It hasn't been easy to figure up but I have researched and discovered that the computer I purchase for $50 two years ago is getting close to that price for real in value. I have a Dell Dimension 4600i Pent IV ht, 2.8ghz with 2gb of ddr ram, a ATI Agp 3850 512mb ddr 3 video card. I use it for playing The Sims 2 and hopefully The Sims 3 soon. So I'm not a hardcore gamer but I want a system that is relative current and definitely at it's peak. I have deduced that AGP is old DDR ram is old and within the last 2 hours of googling that Intel's Pent 4 is hated and old. So, what do I do? I believe that my CPU uses a 478 socket. I haven't opened up the CPU to see yet but I assume it is. is it upgradable, is it worth the effort, is it possible Or should I max out the Ram and coast until I can save up for a better motherboard and CPU? Wow I think that is more than two questions....
Ok, so its old. Whats wrong with that? The question I'm going to ask you is what does it not do that you wish your computer would do? This is the upgrade test. If your computer runs things just fine (or just fine for you), why spend the $$$ to upgrade it? If Sims 2 runs ok, wait for sims 3 to come out. If sims 3 runs fine, you don't need to upgrade. It would be wise to start saving up some money, or keeping your eyes out for new parts, but I wouldn't start spending money until you know what you need. I know the pre-order box for sims 3 is out, do we have any idea what system is needed to run it? Knowing what system is needed to run the game will help you decide what to upgrade.
Well my system is compatible with The Sims 3. And for the most part I am happy with my system except for loading times on the game can be a nuisance and I think Norton is somehow slowing up my computer on startup to the point it basically sits there for almost a minute before releasing control of my system back to me. I have two HDD's on is 40gb and the other is 120gb. I should have partitioned the 120gb but oh well, live and learn. I need to clean both of them up and see if that affects startup speed. I am considering getting an external hd in the 1 TB range and creating a media only drive. I will definitely look at the P4 3.4ghz since that would pretty much be at the end of the road for this system as far as upgrades.
When I first received my Dell computer, on startup it would make a horribly extremely loud noise. After I uninstalled Norton, the loud noise was gone lol. I still haven't a clue what component was making the noise.
rogue - the 3.4 GHz CPU isn't enough of a speed improvement to make a noticeable difference. Going up to 2GB of RAM will likely make a big difference for general Windows use. Otherwise, save up for a new computer.
Load time, both for windows and the sims, is probably a result of the slow CPU, and the "ancient" harddisks you are running. A single 500/640GB drive will run $70, be larger then both your current drives put together ~x3, take less power/emit less heat, and finally will also be faster. Can't be certain without knowing which drives you have, but they probably transfer around 50MB average. New drives can do 70+. (I think the newest Seagates/Western digitals can hit 90+ average.) It will be hindered a bit by your old CPU, but it should still be faster then your old drives.
A new drive can carry over to a new build, so there is little reason to not get one. A new 3.4GHz P4 won't, so only buy that if you can get it cheap enough. You might be better off looking into a new motherboard and CPU. Even a cheap $60 C2D will blow away anything you have available to you now. Paired with a cheap ~$50-75 motherboard, and you won't spend much for a much faster computer. (you'll need to get new RAM and probably a video card, which can be bought for again just over $100 for both. If you can swing ~$250, this can be done.)
well ill try and answer ur origional questions, what can u upgrade to.
motherboard can only take AGP DDR and old school P4 chips so in any case u cant really upgrade to much. as u could get a 3.2 Ghz p4 but thats not much of an upgrade, running on XP 2gb ram is most u will need and also ur motherboard prolly cant handle more. and finally the graphics card is very good for an AGP and i cant think of much other AGP cards u could upgrade to.
all in all u need a new pc if u are to upgrade
Pentium dual core e5200 @ 2.5 Ghz that will wipe the floor with ur P4
or a AMD phenom II if u want more than 2 cores
4gb DDR2 800 Mhz ram is super cheap these days
any good make motherbaord which has a nice high FSB so u could Over clock if u wanted to
sutible branded PSU say 500W
a GPU like the 4850 like u have now or maybe a 250 GTS
and a new hard drive
that would be a mid range gaming rig at no massive cost
as for what u should do, everyone makes the point of do u need more power at the moment? u seem determined to get sims 3 so why not buy it and try it. then decided if ur PC is not good enough?
I would not suggest putting money in upgrades for that system. Save up for new system when this will not do what You want.
Windows and aplication load times are mostly down to hdd. So if You wish You could get a new hdd which You can carry over to new system when the time comes. That is if it supports SATA hdd, if not I would not bother getting IDE hdd
Download and run cpu-z. It will tell you what motherboard you have, it's revision level, and what bios release you have.
With that info, you can determine what the possible cpu upgrades are.
You can probably find a well priced upgrade cpu on e-bay.
Can your ram be upgraded to 4gb? That is usually a cheap upgrade. Unfortunately ddr is still a bit more expensive.
Go to a ram vendor's web site, and access their configurator.
Corsair, Kingston, Patriot, OCZ and others have them.
Their compatibility list is more current than the motherboard vendor's QVL lists which rarely get updated.
Enter your mobo or PC, and get a list of compatible ram sticks.
If your hard drive controller is IDE, then you are pretty much out of luck in improving your load times. If it is sata, then a more modern hard drive could be helpful.
Still, for $50 you got a good deal, just don't spend too much to beef it up.