Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Upgrade/New System - All advice appreciated!

Last response: in Systems
Share
February 8, 2008 6:57:54 PM

Firstly my apologies for the long post and if it’s not what is expected on these forums, I just registered and haven’t been browsing for very long. Basically, I’ll appreciate any comments that would help me in facilitating what to do with my two current PCs, which I intend to replace or upgrade since they are about to die on me. I’ve got a general idea, but bear with me because it’ll probably seem a bit confusing. Any help would be extremely useful because I don’t think I’ve done very well purchasing desktops in the past. I'll endeavour to search and browse information for myself but I figured this would be most effective and efficient, as it's tailored to my situation.

Anyway, I have a two year old PC which has turned out to be quite a dud with the LCD dying and the motherboard essentially frying. I also have a four year old PC that is running reasonably but is obviously outdated and the PSU might be starting to die. I don’t really intend to complete scrap the two year old PC, because being a student I’m relying on my parents money so it’s more cost efficient.

I don’t have a strict budget but I intend to keep below the $1500 AUD mark (though I can probably spend up to $2000) as combined cost. Obviously, Australian prices are going to differ from what most of you are accustomed to but this serves as a nice reference as I intend to predominantly shop here http://www.msy.com.au/Parts/PARTS.pdf

2 Year Old PC Specifications:

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 1 ATX Silver Tower (No PSU)
PSU: Codegen ATX Power Supply 550W EPS 24-pin/Dual Fan
Motherboard: ASUS A8N-SLI nForce4 AMD ATX S939 Mainboard
CPU: AMD Athlon64 3200+ CPU S939 HyperTransport™ Technology
Memory: 2x 512MB 184-Pin Kingston DDR 400 PC3200
GPU: XFX Geforce 7600 GS PCI-X Video Card
HDD: 2x Seagate 250GB Serial ATA-150 8Mb Hard Disk
Optical: Pioneer DVR-109BK DVD-R/RW CD-R/RW Internal OEM
Optical: 16 x DVD ROM 5.25" Internal EIDE
FDD: 1.4Mb Floppy Drive
LAN: Generic

4 Year Old PC Specifications:

Case: Cheap Case
PSU: 420W PSU
Motherboard: Intel D865PERL
CPU: P4 2.8c
Memory: 2x 256MB PC3200
GPU: Radeon 9600SE
HDD: Seagate 80GB IDE, Seagate 250GB IDE
Optical: LG DVD-Writer 8x
Optical: 16x DVD-ROM
FDD: 1.4Mb Floppy Drive
LAN: 2x Generic

---------------

Okay, in the mist of all my rambling the gist is that I’ll swap around one or two parts and keep one PC while essentially making a 2nd new PC. I intend to keep most of the parts of the 2 year old PC, but as the chipset fan has fried, which has also resulted in the onboard sound malfunctioning – I intend to replace the Motherboard and CPU. However, as my sister is using and she doesn’t play games I intend to take out the 2 SATA Hard drives and replace them with my IDEs saving a bit of money on the new PCs, as well as adding the RAM to this PC.

2 Year Old – NEW System:
Case: Cooler Master Centurion 1 ATX Silver Tower (No PSU)
PSU: Codegen ATX Power Supply 550W EPS 24-pin/Dual Fan
Motherboard: Mainboard???
CPU: Intel Conroe E6550?
Memory: 2x 512MB 184-Pin Kingston DDR 400 PC3200 2x 256MB PC3200
GPU: XFX Geforce 7600 GS PCI-X Video Card
HDD: Seagate 80GB IDE, Seagate 250GB IDE
Optical: Pioneer DVR-109BK DVD-R/RW CD-R/RW Internal OEM
Optical: 16 x DVD ROM 5.25" Internal EIDE
FDD: 1.4Mb Floppy Drive
LAN: Generic

So, my question here is what main board should I use for this rather old system? I think this will end up costing $300-$400, which is the cost for the new CPU/Mobo. Of interest is also the fact that I’ve been waiting since Christmas for the release of more quad cores in this quarter, since I was waiting for a price drop – However, my sister hasn’t had sound on her PC for like two months, so I figured I may as well replace it or should I wait?

4Year Old – NEW System 2:

Essentially everything needs to be replaced, except for the two SATA Hardrives, Optical Drives, Case, etc.

My main dilemma is I’m unsure whether I should once again wait for the release of the Nvidia 9 series and more quad cores. I haven’t really decided on system parts definitively as of yet, but I have a general idea. I intend to use this PC for new games, but I predominantly play MMOs, while also multitasking like watching DVD, using Microsoft Word, MSN, etc.

Case: Cheap Case
PSU: Silent Fan???
Motherboard: ???
CPU: Depends on Quad Core prices.
Memory: 4x 1GB Kingston DDR2 or 2x 2GB (unsure of 800 or 667, need to read up on bottle necks)
GPU: Preferably Nvidia 8800GT/S or possibly 9 series (Unsure of brand until I decide from reviews)
HDD: 2x Seagate 250GB Serial ATA-150 8Mb Hard Disk & considering adding Seagate SATAII 400GB unless there would be a conflict with SATA II
Optical: LG DVD-Writer 8x
Optical: 16x DVD-ROM
FDD: 1.4Mb Floppy Drive
LAN: 2x Generic

My lists of motherboards for both PCs are essentially limited to those listed in the link at the start.

---------

My apologies to posting such a long string of questions on my first post, I should really research more thoroughly first – except I’m unsure as to how long my sister’s PC will hold out since we’ve been using an external fan to cool it, while my PSU is making weird noises.

Essentially, I understand if no one bothers to read through all my ranting. However, rather than wasting my parents money I figured it was worth asking this community for some advice first.

For now I intend to replace the two year old PC, once I decided on the CPU and Mobo – I’ll remove the SATA drives and have it run temporarily on the 80GB IDE HDD. My intention is to then replace the four year old PC and swap the parts as per above when more quad cores and the 9 series is released. Basically is this a prudent idea? Any suggestions? I’ll have to pay for the PC store for the upgrade cost because I don’t want to risk breaking anything.

Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.
February 8, 2008 9:28:38 PM

A quick look at the prices, with $1500 - $2000 you can build a new machine. Suggest you post how you plan to use the machine, restate your budget, and your specific questions. Keep it simple and keep it succinct and you get can good answers. You can always ask follow-up questions. You shouldn't have to post a new thread. You might be able to just edit the initial post
February 9, 2008 12:38:07 AM

Thanks for the input. I'm aware that I'd be able to build a new machine with $1500-2000, but in the end I still need 2 PCs (one for myself and one for my sister). Both PCs seem to be falling apart slowly, so they'll need to be replaced and $1500-2000 isn't really sufficient for two new systems. That's why I'm trying to recycle parts to form a 'usable' PC for my sister, while basically getting a new system for myself.

However, I'll edit the initial post with two proposed views so that it's easier for others to critique. Thanks again.
Related resources
February 9, 2008 11:57:48 AM

amdfangirl, thank you for your replies. As far as replacing the PCs right at this moment that's not exactly necessary. However, I would like to replace the Motherboard and CPU for my sister's PC since she has been running without sound for about 2 months. Her PC is only two years old as mentioned, but I've read that the Asus a8n-SLI has a dodgy chipset fan and sure enough her one fried. Consequently, even though onboard sound doesn't normally screw up unless the Motherboard is gone - something seems to have fried as it won't registered with new drivers or what not.

As for my PC the 4 year old one, well it doesn't need to replace immediately which is why one of the main questions is whether it's worth waiting for the next batch of Quad Cores to be released and for the 9 series cards. With that said though, either the cooling gel has rubbed off from the CPU or my PSU is about to die on me as it's making a few weird noises and the kill switch is turning off the PC.

As for RAM, the price difference between 800 and 667 seems marginally, so I think I'll opt for 800 and buy 4 sticks. As for the 8800GTS, that's not necessary but I am a fairly hardcore gamer and while I don't play Crysis per se - MMOs require quite a bit of polygon rendering when like 50 players camp a boss and in a game where each player controls a team of 3, there is significant graphics lag.

The LCD with the 2 year old PC fried, which was rather shocking so I just recently bought a Phillips 19" WS, even though 22" is preferably I didn't want to waste the money. The monitor isn't my concern, the system specs for my PC in particular is important.

Also, I'm not particularly a fan of AMDs after buying the AMD64 that my sister is using and her performance even though it's meant to be better for games runs poorer than my system. Given the choice I'll go with Intel but I'll need to read up further.

Sorry, for my long replies but basically what I plan to do now is just fix up my sister's PC - there's no point buying a 939 mobo, to just repair her sound. I don't think she needs the SATA drives since she isn't gaming, which is why I intend to take them out and replace it with one of my IDE drives - adding on the second one when I completely upgrade this PC.

Once again, I really appreciate the input. Is North Rocks Computer Market that much cheaper? MSY seems to offer very reasonable prices, probably the cheapest shop in Sydney but they have horrible customer service - unfortunately with my luck I picked up an LCD with one dead pixel.
February 9, 2008 12:28:52 PM

If the only problem with your sisters PC is the audio, why not just buy an expensive audio card? If her mobo is only 2 years old, may be still under warranty and you could RMS it.
February 10, 2008 4:51:59 AM

g-paw said:
If the only problem with your sisters PC is the audio, why not just buy an expensive audio card? If her mobo is only 2 years old, may be still under warranty and you could RMS it.

I considered that option but the cost of a sound card & chip set fan would basically be the price of buying a 939 socket board. I don't like the first option because if the on board sound has fried somehow, I'd question the longevity of the board on the whole. The other factor, is I'm a bit wary about repairing things myself, while there are plenty of guides around the prospect of dismantling everything to clip off the plastic holders for the chip set fan is rather daunting. My extent of messing with my PC is changing RAM and adding a HDD, I managed to break my CPU lock while cleaning my heat sink before as well :(  Also the AMD64 2.0ghz, doesn't seem to run that smoothly but I'm not sure if that's because of some bottleneck somewhere.

!