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Old Box - New Guts

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December 20, 2010 8:54:14 PM

I decided to upgrade my Athlon XP system and replace my motherboard, processor, memory, and video card. I currently have a mid-tower case with an Antec SP 350 350-watt PSU from the original system I built in 2003. I also have a 160-GB SATA Hard Drive (with Windows XP home), and an IDE Sony DVD writer. I am interested in getting the following:

A processor, fan, and motherboard bundle:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

A new video card:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

And a pair ddr3 ram sticks:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

I have a few questions:
1) I know new systems are more demanding energy-wise than old. Will my 350-watt psu still cut it?
2) Will my old Windows XP function well on this system, or will I need to upgrade? As far as I know, it will only recognize 3.5 of the 4 gigs of ram.
3) Overall, does it seem like a good choice of components for the money, or will this machine soon be obsolete?

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December 20, 2010 10:00:00 PM

Since there is no IDE (i.e. PATA) connector on the motherboard you won't be able to connect the IDE Sony DVD writer without using a PATA-to-SATA adapter with no guarantee that the DVD drive will work with such an adapter.

1) Does the Antec SP 350 have any SATA power connectors? I'm thinking no.

2) XP will run on this configuration. Microsoft will eventually drop support for XP.

3) Isn't it already obsolete? The LGA 1156 Socket architecture is being replaced with the LGA 1155 Socket with the nearing release of Intel's Sandy Bridge processors in Q1 2011.
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December 20, 2010 10:15:20 PM

Thanks so much for the prompt response. You have some very good answers.

ko888 said:
Since there is no IDE (i.e. PATA) connector on the motherboard you won't be able to connect the IDE Sony DVD writer without using a PATA-to-SATA adapter with no guarantee that the DVD drive will work with such an adapter.

Ok, thanks. DVD writers are cheap. I may have to get a new one, or select another board with a PATA adaptor

ko888 said:
1) Does the Antec SP 350 have any SATA power connectors? I'm thinking no.
I currently have wiring for a SATA drive in my system. I believe my current board (Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe) supplied me with adaptors that coverted old style drive power to SATA power connectors. I am much more concerned with whether the ATI HD 4650 video card and the i3 processor will get enough power from a 350 watt psu.

ko888 said:
2) XP will run on this configuration. Microsoft will eventually drop support for XP.
Thanks, I suppose they will, and more software will require Windows 7. In a couple of years my family may be ready for a family upgrade.

ko888 said:
3) Isn't it already obsolete? The LGA 1156 Socket architecture is being replaced with the LGA 1155 Socket with the nearing release of Intel's Sandy Bridge processors in Q1 2011.
I suppose it is obsolete already. I am not buying a high-end system. For the cost of these items (a little over $200) am I likely to find a much less obsolete package?

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a c 107 à CPUs
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December 20, 2010 10:25:06 PM

For current technology this is a cost effective upgrade. You should notice quite a performance boost over the old configuration.
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December 20, 2010 10:42:42 PM

Asus M4A785TD-M EVO / AMD Athlon II X4 635 Propus: $169

Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3: $70 ($55 after rebate)

- pulls less watts at idle & load than your HD4650 -- much better video card

And there should not be anything holding you back (other than your cheapness) from snagging a 2x2GB kit of DDR3 1333 for $40-$50 without rebates --- that 2x1GB stuff you linked just ain't worth it for $35.

^^^
Less money up front than your deal but total around $20 more after rebates. The CPU, memory and video card should more forward to AM3+.

And replacing a 6 year-old PSU should be a top priority.
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December 20, 2010 11:29:06 PM

Yes, the Asus board and the Athlon II x4 would be little faster than my current choice. Passmark gives the AMD chip a score of a little over 3300 and the intel chip gets a 2800 score. It would also use more power and create more heat. It doesn't look like the AMD deal includes a fan, so that makes it cost a bit more. I found this post on another forum that compares the two processors:

http://www.maximumpc.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=104873

The HD5570 is about twice as fast as the HD4650, but more than twice the cost after rebates. I like the idea of energy savings on the HD5770. You give me something to think about.

I checked the ram I linked. As far as I can tell, they are individual 2GB memory modules, not a pair of 1GB memory modules.

"Patriot PSD32G13332 PC10600 2GB DDR3 Desktop Memory Upgrade - 1333MHz, Non-ECC, Unbuffered, Non-ECC, CL9, 1x2048MB"

But if I really am reading it wrong, please tell me. I would like to leave the two remaining ram slots for future memory upgrades.

Except for my two-year-old hard drive, I may have to replace everything.
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a c 117 à CPUs
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December 21, 2010 12:02:26 AM

Sorry -- blacked out on the RAMs size.

Just make sure you buy a qualified kit for your motherboard and you should be good.

The Radeon HD 5570 is just kinda worth it - more efficient, displayport, True HD 7.1, DX11, Eyefinity, DDR3 ...

Makes that 4650 look a little obsolete :) 
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December 21, 2010 12:26:11 AM

I also agree with wisecracker on that HD 5570.It seems a shame to put a low end HD 4650 with your selected choice CPU.Even the HD 5570 by itself is low for that CPU but with better modern features.
However you are getting the HD 4650 for a great price (with that refund) so if you decide later on that you want to do some serious gaming (or if you do at all) you could easily upgrade to a vastly more powerful graphics card later on (in which case you would need a much more powerful power supply).
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December 21, 2010 12:48:59 AM

Thanks for all the help I am getting on this forum. I really feel like I can make a good decision based on the input here. I think I'm sold on the HD 5570 as well, but I'm not sold on the AMD processor even though it is 18% faster. The Asus board is a little better than the other, though. I will be using the computer for music recording and mixing mostly, so graphics aren't the greatest priority. Even the integrated HD 4200 in the Asus board is a big improvement over my nVidia MX 440. Still, I might have fun with a nice graphics card.
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December 21, 2010 1:42:01 AM

Have you a total budget?


Here is a combo that is not bad on a budget.

CPU + Mobo


PSU + $20 rebate
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December 21, 2010 7:53:23 AM

I found DDR3 memory at about $7.50 a gig. If could find some DDR2 memory at a similar price, that board would make the whole package a great deal.
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a b à CPUs
December 21, 2010 9:43:32 AM

You told us what you will use your system for (music recording and mixing).By the way the Athlon II X4 635 that wisecracker mentioned does come with a heat sink and fan.Here is anandtech's benchmark between the 2 CPU's.There is even a benchmark with the Sonar 8 Multi-track Audio Export in there.The i3 -540 scores higher on that particular application.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/122?vs=143

Here are some other reviews of the Core i3-540 I skipped to the part with some audio recording applications unfortunately not comprehensive though.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Intel/Core_i3_540_53...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2901/11

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/clarkdale-...

From a couple of these it looks as if on audio applications the i3 wins over the Athlon II X4

Anyway I want you to have a few reviews to look over but I think that you made a good original choice.

One thing I ask is how old or used is that 160 gigabyte Hard Drive? Generally it's not a very good idea to reuse an older and used hard drive on a new system since your far more liable to hard drive failure and newer hard drives have much better capacity,far more cache memory, and read and write operations are a lot faster.A new hard drive can be obtained for as little as $50 or so.

Also it is better to get a new reliable power supply for a new system even if you have a good quality older model.These eventually die out too and power supply failure can take a motherboard with it like the ship the Titanic.I wouldn't trust a 5 year old or older power supply even a quality model one even if well maintained on a new build.


As to your original question Number 2 about Windows XP that's tied down (with activation) to your original PC when you originally activated it.
It will not be considered genuine if you use it on a completely different machine (You could get away with it before with Windows 2000,ME,98 and previous non activation (DRM) versions of Windows).Now if you have a spare version of Windows XP that you never have used before that would be perfectly O.K.
There is an exception I think if your motherboard has failed and you can convince Microsoft by telephone into reactivating a machine that has been rebuilt using a motherboard with your previous components.It's probably not likely if you have made many major upgrades though.
In other words no it's not considered the same machine if you replace your 2003 era guts with that of the CPU & Motherboard of the i3 CPU & 1156 mobo.You can not reuse a previous activated version of Windows XP on that as it would not pass as genuine.


I've tricked Windows XP when I had a power supply/motherboard failure and completely upgraded to a new socket type,newer CPU etc only because the replacement motherboard chipset was the same,graphics chip was the same and the network chip was the exact same type.I was able to reuse the older Hard Drive with Windows on it in that situation on a very low cost budget system.It was a rare situation as the previous motherboard was Socket 939 and the replacement board was a socket AM2+ board.

The chipsets,graphics,network chip of a 2003 era board and a 2009 era board would be highly unlikely to be similar.
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December 21, 2010 7:43:02 PM

I admit I skipped through the others suggestions so forgive me if it was already mentioned, but, If it were me and I was replacing all those parts, you may want to just consider replacing everything.

I mean would you want all those new, shiny, fast parts in an old ugly case from 2003? And would really want to trust all your new, shiny, fast parts to an old Antec psu from 2003?

You can get an Antec case with a 380w Antec psu for $75. Check out "System Builder Marathon December 2010, $500 pc" on Tom's homepage. It's got more watts, it's more efficient than the one you have now and it has a new 3yr warranty.
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December 21, 2010 8:48:50 PM

I also agree with GeekApproved.Essentially everything is so old that you should replace it all.Don't reuse old parts.Besides you can still keep your old system as it is wotking as a secondary PC which everyone should have in case of hardware failures.GeekApproved also had a good suggestion about the System Builder Marathon December 2010, $500 pc and the inexpensive new Power Supply.
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December 21, 2010 10:02:23 PM

Well, the case and power supply may be from a Pentium II 200 system I built in 1998. It was a nice case back then. It had four usb ports built into it--ahead of its time.

This is the reason I am replacing the parts. I originally had no intention to get a new computer. I recently ordered a 160GB hard drive off of eBay to replace my 20GB IDE drive (from 1998). The 160GB hard drive is used and has a 2008 manufacture date. Some of the parts in the computer are from 2001, 2003, and 2005 as well.

When I opened the case I noticed how full of dust everything was. I took off the processor fan and cleaned it. I took out the processor and showed my 7-year-old son the details of the circuitry under the microscope. When I put the processor back in my computer, it would not boot up but I got fans and the motherboard lighted.

When I removed the processor I would get a warning message that no processor was installed, but otherwise would get no messages or beep codes. I ordered a replacement processor for a dollar off of eBay, and still my computer won't boot up. I don't have test equipment. I isolated the problem as well as I could. I'm not sure whether I blew my processor and got shipped a bad used one. My motherboard could be bad. My power supply could be bad as well.

At this point, everything is suspect in the system. It may be a good idea to get a whole new system. Thanks for your help.
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December 22, 2010 9:05:47 AM

Best answer selected by marktwayne.
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December 22, 2010 11:41:18 AM

That's not so bad ;) 

Some of the guys around here are still running crap from the 1980s (with dust collected during the Raygun Administration).

Depending upon how you go if you ultimately decide upon the HD5570 be cognizant of all the display connections and how they may work for (or against) you.



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