Help upgrade!

Alright, I recently posted an article about divx playback, and a lot of people recommended upgrading. So I want to hear people's suggestions on that matter.

My current system is a year old, and I've probably put over $2000 into it. Here it is:

AMD Athlon Classic 550 (it runs 99% stable at 605, but the 1% became bothersome enough that I left it running at default)
Asus K7M motherboard (slot A, 100Mhz bus all around)
192 (128+64) MB PC133 CUSL3 RAM (runs at 100MHz anyway)
27.3 GB 7200 RPM Maxtor HDD
61.4 GB 5400 RPM Maxtor HDD
Toshiba 6x DVD
AOpen 12x10 CD-RW
Guillemot 32MB DDR GeForce
Sigma Designs Hollywood+ DVD decoder
Sound Blaster Live Value
Netgear 10/100 NIC

My goal is to spend around $500 and extend the life of my system another year. I'm not a cutting-edge I don't get upset if Alice only runs at 1280x1024x32 instead of 1600x1200x32, but I also don't like waiting around for my computer. I run Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

Also, my harddrive space is getting light, so I'd like to get another drive. It doesn't have to be a performance drive, just raw storage.

I know you guys love telling others how to spend their tell me! :-)


"intel inside, idiot outside"
13 answers Last reply
More about help upgrade
  1. I am assuming you are staying with AMD.

    You should upgrade your processor and MOBO.
    Go for one of those trick abit kt7a w/kt133a chipset. Since you have 133 mhz memory you might as well make use of it(make sure those dimms will work on the new MOBO first).
    Get an AMD 1.0ghz processor.(a lower frequency if overclocking obviously)
    I think the newer 45+ gig(5400 rpm) maxtors are pretty cheap now?

    Upping your Main memory would also be good since you are running WIN 2K. If you just buy the cpu, MOBO, and HDD you should easily get it all for around $500.00 US.
  2. I.M.O. you should go for an Abit KT-133a and a 800mhz CPU. this can be overclocked to over 1Ghz with a decent FHS unit. As far as the drive goes.... I say a 45 gig WD HD or 2 ... seeing the MoBo supports RAID 0/1/0+1. I have noticed some especially good pricing at for these componets. Thats my $.02.
  3. I second the KT7A recommendations. Pick the Tbird of your choice and unlock before installation. Use BIOS if/when you want to overclock. Keep it a stock speeds for maximum stability. Get good PC-150, CAS2 memory while it's cheap. I don't know how valuable it is to you but the KT7A still has one ISA slot (and 6 PCI slots).

    Shy on hard drive space with nearly 90 GB! Amazing!

    Cheap 5400 RPM hard drives would give you capacity plenty of capacity and well within in you budget. I paid only $99 (well I'm waiting for a $50 rebate) for a Maxtor DiamondMax VL40. That was retail with full warranty. I didn't need speed, just capacity, though it doesn't do that badly, (16000-30500 HDTach, 18300 Sandra). See benchmark comparisons of hard drives at (Nice database utility for comparisons).

    Geforce256+Athlon consumes a lot of power (but you probably already know that). claims that this combination requires 20 AMP on the +3.3 V line. Most PSUs just concentrate on the +12 V line. I recommend a very beefy power supply. An Enermax EG351, 30 amp peak/max on +3.3 V, was recommended to me as a minimum.
  4. I don't see why I need to waste money on PC150 OR CAS2 memory. I think my video card is the problem...not running stably at over the default AGP/bus speed. Everything I've read says that CAS2 is a marginal performance increase, at a pretty hefty price increase.

    90GB...heh, yeah. Two reasons...I don't like offloading stuff onto CD's because it becomes inaccessible to poor lazy me. Also, my cable modem allows me to run a webserver, and it's nice to be able to get at EVERYTHING remotely.

    I'm kind of hesitant to get a whole new motherboard because then I'll have a motherboard and chip lying around...I'll be tempted to build a computer around that (my K6-2/350 Craptaq is getting slow even for a little-used server/girlfriend PC).

    Has anyone tried getting a 1Ghz slot-A tbird? I tried a few places, and they're either outrageously expensive ($400+) or out of stock. Do they make 'em anymore?


    "intel inside, idiot outside"
  5. The slot A's are not being made anymore- I think, not entirely sure but I am pretty sure that they are not.

    The cost is way up there. For the price of a 1ghz athlon classic you can probably(a little more) get a socket A MOBO/CPU combo. That is one of the reasons why I suggested the MOBO upgrade. Plus the performance is not the same as an equivalent t-bird. So the wise choice would be to get a MOBO/CPU upgrade unless you can find a cheap 1ghz athlon classic(maybe try ebay for a used 1- or put a wanted post on this board-someone may have it)

    As far as having a spare MOBO/CPU. Just sell them online(i.e. Ebay). In fact Dr. Tom (or I mean fred) has just added a new section on the board. Look way down on the components page and you will see it under the other section.
  6. Hey, whatever makes you happy (and your girl friend).

    Two things to consider.

    CAS2 and PC150 memory is not just for speed rating but overall quality. Valuable for overclocking. Sorry, I've tested but never bothered to record all my memory benchmarks. CAS2 memory at Crucial is only $3.60 (at $61.18 more than CAS3 for 128 mb, PC-133. (sorry I didn't dig for the pc-150 price but you're right if you aren't going beyond 133 mhz you don't need it).

    Secondly, consider that a KT7A-RAID can be had for $150 (according to and and 1ghz Athlon Thunderbird for $181. With $61.18 for memory, that comes to $392.18. That's less than that $400 slota Athlon if you could find one. The girlfriend could have the old mobo/CPU.

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 02/07/01 04:51 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  7. In my opinion, you shouldn't get a 5400 rmp harddrive. Although I don't know if there is that big a difference between ultra 66 and ultra100, I do know that a 7200rpm harddrive on ultra100 (asus a7v motherboard) is really nice.
  8. what about DDR?

    1.2 GHz Athlon (unlocked to run at 9x133)
    256MB PC2100

    What are the good motherboards/chipsets for this? Can anyone give me first-hand experience?



    "intel inside, idiot outside"
  9. ok.. if your running advanced server its obvious that you arent playing 3d games... my suggestion may sound lame but very honest... i would not go with the tbird for a server reason being it runs to hot and its a GAMERS CPU not a server cpu... i would either wait for the SLEDGEHAMMER or get the duron .. the sledgehammer will be offered with a dual cpu mboard but the duron runs cooler and is EXTREMLY STABLE. I would say go intel but since the P2 intel basically SUXORS now... i have dealt with alot of AMD products and the TBIRD has alot of issues also but i still go with AMD ... im currently running a k7 1000 slot a and the abit k7a-100 and they are very stable even for gaming and you can find the slot a on for very cheap and its still a rocking cpu.. as far as the hard drive if you running scsi get the seagate if your ide then get either IBM (for speed) or the WD (for stablility) i wouldnt put a maxtor in my toilet...

  10. I run Advanced Server because I'm a web developer, and occasionally do some work on this machine. I do play games, as well as photoshop, FlaskMPEG, newsgroups, and a bunch of other cpu-intensive things...usually all at the same time.

    I don't have if I want to add another device I'll either have to get a RAID card or a mobo that supports RAID. And as I said, I don't need speed, I don't know about stability, but I do need SPACE. The 5400 RPM Maxtor 61.4 GB seems like the best deal right now. I already have one, and it works just fine.

    So, again guys, what about DDR?


    "intel inside, idiot outside"
  11. I ruled it out because you said you had $500 to spend. $300 for 256 mb DDR memory and couple hundred bucks for a DDR mobo doesn't leave much for that hard drive you mentioned replacing.

    Actually, I have no recommendation on DDR mobos. I'm still waiting to hear more about them, myself.
  12. well, PC1600 is down to $128 for 256MB...I'm hoping that PC2100 will go down in price soon.


    "intel inside, idiot outside"
  13. After careful deliberation (which included my "financial manager"--read "significant other"), I've decided it'd be best to preserve the life of what I have and get the fastest slot-A tbird I can find (900 or 950 sounds right), and another 256MB of cheap RAM. This should cost me less than $250 and I'll be able to get a 61.4 GB drive and an IDE controller with that too. This should all come nicely under $500, and make her and me happy for another year.

    Thanks for your help guys!


    "intel inside, idiot outside"
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