Upgrading my 5yr old PC

I can see from a quick search that there are more than a few of these kinds of posts, my apologies if I'm rehashing anything. I don't know very much about hardware.

So I have a 5 year old PC that's been sitting unused for a while. I have a couple hundred bucks and was wondering if it's worth it for me to bother upgrading it, or if I should just dump what I have and get a new machine when a good deal pops up.

My goals are modest - I'd like to put Windows 7 on this machine and get it running faster. I don't use it for gaming or anything - mostly managing my music and video files, surfing the web, and I do a bit of website development and graphics work but nothing that demands a ton of resources.

It's running XP right now.

I know that I need more memory and a better graphics card.

What should I upgrade to get this machine ready for Windows 7 and get it running faster with the hope that I can get a few more years of use out of it?

Is it worth spending the money to do this, or should I just get a new machine or else get a docking station for my (newish) Thinkpad notebook? The Thinkpad is happily running Windows 7 and the other apps I need, but I don't use it a lot these days. I bought it about a year ago and I'd like to be able to use a larger monitor and full-size keyboard, hence the docking station.

I haven't done much in the way of working with hardware, so part of me is interested in doing the upgrade and learning more about my computer and hardware, yet not if it's going to cost significantly more than a newer machine or just getting a docking station for my laptop.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Current specs:

Power Supply 350 Watt Power Supply with Single Fan
Motherboard Asus® P5GD1-VM - Intel® 915G Chipset with Dual Channel DDR, PCI Express
Processor Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 530 with HT, 3.0 GHz, 1MB Cache, LGA775 Socket
CPU Cooling Intel® Certified Oversized Heatsink/Fan with Arctic Silver™ 5 Thermal Compound, Thermal Controlled Variable Speed Fan
DDR Memory 512MB PC3200 DDR400 Memory (1x512)
PCX Video Integrated Intel® GMA900 graphics with Dynamic Video Memory
Hard Drive 1 200GB Western Digital WD2000JD 7200rpm SATA/150, 8MB Cache
Optical Drive 1 16x Lite On® DVD+/-RW/CD-RW Dual Layer, Black Bezel

Approximate Purchase Date: next few months

Budget Range: $250 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: surfing the internet, managing music/movie files, some website/graphics work

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: whatever (even ebay or craigslist are ok)

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: whatever works

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: What?

Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024
6 answers Last reply
More about upgrading
  1. Cool, thanks for the suggestions. Is it imperative that I upgrade my case and power supply? The case I have is pretty big and there's a lot of room in there.

    Yes, my HD and DVD drive are a-ok. Maybe I'll upgrade them down the road.
  2. Or you could just see about increasing the RAM to 1GB and sticking with XP, or 2GB and running win 7.
  3. ^ You could try this too,

    As for the case, if your case is fine, then you dont need to get a new one...
    The PSU, give the specs or model number of the one that you have...
  4. Choices :
    1. Upgrade path : Just add more RAM as suggested above. From my point of view, this is not really worth the money, but it is your choice.

    2. Well...what can I say? a complete new rig is actually a better choice. Please see gkay09s suggestion for starting reference. You might also wanna consider increasing the budget for a new rig.
  5. Thanks for the input. I thought I had a line on a free/cheap version of Win7, but that's not the case any longer. When you add in the cost of Win7 plus the hardware I'd need to run it, it starts getting a little ridiculous to upgrade this old machine when I could build a better one for less.

    I think I might just upgrade the RAM and stick with XP for another year or so, and then upgrade and get a new machine.
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