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Overhaul to old PC - need opinons.

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December 15, 2001 5:49:36 PM

As the subject says I have recently decided to go ahead and overhaul my aging system, but I am not very good with compatibility issues, specific part requirements, etc. I have a good idea of what I want on the system, but I lack the knowledge of what works best with what.

Current System:

P3 600mHz
128 MB (not sure what kind of RAM - RDRAM?)
Voodoo3 16MB vid card
AWE 32 SoundBlaster LIVE!
Some archaic motherboard probably not made anymore.

So you see my situation, I mostly use the system for gaming (Everquest, DAoC, Quake, CS, etc), web browsing, and some word processing.

I am looking for get the most bang for my buck, and I am not looking for anything elite or over the top, just a competitive gaming system that I could build myself.

I have been looking at the new Athalons (18/1900's) they seem to be pretty nice chips for the price. I would like to have 500+ meg of RAM in the system with room for expansion. Looking at my vid card I am sure in need of an upgrade and was considering a Gforce3 or new Raedon 75/8500 card. Also I know absolutely nothing about Motherboards and compatibility issues between them and components.

I was considering upgrading my OS to Win XP, but I am opening to suggestions on other OS's.

In summation I am looking for an Athalon Chip, 500+ meg RAM, new vid card, new sound card, a MB with room for expansion that won't be out of date within a few months. If you have any suggestions about what types of components (please as much specificity as possible) I should be looking into feel free to add anything. Also if you have a system that is about what I am looking for could list pro's and con's about it.

Thank you for you time. =)



~Horizon

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December 15, 2001 6:29:55 PM

I would sell your old system in the paper, and save your critical files (if you need to) on cd. Buy a cheap burner if needed, and you can transfer it to your new system. Why replace everything. You get faster memory, hardrive, cpu, etc. and a warranty. Check pricewatch under pc windows, and select the processor speed. Even the new xp athlons are reasonably priced. You can still add a better video card. I found a refurbished gainward ti 500 at newegg with free shipping for only $99 with tv out and 64 megs of ddram. Plenty fast. You could probably get about $250 for your old system and keep your monitor if you don't want to upgrade it. I recommend any 17-19 inch with a rating of .25 dot pitch or lower. The lower the better.
December 15, 2001 8:27:27 PM

Was searching around TomsHardware and Pricewatch and can up with a few things. Would this stuff be compatable or is there anyway of telling that?

AMD Athlon XP Motherboard
K7S5A, SIS735, 266FSB, 2 SDR & 2 DDR, ATA100, AC97, onboard LAN, 4XAGP, 5PCI. Retail Box.

AMD Athlon XP 1800 CPU
266MHz Bus, 128KB L1 and 256KB (on chip) L2 Cache

430Watt Power supply.
EG465P-VE 430W 450w(over 400w) Two Fan FM ATX Power Supply Meet Intel AMD 2.03 Version P4 supported.

RAM
Samsung 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz PC2100 32x64 2.5V NonParity 184pin CL2.5.

Video Card
Radeon 8500,64MB,DDR,AGP4X,TV-OUT,DVI-OUT(OEM)

SB Sound Card
Sound Blaster Aidugy w/1394 Fire Wire(OEM)


And my plan is to run this on a Windows XP system. Are there any conflicts you can see?


~horz
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December 15, 2001 9:16:57 PM

It's hard to say that a system will be 100% compatible before running it. What you can do is to choose good quality components of respectable brands to ensure that at least you're going to have good support in case anything goes wrong.

About the system you mentioned I can't see any compability issues, but building a computer is not an exact science. I would comment about some components:
- Your MB is fine. Cheap and stable. Although the SIS735 is no longer the fastest chipset, it has good reputation;
- The XP 1800 is ok;
- You really don't need a 430W PSU. Buy a cheaper 350W, it's more than enough;
- Look for a CL2.0 RAM, the difference in price is small;
- What monitor do you have? Buying a Readeon 8500 or a GF3 Ti500 for a 15' or 17' (low resolution <= 1280x1024) monitor is a waste of money. If that's the case, look for a GF3 Ti200, it is not going to disapoint you;
- The sound card is fine. But you have to remember that to get all the potential of this soundcard you'll need 5.1 speakers. If you don't have them or do not intend to buy them, then you're wasting your money.

Finally, look for the good brands.
December 15, 2001 11:54:30 PM

I agree with Abitols for the most part. One problem I could see is that ATI doesn't have the best driver support for their Radeon 8500 yet, especially in Windows XP for some reason. I would try and get CL2 (also known as CAS2) memory. You could get a better motherboard though, for probably an extra $25 you could get an Epox 8KHA+ motherboard which would have the fastest chipset available, and give you very good performance, I guess I just like big name brands, but I don't think I could ever buy an ECS motherboard, they seem cheapo to me (Like a Kia *ew*) Also the size of your monitor shouldn't limit the video card you want to buy. If your computer will only run 1280x1024 and below and that resolution is fine with you then by all means buy the best video card on the market. And if you want the best video performance but have a small monitor, still buy the best video card (Geforce 3 Ti500 or Radeon 8500: Debatable)
and if you have 4.1 speakers or lower you should look into the Sound Blaster Live Value, or Sblive Xgamer 5.1 for possible upgrade path.
Maybe you'd also want to consider finding out what motherboard you have? maybe you just need to drop in a faster CPU, more ram, a hard drive controller, video card and some faster hard drives instead of a complete overhaul. Your sound card, cdrom, floppy, modem/network cards are probably all fine.
December 16, 2001 8:58:02 AM

Ditch the ecs motherboard, I bought that board and it was doa, took it back to frys and tried 3 other boards, all doa, all my components were tested on other sytems before purchase.

Turns out ecs has nearly 30% doa return rate, amazingly poor quality control, I would get a kg7 lite motherboard, good faster amd760 chipset with no stabiliy issues. It is about 120ish.

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