Looking for CPU upgrade advice

I'm thinking of upgrading a PII-450 Gateway PC to a PIII-850. I confirmed with Gateway that this was the maximum that could be supported by the motherboard, and have the latest BIOS update. My question is how hard is it to successfully upgrade a processor? I'm familiar with sound and video card, hard drive and RAM upgrades, but this is definitely a bigger step for me. I want some performance increase but don't want to botch the job, so am looking for advice. (This machine is a second home PC used for LAN gaming and MS Office functions, so it doesn’t need to be top of the line—I have decent sound and video cards and 384 meg of RAM, and I’m content with a CPU upgrade if it makes sense.)

Also, the ATX case of the Gateway has a 90-watt power supply. The PC runs fine, but I see on other sites that this is pretty anemic as power supply goes. Should I think of replacing this as well? How hard is that to do, and what effect would it have?
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  1. CPU upgrade to 850 should be a matter of plug and go, simple enough, not much different then a ram upgrade. The only reason it may be harder is you may need to change the jumpers on the board, but most will detect an 850 automatically.

    As for the power supply, I would get a better one. I am surprised its only a 90, even most of the mATX el cheapo supplies are 145!!
  2. One more thing, if you were using a P-II 450, that means that you have a Slot-1 processor and will need another slot-1 processor or a Slotket device as well as the processor must be a 100mhz fsb model. Keep those things in mind when you go to purchase your new processor.

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  3. You can find a reasonably priced 250 watt ps for about $25-30 which includes shipping. I recommend either Sparkle or A-open. The generic brands don't work as well. Check pricewatch and click on case ps then brands. The hardest thing about replacing the power supply is unplugging everything when removing it ( hardrive, floppy, motherboard,cd-rom, etc.) You also have to loosen 4 screws in the back of the case, and maybe one more inside. Edge One and Accubyte list a slot one version of the pentium 3 850 for about $144 plus shipping on pricewatch. You could just try your old power supply first, but I honestly don't know if this will damage the cpu when you first turn it on. I would go to Intel's website and try to get a phone number for technical support and ask them what the minimum requirement for the power supply is for the 850. Also, remember to never open a power supply. There is enough juice left in the capacitors to seriously injure someone long after it is unplugged.
  4. Not to rain on your parade, but I don't have much faith in Gateway tech support. I've dealt with them often enough to suspect anything they tell me. Check and double-check everything. If the board supports the PIII/850 you might also need a BIOS upgrade to make it work. Good luck.
  5. If they are saying it supports up to an 850 they are refering to the E processors (100MHz FSB) as opposed to the EB (133 FSB). You can still use the 900E or 1000E if you can find them, but they are hard to find, and the 1000E is about $50+ more expensive than the 1000EB, while the 900E is priced comparably to the 850E.

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  6. Thanks to all of you. Is it stupid to ask if I would be better off replacing both the motherboard and processor? Prices for AMD motherboard/processor combos seem to be less expensive than an equivalent PIII-850 chip alone...but I suppose that reattaching drives, cards, etc. is a lot more complex than just replacing the processor.
  7. You should definitly replace your power supply, but if I'm not mistaken your gateway has a propriatary psu. So you'll probably have to get one from Gateway, 250w should be sufficient.

    When I go into a computer store I lose all means of reason for some reason.
  8. You will want to be careful when getting a new powersupply cause the 90watt powersupplies Gateway ships are different in size from a normal powersupply. I don't think Gateway sells any higher watt powersupplies in that size either. It is very possible that the motherboard you have can accept that high of a processor. If you will open your case and get the seven digit part number off of your motheboard I will tell you for sure.
  9. The part number is 4000402. It's an Intel Jabil integrated audio motherboard (identified by Gateway as 4W4SB0X0). As for the power supply, do I have to upgrade? I'd just as soon leave it alone unless a faster processor can't work with the low power supply. I called Gateway and they do not sell other power supplies, but the tech didn't think there was a size problem. (If I call again, maybe I'll get a different answer.)
  10. Most Gateway mid ATX cases acutally include the bolt holes for the larger supply, but require a notch for the power connector (get out the dremel). Then again your case is so old that if it's mid ATX it might just have the full sized power supply.

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  11. Well it looks like on that specific board it says you can only go up to P2-450 (Processor speeds supported by this motherboard are from 233MHz to 450 MHz. The BIOS should be updated to the latest version before upgrading the processor) with the possibility of going up to P3-550 with the latest bios update. I don't know for sure if you can get up as high as what they told you or not. If you try it just make sure you can return it or hae a buyer setup for it just in case it doesn't work. If your case has 3-5.25" bays and 2-3.5" bays on front you shouldn't have to worry about the size of the powersupply. If your case has 2-5.25" bays and 1-3.5" bays on front you will have to worry about the size of your powersupply. Hope this helps.
  12. This info does help. Is there any reason that I *have* to upgrade the power supply? All current components run well enough. Would a PIII-850 draw that much more power than a PII-450 that I would be forced to upgrade?
  13. you more than likely have a micro atx case and therefore will only be able to upgrade that power supply to a 145 watts. Larger power supplies have a different set of screws than the micros, so its 145 or new case that holds larger pss.

    Thank you very little!
  14. Looks like a larger case--two small bays and three larger ones, so I guess this doesn't have the size limitations.
  15. Then your in luck, You can get any normal atx power supply. If I were you I'd upgrade and if there is any weird stuff happening (lockups,restartsor just won'tboot )then I'd get a new psu.

    When I go into a computer store I lose all means of reason for some reason.
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