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Upgrade to Ancient System

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July 24, 2008 2:17:43 PM

Hello Forum,

Just stumbled on this forum while searching for answers about an upgrade to my old system (see signature). My original V card has just begun to act up with lines and shadows. I've verified that it is not the monitor, cable or drivers so I guess it's time to rerplace the V card.

The computer is used for basic computing and web searches, some audio recording and mixing and a bit of web design using Dreamweaver. I upgraded the original OS from Win98 to XP, increased RAM to the max possible of 640MB and added a second HDD about 2 years ago. Though the computer is old, it serves me fine and a particular audio software I use would have to be replaced if I bought a new computer. So I just need to replace the video card.

According to the Dell site, an XFX GeForce 6200 A 256MB DDR2 AGP is recommended. http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Graphics_Cards/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=A1307807&mfgpid=95352&chassisid=8218

Looking for any input to insure success. One issue I'm concerned about is that my power supply is only 200W. Though I can't find a power requirement on this particular card, most others in the same category I've looked at require at least 250-300W of power. Someone on the Dell forum said that this shouldn't be an issue but I don't know.

All help is appreciated.

More about : upgrade ancient system

July 24, 2008 2:38:54 PM

So you just need the card in order to have a picture on your screen, right? This isn't meant to be any sort of gaming or modeling-specific card?

Cause if that's the case, then it's possible you can get a very low-end Radeon or GeForce card that's a little newer than a 6200 for your AGP slot. I would imagine a modern entry-level card would consume less power than an old 6200. Also, do you know off-hand if your motherboard has integrated graphics, because that could probably do you just as well for no additional power.
July 24, 2008 2:47:41 PM

Hello Poster,

Well, the best AGP card available on the market is the ATI 3850 AGP. It may very well be the last AGP card that gets developed, as AGP has been considered a dead platform for a while now, and from what I understand they're running into a bit of a bandwidth wall finally. Here's one for ~$120:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Be aware though, that most late model AGP cards require a little special attention to drivers. You may have to download hotfixes for it.

As far as power consumption, I'm not sure on the power supply in your current system, though I doubt that any AGP cards are really drawing 250-300W of power. That sounds more like a recommendation on how big your power supply should be in order to run the computer with the video card installed. In the Pentium III days, power supplies weren't very large, so it would probably be wise to pop the hood and check it out.
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July 24, 2008 3:09:46 PM

If you can give us as much specifics as you can about that Dell machine, that would be good, because then I can run the specs through this...

http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine

And get a good idea of how much else you can add to the system without overloading it. Unfortunately, though, there's no Pentium III's in the list, but everything else seems to be there.
July 24, 2008 3:11:53 PM

Hello Revkev.

Although a X1550 and a HD3850 were excellent options, you have a I440BX Chipset. This means you have AGP 2x. Any of the video cards will be a waste of money only for that factor. Another Important factor is that the 2x AGP slot had a higher voltage and a diferent slot from the 4x/8x one.

There was mobo that could take 1x/2x/4x/8x but it was a VIA chipset if i recall correctly. If you buy Any AGP card reasure yourself that it is 2X compatible or 2 things might happen: 1 - You fry the new card, 2 - It wont fit.

Try to get a old Voodoo 3/5, and Nvidia TNT2, Geforce 256, Gforce 2/3. Something in those terms. Anything else above, probably wont work.

Quick edit: All the cards i say, you can only find them used. And cheap.

Good god, im getting old, or Ancient, like your system :) 
July 24, 2008 3:17:47 PM

With the kind of trouble it'd take to find such old cards for that system and with the possibility of frying the PSU in the process, I'm thinking it might be better for OP to simply invest in a new system. And if you're low on cash, you could always try and look for old systems other people are selling for really low. Another option would be to buy some kind of really, really cheap and basic system like a Shuttle PC or one of the many Netbooks we're getting a major influx of (Eee, Wind, etc.)
July 24, 2008 3:32:16 PM

mathiasschnell said:
With the kind of trouble it'd take to find such old cards for that system and with the possibility of frying the PSU in the process, I'm thinking it might be better for OP to simply invest in a new system. And if you're low on cash, you could always try and look for old systems other people are selling for really low. Another option would be to buy some kind of really, really cheap and basic system like a Shuttle PC or one of the many Netbooks we're getting a major influx of (Eee, Wind, etc.)


The ones i suggested might be very easy to find. I dont mean only ebay, but usually getting dust in a friends house. The latter option might be more common than you think.
July 24, 2008 3:40:27 PM

Thanks for all the quick replies everyone! Much appreciated! Here's more info on the system (from manual):
Dell Dimension XPS T700r
PIII running @ 100 MHz externally
Intel 440 BX AGPset, Data Bus width 64 bits, Address Bus width 32 bits, DMA Channels 7, 15 Interrupt lvl
AGP Bus speed: 66 or 133 MHz
AGP expansion card connector size 124 pins, data width 32 bits maximum
AGP 2X
Power 200W, 778 BTU Heat Dissipation

The hardware device manager in XP describes the current card as NVIDIA RIVA TNT2/TNT2 PRO. I haven't yet opened the case to look at the card physically to verify what it is nor to verify that it is seated correctly. (I can only assume it is since the machine has been working fine for 9 years!)

mathiasschnell: Yes you are correct, no gaming or modeling on this computer. Not sure what mobo I have on this computer. How can I tell if I have integrated graphics on it?

To everyone else: Thanks again for the quick replies, I'm reviewing all the info and sites.
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 3:45:42 PM

Looks like Radnor nailed it. Good luck with your system and search.
July 24, 2008 3:45:47 PM

The problem, if I understand correctly, is that the software is not compatible with XP or newer computers. A solution that should work would be to buy a new, cheap computer for Dell, HP, or emachine. Then before its ever turned on, place the hard drive from the old machine into the new one, making it into a modern computer running an old OS. Dell used to sell baseline computers with no OS installed at all, mainly for businesses who wanted to install their own OS, etc., so that might be the best solution. You would still have to get modern drivers for everything, though a CD with the appropriate drivers would probably be supplied by Dell.

A slightly different way to solve the problem would be to replace the motherboard, CPU, and perhaps the PSU on the current computer. Then buy a cheap video card to fit. If you change the motherboard, you can also change to a PCIe video card, thus avoiding a lot of the hassle in finding an AGP card. For the simple needs that you have, a low performance AMD CPU and a cheap motherboard would be vastly better than your current setup and should fit right in. Then all that would be needed would be to update the motherboard drivers. I suggest replacing the PSU for two reasons; first, its probably a bit small for any modern video card, and second, its so old that its probably not putting out its rated power and would give out anyway. Worse, it might damage other parts when it gave out.

The second suggestion, changing out the motherboard, CPU, PSU, and then the video card that you need anyway would probably be the cheapest thing to do. I am a bit curious about the audio software that you use which requires Win 98. When I first switched to XP back in 2001, I found that every piece of software, which included a lot of business software, that I had transfered over to XP.
July 24, 2008 4:51:39 PM

revkev said:
Thanks for all the quick replies everyone! Much appreciated! Here's more info on the system (from manual):
Dell Dimension XPS T700r
PIII running @ 100 MHz externally
Intel 440 BX AGPset, Data Bus width 64 bits, Address Bus width 32 bits, DMA Channels 7, 15 Interrupt lvl
AGP Bus speed: 66 or 133 MHz
AGP expansion card connector size 124 pins, data width 32 bits maximum
AGP 2X
Power 200W, 778 BTU Heat Dissipation

The hardware device manager in XP describes the current card as NVIDIA RIVA TNT2/TNT2 PRO. I haven't yet opened the case to look at the card physically to verify what it is nor to verify that it is seated correctly. (I can only assume it is since the machine has been working fine for 9 years!)

mathiasschnell: Yes you are correct, no gaming or modeling on this computer. Not sure what mobo I have on this computer. How can I tell if I have integrated graphics on it?

To everyone else: Thanks again for the quick replies, I'm reviewing all the info and sites.


Btw, if you have a PIII 450 to a 550, you have a monster overclocker there. Make sure the Cooler is clean, and your SDRAM is PC133 at 133mhz. If so those CPUs can be pushed up to 30% of their base clock without a prob.

Oh, the good old days.
July 24, 2008 4:52:58 PM

Hi Sailer,

Here's the issue in more detail on why I don't want to upgrade the entire hardware (yet).

The audio software I use is Cubase VST24 which was why the computer was puchased in the first place. It is professional recording software that along with the other digital audio hardware I purchased at the time (Yamaha 01V digital mixer, Yamaha DSP Factory audio card fed from mixer with optical cables) was considered state of the art. Cubase uses a dongle for authenticity verification that for my elderly software version is a parallel port dongle. It cannot be upgraded to what Cubase uses now which is a USB dongle.

Purchasing a new computer sets a whole snowball rolling. My audio software needs to be upgraded because parallel ports are no longer options on newer PC's as well as the software has been vastly improved. To support the newer pro audio software (whether Cubase or other options) I need a beefy computer and so am out of the "cheap" PC options. In addition I need to replace the audio card since the Yamaha DSP Factory is no longer supported by newer pro audio software. Thus I add at least $400 for the Cubase upgrade and another $300-600 for a new pro audio card and MIDI interface. My thumb in the wind estimate puts me at $2,500-$3,000 for the complete upgrade.

The time is coming soon when I will do this but due to unexpected house expenses this year, it won't be for 6-12 months. Thus a $50 video card (or less if I can find one sitting in an old machine) seems like the smart way to go at this point.

Thanks for the strategies but I don't think either one would solve my problem.
July 24, 2008 4:55:14 PM

Hi radnor,

The PIII is a 700. Still overclockable?
July 24, 2008 5:19:09 PM

in fact i own the XPS t700r, and have the stock video card that came out of it right here next to me. If you want it, you can have it. 99% sure it still works.
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 5:23:53 PM

i seriuosly doubt you'll need a monster comp for audio software. a $1000 PC should be more than enough.
July 24, 2008 5:26:47 PM

^ i agree. the only hardware that would be expensive for the new comp is software and the professional sound cards. I'm running a dual core right now, and I consider it more than needed for audio, since I do audio work once a week for my church.
July 24, 2008 6:15:20 PM

SABOT00: I didn't say monster I said beefy. :)  Just meant I need more than something that is designed for word processing and spreadsheets. Primarily I need fast processing power, mucho memory and mucho storage capability. Graphics and other bells and whistles can be pretty much stock.

By my accounting: after tax and shipping I estimate between $1,200 and $1,500 for the computer based on pricing some systems. Thus I'm at about $2,200-$2,500 (computer, software & audio card) without taking into account upgrade of cabling that's been in place for 9 years. Then there's other miscellaneous items that are "nice to haves" (e.g. some bluetooth devices to allow remote control of the audio software while seated across the studio in front of the mics. ;) , etc. ). That's how I came to a budget of $2,500-$3,000. Unfortunately that's what I spent two weeks ago to get my main sewer line replaced in my front yard. And I still have a mound of dirt instead of a grassy yard to contend with. :( 

the last resort: I would definitely be interested in your stock v card. I just joined this forum and don't know my way around very well yet. Does it have PM capability? BTW what kind of audio do you do for your church? As my screen name implies I'm a pastor and very involved in the music/audio of our church as well. Let me know how to contact you about the vcard.

Thanks!
July 24, 2008 8:14:41 PM

the last resort: Found the PM functionality. Check your messages.

:) 
July 24, 2008 9:07:27 PM

revkev said:
Hi radnor,

The PIII is a 700. Still overclockable?


W00t !! better than i thought. there were two 2 versions : 66 mhz FSB and 100 mhz FSB.
IF it is a Slot 1 (I440BX/ZX were for slot 1) those CPUs run really cool.

I440 BX worked at 66mhz/75Mhz/100mhz/115 and 124 if im not mistaken. They cant pull the 133Mhz.

If it works at 66, its got a 10.5 Multiplier.
If it works at 100 Mhz got 7x multiplier.
Wont have a 133 mhz because the I440 BX wouldnt cut it, if recall correctly. It has been some years now. You will have to see for yourself.

If you got a 66mhz part, it is a celeron. Some say Celeron Pentium III. So they seem a pentium III. Ill explain afterwards.
If you got a 100 mhz part, its still a very good overclock. You could reach the 900mhz or more if you keep the case cool.

Those CPUs even worked without a problem without a fan. So keep it cool, and overclock it.

Small history lesson.
Coppermine cores, like that CPU were all iqual. That means, if you pick up a celeron 500, its the same cpu than a PIII 866E (the 866EB parts were for multi processor, more cache if i recall correctly). Many showed up in BIOS as Celerons and another as Celeron Pentium III. Intel soemthing wouldnt bother to stop the assembly line. Just changed one or two things, but the CPU was the same. You could Unlock them by manually shunting the bridges above them. It was a long time ago, so i dont remember how to unlock the multiplier. If you search the web im sure you will find info about it. With a adapted Cooler, or one more fan on top of it, i wouldnt be surprised if you can pull the 1Ghz stable. Really.

Those were the time of overclocking, when we could pull a K6II 450 Mhz above the 1.1 Ghz stable. Good old times.

on a personal note: Im quite enjoying pulling this old knoledge from the top of my head, makes me feel nostagic in a good and and a bad way. Makes me feel old but in the same way i see the gathered information that i acumulated during the years wasnt all to waste. Btw, just phoned a friend of mine who still has his celeron working at 1004 mhz. it is now a gaming computer for old dos games :) 

Have fun, and sorry for the personal part. Sharing is always an awful thing.
a c 198 U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 9:28:52 PM

Try EBAY.
This online auction site has masses of older hardware for sale. Most is, of course, used but some is new or unused.
Given a little bit of luck, you will find a replacement for your dead video card without having to make major changes in your existing system and, more importaintly known software.
a b U Graphics card
July 24, 2008 9:46:03 PM

revkev said:
SABOT00: I didn't say monster I said beefy. :)  Just meant I need more than something that is designed for word processing and spreadsheets. Primarily I need fast processing power, mucho memory and mucho storage capability. Graphics and other bells and whistles can be pretty much stock.

By my accounting: after tax and shipping I estimate between $1,200 and $1,500 for the computer based on pricing some systems. Thus I'm at about $2,200-$2,500 (computer, software & audio card) without taking into account upgrade of cabling that's been in place for 9 years. Then there's other miscellaneous items that are "nice to haves" (e.g. some bluetooth devices to allow remote control of the audio software while seated across the studio in front of the mics. ;) , etc. ). That's how I came to a budget of $2,500-$3,000. Unfortunately that's what I spent two weeks ago to get my main sewer line replaced in my front yard. And I still have a mound of dirt instead of a grassy yard to contend with. :( 

the last resort: I would definitely be interested in your stock v card. I just joined this forum and don't know my way around very well yet. Does it have PM capability? BTW what kind of audio do you do for your church? As my screen name implies I'm a pastor and very involved in the music/audio of our church as well. Let me know how to contact you about the vcard.

Thanks!

a e8400
4gigs DDR2 800MHz - should be more than enough.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 1tb
you dont need mucho mem, mucho storage, and fast prossesing power.
today's PC's can easily handle audio.
Audio's a cake walk for PC's now.
FYI:the skulltrail mobo wasn't built for audio.

July 25, 2008 3:31:15 PM

Quote:
a e8400
4gigs DDR2 800MHz - should be more than enough.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822148299 1tb
you dont need mucho mem, mucho storage, and fast prossesing power.
today's PC's can easily handle audio.
Audio's a cake walk for PC's now.
FYI:the skulltrail mobo wasn't built for audio.


Thanks for the info SABOT00. Coming from my ancient machine, the specs you show above are mucho mem, mucho storage and fast processing. A semantics issue. I've got to move into the 21st century!

Thanks again!
September 11, 2008 9:39:57 PM

For anyone who is interested:

After being ignored by two alleged suppliers I found at various websites for a replacement card :(  , I went to eBay and found a plethora of legacy card suppliers and options.

I found this:
VISIONTEK NVIDIA TNT2 32MB AGP VIDEO CARD NV996.0 REV D
from a power seller there with a high customer approval rating. It cost more to ship it than to buy it but total delivered cost was $6.25 USD. Got it in three days, plugged it in and all is well.

I would recommend the seller g-forcefood to those looking for legacy items.

:) 
September 12, 2008 3:51:25 AM

Wow........its so old VisionTek made it :D  They only do ATI now.

Anyways, congrats on the part, now you can save $1000.
September 12, 2008 10:08:21 AM

revkev said:
For anyone who is interested:

After being ignored by two alleged suppliers I found at various websites for a replacement card :(  , I went to eBay and found a plethora of legacy card suppliers and options.

I found this:
VISIONTEK NVIDIA TNT2 32MB AGP VIDEO CARD NV996.0 REV D
from a power seller there with a high customer approval rating. It cost more to ship it than to buy it but total delivered cost was $6.25 USD. Got it in three days, plugged it in and all is well.

I would recommend the seller g-forcefood to those looking for legacy items.

:) 


Good choice Rev.
!