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Urgent- Upgrading very Old PC for my kid, Need Help

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 20, 2007 9:19:25 PM

Hi guys,
Thanks in advance for your replies. I wanted to give something for my 3 yrs kid to play with then my laptop and I thought will upgrade my age old PC with RAM, Graphics Card and screen.

Now upgraded conf is
PIII 500 Mhz (Pls don’t laugh, I know I might donate this to museum one day)
256 MB PC133 RAM
20 GB HDD Western Digital
Upgraded graphics card from ATI Rage LT to e-GEForce FX5200 128MB 8x card
Have Norcent 19" LCD screen.

Now problem and question is
* My video or when I play DVD is not smooth, I can see picture moving frame by frame, though it is not that bad but its not that smooth as well. Is it because of CPU? or Shall I add more RAM? or is it because I have not installed graphics card properly? I think I messed up while removing drivers for ATI card, but not sure. any way to detect it?

She just need a PC to browse net, play some kids DVD or watch movies

More about : urgent upgrading kid

February 20, 2007 9:50:26 PM

Graphics cards don't really do much for playing standard videos. It is the cpu that is the bottleneck.
February 20, 2007 10:07:54 PM

Not worth it. You 500Mhz is pretty low now even for kids games. As example, I have a box here for Nicktoons Basketball. Requires 600Mhz 128 RAM and Dx9b card. Also a Mini Golf game, 600Mhz, 64 RAM and Dx9 card.

For beefing up what you have, you are much, much better off getting even a budget level $350 PC on sale at Best Buy, etc. And that will last long enough that as she gets older you can add a better video card and more memory. Whatever CPU comes with it will be plenty for a kid for years.
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February 20, 2007 10:13:22 PM

Ya you should just buy a new computer rather than upgrading that. I got a cereal box game a few years back that wouldn't play on my P3 800. Online flash games are starting to tax the system too.
February 21, 2007 12:14:43 AM

Oh so you mean 128MB graphics card wont help at all, its CPU which processes graphics material?.

Just checked my motherboard supports upto 4x AGP and this card is 8x..so I think this is also one of the problem..
February 21, 2007 12:46:57 AM

No. Games and stuff will benefit from the video card. Because the GPU has to render the frames and stuff. But videos are prerendered so the gpu just sits idle. Trust me you will benefit from a faster CPU for videos.
a b U Graphics card
February 21, 2007 1:33:39 AM

PIII 500MHz is kinda slow for the new software DVD players. Shoot, power DVD 7 says a PIII 833MHz or above(see notation), and they recommend a 2.4GHz. You may want to try different DVD software then what you are using.

Link: http://www.cyberlink.com/multi/products/require_1_ENU.h...
February 21, 2007 3:33:06 AM

In your case i would definetly upgrade your CPU before anything. You could upgrade to a P4 atleast 2.8 gh and leave the rest of the parts and be okay.

With dual cores out now, you could get that P4 chip for just about $90 to $100. And you might wanna throw atleast another 512 mb of ram to get your system running smooth.
February 21, 2007 3:48:26 AM

reinstall windows. use power dvd 6.
February 21, 2007 4:34:56 AM

i know you may be strapped on cash atm, but $350 like someone said or $500 or so, pc will last you for awhile.. though i must warn you, if u buy a pc like that you are never going to replace it.. and it will seem like ur wasting it by throwing it away when the time comes, so dont go too cheap so as to not last the year
February 21, 2007 4:39:52 AM

Quote:
In your case i would definetly upgrade your CPU before anything. You could upgrade to a P4 atleast 2.8 gh and leave the rest of the parts and be okay.

With dual cores out now, you could get that P4 chip for just about $90 to $100. And you might wanna throw atleast another 512 mb of ram to get your system running smooth.


i agree about upgrading if possible... but, im not sure if a P4 2.8 would even be compatible with the same socket a P3 500 is installed into

if its not compatible, it would mean not only a new cpu, but a new MB with an integrated GPU (or keep his gpu and get an agp based MB), and new memory more than likely too, since hes running sdr memory, not even ddr1... he could keep his existing pata hdd though if he wanted, and reinstall windows then after the upgrade

the most worthwhile route though would just be to purchase a new budget system if hes going to upgrade at all really, as was recommended, which would certainly be less of a hassle anyhow (assuming the above parts arent compatible)
February 21, 2007 5:30:28 AM

Your right, they would be differen't sockets. The only socket that supports a P4 2.8 would be a 478. I couldn't even tell you the P3's socket, it feels like many years ago. 8O
February 21, 2007 6:31:12 AM

You need every trick to play video smoothly. One is to drop the resolution to 640 by 480. I know xp won't go that low but you install utility like multires http://www.entechtaiwan.com/util/multires.shtm and you can. If that is not satisfactory, I would make sure to terminate all non essention programs and services.
February 21, 2007 12:23:00 PM

Make sure hardware acceleration is enabled in the DVD playing software.

Might help a bit if you're sing PowerDVD, Showtime, what have you.
a b U Graphics card
February 21, 2007 1:10:15 PM

My parents have about the exact same setup in their old PC. For todays games and even DVD's, that system is just not up to the task. You would be way, way better off buying a brand new bottom line $350 shelf PC than spending money for upgrades, if you have a few extra $$ to spend. The old thing is just seriously outdated, and no matter how much you spend on bandaids, you still have an old outdated system that is going to struggle with todays software. Even online browsing is going to be a workout for it.
February 21, 2007 1:56:47 PM

my granspa has the same cpu. funny, even if i oc it 1 mhz over its stock, it doesnt boot into windows. anyway, just go on ebay and search for a celeron 1.4ghz tualutian (srry for the spelling). they should be cheap, and can easily match the performance of a p4 1.8.
February 22, 2007 12:55:48 AM

Thanks guys for all your responses, I understand that this is very very old computer and I should get some low end PC for my kid but I was just being creative and want to see how much I can utilize this one. Here is my story, I just spent $121 till date on all upgrades out of which $100 is on screen which I can use with new PC as well.

Upgraded PSU to Ultra V 500Watts- FREE from Fry's
Upraded eGE-Force FX5200 Graphics card - FREE From Frys
Upgraded 256 PC133 SDRAM - $21 with $10 discount from Google checkout from Buy.com
Upgraded keyboard and mouse to Kingston wireless - Free from buy.com
Upgraded screen to Norcent 19" LCD - $100 latest deal from officedepot

Today I tried to overclock it, I could go upto 5x127 but then screen went blank on 5x133..so I will keep it at 5x112 :-)
Thanks again for all your replies
!