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Should I keep this old PC going?

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October 11, 2005 8:51:52 PM

I have an old P2B-F, Slot 1 -based PC that I wanted to give to one of my kids to play fairly low-requirement games on and access the internet. I also have an AGP ATi Radeon 9800 Pro video card that I wanted to put in it, thinking this would enhance his experience with the old PC.

Unfortunately, one of the things he want to use it for is his Lego Digital Designer 1.4 software which requires a minimum of a P3-450 CPU. The P2B-F has a P2-350 in it and his software won't install.

I've seen that Geeks.com has used and refurbished Slot 1 CPUs and am thinking about trying one of them.

Is this a practical approach for this old PC?
What kind of problems should I watch out for?

Thanks!

Tim

More about : question

October 11, 2005 10:40:51 PM

Depends on how much you want to spend. A new Slot-1 CPU that meets the requirements still isn't going to make it a particularly fast pc.

That 9800Pro will be severly bottlenecked by that CPU/mobo. I suspect it would give little improvement over (guessing) a geforce3 card.

9800Pros are reasonably good cards, even today, and you could probably pick up an inexpensive Duron (or sempron?) + mobo + RAM combo for comparatively little cash, which would be a far better match.

Don't forget minimum requirements are usually quite optimistic anyway. While it may run if you <i>just</i> meet them, it probably won't run very well.



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October 11, 2005 11:28:49 PM

The radeon wont be bottleknecked at all. It just wont run on that board. Your mobo is Agp 2X, with higher voltages. The card should not even boot. If it does, it dies.
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October 12, 2005 3:02:57 AM

Wrong, the 9800 Pro was an 8x/4x/2x card, notice it's dual voltage keyed.

It wouldn't fit otherwise. A 9600 series card won't fit.

ATI dropped 3.3v support from the 9800XT, but the hardware supports it, so at least one partner has an appropriate card.

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October 12, 2005 6:49:01 AM

Sorry about that. Crashman is ofcourse right. While most modern cards do not work in the old style 2X agp slots, the 9800pro is an exception. (I even tried it out to confirm in a P3B-F board, not the same, but close)
October 12, 2005 5:16:29 PM

Okay, so is it safe to say I'm probably further ahead by looking for a MB+CPU+Fan+RAM combo on eBay? Is an AMD going to give him more bang for the buck? I prefer an ASUS or ABit motherboard and I've always used Intel CPUs. Is it going to matter with this setup?

Once the price gets much over $100, I'm thinking I'd just buy something newer that has a 4X or 8X AGP slot.

What do you think?

Tim
October 12, 2005 5:54:26 PM

For a value upgrade of Mobo, CPU + RAM, I'd say you're looking at a $200 budget for new retail items. Prices can come down buying used & OEM products.

For a motherboard, you'll definitly want something that has a 4x/8x AGP slot and supports DDR RAM. You can probably find lower priced Intel processors, but AMD will most likely give you a better performance:p rice ratio in the low-end segment.
October 19, 2005 7:14:59 PM

I was able to pick up a P3-550MHz CPU for under $7 so I went ahead and stuck it in. This was supposed to enable his Lego Digital Designer to run, but then it said no dice without at least 16MB of video (old Diamond FireGL 1000 Pro in there now only has 8MB). So I need to consider video upgrade options.

The 9800Pro is notched so it physically fits into both 1.5v and 3.3v slots, but I was a bit concerned about using a newer generation video card with an older generation motherboard (even though the P2B-F was really a crossover board - slot 1 with socket 370 capability, P2 or P3, 100MHz or 133MHz bus). Are you pretty sure I'll be okay mating the two? Normally I'd be concerned about the power requirements of the 9800Pro running off the meager 250 watt power supply, but maybe it draws less power when running a little crippled in this configuration. Anybody know?

If the 9800Pro is not a good option, I have a buddy who'll sell an old Diamond Multimedia video card with 16MB on it for $10. This would be my cheapest way out but I've also been having trouble getting a wireless NIC to work with the P2B-F. This makes me consider springing for a newer generation motherboard, and I could probably solve my compatibility issues with something like a socket 370 motherboard (I like the ASUS CUSL2-C) and approx. 1GHz P3 for about $50. However, I don't know if salvaging this PC is worth all that trouble, because by then I'm having to reinstall the OS and apps.

At a certain point, I might be better off sticking a new motherboard, CPU, and RAM into a new Antec case with a beefier power supply. How much should I invest in the old pony before cutting bait and making the switch to a new horse?

Thanks!

Tim
October 19, 2005 11:44:34 PM

Bottom line is. How much do you want to spend on the old PC. Or spend $200-$300 on a newer system that will last him awhile longer.
October 20, 2005 12:11:40 AM

Absolutely. But I'm just as concerned about the time I spend on it as I am the money. It would be really nice to not have to reinstall WinXP and all the necessary apps. Once I know I have to do that, I'm more inclined to just put together a new one.

Thanks,

Tim
October 20, 2005 1:28:31 AM

Going from a fireGL to a radeon is very problematic. You may be able to get away with running driver cleaner from driver heaven, but a clean install is recommended.
The 9800pro wont even boot without the extra molex plugged in. It may work for a while on the 250w psu, but it will kill it sooner or later.
Looks like every way you turn, you are looking at a reinstall. Time to fish.
October 20, 2005 5:03:48 PM

Well, I got a 16MB card (Diamond Speedstar A90) for $10 and stuck it in there, but I'm still having some issues.

I can think of no reason why the wireless NIC (Netgear WG311) doesn't work with the P2B-F except there must be a problem with the motherboard. I've stripped it down to the AGP video and the WG311 and it won't boot when the WG311 is in 3 of the 5 PCI slots. In the other 2, the PC boots but WinXP doesn't see any adapter in there. I don't want to invest much more time resolving issues on a soon-to-be-outdated PC.

I'm thinking of getting another Antec Sonata case because they are so quiet and have a good power supply. Can I do much better bang-for-the-buck-wise than getting an Abit IS7-E2 and a P4 2.8C 800MHz FSB Northwood CPU for about $200?

Thanks!

TIm
October 20, 2005 8:08:58 PM

A much better combo would be a Athlon 64 3000+ Venice with a Socket 939 AGP motherboard, but you probably have sdram which is incompatible.
October 20, 2005 8:27:07 PM

Well, I'm not figuring I'd use the SDRAM (PC100 sticks) if I get a newer motherboard and CPU anyway. I'm more familiar with and comfortable using Intel processors and chipsets because that's what I've always purchased, but does it really matter that much? I just want to put together a combination that's going to be rock-solid and stable so I don't have to troubleshoot, tweak, or mess around with it at all - emphasis on "at all". Even if performance is down a bit, is there anything that's guaranteed to do that for me? I figured a Abit or ASUS motherboard and a Northwood CPU might be that ticket.

Thanks!

Tim
October 20, 2005 11:44:52 PM

The 2.8 used to be a great chip, esp for OCers. It's not quite so good now, comparably.
I really hate to say this, being the Abit fan I am, but the E2 boards just aren't very good.
As far as a set it and forget it setup goes, the best bang for buck goes to A64. Even one of the older s754 setups will get you much more than anything Intel has to offer, for the same $.
If you just cant pry yourself from Intel, the 2.8 is still okay, but avoid the E boards, get the normal IS7.
It's sad though, that the best you can get from Intel is 2 years old.
October 21, 2005 12:23:05 AM

Okay, I think I'm just about convinced to jump ship to the A64 side. Can I assume that in the AMD world the primary differences as far as what I've got to buy are the CPUs and the sockets they plug into?

Let's say we're in the video editing world - What AMD 64bit CPU (still 32bit WinXP) will give similar encoding times to a P4-3GHz Prescott, for example?

Can you recommend a motherboard for it that supports AGP 8X?

Thanks!

Tim

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by tluxon on 10/20/05 05:24 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 21, 2005 2:35:01 AM

See if you can find an Abit IS7 Mobo. Plus any of the P4C CPUs.
October 21, 2005 2:38:06 AM

I missed your post. Buy the 2.8C And buy the Abit IS7. Not E2. That's if you can find one. They are still around.
October 21, 2005 3:26:52 AM

An A64 Venice running at 2.2 GHz is roughly comparable to a 3GHz P4 in video editting benchmarks. You could get a retail Venice 3200 and easily overclock it beyond 2.2 with stock cooling on many motherboards. In most other benchmarks, the Venice will easily outperform the P4. A P4 630 is about $175 vs. a Venice 3200 about $190 (NewEgg prices). Factor in the cost of the motherboard and RAM and you'll probably save with AMD. Also, the A64 Venice will be cooler. I haven't compared the stock fans but I assume the A64 would be quieter, too.
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