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Making an old PC Relevant

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December 12, 2009 3:46:46 AM

Hi Guyzz!!

Because of recent events, I've dusted off my Sony Vaio PCV-RX260DS and I wish to make it relevant. I want to be able to max it out (if possible) and have it run on Windows 7 smoothly while doing some light multitasking (Excel,Quickbook, and internet).

I took the first step of maxing the ram (512mb sdram pc133). I have an old ati radeon 7200 and would like to know whats the best video card I can buy to replace it without worrying about bottleneck (I am not sure the term - that's what my friend's bf said :kaola:  )

I would appreciate any assistance especially a mini guide of sorts telling me step by step of what I can do to make my computer run faster (i.e. overclocking if possible)!

Here are my comp stats.

CPU -
Intel P3EB 800mhz / Coppermine / Socket 370 FC-PGA /

MOBO-
ASUSTek Computer Inc. / MEW Rev. 1.06 / Intel i810E Rev. A3 /

More about : making relevant

a b K Overclocking
December 12, 2009 3:21:21 PM

Ouch, talk about outdated. You should download CPU-Z to get the model of the motherboard. From there you can try to find out what CPU that motherboard supports. You can also go over to Sony's support page and try to find a more recent BIOS for that board which should tell you what CPUs it can support. If you're lucky, you can put in a 1.4Ghz chip, well assuming you can find such a chip anyway. As for the video card an AGP Radeon 3450 would probably be as high as I would go. Anything more expensive wouldn't be faster for you because your CPU couldn't keep up. Besides, I take it you only need it for the Areo affects.

You can get Win7 to run with 512MB of RAM, but it won't be pretty. It will have to be a minimal installation and once you start adding things like Anit Virus or Chat apps, well the little bit of RAM left gets used up pretty quickly. As far as cost, getting a new CPU and video card, it's almost as much as getting a much more modern, and faster, AM3 CPU and 785G based motherboard. The integrated graphics in the 785G are basically as fast as a Radeon 3450 and just as capable of doing what you need to do.

December 12, 2009 5:19:37 PM

Thanks for the reply. Is there a video card I can use that can support a PCI slot? I don't think I even have AGP :lol:  .

Also how much would it cost me (roughly) to buy those suggested parts? Will it be around $100? If that's the case maybe I will just get a new computer.

However I have some sentimental attachments to my computer. If I gutted the computer, will I be able to put in a core2duo or quad core motherboard and other accessories into my Sony Vaio PCV-RX260DS computer case?
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a b K Overclocking
December 12, 2009 8:43:45 PM

Imo, spending more money on that would be a waste.

My recommendations:
Get a new CPU and RAM(if possible). Then get a Linux distro (ie, Fedora,openSUSE,etc) and install that that should make you able to web surf and do some word processing,etc. As far as OCing goes, Dell,Sony,etc lock their BIOS.

Quote:
If I gutted the computer, will I be able to put in a core2duo or quad core motherboard and other accessories into my Sony Vaio PCV-RX260DS computer case?

Probably not with out some modding assuming it has enough space to begin with.

Also realize:
1. C2D/C2Q are EOL. So essentially, spending money on LGA775 is pointless.

2. Get a AM3 build with DDR3. Considering DDR3 is about the same price as DDR2 may as well go for it.

3. A new CPU + RAM + Motherboard + Case + HDD + DVD RW + GPU will set you back about $400-450 (or less).
December 12, 2009 9:35:14 PM

Thanks for the advice!

I actually have Ubuntu installed as part of a dual boot, but I never touch it because I can't figure out how to install my Netgear Wg111v2 wireless adapter driver. So using Ubuntu is pointless for me right now :p 

Can you tell me what "EOL" and "LGA775" mean? Sorry I didn't get it lol.

Yeah I think I might as well go towards getting a new comp... but when you say that I would need to mod the case to fit in a c2d/c2q what do you mean by that? Would I have to physically alter stuff in the case to make the mobo fit?

Also if I were to just buy an updated videocard for this old computer.. what would be a good card for it. It only has PCI slots. LoL.

Thanks!!
a b K Overclocking
December 12, 2009 10:32:25 PM

EOL = End of Life
LGA775 = The socket that Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad uses.

By modding, I meant that the Sony/Dell uses a proprietary layout so the standard ATX motherboard holes will probably not line up right.

As for vid card, you should be able to find a X800 or something like that on Ebay,etc.

Also beware, Windows 7 needs at least 2GB RAM to run smoothly.

As for Ubuntu, try Fedora 12. Fedora (imo) seems to have better hardware support.
December 12, 2009 10:48:27 PM

Wow!!

I had no idea that even quad core was at its EOL! What's the newest thing, Octocore?

When you mention X800 is that ATI or Nvidia?

Thanks for letting me know about Windows 7 I thought it had really low system requirements that even my old computer would be able to handle.

Also does Fedora have an active community like Ubuntu, because Ubuntu is always updating and what not, is Fedora easy for beginners to use?

Thanks again!
December 12, 2009 11:15:10 PM

I found an ATI Radeon 9250... It is a PCI card and has 256mb. Would a PIII 800mhz 512mb SDRAM be able to handle this card. Or would their be major bottlenecks?
a b K Overclocking
December 13, 2009 2:00:26 AM

Quote:

I had no idea that even quad core was at its EOL! What's the newest thing, Octocore?

Quads are not dead. It's just that the Core2Duo and Core 2 Quad line ups are dead. The AMD X4s are also quads and they won't be going anywhere soon.

Quote:
Also does Fedora have an active community like Ubuntu, because Ubuntu is always updating and what not, is Fedora easy for beginners to use?

Yes for both questions. Fedora has a quite a large every day user community along with backing from big companies that run this system. Fedora is based off of Red Hat Linux which was one of the best Linux distros for servers.

As far as easiness goes: it can't get easier than using Yum to update/install new software.

As for the ATI 9250, I think that should be OK. BUT, the 512MB RAM is quite low.
a b K Overclocking
December 13, 2009 2:36:43 AM

While I was checking recently for a pci card for my sister (who is stuck on a similar setup, dell P4 3.0 Ghz, onboard agp graphics but NO AGP slot!, grrr I hate that mobo!) I found that prices for pci cards were 30-50 dollars higher than the PCI-express versions of the same card.

I found pci HD 4650 for $100, 50 for pci-x. pci HD4670, $110-120, pci-x hd 4670 $60

I have convinced her to do a rebuild in the spring with her tax moiney. I offered to do this for about 200. Gonna do a 780G, 785G mobo, AMD dual core (bundle), 2 gigs ddr3 ram, and a 500GB HD. Her case will take a uATX board so this will bring her up to date.
She will be able to upgrade the graphics, ram, and processor when she likes, and it will be a viable platform for another couple of years.

I recommend checking out the inside of your case and see what power supply you have and motherboard form factor etc.
December 13, 2009 3:13:27 AM

I'm lucky that you stumbled onto this message too and thank you Shadow70379!

I had no idea that regular PCI would be so much more expensive compared to the newer PCI-e.

Unless I can find a good video card for under $40 I think I will have to go with either building a computer (never done before) or just buying one from the stores.

If I end up buying one from a store I won't have the flexibility of OCing and other stuff huh?

However what would you recommend in terms of a video card not bottle necked because of my p3 800mhz 512mb ram computer pci only? Since your sis's is a p4 I don't think my computer would be comparable.
a b K Overclocking
December 13, 2009 3:44:55 AM

I was trying to suggest that upgrading that old machine is not worth the money you would invest. It isn't going to be very upgradable at this point. It will be difficult to find the hardware you need, and it will be overpriced compared to modern stuff.

Pre-made pc's can be fairly inexpensive unless you think long term. Dell, hp, gateway, and others want you to buy from them every 3 years so they make their machines almost impossible to upgrade.

building you own leaves you completely in control of expandability. Consider it very empowering.

If you insists on getting something to get you by for now, I would recommend at least 256MB ram. these pci cards suggested by others like the 3650 seem like a decent option.
December 13, 2009 5:34:22 AM

Yes, thank you, I am taking your advice in buying/making a new pc.

I was just curious as I find myself delving deeper into the computer world :bounce: 

If I end up making a computer do you know where I can purchase a really cute case? Small is good too.

What is your opinion on those Antec Skeleton cases? They look cool but what about dust?
a b K Overclocking
December 13, 2009 5:57:21 AM

well, they ( skeletons) are pricey for your needs. It is meant to be a test bed that you can swap parts out quickly with. Believe it or not, it suffers from poor air circulation. In other words the open case does not allow the fans to push the air where it needs to go. not that great for 24/7 operation, esp at that price. And dust would definitely be an issue.
I have a few preferences.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is one I used recently for a home server build, but it would be nice for anyone looking for a small case. It is a micro atx mid tower, but roomy enough for a first time builder. The handle is nice for someone who rearranges their space often.
Newegg also has a version w/o a power supply so you can put your own in. (which I did)

This one I just came across but looks nice for the price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Antec 300 is a nice case in the lower price range but needs a PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Antec 900 is the gamers choice. Great air flow for overclockers, or those that wish for a few fans to cool their parts. Its a bit big though, mid tower case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But really the case is purely personal preference. I would go to new egg, zip zoom fly, and tiger direct to look at your options.

a b K Overclocking
December 13, 2009 5:59:19 AM

PS read the reviews and avoid anything where they mention poor air flow.
a b K Overclocking
December 13, 2009 2:22:38 PM

^Agreed. And good build for under $600 would be:

AMD X4 Phenom II or Athlon II (Quad Core)

AM3 motherboard (a good Gigabyte board can be found for $70 )

4GB DDR3 RAM

ATI 4670/4650 or better if playing recent games like Crysis,ARMA 2,etc

Good case like an Antec 300/900/1200, HAF 922/932, NZXT Evo Beta

Good PSU like Corsair 450VX
December 14, 2009 4:16:14 AM

Thank you all so much!!

I'll definitely take these all into consideration when I try building my first computer!!

Also are the cards suggested able to handle a program like autocad 2010?

Thank you buzznut.. I definitely like your suggestions for the mini case its quite cute and doesn't look heavy. (I'm not so strong :sweat:  )
December 14, 2009 4:18:30 AM

buzznut said:
well, they ( skeletons) are pricey for your needs. It is meant to be a test bed that you can swap parts out quickly with. Believe it or not, it suffers from poor air circulation. In other words the open case does not allow the fans to push the air where it needs to go. not that great for 24/7 operation, esp at that price. And dust would definitely be an issue.
I have a few preferences.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is one I used recently for a home server build, but it would be nice for anyone looking for a small case. It is a micro atx mid tower, but roomy enough for a first time builder. The handle is nice for someone who rearranges their space often.
Newegg also has a version w/o a power supply so you can put your own in. (which I did)

This one I just came across but looks nice for the price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Antec 300 is a nice case in the lower price range but needs a PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Antec 900 is the gamers choice. Great air flow for overclockers, or those that wish for a few fans to cool their parts. Its a bit big though, mid tower case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But really the case is purely personal preference. I would go to new egg, zip zoom fly, and tiger direct to look at your options.



Thanks for the websites, I was just going to go to my local Fry's; these look much cheaper!
December 14, 2009 4:32:36 AM

get an athlon2 x4 620 , 770 ud3p , 2/4 gigs gskill/xms3 ram for a really low cost system which performs well .
December 14, 2009 4:31:30 PM

Once a PC reaches a certain point, it's just not worth it to put any money into it... either turn it into a file server using some free (probably a Linux OS) software or use it for a retro gaming machine. It's just not cost effective to bring a PC from the past to the present.
December 14, 2009 5:42:51 PM

cyberkuberiah said:
get an athlon2 x4 620 , 770 ud3p , 2/4 gigs gskill/xms3 ram for a really low cost system which performs well .



Hi sorry I'm really confused with what you said. Is the Athlon2 x4 620 equivalent to a C2D? Also what is a 770 ud3p?

I'm only kinda familiar with the laptops because I have/had a Dell Latitude D620 and the Videocard I think is fried.. This is the only reason why I am interested in reviving my old computer.
December 14, 2009 5:45:27 PM

rodney_ws said:
Once a PC reaches a certain point, it's just not worth it to put any money into it... either turn it into a file server using some free (probably a Linux OS) software or use it for a retro gaming machine. It's just not cost effective to bring a PC from the past to the present.



Yeah I get your point. Sometimes I just don't like to waste stuff :lol:  . Thanks for everyone's input I am definitely looking into a new computer.

Also how and what is the use for a file server. What would I need to turn it into one? Is it expensive? Also can I use it like a regular computer?

Thanks!
a b K Overclocking
December 14, 2009 9:57:01 PM

File serving (like a central server for your file that can be accessed via the net or other PCs) or a NAS (network attached storage) is possible using old hardware but imo, the PIII may be too old. As far as expense goes, the most costly part's going to be the HDDs I have a NAS and a file server. I have the NAS with FreeNAS + 1x 640GB WD Black HDD paired with a Intel Atom build. As for the server, I use Fedora/Win XP with an AMD X2 build.

Quote:
Also are the cards suggested able to handle a program like autocad 2010?

Yes, HOWEVER, depending on what you plan to do on AutoCAD or other similar 3D modeling program (ie MAYA,3DS,etc) you may need a workstation graphics card.

Quote:
Is the Athlon2 x4 620 equivalent to a C2D? Also what is a 770 ud3p?

Yes, the Athlon II X4 620 is better or equal to a C2D like the E8500. 770 UD3P is the model of the motherboard. It's a this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's the best AM3 board under $100 imo.
December 15, 2009 1:25:41 AM

I would just use Windows XP..... you should still be fine assuming the PC still works well and in order. Is 512mb RAM your max or is there room for another 512? Seeing as it is a P3.... I doubt it but try to see if there is an expansion slot for RAM..... you can probably buy it second hand online somewhere.... even craigslist or ebay would be wise as these parts are considered pretty old in the computer world evnen though they are only about 10years....... Imagine the ENIACS or EDVACS... they are like anciant runes...... anyway if you are on a tight budget just stick with XP... the way I see it, if you were going to buy Windows 7 in the first place it would just be a waste, you might as well buy a second hand pentium 4 or a dual core PC or laptop......... for all the work and searching for the parts such as RAm, it would be a waste.
December 15, 2009 11:32:37 AM

Just a quick comment, but I was similar in that I had an old PC and didn't know what to do. In the end I built my own PC.

That was 4 years ago and I've never looked back. Now overclocking, modding, watercooling etc etc! :)  It's a big wide world and can be very expensive, but starting small doesn't have to cost the earth.

I've just built a basic rig for my fiancee and got every part either as a discard from my own upgraded rig or off ebay... total cost: £150 for a C2D, 2GB Crucial 800RAM, XFX 7600GT with Gigabyte mobo - don't remember model but it was a whole £10 on ebay! That's also a mATX sized rig in a very cute little box... I decorated it myself for her as it was a present so made it a bit more girly too!

It runs pretty much everything she wants on Win 7 Home Premium (if you are a student and are quick you can get it for £30 till January!!).

If you want to run CAD etc, try looking at the HD 4850 cards - they've dropped hugely in price recently and I'd think they could handle that (I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong though).

Best solution

a b K Overclocking
December 16, 2009 12:10:24 AM
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Quote:
If you want to run CAD etc, try looking at the HD 4850 cards - they've dropped hugely in price recently and I'd think they could handle that (I'm sure others will correct me if I'm wrong though).

For CAD work, even a 4850 may be overkill depending on what you do. A 4670 should be fine for low-mid low level CAD work.
December 16, 2009 6:40:15 PM

Thank you all for your inputs. I will let you guys know how my pc building experience will go in the future. But first, I'm going to start looking for a cheap but small and cute case!!

Thank you again!
!