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Old machines do just fine

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December 13, 2005 4:39:48 PM

I have an old pc, maybe 6 years old that has Celeron(mendocino core) 400A@450MHz(75MHz FSB) 1x128MB PC133 1x64MB PC66 and 1x64MB PC100 ACORP bx61 mobo, a TNT2pro card with 32MB SDRAM and a 8.5GB 5400rpm Quantium Fireball HDD(im using a 80GB Maxtor for storage lately but my OS is still installed on the small one). Well, it goes just fine with winXP SP2, almost every office program, internet browsing watching movies and listening to mp3s and stuff, no modern games though. Watching today's standards for an office pc i still wonder how can that piece of c**p work. But it does. What i'm saying is we give too much money for too little improvement.

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December 13, 2005 4:51:21 PM

I dare you to run a spell/grammar check on a 400 page Word document using that box. 8O

Don't get me wrong, in part I agree with you in that if you do shat all on your computer, you don't need an expensive computer.

But even using just the programs that you listed I do things that would bring that PC sobbing to its knees. And that's not even counting my programming, graphics design, (re)encoding media, etc. Oh, and lest I forget, gaming.

Just like how not everyone needs a Ferrari to get from Point A to Point B, not everyone needs a dualcore SLI RAIDed monster. Like any major purchase, one should balance their needs and desires against their budget and choose wisely. And for everyone else, there are Dell Celeron boxes.
December 13, 2005 5:32:45 PM

Your 80Gig Maxtor is probably 7200, why not switch the OS to that one at least?

I would at least page to it :) 
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December 13, 2005 7:00:54 PM

I'm just too lasy to switch them.
I'm talking about an old practice of overestimating the needs of hardware power for certain programs. Not using the full capability of the available hardware. I'm talking about poor programing. Lack of interest what people do spend their money for just because tey can afford to give them. Lots of software could use much less machine resource if the programmers just did their job better. Ariane 5 wouldn't blast itself if the programers were good enough:-)
a b à CPUs
December 14, 2005 4:49:04 AM

Nah, I still sell machines like that. People are happy when they find out how "fast" these things are on the internet and running MS Word and MSN Messenger. Then about 3 months later the machine is all clogged up with spyware and trojans, and they can't believe they ever thought so slow a machine was fast, so they buy a brand new one.

Screw 'em if they can't keep their machines clean. They bring them in to have them looked over, the shoppy tells them $30 to clean it up, they never come back to pay the bill and collect the PC. So the PC goes back into the heap, gets refurbed/reloaded, and it all starts anew.
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December 14, 2005 10:09:17 AM

I aggree with you there in part - old machines are not crap for basics (virus scanners are a pain in the ass) but my standards are a little higher - older P3 coppermine machines (P3/Celeron 550+, 128mb ram, 8gb hdd's, TNT2 M64 32mb cards, 80% of slot1 boards support em with a minor mod to the slockets and cpus) are sweet and do the job great but i think why people buy all this new flashy crap is cause of one of the following: 1. they can afford to (a high $ cash/cents(sense) to brain cell ratio, 2. cause there stupid eg dell "you can do all this at once with your new P4 with HT" + "3ghz (P4) is faster then 2.2ghz (A64 - totally owned lol)" or 3. cause they want bragin rights "my machine cost me so much i cant afford anything else for the week".

My main system is a P4c 2.6ghz, 1gb dual channel ram, 6600GT video and so on - its nothing compared to say a A64 X2 4800 but hey - it runs all todays games at or near high/max settings and doin fine everywhere else cause i do a bit of video editing and whole other range of things - the latest and greatest stuff is overpriced and not need for the first two years (most of the time).
December 14, 2005 12:12:18 PM

Quote:
My main system is a P4c 2.6ghz, 1gb dual channel ram, 6600GT video and so on
Holy crap! My system has a twin? :lol: 
December 14, 2005 12:39:09 PM

Quote:
Screw 'em if they can't keep their machines clean.
Damn skippy! I see this all the time, and it makes me sick. I still can't decide who is worse, the hackers that root your system so that they can turn it into a spambot, or the 'tards that don't even remotely protect themselves from it. It's like safe sex, who's to blame for the spread of an STD, the infector that knows they're infected and warns their partner, or the partner (infectee) that despite all warnings and readily available solutions refused to be safe, and then goes out and infects others without realizing they're infected?

I kid you not, not long ago I was at a friend's house (well, more like my wife's friend), cleaning up her computer because "it was running slow" and in the course of the two and a half hours it took to clean every last spyware, adware, virus, etc. from the system I had a conversation that involved the following questions and answers:

What kind of internet connection do you have? I switched to a cable modem two years ago. Do you disconnect the cable or turn off the modem when you're not on the internet? No. Why would I do that? The advantage to a cable modem is that it's always on! Have you installed any questionable software lately? No. All of it has come from the same download sites that I trust. I don't know what my children put on it though. How often do you run your anti-virus software? It starts up every time I start my computer. Yeah, but how often do you have it scan your hard drive? I don't know. (I checked: never.) When was the last time that you updated your defenitions? Word can update its dictionary? What anti-virus software do you use? Oh, I don't know. It came with the PC. (It's a five year old computer!) Does your anti-virus software scan emails? I thought anti-virus software was to scan files. How tightly configured is your firewall? What's a firewall? When was the last time that you installed any updates, patches, hotfixes, or service packs for your version of Windows? Oh, I don't trust those. I heard they just break your computer. I told you that the last email you sent me contained a virus. Why did you turn around and send it to me and fifty other people a second time? It's not a virus. It's a cool animation of fireworks.

It's a good thing I don't own a gun.
a b à CPUs
December 14, 2005 2:16:37 PM

My mom doesn't do much on the internet so when I got her laptop in for repairs it was only running at half-speed from like one trojan and 13 spyware files. It was easy to clean and now it's back up to 80% or better of its full potential.

And it's still faster than what she needs. It's a K6-2 450.
December 14, 2005 2:33:04 PM

Quote:
I have an old pc, maybe 6 years old that has Celeron(mendocino core) 400A@450MHz(75MHz FSB) 1x128MB PC133 1x64MB PC66 and 1x64MB PC100 ACORP bx61 mobo, a TNT2pro card with 32MB SDRAM and a 8.5GB 5400rpm Quantium Fireball HDD(im using a 80GB Maxtor for storage lately but my OS is still installed on the small one). Well, it goes just fine with winXP SP2, almost every office program, internet browsing watching movies and listening to mp3s and stuff, no modern games though. Watching today's standards for an office pc i still wonder how can that piece of c**p work. But it does. What i'm saying is we give too much money for too little improvement.


I totally agree with you. For basic needs... Office, web surfing, email... PCs under 1 GHz are just fine. Heck, I've even done some 3D rendering on my old PIII 500 with 256 MB RAM. It's not fun, which is why I now have an Athlon64 3700+ on it's way to me right now, but my old PC has been with me for years and has served me well.

Here at the office we buy Celeron processors for our new PCs because there's just no reason to spend the extra money on the bad boy processors and loads of RAM. They're mainly doing Office-type stuff and email. How much horse power do you need for that?

Max.
December 14, 2005 2:40:29 PM

Quote:
Not using the full capability of the available hardware. I'm talking about poor programing
This is a trend that is all too prevalent. I always try to optimise my software as much as possible (without writing everything in assembly language :D  ) , but many developers just don't seem to bother.

The sad thing is, the slow/crappy code I end up rewriting was usually written by someone earning considerably more than me. :( 

I'm not saying I'm a genius, but It's amazing what improvements a little thought can bring :mrgreen:
December 14, 2005 5:11:08 PM

Yes, you got the basic idea perfectly. I was talking about machines that are to be used by some office assistant that will run no more than word, excel and(when the boss is not watching) icq or something.
Also there is this thing-in a country where 300$-a-month is considered a good salary and the prices of the pc hardware are much higher than anywhere else, you reflect on "do i need that piece of machinery and what advantage would it really bring me?" much more time. I know i duplicate what some people already said, I'm just saying it beacause it's one of the reasons to write that post:) 
December 14, 2005 5:13:27 PM

Quote:

What kind of internet connection do you have? I switched to a cable modem two years ago. Do you disconnect the cable or turn off the modem when you're not on the internet? No. Why would I do that? The advantage to a cable modem is that it's always on! Have you installed any questionable software lately? No. All of it has come from the same download sites that I trust. I don't know what my children put on it though. How often do you run your anti-virus software? It starts up every time I start my computer. Yeah, but how often do you have it scan your hard drive? I don't know. (I checked: never.) When was the last time that you updated your defenitions? Word can update its dictionary? What anti-virus software do you use? Oh, I don't know. It came with the PC. (It's a five year old computer!) Does your anti-virus software scan emails? I thought anti-virus software was to scan files. How tightly configured is your firewall? What's a firewall? When was the last time that you installed any updates, patches, hotfixes, or service packs for your version of Windows? Oh, I don't trust those. I heard they just break your computer. I told you that the last email you sent me contained a virus. Why did you turn around and send it to me and fifty other people a second time? It's not a virus. It's a cool animation of fireworks.

It's a good thing I don't own a gun.


That would be funny if it weren't so sad. (Well, I did laugh, I have to admit.) I'm sure most of us here have had an experience just like it... probably more than once.

Max.
December 14, 2005 5:18:50 PM

Imagine if you could sue those guys saiyng"they make me buy new nardware to operate with their cr***y software". It's like to be forced to by a jeep just because there are holes in the road and the average car will last just a few weeks=]]]
December 14, 2005 5:31:34 PM

Yep older machines work just dandy if you build them to last a long time.

I got a dual xeon setup back in 2001, and I really didnt want to upgrade/replace it because things ran just fine. The only difficulty was I couldnt get good video performance out of an AGP 4x bus, and rambus memory is hugely expensive.

I still love the odd looks I get when I tell people "the best virus software is between your ears" Education goes a LONG ways. ... I just wish it wasnt so bloody HARD to do.

Still - id love to see people sue software companies for focing them to upgrade hardware :D 
a b à CPUs
December 14, 2005 6:01:06 PM

You're mistaken, AGP4x is fast enough for any current graphics technology. It's the rest of the system holding back the graphics card.
December 14, 2005 6:07:29 PM

Quote:
Not using the full capability of the available hardware. I'm talking about poor programing
This is a trend that is all too prevalent. I always try to optimise my software as much as possible (without writing everything in assembly language :D  ) , but many developers just don't seem to bother.

The sad thing is, the slow/crappy code I end up rewriting was usually written by someone earning considerably more than me. :( 

I'm not saying I'm a genius, but It's amazing what improvements a little thought can bring :mrgreen:I hear that! :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 

What amazes me though is that a lot of the optimizations I got so used to doing in C++ will in fact slow down Python (which is what I work in now). So now I need to double-check that my optimizations are actually optimizing! :o 

Still, for lazy programmers, Python does an awful lot of good optimizing on its own. Too bad more programmers don't use it.
December 14, 2005 6:09:46 PM

Quote:
Imagine if you could sue those guys saiyng"they make me buy new nardware to operate with their cr***y software". It's like to be forced to by a jeep just because there are holes in the road and the average car will last just a few weeks=]]]
With a few massive caveats, such as no one is forcing you to buy their software, no one is forcing you to buy better hardware to run their software, and such as an educated consumer doesn't suffer these problems nearly so much.
December 14, 2005 6:19:42 PM

Quote:
My mom doesn't do much on the internet so when I got her laptop in for repairs it was only running at half-speed from like one trojan and 13 spyware files. It was easy to clean and now it's back up to 80% or better of its full potential.

And it's still faster than what she needs. It's a K6-2 450.
**LOL** Mothers...

My mom told me that she was very worried about getting a virus from the internet after one totally trashed her system. I asked her what she did on her computer. Internet, Word, email, and solitare. I offered to set up her computer to dual boot to a version of Linux set up to look and feel just like Windows. She could use Linux for internet, MS office-compatible softwares for Word, email, and I'd even throw in some cute free games like solitare. She'd be exceedingly safe from virii then. And she could still choose to run Windows whenever the computer boots up in case she needs or wants Windows. Her response?

No. That sounds too complicated.
December 14, 2005 9:19:05 PM

Quote:
You're mistaken, AGP4x is fast enough for any current graphics technology. It's the rest of the system holding back the graphics card.


really?
where can I get a 6800GT card that fits in my agp 4x slot?

but yeah the memory bandwidth was causing problems.
December 14, 2005 10:17:24 PM

well... since the 6800 GT is 8x AGP (AGP v3.0), it should be backwards compatible with the 4x AGP on your motherboard, since AGP v3.0 operates at both 4x/8x AGP (you might have to double check your motherboard manual though, or the manufacturers site, to see if your motherboard isnt only AGP v2.0, operating at only 2x/4x AGP)
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
December 14, 2005 10:30:15 PM

Here is one for ya: Consider Doom 2 vs Doom 3. My Doom 2 machine was a 66MHz 486 w/ 8MB of RAM, my Doom 3 machine is a XP3200 with 2Gigs of RAM. So my machine increased nearly 3 orders of magnitude in RAM size and clockspeed. Somehow I'm not seeing the thousandfold increase in game/graphics quality I might have expected. WTF?!? I'm pissed, you programmers need to quit being so lazy. :wink:
a b à CPUs
December 14, 2005 11:38:18 PM

6800GT AGP cards are around but going away fast since nVidia quit producing them! Look quickly for a 6800GT and buy it before it's too late!

The 6800GT AGP will fit any AGP4x slot. ANY AGP 4x slot. It doesn't matter if that AGP4x slot is on a Dell P4 3.06 system or your mom's i815 chipset PIII-533.
December 15, 2005 12:15:34 AM

it should fit, yeah, the only 'potential' problem really though, is being able to operate at the different voltages, like, if its an AGP v2.0 slot, the 1.5V current given by it might not allow an AGP 8x card, which only operates at 0.8V, to function, it wont break it, but it might not work
a b à CPUs
December 15, 2005 12:26:25 AM

No, that's not a potential problem for any card. ALL 8x cards are either 8x/4x or 8x/4x/2x. ALL 8x cards support 1.5v signals, there is not a single one on the market that requires 0.8v signals.

None.
December 15, 2005 12:39:57 AM

My dad was getting rid off his old computer, and though I never checked the hardware stats until really it was a slot Celeron, AT Board with a Radeon 7000 graphics card, computer. Even then I downloaded Microsoft AntiSpyware programs, and just picked up over 2000 spyware locations. No problem. Did the same of my old P3 400 MHz laptop, a similar number.

That laptop did work very nice for surfing the web though, and that was about it, and after I cleaned it up.
December 15, 2005 12:49:03 AM

that could be true i guess... but this is what i was referring to on:

http://www.ertyu.org/~steven_nikkel/agpcompatibility.ht...


"Speed is always backwards compatible,
for example, a 4x device must be able to run at 2x and 1x.


The signalling voltage is the only incompatible part.


An 8x device must be 0.8v,
a 4x device can be 1.5v or 0.8v,
a 2x or 1x device can be 3.3v or 1.5v.


The connectors are keyed so that you can only use compatible equipment.
AGP 1.0 and 2.0 devices using a 1.5v key, signal at 1.5v, while AGP 3.0 devices using the 1.5v key and signal at 0.8v.
AGP 3.0 devices must be tolerant of 1.5v signalling though, they won't necessarily work, but will not be destroyed if inserted into an AGP 1.0/2.0 slot."


so physically the card will fit, but voltagewise, its not 100% guaranteed to work by any means
a b à CPUs
December 15, 2005 2:37:16 AM

Incomplete. Here's mine:

http://www.sysopt.com/features/graphics/article.php/3532496

Also incomplete, but less misleading.

All AGP8x cards are 8x/4x or 8x/4x/2x. There are absolutely no AGP8x cards on the market that are not also 4x. So it doesn't matter if an "AGP8x" card can't function on a 1.5v signal, because there is no such thing as an AGP8x card.

Let me repeate that! For people who believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause jumping down their chimney, there are AGP8x cards. For the rest of the world, there are only 8x/4x and 8x/4x/2x cards.

Now, considering the fact that most of us live in the real world, and those who live in the real world deal build our computers with real parts, it becomes strikingly obvious that all 8x cards work in all 4x boards, because all 8x cards are either 8x/4x or 8x/4x/2x.
December 15, 2005 3:19:52 AM

*sigh*... okay... thats alittle off topic,with santa and everything... sure, theres AGP 8x/4x/2x cards... im not saying a card that 'supports' AGP 8x will not also 'support' 4x/2x, just pointing out that the different voltages of an AGP v3.0 slot, are different than v2.0, and v1.0 (and the cards that are designed for them)... and you cant argue the voltages arent different... cuz they are... ...and this is slightly off topic too, but still somewhat relevant... an AGP Express slot, will actually end up frying some AGP cards that arent supported on the specific motherboard, because the voltages really are too high, because its not an actual AGP slot... but rather the combined current of 2 PCI slots, acting as a 'mock' AGP slot... ...but yeah, not quite that much danger with a normal AGP slot though, or really any danger at all... but still in the same ballpark... different AGP versions output different voltage amounts... and key word... 'potentially' resulting in what i had said before... of the card just not working, but not risking being broken
a b à CPUs
December 15, 2005 3:31:59 AM

I'm not trying to hurt your feelings, just "school you", hehe. We're dealing with real parts here, all AGP8x cards on the market are, at a minimum, 4x compatible as well. All AGP8x motherboards are also, at a minimum, 4x compatible as well.

AGP Express doesn't count, because it uses 3.3v signals, so is limitted to 2x compatible cards. I covered that in another review. Cards that "should" work in an AGP Express slot include 2x, 4x/2x, and 8x/4x/2x cards, ie, any card that supports 3.3v signals, even as a backwards compatibility mode.

Of course AGP Express doesn't have to support all 3.3v-capable cards, because it's not a standard. It's only supported by the manufacturer, therefor it's up to them to try and make various cards work on it.

The problem here is that "potentially" scares a lot of people with a theory that's never true in reality. The reason it's never true in reality is because video card manufacturers are careful to include as large a buyer group as possible. Hence, none will produce an 8x card when it only cost a few cents to make the same card 8x/4x, gaining them at least 5% sales volume and eliminating at least 5% of returns (I'm being conservative here so that when you prove my sales/return numbers are wrong, the new numbers make the rest of my argument stronger).
December 15, 2005 3:54:03 AM

its okay... i dont really like arguing at all to begin with, usually try and avoid it lol... but yeah, i was just pointing out i guess the 'potential negative affect'... even if i guess it doesnt affect most cards :p ... but yeah, that makes sense with AGP Express, i just remember having read how people would purchase ECS K8T890-A (and similar) boards, and use their expensive AGP card with it.... and end up having it fried, cuz they didnt know it wasnt compatible... but yeah, no hard feelings
December 15, 2005 11:25:26 AM

i'm just curious, how much does a second hand [PIII 1,13GHz 256RAM 20HDD apropriate mobo with integr. video,case+psu,cd player, kbd, mouse and some 17" crt monitor manufactured the 2000] or equivalent to that machine cost in the US?
a b à CPUs
December 15, 2005 2:01:59 PM

Around $100-$125 from companies that specialize in bulk aquisitions, and around $200-$250 in small shops.
December 15, 2005 4:39:07 PM

100-125!? damn cheap...
a b à CPUs
December 15, 2005 5:52:11 PM

Excuse me, that's bare machine prices. Used keyboards go for around $2-5, same for mice, used 17" CRT's go for around $20 from large companies and are re-sold for around $40-50 at small shops.

So you're looking at around $150 if you know the right people, and around $300 from a small shop, for the complete system.
!