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My mom's Dell Dimension 2300 upgrading for first time, advice needed

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August 25, 2011 10:12:56 AM

Hello,

I love this website and I'm really glad I found out about it. I have a project I hope I can get some advice about.

My mom uses her dimension 2300 for listening to music on youtube, checking her email, and reading news stories. So she doesn't need anything too fancy. I'd just like to give her a smoother online experience. Since I'm too cheap/in debt, I would just like to do what I can to the relatively sturdy little tank she has. It's got to be ten years old and I can't remember anything ever going out on it.

Currently is has a 1.8 GHz Pentium four with a 400 MHz FSB. I can't remember the cache size off the top of my head but it's either 256kb or 512kb.

This cheapy system only has a single system fan. There's a fan in the PSU as well, but the CPU is cooled only by moving air over the CPU utilizing a big green fairing extending from the fan blowing out the back and over the CPU.

So my question is which processors can I choose from if I know a good local source for 478 socket pentium fours? Can I only choose one with an external clock speed of 400 MHz? When adding a fan and a heat sink, can I use one of those more powerful like a 2.8 GHz processor? Will I need to upgrade my PSU if I upgrade my CPU?


Current Specs:

P4 1.8 GHz 400 MHz FSB
Intel 845GL for video (DMA 32mb)
1 GB pc133 SDRAM from Edge Tech (2 x 512mb) -- (max total and max per slot)
Removed all PCI cards except LAN -- (no integrated ethernet on mobo)
Standard MOBO
Standard 200W PSU
40gb IDE HDD
CD and CD-RW drives (1 ea)
Floppy

Running Dell OEM xp upgraded to SP3

Am I right in assuming that the bottle neck of this system, and given its light weight duties, would certainly be the processing speed? Is the way to improve the FSB through upgrading to a better motherboard? Does the following schedule of upgrades seem to be in the best logical order? Did I leave anything out?

A while back I bought her a 15" Gateway branded VGA LCD monitor just to clear off the desktop of that big dinosaur Dell CRT.
Two months ago I bought her a Dell brand Subwoofer that worked with her altec lansing Dell branded speakers
Last month I upgraded the RAM from 384mb to 1024mb.
This month I'd like to upgrade her processor for another more powerful 478 socket P4. I'd also like to get a heat sink and cpu fan. Is P4 with Hyper Threading an option I can maybe upgrade to?
Next month I am thinking I would like to buy her a 19+ inch screen.

Do I need a more powerfule PSU at this point?

At that point, is there anything else I can do? Or is it that point at which I should start saving up to buy her a netbook for Christmas so she can get online from anywhere. Or should I stick with the Dimension 2300 and try to frankenstein some newer components like a motherboard with PCI express or AGP 8x at least?

Thanks for the advice, I haven't ever done anything like this before and reading information online just doesn't help you with finding out what other people have had success with and what to avoid.

Thanks friends,

Michael

Best solution

August 25, 2011 10:36:23 AM

in all seriousness there is very little point in upgrading the machine. From my perspective the bottleneck would be the graphics, even web browsing needs a fair bit of gaphics these days.

I would suggest building an entirely new system, if you really had to bottom out http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I... this is $240 dollars and it would be infinitely better than the old system that she is using.

Or

A little bit better would be this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

$360 dollars and a big jump from the other system, only thing is that the case and psu are generic crap.
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September 9, 2011 4:16:54 AM

Best answer selected by MikeyBear87.
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September 9, 2011 4:18:14 AM

bombat1994 said:
in all seriousness there is very little point in upgrading the machine. From my perspective the bottleneck would be the graphics, even web browsing needs a fair bit of gaphics these days.

I would suggest building an entirely new system, if you really had to bottom out http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I... this is $240 dollars and it would be infinitely better than the old system that she is using.

Or

A little bit better would be this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

$360 dollars and a big jump from the other system, only thing is that the case and psu are generic crap.



I decided to get that 240 dollar one. I have about 175 dollars set aside for it at the moment so I am almost there.

Do you think it would be practical to use my mom' s old dell as a NAS?
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September 17, 2011 11:45:56 PM

MikeyBear87 said:
Best answer selected by MikeyBear87.

n
nThe biggest bottleneck in the Dell 2300 is it's 1GB maximum PC133 SDRAM slow speed memory.
nThe second is the video memory which I believe is 32mb shared with the onboard RAM.
nThe 200 watt power supply may not be enough to run even some 128mb PCI video cards.
nA larger P4 CPU could be installed, but the performance increase would not be significant to handle todays internet graphic demands what with all the pop-up ads, etc..
nFor the cost of investing in all the upgrades of a video card, larger CPU, and possible power supply, you would be better off looking for a newer used PC such as a Dell Dimension 2400 (cases are the same) which uses faster CPUs and faster DDR RAM, up to 2GB.
nThey can be had in used condition on auction / selling sites for well under $100.
nThis info is based on my experience trying to get my daughter's 2300 upgraded.
nI instead gave her a Dell Optiplex GX60 SDT with a Celeron 2.8 CPU and 768mb DDR266 RAM.
nIt runs circles around the old 2300.
nTotal investment was $50.
nI hope this helps.
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