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Old Pentium 4 upgrade question build

Last response: in Systems
September 6, 2007 3:20:30 PM

I'm new to the forums and have quick upgrade vs new build question. I'm currently running an old system with the following specs:

Asus P4b533-e Mobo
Pentium 4 2.53 Ghz CPU
1GB of PC1600 DDR ram
GEforce 6600 GT OC graphics card

I'm looking to make a new build but I think that because of the planned release of the penryn CPUs and the current prices of DDR3 that now isn't a good time for me to do a completely new build (I don't need a new machine that bad right now). So I was wondering if there would be any value to upgrading my current components with a new CPU (P4 3.0Ghz FSB 800) and maybe additional/new RAM. The total cost would be about $150. I was wondering if I would get a reasonable performance increase for the money or if I'd be better off saving the money and waiting until next year when costs for a new system have come down. Also the FSB of my MOBO is 533 which I think would limit the performance increase from the new CPU. Any insight would be really appreciated. Thanks.
September 6, 2007 7:24:05 PM

That system is not worth upgrading bro.......
DDR3- forget about it
Penryn- forget about it

Modern motherboard, 2GB's of DDR2, Inexpensive dual-core CPU and your old graphics card until you can afford a GTS 8800 320MB GPU.
Throw in a Seagate 320GB HDD, Retail WinXP Pro SP2, Quality 500W PSU........the rest is history

September 6, 2007 8:41:02 PM

You can wait for the "next big thing" for eternity. There's always price drops and new products around the corner. Penryn most likely isn't going to be a huge performance jump from Conroe, so there's nothing wrong with buying a new PC right now.

One option that you can do is getting a P35 motherboard that supports both DDR2 and DDR3. You can buy that mobo along with some Core 2 CPU and some DDR2, then upgrade to DDR3 and Penryn later if you like.

Your current setup isn't really worth upgrading. I have an older PC with a 7800GT and a P4 3.0Ghz, and the CPU is still often times a bottleneck.
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September 6, 2007 9:01:21 PM

I looked up your MB on Asus' website and the processor compatability is only with 400/533 FSB procs. Therefore, the highest processor you can upgrade to is the 3.06Ghz P4 Northwood. And according to eBay currently you're in for $100 for that certain model. Not worth it IMO. You may try finding a pair of pc2100/2700 rams sticks to go dual channel (if your MB supports 21/2700 and DC). Other than that I would say it's basically the end of the line for your rig.

Honestly, if you're not happy with the performance of your computer RIGHT NOW upgrade. If you're still ok with it, wait until you're disappointed and start building.
September 7, 2007 6:04:59 PM

Hey guys,
Thanks for the advice, it seems like upgrading would be a waste of $. Out of interest which Mobos are both DDR 2 and 3 compatible. I thought that the way the pins are notched makes them completely incompatible. Thanks
September 7, 2007 6:26:01 PM

The 2 DDR3 boards that i know of are backwards compatible
September 7, 2007 7:06:17 PM

Backwards compatable? The ram slots are keyed differently, just like the OP said. Although some motherboards have slots for both DDR2 and DDR3.
September 7, 2007 7:09:46 PM

Backwards compatable? The ram slots are keyed differently, just like the OP said. Although some motherboards have slots for both DDR2 and DDR3.
Exactly, they work with both styles of RAM

September 7, 2007 7:31:35 PM

I just would not have stated it that way. That could cause the OP to buy incompatable parts and be disappointed.
September 7, 2007 7:56:06 PM

I just recently upgraded to a p35 mobo from a p4 3.06ghz and I can say that for me it was like riding a bike with training wheels on when gaming. With the new core 2 duo and DDR2 memory, I'm saying wow alot in the games I'm playing because all the eye candy is there. So although it may cost abit to go all new, I thought about upgrading my AGP 5900ultra, its worth the extra money to build new. Upgrading from my P4 provide PCI-E graphics, SATA hard drive, USB 2.0, and a multi core processor. Also the ddr2/ddr3 version of the MB I used is the Gigabyte p35cds3r which comes recommended by many on these forums and reviewer sites. I was on the fense for awhile looking at the prices, in the end its like people have said before when your ready just do it.
September 7, 2007 8:22:01 PM

Rather than wait 6 months to a year or more with an outdated system my recommendation would be that you purchase this inexpensive new system from for for $350:

HP a6042n Refurbished (Athlon 64 X2 4200+, 1GB, 300GB, Vista Premium)

Then as soon as you can add a a 7900GS video card for $100-150. Here is one on sale for $100 AR right now.

Maybe add a second GB of memory - about $70 right now.

So for about $450-$520 you will have a machine that will run circles around you current machine, can still be upgraded later with even faster CPUs or graphics cards and will hold you over for a year our two while the other technologies mature to where you would like them to be.