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?
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 200W PSU
40gb IDE HDD
CD and CD-RW drives (1 ea)
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.
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.