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Upgrading socket 478 system

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January 25, 2012 1:42:45 PM

Hi,

I'm getting frustrated with my old (circa 2003) socket 478-based system. It's based off a HP DC530 motherboard (which is some kind of ASUS P4SD). Key particulars:
Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (SL6WJ) with stock CPU fan
2GB RAM (4x 512 modules)
Radeon 9250 AGP card
BENQ 4:3 monitor has both DVI-D and DSub
1x SATA DVD-RW
1x SATA HD
1x PATA HD
PS/2 Keyboard, USB Mouse, USB printer/scanner, USB wifi adapter
Windows 7 Ultimate
Antec BP350 powers supply
Antec SLK3700AMB case

This system is primarily a used as a home file server, some Office use and websurfing.

I'm looking for advice on the best way to upgrade. A friend's offered me an Intel E7400 chip (socket 775) without a fan/heatsink and 2GB RAM, so that'd be a start. My budget is rather limited at < $200. Shipping'd be to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and I'd like to reuse as much as possible. I'm really only targeting the guts (mobo/cpu) and not a complete new build.

I'm thinking the best bet is finding a socket 775 motherboard - and does the community have any suggestions on a solid, cheap option? I'd want a minumum 4x SATA connectors and some connectors for case fans (something my current motherboard lacks).
Or is it going to be more cost efficient to jump right to a newer motherboard/cpu combination, even for something that's not a gaming system?
Or would I get a better cost-to-performance improvement by upgrading components like the disk to an SSD?

Thanks!
Greg
January 25, 2012 2:40:38 PM

Hey Greg,

In your price range, I think you'd be best served scrapping the socket 478/775 and buying a modest AM3 setup. I'd suggest the following:

AMD x3 455 3.3 GHz Triple-Core Processor and Mushkin 4GB DDR3-1333 combo ($94)
ASUS M4A88T Motherboard $80

If you prefer, you could also squeeeeeeze an Intel upgrade path out of $200 with some really savvy corner-cutting (i3-2100, the cheapest H61 motherboard you can find, 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM).

The AM3 build will be $20-$30 cheaper and possibly multitask a bit better (though the per-cycle performance of the i3-2100 is better than the x3 455's, so it kind of balances out).

The Intel build will also perform admirably, and gives you a nice upgrade path down the road (though if you only upgrade every nine years, that's a moot point anyway :)  )
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January 25, 2012 4:17:40 PM

I agree with going for a complete upgrade.

Motherboard- $34 after rebate!!

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

8GB of GSkill DDR3 1600 $48.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Athlon II x3 455 Triple core 3.3Ghz. $81

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...


Comes to $194 with a $30 USD rebate. Not a bad system for the money.

Edit: Here is a much better motherboard for $65. No rebate but the orignal price of ~$195 still stands.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
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January 25, 2012 5:00:49 PM

With the technology that is in that computer you will have a very hard time doing an upgrade and you are better off going with a whole new build.
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January 25, 2012 5:41:14 PM

agreed, new pc will benefit more, you can hardly squeeze anything with that old build, better make a new one and add another 200-300$ for a full upgrade that can play any games at mid/high setting,
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January 25, 2012 7:20:45 PM

You can re-use your Case, drives, PSU, and peripherals. The Case itself isn't bad, though I never did like the door, even though it lacks some of the features of a more modern case. So basically you just need a motherboard like this one

ASRock G41M-S3 $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Of course if your friend is giving you DDR2 RAM then

ASRock G31M-S $42.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I say go for the DDR3 board and just buy more RAM, or you could go with a more expensive board with 4 RAM slots in order to use the RAM your friend gives you. Up to you.
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January 25, 2012 7:22:10 PM

I say you go with the G41 board and overclock the CPU. A good cooler and a mild overclock can give you a good bit of extra performance. Either way it's a great upgrade from what you have. By the way, I have a similar G41 board with an overclocked E2200.
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January 25, 2012 8:18:37 PM

Don't forget he has a AGP Video card.
775 upgrade will require a Replacement video card. And video card would have to be a LOW powered one as His PSU is ONLY 350 Watts
For home server (no gaming) the IGP incorporated in the SB I3 would be OK.
For AMD build would have to go with MB that has On-board video, or also purchase a Video card. And insure that PSU is adequate.

Personally, I'd go with the I3 and reuse what he can (Cost = CPU + MB + Ram)
The PSU is OK until adding a GPU
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January 25, 2012 11:37:20 PM

Chief, it's primarily a used as a home file server, some Office use and web surfing. I think he'll be o.k with the onboard IGP.
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January 26, 2012 1:38:40 AM

^ I thought that was what I said - "For home server (no gaming) the IGP incorporated in the SB I3 would be OK"

My reference to needing a Video card was to thoes that recommended MB and / or CPU and did NOT includ a video card, or a MB with on board IGP. (SB haqs IGP inside CPU).

If OP gets the free CPU and buys a 775 MB, he will also need a GPU (775 uses a PCI card, not a AGP card and that needs to be factored into cost, Although it's not a high value item (Non-gaming system) - probably $50
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!