I found a listing on Craigslist for a dual-core Thinkcentre + 20" widescreen lcd - $250.
I was thinking about getting it and dropping a new video card + PSU, and giving it to my girlfriend as a little gaming box. She wants to play Sims 3 and TF2, which aren't too demanding at medium settings.
Here are the specs for the system:
CPU: Pentium D 930 @ 3.0GHz
MoBo: Unknown, has 800 Mhz bus and PCI-E 2.0 slot
RAM: 2GB DDR2
GPU: Sapphire Radeon x300se
Form Factor: Thinkcentre office case (the kind that you can rest a monitor on)
Monitor: ViewSonic VX2035WM 20"
I'm thinking I would drop in a 400W PSU and an HD 3850 512MB (or something like that). Assuming that the parts are in good condition, do you think this would work out? Is the value there?
The Pentium Ds were hot, inefficient and dated buggers which were made short work of by the E2xxx and x2 4xxx chips so if u want to set up budget gamers look for E5xxx series or ideally Athlon 2 245/Phenom 2 550BE. I'd hit a HD 4670 or 9600GT too for the GPU dept
My wife is still running a Pentium D, with an 8800GTS 320. I don't know how Sims 3 or TF2 stack up against World of Warcraft, but since we updated her to 2GB DDR2, she's getting decent framerates (mostly 60 fps). With 1GB, she was topping out about 40.
The Pentium D is better than the Pentium 4 in terms of gaming, since its only a singlecore. You probably can't find a complete system with a E5200 for $150, maybe only the motherboard and the CPU. Honestly though, I'd get a 4650/4670 and paired it up with the Pentium D.
It's definetly a dated processor, and not exactly one with a popular one.
But for the price, it's worth it.
As mentioned, drop in a 4650 and she will be fine for what she does.
Might want to go ahead and pull the heatsink, clean, put some new thermal paste, and reinstall. If I was buying a used P-D rig, that is the first thing I would do.
+1. Just clean off the old TIM with Isopropyl Alcohol and then apply new TIM. Get a new heatisnk if your budget allows it. Those P-D's ran hot but a good heatsink like the Scythe Mugen 2 should be good.
Hmm, despite this sounding like a cool project, I think I've decided against it. All of the upgrades I'd need to make it worthwhile (low-pro video card, PSU, thermal paste, heatsink?) would cost around $100 extra. Assuming that the computer is is worth $150 of the price, that puts the system at $250. For that price I could get a cheap barebones kit from Tiger that would perform better than the Pentium D.
Fun to think about though, and I appreciate all your advice.