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"Classic" build upgradeable?

Last response: in Systems
October 3, 2008 5:04:32 PM

Times are tough, and I may be trying to squeeze a little bit too much out of it, but is my "classic" build upgradeable to somewhat decent specs? Basically all I'm wanting out of it is to have a PC to run off of my HDTV. I play some games and it'd be great if it would play some stuff on basic settings, but I've got the notebook I'm using right now that's worked for gaming so far. However, if the cost to performance ratio would just be better to build a new system then I'd like to know that also. Right now this is what is in the system per CPU-Z (I know it's ancient):

Intel Celeron - Northwood
Socket 478 mPGA
Intel Celeron CPU 2.40 GHz
Rated FSB 398.4

Biostar P4SXQ Mobo
AGP Version 2.0 (4x Max)

512 MB
Nanya Technology

256 MB ATI Radeon 9550

I bought the GPU and a DVI to HDMI cable and was hoping for plug and play, but overscan has turned out to be an insurmountable problem. After messing with it though, I've realized I'm going to have to, if nothing else, replace all the fans (Including the CPU cooling and the Power supply) because most of them don't sound like they're running smoothly. So with that in mind, am I better off to do a fresh build or is this salvageable? And if it's not, what pieces from this PC can I use in the next build to keep prices as low as possible? Thank you so much for any help, I'm kind of torn here.

Oh, and the case doesn't really have any information on it, but it's your run of the mill aluminum case - front and back fans, slots on both sides that look kind of like a cheese grater. Thanks again.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2008 5:26:23 PM

That one looks knackered. What's your budget for a new build?
October 3, 2008 5:42:13 PM

Budget would be highly helpful right now. The two things you can salvage is your hard drive and your optical drive.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2008 5:45:40 PM

I would say look at a possible new build. On the other hand, if you don't need an OS, a build for 300-400 bucks is certainly doable I think.
October 3, 2008 5:52:22 PM

with a 478 motherboard there is not many options these days for upgrades there are AGP graphics cards out there but hard to find and may be too expensive. the ram may also cost more now than current ram. you may be able to find a 478 CPU cheap these days but still might be hard to find
October 3, 2008 6:14:53 PM

I left out a budget because the cheaper the better. I don't want to go over $500 but 300-400 wouldn't be out of the question. Can I be looking at a decent new build for that much? I figured that was out of the question because I saw a post last night that basically said a low mid-level build was between about $700-1000 (at least that's what I got out of it). I think it's the poll in new builds subsection.
The optical drives are both shot, and if I was going to build a new system I'd probably spend the money to get a new HDD as the older one isn't very big and I have a lot of data I'd want on the new PC since it'll be a media center of sorts.
Haha, I noticed that 478 chips were next to nonexistent from newegg and TD and the 8x AGP seems very preferable to what I have (4x). So, I guess a new build is the way I need to go, but it just didn't seem all that possible with the sub $500 budget I'm on. Is there any kind of market for the older components in this PC. Would I be able to get a little cash out of it on craigslist or something to help with the new build? Thanks everybody
October 3, 2008 6:17:13 PM

Oh and no I definitely wouldn't be purchasing a new OS for either a new build or an upgrade on this one.
October 3, 2008 6:30:20 PM

craigsalist or at the very least ebay but it would be hard to trust anybody on those sites anyway with what shape the components are in
a b B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2008 7:16:47 PM

You'll need to re-check these prices, as this was my "cheap" build last week, and I think this specific case is a little more (but another one will be cheaper now); this just shows it CAN be done:

Rosewill R220-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:R220-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147074

$29.99 -$5.00 Instant $24.99

BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX A2+ AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:TFORCE TA790GX A2+
Item #:N82E16813138128

$99.99 $99.99

Antec Basiq BP500UB 500W ATX12V Version 2.01 Active PFC Power Supply - OEM
Model #:BP500UB
Item #:N82E16817371019

$39.99 $39.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane 2.6GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO5000DOBOX - Retail
Model #:ADO5000DOBOX
Item #:N82E16819103211

$66.00 $66.00

A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ADQVE1A16K - Retail
Model #:ADQVE1A16K
Item #:N82E16820211066

$37.99 $37.99

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #:ST3250410AS
Item #:N82E16822148262

$59.99 $59.99

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-08 - Retail
Model #:iHAS120-08
Item #:N82E16827106264

$28.99 $28.99

Subtotal: $357.94

This doesn't include a video card, but the integrated GPU on this mobo is actually not too shabby as far as your stated needs are concerned.
October 3, 2008 7:18:21 PM

Then here's what I recommend:

All for $275.98 plus shipping.

I'm probably the only booster of a triple core at the boards right now, but I had a P4 like yours and I replaced it with a 690V board and an Athlon X2 4600+. That was much faster and great for games, but it was obsolete a year and a half later as more programs used extra cores.

I needed a faster processor and gave the triple core a try. You can check it out at Tom's CPU charts. It's right in the middle, ahead of similarly priced Intel dual cores in most benchmarks, equal to B2 Phenom's like the 9600 (despite being one core short) and slower than the much more expensive Intel quads and the slightly more expensive 125 watt Phenoms.

Here are a couple of reviews:,2845,2320536,00.a...

You'll find that Core 2 performs better in applications that don't use more than 2 cores, but that an 8750 beats the least expensive Intel CPU's in enough tasks to warrant future proofing. If you can't afford a Q6600 or a Phenom 9850, then this is a good future proof CPU.

The 8750 is the best triple core and the one I have is not a Black Edition, but reviews last April said it could be overclocked to 2.8 with some effort. If you overclock the BE should be easier. A quad choice for that motherboard would be the Phenom 8650.

The onboard graphics is quite good for MMO's and for productivity and DVD or Blu-Ray. It beats your old 9550 by far. I took my GPU out to test it and whereas I get very high settings on Lord of the Rings Online with the 3870x2, I could get playable framerates with a mix of medium and high settings with the onboard graphics. Plus you could add a 4670 later and have a nice system that should last you for a couple of years.

Of course, AMD's 45nm is arriving with AM3 socket boards using DDR3, and Nehalem is arriving from Intel (which should drop prices on better Intel CPU's) but overall the best bang for the buck right now is an AMD system with a triple or quad, a 780G chipset motherboard and a 4670 GPU.

If you need a good PSU, the Antec Earthwatts is good:

This Sapphire 4670 is good:

So, $278.98 for CPU, mobo and DDR2, $39.99 for the power supply and $86.99 for the graphics card, if you want to upgrade. The 780G is great for HDTV and light gaming, and it can work in hybrid Crossfire mode with a 3450 class card, but the 4670 is the best deal for mainstream graphics right now.

$405 plus shipping! If you want to go Athlon X2, then jtt's recommendation of an X2 5000+ is good. If you need a case, his recommendation is good, but I prefer the Earthwatts to the Basiq. If you don't need the GPU, you can put the money into a hard drive, but I use a mix of SATA and old IDE's in my systems, where I use an adaptor in one PC and a RAID card in another PC.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2008 8:14:51 PM

The best cpu that your mobo will support is a pentium 4 2.6. About $25 on e-bay.
The most ram it will support is 2gb. about $60 on newegg.
AGP cards will run you $100-$200.

What are your specs on the PSU?

I don't think it is worth it.

Find somebody to give it to.

Do you have the OS disk?
All in all, I just can't see how it is worth putting any more into your machine.
The cheapest PC you can buy from Lenovo, Dell, HP, etc. will be much better, and cost less than $400. Less, if you shop around. In the budget arena, you can't beat their prices.

If you want to build something mid-range, for games, building it yourself is a good option.

October 3, 2008 8:18:43 PM

those prices for the cheap system are fine and everything but if he doesn't live in the US newegg is useless to him
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2008 8:49:14 PM

captaincharisma said:
those prices for the cheap system are fine and everything but if he doesn't live in the US newegg is useless to him

Last I heard, Knoxville was still in the us.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2008 9:42:07 PM

I live in Powell, so he's right up the street from me. Only gripe with Newegg we have is that since they have a warehouse in Memphis, we have to pay extortion on purchases.
October 4, 2008 7:33:17 AM

Onus said:
I live in Powell, so he's right up the street from me. Only gripe with Newegg we have is that since they have a warehouse in Memphis, we have to pay extortion on purchases.

You mean taxes. Fiar taxes are reasonable and aren't extortion. I'm actually in favor of internet taxes divided by half and given to the states the seller and buyer are in. I buy from Newegg often, but sometimes I buy from Fry's. When I once ordered a desk from (Fry's online) with free shipping, I had to pay taxes because they have physical stores here in Texas. Nothing wrong with that. If no one paid taxes, we wouldn't have emergency services etc.

Of course, you might be a Liberatarian follower of Ayn Rand who disagrees, but that's okay. You'll still have to pay taxes though, just as I pay taxes for services I don't use.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 4, 2008 1:24:37 PM

I do not mind paying taxes on services rendered to me, not at all. Enforcement of implied contracts, such as merchantability or fitness for purpose, are one good example for which a tax on sales is reasonable. Arbitrary taxes to pay for unrelated services rendered solely to others constitute extortion, "pay up, or else!" and are Wrong.
Anyway, this isn't a philosophy forum, but yes, I am an Objectivist.