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Upgrade 5 year old system for Windows 7 64 bit

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December 21, 2009 4:48:04 PM


I want to upgrade my computer to Windows 7 from XP, and I'd prefer to do x64. My computer I have is pretty old, but maybe someone with some expertise can tell me whether I should upgrade a few parts and keep others or just buy all new items. A friend helped me build it 5 years ago and I don't know much hardware lingo. Here is what I got in there right now, what do you think I should focus on?:

Motherboard:
ASUS A8V 939 VIA K8T800 Pro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131541&cm_re=K8T800-_-13-131-541-_-Product

Processor:
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2.0GHz 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Single-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103535

Drives:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 ST3300831AS 300GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

Western Digital 36 GB 8MB 360GD Raptor SATA 10K RPM

Video Card:
EVGA 128-A8-N335-TX GeForce FX 5700 128MB 128-bit DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130180&cm_re=eVGA_GeForce_FX_5700-_-14-130-180-_-Product

Monitor:
Acer V223-WBD 22" Widescreen TFT LCD Monitor (Black)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017AR13G/ref=ox_ya_oh_product

Power/Case:
Linkworld Q319-C2628-P4 Black/Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811164005

RAM:
Memory: 140139 - DDR (400) 3200 - 512 MB Corsair x2


Also, there are so many different RAM types, what is the best right now? My computer seems to have really slowed down lately. But maybe that is because stuff is "dieing" because everything is so old.

Your opinions on what I have right now and if you think I should keep it or get something new(what type) would really help out.  I'm trying to keep the price down(<$500).  Basically I just use the computer for the internet and downloading stuff.  No video game use. I've heard there is new USB 3.0, is now the time to get that on my board?
a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 5:14:37 PM

Well, you CAN buy some new parts for that, such as more RAM and a dual core CPU (both off of ebay because they don't sell 939 CPU's anymore.) That would probably do it. I'd say get 2x1 gig DDR 400 sticks. And a 3800+ x2 (make sure it says socket 939, not AM2) That'd be plenty to just run windows 7 with fairly good performance for just general stuff. It would then have 3 gigs of RAM and a dual core CPU. I'd say you could do this off of ebay for probably $120. (just stay away from any "high density" RAM)


Other than that you could go for pretty much a new build from say $170 all the way to $500, depending on how much you would want to spend. That would consist of a cheap AM2+ Mobo, 2gigs of DDR2 RAM and a dual core Athlon II. It would be better to go AM3 on the mobo and DDR3 RAM and a better power supply, however.

EDIT: Your computer having slowed down is just your windows install, not the hardware.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 5:29:28 PM

I dont see a good reason to install win7 on older hardware. While win7 is much less of a problem than vista, I still wouldnt install it on a single core CPU or a system with less than 4GB RAM. You need a dual core CPU and 4GB for the 64bit OS to give you any benefit over XP.

Your monitor is good, but the rest of your system is one to two generations behind. A new pre-built Acer system for a few hundred dollars would be much better than what you have. Just remember you want 4GB RAM and at least a dual, preferably quad core CPU of 2GHz or faster (near 3GHz is better). You would want an Athlon II or Phenom II CPUs, nothing older (no athlon 64s or phenom I s). An intel Core2 would be an improvement also.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 5:40:05 PM

I disagree. You can EASILY use windows 7 with just 2 gigs of RAM and for day to day tasks it will perform quite well. The only thing you can't do is play games. At least not well. I did it myself with 2 gigs of RAM when the RC came out. youonly reallyneed 3 gigs of RAM to play games in seven, just most of the time you simply go for 2x2 and end up with four gigs.

A lot of people just want to use windows 7 and see aero. They are still gonna basically just use firefox and whatnot, but still.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 5:45:00 PM

Im sure you can run win7 with 2GB, but there isnt an advantage over XP until you get to 4GB. If you are going to upgrade the motherboard/CPU anyway you might as well get a 2x2GB RAM kit.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 5:47:23 PM

He isn't looking for an advantage, just wants to use it. The rest I said already, and I agree that it would be better to get that much but this is an as-little-money-as-possible case.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 5:48:08 PM

There's no reason to do that. If you're having software problems, a fresh install of XP will probably be better for you. Windows 7 will not really give you much of an advantage, and in fact will eat up more resources, which becomes a problem on a lot of older machines.

I don't even see a need to upgrade to a 64-bit OS at all, since your motherboard (and all DDR motherboards that I know of) only supports 4GB of RAM to begin with.

Basically, if you're keeping this machine (and not using it for games), a better CPU and adding another 1GB of RAM are the only hardware upgrades that make sense to make it run more smoothly. Once you start talking about upgrades that require replacing the motherboard on a system this old, you really might as well build an entire new machine because you'll be replacing just about all of the parts anyway.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 5:55:34 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
He isn't looking for an advantage, just wants to use it.

... but this is an as-little-money-as-possible case.

I dont see any possible upgrading of that hardware that would make win7 a more pleasant experience than XP that doesnt involve replacing the motherboard/CPU/RAM.

Why recommend spending money on things that wont make much improvement when a few hundred dollars (well within the given budget) to replace the whole system would be far better?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 6:03:47 PM

Because a shift to a dual core and 3 gigs of RAM is a huge difference for one. For two the $500 number is a worst-case number that doesn't need to be shot for, you can build a respectable gaming computer for that much. That was just the inherent thought that to do anything with computers is massively expensive which simply isn't true.

In case you didn't know the 32-bit win7's requirements are 1 gig of ram with a 1 gigahertz CPU. And I can guarantee that there will be some people doing that. I've said what would be the best bang for the buck he can possibly get and will still be able to do most day to day tasks quite well. Simple age isn't a valid measure of the worth of hardware. That's saying that buying a netbook would be better even though it would perform quite below what he has now - and there are many of these that run windows 7.
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December 21, 2009 6:15:59 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
I disagree. You can EASILY use windows 7 with just 2 gigs of RAM and for day to day tasks it will perform quite well. The only thing you can't do is play games. At least not well. I did it myself with 2 gigs of RAM when the RC came out. youonly reallyneed 3 gigs of RAM to play games in seven, just most of the time you simply go for 2x2 and end up with four gigs.

A lot of people just want to use windows 7 and see aero. They are still gonna basically just use firefox and whatnot, but still.


I have 2GB Ram running Windows 7 RC 64-bit and I play games without any trouble on a socket 939 Dual-Core. ( I play TF2, Borderlands, Left 4 Dead 2...) I was actually surprised at how well it works on that old system. I however would like to upgrade, just don't have the money to at the moment, that and it really does play the games I want with decent settings so I can't really complain.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 6:19:26 PM

Oh I didn't mean you can't do games, just that you can't do them well. I tested with company of heroes dual booting between XP and 7 with 2 gigs. I got about 70 FPS average on XP and about 50 FPS average on 7. even 2.5 gigs might be enough I just never ran it at that level myself.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 6:35:03 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
Oh I didn't mean you can't do games, just that you can't do them well. I tested with company of heroes dual booting between XP and 7 with 2 gigs. I got about 70 FPS average on XP and about 50 FPS average on 7. even 2.5 gigs might be enough I just never ran it at that level myself.

Thats my point. Why spend money on minor hardware upgrades just to run win7 for the sake of win7 if it is not an improvement? Better to replace it with a system that will really let win7 shine.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 6:41:33 PM

1. He isn't gaming, during my own tests 2 gigs is enough for everything else. 2. 3 gigs is enough for gaming, I've done it myself. 3. What I said to do gets 3 gigs and a dual core. That's plenty to let it shine. This isn't a minor thing, it's a major thing.
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December 21, 2009 6:53:44 PM

The only reason I would want to do go to 64 is because I am able to get it right now for 29.99 because I have an education email. I have 14 days left to make the order. I'm figuring in a year or two I can really build a new system (no money right now), but I already have my 64 license ready to go and I don't have to worry about that cost. And I figure, If I have the new OS I might as well be using it for the time being so I will scrape by with the minimum. Does that make sense at all?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 7:06:41 PM

5 years is pretty old for PC parts. If there isnt much price difference between a cheap new system and buying legacy parts then just from a reliability/serviceability standpoint. If buying refurbished/used parts isnt significantly cheaper than buying new then it may not be the best choice, even if it would work.
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December 21, 2009 7:06:43 PM

I am running windows 7 on a netbook with the rest of my computers so I can stream music off of them. Here are the reasons you should run 7 on that computer. Its stable. More secure, Less headaches. easier to navigate, looks better. Easier to network, There are a million reasons to go to windows 7 instead of xp. Mine is being able to stream to all my computers and the 360 without a huge headache. Throw one or two more gigs of ram in there, maybe get a dual core 939. I just ordered a 4600 64bit x2 from ebay for 38 bucks shipped. I say go for it. If you upgrade down the road you have 7 already bought. It will run just as well as xp
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 7:07:12 PM

Yep. I've gotten that deal at that price myself.

So do you like my dual core + an extra 2 gigs of RAM or would you want to spend more than that?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 7:09:02 PM

thackstonns said:
I just ordered a 4600 64bit x2 from ebay for 38 bucks shipped. I say go for it. If you upgrade down the road you have 7 already bought. It will run just as well as xp



You may have gotten an incompatible AM2 CPU at that price. They have the same model names for the 939 and the AM2 variants.
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December 21, 2009 8:11:41 PM

I like the dual core + extra ram, but I don't think my 2nd and 4th slots are working on the mobo. In the past when I have tried to add some ram to it it would never recognize anything in those two slots. I've read that the board has had that problem before. So I may have to do a complete build, however on the low end.

You mentioned a new build for $170, what were you thinking in that system?
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 9:55:18 PM

I was thinking a AM2+ motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
like this one with integrated graphics. This things IGP is better than your old discrete card.
2GB of DDR2 (preferably 800, but 667 would be okay)(and preferably 4 gig, but you can get 2x1GB for now and just add some later though it might get more expensive)
And pretty much any Athlon II x2 or x3 (preferably x3)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would get the RAM from ebay, since it's prices are people who are upgrading to DDR3, so there's quite a bunch of it. You should be able to at least find the 2 gigs for $50 or less.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2009 10:19:03 PM

I think that that's a good idea. However you can't get one of those for $40

That's why this was my low cost new build option. DDR3 is still $10 more expensive for comparable stuff.

EDIT:Besides the HD 3200 and 4200 both perform the same. He'd have to get a 3300 for even better graphics performance.
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January 26, 2010 2:48:09 PM

False_Dmitry_II said:
I think that that's a good idea. However you can't get one of those for $40

That's why this was my low cost new build option. DDR3 is still $10 more expensive for comparable stuff.

EDIT:Besides the HD 3200 and 4200 both perform the same. He'd have to get a 3300 for even better graphics performance.


Well I was trying to upgrade my ram and I couldn't get the system to find it. Long story short.. the screen won't come on my monitor. I have seeked advice but no help (I'm suspecting most people think it's a lost a cause, as I do!) I have tried everything less praying to the gods. But I think I may have fried some stuff on the inside rendering it useless. I would have liked to get it upgraded to use my new os, but it seems that it's time to just get a new system.

At this point, I don't have any confidence in messing around with the inside of a computer anymore, let alone throwing down the money to risk building something from scratch and risk wasting my money on parts. Kinda sucks cause I have a perfectly brand new 64 bit win7 home premium that will probably never get used since nearly all the prebuilt systems already come with it!

I really don't want to buy a Dell or HP from a BestBuy because from friend's experiences they are overpiced and junk. I'd also like to have some custimization, but it looks like sites like "tiger direct" are charging a lot more for custimization than a prebuilt system that looked decent to me from newegg.

Here's what appealed to me, what do you think? Remember it's just for downloading torrents, editing documents, etc.. No gaming.

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

Maybe you know of another website that I could check out? Or like something better than what I found. I'd like to stay around no more than $500.

Also, since all my documents are on those two old drives and I am going to need them, I might aswell put the larger one to use. Do you think this enclosure would work for both drives to get the documents and then to host the 250 gig? It says Sata on it, and that's what the drives are. At this point I honestly feel like I don't know a thing about a computer anymore. After frying one it really takes a shot at your confidence.

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

I appreciate all your opinions! I have toyed with my old computer so much over the last month, looked at systems/parts/mobos/cpus, I am about sick of them!
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 27, 2010 5:09:55 AM

To be honest I don't like either of those. They both just have super low end nvidia (shudder) motherboards, with about as much graphics power as intels.

Can you tell me what you bought and what went wrong? It doesn't sound like you went with pretty much anything anyone was suggesting before if you were just talking about upgrading the RAM.

Things can go wrong during a build. Or when you're trying to upgrade something. I've never run into anything that was a catastrophic failure that killed pieces. Just caused it to not run until you set it right again. (Some of these can be completely insane. Like just this week having a PATA hard drive jumpered to cable select and on the master plug on the ribbon cable. It didn't boot. Changed it to master. Now it boots, WTF)

Frankly, if you're still working with your old system I'd rather help you find out what the problem is, part it out on ebay, then go ahead and build something new. Like what I suggested earlier or something else. Pretty much all the stuff I was talking about before is better than those computers that you just linked.
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January 27, 2010 12:44:39 PM

Well I was first trying to tackle getting the ram upgraded then move on to a new processor. But I could not get my system to recognize the added sticks. I've tried debugging everything over the last 3 days. I started messing with stuff and didn't ground anything. I can't get anything to show up on my monitor. I'm pretty sure it's my mobo. I even tried a different graphics card and that didn't get anything to show up either.

I've pretty much accepted defeat. Plus I have read a lot of people that seem to have issues running win 7 x64 with my old asus a8v deluxe board. I am going to see if I can get a few bucks for my old processor on ebay and some of the ram. Or I may pass it on to some friends that may have use for it.

Thanks for the opinion on the pre builts, I had a feeling you'd say that about them!

I looked at your recommendation for the am2+ board.. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and the processor... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think I am going to go that route.

I am also going to pick up 2 2gb 1066 ddr2 sticks to put in there. It seemed like a really good way to upgrade my system for under $200 bucks or so and keep my cd roms, drives, power, and case. i think this system will allow me to run the win7 x64 pro I have had laying around the house for the past month. Plus, it should buy me another 3 or 4 years of good use before I need to do anything again. Do you agree?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 27, 2010 6:55:46 PM

For general purpose stuff, yeah it'll last that long, probably longer if you want it to. (I'll be upgrading before then probably because I'm a gamer)

That seems odd to me that people would have actual trouble with win7 on something like that. I've put win7 onto a P4 before.

DDR2 800 would probably be fine, (it's what I'm still using with my Phenom II x3 720, those athlon II x3's weren't out when I bought it) and 4 gigs would be preferred for 64-bit. You can do it with 2 and just add another 2 of the same thing later.

Have you tried it again with the old RAM? could always be just bad RAM.
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January 27, 2010 7:09:36 PM

I thought it was the ram too. But I have tried SIX different sticks, and each one individually in each different slot. Nothing.

I am going with the 4 gigs. I'm getting two 2 gig sticks. Thanks for all the help too.
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January 27, 2010 7:09:59 PM

Best answer selected by thindery.
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