upgrading from a PII to ?

I think I am the opposite of many who post here. They have a lot of money to spend and they want the latest greatest parts for their pcs. I on the other hand have very little money and want to make a small to moderate jump in performance. Here’s the story:

I have an old PC (PII266, 440bx mobo, 384 pc100, scsi HD,etc.) that I use exclusively for recording and mixing audio (Soundforge, Acid, Logic 4.8). It has been “dying” intermittently for about 6mths now. By dying I mean that it will not power up at all. It will not make a sound except that of me hitting the on/off switch. Even though it has come back to life and even though it more or less gets the job done. I want to upgrade but I am on a very tight budget ($250 dollars or so).

Luckily my goals for the new system are modest.
1) I want moderate compatibility forwards (cpu, etc.) and backwards (for my fireport 40 scsi card, and other PCI parts)
2) Minimal overclocking capabilities would be nice but I am not really into all of that.
3) Firewire and USB are a must (not much to ask)
4) Networking would be nice as well but not mandatory

So far I am thinking about a P4 2.4-ish processor (or maybe athlon xp 2400) and new (faster) ram. I get confused by all of the different bus speeds and the memory types and what is the best price performance ratio.

My hope is that my current system is so dated that ANYTHING will seem great. I want to go with safe choices and stability and ease of setup. Please let me know if you need more info. I appreciate any and all help. I have read so much information on this lately I am a little overwhelmed. I would appreciate any clarity. Thanks in advance.

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More about upgrading
  1. The following prices are from newegg.com:
    amd xp2000 retail boxed: $57
    abit nf7-s with sound, lan, and firewire $85
    buffalo technologies pc3200 256meg (1 stick) $45
    sparkle 300w power supply $26 shipped
    apollo 9600se video card $43

    Total: about $256

    You'll have to use your old case, and you can add a second stick of memory later. The board will run fine with just one stick to start with.
  2. $250 is a very tight budget, but you shouldn't have any problem getting a really nice system with it.

    Some of the motherboards with the nVidia chipset have integrated USB 2.0 and Firewire, which is really nice. If you are reusing everything but CPU, motherboard, and RAM, I would recommend:

    Motherboard: <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=13-136-137&depa=1" target="_new">DFI NFII Ultra Infinity</A> $92.00
    CPU: <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=19-103-378&depa=1" target="_new">Athlon XP 2500+ Barton</A> $75.00
    RAM: <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-145-407&depa=1" target="_new">512 MB Corsair Value Select PC2700</A> $86.00

    That comes out to $253 total, not including shipping. You might need to upgrade your power supply, which would be about $30-$50 for a good one. I built a system with this very motherboard and chip a few months back and so far it has been rock solid stable with Windows 2000.

    <font color=blue> "Trying is the first step towards failure." </font color=blue>
  3. Great. thanks. I have come across the abit nf7-s in other peoples recommendations. My video card is a Matrox Millenium (circa mid 1998). I dont remember the details at the moment. If I can use it I would like to put that money into more RAM (512 at least). I also have a midiman sound card (2044) and a winman 2x2 midi card. They are both pci so there should be any reason I could not use those, right? I understand that it is advisable to diable onboard audio if you are not using it (i.e. you have dedicated cards). Is there are variant of the board without audio?

    Also, I think I can use my old case but due to the problems I mentioned before I may get another power supply just in case my old power supply is what killed my old motherboard.
    Again thanks for the information.
  4. There are at least three variants of the NF7 line. The NF7, NF7-S, and NF7-M. IIRC. The "M' has onboard graphics.

    I suggest you wonder over to the abit site where they list exact details of the features included with each variant to determine which is best for you. I just don't trust my memory to attempt it.

    I'm not familiar with ur vid card, but if it's a 3 volt job it may not work in the NF7 (or many other newer mobo's). I think I tried one in my board and it wouldn't. I know for sure I tried in my shuttle NFII board and it would not. Given that they use the same chipset, I'm thinking no go in the NF7 too. That is, if a 3 volt card.

    BTW, the shuttle goes for about $55, but it's too soon for me to say that it's as reliable as the NF7.

    Good Luck with ur build

    Mobile XP 2600+ (11X200)
    Abit NF7-S v 2.0
    Maxtor 60GB ATA 133 7200RPM
    512MB Corsair Twinx 3200LL
    BBA 9800 Pro
    Enermax Noisetaker 420 watts
  5. If you plan to install WinXP on this PC, I strongly recommend upgrading your GPU. I had an old Matrox Millenium 2 in my "backup PC" that had a lot of artifacts in WinXP. The latest Matrox drivers for this card is very buggy in WinXP. I could get decent performance only by disabling Video Hardware Acceleration in the WinXP control panel.

    It's tricky to use words like <b><font color=green>AMD</font color=green></b> or <b><font color=blue>Intel</font color=blue></b> in a signature some users could think your are biased.
  6. I am currently running win98se because midiman did not put out win2000 drivers for either my 2044 soundcard or my winman midi interface. What if I try to run 98se on any of the suggested setups. WIll I cripple performance, stability in some way? Now that I think of it there are ram limitations to 98se, I don't remember off the top though. I hadn't thought of that. oh well i have been wanting to get an audiophile 2496 anyway.
  7. You will not have any problem running Win98se with this hardware. And for the memory limit in win98se, you will not have problems with 256Megs.

    It's tricky to use words like <b><font color=green>AMD</font color=green></b> or <b><font color=blue>Intel</font color=blue></b> in a signature some users could think your are biased.
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