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Upgrading an OLD computer, with $150

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January 22, 2010 12:08:10 AM

TL;DR? Read the underlined stuff

Ok, so my parents have (well, had, as the two are now one computer) two old desktops. Old. Like ~2004 old. They just got a new computer (which I built) that one of them is using.

So I'm in the process of cannibalizing the two old computers to make one decent(ish) computer, with a $150 budget for new parts. I'm using the Dell mobo, because its a 775 socket, and DDR2 and its just better in general (more ports, slots, etc). They aren't really big gamers, obviously, and they don't do a lot of stuff that takes a lot of system power, so we're not talking about i7 processors and DDR3 here.

So, if you read past "2004," and you're looking for a challenge, can you help me decide on parts to upgrade it? I figured that buying some RAM and a new 775 CPU would be best, but what should the split be (50/50, or more on CPU)? Before everyone just says "start with new computer or new Mobo, I've only got 150, and I've already got all the parts from these, plus both cases are proprietary and won't fit new Motherboards.

Specs on the fused computer so far.

DELL:
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 550 @ 3.4Ghz, which is an LGA 775, 1 core processor.
MEM: 1024mb DDR2 (2x 512mb @ 266mhz)
MOBO: 0U7077 DELL motherboard, running version A09 BIOS
GRAPHICS: Nvidia 6800
HD: 2 150GB Hard drives (hardware raid 0)

Yeah, I know, this stuff is basically scrap, but its for stuff like word and the occasional online video, not running crysis.

More about : upgrading computer 150

January 22, 2010 12:16:31 AM

Before I can put in my two cents, can I ask what OS you are intending on using?
The reason I ask is the amount of RAM you want will depend on the operating system you use.

If you will be using XP, then the gig of RAM you have will be just fine.

Also, what PSU are you working with?
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 22, 2010 1:08:01 AM

If you are running windows xp then you will not benefit from more than 1GB. Spend it all on a CPU unless you intend to game with any game past call of duty 2.

If you intend to upgrade to windows 7, spend less than $50 on two 1GB sticks of ram. Then spend the rest on the CPU.
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a c 141 à CPUs
January 22, 2010 10:28:20 PM

no no, the best he can use in that I beleive is only 3.6ghz.... not worth the upgrade. The best option imo is to upgrade the ddr2 memory to 2Gb @ 400MHz ($50) and drop in one of OCZ $99 SSD's when they come out. as the primmary drive, use the raid for data. You may want to change to a raid 1 (mirrored) for data security unless they are pretty good about backingup the important stuff.

2Gb ram on Xp is small but noticable change in performance but the real kick will be the SSD.
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a b à CPUs
January 22, 2010 10:36:47 PM

It's not worth it to upgrade any one part of the PC.

Just rebuild it.

Can't do much with $150.

Except more RAM.

But that's going backwards.
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 22, 2010 10:38:16 PM

popatim said:
no no, the best he can use in that I beleive is only 3.6ghz....



It's socket 775 not socket 478. He's not limited to the pentium 4.
Get a core 2 duo. The extra core will be more than worth it compared to overpriced SSDs
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January 23, 2010 2:13:38 AM

+1 ^

Get a core 2 duo, best bang for your buck.
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January 23, 2010 2:38:25 AM

O if his a socket 775 then deffinetly go for a core 2 duo or like a e5200 or something in that range. That will cost you about 80 buks with taxes. Then go for more ram. What RAM does MOBO support? Becuase the older them RAM the more expensive it is because they stop making it. So I say go for the fastest ram your mobo supports, about 2gb, depending on your motherboard again.

Give more detail on motherboard and OS
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a c 133 à CPUs
January 23, 2010 2:43:07 AM

being dells might not except the duo on that mobo i would check ebay and see what u can find in newer mobo and processor combos in the dell family. Those case will work with an aftermarket motherboard with a little know how dont be afraid to drill and cut that case to fit a new board i did it to a gateway case i had cut the back panel out so i could put a new backplate on and drilled new wholes to mount the motherboard. With that being said for 150 go for an AMD MOBO and Processor combo and get creative. ;) 
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a c 131 à CPUs
January 23, 2010 4:20:07 AM

Quote:
Listen...BUY A NEW COMPUTER SET. You can't get new components OR a new computer OR even upgrade!

Like I said, get a new computer!


What are you talking about? Some really good upgrade suggestions were just made. What do you expect him to get new for $150 that's better than what he has now?

You also contradicted yourself:
Quote:
You can't get ... a new computer

Quote:
Like I said, get a new computer!
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January 23, 2010 7:15:29 AM

Okay bad news first; your motherboard WILL NOT accept a core 2 duo. (there's Dell for ya)

The good news is your mobo is a standard ATX. This means that you can easily replace your motherboard with your existing case. You could pick up a decent mobo and CPU for 150 easy. This would be your best option right now, aside from saving up for a new build :) 

I would reccomend:

GIGABYTE GA-G31M Motherboard
- $49.99

Intel Pentium E6300 Wolfdale 2.8GHz
- $79.99

Make sure your PSU is at least 250w (I would be damned if it wasn't)

It gets a little muddy here though. Once you change your motherboard, chances are your install of windows will not be to happy about this and not boot. Since this is a Dell, chances are they didnt send you a copy of windows. So, your gonna have to find yourself a copy of windows (if you don't already have one.) Once you do, whether you want to repair the installation of start fresh is up to you.

Ultimately, I would advise you to save your money. But I know how things go sometimes. Good Luck!
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January 23, 2010 2:13:32 PM

Just save up man. Usually around 300 is perfect amount for a good upgrade.
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January 24, 2010 5:48:02 PM

Thank all of you for your suggestions.

Funnily enough, the only reason the budget wasn't higher was because they said that for any more they could just buy a new computer. :) 

We ended up finding a good deal at fry's for a motherboard, AMD CPU and 2gb DDR3 for under $200 so I convinced them to up the budget just a bit, and we got it. Everything didn't quite fit in the right spot (non-standard screw placement on dell's part, thanks for nothing!) but with judicious drilling and some cutting I got it in. Running windows 7 great now.

BTW, the PSU was a 450 watt, and its now dual-booting XP and windows 7.

Thank you for the help!!!

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

grand total: about $170, which isn't bad IMO.
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a c 133 à CPUs
January 25, 2010 2:19:59 AM

Good job man glad you took my advice and did a lil drill and cut to make it fit good luck with your new rig
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January 25, 2010 3:39:57 PM

dude that mobo SUCKS
biostar?
like wat brand is that?
eather go for asus or gigabyte!!
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a c 133 à CPUs
January 25, 2010 3:43:33 PM

he was on a tight budget he got what he needed and id add that Gigsbyte Sux they used to be good ASUS is the best choice but when your on a budget you get what u need not alwats what you want
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January 25, 2010 4:07:57 PM

If you want to game on that at all, I'd also recommend a cheap video card which I have at the moment - the nVidia 9800 GT. It usually costs below $100, and SLAUGHTERS the games I play (Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Garry's Mod). It's a really, really nice video card and should last you a long time.
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January 25, 2010 8:47:46 PM

u can defffffffinetly find an asus motherboard for 69.99 or less.
lol i kinda agree with you on gigabyte.......it failed on me now its in repair for over a month.
But their new motherboards are AMAZING
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January 25, 2010 8:48:54 PM

farrer said:
If you want to game on that at all, I'd also recommend a cheap video card which I have at the moment - the nVidia 9800 GT. It usually costs below $100, and SLAUGHTERS the games I play (Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Garry's Mod). It's a really, really nice video card and should last you a long time.


WHERE DID YOU GET A 9800gt for LESS THEN 100 buks? I got a overclocked 9600gt and i play games like GRID and MW2 maxxed out. Your card ROCKS!
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a c 133 à CPUs
January 25, 2010 9:51:39 PM

crazy359 said:
u can defffffffinetly find an asus motherboard for 69.99 or less.
lol i kinda agree with you on gigabyte.......it failed on me now its in repair for over a month.
But their new motherboards are AMAZING


i just recently was getting a new gigabyte ep45 ud3l had one DOA and another the PCI slots didnt work and had some other weird issues went ASUS P5Q SE pro knock on wood 2 days no issues
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