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Any parts of older PC worth keeping?

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August 16, 2011 2:24:51 PM

I have never built a home system, but would like to with the kids, as a learning experience. I have done a lot of research, and have focused in on what I would like to ultimately end up with, but I would like to save some money along the way.

I currently have a Gateway DX4640-UB101A (which has a pentium dual core 2.2 ghz cpu), with Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium loaded on a 340 GB SATA II HDD. It has a micro ATX case, with a DVD Burner, and a 15-in-1 memory card reader and two USB 2.0 ports on the front.

What I would like to do, to save money, is keep as many of the above components as possible for now.

I am thinking of getting:

1. New Motherboard (GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard)

2. New CPU (Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K)

3. New RAM (G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL)

4. New Power Supply (Antec EarthWatts EA-500D Green 500W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply)

My question is, if I replace the parts in my old Gateway, with the new parts listed above, what will the major issues be? Will the system bootup with the current Windows Vista Operating System installed? Will I have to modify any BIOS settings?

Down the road (2-3 mos.), when I can save up some more money, I would like to then add a 1 TB SATA 6.0 gbs HDD, a 64 GB SATA 6.0 gbs SSD (to take advantage of the Smart Response SSD capabilities of the motherboard), and upgrade to Windows 7, and maybe a better video card, depending on the onboard video capabilities of the cpu/motherboard.

I am not really a heavy duty gamer, or anything. Primary use is surfing the net, but down the road, I may want to try a triple monitor setup, with an eyefinity gpu, and then try some games, but that isn't critical.

Any advice regarding these plans is appreciated.

More about : parts older worth keeping

a b B Homebuilt system
August 16, 2011 9:20:06 PM

Hi,

"Windows Vista 64-bit Home Premium" will eventually be a problem and need to be upgraded. Maybe to Win8 when it comes out. Short term you will be prompted by Vista to allow it to call microsoft over the internet. Microsoft will automatically enable it for your new motherboard (or at least they did for me. By strict terms of OEM they don't have to). Your recovery media from gateway will not work, so make a full disk image with a program like Acronis true image before the kids require you to do a ground-up rebuild.

"Will I have to modify any BIOS settings?" The old BIOS settings go away with the old motherboard. The new BIOS settings will come on the new MB. Default settings should work fine.

Case: Sometimes vendors do silly things with cases, and then do silly things to make parts fit in the cases. A new case (e.g. antec three hundred - $60) may become necessary. I'd wait and see at build time if you needed it. Or look in your current case and see how things are laid out. At a minimum, spend the time with your current case to trace which wires goes to power button, speakers, etc. they may not be labeled like they would be on a retail case.

What were you planning to do for video? The integrated video in 2500K won't game.

re "Primary use is surfing the net" Then your current E2200 based system seems good. In blind testing, your old system with a fast disk (WD caviar black, spinpoint f3 = $50-$100) and a video card like a HD 5670 ($70) might be similar to your proposed system for displaying web pages with flash graphics... The disk and video can be added without changing power supply (you have 300 watts) or MB, and might be a good first project for the kids. Replace the boot drive with the fast drive, add in the graphics card. If it's fun, re-use these parts and the buy the list you have above to build your new PC.

replacing a boot drive with a new drive: Get a new bare drive. Unplug PC, open case, Pull the SATA and Power connector off the CDROM drive and attach to new bare drive. (sensible people close the case at this point, i don't usually becasue teh bare drive is jsut hanign from its cables). Plug pc in and boot. Disk manufacturers like WD have tools that you can download for free to clone the operating system from your boot drive to the new drive. The tool takes care of all necessary formatting, partitioning, etc. Once the drive is clone, shutdown, unplug your old boot drive, put the new one in it's spot, return the sata and power cable to the CD drive and you are done. The new boot drive should do everything a bit faster than the old one. (boot, launch applications, page, anti-virus, multi-task....) plus it will have a bit more room.

aside: if you do get started with games look into STEAM. You buy the games there, you don't need DVDs for the game so nothing to lose or get scratched. No cdkeys. very nice. google it == a billion people use it. http://store.steampowered.com/
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August 17, 2011 3:01:23 PM

Thank you for your sound advice. I hadn't planned on video until down the road, as I thought the 2500K was supposed to have pretty good video.

Is the 2500K video at least good enough for old games like Age of Empires, Axis and Allies, or Port Royale 2 (which is mostly what I play)? Maybe I should get a video card right away, as you suggest.

What about the drive you suggest, is faster than the drive I have? The current drive is a 320 GB 7200 RPM SATA II hard drive, which is 3.0 GB/s speed, right? Isn't that the same as the drives you suggest? Or is it their access time?

As I mentioned in my first post, I would maybe like to try some different games, if I get a computer that will do it. I have seen triple monitor Eyefinity setups on Youtube, that look pretty cool, and I have three monitors I could use, so maybe I will start shooting for something like that ... I just didn't want my first build to be something where I deystroy $1,000.00 worth of stuff, or something.

Thanks again for the advice.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2011 6:35:57 PM

lol, agree integrated 2500K graphics should be able to run this. Port Royale 2: Recommended System Specs
Windows 2000 or XP
Pentium IV (or compatible) 1.6 GHz CPU or higher
512 MB RAM
700 MB free HDD Space
DirectX9 3D Graphic card with 64 MB RAM
DirectX9 Sound card
DirectX 9 installed

2500K, at low settings, can even play some modern games.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

re disk drives. "320 GB 7200 RPM SATA II hard drive, which is 3.0 GB/s speed," is good. Disks work by spinning a disk under a floating head that reads the disk. The performance of the disk is (1) how fast it spins. 7200 is perfect. (2) how dense the data is -- the denser the less time it takes to read because the disk has to spin less to move the data under the head 320GB is not dense. (3) the time it takes to move the head to the right spot to read the disk. This varies with the drive, faster = higher power consumption and costlier parts (4) the electronics on the disk and the interface transfer speed (3gb/sec sata 2 is good). (5) disks use RAM to cache data, especially writes. Your disk is fine. I was looking for an upgrade that you could do that was not jumping into a full mb swap in an OEM case with the kids watching. A WD black or spinpoint f3 will be faster than the disk you have because they will move the head faster, are more dense, have a larger cache and have better electronics. However your disk, sata 2 7200 rpm, is fine.

Enjoy build.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 17, 2011 7:16:42 PM

gfisher00 said:
Thank you for your sound advice. I hadn't planned on video until down the road, as I thought the 2500K was supposed to have pretty good video.

Is the 2500K video at least good enough for old games like Age of Empires, Axis and Allies, or Port Royale 2 (which is mostly what I play)? Maybe I should get a video card right away, as you suggest.

What about the drive you suggest, is faster than the drive I have? The current drive is a 320 GB 7200 RPM SATA II hard drive, which is 3.0 GB/s speed, right? Isn't that the same as the drives you suggest? Or is it their access time?

As I mentioned in my first post, I would maybe like to try some different games, if I get a computer that will do it. I have seen triple monitor Eyefinity setups on Youtube, that look pretty cool, and I have three monitors I could use, so maybe I will start shooting for something like that ... I just didn't want my first build to be something where I deystroy $1,000.00 worth of stuff, or something.

Thanks again for the advice.


Two more additional notes to keep in mind. How old is the 320 GB HD? If it is in the 3 to 5 yr old range, drive failure is a possibility in the near future. I'm not saying that it has to be replaced right this minute since it still works, but it should still be recognized as a possibility and you might need to set $50 aside for a replacement

As for Eyefinity setups, you might want to do a bit more research. I know the first generation of eyefinity cards could not use just any 3 monitors of similar size. Due to engineering limitations, one of the 3 monitors had to use a display port connector, and of course it would happen that display port connectors tend to only be used on higher end monitors, not something you'd likely find on a cheaper monitor you may have set aside somewhere. This limitation may have been removed from later generations of ATI cards so that's why I recommend doing a bit of research to see if it will work with the monitor hardware you have available.
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August 17, 2011 8:05:39 PM

I have played around with trying to set up eyefinity for my pc. I have 2 5770's in crossfire and two monitors. I burrowed my dads monitor when he was at work for this experiment. What I found out that you do need to use the displayport to get more than two monitors to work and the monitors all need to be the same resolution.

Lastly I was wondering what cockpit that is in your sig?
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