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Old Gateway P3 700 Mhz upgrades?

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January 6, 2010 7:59:38 PM

Hey there,

I recently bought an old Gateway P3 mini-tower at a garage sale. It is in pristine condition. It has a 700Mhz Pentium processor, 384 megs of RAM, and a Nvidia TNT pro 32mb video card. I want to use it for web surfing, old Star Trek games (Armada and Elite Force etc), and Word Processing. What upgrades should I be considering so my machine will run optimally?
January 6, 2010 8:11:26 PM

andykenben1971 said:
Hey there,

I recently bought an old Gateway P3 mini-tower at a garage sale. It is in pristine condition. It has a 700Mhz Pentium processor, 384 megs of RAM, and a Nvidia TNT pro 32mb video card. I want to use it for web surfing, old Star Trek games (Armada and Elite Force etc), and Word Processing. What upgrades should I be considering so my machine will run optimally?



It depends on your budget, and what resolution you'll be gaming in.
but by seeing what sort of pc you have, and I'm assuming you're still in the 15-17" monitors if not CRT then in LCD.
now my question is what type of games exactly ? I ask this because in 2010 that we are in now, you are limitless on cheap solution for upgrading.

What i'd recommend is wait out for Intel i5 CPU's (clarkdale)
yeah, new memory new motherboard may sound expensive to you But, it also leads to future proof with more than enough room.

Intel I5 661 - $180-195
a P55 Mobo - $ 85
3GB DDR3 - $ 65

with that upgrade which should be more than enough even to run on that current psu (possibly)
those upgrades don't require much power.

with that upgrade you'll be
A. Future proof, If you decide to upgrade to state of the art parts, just buy and plug and your set for the next generation of comp technology.
B. Fast! These upgrades sound cheap compared to high end 2k gaming rigs, but guess what
With your resolution and game type needs, these will play those with either no lag on high reso (wc3/starcraft type of games or anything below)
or no lag with low res (H.A.W.X)
C. For that price it's worth the upgrade, if you decide to upgrade your monitor in the future and want to select a new type of GPu unit, just plug it and you're set to go.

incase some are wondering why didn't i mention a gpu for an upgrade unit in the list.
the new i5's clarkdales come with built in GPU's , powerful enough to play most games on low res and play full 1080p movies
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January 6, 2010 8:45:27 PM

Depends on the OS


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January 6, 2010 9:37:43 PM

I don't know about suggesting a new system, most people that buy used comps of this spec from garage sales don't have alot of money to spend, I was in his shoes before and there was no way in heck I could even get $100 dollars to put towards a pc. It reminds me of when I was like 12 years old, I kept trying to get a decent PC but all my family could give me were old relative's computers that weren't very good. Examples of PC's I had to use included:

120mhz Pentium
300mhz P2
450mhz P3
466mhz celeron oc'd to 525
600mhz celeron
733mhz celeron
850mhz amd duron

(I was using pc's that underpowered in 2004-2006 mind you)

GIANT jump because my dad actually bought me a pc in 2007 with a 3GHz Pentium D and I was very very very happy.

So I sympathaize with the OP if he's forced to use sub par hardware as his main rig, what I would suggest doing is to put on Windows 2000, it's a bit less ram intensive than XP but still is nearly completly as functional. If all you want to do is 2d games don't bother with a graphics card, and if the cpu is above the requirements don't upgrade that either, I'm sure Ebay has some Pentium 3's for cheap that are better but you would need to research if it could take it.
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January 6, 2010 9:39:56 PM

protokiller said:
I don't know about suggesting a new system, most people that buy used comps of this spec from garage sales don't have alot of money to spend, I was in his shoes before and there was no way in heck I could even get $100 dollars to put towards a pc. It reminds me of when I was like 12 years old, I kept trying to get a decent PC but all my family could give me were old relative's computers that weren't very good. Examples of PC's I had to use included:

120mhz Pentium
300mhz P2
450mhz P3
466mhz celeron oc'd to 525
600mhz celeron
733mhz celeron
850mhz amd duron

(I was using pc's those crappy in 2004-2006 mind you)

GIANT jump because my dad actually bought me a pc in 2007 with a 3GHz Pentium D and I was very very very happy.

So I sympathaize with the OP if he's forced to use sub par hardware as his main rig, what I would suggest doing is to put on Windows 2000, it's a bit less ram intensive than XP but still is nearly completly as functional. If all you want to do is 2d games don't bother with a graphics card, and if the cpu is above the requirements don't upgrade that either, I'm sure Ebay has some Pentium 3's for cheap that are better but you would need to research if it could take it.



Agreed. With win2k it should perform all tasks the OP wants as is.
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January 6, 2010 10:10:55 PM

if budget is your case, dont upgrade anything other than Ram,
from p3 to early p4 stages wasn't a major jump.
just add more ram, and it'll fly on Win2k.

then save up 500 for a decent fast rig in few years, and dump that one.
500 bucks now gets you a gaming rig to play almost every game title out there
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January 6, 2010 10:36:16 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me the OP intended it for use with older games - ones which often don't work with the latest stuff. For the games listed I'd say its probably adequate, if you find it to be lagging a bit you can pick up an AGP GeForce FX5500 for about $30.
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January 6, 2010 10:53:38 PM

kiren said:
Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me the OP intended it for use with older games - ones which often don't work with the latest stuff. For the games listed I'd say its probably adequate, if you find it to be lagging a bit you can pick up an AGP GeForce FX5500 for about $30.



+1 on the agp 5500 that was a nice card in the day . I know, I had one.
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January 6, 2010 11:10:19 PM

agp 5500 won't be pointless, but you won't notice much of a difference from the tnt pro.
not for the type of games he's trying to run on, IMHO I really think with the price of that gpu, he can just upgrade more memory for faster processing and a decent non gamers optical mouse to go with it.
but thats just my opinion
but if it were up to me, i'd prbbly do both.
just curious though, what resolution are you on ? if you're not over 800x640 or maybe even 1024x768 it won't give you a difference in fps to go woah !
but the ram will help out in the web browsing and gaming

oh and also you should check the inside of your pc,
and just curious , check that model of the rams also, 384? i always thought mix matching was dangerous when i had a p3, or was it a p2 lol
Check the motherboard, I remember back in the days some motherboards only came with maxed 2 slot for rams @ 1gb max for the p3 era and was considered common among motherboards.
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January 6, 2010 11:25:26 PM

jstnkim said:
agp 5500 won't be pointless, but you won't notice much of a difference from the tnt pro.
not for the type of games he's trying to run on, IMHO I really think with the price of that gpu, he can just upgrade more memory for faster processing and a decent non gamers optical mouse to go with it.
but thats just my opinion
but if it were up to me, i'd prbbly do both.
just curious though, what resolution are you on ? if you're not over 800x640 or maybe even 1024x768 it won't give you a difference in fps to go woah !
but the ram will help out in the web browsing and gaming

oh and also you should check the inside of your pc,
and just curious , check that model of the rams also, 384? i always thought mix matching was dangerous when i had a p3, or was it a p2 lol
Check the motherboard, I remember back in the days some motherboards only came with maxed 2 slot for rams @ 1gb max for the p3 era and was considered common among motherboards.



Mix-match didnt matter so much back then as there was no dual channel.

Per the GPU, FPS might not improve but in my experience the eye candy was much better.
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January 6, 2010 11:43:37 PM

true, i agree.
if it was up to me, i'd upgrade both and everything i possibly can.
but if we're on a budget and only need to upgrade what is most needed.
i was just suggesting ram upgrade sinec that is some what noticable
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January 7, 2010 1:26:30 AM

kiren said:
Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me the OP intended it for use with older games - ones which often don't work with the latest stuff. For the games listed I'd say its probably adequate, if you find it to be lagging a bit you can pick up an AGP GeForce FX5500 for about $30.


Thank You. You hit the nail on the head. It is an older computer, for older games. I am not trying to run Doom 3 on it. But the TNTpro card it has is practically an antique!! It is running Xp Pro well though, it came with Windows 98. It was made in 2000. I upgraded the hard drive from a 20 gig Deskstar POS to a 40 gig Maxtor I had lying around.
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January 7, 2010 1:29:18 AM

jstnkim said:
agp 5500 won't be pointless, but you won't notice much of a difference from the tnt pro.
not for the type of games he's trying to run on, IMHO I really think with the price of that gpu, he can just upgrade more memory for faster processing and a decent non gamers optical mouse to go with it.
but thats just my opinion
but if it were up to me, i'd prbbly do both.
just curious though, what resolution are you on ? if you're not over 800x640 or maybe even 1024x768 it won't give you a difference in fps to go woah !
but the ram will help out in the web browsing and gaming

oh and also you should check the inside of your pc,
and just curious , check that model of the rams also, 384? i always thought mix matching was dangerous when i had a p3, or was it a p2 lol
Check the motherboard, I remember back in the days some motherboards only came with maxed 2 slot for rams @ 1gb max for the p3 era and was considered common among motherboards.


I am at 3 slots for ram. I checked it. it is original. Three 128 modules. I am running the machine at 1024x768 on a 2005 Dell 19inch LCD monitor.
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January 7, 2010 1:32:01 AM

BadTrip said:
Agreed. With win2k it should perform all tasks the OP wants as is.



I am going through some financial difficulty right now...who isn't. But it was more that it was an original, rock-solid system, with a processor that would fly in it's day!!! I had to adopt it, and bring it home!!!
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January 7, 2010 2:48:37 AM

andykenben1971 said:
I am going through some financial difficulty right now...who isn't. But it was more that it was an original, rock-solid system, with a processor that would fly in it's day!!! I had to adopt it, and bring it home!!!



If it works, it works. For the first time in my life as an adult, I am going through the same. I thank God for my wife. If your games play well be happy with it.
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January 7, 2010 5:07:54 AM

andykenben1971 said:
I am going through some financial difficulty right now...who isn't. But it was more that it was an original, rock-solid system, with a processor that would fly in it's day!!! I had to adopt it, and bring it home!!!



Hmm yes sometimes to really appericiate hardware you gotta think about how good it was when it was released.

Like with my old P2 300MHz, it was at one time Intel's best flagship cpu. Nice.
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January 7, 2010 5:23:15 AM

Personally I tend to remember machines largely in terms of how much better they were than what I was using before I got them.... For instance when I upgraded from a K6-2 to my Thunderbird@950MHz... or going farther back when I got my Pentium Pro 200 after a series of am586's and pentium <133's
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January 7, 2010 6:07:30 AM

RAM RAM RAM definatly max it out if u can u will see the biggest improvements with that and after that if u have a few extra bucks drop a new vid card in but for what ur doing with it ram is what u need
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January 7, 2010 12:27:19 PM

andykenben1971 said:
Hey there,

I recently bought an old Gateway P3 mini-tower at a garage sale. It is in pristine condition. It has a 700Mhz Pentium processor, 384 megs of RAM, and a Nvidia TNT pro 32mb video card. I want to use it for web surfing, old Star Trek games (Armada and Elite Force etc), and Word Processing. What upgrades should I be considering so my machine will run optimally?



For what you are going to use if for, really I wouldn't do anything to it except maybe upgrade the hard drive.
If you use it for what you say, there is no point in trying to do anything to it, hardware wise anyway. It's a waste of money.
You didn't say what kind of drive it has, but if it is something of the era, it's probably like an old 8gig drive or something like that. Maybe even a drive measured in megabytes, and not gigabytes! If so, replacing it with something a little newer will give you room and a nice bump in performance. If you do replace it, don't go crazy here, the OS or the motherboard isn't going to be able to use a modern large drive, 120gig is the very upper limit you can even consider, you have to be modest. 40-80gig is a good bet.
Other than that, just do a fresh install of the OS, and be happy using it precisely what you got it for. If you try to do more than what you mentioned, you are going to be a little disappointed.
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January 7, 2010 2:45:21 PM

Well I agree with Drive upgrade, but the reason why I didn't bother mentioning it, is because drives are still expensive, and it's hard to find a decently used IDE drive.

and I didn't want to get him into having a hard time. not only that, the drive he has now may be enough, for he isn't really storing anything other than cache files and maybe some 2d saved game files.

he also mentioned wanted some upgrades on performance wise, and that to me is more of ram/cpu/gpu rather than storage. but a very good point, he should be on look out for a new drive.

And Andy if your lucky, you've might have gotten gateways top line during it's time meaning it might even have a 20gig harddrive. if that's the case, you're pretty set.till the drive dies out

just do a fresh install of windows, May not even require a memory upgrade, i think 128mb 1x1 module was the highest during that era. And I think 256 1x1 Modules came out alittle after, again my memory is a blur that far back.
Only technology that woohed me back in those days is when RD Ram modules were introduced at speeds that's close to our high end ddr2s now
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January 7, 2010 5:19:10 PM

The cpu is ok but if it is slot1 forget about upgrading the cpu. The ram try to get to 512mb at the least. A new gpu will go far compared to that pos TNT Pro.
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January 7, 2010 7:21:50 PM

jstnkim said:
Well I agree with Drive upgrade, but the reason why I didn't bother mentioning it, is because drives are still expensive, and it's hard to find a decently used IDE drive.

and I didn't want to get him into having a hard time. not only that, the drive he has now may be enough, for he isn't really storing anything other than cache files and maybe some 2d saved game files.

he also mentioned wanted some upgrades on performance wise, and that to me is more of ram/cpu/gpu rather than storage. but a very good point, he should be on look out for a new drive.

And Andy if your lucky, you've might have gotten gateways top line during it's time meaning it might even have a 20gig harddrive. if that's the case, you're pretty set.till the drive dies out

just do a fresh install of windows, May not even require a memory upgrade, i think 128mb 1x1 module was the highest during that era. And I think 256 1x1 Modules came out alittle after, again my memory is a blur that far back.
Only technology that woohed me back in those days is when RD Ram modules were introduced at speeds that's close to our high end ddr2s now


I checked. It does have a 20gig, which I upgraded to a 40 gig Maxtor. It was in another computer I had where the motherboard fried. Thanks for the advice.
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January 7, 2010 7:35:01 PM

*thumbs up*
not a problem, I thought I'd be correct on it. just wasn't 100% sure. And IMHO I dont think you really need to upgrade on the ram also, Your motherboard might be topped out already, Just try out a fresh install of OS , either Win2k or Win98 (i personally still love win98's so bug free)
and in the future if you experience slow web browsing or slow game play factor, check out upgrading your memory modules. just make sure it's the correct type.

Good luck with it, and have fun
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