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Outdated dell dimension 4400 into gaming system (for fun) Help us out

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January 2, 2009 1:02:54 AM

Hello, I want to make this computer capable of playing Crysis, Gears Of War, Call of Duty World At War, Far Cry or Fall Out on at least mid settings (or a little lower). The kid in this video plays Crysis on mid high settings with a Pentium 4 processor, a Radeon HD 3850 512Mb AGP video card and 1GB of ram(it says so in the information box on the right of the video).

(press the High Quality button on the bottom right corner of the video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-Xzeji9vXA&feature=rela...

He also plays Assassins creed on high settings with these specs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emlcpt3FpkQ&feature=chan...

These are almost the same specs the computer I'm upgrading is possible of having. I'm just doing this for fun, I like tweaking old pc's to it's best possible performance to see if they can work with todays games (a weird hobby I know lol it's just something me and my friends do). The Pc has a socket 478 with intel(R) Pentium (R) 4 CPU 1.60 GHz in there right now, 512mb ram (Max 1gb) and I want to throw in a Radeon HD 3850 512Mb AGP (people say this video card revives AGP motherboards so why not). What do you suggest I do to power this computer to it's most powerful performance. I don't want to buy a new motherboard since it ruins the fun. Is there any better Cpu's for this motherboard (maybe a dual core? Lol maybe..not) I just need any kind of advice on making this best thanks.
January 2, 2009 1:05:16 AM

firstly, intel never made a dual core socket 478 cpu. secondly, don't even bother. for the money you're going to have to spend you could build a whole new computer that would mop the floor with the one you're describing here. i know it is fun to upgrade old pcs, but you'll have to put a fortune into that thing to even play crysis on medium.
January 2, 2009 1:16:16 AM

Nik_I said:
firstly, intel never made a dual core socket 478 cpu. secondly, don't even bother. for the money you're going to have to spend you could build a whole new computer that would mop the floor with the one you're describing here. i know it is fun to upgrade old pcs, but you'll have to put a fortune into that thing to even play crysis on medium.


Hey thanks! I know I could build a better computer with the money, I actually have a better computer than this already. I said I was just doing this for fun.
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January 2, 2009 1:35:57 AM

Not even worth spending a single dime on it. Just give it away and save the money.
January 2, 2009 1:36:52 AM

for the record, crisis requires a 2.8 ghz P4 to run ---- so this may actually be impossible w/o upgrading your mobo
January 2, 2009 2:01:43 AM

Intel Pentium 4 3.0 Prescott 3.0GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket 478 89W Single
$79.99 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

POWERCOLOR AG3850 512MD3-P Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X HDCP Ready Video Card
$119.99 $8.25 Shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingston HyperX 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
$36.49 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

total +shipping $244.72

best i can do. if you know what ram you have probably 2100 (maybe 2700) you might save a couple of bucks by just going with 1 512 mb but your ram will only run as fast as your slowest stick and you need all the performance you can get.also as5 or mx2 this cpu runs H-O-T.
January 2, 2009 2:04:19 AM

There is NO mention at what resolution that was run at. That makes ALL the difference. DUH
January 2, 2009 2:17:51 AM

Thanks for your reply's guys. Wgfalcon that was really helpful! :) 
January 2, 2009 2:19:39 AM

mike12nite said:
Thanks for your reply's guys. Wgfalcon that was really helpful! :) 


If you wanna spend a couple hundred, you could get a new motherboard and a decent cpu man.
January 2, 2009 2:30:55 AM

doormatderek said:
If you wanna spend a couple hundred, you could get a new motherboard and a decent cpu man.



Hmm i didn't really want to get a new motherboard but I'm starting to like the idea. Do you have any suggestions? Something with a kind of decent price tag? Thanks alot for helping out! :D 
January 2, 2009 2:33:21 AM

WEIRD; a you tube video showing you how to run Crysis on a 1.6Ghz P4... Get a REAL JOB, and buy a REAL computer, throwing newspapers won't cut it! Lol maybe..not... You and your Friends try to make 2 to 3 generation old hardware sit up and take nutrition, I have some dialup hardware you may want to hotrod!
January 2, 2009 2:43:14 AM

I can play solitaire and minesweeper on high settings at 1024 x 768 with my Dell Dimension 4400 (1.6GHz P4, 768MB RAM and GeForce2).

Be jealous.
January 2, 2009 2:45:05 AM

Don't buy AMD, stick with the P4 1.6 Ghz, at least the machine will boot...I forgot about Minesweeper, party on Garth...
a b B Homebuilt system
January 2, 2009 3:14:16 AM

Well, the fastest socket 478 CPU is the 3.4 GHz Extreme Edition (and it's a northwood core not a prescot). Of course you're going to have to check to see if your board can support that CPU. As for the RAM I think that kid is using 1.5GB or RAM. Anyway that Kingston RAM Wgfalcon suggested would be a good bet. The best RAM would have been Mushkin Black, but they don't have it in DDR flavor anymore and their next best thing is significantly more expensive than the kingston with the same timings. While I would trust the Muskin RAM to overclock better I don't think that's going to happen with your Dell motherboard since it probably doesn't have any overclocking options.

Anyway I wouldn't use that PC without overclocking it. As it is I went through all the trouble, on my back up PC, of transplanting my RAM, Video Card, Hard Drive, and Athlon 3000+ from an MSI KT3 Ultra 2 - R to a Gigabyte 2004 RZ since the gigabyte board was more tolerant of overclocking (the MSI board didn't like the mix of 1 Mushkin Black stick and two Kingston Hyper X sticks at anything more than stock), and the KT600 chipset was a little faster to boot. Even so while I can play Crysis and Gothic 3 on it I'd much rather not :) . On the youtube videos crysis looks particularly choppy on that kids computer, but hey I can understand just upgrading your old PC for fun. I just wouldn't spend too much money on it myself if you already have something more current.
January 2, 2009 5:02:51 AM

megamanx00 said:
Well, the fastest socket 478 CPU is the 3.4 GHz Extreme Edition (and it's a northwood core not a prescot). Of course you're going to have to check to see if your board can support that CPU. As for the RAM I think that kid is using 1.5GB or RAM. Anyway that Kingston RAM Wgfalcon suggested would be a good bet. The best RAM would have been Mushkin Black, but they don't have it in DDR flavor anymore and their next best thing is significantly more expensive than the kingston with the same timings. While I would trust the Muskin RAM to overclock better I don't think that's going to happen with your Dell motherboard since it probably doesn't have any overclocking options.

Anyway I wouldn't use that PC without overclocking it. As it is I went through all the trouble, on my back up PC, of transplanting my RAM, Video Card, Hard Drive, and Athlon 3000+ from an MSI KT3 Ultra 2 - R to a Gigabyte 2004 RZ since the gigabyte board was more tolerant of overclocking (the MSI board didn't like the mix of 1 Mushkin Black stick and two Kingston Hyper X sticks at anything more than stock), and the KT600 chipset was a little faster to boot. Even so while I can play Crysis and Gothic 3 on it I'd much rather not :) . On the youtube videos crysis looks particularly choppy on that kids computer, but hey I can understand just upgrading your old PC for fun. I just wouldn't spend too much money on it myself if you already have something more current.



Man I wish forums were filled with more people like you. This was such a big help. I got a lot of information out of that. Thanks so much :D 
January 3, 2009 5:03:55 AM

mike12nite said:
Thanks for your reply's guys. Wgfalcon that was really helpful! :) 

No, actually it wasn't. A simple google search reveals that your Dell Dimension 4400 can only use 400fsb CPUs, and carries absolutely no support for Prescott processors. The fastest cpu you can use is a 2.8Ghz 400 fsb Northwood P4. I sold one of those last summer for $85 on ebay. Price may have came down a bit more since then, but they are still bloody expensive due to them being the fastest CPU for early socket 478 mobos stuck on 400 fsb. As everyone else has said, it's not worth it to upgrade that dell. however, it may be worth it to part out that Dell. Look on ebay to see what the going rate is for a socket 4400 motherboard. A couple years ago I sold my Dell 4500 mobo for a little over $100 when I swapped an aftermarket mobo into my old Dell 4500 case. You can read about it here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/190487-31-dell-case-w...
a b B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2009 11:09:57 AM

joefriday said:
The fastest cpu you can use is a 2.8Ghz 400 fsb Northwood P4.


Dang it, I thought I had it right this time.
Just continues to prove, as I've said before, IMO you know more about Dells than anyone on the planet.

January 3, 2009 8:36:38 PM

Ok so far I've got:

The Radeon HD 3850 512Mb AGP

The Pentium 4 2.4GHz

Any other parts you guys suggest I upgrade to make this thing as powerful as possible? Thanks for the help me and my friends really appreciate this. :D 
January 3, 2009 10:23:46 PM

Total waste of money. The fact the mobo is limited to 1GB is going to SEVERELY bottleneck any modern game. Crysis needs at least 2GB of RAM to run smoothly. Just throw the thing away and build a new system.
January 3, 2009 11:09:17 PM

runswindows95 said:
Total waste of money. The fact the mobo is limited to 1GB is going to SEVERELY bottleneck any modern game. Crysis needs at least 2GB of RAM to run smoothly. Just throw the thing away and build a new system.


I know lol Thank for your concern I'm just doing this for fun, money isn't that big an issue, me and my friends combined have enough money to build a whole new powerful pc, we're just doing this for fun to see how powerful we can make this old thing. We might put up a site where we show how powerful old pc's can be in todays gaming, and it can help the guys with old pc's that don't have the money for building a new one or getting a new one. It's just for fun dude. So do you have any suggestions?
January 4, 2009 2:45:59 AM

don't waste your time/money
a b B Homebuilt system
January 4, 2009 3:04:19 AM

Well, if you're going to go with that 2.8GHz P4 then if you're feeling adventurous you may want to try looking for an alternate BIOS for that motherboard of yours. If that board has a AMI, Award, or Phoenix BIOS then you can probably load an alternate or hacked version to replace the dumbed down one that came with your board and allow you to do some overclocking. Of course you need to research it a bit yourself before flashing it, for if you choose the wrong one you will end up with a dead board. There are also various tools online to make your own custom BIOS, but I've only known one person to do so and it's really a use at your own risk kinda thing :D .
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