Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Seeking advice on an upgrade

Last response: in Systems
Share
October 20, 2010 3:36:56 AM

Although I've been reading TH for years, this is my first post to the forum! :hello:  Happy to be here!

I have an HP Media machine with the C2Q Q6600. First owner only upgraded the vid card to an Nvidia GeForce 8500 GT. Other than that it's a stock box. I scored this machine very cheap in a pinch 2 years ago when my mobo fried on my regular box, and it's been ok up to now.

Now I want to do some audio recording, and I'm wondering if it's worth it to upgrade this one. I also do a lot of graphics including CAD. I want to load Windows 7 Pro 64-bit (currently Vista 32-bit), upgrade power supply, RAM (currently 3GB), and BIOS.

However, the mainboard is an ASUS P5BW-LA (Basswood3G), an HP proprietary board with the BIOS locked. This means that even if I upgrade RAM, it won't read up to 6 or 8. I've read somewhere that it can be unlocked. Is this true? If not, I'm looking at a new motherboard too. :( 

Soooo my question is, is this worth it? I've already got the OS, so I may be able to get away with under $200 if I skimp a bit. Checking out the charts, it seems like this CPU is still pretty strong, but compared to the new quad and hex cores out there, I wonder whether I'd be better throwing cash at a whole new build. I'd rather not spend the extra cash if possible, and this one can still seems to power through multitasking except CAD.

Any thoughts or opinions?

Thanks in advance!


More about : seeking advice upgrade

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2010 3:23:45 PM

kaboomex77 said:
However, the mainboard is an ASUS P5BW-LA (Basswood3G), an HP proprietary board with the BIOS locked. This means that even if I upgrade RAM, it won't read up to 6 or 8. I've read somewhere that it can be unlocked. Is this true? If not, I'm looking at a new motherboard too.
Hello kaboomex77;
Your Basswood3G motherboard will handle up to 8GB of RAM (DDR2 533/677/800). Basswood3G specs here
I'm guessing you have all 4 RAM slots filled with the 3GB you now have?

It seems like the Q6600 will still get your tasks done for you, with no limitations, except not being quite as fast as the newer CPUs.

As for HP BIOS being 'locked' - that's only for overclocking options that other motherboards have. If you're interested in overclocking your Q6600 you'd want to think about a new motherboard and an aftermarket CPU cooler.
Are you considering a graphics card upgrade? If not, a PSU upgrade probably isn't necessary.

At this point in time you'd want to be thinking of upgrades that you can move forward into your next system. Motherboard, or RAM upgrades won't fall into that category.

If I were in your position I'd stick with what you now have, bank that $200 until you have enough for your next full system upgrade.
Go ahead and install Win7. You might want to think about using the 32bit version unless you plan on buying any 64bit only software.


a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2010 5:02:17 PM

What problems do you experience with CAD stuff? Depending on what you do, a workstation video card could help you speed up some of the calculations/rendering. Nvidia's Quadro 600 (new entry level card with a Fermi chip) only runs $200, compared to the usual $600-$1000 cards.
October 20, 2010 11:49:40 PM

I'm not gonna be OCing, so I may be in luck. As long as it reads up to 8GB, I'm happy.

I have read elsewhere that since the Phoenix BIOS is proprietary HP, I won't be able to update it at all. I've seen the specs on the HP site, and they don't post any updates to it. Any idea if there's a workaround mod?

I run a lot of graphics in Illustrator, Photoshop, Google Skecthup, and Solidworks. It seems to crunch'em just fine, but sometimes it locks up--virus apps maybe? I suspect RAM but haven't really monitored so closely. If I want to run DAWs and soft synths, I've read that more RAM is helpful. The point about RAM and motherboard is a good one, though. I don't want to invest in components that will be outdated soon. I only have an OEM Win 7 Pro 64-bit copy, so going with 32-bit is the same as going with older RAM. I do want to upgrade the vid card and hoped to run dual monitors, but with all the other hoops to jump through, my only choice may be to troll craigslist for cheaper components. Saving up for a new system may be the best route, though.

Thanks for the insight. I appreciate the info!
!