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Decision time Upgrade or replace old AT system?

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July 26, 2009 10:12:48 AM


It finally happened. My cheap, old power supply failed, taking the Motherboard and/or CPU with it.

I have a good, all steel, case, and have long since replaced the drives and everything EXCEPT the mobo, CPU and power supply.

My profile: I'm a teacher, use the machine constantly to surf the web (can we call it "research"?), do e-mail. and burn CDs. No heavy gaming.

Option 1: Buy a low end PC. I can't find one with XP, so would have to use some brand of Vista, probably Vista home. The attractive part is it would run out of the box. The unattractive part is that it would be, well, extremely low end, and Vista.

Option 2: Buy a mobo, CPU and memory and install in the old case (I already bought a new 430 watt Thermaltake power supply). I'm looking at the same Gigabyte G31M-ES2L mobo and Pentium dual-core 2.2 Ghz "Allendale" that we built a machine for my son with last Summer. They're economical, quick enough, and apparently bulletproof. With a new 500 GB hard drive (my old one was about full anyhow), 4 GB RAM, and a new XP Pro disk, I'm looking at about $300.

This SOUNDS too easy when I write it, or think about it. Am I missing something? Thoughts, anyone? Any reason I should buy, say, a brand new low end Systemax instead of making the $300 update?

Kelly Fitz on Guam
July 26, 2009 7:22:01 PM


Thanks for your thoughts --

Yes, I'm in Guam, where unfortunately Newegg refuses to ship, but Tiger Direct has been good to us. My old ECS lasted six years before the power supply burned it out, so that would be OK, but will stick with the Gigabyte just because we know and like it. I really don't need to overclock, as I'm not a power user, just constantly on-line.
July 26, 2009 8:12:24 PM

AT-style power supplies have their own ON/OFF switch,
and their main power cables are totally obsolete.

So, first decision should be to ditch the motherboard, CPU
and AT PSU: they were obsolete several generations ago.

Second decision: OPTION TWO all-d-way man!

A micro ATX motherboad is a good way to save money,
as long as it has a modern x16 PCI-Express slot for
a modern video card -- for later expansion.

I would urge you to upgrade your motherboard choice,
e.g. with an ASUS micro ATX with 4 x DIMM slots:
the P45 chipset supports 16GB of RAM e.g.:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

The GA-G31M-ES2L only supports 4GB of RAM.

Also, Corsair's ValueSelect ("VS") line of RAM is very
quick and very inexpensive too -- if saving money
is a primary objective:

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

Lastly, to avoid the many problems people have
with overheated CPUs, read and heed this:

http://www.supremelaw.org/systems/heatsinks/warning.htm

This cheap solution is also a very effective way to fix
the problems with Intel's push-pins: we've installed
this LGA775 bolt-thru-kit on 2 "PressHots" and
they both run cool and quiet now:

http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/lgbowiscsp.html


MRFS
July 26, 2009 8:24:30 PM

p.s. Re: "future memory expansion" I was thinking of this set of 4 x DIMMs,
which should come down in price during the life of your machine:

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


(Maybe if enough of us request it of Corsair, they will
sell this model one or two DIMMs at a time, instead
of the full set of 4. Then, future expansion will be
a LOT easier :) 

GOOD LUCK!


MRFS
!