP2000+ is technically a 1.67GHz chip. There is a substancial difference between the two processors here. So what is the P4 is more overclockable...I'll stick with the performance AMD delivers with "bang for the buck". :)

Not saying that the xp is bad. And I will agree it is more bang for the buck in the lower numbers of the chip. Heres another link http://www.xbitlabs.com/cpu/northwood-2200/

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Stinger, the page you posted doesn't bear out your argument.

Wizardry 8 confirms what most benchmarks have been pointing out. Northwood closes the gap with the superb Athlon XP somewhat, but the AMD chip continues to surprise us by keeping up with the higher-clocked 2.2 GHz Intel chip.

This is straight from the second to last page.

BigT, it is a personal preference and cost type deal really. If you want preformance at a reasonable price go AMD. The rest of your hardware will fall into place when you choose the chip you want to use. The other guys here are on the mark about what components to get.

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Yeah it isnt the greatest but the 2nd link is better. Basically on most games the P4 beats out the AMD. And in most multimedia streaming the P4 wins too. The last link kinda knocks around the AMD quite a bit. And IIRC the P4 2.0 can be taken a heck of a lot higher in ocing then the athlon.

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23 out or 30 tests in the second link a P4 is on top. And this is quoted from the bottom of the last link.

In all the benchmarks Pentium 4 processors built on Northwood core appeared faster than their competitors from AMD. To tell the truth, this is very sad news for AMD, bearing in mind that Athlon XP used to be the leader in DRV-07 and DX-06 tests before Northwood announcement. However, larger L2 cache and higher clock frequencies of the new Pentium 4 CPUs did a great job having made Athlon XP not so attractive for professional OpenGL applications.

Proves my point in spades.

Edited by Stinger
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CPU - Central Processing Unit. It is what makes the computer work basically. RAM is Random Access Memory. It is a fast storage area that information from the HD (hard drive) is stored prior to processing. AMD is the company that makes the Althon XP CPU's.

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MB is the motherboard, or basicly the big thing all your cards and cpu plug into. DDR is Double-Data Rate, for ram that delivers data at the top and bottom of the clock cycles compared to sdram (like what you currectly use) which delivers data once during a clock cycle.

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I am willing to spend about $500 or so.

From what everyone is sayng ... motherboard, processor, memory & graphics card are the main things I need to upgrade.

Does the BIOS come with the motherboard or is that something else I need to buy.

Also, how do I know if the motherboard will fit into my current case? Or should I get a new case too. My current system is a Dell.

I am comforable installing memory and PCI cards, so is installing the motherboard/processor something I can handle?

Thanks.

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Before you buy a mb, look up its deminsions. You may need to buy a new case. If so, Antec has some great cases and be sure to get one with at least a 300w power supply. I'd recommend a 350w.

Bios comes on the mb, it's made into little chips on them. Thats where you can adjust memory timings, board hardware options or even system overclocking.

Installing a mb or cpu take a bit more patience and a screwdriver. Basicly you screw these little brass standoffs into the case, lay the mb on top and tighten it down (gently). The cpu slides into a socket on board after you lift a little handle. The heatsink (included with Retail cpus) then goes ontop of the cpu with the use of a screwdriver and clamping system. It is all pretty much straight forward, and as long as you read directions twice before you do anything, you'll do fine.

This is my first home built pc, and all I had done before hand was install pci cards, graphics cards and ram. :)

Edited by RooK
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if you have a prefab pc from a pc company you may not be able to run a new mobo in it generaly buy a mobo thats listed as ATX compliant then youl find that most cases that are ATX will fit np,

as Rook said a good psu is a must mopst cases come with one installed but be careful over the brand as a generic one wont always fit your needs even tho it proclaims to be a 300 or 350 high power psu

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A new ATX mobo will not fit in a dell system's case. They are too small :( A great PSU (power supply), is an Antec TruePower. Yo uonly need a 350 proly but a larger one for $40 more will be worth it for later upgrades like an Antec True Power at 480 watts.

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I've got 4 powerful fans blowing as well as an overclocked system on a Enermax 350w. I doubt he'll need something as big as 480w unless he plans on putting in lights and fans out the yin yang.

Antec cases come with Antec power supplies. Best buys going.

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Well, 430 Watts would be PLENTY of power for future needs. 480 is overkill. Check into Antec as they offer affordable Power Supply Units (PSU's), the Solution Series, as well as State-of-the-Art TruePower units which among other things have a dedicated thermally-controled circuit for case fans. I am using 2 of the Antec TP Series Units in both of my computers, and I must say they are very stable. There is no substitute for clean and stable power. I view the PSU as one of the most important components in a computer. Keep that in mind as you search for PSU...don't get an el`cheapo unit just because it says "300 Watts".

As far as motherboard manufacturers, most of it is personal preference here. MSI, ASUS, Gigabite, and Abit are among some of the most popular. Try to get one with On-Board LAN. That way you can plug your CAT-5 (ethernet)cable directly in to your motherboard.

USB 2.0 is pretty much standard now, so they will also be backward-compatable with your USB 1.1 devices.

Other options to consider are RAID, IEEE 1394 (FireWire), and AGP 8X. Again, it depends on how much you are willing to spend. RAID is Redundant Array of Independent Disks or Drives...(guys correct me if I'm wrong) and deals mainly with 2 or more hard drives. FireWire is a fast transfer method for moving pictures from a digital camera, or audio and video exporting, but has many other uses. Consider this: If you purchase an Audigy type Sound card, they have one FireWire port built in on the back...hmmmmm. AGP 8X will be a standard feature built into most mobo's from now on. Once your video card runs out of resourses and memory, it will begin to tap in to the main system memory. The AGP rate is how fast the video card can take the memory it needs and return back to the card for processing (more or less in these terms) ;) Up till recently, the standard was 4X, so 8X is basically 2 times faster. But if that option is too expensive, put that extra money toward a better video card...you'll eventually use it...trust me.

Edited by Dark Ranger
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