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Help upgrading an ancient Gateway

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
July 21, 2009 2:25:15 AM

My friend will not let go of an ancient Gateway Performance P1400.
He lets his kids primarily use it and they trash it from time to time.

In any case, he has an ATI X800 PRO in it now. What is the most powerful card he could put in the box? I already explained to him that he would more than likely have to buy a new power supply.

The card has an older connector on it that looks alot like the one of this card: ATI Radeon 9550 / 256MB DDR / AGP 8x

Here is a link to the picture of it as the connector to the motherboard seems odd to me.

Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.
July 21, 2009 6:41:44 AM

It's AGP, so he could theoretically stick a (in order of performance, lowest to highest) 3650, 4650, 3850, or even a 4670 in there. The problem is whatever "ancient" CPU he's got might start to choke any of 'em to death, defeating the purpose of having such a card. This could be worsened farther still if it's only an AGP4X motherboard.

An X800 Pro isn't too far behind a 3650 in performance in the first place.

Maybe it's time for him to let his "Old Yeller" go in regards to games.
July 21, 2009 3:23:58 PM

I think you are right, but some people are a little too stubborn for their own good!

I passed on your selections and now he is concerned about the Power Supply issue. I contacted Gateway and they were absolutely no help. The motherboard is a AGP4X Motherboard. In fact, it is a Intel (Monterrey) motherboard. It comes with this power supply: 250-Watt 3.3-Volt Power Supply

I don't know enough if all power supplies have the same connections on them so that any power supply could work with his motherboard.

Sorry to keep asking such stupid questions, but I am attempting to learn all this stuff myself.

Thanks again for the help so far!
Related resources
July 21, 2009 5:53:43 PM

If it were AGP8X, I'd say go ahead and replace it with any of the aforementioned GPUs, just make sure it's GDDR2 (or 3 if you can find one). But! It's just a 4X! That's roughly 10-year old tech... It really is time to let it go.

If he insists and has power concerns, any PSU with a 20+4 pin Main connector should suffice, as his board should only require the 20-pin portion of it. There are 20-pin power supplies still out there, but 20+4 at least gives him the option of pairing it with a more modern motherboard later.

What's his budget for this? AGP 3650's cost at least $60 at online e-tailers, and a decent PSU would be at least $25 (high-quality in the $40 to $60 range) as well.

PSU: (Excellent buy at ~$50)
July 21, 2009 7:50:08 PM

Thank you again for all your help.

I guess I misunderstood him. I thought his motherboard required some extra connections on the power supply.

I will pass it all on and see where he is at. I agree for the price of some of the parts, he could save up and buy the kids something better...

Thanks again.
July 21, 2009 10:26:29 PM

It does have an additional connect, a 4-pin, or 2+2-pin for the CPU. Sorry, I skipped over that in my previous post. New PSU's have that connector covered with either a perfect 4-pin fit, or thru a 4+4, 8-pin design. (As some motherboards now require an 8-pin connection.)

He could save some money going with a standard ATX power supply, but it would be incompatible with a new motherboard later.

The Antec EA430 has the right pins:
It also has SATA connectors and a PCIe video card connector for the future.
July 21, 2009 10:52:17 PM

Guys, come on.
The ATI 800 Pro is already twice the video card that a 1.4ghz Pentium 4 is going to be able handle. These cards were well matched with early Pentium D's and Athlon 64 cpus. Processors which were literally 3-4 times the computing power! A higher end video card *might* get slightly better looking graphics due to later version shader model and such, but it also takes more horsepower to run it. And frames per second are not going to improve much, if any at all.
You are simply spending money foolishly here.
July 21, 2009 11:54:06 PM

I don't think upgrading the video card is gonna do you any good as anything newer would be held back by that old CPU. I mean even if it wasn't that thing only has like 128MB of RAM so that's probably the biggest bottleneck. If he really want's to keep it then you can gut it and re-use the case or something :D .
July 22, 2009 3:02:13 AM

Wow, thanks guys and esp. Razbery for all the help.

Jit, I asked him what processor he had in the thing and I guess his brother before he gave it to him, put a 2.0ghz Intel in it. I don't know if that makes a difference or not.
July 22, 2009 3:41:07 AM

You're welcome, Gildorg. It was a relief to finally see someone chime in and confirm my initial concern about the CPU severely limiting (choking) the performance of one of these video cards.

He's got options if he absolutely insists upon upgrading, but in reality, it's wasteful. He won't see too much improvement due to his CPU holding him back. His money would be better spent on a cheap new build. You can throw something brand new together for well under $300 if you manage to scavenge a few parts from an old PC. (Case, monitor, keyboard/mouse, optical drives) It'd be so much faster, too.

Good luck with whatever you (or he) decide to do.
July 22, 2009 8:15:55 AM

I don't know about him, but I might be interested in doing a cheap build. Can you really do the basics for under $300.00? Granted, I would have to get some of the other parts, but I didn't think you could build a decent system for under a $1000.00?
July 22, 2009 11:54:31 AM

^ Define basics!
A totally new build could easily be done for under $500 US if you exclude the display or companies like Dell and Lenovo will sell you just the box+OS for even less. Not supercharged gaming systems I'll grant you but as a replacement for the Gateway it'll be like night and day difference.
One of the better kept secrets is the Dell Outlet-Take a look. They're often used or refurbished but have a decent warranty-And they're cheap!