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Awakening the Dead (desktops from the closet)

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March 14, 2009 7:08:31 PM

Hey guys. Im new here so firstly, hi. After reading over these forums the past few days, you guys seem pretty knowledgeable so Im going to start by posting here first.

Heres the scoop...my laptop crapped the bed last week after 4 long years. After finding out that buying a new motherboard for it was 250 bucks, and then looking at what I could get for a used laptop for 250...and THEN realizing what you can get for 250 for a desktop...ive decided that setting up a little desktop rig would probably be my best way to go.

Heres the thing...we've got a few computers at our house that have been long forgotten about by my brother and sister after buying laptops for school...figured ide check them out since im back home for spring break this week...took a few photos of what we've got and done some light researching in the system hardware.

What ide like to do, is maybe revive these things into something pretty useable. Im not talking Crysis here but my roomies at school have recently got me into Counter Strike 1.6 and being able to run CS 1.6 maxed out at 99.9 fps is a MUST. Heres what ive got to play around with.

My photos I know are not too descriptive or detailed, I know...i really dont want to go yanking any parts out of anything just yet.

Heres what im going to call "Computer 1"
The pops said hes pretty sure theres some type of soundblaster sound card in it and thinks it has a 55GB HD. The power source says 350Wmax












Here is what im going to call "Computer 2"
This used to be the brothers computer and it has a Geforce4 MX 420. He thinks it has a 40GB HD and a 5GB HD in it. 1.39ghz AMD something processor in it and 384 MB of RAM or something sillystupid like that.









Thats where Im at right now. Ive noticed the CPU fan on computer 1 is much much larger than the fan on the other. All I know that ide like to do right now is keep the Geforce4, and the soundblaster card. Ive got about 250 bucks to play around with to add some stuff to this thing (ive already got monitors, keyboards, mouse, etc) I was thinking maybe some type of dual core processor (I dont even know if either of the motherboards can handle it or not) and atleast 2GB of RAM. If you guys dont think the geforce 4 MX 420 can do CS 1.6 maxed out, then ide also like another good card for mid level gaming. I know down the line ill want to play other games, but Im totally satisfied with playing games that are 2 years old and older. Thanks for any information you guys can send my way. Its all appreciated.

March 14, 2009 11:07:30 PM

A challenge...Hmm is there any way you would be able to increase the budget at all? You can do this if you increase the budget a bit...Otherwise it makes it difficult, especially if OS is included in that price.

Reuse the larger of the two cases, and take whatever fans you can from the other case and put them on any available mounting areas. Reuse an IDE Dvd Drive. That GPU won't be able to play your games, sorry. Onboard video of some mobo's would do better I think. You can try reusing the sound card, but honestly it may not be any better than onboard sound, dpending on how old it is.

I come up with this:
Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS370X 370W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-N95TOC-512I GeForce 9500 GT OC 512MB and E5200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

That is $341.49 with shipping, then you get $55 MIR, so total comes to $286.49. OS will cost you $100 more...torrents?
March 15, 2009 2:28:33 AM

Hey, Thanks very much for the reply. I appreciate it much.

The cases pretty much look the same to me....the green motherboard appears (to me) to have more possibilities since it has more of those white slots.

As for the OS...ive got 2 copies of Windows XP...one professional and one home edition. Im planning on putting the professional in...assuming its better.

Ide DEFINATELY like to begin with all of this by buying some ram for this badboy. The ram you suggested looks pretty affordable for 4 MB of RAM. Are you pretty sure this stuff will work in that type of slot?

Also, the processor you have suggested there...how sure are you that it would fit and work in this computer?
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March 15, 2009 2:35:43 AM

Ah alright...I see now that you suggested I buy a whole new motherboard completely....So basically the only thing worth keeping here is the case? haha dangit.

March 15, 2009 2:37:12 AM

Just an idea, though we all know power supplies that come with cases generally are bad news, but what if he were to find even a generic 500 watt power supply and get a 4670.
March 15, 2009 2:57:50 AM

g33tar said:
Ah alright...I see now that you suggested I buy a whole new motherboard completely....So basically the only thing worth keeping here is the case? haha dangit.

Yeah pretty much. It looks to me like that mobo uses 184 pin DDR ram, which is very expensive and not as good as DDR2 240pin, since that ram is old its more expensive, the newer faster and better stuff is cheaper.

Do you by chance know whether the XP Pro you have is 64 or 32 bit? 64 bit would be better because you will be able to use more ram, but if its not then you could use either OS.
March 15, 2009 1:10:40 PM

g33tar said:
Ah alright...I see now that you suggested I buy a whole new motherboard completely....So basically the only thing worth keeping here is the case? haha dangit.

Yeah, these guys are correct. These old things need to be turned into a recycling center. Pick the better of the 2 cases, and remove any extra case fans from the other one, if there are any. Beyond that, all of this hardware is just too old and outdated. Sorry, but no amount of money or work is going to breathe enough life into these things to even make a bottom of the barrel gaming PC.
March 15, 2009 7:09:39 PM

Alright guys...one more question.

The computer with the red motherboard...I was just looking it over at the memory RAM slots it has.

There are two slots that are green and two slots that are red. The two slots that are green have two 512 sticks of ram in them. The two slots that are red have nothing in them...as seen in this photo...


Are the two red slots actually ram slots? Do they take a different type of ram? Can motherboards accept two different types of ram?
March 15, 2009 7:27:48 PM

Yeah they are ram slots, it looks like whoever owned that pc last didnt' max out the memory capacity.
March 15, 2009 8:05:43 PM

I think you still have some options, shop EBay. For example, in a couple of hours I'm gonna post some old parts I have that I'm pretty sure would play CS 1.6 just fine for you. I have an AMDXP2800 Barton core, a motherboard, and a 128Mb Gforce 6800, going on the auction block. They will probably go for $80.00 to $120.00 total. I sold an XP3200 last week for $60.00, and currently have 1 GB (2x512) of ddr 400 ram up that has a bid if $21.00, and probably wont go much higher. Not trying to advertise my stuff here but just making a point that for $125.00 or so you would be good to go. Use your case, hard drives and any CD-ROM's you already have. When I gamed on this equipment I could run CS-Source, Day of Defeat Source, Doom3, and other titles at a solid 50-60 FPS, with max details at 1024x768. They are all more demanding than CS 1.6. If money is tight, it's somethng to think about
March 15, 2009 11:33:14 PM

Alright guys...another question about the red motherboard computer...

I got it up and running and was able to connect it to the internet. Took it to crucial.com and system scanned the memory and this is what it came up with...

Maximum Memory Capacity : 2048 MB
Currently Installed : 512 MB
Available Memory Slots : 2
Dual Channel Support : no
CPU Manufacturer : Genuine Intel
CPU Family : Intel Pentium 4 CPU 1.60 GHz Model 1, Stepping 2
Cpu Speed : 1600 MHz

and underneath that it says in red "This motherboard has two 168-pin DIMM socket which support up to 2GB of standard SDRAM and two 184-pin DIMM sockets supports up to 2GB of DDR SDRAM"

My question is...how many GB or RAM can this computer hold. I see that it says "2048 MB" which im assuming is 2 GB but the way the sentence above is explained, it makes it sound like it can hold 2GB of the 168pin AND 2GB of the 184 pin.

If it does hold 4 GB of RAM, and ive only got XP 32 bit, then 4GB would be the max for it (and 4GB would be PLENTY enough ram for me. Ive lived my whole life so far happily with only 1GB of ram in all of my computers) would you still reccomend buying a new motherboard?

Also, how can I find out what type of processors would fit this MB. Thanks guys...im sure I dont make much sense, but i dont know much and am trying haha :) 
March 16, 2009 12:12:48 AM

P4 1.6ghz...wow that will be slow, your gaming will suffer if you try playing with that CPU.

You can't run two different types of memory at the same time. It sounds like that mobo was manufactured when the conversion to 184 pin was occuring, so it was made to support either type of memory. 2gb will be the max for that mobo.

I think that is a socket 478 mobo you have there, and you can drop another faster P4 in if you wanted too, if the FSB on that mobo will support it, I have no idea what the exact specs are on that mobo. But for the price of the fastest P4 processor out there, you can get a dual core which will be much faster. The thing with PC parts is that once they become old and stop production on them, the prices on those parts goes way up, even though they aren't as godd as the new things that are coming out. You'd get 4x the processor if you spent that money on a more recent processor. I really recommend you chose a different mobo.
March 16, 2009 2:05:59 AM

Haha okaaaay, I guess ill call this project quits and drop a little loot on a new motherboard.

After look at what you reccomended originally, it looks pretty dang good for the price, especially after the mail in rebates. The processor comes in a combo order with the video card if im understanding this correctly?

I really dont have a TON of money to play around with, but im really trying to make what ive got work....ide really like to pick up that motherboard, processor and videocard combination (and I probably will tomorrow) but heres what I was thinking to cheap it down even further...

Ive got 200 dollars cash...
Ive got 75 dollars in Best Buy gift certificates...

The motherboard and videocard / processor combo comes out to just below 200 bucks. I was HOPING I could have found some ram at bestbuy for 75 dollars that would fit it, but from what I can find, they offer nothing even NEAR 4 GB for under 75 bucks...If you guys know of any from best buy let me know...but 4 GB of ram for 44 bucks seems almost too good to pass up? Am I wrong or are best buys prices just really inflated?

So if i HAAD to i could scrounch up another 44 bucks.

One of the cases ive got has got a 350W power supply in it...actually both of them do. Is another power supply something I should def. buy, or do you think its worth giving it a shot with one out of one of these computers?

Also, could I use ANY of these Hard drives in these computers I have with that new motherboard if i wanted to? I realize the one you have listed there is a SATA drive, which im sure is better than any of the drives I have in these computers, but if I could get myself temporarily going on a couple of the drives ive got now to save a little cash and eventually throw in that SATA drive down the line...that would be awesome.

If all of that would work, im thinking ~244 on the MB, GPU and RAM (plus free case, already have WinXP 32bit, re-use one of the power supplies, re-use an old HD temporarily)

Not to mention ive never done any of this putting computers together stuff...but I think itll be a fun learning experience. Thanks for putting up with all of my newb questions so far guys.

March 16, 2009 2:19:46 AM

g33tar said:
After look at what you reccomended originally, it looks pretty dang good for the price, especially after the mail in rebates. The processor comes in a combo order with the video card if im understanding this correctly?

Yep. you can save a lot on combo's from newegg, so its worth it to see what they have, it only took me a couple minutes to find that one, there may be better ones, so look around.

g33tar said:
The motherboard and videocard / processor combo comes out to just below 200 bucks. I was HOPING I could have found some ram at bestbuy for 75 dollars that would fit it, but from what I can find, they offer nothing even NEAR 4 GB for under 75 bucks...If you guys know of any from best buy let me know...but 4 GB of ram for 44 bucks seems almost too good to pass up? Am I wrong or are best buys prices just really inflated?

Yeah BestBuy's prices are really high, I wouldn't recommend getting ram from there. Newegg or Amazon are good places to look.

g33tar said:
One of the cases ive got has got a 350W power supply in it...actually both of them do. Is another power supply something I should def. buy, or do you think its worth giving it a shot with one out of one of these computers?

OEM PC manufacturers use the cheapest components they can and then charge a bunch for the complete system. Those PSU's you have are going to be very low quality to begin with, and on top of that they are 5-6 years old at least, judging by that P4 processor. Bestbuy carries Antec Earthwatts PSU's, at least they do by me which are good PSU's, so you can use your gift certificate on that. They also carry HDDs.

g33tar said:
Also, could I use ANY of these Hard drives in these computers I have with that new motherboard if i wanted to? I realize the one you have listed there is a SATA drive, which im sure is better than any of the drives I have in these computers, but if I could get myself temporarily going on a couple of the drives ive got now to save a little cash and eventually throw in that SATA drive down the line...that would be awesome.

The HDD's you have are going to be very old and slow, you will get much better results, as well as a ton more space if you buy a new HDD, so I would if you can.
March 16, 2009 3:35:20 AM

You have been handled quite well by the kid, as is usual :) 

I will just add that case number one looks quite roomy and should make for a good place to build. At worst you'll have to do a little modding to add a fan.
March 16, 2009 7:47:12 AM

+1 to the kid

Go with case number 1
Newegg has the following

Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822136098
$49.99

GIGABYTE GA-M61PME-S2P AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128383
$49.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBNT - Retail
Item #: N82E16820231207
-$8.00 Instant
$44.99
$36.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200 Brisbane 2.7GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO5200DOBOX - Retail
Item #: N82E16819103210

$56.99

Subtotal: $193.96
Calculate Shipping
Zip Code: Guaranteed 3 Day Service -- $7.59UPS Shipping: $7.59


Grand Total: $201.55


use the gift card for the power supply
Thermaltake - 450-Watt ATX CPU Power Supply
Model: W0146RU | SKU: 8763448
ATX 12V 2.2-compliant; 450-watt power handling; 140mm ball bearing cooling fan; PFC function

4.3 of 5 (3 reviews) best I could find in that price range $78.99

March 16, 2009 8:02:16 AM

Not bad ^^ I would change the processor to the 7750 BE though, $3 more and much more potential for overclocking and uses a better core. If you can't wait for the $25 MIR for the corsair ram then that G skill is a good option too, but after the rebates that corsair ram is only $20. I would avoid that mobo though, its reviews aren't that good and its an nvidia chipset...not so good, they tend to have issues.
March 16, 2009 3:07:33 PM

You guys are great on here...thanks millions.

So, either of these motherboards suggested here...have some ability to change parts and such?

Or do they both max out at 4GB of RAM (which im pretty sure would be good enough for me for the rest of my life)

Also, do these motherboards take most modern videocards if I wanted to upgrade it?

Also, do these motherboards come with instructions on how to hook all of this stuff up? Looking at all the wires going around in these boxes...it looks daunting
March 16, 2009 3:56:11 PM

I like the suggestion of completely leaving out the videocard and using the onboard one (which would probably satisfy my needs) but now Ive started looking into everything...and i keep running across things and thinking "well if i just spend TWENTY more dollars, i could get THIS" and then once i talk myself into dropping a little more money...I find another deal and start subconsiously talking myself into spending MORE money.

Ive definately decided I want a real videocard though. I started looking through the AMD processor stuff and came up with this setup also. What do you guys think?


Processors / Videocard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

120$ after MIB


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

60$ after MIB (Thanks for the suggestion proximon)


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

20$ after MIB


Power Source from Bestbuy with 75$ gift card


Use a couple of the HD's ive got laying around...

That comes to about 200 + 75 gift certificate



Or if its really make or break depending on the SATA HD, then i guess ill downgrade back a bit and go with a scaled back processor and videocard.
March 16, 2009 4:06:01 PM

Very nice. The only PSU I would personally consider from Best Buy is the Antec EA500... but it might be too much for you. See if they have any deals on it though.
March 16, 2009 8:44:28 PM

I saw a Earthwatts 430w last time I was there...
!