Earn $5 if you win the $100.00 upgrade challange!

Here is the deal I want to wait for another year (sheesh I hope I can make it) before doing a serious upgrade/new machine. I will spend ~$100.00 on the best upgrade for my current situation and uses. If I take your suggestion I will send you $5.00 cash through the mail. However I want explanations and reasons to back up your decissions. Sound reasonable?

Current Hardware is this:
Tyan Tigercub 100 BX board (only 100 & 66Mhz FSB see specs at www.tyan.com)
Abit SlotketIII (built in Voltage control etc.)
Celeron 400Mhz w/stock fan
128 MB PC133 SDRAM
8 Gig 5400 junk drive
SIS 6326 AGP 8MB Video Card
Windows ME (don't ask me why I bought the upgrade, I still don't know)
Some SMC LAN Card for cable modem (does anyone care about these parts)

Current uses:
First, I do absolutly no 3D gameing, I know its unheard of but I only live in a 2D world (AOE, AOE2, WarCraftII, Starcraft, etc.) so a video card is not something high on my priority lists usually, unless direct improvement results in 2D. Also I am only using about 3 Gigs of my HDD so I'm not sure the money would be best spent in this area. My Idea was either 1Ghz Celeron or 800Mhz PIII at 100Mhz FSB. I know a PIII is more then $100 but I am willing to bend slightly from this price point.

Let the games begin!
22 answers Last reply
More about earn upgrade challange
  1. If I were you I would take the Celeron 1.0ghz and use the leftover money to buy another 128MB of RAM. Windows just loves to suck memory out of my computers, last night after having it on for less than 5 hours, and then shutting off all background programs I still had 65% of my 256MB of RAM being used (this was on Windows 98). I think that on that motherboard the difference you'd see between the P3 and Celeron would be negligible.

    Me "I bought a TNT2 M64, the BIOS says its a Vanta"
    IOMagic "Theyre the same card"
    Me "Um, no"
  2. If your powersupply can handle it, get a $60 ECS K7S5A mobo and add a $50 Athlon 850mhz, then overclock it to 1.0+ ghz.

    See a real naked pic of Britney Spears <A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/stick_e_mouse" target="_new">here</A>!!!
  3. This Idea looks to have merit... Just did some research about that motherboard and checked out a forum I know,


    After reading quite a few threads I'm a little worried about this board. I only want to spend $100.00 but I dont want to spend $300.00 worth of time trying to troubleshoot the board.

    Do you know another brand that may be in the same price range or a little more? Something that doesnt have so many "issues"?

    It would be nice to be able to adjust voltage also... but I am probably asking too much for my price range.

    On another note, it is amazing what you can do with about $100 now isn't it? I mean I remember when you couldn't buy diddly for $100 not too mention a MBcombo... Kinda cool.

    uhh... how... who... what... ...nevermind.
  4. The Shuttle AK31A costs ~$20 more, performs better, and has 4 DIMMS and 6 PCI slots.

    Me "I bought a TNT2 M64, the BIOS says its a Vanta"
    IOMagic "Theyre the same card"
    Me "Um, no"
  5. Well I was doing more research and started looking at the Shuttle and started drooling, then I was looking at the 950 Athlon and then the 1ghz with the 133FSB and then I remembered that I needed DDR ram and wanted to look at some faster RAM timeings... Next thing I know I was looking at

    Ok so back to my (or should I say your) original Idea, I think you had it right sticky... I get what I pay for so I just want a bump for now and wait for nForce before I do too much more. With ECS I can use my existing Ram and get an 850 Duron (since Athlon adds about $20 making it just out of reach for now) and Volcano II HS for about $118.00 Including Shipping from NewEgg.com.

    You think I could get to 1Ghz with this setup?

    IT Tip of the Month: Place at command prompt "ipconfig /all >>C:\Ip.txt" with out the quotes then look at root for file.
  6. Ok here is the final product.

    First I want to let everyone know that Stick_E_mouse won the contest, even though not many participated. But Stick_E if you send me a private message with your address I will send you $5.00.

    Second the final decision was actually more costly then what I originally was hoping, but in the long run a better decision. I realized that I needed a new case. The one I currently had was only a microATX form factor with a 200 watt power supply. Needless to say I was not happy.

    So I set the limit to $250.00 and went searching through the Internet to find what I could find. The following is what I came up with.

    The only thing I decided to keep from the original system is my CDRom and my current HDD. Other then that it is a completely new system. Here is the list I came up with.

    ECS K7S5A Motherboard $53.00
    P4 Case w/425 Watt Power CAMP442 Supply (4+2) screwless $38.00
    Sony 1.44 MB Floppy Drive FDS144 $7.00
    Shipping $35.74
    Total $133.74

    128 PC-2400 OCZ CL2 "PERFORMANCE" DDR $14.99
    Thermaltake, Thermal Cooling Grease $0.75
    Thermaltake, Socket A, VOLCANO 5, 4500rpm $9.75
    SUBTOTAL $25.49
    SHIPPING $6.86
    ORDER TOTAL $32.35

    CPU AMD|DURON 800 OEM (Qty=1,Price=34.00)
    VGA ATI XPERT 2000 PRO 32MB TV AGP (Qty=1,Price=41.00)
    Shipping and Handling Charge:13.22

    Add it all up and it comes to $4.31 over my $250. Not bad.

    Let me know what you guys think. Cool choices? Or stupid stumbles?

    uhh... how... who... what... ...nevermind.
  7. I would REALLY strongly advide to spalsh out on another 128MB minimum of RAM though. 128MB is not enough today. I'd suspect you are getting a lot of HDD activity when you run ME right? That's your system writing data that should be in memory to your HDD because there isn't enough. You can probably guess what that does for performance - right?

    Also, check the bundled options - your CPU/HS/Mobo combo are totalling $96.75.

    For $101 you can get the same board, 900Mhz Duron and heatsink...

    Why not keep the floppy from your old system? Only time you use it is for building the system, driver loading and rare occasions.

    If you go seaparates, the VolcanoII usually goes for $7 and comes with a good TIM/Pad (ask Crashman). (Save $3.50 here!)

    Just a few small suggestions.

    -* <font color=red> Under Offer </font color=red> *-
    email for application details
  8. Hi Peteb,

    The memory will be bought a little later. I actually havent had much page swapping to the hdd at all. I'm not sure why this is, but I do have a habit of only using one program at a time(comes from many years of using the so called multitasking MS OS's which never really multitasked very well).

    I wanted to pick the Fan, that is pretty much the main reason for not going with a package deal. I decided on the Volcano 5 because it had better thermal dissapation then the II but fan was not as loud as the 6. The fan comes with a "pad" but I removed that and used the thermal grease.

    Also I made another change. I decided not to get the ATI 128 and go with the Radeon VE with TV out, which cost another $5 more then the previous.

    I plan on using the old case for another system (possibly a Chaintech 7SID) in the future, plus the FDD is one of those built into the case type, didn't want to try to pull it.

    Some of the components I use with the new system will go to the old one once I start another round of upgrading again.

    IT Tip of the Month:"C:\>ipconfig /all >>C:\Ip.txt" Look in root for txt file.
  9. is your competition over? cos my suggestion has gotta be worth 5 bucks. It'll cost you more than that to ship it to UK to me anyway but...
    What about fitting a mini-bar to your pc? You know, those little bottles of booze you get in hotels, all kept in a tidy little cooler? It's the minor details that make the major impact.
    You could also rig the cooler up to your cpu when you have drunk all the booze.
    Just dont try to hook up the refridgerator to your cpu straight after you've finished off the bottles. Trust me - alcoholics dont have computers for very valid reasons.
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by monkeyspank on 11/17/01 01:37 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  10. Nice set-up,...almost.
    If I were you, I would reconsider spending a little extra on a <b>*quality*</b> AMD-approved power-supply. It seems like this motherboard can be a little picky about the power supply. Other than that, I think it is a great motherboard--or rather, a good motherboard with a <b>*great*</b> chipset.
    The case/powersupply you chose may pose some problems, i.e random reboots.
    <i>"Most people have reported good results with Enermax and Antec power supplies."</i>--ocworkbench, ECS K7S5A FAQ

    <A HREF="http://www1.amd.com/athlon/power" target="_new">AMD Recommended Power Supplies for Athlons</A>
    <A HREF="http://www1.amd.com/duron/power" target="_new">AMD Recommended Power Supplies for Durons</A>

    See a real naked pic of Britney Spears <A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/stick_e_mouse" target="_new">here</A>!!!
    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by stick_E_mouse on 11/18/01 02:06 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
  11. PM me your address or tell me a charity you want (although I would still like to send you a reciept so you know it was done) the $5 to go to.

    Thanks for the update about the case, I went back and forth when I was first putting this together and wish now I had decided on the ENLIGHT EN-7237AZ. Only thing was it was almost 2 times the cost of the other and I wanted to stick to my $250. I had already blown it by $9 and change (including the updated video card purchase). And with the enlight, I would have blown it by ~$40.

    The option's I had was to forget about a Video Card for now (stick with the SIS6326 Card) and get a nicer case, or get cheap case with a video card. I choose instant gratification over quality, good short term decision... bad long term one. Video Cards come and go, but a good case will stick with you a long time. I am worried I made the wrong decision.

    Although I love this video card, I was worried the way people talk about it that it wouldn't be able to do much. Graphics looks beautiful and I havent seen it choke yet on 3D... however I don't do much 3D but from what I have seen it is beautiful, not to mention Dual monitor capabilities with MX type power, it came with 32 Megs of 5.5ns DDR and I thought it was a SDR when I bought it. I guess you can tell I am happy with the Card.

    About the dollor limit, I'm kinda weird like that... when I set a goal I like to try to stick to it. Usually it's a good trait, but it can get me into trouble sometimes when I should be more flexable.

    Actually if I go by the original $100 then I am already over by ~160%. But after I realized I only had a M-ATX case I allowed myself some money to make up for this.

    What would you done? Video card or better case?

    IT Tip of the Month:"C:\>ipconfig /all >>C:\Ip.txt" Look in root for txt file.
  12. video card , a case can't increase your FPS..........

    I aint signing nothing!!!
  13. Better case/power-supply...you can't use your video card if your computer won't even boot.
    You'll just have to wait and see if your P4 power-supply makes the cut....let us know.

    See a real naked pic of Britney Spears <A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/stick_e_mouse" target="_new">here</A>!!!
  14. Your not done yet. I can get you going for under $100. Get a $35 Celeron 600 and overclock it to 900. Get a $35 Diamond Viper V770 and overclock that to 150/180. Get an $18 memory module. Spend the rest on shipping, and you'll be at least twice as fast in games.

    I know you said you don't play games, but there's a reason for this-it will sell for a lot more when you get rid of it.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  15. I tried to get the 400 in there now to 600 and I couldn't do it. I even tried at 2.5 volts just to see if I could get it to post... but nothing.

    With that experience under my belt, I wasn't so keen on trying anymore over-clocking experiences with this setup. I doubt I would be able to get it to go to 900. If I had even thought I had a smidgen of a chance I would have tried.

    Just to update everyone on my system, I got all my equipment in and I absolutely hated the case. It did not have a removable HDD cage or MB tray or really any nice features at all. Needless to say (or is it) I returned it and ordered a ENLIGHT EN-7237AZ. Not pretty but at least it has the basics.

    In the mean time I slapped the K7S5A board in another case at work and tried to see what I could do. I finally got it to go to 124/124 (after some work, trial and error) but when I run Prime 95 after about 2 hours or so it will come up with an error. I am already at 1.85 so I may have to do a little resister mod to the board in order to get the added voltage I need to try for more stability.

    Any of you guys have some advice? Maybe I should start a new thread for this?

    Waiting to hear from you.


    IT Tip of the Month:"C:\>ipconfig /all >>C:\Ip.txt" Look in root for txt file.
  16. Don't play that game. I think everyone in here knows the Celeron 400 was a Mendicino core CPU that would only go to between 500 and 600MHz in most situations. So not being able to hit 600 is par for the course.

    What only half of us know is that the Celeron II is a Coppermine core processor that will usually hit between 900 and 1000MHz. These are the FC-PGA versions, as opposed to your PPGA version, the core is different and can be diferentiated by the fact that it is smaller and not covered. It has nothing to do with your motherboard, I have sucessfully been able to raise the speed of many Celeron II's even on OEM boards that had no overclock setting by simply modifying the detection pins.

    I think I'm the only one who gave you valid solutions for upgrades under $100. Of course the 400 won't go to 600, regardless of the platform, silly!

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  17. Hmmm... why didn't I even think of the coppermine point. I was thinking that the added slokett adapter with the extension of traces was the buzz kill.

    So you can pretty much guarentee me that I could get 900 out of a 600 Celery? Hmmm, this sounds like a challange. Maybe I should buy one just to see if I could get there. I could then sell it and recover some of this money I keep spending.

    Should I test your theory Crashman? What type of Heatsink would you use for this?

    keithhillard AKA tracert.

    IT Tip of the Month:"C:\>ipconfig /all >>C:\Ip.txt" Look in root for txt file.
  18. Of course the Coppermine Celeron (Celeron II) will require the PIII setting instead of the Celeron setting on the adapter, and may require raising the voltage. The chances of sucess go down with speed. The 566 hits 850 fairly easily, over a 90% success rate, with the voltage raised from 1.50v to 1.70-1.80v. The 600 goes to 900 with around an 75-90% success rate. The 633 goes to 950 with around a 50-75% success rate, etc. I hear the 700 comes from better quality stock and can often hit 1050, but I've never tried and therefore cannot recommend it do to that being second hand knowledge.
    I normally use the BIG Intel boxed heatsink, because these are cheap, quiet, and reliable. Yes they had more than one size. But you can get much better cooling from the Evercool ND-8 if you like.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  19. I just realized that for $13.00 more I could just buy a 900Mhz Celeron and not even have to worry if I could make it. That would be about the cost I was thinking of for a better heatsink (well maybe a little more but you see my point). Kinda takes the fun out of overclocking with celerons.

    However when I am able to buy a $34.00 Duron chip and overclock it to 1000Mhz and get the same if not slightly better performance then a simulary configured $140.00+ PentIII 1Ghz PC, that makes it a bit more worth it.

    I remembered again why I decided to switch to AMD. Although getting 1000Mhz out of the Duron 800 is harder then everyone was saying, unless their idea of stable is different then mine. Don't get me wrong, I am close... very close but I want to be able to run Prime for at least a 24 hour period with out an error, 48 would be better.

    Sometimes I think many people over-exagerate the overclocking ability of cpu's. I was expecting to get 133/133 out of this setup. Now it looks like I will be lucky to get 124/124 stable.


    IT Tip of the Month:"C:\>ipconfig /all >>C:\Ip.txt" Look in root for txt file.
  20. The 900 still puts out a lot of heat.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  21. Hey!
    You actually sent me $5!! Just recieved it yesterday!
    Thanks Tracert!
    Hope you're happy with your system.

    See a real naked pic of Britney Spears <A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/stick_e_mouse" target="_new">here</A>!!!
  22. Well it has been a long strange road but I am almost complete. Here is the (maybe) final hardware setup. All money is in USD.

    Enlight 7237AZ Mid Tower Case w/ 340W “Approved” PS. $60.00
    ECS K7S5A SiS® 735 w/ Sound & NIC R5. $57.00
    Duron 800 Mhz. $34.00
    40 GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X ATA 133/100 2MB Buffer. $87.00
    ATI Radeon VE 32 MB 5.5ns DDR with 2 CRT outputs, analog TV, and SVideo TV out. $47.00
    512 MB Samsung CL 2, 2100 DDR (Acquired through trade). ~$190.00
    (Originally bought 128 MB OCZ “Nanya” CL2, 2400 DDR. $14.99)
    Creative CD-Rom (Pull from old system). ~$28.00
    Sony FDD. $9.00
    Extra Case fan to go with one that came in the Enlight (Pull from old system). ~7.00
    Extra ATA 100 cable for CD-Rom (pull from another system). ~8.00
    OCZ thermal grease. $.99
    Advice from Stick E Mouse (and the rest who participated). $5.00

    Total I paid for this system is $309.98 so far but that does not include shipping. Well so much for my price limit. Here are some additions for the near future.

    I am working on a trade for either a 1.33 Athlon or a 950 Athlon. Once this happens that chip will take up permanent residence in the system (oc’d of course). Also at work I have 2, Iwill Side Raid 100 IDE controllers just laying around along with a couple of 7200 HDD so I may sneak one of those in my system and run Raid 0. But I’m not sure if it is worth the trouble so we shall see. Also we have a couple of PlexWriter 12/10/32a CD RW Drives at work, and one of those might find themselves in my system too. Then I will just have to find a DVD Rom and I think I will be done (until I find an XP chip ;).

    O.K. I admit it, I went nuts. This in no way was what I originally wanted to do but with prices so cheap, can you blame me? Any way I have been trying to justify it to myself (like we all do) with the knowledge that I am going to sell my old system to help recover some of the cost (anyone interested?). Well in the mean time, I have been doing some tweaking to this system.

    First let me say that the Samsung memory is the best quality memory I have come across yet. I “borrowed” a 1.4 Athlon from another system at work just to see what I could do and was able to get to 147/147 with it and I had the Memory timings pegged at Ultra. Not bad for a $57 Mother Board, I just wish I could find a chip that will OC better to see what the memory can do.

    I found that voltage increase is the easiest thing to do with a TB or Duron, so I do not care that the ECS board doesn’t have voltage control. No one should care, unless they have an Athlon XP, when a plain 2HB pencil I found at work (not a fancy 4H or what ever everyone is telling you to use) works in as little as 45 seconds to up a voltage. I didn’t even try to crush the "lead" into it. Just scribble a little line, works great.

    The Duron 800 would go as far as 124/124 but that is it. Still not bad but I was hoping for more. I tried this Chip in a GA-7DXR to see what I could do if I had multiplier control and guess what, even at 7.5 @ 133/133 it was not stable. It would make it to windows sometimes but then crash whenever I tried to do anything. So my best choice was 124/124 @ 8. I guess I made a good decision with this Mother Board considering the price difference between the two (yeah.. I know the built in raid but you know what I am saying).

    One more thing, my worries about this Mother Board, and it’s problems, were unfounded in this R5 board. I never had any Mem issues, blue screens, or reboots. I even tried it with a very cheap 250 watt PS that wasn’t even listed for any of AMD’s chips with the 1.4 and not a single problem. I know you may find this hard to believe but I am being absolutely honest about everything I am telling you so that this information will be beneficial to those of you thinking of doing something similar.

    I think sometimes the PS can be more of an issue if you are running a lot of HDD and CDRoms and high powered Video Cards with 3 Case Fans. I did not test it in those situations with such a low power PS. I tested with a basic setup being 15 Gig HDD, CD-Rom, SIS video card, FDD, 128 Memory. There was absolutely no problems. Not one.

    If you are thinking about this mother board, then from my experience (you must keep in mind that I only have had this one) get an R5 (although it looks as if the R6’s are good according to some forums).

    Some preliminary Benchmarking with this board was done and it is at the same level as some motherboards @ more then 2 times the cost. It completed Super PI 1M test in 1 Min 25 Sec. With the 1.4 Athlon at 147/147 (1540Mhz). I am now going to get everything together and once I decide on what chip will stay in this system I will let you know and show some more tests and benchmarks. Also there was a lot more that went into the individual choices then what I can post here but I hope to do a more extensive layout later.

    Thanks to all for your ideas, esp. Stick E Mouse, Crashman, and peteb. I enjoyed your posts the most as far as informative (not to say I don’t appreciate the other more creative postings, wink/nudge monkeyspank). This will probably be my final post on this thread unless other forum members inquire. I will start a new thread for the testing and benchmarks of my system. Congratulations again Stick E, go buy a Milkshake on me, just don’t spill it… u might get sticky ;)

    IT Tip of the Month:"C:\>ipconfig /all >>C:\Ip.txt" Look in root for txt file.
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