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Two Diffrent Upgrade Scenarios, which would you do

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January 11, 2001 3:59:27 PM

I currently Have a

-----Abit BH6 MB----------
-----Celeron 300A (It ran overclocked to 450Mhz for 20 months, and now its back to 300, cause my system just started to crash to often, starting late summer, to keep it at 450 .)-------------
----128MB Cas2 SDRAM PC100------
----6.4 Gig Ata66 HD (With about 2gig free. But I use Napster a lot, and if I let my self; that HD would be filled up by tomorrow:- )---------
----Creative Labs RivaTNT graphics with 16meg ram (the original one). (No real need to upgrade this, I used to be really big into games, but I rarely play games now. I can still use this, unless W2K Pro forces me to buy something new, read on...)----------
-----SB Live audio with the external, real audio riser 'card' on the rear of the PC. No complaints.
-----A standard 56X CD-ROM and my 'new' Sony CD-R/W drive at 8X. Man I paid $270 for this back in February 2000. My friend bought the same model 2 weeks ago for $150 delivered.---------
----A nice tower case with an Athlon T'Bird Compatible 300Watt Power supply.
----A MAG MXP-17F That I have been using since my first ever PC system. I got this back in Feb. 1996 and back then it cost $800 for a 17" 1600X1200 .26dp. The brightness has decreased after 5 years of continuous use, but it is still acceptable.
----And the love of my system is my SDSL connection that is 920Kup/780Kdown. This price will soon go up to $50 a month.
_
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Okay, so I have budgeted $400-$500 to upgrade what I have. At first I really had my heart set on getting the Abit KT7-Raid MB and a 1Ghz A'bird Processor and also spend less than $50 for some silver thermal compound, and a Alpha Heat sink/Fan Combo (looks like I will still do this). All of this will cost me around $400, and will certainly speed up my system, at least 3X or even 4X from a puny Celeron 300A.

After some thinking, I decided on some other possible upgrades. I really, really want to use Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, and since I'm a student I can buy it for about $100. BUT, to do this I will probably need to use 256MB Ram to get the comfort room I have now with my 128MB Ram in WIN98. So buying another stick of 128MB PC100 CAS2 will cost me about $80.

Another thing that worries me is that my HD of 6.4 Gig I have had since April 1997, and I am starting to realize that it might be at the end of its life span. Since this is my only HD, I am screwed if it fails in the next 12 months. (My first, HD before this was a 1.6 Gig WD Caviar HD and it died 3 months AFTER its 36-month warranty, loosing all of my back up stuff.) Since my current HD is approaching its 36 Month B’Day, I’m getting worried. If I was gonna buy A new HD, I would Spend no more than $200 that is ATA100 capable (hopefully).

[The least viable upgrade option is to get a new 19” Monitor. But this isn’t too realistic on my Max budget of $500, as to get a nice 19” that I want, would cost me $300-500. I probably wont do this at all, but just wanted to let you folks know.]

I really, really want to get W2K Pro, but this will possibly put a crimp on my budget. FYI, I can probably get my friend to permanently give me his licensed copy of W2K Pro for a big favor he owes me, so that will save me $100

PLUS, I can probably get $100-150 on eBay if I sell my current MB, CPU and 128MB PC100 Ram.


___________________________________________________
I’M FINALLY DONE. Just hopping that some of you Hardware junkies out their can offer their opinion on the biggest bang for the buck WHAT WOULD YOU DO??? PLEASE HELP ME OUT, I really need some valued advice. Thanks a lot
Anonymous
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January 11, 2001 4:29:45 PM

There's no way you'll have room for Win2K and some decent apps (even games...) on a 6.4GB HD. I would suggest something along these lines:

Maybe a 900MHz T-Bird would be better. 1000 sounds really cool, but the price difference is quite high, and you can overclock a 900MHz to 990MHz without even closing the L1 bridges. Get brand new 256MB <b>PC133 CAS2</b> - don't get PC100, it stinks, and the performance difference is noticable. You can get a good price for 128MB PC100 on eBay.

I like the KT7-RAID, but you're not gonna be using 5 hard drives, so maybe a cheaper VIA KT133 + 686B (supporting Ultra100) would be a better option. You also want a 40GB+ HDD. You really need this upgrade. 30GB at the very minimum.

17" monitors are fine, but if your monitor is looking really bad it might break soon anyway, so keep an eye on it. You might also want to buy a GeForce 2MX as well. This will help performance if ever you want to play any games. 1600x1200? Maybe if you ran your 17" at a more sensible resolution (1024x768 to 1280x960) it would last longer :) 

(Note I don't live in the US, so can't really compare prices properly)
January 11, 2001 4:36:12 PM

What exactly are the two scenarios you're trying to choose between? You're presenting a lot of different possibilties here. I don't see any clear-cut scenarios.

From what you've mentioned, after the MB/CPU upgrade, I'd be most concerned with upgrading the hard drive.

Good luck.

"There's no such thing as gravity, the Earth just sucks"
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January 11, 2001 5:16:59 PM

You are absolutly right BDALEY, to much info at once. The reason I did this is to let people know what I got, and what I'm thinking about possibly upgrading.

Basicaly;
MUST: Run W2K Pro on a T'Bird Platform.
WOULD LIKE TO: maybe buy a MB based on the new AMD 760 Chipset with DDR-ram capability; if its possible within the next 2-4 weeks.
HAVE NO DESIRE TO: buy any DDR-ram now, just don't have the spare money as it is.
I WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO: for running W2K Pro, will need to buy a new stick of 256MB RAM PC133; and to come in under budget, settle for a duron processor for now, and possibly O'Clocking it to 1Ghz (maybe). I know you might be asking, 'why do you want the 760 Chipset if your going to just get a Duron.' I want this chipset, so that my MB will be relavent and upgradable for at least 1-2 years. If I do this, I can later on buy a New 266mhz FSB T'Bird, without having to buy a new MB. And then I can add some DDR Ram because the price won't be so high.
I REALIZE: That I might have to sacrifice something in my current proposal, in order to get at least a 30G HD. Only in the last few weeks have I realized that my current 6.4G HD is at the end of it's lifespan, and will probably go belly up within 6-9 months, if not sooner.

Thanks a lot, and I hope that this will give you a better stance, to make some suggestions or tips. Maybe this is not possible, with my above hopes of what I want to buy for $500-600 (once I sell my current HD, RAM & CPU).

What do you think????
January 11, 2001 7:05:17 PM

I don't really think a 30GB HD is nessicary. Get a 20GB 7200 RPM HD and you'll be able to store yourself silly for years. It doesn't have to be, but going from 20GB to 30GB seems to me to be the biggest price jump between HD sizes. I say go for 20.

- "I forgot my shirt, but I had body glitter."
Anonymous
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January 11, 2001 10:52:30 PM

I think no DDR capable mobo is going to support DDR and SDRAM at once, the first prototypes did, but the production versions don't. I run Win2k with 64 Mb, you can survive with 128 Mb. Don't buy anything yet, wait!! DDR RAM is going to cost the same as SDRAM, wait and get a DDR mobo + a stick of 128Mb of DDR RAM, and by then whatever Athlon or Duron you want to buy will be just cheaper. You could buy now the hard drive (with as much warranty as you can) and WAAAIIIIITTTTTTTT
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 12, 2001 12:10:15 AM

Here's my suggested config:
$70 600MHz Duron
$100 Socket A Motherboard
$180 45GB Deskstar
$120 256MB PC133 RAM


I have a 600Mhz Duron with 512MB of PC133 RAM and it runs a lot faster then my friend's 1GHz TBird with 128MB PC133. The other specs are close to equal. Of course, having my FSB set to 108MHz might have helped :)  The 600 Duron is very good for overclocking, but it's no 300A.

Get a nice Socket A board that supports a 1 GHz+ TBird and as much RAM as possible. I have an AZ11 which I'm pleased with although Asus is higher quality.

I'm looking for a new harddrive system myself, and the Deskstar is the best deal/quality/speed IDE harddrive out there (I'm torn between getting 2 of those or 1 UltraStar SCSI). The 45GB model isn't much more then the 20GB or 30GB so why not.

PC133 is significantly faster then PC100 RAM. I tried setting my RAM to 100MHz once just to see how the speed is and it was very noticeable.

You could always get a faster processor, a 1GHz TBird would be about $120 more. Another idea is to get a dual processor motherboard and another 300a. I hope this info helps.
January 12, 2001 12:22:25 AM

I'd definatley opt to run a fast T-Bird over dual cely 300Mhz's. It's common sense. And besides, it would be pretty hard to find a place selling a cely 300a.

- "I forgot my shirt, but I had body glitter."
Anonymous
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February 4, 2001 10:32:07 PM

I have bh6, 300a@464 and 128k pc100 and want to upgrade so let me know what you do. I found an option which will get you to 900mhz cheap, but they are out of stock at present. Its a 600 celery oc'ed to 900 with heatsink/fan and slotkit adapter card fcpga/slot l all for $130 pretested @ 900mhz It should work with 103 fsb = 927 (turbo mode) and pc100 ram. site is http://www.pcnut.com/specials.html and http://www.pcnut.com/cool/combo.htm. You should be able to get 30 gig, 7200rpm, ata100 backwards compatible to our slower boards for about $150 or add hd adapter card supporting faster ata. It should be alot faster than what I have now but if anyone thinks its a bad idea--SPEAK!
February 4, 2001 10:58:16 PM

I highly doubt your 600MHz Duron is faster than your friends 1GHz T-Bird. Past 256MB PC133 SDRAM, the performance difference becomes very insignificant. Does your friend have a crappy vid card or something? What benchmark are you basing this on? Or is this observation of the eyes? I don't think so. Just because he has 128MB RAM and you have 512MB, doesn't mean a duron 600 will beat a t-bird 1Gig.

- "That's no moon, it's Rambus!"
February 5, 2001 1:16:31 AM

First off, if you've got DSL just go out to one of the alt.binary news groups and download a Win2k Pro OEM CD image and burn it off. Depending on what exactly you're going to do with Win2k, you may not need 256MB. If you're just planning on using it as you would win98 128MB will due. 256MB should only be required if you're going to be running IIS or other server processes. If the money is an issue, I would say stick with the 900MHz Athlon. It gives you great performance while maintaining a reasonable price/performance edge. As for the HD, the IBM 46Gb ATA100 7200rpm drive is available for under $165 with shipping. If I were you I'd buy the Asus A7V133 ($160), an Athlon 900MHz ($140) running at 930 (133*7) for the 133MHz FSB performance increase, and 128MB PC133 CL2 SDRAM from Crucial.com ($61.19, free shipping). That's $362, plus CPU fan and thermal paste. Depending on how "hard" your $400 budget is, you can go with 256MB right away for another $57.60. Or you can stick with 128MB and upgrade with another DIMM later. You should plan on putting some money away for a new HD, but with $400 I wouldn't try to do it all now, or you'll end up with a system that in 6 months will leave you wishing you had done more with your CPU. You should bring your monitor down to a local electronic or TV repair shop and have it rejuvinated. I've got an old packard bell monitor I got with my original 486-66 in '96 that is almost as bright as my almost new 19". I've rejuved it twice. Should only cost you a few bucks.

Everything in moderation
a b à CPUs
February 5, 2001 2:10:32 AM

Your going too far for your budget. You already have a good motherboard, reguardless of what the freaks might say you can save money by getting a PIII. A PIII 700 only cost about the same as a MOTHERBOARD for the duron. Heck, you could even do as one guy suggested and get the overclocked Cely combo. Memory is getting cheap, I just bought 128MB cas2 PC133 from Crucial for $64 including free shipping. Now, take the money I just saved you and put it towards the biggest hard drive you can afford, or step down a little and use the extra to take the girlfriend out!

Suicide is painless...........
February 5, 2001 10:46:44 PM

Regardless of everything else said, check Pricewatch.com before you buy. Like the previous post said, use your money on your woman if you can save some. Memory is dirt cheap for example, so your budget there is way over.
Anonymous
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February 6, 2001 1:12:12 AM

Hey why dont we all just tell him different things at once... INTEL is the man, AMD is the follower.
February 6, 2001 2:57:23 AM

Ok, just to recap what you said...

good things you have:
- Abit BH6
- 128MB PC100
- 6.4 ATA66
- RivaTNT 16MB
- SB Live
- 56x CDROM
- 8x DVD
- "Nice" tower case
- Good power supply
- 17" MAG screen

Bad things you have:
- Celeron 300

Things you want:
- More Speed
- Win2000
- More HD space
- 256MB ram

Question: Why MUST you have an AMD??? Are you running some specialized software optimized for 3D Now??? You said you're not playing games so you don't need a 1GHz chip unless you're running heavy Adobe or AutoDesk software...

So why would you get rid of all that perfectly good stuff that you know works? Get your stick of 128 PC133 ($65). Get Win2000 ($0 from friend). Get a decent 30gb HD ($100). Get a PIII-700E ($135). Run it at 124FSB which would make it a PIII-870 (My PC100 runs fine at 124 as long as it is set to CAS3). Throw in a HS/fan, shipping, taxes, whatever, and you'll probably be up to $350 or $400 total and have a really good system. You can upgrade the video card later if you want. Put the other $100 away and start saving for that 19" screen or take your g/f out as Crashman suggested. Sometimes I think people buy AMD systems because they think they're "cool" or something...

- JW
February 6, 2001 4:01:50 AM

JCLW,

I think everyone here has run an intel cpu at some point, maybe even now, but the argument nowadays is just price/performance. Intel is overpriced right now. They're both cool, one is just expensive.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
February 6, 2001 1:47:59 PM

Get yourself a CD burner,from abbout $120-$130. It worth it's weight in gold. Back up your HD and songs on CD-RW (for pennies per CD if you buy them in bulk). Your friend may lend that W2K CD for for a little evaluation....
The DDR MB market is not mature yet,so I would wait a bit before shell all that mullah out. Your computer seems to be in one piece (you didn't mention using is as a fumigator). Use the HD for as long as it works. Is nowhere writen that it must/ will die 30 seconds after the waranty runs out.
Wait for the dust to setle than go for it
February 6, 2001 3:02:53 PM

I just want to start off this post by saying I truly appreciate all of the helpful comments and tips that people have given my re: my original post a few days ago.

I think that I just got caught up in the whole 'irrational exuberance' of reading Anandtech.com and this site, getting me into the mindset of buying the best of the best. About a 2 or 3 years ago, I was a hardcore gamer, but now I have out-grown that, and I need to get more 'operational experience' with W2K, as I am 4 tests away from becoming a MCSE 2000. To do this, I will need to just work with what I have now, and upgrade this thing, on the little budget I have, so its fast for W2K Pro, and not to run a Quake 3 Tournament :-)

I'm glad I didn't spend the money I had at the time on upgrading my PC, which would set me back by about $700-800. I was going to do this, because I had my mind and heart set on getting a new KT133A chipset Athlon T'Bird Processor MB combo. But now I realize that a better way to spend my cash would be to bring my current board up to par so it will be able to better take W2K pro. To do this, I need a LARGE new HD (ATA100, for future compatibility, at least 30-40G). Then I would partition the HD into 4 logical Drives; 500meg DOS FAT, 10Gig W2K pro FAT32, 10Gig for either NT Workstation or W2K pro in NTFS, and finally 10Gig for Data Storage (mostly mp3's). I think I should buy Partition Magic 6.0 (or something similar??) so I will encounter fewer headaches when I try to triple boot. (BOTOH, maybe I should try doing it on my own, cause that’s what I need is, experience on how to do this kind of stuff for my MCSE, right…).

But to run W2K with the same ease that I now run W98 on 128 Mg PC100, I think I will buy another stick of 128MB Pc100 CAS 2 RAM. Some people would say, 'what are you crazy, get 256MB PC133/150 CAS 2 Ram.' But if I'm still going to use my Abit BH6 MB, it would be pointless to do so. There would be absolutely no performance benefit, UNTIL I buy a new MB/CPU combo; and when I do this I will probably get DDR Ram.

I have finally acquiesced to getting a ("...ugh") yet another Intel Slot 1 processor. I think the fastest CPU (for my Abit BH6) with the widest FSB would be the P III 733EB?????

I know that I could buy all of these 3 main new upgrades for like $350-400, and that is leaving out the software that I might buy. This is great, cause this was my original budget a month ago, before I got hooked on A T'Bird craving. I still would kill to have a MB & T'bird, but for once in my life when it comes to PC Hardware, I'm willing to wait. If I wait a year, I can go out and buy a new AMD760 Chipset from Abit, and a new T'Bird with a 266 FSB. But then, a year from now, the chipset will be mature enough, that there wont be any nasty surprises in 6 months, if I rush out to buy a new MB/CPU combo; because the technology will have matured by then,..........Right???

Yes patience is a virtue, but its evil when you have the cash in hand and you want to upgrade your PCJ

Thanks everyone, and when I get my ‘reconditioned’ rig, up and running, I’ll post to let everyone know how it went.
February 6, 2001 3:22:46 PM

dhlucke:

"I think everyone here has run an intel cpu at some point, maybe even now, but the argument nowadays is just price/performance. Intel is overpriced right now. They're both cool, one is just expensive."

That may be true, but I still think the best price/performance solution for him would be to buy a PIII-700E (US$135). Going with a Duron-700 (US$50) on an Asus A7V (US$135) would cost US$50 more for less performance, and a TBird-800 would be $100 more for roughly the same performance. He could use the $100 he saves right there to get a nice 30GB HD or a cd burner or whatever. It would be a lot easier for him to set up, just lift out his PII and drop in the PIII. He wouldn't have to touch any of his cards. He knows everything he has works with his current system so he wouldn't have to worry about imcompatibilities. It's already been shown here that you can o/c a PIII-700E to nearly 1GHz.

The 440BX chipset was one of the best (if not the best) chipset made in the last 5 years. Why get rid of a good BX board?

- JW
February 6, 2001 3:43:50 PM

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the speed of your system.

"...so its fast for W2K Pro..." I run Win2000pro SP1 on a PIII-500@600 with 128MB CAS3 and it works just fine. Processor speed is great, but sometimes I wish I had a little more ram when I've got billions of windows open.

"I have finally acquiesced to getting a ("...ugh") yet another Intel Slot 1 processor." There is no shame in buying slot 1 processors. The slot 1 packages were considered the "real" chips, the socket 370 packages didn't even support SMP at first. Now however they are identical for all intents and purposes.

"I think the fastest CPU (for my Abit BH6) with the widest FSB would be the P III 733EB?????" NO. You need an "E" chip like the 700E. The BX chipset only supports a 100FSB which means you'd have to o/c it to 133FSB just to get a 733EB to run at 733MHz. With a 700E you could o/c it to 124FSB and run at 870MHz. 750E and 800E are also options but probably not worth it.

- JW
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