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Upgrade IBM ThinkCentre m50 8187 or New Build?

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June 10, 2011 7:58:00 PM

First off, hello all! This is my first time posting here but I've been perusing for a while (for personal interests, not business as below). I'd say I'm above average when it comes to PC knowledge, but I'm hoping some of you gurus and enthusiasts would be willing to help me out.

I need to either build a new PC slowly over time or upgrade this old work machine (hopefully I can do both); IBM ThinkCentre m50 8187 primarily to run AutoCAD 2007 LT and AlphaCAM V8 (CNC programming CAD/CAM software) and of course the normal MS Office stuff, internet, etc... It's a work computer so I need to stay on the safe side, but I work for family so the rigidity of corporate regulations aren't as strict. So, if I can over-clock safely, I'd give it or other suggestions a try.

Current configuration:
Windows XP Pro sp3
Intel Pentium 4 3.00GHz (not hyper threaded, can I / do I want to change this?)
3 gigs DDR 2x1, 2x.5
NVidia GeForce 6200
40GB HDD 7200rpm
More Details: http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/lenovo-thinkcentre-m50...

Just this week I began to hear the hard drive making odd noises during virus scans (everything's backed up, files and ISO w/ recovery CD). I got approval to get a new hard drive around $210, so the first decision is HDD or SSD?

Can this machine even properly handle a SSD without upgrading the motherboard and OS? I believe the MB does have 2 SATA connections from reading earlier. And I've read several articles on how to make Windows XP SSD friendly. From reviews and ratings I currently prefer the Intel 320 120GB model.

Approximate Purchase Date: Next week

Budget Range: ~$200 for new storage drive, $500 for new system all at once, hard to say what a budget would be if I could upgrade slowly until I had a "newbuild."

System Usage from Most to Least Important: AlphaCAM, AutoCAD, MS Office, internet

Parts Not Required: monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, DVD burner (could I use any other components from this PC in a new build? Power supply, cooling fan, etc?)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: none

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: SSD if it makes sense

Overclocking: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments: AlphaCAM only uses a single core when run on a multi-core CPU (I have it on my personal laptop, Qosmio X505-Q896, i7-740QM) Regardless of the system, CAM runs into problems when "nesting" (optimizing parts on a sheet for best yield) and multi-drilling (optimizing machine movement when drilling small holes in parts). Either function can take several hours at present configuration. I make a point to begin multi-drilling at the end of the day when possible and let it run overnight. So, in the future I'd trade a quad-core for a dual core that has a faster clock speed per core.

Thanks in advance for any advice, and hopefully I haven't made a newbie mistake by overlooking the perfect thread that's already out there.

Cooper
July 6, 2011 4:23:15 PM

Cooper_81 said:
First off, hello all! This is my first time posting here but I've been perusing for a while (for personal interests, not business as below). I'd say I'm above average when it comes to PC knowledge, but I'm hoping some of you gurus and enthusiasts would be willing to help me out.

I need to either build a new PC slowly over time or upgrade this old work machine (hopefully I can do both); IBM ThinkCentre m50 8187 primarily to run AutoCAD 2007 LT and AlphaCAM V8 (CNC programming CAD/CAM software) and of course the normal MS Office stuff, internet, etc... It's a work computer so I need to stay on the safe side, but I work for family so the rigidity of corporate regulations aren't as strict. So, if I can over-clock safely, I'd give it or other suggestions a try.

Current configuration:
Windows XP Pro sp3
Intel Pentium 4 3.00GHz (not hyper threaded, can I / do I want to change this?)
3 gigs DDR 2x1, 2x.5
NVidia GeForce 6200
40GB HDD 7200rpm
More Details: http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/lenovo-thinkcentre-m50...

Just this week I began to hear the hard drive making odd noises during virus scans (everything's backed up, files and ISO w/ recovery CD). I got approval to get a new hard drive around $210, so the first decision is HDD or SSD?

Can this machine even properly handle a SSD without upgrading the motherboard and OS? I believe the MB does have 2 SATA connections from reading earlier. And I've read several articles on how to make Windows XP SSD friendly. From reviews and ratings I currently prefer the Intel 320 120GB model.

Approximate Purchase Date: Next week

Budget Range: ~$200 for new storage drive, $500 for new system all at once, hard to say what a budget would be if I could upgrade slowly until I had a "newbuild."

System Usage from Most to Least Important: AlphaCAM, AutoCAD, MS Office, internet

Parts Not Required: monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, DVD burner (could I use any other components from this PC in a new build? Power supply, cooling fan, etc?)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: none

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: SSD if it makes sense

Overclocking: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments: AlphaCAM only uses a single core when run on a multi-core CPU (I have it on my personal laptop, Qosmio X505-Q896, i7-740QM) Regardless of the system, CAM runs into problems when "nesting" (optimizing parts on a sheet for best yield) and multi-drilling (optimizing machine movement when drilling small holes in parts). Either function can take several hours at present configuration. I make a point to begin multi-drilling at the end of the day when possible and let it run overnight. So, in the future I'd trade a quad-core for a dual core that has a faster clock speed per core.

Thanks in advance for any advice, and hopefully I haven't made a newbie mistake by overlooking the perfect thread that's already out there.

Cooper

I found my IBM just like yours in the dumpster of my apt building. I took it inside to take a look and lo-n-behold the only thing wrong with it was the OS. I reformatted and BAM! works like a charm. So I gave it to my 9yr old daughter. Not to shabby huh? Anyways, I'm also in the market to upgrade it. Maybe we can help each other? I would like to bump up the current CPU. I stuck in some 512x2 sticks in so I"m good there. Do you have any suggestions? I think I can drop in any 478 socket CPU? Right or wrong.
July 6, 2011 4:50:06 PM

Encrypted,

I started another thread for this desktop when I committed to rebuilding it, motherboard up. You can find it here.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/313899-31-installing-...

Please note that the parts I started with in that post, were NOT what I ended up selecting, for many reasons, mainly my lack of knowledge. Striker, from that post was VERY helpful.

I ended up spending about $600 and can say it was worth every penny... but that's from a business productivity point of view. Certain parts of programming our CNC machine literally went from 2 hours waiting on the old PC, to finished in 35 seconds!

What I decided to go with...

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard (this one's open box for pricing on NewEgg)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel 320Series 120GB SSD (not the best value, see other thread)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

& a 480 Watt power supply,and of course Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Not sure if that helps. I don't have a clue what chip the original MB takes.

Good Luck!
July 6, 2011 6:37:40 PM

There's a Intel P4 2.4GHz in it
!