Upgrade advice?

I'm looking for advice about the best way to upgrade a Quantex PII 350 I bought a few years back. I haven't been paying too much attention to advances in hardware since then, but my machine is showing it's age in anything beyond crusing the web.

I've never done much work inside a case aside from installing the odd drive or video card, so I'd prefer to get a retail box for convenience but can't afford it. I'm looking to spend under $1000 on the upgrade (the futher down, the better).

What I currently have on board is a Microstar 6119 ATX BX2 board, 128 SDRAM (133 I think, but not sure) and a 6 gig hard drive. I also have a 32x CDROM and a 6x burner I can live with for now, as well as a 3D Prophet II MX.

So I guess what it comes down to is I need a new board, processor and hard drive. I prefer Intel just out of compatibility, but I hear AMD doesn't have/cause the problems it used to. I'm not sure if I want to go to RDRAM since it's really driven down the price of SDRAM and I should be able to recycle the memory I already have (right?).

Can anyone help?

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More about upgrade advice
  1. My advice?
    Abit KG7 (not out yet...soon) - $189 on <A HREF="http://www.pricewatch.com" target="_new">PriceWatch</A>
    T-bird 1.2/266 - $98, also on PriceWatch
    256meg of PC2400 - $45 from our friends over at <A HREF="http://www.crucial.com" target="_new">Crucial</A>
    365w Enermax Whisper PSU - $69 (shipping included) from <A HREF="http://www.phamcomputer.com" target="_new">Pham Computer</A>.
    40gig IBM 60GXP - $104 from <A HREF="http://www.nexthardwareshop.com/ibmdes4072.html" target="_new">NextHardwareShop</A>

    That adds up to...$505, leaving you PLENTY of money for a case (if you get a case already with a PSU, then you can add $69 to that, but that PSU is awesome).
    There's some shipping to be added to that, so let's say around $450 left (very conservatively). You can buy a good (non-aluminum) case for under $100, so to pad the remainder, you have $350 left over.
    That's enough to upgrade anything else you'd want to.
    You can get a Viewsonic 19" Perfect Flat for around that (at some places like Fry's), or a really good video card, or upgrade your sound, or get a DVD drive, whatever you want.

    And that's giving you what I think is the best components around that have high enough numbers for whatever you want to do.
    Other people are going to suggest other things, but this is the general consensus around these boards.

    Whoever thinks up a good sig for me gets a prize :wink:
  2. Thank you, that sounds perfect! Lotta questions, I know, but you're obviously well-versed on the subject...

    I'm mainly looking for performance with 3D Studio MAX in a 2K environment for this system... would this config be suitable?

    Do I need to buy a fan and/or heat sink, or do they include that with the cpu?

    Why do you prefer AMD over Intel? Are there any notable incompatabilities with Windows 2k or common software?

    Why PC2400... the ABIT page for the KG7-RAID says PC1600/PC2100?

    And finally, why a non-aluminum case - what's the preferred material? Could I use my existing one with the new PSU?

    Thanks again!
  3. This would be suitable, although a bit slow. If 3D Studio Max is what you're planning on doing the most of, you'll probably want to look into a dual P3 (or a dual Athlon). Someone else can tell you more about that than I can.

    AMD is better because they have more L1 cache (8 times more) and a better floating point unit. A P4 might be good for your setup, but only if 3D Max comes out with an SSE2-optimized version and you upgrade to that.

    You shouldn't run into any compatability issues with W2k. I use it, and I've hit a couple minor ones, but they've been fixed by now, either by Windows or the software company (one was fixed third party, but it was a small game patch).
    Oh, you mean for processors. An AMD or Intel will both run the same software without any compatability issues. Except for one problem with Athlons and W2k (don't remember what). Peteb posted a link to the patch, but I haven't had any problems with it, so you might not either.

    Sorry, I meant PC2100. Crucial doesn't carry PC2400, only Corsair. And you're right, the KG7 only supports 1600/2100.

    Aluminum is a much better case, but a lot more expensive. The cheapest are around $160, I believe. There's a brand new one over at Pham Computer that's $415. Haven't looked at it yet so I don't know what's so great about it.

    Remember that if you go dual CPUs, P4 or aluminum case, you'll be spending more money. Not entirely a bad thing, but something to keep in mind when shopping around.

    Oh, and never take one person's word on anything, unless you've seen them be right about stuff many times before and/or you know them personally and respect their opinion.

    Whoever thinks up a good sig for me gets a prize :wink:
  4. Oh, and DON'T FORGET to get a heatsink and fan, or else you'll have to wait longer before getting everything going.
    If you want advice on that, let me know.

    Whoever thinks up a good sig for me gets a prize :wink:
  5. Thanks for the advice.

    Don't think I can afford a dualie now, but I'm used to squeezing 100K polygons-plus into a Compaq PII 450 w/192 meg, so even the single proc has got to be faster. My own machine chokes when I get a meagre 50k in there... like 10 secs between screen refreshes. Slooooooow.

    Yes, if you can please recommend a decent heatsink and fan. I've smelled melted Pentium in the morning, and I don't like it. AMD's site recommends a few, but they don't mention the Abit board... just haven't tested it yet, I guess.

    Also appreciate your comment about getting different people's opinions. I'm going to run this by my professors and a couple other knowledgable students.

    I look forward to putting a box together for the first time. Scary how much markup the retailers get...

    BTW, about that sig... may I suggest something from Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat:

    "At a certain stage, the realization strikes through that one must either live outside society's bonds, or die of complete boredom."

    Alternatively, how about Albert Einstein:

    "I do not know with which weapons world war three will be fought, but world war four will be fought with sticks and stones."
  6. Good sigs, thanks :)

    The HSF I use the the ThermoEngine Pro (with a loud Delta fan and fan grill), from <A HREF="http://www.3dcool.com" target="_new">3DCool</A>. It's $39.
    The ThermalRite SK6 is generally accepted as the best heatsink around. It's $54 at the same place, with the same powerful fan.
    If you want something cheap that'll work well, get a Volcano II. It's typically $9, and can be found in lots of places.

    Whoever thinks up a good sig for me gets a prize :wink:
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