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I don't get it, Powerleap Adaptors, Why?

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January 12, 2003 9:30:13 PM

Reading THG's recent article about powerleap adaptors, I don't understand why would you choose to upgrade a computer using it. If I read correctly, to upgrade your old slot 1 system to a 1.4ghz celeron would cost $160. Isn't it cheaper just to replace the processor and the motherboard? A Duron 1.3ghz Retail is only around $50 and a low cost socket A motherboard costs below $70. According to THG, a Duron 1300 would perform just as well as a Celeron 1400. So for $120 you would get an equal system, whats the point of powerleap?

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January 12, 2003 9:51:18 PM

*Shrugs* Some people love intel and wouldnt consider anything else... and even a P4 celleron and a 478 mobo would be too expensive. OR they want to keep their mobo for some reason due to it being in a custom case or certain features they wish to keep etc.
Or maybe a new CPU and new mobo is too much of a phsycological leap to make.

<b><i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar</i> - George W. Bush's favorite childhood book.
Note: This book was first published a year after Mr Bush graduated from College.</b>
January 12, 2003 10:26:57 PM

The PowerLeap adapter is good for people like me that have old off-the-shelf systems. Mine is a Dell Dimension XPS R400 built in 98 (Intel 440BX motherboard, 100 MHz FSB). I wasn't into building my own computer back then. Using the PL adapter, 768 MB RAM, and an nVidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 graphics card can really rejuvenate the old clunker. CPU, memory, and graphics benchmarks have improved anywhere from 2x to 4x. Here are some numbers after replacing the original 400 MHz Pentium II with the PowerLeap PL-iP3/T adapter (Celeron CPU 1.4GHz, 100 MHz FSB, Tualatin core):

PCMark 2002 CPU score: increased from 985 to 3370
PCMark 2002 Memory score: increased from 972 to 1709
3DMark 2001 Graphics score: increased from 3662 to 7000 (NOTE: using same graphics card in both tests, a GeForce4 Ti 4600 - the new PowerLeap adapter eliminated some CPU bottlenecks on graphics performance)

This being said, my next computer will probably be built by myself. Thanks to THG for that! :) 

Cheers,

--Ghil
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January 12, 2003 10:46:32 PM

I'm not doubting that a powerleap adaptor would improve performance for an old system. I'm saying its a better deal to just change the whole motherboard and the processor. Besides the more work of taking apart the whole system as compared to just taking out the chip, I really see not advantage that a powerleap adaptor would offer over just changing the whole motherboard and cpu. The advantages of changing the motherboard and cpu is far greater. Its cheaper to begin with, it has all the newer features such as AGP 4x and if you get a socket A board that supports fsb of 266 and ddr memory(Shuttle AK32A, ECS K7S5A, A7A266) you can later upgrade to a Athlon XP for minimal cost.
January 13, 2003 12:17:09 AM

I have that same Dell as the guy above, and although I chose to just build a new system rather than go the powerleap way, here's why it's practical for some.

With the dell system, the motherboard, powersupply, and case connectors are all proprietary. The PSU is only 235W if I remember correctly. It's running PC100 memory.

So, to do a real upgrade you would need:
1. Retail CPU (or OEM and seperate HSF)
2. Motherboard
3. Memory (PC100 is not practical for much)
4. Power supply
5. Case (there are adapters, but you'd have to make it yourself)

For somebody not inclined to go through this ordeal, the powerleap might make sense.

Even with a K7S5A, keeping the new memory, and going to radioshack to mod your case, you'll still need a powersupply. It'll obviously be a better upgrade, but I can't imagine most people doing this. We're enthusiasts, most aren't.

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<A HREF="http://kevan.org/brain.cgi?dhlucke" target="_new">Forum Assassin</A></font color=red>
January 13, 2003 12:27:01 AM

impressive boost ya got there.

<b><i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar</i> - George W. Bush's favorite childhood book.
Note: This book was first published a year after Mr Bush graduated from College.</b>
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January 13, 2003 1:16:30 AM

No, it's a terrible ORdeal. Fist thing is, you will usually have to ALSO buy a case and power supply. Now you MIGHT be able to find some cheap garbage case, but hey, if you have a Dell, you probably have the Dell version of the $80 Palo Alto case, you certainly don't want to DOWNgrade.

Then if you don't really want to waste that fast CPU, you'll want DDR SDRAM, so even though you can upgrade without DDR, doing so would add more money to the cost of the system.

Finally, you have a system with a System Restore CD. It won't work with the new board. So now you have to buy an OPERATING SYSTEM and any other software you already have that you want to keep.

And say you have an ISA modem, a nice one, maybe some ultra expensive USR modem. You'll have to replace that too, if your new board has no ISA slots.

So in the end, for the majority of people with OEM systems, they're better off upgrading the CPU, or else selling the whole system and buying a whole new system. The motherboard upgrade is not a good option.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
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January 13, 2003 1:19:41 AM

I like Palo Alto cases. I'm using a Micron Palo Alto case now (it's ATX). And I used a Dell Palo Alto case previously. I converted the Dell myself. All you have to do is remove the ribon cable from the front panel connector and insert leads there. It's easy to do. I got my leads from an old, trashed AT case.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 13, 2003 5:51:40 AM

To clarify why I like the PowerLeap gizmo: I am a software guy :) . I didn't feel like taking out the mobo in my trusty old Dell and replacing it. I have no experience with that, and it seems very complicated to me. By comparison, the PowerLeap thingie took five minutes to do. If you are an experienced hardware guy, I can understand why the PowerLeap upgrade is not attractive to you.

But as I said in my previous message, I will not buy computers from retail any more. The next one will be assembled by myself from components (mobo, case, power supply, etc.). I'm just waiting for a mobo with an Intel chipset for DDR2 memory.

Take care,

--Ghil
January 13, 2003 9:29:26 AM

As well as all the reasons people have mentioned above, time and simplicity can be a factor as well. You can install the PowerLeap (or upgradeware) adaptor in about 5 minutes and not make any software changes. It takes me close to 6 hours to reinstall the OS and all my apps and restore my profile, never mind the couple of hours required to build the thing.

And for 95% of the population a Tualeron-1200 is fast enough.

A Tualeron-1200 and the upgradeware slocket would come out closer to US$75.

*Dual PIII-800 @900 i440BX and Tualeron 1.2 @1.74 i815*
January 13, 2003 1:59:16 PM

Quote:
So for $120 you would get an equal system, whats the point of powerleap?

Well people like me have lots of old DOS games that we still play. Full sound compatibility with these games can only be achieved with an ISA sound card such as an SB AWE32. Only old motherboards have an ISA slot nowadays, so we have to keep the old motherboard around. Hence one reason to use an adapter.

Anyway, in my personal experience with both Powerleap and Upgradeware, these adapters are unreliable and not worth the trouble.

Ritesh
January 13, 2003 1:59:34 PM

Ahhh, I get the point of the powerleap now.

Responding to Crashman's statements.

If your upgrading to a pentium celeron 1.4, I assume you don't want or have the budget for a super fast system. If you go the way I suggested your saving money. So it really doesn't matter if your "wasting" the fast cpu. A Duron running with sdram won't do too bad.

Unless you run a OEM system with all priopertary components, you don't necessarily have to upgrade your case/psu. A Duron can run fine on a 250W PSU.

Its not such a terrible alternative if you have generic computer and don't mind disassembling your computer. Plus your saving money and if you get a socket a that supports both ddr and sdram you have future upgradability. One or two years laters ddr will be as cheap as sdram is today and athlon xps will be dirt cheap. If you get powerleap, your not going any further.
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January 13, 2003 3:59:05 PM

Yes, well, you might also consider that by the time the Celeron 1.4 is worthless, your 8GB hard drive, 512MB PC100, and 16MB TNT2 will be also, and just buy a complete new system.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 13, 2003 5:02:54 PM

Quote:
Yes, well, you might also consider that by the time the Celeron 1.4 is worthless, your 8GB hard drive, 512MB PC100, and 16MB TNT2 will be also, and just buy a complete new system.

What are you trying to say? I know that the celeron 1.4 and the rest of those components are going the way of the dodo.

I see the point of a powerleap now. I still personally feel that if you don't mind a little work and you have a generic case with a 250w psu buying a duron motherboard combo is still a better deal. If you check on pricewatch, there are many Duron 1.3 motherboard combos for around $80, about the same price as a powerleap adaptor itself.
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January 13, 2003 5:12:05 PM

I just think that anyone who's willing to go through the platform change ordeal would be better off building an entire system from scratch than to reuse his old parts on it.

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