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Upgrade needed for 3-4 year old system, $500 budget

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May 24, 2007 5:04:46 PM

I have been experiencing issues with my current setup in both hardware and software/drivers, etc. I think it's time to do a hardware upgrade and then a re-load of the o/s if needed. Here is what I got...

Case: Antec Full Tower
PSU: Antec NeoHE 480Watt Modular
MB: Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 3200+ Barton Core (Underclocked to 2500+ for stability)
Memory: Crucial 2GB (1gb x 2) PC3200 (Underclocked to 133/266 alongside cpu)
Video: ATI AIW (RadeOn) 9800 Pro 128MB AGP 8x
Sound: Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Gamer Edition PCI
Storage: WDC 250GB x 2 (SATA 300) Boot and Secondary Drives
WDC 200GB x 2 (ATA 100) Third and Fourth Drives
WDC 250GB x 3 (ATA 100, USB 2.0 Enclosures)
Optical: HP 16x USB2 External Dual Layer Burner, Light Scribe Capable
Display: Viewsonic 19" CRT (suits my needs, though a nice lcd is in the future plans)
Internet: Fiber Optic, 15MB/2MB Verizon FIOS

Since I'm stuck in the platform (Socket A) of the dark ages, and I've allowed Socket 939 to pass by and now AM2 has been out for about 2 years, I think it's time to switch to AM2 or Intel's 775 platform. My upgrade budget is firmly set at $500. I'm unable to go above this. The intended use is "general" including internet, office, video encoding, gaming (little online, mostly offline), dvd burning, lots of archiving, etc. I'm a usenet junkie and video phile so I tend to fill up the drives VERY fast, lol. Any suggestions? Thanks.

-- MaSoP
May 24, 2007 5:52:03 PM

an underclocker, impressive. 8)
you have a nice machine for its time.

so you need a Networked Storage Array for your usenet addiction

$500

what do you want?
MB - need to switch ram if AM2 {I think}
Processor - with motherboard
Video Card - is this good enough for you still?

you should get a RAID 5 array going. get 2 more 250 SATA2
and a MB with 5HDD and 3HDD RAID controller

are the externals backup or storage?

this is a confusing matter you miss the transition boards so now you have to pay more for them

I hate to say it but maybe wait for AM2+

a quick thought
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ EE w/ 2x512K Cache (Socket AM2)
MSI K9N SLI-2F w/ DualDDR2 800, 7.1 Audio, Dual GB Lan, SATAII, PCI-E x16 SLI
Kingston 2GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM Kit (2 x 1GB)
GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E w/ Dual DVI,

processor wimpy, sorry
board has a RAID 5 controller
RAM is cheap, sorry
saved all the money for the card

could wait for the ATI 2400? cheap passive cool direct X10?
http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonhd2400/index.html
May 24, 2007 6:25:46 PM

I'm still thinking save the money.

Buy couple more enclosures with some 500GB drives / wait for a new system. Keep the old rig for storage!

the only components you can harvest are the: case $80, p/s $80, HDDs $300, sound card {not that it is necessary).
Related resources
May 24, 2007 6:37:51 PM

If you really want to save money, there are 775 boards that accept C2D and will allow you to use your DDR400 ram, pair one of those with an e4300 and a midrange gpu and you've got a pretty solid, very budget upgrade. I'm going to use up most of that $500 for my suggestion, though.

Intel Core 2 Duo E6320 - 165.50
GIGABYTE GA-945GCM-S2 945GC Motherboard - 59.99
WINTEC AMPO 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 667 Dual Channel Kit - 61.99
SAPPHIRE Radeon X1950XT 256MB HDCP Video Card - 199.99

Subtotal = 487.47
MIR's = 20.00
Total = 467.47

Just my suggestion.
May 24, 2007 6:49:05 PM

Quote:
an underclocker, impressive. 8)
you have a nice machine for its time.

so you need a Networked Storage Array for your usenet addiction

$500

what do you want?
MB - need to switch ram if AM2 {I think}
Processor - with motherboard
Video Card - is this good enough for you still?

you should get a RAID 5 array going. get 2 more 250 SATA2
and a MB with 5HDD and 3HDD RAID controller

are the externals backup or storage?

this is a confusing matter you miss the transition boards so now you have to pay more for them

I hate to say it but maybe wait for AM2+

a quick thought
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ EE w/ 2x512K Cache (Socket AM2)
MSI K9N SLI-2F w/ DualDDR2 800, 7.1 Audio, Dual GB Lan, SATAII, PCI-E x16 SLI
Kingston 2GB PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM Kit (2 x 1GB)
GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E w/ Dual DVI,

processor wimpy, sorry
board has a RAID 5 controller
RAM is cheap, sorry
saved all the money for the card

could wait for the ATI 2400? cheap passive cool direct X10?
http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonhd2400/index.html


Yeah, an underclocker. I hate it too. The last time I tried to put the memory and processor fsb back to normal the system hung/rebooted and also noticed the video gets jacked up too. I've replaced all components in the system in order to troubleshoot the cpu issue, and came to the conclusion that it is a rare compatibility issue between the a7n8x-e deluxe and xp 3200 barton processor.

As far as storage is concerned, I've managed with what I have. The 3 external 250's are used to store tv eps, some movies, iso's, etc. I've looked into NAS but am going to wait on that. What I need the most is a fast stable machine. I may be able to get a serious hook up on an ati video card and/or X2 based processor (wholesale pricing through someone who works at amd/ati, happens to be father of the guy who is renting one of my rooms in my home, lol) but for the other components, i'm at the mercy of the internet and market. It's an all or none situation as far as upgrading. At the bare minimum, I am looking at the need for:

motherboard
processor
memory
video card

Since I am forced to underclock my cpu and memory and my video card is agp based and is having issues with games, I'm about at the end of the road with my mb, cpu and video card. Here is what I'm considering...

Motherboard:

Asus M2N-E nForce 570 Ultra Sempron/Athlon 64(FX)(X2) SktAM2 DDR2 ATX Motherboard w/Audio, Gigabit LAN, RAID/Serial ATA Retail - $104.99 (ZipZoomFly)


Processor:

AMD ADO3600DDBOX Athlon 64 X2 1.9GHz 2x512MB Socket AM2 Retail - $67.00 (ZipZoomFly)


Memory

OCZ OCZ2P800R22GK 2GB Kit DDR2 PC2-6400 Platinum Revision 2 Dual Channel Memory Retail - $136.00 (ZipZoomFly)


Video
Asus EAX1950PRO/HTDP/256M Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB PCI-Express Video Card w/Dual-DVI & HDTV-Out Retail - $175.00 (ZipZoomFly)


Total Cost: $483

This assumes I am not able to get "hooked up" with a wholesale deal on the cpu and video card. I was toying with the thought of getting the x2 3600 but would be much better in getting the 3800 or higher models. I want a model which maximizes the fsb.

-- MaSoP
May 24, 2007 7:48:45 PM

for the RAID 5 it would be in the future.

both upgrade path are dead right now anyways

nice deal on frys does it include S&H
May 24, 2007 7:52:17 PM

shipping is free, but you might have to pay tax if you have a Fry's in your state. still alot better than the 3600+ price. i would not call the 965 a dead path, as you could later strap in a q6600 for $266 and improve your video editing and multi-tasking.
May 24, 2007 7:59:44 PM

I would suggest a mobo that can use both your DDR memory and the 9800. It's a pitty to just throw them away as they still have enough life in them, for your needs at least. (i think)

So get the Asrock 4-CoreDual VSTA, an all time favorite of mine (and people at Anandtech's lol) which has support for both DDR and DDR2 (not installed at the same time!). It has 2 sockets for each, so you get to use your two gigs of DDR. It also supports both AGP and PCIE. You can have two video cards installed if you like, for the moment install your 9800.
You can keep the rest of your config as it is, case, psu, drives, the lot.
A C2D e4300 would cost you $114.50 and with that mobo you can easily overclock it to 2.7 Ghz (300X9) @stock voltage and cooling. Video encoding becomes a breeze!
The mobo would cost you $60. If you feel that you want a new video card after testing your 9800 with the new mobo, spend $100 for a 7600GT. If
you want to go higher, well, you still have more than $300 of your original budget.

It works!. I've built 8 such rigs for my budget conscious friends and one for me as a secondary platform and is consistent with what i describe. Cons? A 3-5% performance hit compared with equivalent i965 mobos.
I quote from anandtech
Quote:
In fact, one of our favorite motherboards after the Conroe launch was the ASRock 775Dual-VSTA featuring the VIA PT880 Pro chipset that afforded users the capability to utilize their existing AGP or DDR memory with a Core 2 Duo processor. We still recommend this board and its successor the 4CoreDual-VSTA that features quad core capability and improved performance in the budget Intel market.

Link:
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2914
There is also a big comparative test with C2Ds on all available platforms chipsets)
and with old DDR and AGP versions of ATI 1900 and Nvidia 7900 cards. The conclusion is that differences are almost negligible with the C2D!
Just my two cents
GL
May 24, 2007 8:26:13 PM

BigBlack
NICE upgrade path, allows for RAM and VIDEO CARD, yet no RAID 5 for our usenet addict. E6600 would be better for Stability.

Bkiserx7
my comment of dead path was that DDR3 for intel is around the corner as well as AM2+ for AMD

so MaSoP what is more important

Processor for encoding / converting
RAID 5 for a little redundancy / speed
Graphics Card for Gaming / Payback Visual Quality
Stability - {already a must}.
May 24, 2007 8:48:06 PM

Quote:
BigBlack
NICE upgrade path, allows for RAM and VIDEO CARD, yet no RAID 5 for our usenet addict. E6600 would be better for Stability.


Yes , raid 5 would be impossible since the mobo only has 2 sata ports. But he could always get a pci card for raid 5. I agree for the 6600, but it seems a little bit of an overkill! (for his budget i mean) An e4300 overclocks VERY stable @ 2.4 (266X9) with that mobo. He could wait for a year with that and buy a Quad Core next year. Well, just my thoughts...

Quote:
so MaSoP what is more important

Processor for encoding / converting
RAID 5 for a little redundancy / speed
Graphics Card for Gaming / Payback Visual Quality
Stability - {already a must}.


I think he doesn't have to choose. He can have all of them!
May 24, 2007 9:08:01 PM

Quote:
BigBlack
NICE upgrade path, allows for RAM and VIDEO CARD, yet no RAID 5 for our usenet addict. E6600 would be better for Stability.

Bkiserx7
my comment of dead path was that DDR3 for intel is around the corner as well as AM2+ for AMD

so MaSoP what is more important

Processor for encoding / converting
RAID 5 for a little redundancy / speed
Graphics Card for Gaming / Payback Visual Quality
Stability - {already a must}.


I'm not concerned about having a RAID setup. My concern right now is a system which I... 1) Don't have to underclock, 2) Is faster than what I got now, 3) Has upgrade options which I do not have now and 4) No more video issues with games. Even if I can squeeze out another year from my existing memory and video card, that would be great.

-- MaSoP
May 24, 2007 9:08:30 PM

you win BigBlack, with that logic
hopefully $200 is all that is needed to get back to stable land.
for E4300 is the stock cooler fine for this 66Mhz increase, or should he get something "cooler" {what is the temperature at 100% load for 4 hours}?
May 24, 2007 9:17:04 PM

Quote:
you win BigBlack, with that logic
hopefully $200 is all that is needed to get back to stable land.
for E4300 is the stock cooler fine for this 66Mhz increase, or should he get something "cooler"?


The stock cooler will be enough for any overclock up to 2.7-2.8. I would suggest that you stay with 2.4 for peace of mind, not that you can't go higher if you like.
May 24, 2007 9:34:58 PM

Quote:
you win BigBlack, with that logic
hopefully $200 is all that is needed to get back to stable land.
for E4300 is the stock cooler fine for this 66Mhz increase, or should he get something "cooler"?


The stock cooler will be enough for any overclock up to 2.7-2.8. I would suggest that you stay with 2.4 for peace of mind, not that you can't go higher if you like.

Damn, for $179.50 shipped, getting the E4300 and the Asrock board seems like a nice compromise. I'm just curious how the E4300 will compare performance wise to my current Athlon XP 3200+ running at 2500+, lol. Also, the additional performance increase between stock and OC'ing from 1.8 to 2.4ghz. I'm definately not going to be greedy about OC'ing. If I went that route, I'd take the suggestion and stop at 2.4, heh.

Thankfully I only need 2 sata ports and 1 ide ports (leaving one spare ide port), so that meets the requirement for my drives. It doesn't leave me room to add other sata drives internally, if I wanted to switch my 2 internal ide drives to sata unless I picked up a pci sata card. I suppose that'll always be an option. That should easily get me through early 2008. Being under $200 is a major plus and should make it much easier to pass it by the wifey. ;-) Haha. Thanks for all the input.

-- MaSoP
May 24, 2007 9:43:52 PM

:twisted: I might even do it!... wait... my computer's stable and I'm lazy :evil: 

with X360 and PS3 both streaming, and this HDCP / cable card crap, my dreams of a near future media center are cut short. StarCraft 2 the only thing I have left going for me.

900 or P180b ?
May 24, 2007 9:49:55 PM

My previous system was an Athlon XP M overclocked @ 2.4 on a Abit NF7-S, with 1 GB of Low latency OCZ DDR. I moved the RAM on the Asrock, along with my 6600 AGP and i overclocked the E4300@2.4 Ghz just by raising the FSB@266. I saw that i was compressing video with DVD Shrink at almost 1/4 of the time it took my old Athlon XP to do it. That should give you an idea of what to expect. Fast, cool, stable, cheap, is all i have to say about that combo.

Good luck
May 24, 2007 10:01:46 PM

That would be a good build and with the money saved you could upgrade the PSU and get a 1950 pro or something which is a much better card.
May 24, 2007 10:05:31 PM

dude, he has a NeoHE 480Watt, I think he can run 1 new video card
May 24, 2007 10:19:53 PM

I'm sure it would be fine.Don't really know what the power requirements would be running all those drives,the card I mentined etc. It's just me, but I like a decent amount of headroom but I can never see myself needing a !kw PSU.
May 24, 2007 11:52:40 PM

MaSoP, once you have the mobo and cpu, pm me for a tip or two regarding the tuning of your system. Also you most probably won't need to reinstall windows. I booted straight into windows the first time i installed the asrock. XP only asked me to install audio drivers but recognized the chipset and rebooted into a perfectly workable environment. Your current mobo has the same chipset as my faithful NF7-S, so there is no reason it shouldn't work for you too. Of course a clean install would be better, but why not give it a try?
May 25, 2007 2:34:17 PM

Quote:
900 or P180b ?


P180B for classy, beautiful case
900 for all out air-cooled monster
May 25, 2007 3:29:51 PM

everyone prefers the

clean install

over the

repair windows you changed your motherboard!
re-register windows you have 4 more transfers left!

or with Shitista's EULA, buy a new copy.
May 25, 2007 3:38:36 PM

I wouldn't disagree with the clean install. What i' m saying that happens is not a repair install. He doesn't have to do anything more than load sound chip drivers. The pc boots directly into XP, no problems! (At least that was my personal experience)

Again, a fresh install would be better, i totally agree with you, but if it works with no problems as it is, why bother? He will need to format and reinstall windows sooner or later, as we all do from time to time :wink:

Edit: what is Shitista's EULA :?:
May 25, 2007 4:41:33 PM

Quote:
Edit: what is Shitista's EULA :?:


think he is referring to Vista
May 25, 2007 5:00:14 PM

yeah you usually have to change 2 parts at the same time in XP to get that problem.

DX10 is the only reason any gamer would get vista.
Vienna is going to be Vista Service Pack 2.
I think M$ is going to go back to their money making strategy again

Quote:
Windows Anytime Upgrade Software. The first user of the software may reassign the
license to another device one time, but only if the license terms of the software you upgraded
from allows reassignment.


http://download.microsoft.com/documents/useterms/Window...

right before the "your soul" clause {where is the fire text tag}
May 25, 2007 5:07:06 PM

Quote:
Vienna is going to be Vista Service Pack 2.


:lol: 


Quote:
right before the "your soul" clause


:lol:  :lol:  :lol: 
May 25, 2007 5:38:07 PM

Looking at you list of parts that you have. I don't know how long you have had your psu. S
o I would recommend a new one. so heres my list.

proc:AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+(65W) Windsor 2.0GHz $74
mobo:ASUS M2N-E SLI $95
ram:mushkin 2GB DDR2 800 Model 996527 $90
gpu:Foxconn 8500GT $95
psu:Thermaltake Purepower W0129RU ATX12V 600W $105
total $459

I found all prices on newegg. I think this would make a very good all around system. The mobo has 2 pata channels and 4 sataII. So you can use both you pata and sata hdds.
May 25, 2007 5:44:47 PM

Ok I will assume that you are able to use some of your old components You can try this

asus p5nsli $120
Core2 duo E6400 $220
Ultra dual channel 2 x 512 $60 at tiger direct
EVGA 7600gt 114 (99 with rebate)
Agreat total of 514.

With this you will have a nice computer for a couple of years, you will be able to play at a nice frame rate. I know you will have a limited upgrade path, since the mobo does not work with quadcore intel procs, but you can upgarde to a e6800 later. Even if you can save money later you can add a second 7600 and play really nice.

Hope it helps
!