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Upgrading an old system. Help please.

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August 28, 2012 2:04:02 PM

Hey guys, I have an old computer with these specs:


Pentium 4 515 2.93 GHz

2.00 GB Single-Channel DDR2 @ 266MHz

Intel GMA 3100/ Intel G33/G31 Chipset Family

MSI G31M3-L V2 MS-7529 Socket LGA 775 Motherboard

HP w2007 (1680x1050@60Hz)

40GB Maxtor Maxtor 6E040L0 ATA Device (PATA)

117GB Western Digital WDC WD1200JD-22HBB0 ATA Device (SATA)

NU DVDRW DDW-081 DVD drive

350W PSU


I've recently found a Core 2 Quad Q6600 for $85 and I'm wondering if it's worth upgrading this old system. The motherboard has no overclocking capabilities. After this I will add a graphics card for gaming at 1680x1050. So my questions are:

What are your thoughts on this upgrade?
Is it worth upgrading a lga 775 system?
Will there be any bottlenecking with modern graphics cards like a HD 7850 with a Q6600?
Will I need to upgrade my psu as well?

Thanks.

More about : upgrading system

August 28, 2012 2:58:14 PM

This is a hard question to answer since the Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q6600 would be a major upgrade over the old Intel Pentium® 4 515 2.93GHz. The problem is that by current standards both are behind the times. Even at 2.4Ghz the current generation of Intel Core processors would outperform it by up 30%. The problem is that current generation of processors are running much faster (in some cases 1GHz or more).

So if you are extremely budget limited then it would be a major improvement to go up to the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 but if you can come up with the budget and move up to a 2nd generation or 3rd generation Intel Core i5 you would see an even bigger performance boost, including not bottlenecking current video cards.
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August 28, 2012 3:25:52 PM

The answer to your question is entirely dependant upon your financial situation. Personally, I'd have to be pretty broke to consider this a significant upgrade. You already have one severely outdated computer. Why spend money on another?
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August 28, 2012 4:29:14 PM

IntelEnthusiast said:
This is a hard question to answer since the Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q6600 would be a major upgrade over the old Intel Pentium® 4 515 2.93GHz. The problem is that by current standards both are behind the times. Even at 2.4Ghz the current generation of Intel Core processors would outperform it by up 30%. The problem is that current generation of processors are running much faster (in some cases 1GHz or more).

So if you are extremely budget limited then it would be a major improvement to go up to the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 but if you can come up with the budget and move up to a 2nd generation or 3rd generation Intel Core i5 you would see an even bigger performance boost, including not bottlenecking current video cards.


Ok, assuming I reuse as much as I can, how much would the upgrade to an i5 3450 cost? I need to get a new motherboard, and DDR3 ram right? Do I need to buy anything else? I'll stick with the integrated graphics.
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August 28, 2012 6:08:16 PM

I'd also like to ask if newer motherboards have ide ports because one of my hard drives and and my optical drive is ide.
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August 28, 2012 6:21:42 PM

Most of the new ones don't. Non of the FM1 or lga 1155 motherboards that I know of have Ide port. But a lot of the AM3 and AM3+ motherboards have IDE/PATA port. I wouldn't worry about using your old ddr2 mem cause right now you can get 2gig of ram for under $15. I would go with a cheap motherboard and an AMD FX-8120 8 core for $160
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August 28, 2012 8:08:09 PM

shafe88 said:
Most of the new ones don't. Non of the FM1 or lga 1155 motherboards that I know of have Ide port. But a lot of the AM3 and AM3+ motherboards have IDE/PATA port. I wouldn't worry about using your old ddr2 mem cause right now you can get 2gig of ram for under $15. I would go with a cheap motherboard and an AMD FX-8120 8 core for $160


How does AMD FX-8120 compare to an i5 3450 assuming that there will be no overclocking involved?
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August 28, 2012 9:16:13 PM

just a word of warning on the q6600, your board only supports the 95w version.
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August 28, 2012 9:28:34 PM

Potato13 said:
How does AMD FX-8120 compare to an i5 3450 assuming that there will be no overclocking involved?
Your not going to notice much of a difference in every day task. Even when gaming the I5 is only slightly faster in gaming than the FX but by only 1-8 fps. On newegg you can get a FX-8120+motherboard with ide+2gig of ddr3 of ram for about $210 compared to about $260 for I5 3450+motherboard+ram. So the money saved going with the FX-8120 can go for a decent graphics card.
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August 28, 2012 10:00:00 PM

If you can pick up a Microcenter you can save some money but if all you did was order from Newegg.com you would be looking at $200 for the Intel® Core™ i5-3450, $135 for the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 and $45 for 8GB of G. Skill DDR 3 1600 memory.

The Intel Core i5-3570K is about the best gaming processor on the market it and it going for $230 and it will allow you to overclock it with a good 3rd party HSF (heatsink/fan).
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August 28, 2012 10:33:15 PM

IntelEnthusiast said:
If you can pick up a Microcenter you can save some money but if all you did was order from Newegg.com you would be looking at $200 for the Intel® Core™ i5-3450, $135 for the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 and $45 for 8GB of G. Skill DDR 3 1600 memory.

The Intel Core i5-3570K is about the best gaming processor on the market it and it going for $230 and it will allow you to overclock it with a good 3rd party HSF (heatsink/fan).
I don't think he plans on overclocking and the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 doesn't have IDE ports. I don't think it's worth spending $70 more for the I5-3750K when their aint much difference in real world performance between the two. Today most games are more GPU intensive than they are cpu intensive so when your on a budget it's better to go with a little bit cheaper processor and take the money saved and get a really decent graphics card.
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August 29, 2012 5:56:21 PM

Yeah, I don't want to overclock and I want to use the stock cooler. I have decided on getting an i5 3450.

Can somebody recommend a cheap motherboard for someone who will not overclock or use multiple GPU's? Also, will my extremely old 350W PSU work with the new motherboard? I also have another extremely old 400W psu but both are extremely old and kind of big.
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September 6, 2012 11:58:02 PM

Bump lol
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Best solution

September 7, 2012 3:13:34 AM

Re: your PSU...depends. How old is *old* exactly? Are we talking "most of the power is going to the 3.3v and 5v rails" old or "most of the power is going to the 12v but its been used heavily" old? Of course you are running a late model Pentium 4 right now and pretty much anything Core 2 or later will be less taxing on your PSU than that thing. Still, you have to look into what a modern video card will draw out from it.

Personally I would look into a decent (and well reviewed) +450W PSU before I go buying multiple-hundreds-of-dollars worth of electronics components. Or in fact any other upgrades, at any price for that matter.

---

BTW as far as this upgrade thing, it really depends on your budget. An i5 3450 is going to set you back at least $125 used...more like $150 to $200 though. On NewEgg right now the 3450 is ~$200 NIB.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Add on a Socket 1155 motherboard and that's at least an extra $50. For example (the cheapest I could find NIB on NewEgg that was Socket 1155, no comments on quality but it is generally positively reviewed) the ASRock H61M-DGS...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
...and that one doesn't have IDE. So you are out a HDD and your DVD drive.

The 40GB drive isn't the worst loss in the world to be honest (heck it's barely suitable for a long-term Windows XP install), but since you need a DVD drive to install your OS of choice (presumably Windows 7) that's at least another $20. Unless you want a motherboard with IDE; the cheapest ones are ~$100 on NewEgg and have mixed reviews. The only one that doesn't and has generally positive feedback (the ASRock Z68 PROFESSIONAL GEN3) is over $260. Therefore, unless you are really attached to that DVD drive, it would be cheaper to get a new SATA optical drive.

So...200+50+20, so $270 so far, and thats without a new SATA D: drive, which would add around another $60-75 on to the tab (if not more for truly substantial storage). Plus about $40-75 for a new PSU (which is really the most critical purchase I feel you can make at the moment TBH).

So we are up to $385 (CPU + MB + new HDD + SATA DVD + PSU). And thats before we even get to the video card. And Windows. You can expect to pay $200-250 for Windows 7 Pro retail, although there are other routes out there for "7" that are cheaper than that...either a really good deal on retail or an OEM version. I would strongly recommend a retail copy, It's a bit expensive though so I recommend shopping around for a deal from someone who is a reputable vendor.

Video card is a bit more subjective. Personally I use NVIDIA cards as I do video work, and Adobe Premiere likes (at least up until recently, haven't checked if AMD's compute changes have changed Adobe's support) NVIDIA hardware. So I can only speak for those particular brand of cards, but there are some fine AMD products out there as well. I will leave that research up to you but I would expect to pay at least $175 for anything modern and gaming-friendly, and more like $250+ for real performance.

Oh, I forgot RAM. +$40. Ish.

So if you want an overhaul, expect to pay $700-900 for all NIB stuff; without really shopping around and avoiding used (gently or not). So is that something that you can comfortably budget for?

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(ADDENDUM) Alternatively, a Core 2 Q9550 is about $50-100 used on eBay, and a Q9650 is $75-150. I have a QX9650 in one of my machines; inferior thermals to the Q9650 generally but it's performance is acceptable for my needs with that particular machine (standard def video editing and gaming at 1440x900 with a GTX 570). Also for consumer-grade Core 2 CPUs I would not bother with anything besides a "Wolfdale" or "Yorkfield" processor in this day in age, with a preference to the Yorkfield line unless thermals or energy consumption are a concern.

Of course if I where to go for a more-modest upgrade path like this, I would (again) upgrade the PSU before buying ANY new parts. And also check the motherboard for bad capacitors. If they are starting to go I would not bother with maintaining that build (who wants to improve a motherboard that's nearing death?), and instead slowly work up on the aforementioned upgrade route.

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(VERY LAST THOUGHT) Finally, I also noticed that your MB uses PCI-e x16 v1; not useless by any means but you will not be able to get the full bandwidth of quite a few modern video cards with that expansion slot. A GTX 280 or a GTX 560TI (or really any card similar in specification to those two) wouldn't be jammed up too bad but really high-octane release (as of the time of posting) like the GTX 660TI (or better) or the latter grades of the HD7000 series will be less tolerant to the potential bottleneck; certainly cards that could really do with a v2 slot or better.

LordHaHa
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September 7, 2012 6:38:05 AM

This topic has been moved from the section CPU & Components to section Systems by Mousemonkey
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September 14, 2012 5:38:17 PM

Best answer selected by potato13.
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