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What components to buy to upgrade my old dinausor?

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July 7, 2002 2:45:20 PM

Hello, I really dont understand everything about computers, Bus, PIn, Ram, Ata, PCI, AGP...all does things mix me up and further more, I am francophone lol
my computer is a p2 400 w/ 128 sdram PC100 on a motherboard Asus p2b 440BX, 10 gig 5400 rpm Quantum Fireball (EX or EL) with a matrox millenium productiva g200 8 meg video card + 12 meg voodoo2, a recent dvd-rom SONY DDU1621, floppy 1.44 (3.5 inch disk), sound blaster 128 bit (I think PCI), with a scanner HP scanjet 6200C and altec lansing 2 speakers w/ subwoofer and a 19`screen .22NI S900 Compaq AND...what I have no idea about...................a power supply Antec PP-303X 300W frequency 60/50Hz voltage 115/230V.......and fan? which I have absolutly no idea about.

Now that you know that, i need to know what to upgrade to make it the cheapest, most performant and most reliable so i dont regret in 6 months but it is compatible with what I`ll have. I want it fast but I`m not a super big gamer...(maybe I would if my compu was good so...I want to be able to run warcraft3 and doom3...whatever, keep my options open)...by the way, I need prices to if possible but make sure you tell me if it`s in american $$ because, I`m from the beautiful city of Montreal, where we use...Canadian $ :)  and my budget is very low. I was also thinking of upgrading a little at a time starting with hard disk....because i need space ASAP, but i`m short on $ and waiting will give me better stuff for cheaper. If i do a little at a time though, it must be compatible maybe with both old companents and future ones so maybe you can suggest what would be my priorities.

I was thinking of Athlon 1900+ or P4 1.6 (but not really celeron or duron...except if you guyz convince me), mother boards...i dont know, probably a standard one excpet if you have a good one to suggest but i dont want a war machine, just a decent computer that will last a while and that I will like using :)  Then, I thought of 256 or 512 DDR rams instead of my S-H-I-T that I have but I`m not sure if 512 is worth the price....(of course if you have unlimited budget...but it`s not my case) and......266mhz or 333mhz? (is it really that important to have 512@333?...or would 256@333 be better than 512@266 or simply 256@266 would be enough?)...keep my keyboard, screen, mouse, speakers, sound card, dvd-rom, bow, floppy drive, HD (but add one more), keep fan and..................power supply??????
I was also considering to finish my upgrade (keep the gaming stuff for last...with a video card, probably a gforce 2 mx400 (100$ CAN)...about as much as i want to put for gaming (unless you have something definatly better for not much, so it can last a little longer and be used faster)...and, what I want to buy RIGHT NOW, that need to be compatible with what you suggest but also what I already have (which I dont know if it is possible)...a HD 80gig western Digital OR Maxtor @ 7200 rpm.

If you have good web sites, places to buy stuff in canada or by mail, plz feel free to help me.
Now, I really need help, because I have a hard time trusting sellsman, my father is one and.....hehehehe, by the way, they all contradict themselves and like to mix me up so i dont understand anymore. Need arguments, good deals, nice performance and the order in which I should buy the components.
And plz, no smart ass saying: " buy yourself a new computer!! jurk face lol"

What I have found so far is from a store named MicroBytes (www.microbytes.com) in canadian $...but tell me what you can plz...i really depend on you, everyone has been refferring me this web site as top one to help me.....before anandtech.com so....I count on you plz. I would appreciate a lot any help on this matter plz. The urgency of this message is about the hard drive....but if i buy one and then, I buy the rest and it didn`t work together....i`ll cry, I`m just a student paying his depts and student loans and I can`t afford to buy top machine at top price and get screwed...
thanks and sorry for this novel message I just wrote...
by the way, how`s my english for a francophone boy?...getting better by studying in an english college :) 

Philippe Bertrand
plz answer fast...thanks.........It`s urgent for me to have more...dead memory :) 
July 9, 2002 5:35:26 PM

Guess what bro you are in luck. I have the same motherboard as you. Bought it 4 years ago and that machine still kicks with the rest of the pack. First things first. I don't know if you have already updated your BIOS for this motherboard to the latest 1012 version. If you haven't do so. You will need it to support the first Pentium IIIs slot 1 CPUs. The Highest speed that the motherboard will take is a Pentium III 600MHz. I think you can even up this if you use a Pin Grid Array Converter to Slot 1 for Higher clock CPUs up to 800MHz, but I think this requires overclocking the PCI bus which may not be good. I have a Pentium III 550MHz on mine and it still kicks a$$. I have upgraded the memory to 512MB and installed a ATA66 Promise Card for maximun hard drive efficiency. Believe me this makes a big difference in loading applications. As for the video card. Since this motherboard can only access the AGP port at 2x I would recommend getting a GeForce 3 TI 500. I wouldn't go for the latest and greatest because it would be a lost of dollar bills for you. As for your hard drive it has to go. Get a 40 GB WD or 60GB IBM 7200 RPM Drive. You need to change this hard drive cause it is also a bottleneck for your machine.

So here are my recommendations:
-Get BIOS for ASUS P2B 440Bx Motherboard updated to 1012

-Get the fastest CPU possible for the Motherboard
--Preferrably a 600MHz Pentium III Slot 1 CPU

-Get at least 512MBs of Micron Memory PC100 or PC133

-Up the video card. I still have a TNT2 Ultra and I can play Return to Castle Wolfenstein without a problem or slow down at 1024x768 at highest settings.

-Get a Promise ATA66 or above Controller Card. Getting a new hard drive and not getting this is out of the question.

-Get a bigger, faster hard drive
--Preferrably IBM Deskstar 60GB 7200RPM or
Western Digital 40GB 7200RPM

My name may be Jesus, but don't go around asking for miracles.
July 9, 2002 5:57:55 PM

OOPS!!!

Sorry I should have read your article a little further. It seems that you want to upgrade everything for as little as possible. Ok here are a few suggestions.

-Motherboard: ECS K7S5A Recommended by tomshardware.com as a great motherboard for K7 CPUs(Durons or AthlonXPs) at a very cheap price. US Price is about $60.00

-CPU Duron or AthlonXP to 2200+ and above. These prices range from a Duron 1.2GHz at US $62 to AthlonXP 2000+ at $185

-256MB DDR-266 should be sufficient and that on the market is about $50 to $60 US dollars.

-Video card I would recommend a GeForce3 TI200 budgetted or TI500 which is a little more pricy. MSI TI200 is about $140 US Dollars MSI TI500 is about $180 US Dollars.

-My recommendations for a hard drive are a 60 or 80 GB IBM Deskstar. They are probably the cheapest in the market and the most reliable by far. I would choose them over Western Digital and Way OVER Maxtor anyday of the year. 60GB is about $85 to $89 US Dollars. 80GB is about $95 to $99 US Dollars.

My name may be Jesus, but don't go around asking for miracles.
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July 10, 2002 10:31:25 PM

for a video card I would reccomend the chaintech geforce 3 ti 20 with 128mbddr ram for 135 dollars. plus it kicks ass when you overclock it.

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August 16, 2002 8:06:55 PM

I think www.newegg.com will sell to canadian people, but I think they have to call on the phone and negotite the prices. They have about the best prices in the US. You could always go across the border and get a mailbox in the us and come and get it when it arrives. I wonder if there is a service like that for Canandians who buy online to just forward the goods. The main problem is probably the conversion to US dollars and the increased cost of shipping.

As far as an upgrade goes make sure you get an ATA 100/133 hard drive Maxtor is the only company that sells the ATA 133 drives. A faster hard drive can make a big difference.

For Memory I think www.crucial.com may have shipping to Canada. They sell good memory. In the US we do not have to pay shipping.

On the cheap, you could upgrade to a PIII motherboard and use a Cerleron 1.3 or 1.4 Tulatin Core with the 256k L2 Cache. I built one on an Asus TUSL2-C motherboard and used my old PC100 memory and a Celeron 1.2 Gig boxed CPU. It was a great impovement from my old AMD K6-2 300 which is about the same as a PII 300. I purchased them for about $200 (us) 6 months ago. I also purchased a Visiontek Geforce2 GTS-V vidoe card for $48.00 (us). This is a great deal for this OEM Video-out-only video card. Plays good 3D Games.

If you go any higher than that you have to buy new memory also. You can probably get a Pentium 4 or an AMD motherboard for a little more or about the same price. You would need to buy at least 128 Meg of RAM of PC2100 or PC2700 DDR RAM. That adds another $35-$100 (US) to the price depending on the RAM you buy.

If you Upgrade make absolutely sure you have an ATX computer case. Otherwise you need a new one. www.newegg.com sells a wide variety of computer cases from around $50 - $80 (US) I like the Enermax model for about $58 (US). It has a fan on both the top of the case and the side if you want to use one there to cool the case. However, for a PIII case you do not need much cooling.
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