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Is there a guide to upgrading options?

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Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 12, 2005 1:19:17 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

My Win98SE, Celeron 500, system can no longer keep up, so I would
like to upgrade. Is there a website that discusses what's available
now, and what might be worth doing or not?

I would like to just upgrade my existing system because I have a 19"
CRT monitor that I like a lot, and two fairly new 7200 rpm 80 GB
drives that work fine. So I was thinking I would need a mobo,
processor, RAM, pwower supply, and of course the infamous Windows
XP home. Somehow, though, my guess is that I could get a complete
new system for less than the cost of an upgrade.

Anyway, it's been so long since I looked at any of this stuff
(what's a Sempron? PCI Express? serial ATA?) that I was hoping there
would be a very helpful site would explain it all and get me
up-to-date.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 12, 2005 8:29:12 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

On Mon, 11 Jul 2005 21:19:17 -0500, Peabody <waybackKILLSPAM44@yahoo.com>
wrote:

>My Win98SE, Celeron 500, system can no longer keep up, so I would
>like to upgrade. Is there a website that discusses what's available
>now, and what might be worth doing or not?

Obviously when it comes to upgrades, there's no "one size" so it's
difficult to get a "recipe". You might try
http://www.extremetech.com/category2/0,1695,644478,00.a... and see if they
have something which fits... and look at the rest of their site for further
info. There are many sites which cover components of course, like
www.anandtech.com and www.xbitlabs.com.

>I would like to just upgrade my existing system because I have a 19"
>CRT monitor that I like a lot, and two fairly new 7200 rpm 80 GB
>drives that work fine. So I was thinking I would need a mobo,
>processor, RAM, pwower supply, and of course the infamous Windows
>XP home. Somehow, though, my guess is that I could get a complete
>new system for less than the cost of an upgrade.

If your case is >2 years or so old, you'll need a new case and maybe new
interconnect cables for the hard disks - the round cables are easier for
routing. The trouble with ready-made systems is that they tend to be
scaled across the board according to the CPU speed: faster CPUs come with
big hard drives, expensive video & sound cards. Sure there is often a
customization option but scaling down the odd component doesn't seem to
save as much as it should.

Some vendors will sell you a "barebones" system, with case, mbrd, CPU,
memory etc. but often with a restricted choice of alternative components.
www.monarchcomputer.com does this but I've no experience with them and I've
heard good and bad. Might be a useful exercise to see what you can
configure anyway.

>Anyway, it's been so long since I looked at any of this stuff
>(what's a Sempron? PCI Express? serial ATA?) that I was hoping there
>would be a very helpful site would explain it all and get me
>up-to-date.

Sempron is AMD's "economy" (Celeron-like) version of their Athlon64 which
currently fits in a socket 754 mbrd, has 128KB of L2 cache and doesn't have
64-bit capability... though that last is going to change soon. If you go
AMD, I'd recommend socket 939 for the mbrd and a lower speed-grade Athlon64
over Sempron.

PCI Express is a new interconnect standard which will eventually displace
PCI. It can be configured with a variety of "lane" widths and the x16 is
used for new video cards; most new mbrds come with a x16 slot for video and
maybe a x1 and x4 slot plus 3 or 4 PCI slots. Though the PCI Express x16
has currently about double the bandwidth of AGP 8x for video, the
difference is not that noticable for current video reqts. Note that though
AGP 8x video cards are still available with latest GPUs, they are often
more expensive than the equivalent PCI-e x16 version - PCI Express is the
way forward here.

SATA is a new serial interconnect to replace EIDE/ATA with much higher
clock speeds, lower pin count and narrower cables - hard disks and some DVD
writers now come with it though there are loads of EIDE/ATA versions still
available. Again current performance difference is not going to astound
you so you can get by with your EIDE/ATA drives, sometimes called PATA now,
without much perfromance penalty.

--
Rgds, George Macdonald
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2005 12:27:08 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

"George Macdonald" <fammacd=!SPAM^nothanks@tellurian.com> wrote in
message news:i4s6d1ppqt0bimmlmdisqiijlltrppah0g@4ax.com...
> On Mon, 11 Jul 2005 21:19:17 -0500, Peabody
> <waybackKILLSPAM44@yahoo.com>
> wrote:
>
>>My Win98SE, Celeron 500, system can no longer keep up, so I would
>>like to upgrade. Is there a website that discusses what's available
>>now, and what might be worth doing or not?
>
> Obviously when it comes to upgrades, there's no "one size" so it's
> difficult to get a "recipe". You might try
> http://www.extremetech.com/category2/0,1695,644478,00.a... and see if
> they
> have something which fits... and look at the rest of their site for
> further
> info. There are many sites which cover components of course, like
> www.anandtech.com and www.xbitlabs.com.
>
>>I would like to just upgrade my existing system because I have a 19"
>>CRT monitor that I like a lot, and two fairly new 7200 rpm 80 GB
>>drives that work fine. So I was thinking I would need a mobo,
>>processor, RAM, pwower supply, and of course the infamous Windows
>>XP home. Somehow, though, my guess is that I could get a complete
>>new system for less than the cost of an upgrade.
>
> If your case is >2 years or so old, you'll need a new case and maybe
> new
> interconnect cables for the hard disks - the round cables are easier
> for
> routing. The trouble with ready-made systems is that they tend to be
> scaled across the board according to the CPU speed: faster CPUs come
> with
> big hard drives, expensive video & sound cards. Sure there is often a
> customization option but scaling down the odd component doesn't seem to
> save as much as it should.
>
> Some vendors will sell you a "barebones" system, with case, mbrd, CPU,
> memory etc. but often with a restricted choice of alternative
> components.
> www.monarchcomputer.com does this but I've no experience with them and
> I've
> heard good and bad. Might be a useful exercise to see what you can
> configure anyway.
>
>>Anyway, it's been so long since I looked at any of this stuff
>>(what's a Sempron? PCI Express? serial ATA?) that I was hoping there
>>would be a very helpful site would explain it all and get me
>>up-to-date.
>
> Sempron is AMD's "economy" (Celeron-like) version of their Athlon64
> which
> currently fits in a socket 754 mbrd, has 128KB of L2 cache and doesn't
> have
> 64-bit capability... though that last is going to change soon. If you
> go
> AMD, I'd recommend socket 939 for the mbrd and a lower speed-grade
> Athlon64
> over Sempron.
>
> PCI Express is a new interconnect standard which will eventually
> displace
> PCI. It can be configured with a variety of "lane" widths and the x16
> is
> used for new video cards; most new mbrds come with a x16 slot for video
> and
> maybe a x1 and x4 slot plus 3 or 4 PCI slots. Though the PCI Express
> x16
> has currently about double the bandwidth of AGP 8x for video, the
> difference is not that noticable for current video reqts. Note that
> though
> AGP 8x video cards are still available with latest GPUs, they are often
> more expensive than the equivalent PCI-e x16 version - PCI Express is
> the
> way forward here.
>
> SATA is a new serial interconnect to replace EIDE/ATA with much higher
> clock speeds, lower pin count and narrower cables - hard disks and some
> DVD
> writers now come with it though there are loads of EIDE/ATA versions
> still
> available. Again current performance difference is not going to
> astound
> you so you can get by with your EIDE/ATA drives, sometimes called PATA
> now,
> without much perfromance penalty.
>
> --
> Rgds, George Macdonald

I believe you might do better with a complete system. Dell, for example,
has some great deals often only being available for a day. Watch the
various deal sites like fatwallet and other similar ones. I forget the
name of the one that tipped me on a great dell deal. Lesser known
manufacturers can also provide good deals.

del cecchi
Related resources
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2005 11:05:55 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

"Peabody" <waybackKILLSPAM44@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:AMFAe.55712$iU.27762@lakeread05...
> My Win98SE, Celeron 500, system can no longer keep up, so I would
> like to upgrade. Is there a website that discusses what's available
> now, and what might be worth doing or not?
>
> I would like to just upgrade my existing system because I have a 19"
> CRT monitor that I like a lot, and two fairly new 7200 rpm 80 GB
> drives that work fine. So I was thinking I would need a mobo,
> processor, RAM, pwower supply, and of course the infamous Windows
> XP home. Somehow, though, my guess is that I could get a complete
> new system for less than the cost of an upgrade.
>
> Anyway, it's been so long since I looked at any of this stuff
> (what's a Sempron? PCI Express? serial ATA?) that I was hoping there
> would be a very helpful site would explain it all and get me
> up-to-date.
>
>

I would not attempt to upgrade your system.There's really nothing in it
worth transferring except maybe if yiou have a CD or DVD burner. Build a new
system from scratch. Start with something like a AMD64 or XP 3200. I'd
recomend the AMD64 3200 939 pin cpu so you can have PCI express for video.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 13, 2005 11:05:56 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

dawg <don't look@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
> "Peabody" <waybackKILLSPAM44@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > My Win98SE, Celeron 500, system can no longer keep up, so I would
> > like to upgrade. Is there a website that discusses what's available
> > now, and what might be worth doing or not?
>
> I would not attempt to upgrade your system.There's really nothing in it
> worth transferring except maybe if yiou have a CD or DVD burner. Build a new
> system from scratch. Start with something like a AMD64 or XP 3200. I'd
> recomend the AMD64 3200 939 pin cpu so you can have PCI express for video.

While I agree that there's probably not much worth upgrading, if his Celeron
500 is only recently obsolete for his use, I really suspect that the
original poster would do just as well with something a bit more inexpensive
than a Socket 939 chip-based system... a system based around something like
a Celeron-D 2.4 or a Sempron 2400+ would both be a lot cheaper and more than
good enough unless he plans to start playing recent video games (and there
are several years worth of bargain rack ones that will run fine.)

The one thing I would avoid is "intel extreme" or similar motherboard
integrated video, or anything of the Radeon 7000/7500 generation... though
something cheap along the lines of the Geforce 4MX or Radeon 9000/9200 would
probably be fine. Except for 1st-person shooters, those should still play a
fair portion of today's games, let alone the last couple of years' bargain
rack ones.

--
Nate Edel http://www.cubiclehermit.com/

"I do have a cause, though. It is Obscenity. I'm for it." - Tom Lehrer
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 14, 2005 11:48:31 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Nate Edel says...

> While I agree that there's probably not much worth
> upgrading, if his Celeron 500 is only recently obsolete
> for his use, I really suspect that the original poster
> would do just as well with something a bit more
> inexpensive than a Socket 939 chip-based system... a
> system based around something like a Celeron-D 2.4 or a
> Sempron 2400+ would both be a lot cheaper and more than
> good enough unless he plans to start playing recent
> video games (and there are several years worth of
> bargain rack ones that will run fine.)

> The one thing I would avoid is "intel extreme" or
> similar motherboard integrated video, or anything of the
> Radeon 7000/7500 generation... though something cheap
> along the lines of the Geforce 4MX or Radeon 9000/9200
> would probably be fine. Except for 1st-person shooters,
> those should still play a fair portion of today's games,
> let alone the last couple of years' bargain rack ones.

I'd like to get a little more information on the video.

First, it may be important for me to say that no game has
ever been played on my computer. I have nothing against
them, but just have zero interest.

However, the problems I'm beginning to have are centered
around video. I download a variety of multimedia files from
newsgroups, and increasingly I find that they are large
format (720x480 or something similar) and use one of the
high-compression codecs such as Divx or Xvid, or even WMV.
At it's pretty clear that my system just can't keep up. The
audio sounds fine, but the video skips a bunch of
frames every few seconds. And that's at 100% zoom. If I
try to do 2x or .5x, the video just displays an occasional
frame. This is all with Media Player 6.4.

My Celeron system has integrated video, so I guess that
doesn't help much either.

I don't know whether it's the integrated video or the
processor that can't keep up, or both, but it just isn't
working anymore. 352x240 mpeg1 still works just fine, but
that's being gradually replaced by the fancy formats, with
good reason.

The other thing I do that challenges my system is video
format conversions, and my system works fine for that, but
just takes a lot of time.

And then I'm beginning to see software that now requires XP.
And as a practical matter, I can't run XP on this system.

So I really don't need to do games at all, and I suspect
that the requirements of the highly-compressed multimedia
may relate more to processor speed than video power,
although I could be wrong about that. I don't know, it just
appears to be the decompression that's the sticking point.
I don't know whether the 2x or .5x thing is video or
processor.

With this information, whadayathink?
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 14, 2005 3:54:18 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Peabody <waybackKILLSPAM44@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Nate Edel says...
> > inexpensive than a Socket 939 chip-based system... a
> > system based around something like a Celeron-D 2.4 or a
> > Sempron 2400+ would both be a lot cheaper and more than
> > good enough unless he plans to start playing recent
> > video games (and there are several years worth of
> > bargain rack ones that will run fine.)
>
> I'd like to get a little more information on the video.
>
> First, it may be important for me to say that no game has
> ever been played on my computer. I have nothing against
> them, but just have zero interest.

OK; I'll reiterate that any good low-end system should be fine for you -
only the lowest-end ("Gigapro," Via, Celeron [non-D], and the very slowest
remaining Semprons) are likely to be too slow.

> However, the problems I'm beginning to have are centered
> around video. I download a variety of multimedia files from
> newsgroups, and increasingly I find that they are large
> format (720x480 or something similar) and use one of the
> high-compression codecs such as Divx or Xvid, or even WMV.

Some of these are reasonably CPU intensive; few of these really have much
acceleration from the video card AFAIK - the iDCT and other DVD/MPEG2
related speedups may help, but I don't think they will much.

> At it's pretty clear that my system just can't keep up. The
> audio sounds fine, but the video skips a bunch of
> frames every few seconds. And that's at 100% zoom. If I
> try to do 2x or .5x, the video just displays an occasional
> frame. This is all with Media Player 6.4.

On a Celeron 500, I'm surprised you do as well as that at fullscreen
DVD-level resolutions. In terms of the 2x or .5x scaling, that sounds like
you have a video chip that is too old to do hardware overlays and scaling...
or that Media Player 6.4 is too old to use them.

> My Celeron system has integrated video, so I guess that
> doesn't help much either.

It probably doesn't help a lot. That said, anything with decent 2D
acceleration, overlays, and DVD acceleration will probably be fine.

If you don't play video games, the Radeon 7000/7500 would definitely fit the
bill, and generic cards with these chips are pretty cheap; I'm not sure
whether any of the integrated chipsets support these... but I suspect they
do, and you don't need to worry about 3D which they tend to be terrible at.

> I don't know whether it's the integrated video or the
> processor that can't keep up, or both, but it just isn't
> working anymore. 352x240 mpeg1 still works just fine, but
> that's being gradually replaced by the fancy formats, with
> good reason.

Probably both, but it's likely the processor is the largest factor (and
possibly the combination of the motherboard/disks/IO system in Win98SE).

Win98 doesn't have task manager in the sense that NT/2000/XP does, but you
might try running Wintop or something similar to confirm that the CPU is
pegged.

> The other thing I do that challenges my system is video
> format conversions, and my system works fine for that, but
> just takes a lot of time.

Well... those tend to be CPU intensive, but like you said, given some
patience they'll run on anything. This might be a reason to step up a bit
in terms of your processor choice, although my experience with the
semi-related MPEG2 encoding/transcoding is that it's 99% clock speed that
matters - for example, when I had both a P4/1.7ghz and a Celeron/2.0ghz, the
P4 was noticably more responsive for most things... but the C/2 cranked
MPEG2 faster at a rate about proportional to the clock speed increase.

For that matter, if you're doing encoding, you may want to see if the codecs
you run run better on AMD or Intel; in some cases ones heavily optimized for
P4 really do have an advantage there, for example.

> And then I'm beginning to see software that now requires XP.
> And as a practical matter, I can't run XP on this system.

I've run XP on a processor of that speed, and with enough memory and some of
the eye candy turned off it was tolerable. But yes, I'd recommend upgrading.

> So I really don't need to do games at all, and I suspect
> that the requirements of the highly-compressed multimedia
> may relate more to processor speed than video power,

That is my experience.

> although I could be wrong about that. I don't know, it just appears to be
> the decompression that's the sticking point. I don't know whether the 2x
> or .5x thing is video or processor.

Probably a combination thereof; a fast enough processor and bus can make up
for the lack of hardware overlay and scaling.

FWIW, my laptop is a P4/1.8 w/ a Mobile Radeon 7500; unbearably low-end by
today's desktop standards. I've yet to hit anything video-wise that doesn't
view fine on-screen at any size, including some 1280x720 HD stuff - although
the HD stuff will skip if there's ANYTHING else happening on the machine.

> With this information, whadayathink?

I'd say about a 2.4ghz Celeron D or Sempron 2400+ would probably be fine;
unless you can get more information on the specific integrated video, I'd
avoid that although I'd guess that the newer ones probably do support
everything you need (good overlay and scaling, 2D acceleration, MPEG2
acceleration).

You might want to see how much the cost increase would be to go up to an
Athlon 64 3000+ or 3ghz or so P4 -- FSB speed being the big selling point on
either as compared to a similarly clocked Sempron or Celeron D. My guess is
that it's not going to be huge, and if you do *encoding* of video, the speed
difference may be significant... just taking Dell as an example, the price
bump from a 2.4ghz Celeron D to a 3ghz Pentium 4 is $80 on the Dimension
3000 (which is integrated video, however).

--
Nate Edel http://www.cubiclehermit.com/

"I do have a cause, though. It is Obscenity. I'm for it." - Tom Lehrer
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 15, 2005 3:24:23 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 07:48:31 -0500, Peabody
<waybackKILLSPAM44@yahoo.com> wrote:

>Nate Edel says...
>
> > While I agree that there's probably not much worth
> > upgrading, if his Celeron 500 is only recently obsolete
> > for his use, I really suspect that the original poster
> > would do just as well with something a bit more
> > inexpensive than a Socket 939 chip-based system... a
> > system based around something like a Celeron-D 2.4 or a
> > Sempron 2400+ would both be a lot cheaper and more than
> > good enough unless he plans to start playing recent
> > video games (and there are several years worth of
> > bargain rack ones that will run fine.)
>
> > The one thing I would avoid is "intel extreme" or
> > similar motherboard integrated video, or anything of the
> > Radeon 7000/7500 generation... though something cheap
> > along the lines of the Geforce 4MX or Radeon 9000/9200
> > would probably be fine. Except for 1st-person shooters,
> > those should still play a fair portion of today's games,
> > let alone the last couple of years' bargain rack ones.
>
>I'd like to get a little more information on the video.
>
>First, it may be important for me to say that no game has
>ever been played on my computer. I have nothing against
>them, but just have zero interest.

If games are of no interest than a high-end video card is probably not
going to gain you anything. That being said, something like a Radeon
X300SE Hypermemory or GeForce 6200 Turbocache would probably be a good
bet. These cards sell for about $50 these days and will give probably
give you the best combination of video quality, features (ie DVI
connectors for an LCD monitor) and price.

I'd personally recommend one of these rather than an older Radeon
9000/9200 or GeForce 4MX because those cards are AGP cards and these
days most motherboards just don't have AGP slots, they have
PCI-Express slots instead. While the AGP cards mentioned above might
be a bit cheaper (~$30), it'll really limit you with regards to
motherboard selection.

>However, the problems I'm beginning to have are centered
>around video. I download a variety of multimedia files from
>newsgroups, and increasingly I find that they are large
>format (720x480 or something similar) and use one of the
>high-compression codecs such as Divx or Xvid, or even WMV.
>At it's pretty clear that my system just can't keep up. The
>audio sounds fine, but the video skips a bunch of
>frames every few seconds. And that's at 100% zoom. If I
>try to do 2x or .5x, the video just displays an occasional
>frame. This is all with Media Player 6.4.
>
>My Celeron system has integrated video, so I guess that
>doesn't help much either.
>
>I don't know whether it's the integrated video or the
>processor that can't keep up, or both, but it just isn't
>working anymore. 352x240 mpeg1 still works just fine, but
>that's being gradually replaced by the fancy formats, with
>good reason.

Chances are that you're being more limited by the CPU than by the
video card, however integrated video of that day and age wasn't
particularly strong. Now, that being said, integrated video HAS
improved a fair bit. Intel's latest 900-series integrated graphics
chipsets are pretty respectable for 2D stuff, while ATI's Radeon
Express solutions are even better (though somewhat rare finds).

Still, my choice would be to spring for the extra $50 for a low-end
PCI-Express card if you can afford it.

>The other thing I do that challenges my system is video
>format conversions, and my system works fine for that, but
>just takes a lot of time.

This is going to be purely a function of the CPU and the memory
subsystem.

>And then I'm beginning to see software that now requires XP.
>And as a practical matter, I can't run XP on this system.

If you've followed this newsgroup at all then you probably know my
opinions of Win9x. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't wish Win95/98 on
my worst enemies! Win2K and WinXP are, in my mind, a HUGE world ahead
and WELL worth the upgrade, regardless of whether the software
requires it.

>So I really don't need to do games at all, and I suspect
>that the requirements of the highly-compressed multimedia
>may relate more to processor speed than video power,
>although I could be wrong about that. I don't know, it just
>appears to be the decompression that's the sticking point.
>I don't know whether the 2x or .5x thing is video or
>processor.

It's a bit of a combination, though more processor. A video card can
(and most new ones do) provide some acceleration for video decoding
which greatly reduces the strain on the CPU. Part of your problem is
that your old integrated video probably doesn't have much in the way
of acceleration for decoding media. However that wouldn't be a
problem at all except for the fact that your CPU is pretty weak to
begin with. So probably more a CPU issue, but video does play a role.


Of course, there's one VERY important bit of information that I
haven't seen mentioned yet, and that is your budget. If budget is not
a big concern than, IMO, a pretty high-end dual-core CPU would be
ideal. However this is going to cost you (minimum of $750 for a
fairly basic Pentium D 820 setup). In my mind the AMD Athlon64 X2
chip is really the processor to go with for pretty much anyone who can
afford it, but lets face it, most of us (myself include) can't afford
to drop $1000+ on a new computer.

The above poster mentioned some Sempron 2400+ and Celeron-D 320
(2.4GHz) chips as options. These are pretty much bottom of the barrel
today. Definitely a major upgrade from what you have now and both are
available for real bargain prices, so for a super-tight budget they
are well worth considering. My personal computer that I'm typing on
at this very moment is based around a Sempron 2400+ processor, 512MB
of memory, an nVidia nForce2 based motherboard and a Radeon 9200 video
card. All very acceptable and plays DivX, Xvid, WMV, etc. quite
nicely. However I purchased most of this stuff ~8-12 months ago, and
now you can get a lot more performance for only an extra $10-$20 more.
Unless you're REALLY strapped for cash, I would aim a little higher.

-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 15, 2005 12:18:57 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Tony Hill says...

> Of course, there's one VERY important bit of information
> that I haven't seen mentioned yet, and that is your
> budget. If budget is not a big concern than, IMO, a
> pretty high-end dual-core CPU would be ideal. However
> this is going to cost you (minimum of $750 for a fairly
> basic Pentium D 820 setup). In my mind the AMD Athlon64
> X2 chip is really the processor to go with for pretty
> much anyone who can afford it, but lets face it, most of
> us (myself include) can't afford to drop $1000+ on a new
> computer.

I was hoping to just do a pretty nice upgrade for maybe
$400, including XP. I hoped that since I have two pretty
new 7200 rpm 80-gb drives, and a 19" monitor, and all the
little stuff like keyboard, mouse, and speakers, I could get
away with that.

And I can do that, but not without going with the really low
end stuff. I went over to a local Wholesale Computer shop,
and they had a Biostar M7VIG-400 motherboard with a Sempron
2200 already installed for $118. Of course that's
integrated video. Then I think it was $56 for ram (512, but
I don't know about speed), $35 for a dinky case, and $95 for
XP. Well that's just a little over $300.

But the minute I start looking at Intel stuff, both the
motherboards and the processors cost a lot more. I was
kinda hoping for a P4 (or is it Pentium D now?) and a
separate video card, but I think that's going to be a lot
more than $300.

The strange thing is that someone like Dell, if I catch the
right sale, would probably sell me a complete new system,
including a drive (and maybe even a monitor?), for less than
it will cost to upgrade my system. Plus, I get 6 months of
AOL. :-)

Well I obviously have a lot to learn before pulling this
trigger. I still wish I could find a Dummies guide to all
this - processors, buses, sockets, motherboards, slots, ram,
video cards, etc. I appreciate all the comments here, but I
still just don't have an organized understanding of what's
currently available. It's just been too long since I paid
attention. I looked this morning, and I bought this system
in 2000. It's been five years since I understood all the
options, and EVERYTHING has changed since then.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 15, 2005 4:48:12 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Peabody <waybackKILLSPAM44@yahoo.com> wrote:
> I was hoping to just do a pretty nice upgrade for maybe
> $400, including XP. I hoped that since I have two pretty
> new 7200 rpm 80-gb drives, and a 19" monitor, and all the
> little stuff like keyboard, mouse, and speakers, I could get
> away with that.

I think that's going to be tough; about the only way to do it is going with
a mass-market vendor like Dell. Dell will give you something decent (but
with integrated video) for about $350 shipped, including XP Home.

If you can push your budget to around $600, you start having a lot of
options.

> and they had a Biostar M7VIG-400 motherboard with a Sempron
> 2200 already installed for $118.

2200+ is going to be a little slow.

> Of course that's integrated video.

If you don't play video games then PCI video will be just fine; AGP is not a
be-all and end-all, and you could always add a PCI video card to a system
with integrated video later.

(For that matter, a $50-ish Geforce 2 or Geforce 4MX or Radeon 7000 card
might well give your Celeron 500 a new lease on life for watching video.)

> Then I think it was $56 for ram (512, but I don't know about speed),

With a Sempron 2200/2400 or Celeron/Celeron D, it really isn't going to
matter much.

> $35 for a dinky case,

I'd avoid dinky cases, in case you want to upgrade further later.

> But the minute I start looking at Intel stuff, both the motherboards and
> the processors cost a lot more. I was kinda hoping for a P4 (or is it
> Pentium D now?) and a separate video card, but I think that's going to be
> a lot more than $300.

Yes, probably around $500-600 at the bare minimum, with a lowish-end P4.

> Well I obviously have a lot to learn before pulling this
> trigger. I still wish I could find a Dummies guide to all
> this - processors, buses, sockets, motherboards, slots, ram,
> video cards, etc.

Even if you did, you'll find that at the high end everyone disagrees anyway,
and at the low end, machines are so fast now that it really doesn't matter.

> I appreciate all the comments here, but I still just don't have an
> organized understanding of what's currently available. It's just been too
> long since I paid attention. I looked this morning, and I bought this
> system in 2000. It's been five years since I understood all the options,
> and EVERYTHING has changed since then.

Well, spending a while reading sites like anandtech and toms hardware will
help; none of them are perfect and people will pick tons of nits with any
particular one of their benchmarking methodology. In general, they also
concentrate on the higher-end processors, which are highway robbery if you
don't really need them.

The nice part is that really, unless you are a gamer or a professional video
editor or some such, everything is really fast these days. In my line of
work (software development) you still really can't have enough memory or a
fast enough disk drive, but processor speeds stopped mattering... oh,
probably around when the shift from P3 to P4 happened.

If you really want to upgrade, here are some suggestions:

1) See if your case will take a decent new powersupply from someone like
Antec. Figure on paying about $60 for the power supply, or $100 for a
decent new case. You can pay a lot more for either, but odds are those
will be just fine.

2) Look at a good quality basic motherboard. Figure on about $100 for it
whether AMD or Intel.

3) Look at a decent entry-level processor. A Sempron 2400+ runs $61 today
on Newegg; a Celeron D 320 (2.4ghz) runs about $73.

4) One 512mb stick of PC3200/DDR400 memory is $64 on Crucial.com; don't
skimp on cheap memory.

5) XP Pro OEM is $141 on Newegg; XP Home is $95 on Newegg

6) A good *basic* video card can be had for about $40-70, and if you don't
play video games something like a Geforce 4MX 4000 or Geforce 5200/5500
should be fine.

Total is about $425-$500, plus shipping. A cheapie from Dell would be
cheaper, and only a little slower; this would be something you'd customized,
and a nice learning experience to build.

--
Nate Edel http://www.cubiclehermit.com/

"I do have a cause, though. It is Obscenity. I'm for it." - Tom Lehrer
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 16, 2005 11:11:02 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

On Fri, 15 Jul 2005 08:18:57 -0500, Peabody
<waybackKILLSPAM44@yahoo.com> wrote:

>Tony Hill says...
>
> > Of course, there's one VERY important bit of information
> > that I haven't seen mentioned yet, and that is your
> > budget. If budget is not a big concern than, IMO, a
> > pretty high-end dual-core CPU would be ideal. However
> > this is going to cost you (minimum of $750 for a fairly
> > basic Pentium D 820 setup). In my mind the AMD Athlon64
> > X2 chip is really the processor to go with for pretty
> > much anyone who can afford it, but lets face it, most of
> > us (myself include) can't afford to drop $1000+ on a new
> > computer.
>
>I was hoping to just do a pretty nice upgrade for maybe
>$400, including XP. I hoped that since I have two pretty
>new 7200 rpm 80-gb drives, and a 19" monitor, and all the
>little stuff like keyboard, mouse, and speakers, I could get
>away with that.

That'll be tight, but do-able. Especially if you can add the CD drive
and floppy (if needed) to the list of things you bring over from the
old system.

>And I can do that, but not without going with the really low
>end stuff. I went over to a local Wholesale Computer shop,
>and they had a Biostar M7VIG-400 motherboard with a Sempron
>2200 already installed for $118. Of course that's
>integrated video. Then I think it was $56 for ram (512, but
>I don't know about speed), $35 for a dinky case, and $95 for
>XP. Well that's just a little over $300.

A bit of searching and you might be able to do a bit better.

>But the minute I start looking at Intel stuff, both the
>motherboards and the processors cost a lot more. I was
>kinda hoping for a P4 (or is it Pentium D now?) and a

P4 is Intel's highest-end single-core processor, Pentium D is the new
dual-core processor line (dual-core = two processors on a single piece
of silicon).

>separate video card, but I think that's going to be a lot
>more than $300.

Sadly, yes. I think even the cheapest P4 is nearly $200 all on it's
own. However you can find some deals in the Celeron-D line. Just be
sure to avoid the old Celeron (non-D) line. They are only a few
dollars cheaper but considerably slower.

>The strange thing is that someone like Dell, if I catch the
>right sale, would probably sell me a complete new system,
>including a drive (and maybe even a monitor?), for less than
>it will cost to upgrade my system. Plus, I get 6 months of
>AOL. :-)

I think that the 6-months of AOL is sort of a punishment that goes
along with the system! :>

Seriously though, it may be an option for you to buy a Dell (though I
wouldn't worry about the monitor unless it's free and you can turn
around and sell it). They are able to get components for a MUCH lower
cost than you or I. The real sticky point with them is that their
components are often real bottom-of-the-barrel and the warranty on
their low-end systems is often non-existent. I know some of their
$300 systems only come with a 30-day warranty.

>Well I obviously have a lot to learn before pulling this
>trigger. I still wish I could find a Dummies guide to all
>this - processors, buses, sockets, motherboards, slots, ram,
>video cards, etc. I appreciate all the comments here, but I
>still just don't have an organized understanding of what's
>currently available. It's just been too long since I paid
>attention. I looked this morning, and I bought this system
>in 2000. It's been five years since I understood all the
>options, and EVERYTHING has changed since then.

That's both the best and worst part about computers, everything is
always changing. Given your needs and your budget constraints, if I
were in your shoes I would probably setup a system that is something
like the following:

Intel Celeron-D 325J, socket 775 - $82
MSI 915PL Neo-V motherboard - $72
MSI NX6200TC video card - $52
Rosewill 2x256MB PC3200 DDR memory - $42
Antec SLK3000 case - $50
WinXP Home Edition OEM - $89

(all prices care of www.newegg.com)

Total cost comes out to just shy of $387. With shipping it should
just come right around your $400 budget.


A few notes on why I would go for the above:
- Celeron-D vs. Sempron. From your previous message it seems like
video encoding/decoding is your primary reason for upgrading. This is
one of the few applications where the Celeron-D tends to do better
than the Sempron

- Case. The Antec case is definitely not the cheapest out there, but
Antec makes solid cases with good power supplies. Poor quality power
supplies are increasingly becoming a big problem in computers as
various components continue to consume more and more power. This is
the one area where the likes of Dell REALLY drop the ball, they use
absolutely terrible power supplies.

- Video card. The nVidia 6200 Turbo Cache card is one of the cheapest
PCI Express cards out there, but should be quite decent for your
needs. I'm sure that plenty of people will yell and scream about how
terrible these cards are because of their poor performance in games,
but since you've already said that gaming isn't a concern for you it
is safe to ignore these people :>. The real reason I would pick this
card is because it has all the latest and greatest features of more
high-end cards without the extra cost. It also has both a DVI out
port if you happen to have (or plan to get) a DVI-capable LCD monitor.

- Memory. I haven't a clue who "Rosewill" is, but they are a "name
brand" of a sort and they do warranty their memory for life, so it
should be a safe enough choice. Really all I'm looking for here is
the cheapest 2 x 256MB memory pack with a brand name and warranty.
Since the motherboard I selected has dual-channel memory it is best to
get your memory in matched pairs. A lot of people spend lots of extra
money on overclockable memory, memory with low timings, memory with
blinky lights or whatever, but really most of this doesn't do much of
anything. For the budget you're looking at the plain old-fashion
standard memory is your best bet. One word of warning though, be sure
to avoid the total no-name brand memory sticks, they just aren't worth
your time. In fact, I might be tempted to suggest spending an extra
$5-$10 to get a slightly more well known name brand (eg the Corsair
ValueSelect 2 x 256MB PC3200 DDR memory for $50 at Newegg).

- Motherboard. Saving the most important bit for last. Motherboards
are the device that everything else plugs into and the one that will
probably require the most thought. A few points of note about the
board I mentioned above. First, MSI is one of the big 5 motherboard
manufacturers and a company that I've had fairly good luck with in the
past, so I feel confident enough recommending their products. Second,
the i915 chipset is probably going to be your best choice for any
system with an Intel processor these days (unless you're going really
high-end, in which case the i945 is a bit better). The 'P' model
lacks integrated graphics but has a PCI-Express slot. Since we've
figured a PCI-E graphics card into the equation, this is probably a
good choice. Note that the i915PL is also a good chipset solution,
the only difference between the 'P' and the 'PL' chipset is that the
'PL' lacks support for DDR2 memory which I really wouldn't recommend
for your price range anyway (extra cost for no performance advantage).

Another alternative for motherboards is to go for an Intel i915G based
board. A bit more expensive but it comes with fairly respectable
integrated graphics as well as a PCI-Express slot for future upgrades
if/when you want an add-in card. Ohh, another thing about the i915
series of chipsets is that they can support fairly high-end
processors. This is good because it means that 1-2 years down the
road you will probably be able to pick up a worthwhile processor
upgrade for under $100. I don't normally recommend buying things with
upgrading in mind (since you usually end up being disappointed when
technology changes in unexpected ways), but when a good solution for
the task at hand offers some future upgrade possibilities it is always
a nice bonus.

The one real downside to this MSI motherboard I mentioned is that it
only has 2 DDR memory slots. I would have preferred a board with 4
DDR slots, but couldn't find any in the price range we're looking at.


Well, anyway, as I mentioned above, this is just what I would probably
be looking at if I were in your shoes. Maybe this will give you a
sort of starting point for future reading. There are a few websites
out there that have some reviews of computer hardware which might be
of interest to you. A few I know of include:

www.anandtech.com
www.extremetech.com
www.techreport.com
www.xbitlabs.com

But there are MANY others. Just keep in mind that most of these
websites are run by people who make their money from page hits and
advertising revenue, not from actually helping anyone. While they do
try to offer good advice for the most part, you should ALWAYS take
everything you read with a grain of salt. Also, keep in mind that you
will see some things on various websites that seem to contradict one
another, so it's often best to get a sort of general feel for things
rather than focusing on specifics from individual reviews and
benchmarks.

Good luck!


-------------
Tony Hill
hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 18, 2005 3:06:59 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca> wrote:
> The $349 Dimension 3000 desktop is a BIG step up in both of these
> regards.
<..>
> For an extra $50 you end up with a system that will typically be about
> 30% faster. Of course, at the very least I would recommend the extra
> $29 for the 1-year warranty.

Yes.

> Ohh, and don't forget the $100 shipping charge.

They go on sale with free shipping as part of the fairly regularly,
including the el-cheapos.

Also, with Dell it's always worth pricing out a given system as both
"Home/Home Office" and "Small Business" - "Small Business" doesn't require
any qualification and the promotions and pricing vary quite a bit between
the two, with no clear regular winner AFAICT (unless you want a Latitude,
Optiplex or other system not offered through the home sales.)

--
Nate Edel http://www.cubiclehermit.com/

"I do have a cause, though. It is Obscenity. I'm for it." - Tom Lehrer
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 18, 2005 5:24:05 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca> wrote:
> The low-end Dell systems come with integrated video and no
> AGP/PCI-Express expansion slot, so adding in a video card
> is out of the question.

Not quite. Why do you think the plain vanilla PCI vidcards
are still sold? As upgrades for the Dells (&others with mobo
vid & no AGP).

It's not a bad upgrade. Just about anything is better that
shared RAM mobo graphics. Modern vidcards do so much on board
processing that the slower speed bus to system RAM isn't that
much of a bottleneck.

-- Robert
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 18, 2005 5:24:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Robert Redelmeier <redelm@ev1.net.invalid> wrote:
> Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca> wrote:
> > The low-end Dell systems come with integrated video and no
> > AGP/PCI-Express expansion slot, so adding in a video card
> > is out of the question.
>
> Not quite. Why do you think the plain vanilla PCI vidcards
> are still sold? As upgrades for the Dells (&others with mobo
> vid & no AGP).

*nod*

> It's not a bad upgrade. Just about anything is better that
> shared RAM mobo graphics. Modern vidcards do so much on board
> processing that the slower speed bus to system RAM isn't that
> much of a bottleneck.

Depends on what you're going to do with it.

For a gamer, the difference (which also includes the fact that the PCI cards
are lower-end ones) can be large; for someone like Peabody, who wants to
view video files, probably no difference between a $40/3 year old technology
PCI card and a $600/top-of-the-line PCI-E card.

--
Nate Edel http://www.cubiclehermit.com/

"I do have a cause, though. It is Obscenity. I'm for it." - Tom Lehrer
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 19, 2005 7:06:03 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Robert Redelmeier wrote:

>Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca> wrote:
>>
>> The low-end Dell systems come with integrated video and no
>> AGP/PCI-Express expansion slot, so adding in a video card
>> is out of the question.
>
>Not quite. Why do you think the plain vanilla PCI vidcards
>are still sold? As upgrades for the Dells (&others with mobo
>vid & no AGP).

A very sad selection, though...
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 20, 2005 2:32:49 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

On Tue, 19 Jul 2005 15:06:03 -0500, chrisv wrote:

> Robert Redelmeier wrote:
>
>>Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca> wrote:
>>>
>>> The low-end Dell systems come with integrated video and no
>>> AGP/PCI-Express expansion slot, so adding in a video card
>>> is out of the question.
>>
>>Not quite. Why do you think the plain vanilla PCI vidcards
>>are still sold? As upgrades for the Dells (&others with mobo
>>vid & no AGP).
>
> A very sad selection, though...

not really i got a pci radeon 9000pro when i had a xeon board with no agp
and it could play doom3 and halflife, im sure ive seen nvidia 5700s as pci
as well, not exactly top of the line but if you dont have an agp slot you
arent going to be ravid gamer anyway

im sure i saw something like 2 of the top 10 best selling graphics card
were pci not that long ago, thats why i still dont get why nvidia dont
plan on selling an agp version of their top card
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 20, 2005 11:58:39 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

epaton wrote:

>im sure i saw something like 2 of the top 10 best selling graphics card
>were pci not that long ago, thats why i still dont get why nvidia dont
>plan on selling an agp version of their top card

I would think that anyone with an "ancient" AGP-based machine could
get-by with the 6800GT, which is available on AGP...
!