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Confused newbie looking for upgrade suggestions

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December 19, 2003 8:27:57 PM

Ooook…I’m about as confused as confused gets. Most of what I read on this forum looks like random numbers and letters stuck together, so I guess I’ll just have to ask for some help ;) 

I’m looking to upgrade my ancient Motherboard and CPU (that’s the big square thing that says “Pentium” on it, right? =P) for around $200. I’d like to finally upgrade to DDR, as I’m still running SDR (I think that’s right…so I have around 600 megs of RAM right now, but upgrading my MB and getting 512 megs of DDR would be significantly better…right?). Right now I have an old 800 mhz P3 for my CPU, which I would really love to upgrade…aside from the MB having an AGP slot and being compatible with whatever new CPU I get (both of which I would absolutely love suggestions on), I also want to make sure that the MB is compatible with my other hardware. I assume that I shouldn’t even have to consider compatibility issues with my Hard Drive, Floppy Drive, and PCI cards, and any AGP card should be compatible…right? Heh, I’m new at this – I can install hardware, but that’s basically just a skill I taught myself through trial and error.

I live in a remote area of Vermont, so aside from the local Staples my only option is to order offline (which is far cheaper than most other options anyway). I was directed to a site called newegg.com that seemed to have very good prices, not to mention free shipping – do people feel that that’s a fairly well known website for ordering these types of things? Did I mention I have no idea what I’m doing? =P

Any suggestions…or translations of suggestions from binary into English that someone not familiar with the lingo can understand…would be very, very appreciated. Thanks in advance for any help you can give!
a b V Motherboard
December 20, 2003 3:22:49 AM

If you send me your old system, I'll upgrade it to a P4 2.4B with 512MB of 533MHz, Dual Channel RDRAM, and a Radeon DDR video card (unless your old one is better). I'll return ship it to you with a $200 C.O.D. on it, with permission to inspect, you can open the box and look it over, and hand the UPS man a money order for $200 when it arrives.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 20, 2003 2:08:58 PM

That sounds very noble, but there's inevitably a part of me that has a few reservations about shipping my computer to someone I don't know at all with the hopes that it might come back =/ But I wouldn't put it entirely out of consideration...I would certainly need more information, and some kind of insurance that my computer wasn't vanishing forever ;) 

Aside from that, if I'm still ordering from newegg.com...any suggestions on MBs capable of running the new fangled type of RAM? =P
Related resources
a b V Motherboard
December 20, 2003 6:15:56 PM

I work directly with Computer Consignments of Mount Pleasant, MI (my local seller), if you'd like to send it to a shop. I trade on eBay under the user Central_Surplus, if you want to check my backgroud a bit.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
a b V Motherboard
December 20, 2003 6:18:23 PM

Oh, as for a motherboard, you're on a fairly tight budget, hence my offer. Normally I recommend an Abit IS7, P4 2.6C, and a minimum of 512MB PC4000.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 20, 2003 8:52:18 PM

It'll probably cost you a bit more than $200 to get a good Motherboard, processor, and 512 meg of DDR memory, and you'll probably have to get a new power supply since your old one may not be up to the task of supporting these new components.

You didn't say if you wanted Intel or if AMD. Personally, I'd get one of the nForce2 Ultra 400 boards, an Athlon XP2500+ retail processor (includes the heat sink and fan), and a couple of 256 meg sticks of DDR400 memory. You could probably get by with DDR333 memory, but I'd recommend you leave your options open to overclock this puppy!

Again, take a hard look at your current power supply... you'll have all kinds of grief if you try to make this setup work on an inadequate power supply.


Scout
700 Mflops in SETI!
December 20, 2003 9:22:11 PM

Stormrider, I would say that from what you know of computers by reading your post that Crashman just gave you one heck of a deal. I would not be able to do that for you and there was a time that I did component diagnostics and repair on circuit bds in medical equipment(70's-early 80,s). Crashman KNOWS his stuff, just start reading some more threads and you'll know what I mean. I don't know how YOU would go about trusting him, But, for 200.00 I'd take the chance. Your asking for advise that if wrong or you do it wrong could COST you a whole lot more than JUST 200.00.
I'll get off my soapbox, just my 2cents.

Have a Merry Christmas!!
December 21, 2003 12:22:11 AM

From the little I know, it does sound like one heck of a deal - although part of the problem is that I'm not entirely fluent in computer hardware lingo:

Quote:
If you send me your old system, I'll upgrade it to a P4 2.4B with 512MB of 533MHz, Dual Channel RDRAM, and a Radeon DDR video card (unless your old one is better).

So I *think* the CPU would be a Pentium 4...but I have no idea what 2.4B means. And I'm not sure how fast 533 mhz is for RAM, although I *think* that's fast. =/ And as for a graphics card, it depends heavily on which one...I'm hoping to be able to afford a Radeon 9600 Pro after getting the MB / CPU / RAM upgrades.

I know enough about hardware to have built the computer I'm using right now, but that was a few years ago. I can definitely install any piece of hardware or software - but the current lingo and the state of hardware still eludes me.

It may indeed be difficult to get a new MB / CPU and 512 megs of DDR for $200 or under, but I can spend more than that if I need to...that's just my goal price. Someone on a different forum suggested getting the following system based on prices at newegg.com, which is where I got the price, but I have no idea what any of this means:

Quote:
ideal budget PC
AMD Athlon XP 2000+/266 FSB Processor CPU - Retail 2000+/ 1.67GHz------------------> $67.00
CRUCIAL MICRON 512MB 64x64 PC 2700 DDR RAM - OEM ------>$80
ABIT Motherboard for AMD Athlon/Athlon XP/Duron Processors, Model# NF7 -RETAIL --->$82
VGA CHAINTECH A-GX20 TI-4200 64MB 8X NO TV OUT, VGA RETAIL BOX------->$83.00
total - $312

now for $200...hmm
AMD Athlon XP 1800+ Thoroughbred /266 FSB Processor CPU 1800+/ 1.53GHz -0.13 micro OEM --->$52.00
ABIT Motherboard for AMD Athlon/Athlon XP/Duron Processors, Model# NF7 -RETAIL --->$82
CRUCIAL MICRON 256MB 32x64 PC 2700 DDR RAM - OEM ------>$50
Cooler Master CPU FAN DP5-6I31D-01DP5-6I31D-01 For AMD/Intel Cpu's Retail--->$6.00
total= $190....

add $82 if u want a Ti4200

Thanks again for the offer Crash - you certainly sound trustworthy, so I'll send you a PM about your offer (perhaps others can also help to clarify the above-stated confusions I have =).
December 21, 2003 10:49:49 AM

i don't think i would send my computer to someone. there are many ways to up grade. frist think about selling your p3 and buy p4.the cheapest way is to do it yourself.i always had poeple work on my computer until i got sick of waiting for them to come over or i had to take it to them. once you start building computer yourself, you will be hooked on it

frankie
December 21, 2003 8:59:38 PM

Just one advice..Dont upgrade with compatibility for future CPU,... in mind. I'll tell you, when you'll be ready to upgrade again, there will be better CPU, chipset, memory, new standard,... that you'll end up upgrading all your stuff again. Buy the best for the buck you have now, and start saving for future upgrade now!


-Always put the blame on you first, then on the hardware !!!
a b V Motherboard
December 22, 2003 2:26:52 AM

P4 2.4B is a Pentium 4, 2.4GHz, "533MHz" front side bus. "533MHz RDRAM" is named PC1066, it's dual channel and provides the same bandwidth as PC4200 DDR SDRAM.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
a b V Motherboard
December 22, 2003 2:28:50 AM

I forgot to add, that includes an Intel i850E motherboard for the P4.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 22, 2003 3:29:58 PM

Someone explain Front Side Bus to me 8) I know that you want your MB and RAM to have a similar FSB rating, but I'm not sure why, or how it affects things one way or the other.

Thanks again =)
a b V Motherboard
December 22, 2003 9:52:37 PM

In the old days, Front Side Bus refered to the entire bus from the CPU to the RAM. These were sychronous, hence the term Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM).

Later chipsets allowed the CPU side of the bus to operate at different frequency than the memory side. Since the bus frequencies could be split, the CPU side is called the Front Side Bus, the memory side is the RAM bus (or Mememory bus, etc).

The memory controller has to translate any speed differences, so that having the two operate at different speed requires more work from the memory controller. Such things usually add latency (response time) to the process, so it's considered best to have them operate at the same speed.

But the P4 uses a Quad Data Rate bus, transfering data at 4x the clock speed of the bus. With Double Data Rate memory, that means having both set at the same frequency will result in the memory bus having 1/2 the bandwidth of the CPU bus!

Intel's original solution to this problem was Dual Channel RDRAM (Rambus DRAM). Rambus is a technology company that licences out concepts/designs for others to produce. People didn't like paying royalties to Rambus every time they bought memory, so Intel introduced a DDR SDRAM chipset with the reduced performance of RAM that had much less bandwidth than the CPU requested.

The old solution to the slow DDR SDRAM problem was to use faster memory and set the bus asynchronously, with the RAM operating at a higher frequency than the CPU bus. The perfect solution at the time was DDR400 RAM on the P4 400MHz bus. Even though there was some overhead to the memory controller, both had the same bandwidth.

But Intel also had the 533 bus P4. And there was no RAM that was fast enough to keep up. So the BEST solution was still to use RAMBUS DRAM (RDRAM). The 533MHz RAMBUS was called PC1066.

Recently, Intel released a new bus speed for the P4, an "800MHz" bus, which is really 200MHz using Quad Data Rate (4x tranfers). RDRAM could no longer keep up, so Intel released the 865/875 chipset to offer Dual Channel DDR SDRAM at a speed of 200MHz, DDR400, in dual channel mode so that it matched up with their new QDR800 bus.

The fastest solution for "533MHz" bus P4's remains PC1066 RDRAM, which operates at 533MHz. The most efficient chipset for this RAM is the Intel i850E.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
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