Just getting started

I bought a generic system from ABS in California 6 years ago. It's got an ATX full tower case and a Tyan S1852 Trinity motherboard with a PIII 450 CPU. After a couple of years I upgraded it to 640 MB of RAM, added a second hard drive, and a CD Writer.

It's getting older now, and I've started taking online classes to get my bachelor's in IT and software engineering, so I'll need support for a faster CPU and more RAM. Graphics would be nice, but I've got a wife and two kids - not a lot of gaming time on my hands. Vista support would be great, but I do just fine with XP at the moment.

My goal is to upgrade my existing system, while keeping the case and any components I don't need to get rid of, but I suspect that many of the current pieces will need to go.

I'm at something of a loss for where to start. I've read some of the getting-started guides, but I could use some human help.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance.

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More about just started
  1. None of the above.
    What are you looking for a budget target? Also likes the hardware you'd like to reuse.
  2. Hmmm. Dell can build me a system for $900 that does almost everything I want. If I can beat that by a couple hundred dollars, I'd call it worth the effort - plus I want to refresh my memory about what it's like to rip a computer apart and put it back together.

    What I want to avoid replacing the most is the case and the hard drives. The video card and sound cards both work fine, so if they're compatible with the new system - why not, I figure. Power supply is 6 years old and I have no idea if it could support the power needs of a new motherboard.

  3. Can you list the make/model and/or tech specs of the hardware you want to bring forward?
    Six years for a power supply is pushing the limit is some ways. It could carry on for years in it current system, but its doubtful if you'd want to trust it in a new build. PSUs "age" over time and loose some of its rated power.

    It will be hard to beat the Dell system price by "a couple hundred dollars" or 20%. Although for the same price you can get better quality parts.
    And there is nothing stopping you from diving into a Dell case and do your ripping and un-ripping.
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