What to do??

I have a Dell XPS T500 and I am looking into upgrading.... I am looking into the either a new motherboard and AMD chip or the PLi-P3/T upgrade. I have been doing a lot of shopping around and by far the PLi-P3/T upgrade, is the cheapest avenue. But with the stock 100 FSB and SDRAM, I am questioning the overall efectiveness of the upgrade. Its cheap and easy, but how good is it in the longrun. I was reading on Dell's sight and noticed that some aftermarket boards won't fit in Dell cases. Is this true? Also, my stock 200W power suppy won't be enough power for a new system I don't think. ( correct me if I am wrong). I will also need new DDR ram, etc. This will cost me like 400 bucks for a board, AMD XP 1600-1800, power supply and case. What are people's opinions? It comes down to pay 180 now and keep the system for another year or 2 or spend the extra and go all the way. However, I am a college kid and college kids are broke! Thanks!

PC Specs
500mhz P3
256mb PC 100 SDRAM
32mb diamond viper video card
turtle beach montego sound
maxtor 40gb HD, etc....

Please post suggestions!

29 answers Last reply
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  1. good luck upgrading... from my experience dell's are notoriously hard to upgrade, with limited slots, wierd specialised hardware bits and voided warantee's.

    on the processor side u really dont need an XP, u could save a pile of money getting an athlon 1 or 1.2Ghz, then use a sdram mobo. not amazing performance, but alot better than what u had, plus u can use your existing ram and upgrade to PC133 later.
    if u do decide to go DDR, the one of the cheapest board around would have to be the ECS 7KS5A based on the decent sis735 chipset or the leadtek 7350KDA.

    but for general computing a 1ghz cpu is fine. its only if your heavily into video editing or number crunching that u really need greater.
    any games u play will be held back with the diamond viper graphics card.

    on that score, an upgrade to a geforce2pro or geforce 2 Ti would be advisable. not too expensive, yet will give decent framerates at good resolutions.

    keep the sound. and the HDD

    oh yeah, AMD systems generally are powerhungry, so your old PSU wont cut it. get at least a decent Name brand 300W psu (enermax, antec, toptower, sparkle). try to avoid generic ones.. chances are it will give u problems.


    Overclocked athlon 1200C @ 8.5 x 166FSB + PC2700 = GOOD! :smile:
  2. Wow,
    That was a quick response....Here's the situation. I use the computer about 4-6 hours a day. I use the internet a lot and reciently hooked up to a ethernet and boy my resources are getting gobbled up like crazy. In no time I am down to 55% system resouces. And that spells lock ups and freezes. I do a lot of CD burning, downloading and the obvious microsoft utilities. I hope to be buying a digital camera in the near future and what to hook that up and not have any problems. My biggest issue with my computer is everyday multitasking. When I am doing 2-5 things at a time. Ie downloading, listening to music, tyoing a paper, the computer just crawls. I have 256mb of ram, but its getting pretty slow. Plus my mobo is only ATA 33, so my hard drives are slow. I have been looking at the following boards...Tell me what you think
    Biostar M7VIB
    Soyo K7VTA Pro
    MSI MS-6380
    Shuttle AK31
    Soyo SY-K7V
    and giga GA-7VTX

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by JBilliel on 02/10/02 10:04 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  3. well more ram is always good...
    up to 512 on win98.

    u would be suprised how quickly even 256 can be gobbled, having 512 would be at least the cheapest upgrade path... so u can do a PROPER upgrade later :smile:

    ata33 being slow is a bit of a missdemeanour...
    its not so much the interface as the age of the drives that use it.
    i had a modern 60GXP on an ata33 motherboard and it flew. max transfer still limited to 33mb/sec, but way faster than my elderly REAL ata33 16gb drive.
    and once again, having more ram will avoid any swapping to the hard drive, further improving efficiency.
    and you can put new drives on old motherboards, without too much trouble.

    as for your mobo choices... could u tell me what chipset they are all using... i get confused.
    personally, steer clear of soyo and shuttle, they have too many problems with them.

    chipset wise, if your going DDR you have the following choices...

    Ali magik rev1 (asus a7a266) - dual sdram/ddr, but sluggish performance
    Ali Magik revC (iwill xp333) - decent performer, great overclocker

    Via KT266 - obselete
    Via KT266A - highest performing DDR chipset around currently
    Via KT333/Kt333A - comming out eventually

    Nforce 420-D - at least on par with the KT266A, has integrated graphics (gforceMX) & sound, but is more expensive because of it.
    Nforce 415-D - same as above but has no onboard graphics so its cheaper... comming out very soon.

    Sis735 - decent performer, but limited brands. (ECS and Leadtek). ECS produces what would have to be the cheapest DDR mobo around, yet still has suprising good performance. the leadtek one has caught my eye cauz of the overclocking options.
    SiS745 - not out yet.

    so it depends what u want... and what u can afford. probably the best all round is something from the KT266A camp... many brands to chose from.

    oh yeah... unless u need it, avoid a raid equipped motherboard to save money.

    Overclocked athlon 1200C @ 8.5 x 166FSB + PC2700 = GOOD! :smile:
  4. The ECS K7S5A is a good platform for the econo route (I have used it to solve budget upgrade paths with decent performance). It leaves you with plenty of room to grow as the wallet allows.

    Working on computers is what you do when you get tired of glowing in the dark.
  5. If you're going to keep your dell case you'll have to get an adapter to attach the case to a new motherboard.

    There used to be a guy who did it, but he retired. I think his website has instructions on how to make the little adapter though.

    <A HREF="http://members.csolutions.net/dougm/images/dell/casemods.htm" target="_new">http://members.csolutions.net/dougm/images/dell/casemods.htm</A>

    I bought a new case instead and haven't regretted it. Since you'll have to buy a new powersupply anyways, you might as well buy a great case at the same time. I went with the Antec SX1040.

    <font color=red>God</font color=red> <font color=blue>Bless</font color=blue> <font color=red>America!</font color=red>
  6. Does anyone have any opinions on the PLi-P3/T upgrade? Something just seems to good to be true. I was reading the Via KT266A chipset mobo reviews and Tom recommends the soltek SL-75DRV2, the soyo K7V dragon plus, and Abit KR7A. I am thinking of going with the soltek or abit. Are these quality brands? Of ya, if I buy a athlon XP chip, I can still run windows 98, but it won't work as well as XP. Correct? I was thinking XP chip becasue the athlon 1.4 is already getting outdated. No?
    Thanks for all the help and suggetsions! Keep them coming.
    BTW-These boards all use DDR RAM. Is there a difference between RAM manufactors?

  7. the athlon XP will work fine with win98... i personally think this "designed for XP" is a pile of bollocks.

    ive seen the soltec in action and its a great board. very zippy and lots of goodies.

    if your just doing general stuff on your PC an older tbird CPU is by no means slow... i have a 1200C at 1400Mhz and it flies! combine it with a geforece 3 and u will fly.
    so an XP is not manditory, especially if your on a tight budget.

    as for ram, its much like choosing a Powersupply (PSU)
    there are all sorts out there, but its best going for a quality named brand.
    crucial, corsiar, kingmax, micron, mushkin etc
    but make sure your getting LOW CAS rated ram, its faster and higher quality.
    ie. PC2100 Cas2 instead of Cas2.5 or 3.

    Overclocked athlon 1200C @ 8.5 x 166FSB + PC2700 = GOOD! :smile:
  8. The ABIT KR7A-RAID is the best board you listed, however you wont take full advantage of it unless you have 2 matching hard drives to run stripped. RAID RULES! You can also get the Abit KT7 RAID boards ont he cheap now since the kt133 chipset is ancient now, but t would give you the advantage of using existing ram, and ram isnt cheap anymore. I would go with an Athlon XP 1700+ as they are the best value right now, although even a duron 950 for $40 would prolly do you fine for waht you are doing =) You can always spring for the nice board and ddr now and get the duron, then when you have cash pick up the fastest XP =)

    Jesus saves, but Mario scores!!!
  9. Is the ABIT KR7A-RAID only have a K133 chipset? I thought all the ones I listed had the newer KT266A chipset. Correct me if I am wrong....So you are saying the to go with the AMD athlon 1.4mhz 266FSB chip is a better bang for your buck? Its about 20-30 bucks cheaper. I am new to the overclocking game, but I have been researching it a lot as of late. What is the best new case to buy with adequate cooling? Also, what do people recommend for a heat sink? I will not be overclocking it enough to make it worth the water cooling kits, etc. Thanks again!
  10. OK, no the KT7 has 133, the KR7 has 266. If you are gonna overclock avoid the 1400 tbird. I have one that I am very happy with, however they are the fastest (hottest) of the Tbird line. If you wanna overclock the XPs run cooler. You could also get a slower Tbird and overclock it to 1400+, however since CPUs are cheap overclocking is best left to people who are playing or thier machine is getting old. The current "low end" CPUs are more then fast enough for most people =) I just mentioned the KT7 in case you wanted to save $ by using your old ram!

    Jesus saves, but Mario scores!!!
  11. Does anyone have any opinions on the PLi-P3/T upgrade?
  12. Quote:
    Is the ABIT KR7A-RAID only have a K133 chipset? I thought all the ones I listed had the newer KT266A chipset. Correct me if I am wrong....So you are saying the to go with the AMD athlon 1.4mhz 266FSB chip is a better bang for your buck? Its about 20-30 bucks cheaper. I am new to the overclocking game, but I have been researching it a lot as of late. What is the best new case to buy with adequate cooling? Also, what do people recommend for a heat sink? I will not be overclocking it enough to make it worth the water cooling kits, etc. Thanks again!

    The kt7 has the kt133 chip
    the kt7a has the kt133a chip
    the kg7 has the AMD760 chip
    the kr7 has the kt266a chip

    Thats in order of speed, slowest first btw.

    "The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
    No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
  13. KR7<font color=red>a</font color=red>, not just KR7.

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  14. I knew, when I had to leave the computer and close the browser windows before being able to edit my mistake....that you would point it out before I had a chance to fix it.


    "The Cash Left In My Pocket,The BEST Benchmark"
    No Overclock+stock hsf=GOOD!
  15. Yeup, I usually do :wink:

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  16. Try using your apps one by one and after each check for remaining resources, when you notice a huge drop then you have found the software that leak (it's just bad programming nothing major). Try using an updated version of that software, or get something that would do the same job and doesn't eat up your resources.

    But you shouldn't have problems at 50% resources, I reboot only when it say 2-3% resources left (that's like close to 2 weeks for me on W98SE). Then I have problems like can't run apps and stuff, but still no crash.

    You can try something like MemTurbo, it will free up your ram when needed. But it doesn't free up resources. 98 notorious with filling up ram with temp files and such, it doesn't hurt other than a little performance drop. 2K (I got the pro version) can keep your resources in line pretty well, systems running 2K should be up for a real long time because it supposed to manage your system well.

    Good luck finding a new setup.

    <font color=red>Handsome A7V133 looking for long term relationship with a XP CPU. Prefer non smoker.</font color=red> ;)
  17. I can agree with that, my 98 box had to be rebooted every week or so, but my 2k box on the same hardware has been running for 3 months with only 2 reboots, both due to me swapping out some hardware =)

    Jesus saves, but Mario scores!!!
  18. If you do a lot of burning, listening to music etc etc. Then you HAVE to get DDR or rambus. The system bus speeds and the memory type (sdram vs ddr) are the keys. Yes, the processor makes a difference too.
    Very shortly, the AMD thoroughbred will be out. Then the XP series should drop in price. So you may want to wait a couple of months and then see.
    I have a 1.2 gig athlon, 40 gig ata66. FIC AD11 mobo (DDR) with 256mb ram. Geforce 2 Ultra. The most I have ever done simultanteously is: Download a 400mb file, listen to music, surf the web, while running a virus scanner. The surfing slowed down by a couple of seconds, but no other probs. So if you get a similar system, you'll be able to do all ya want.
    Im not too familiar with Intel's stuff. But Im sure Intel_inside, fugger or AMD_meltdown will be along shortly to tell you what you want to know about Intel stuff.

    Benchmarks are like sex, everybody loves doing it, everybody thinks they are good at it.
  19. The iP3/t is a viable option. As for changing boards, I'm an expert there:
    1.) Dell uses a proprietary power supply, you'll need a new power supply no matter which board you choose.
    2.) Dell uses a one piece front panel connector that does not fit most boards. If you want to use your power button, reset button, and LED's, you'll have to take the ribbon cable off the back of the panel card and attach standard two lead cables. This is easy to do, but requires about 1.2 hour of fussing.
    3.) The back panel connector may not have all the holes you need for the new board. You can leave the hole open, or track down a flat one for another case, usually found at dealerships, and trim the top as needed to clear the fan bracket.
    4.) Dell plastic cases are nice because they can muffle internal noises.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  20. I did some more resarch and I found that after running my normal amount of stuff my memory began to free up after I closed them. But my processor usage never dropped below 75% for the rest of the night. It was staying very high and when I would do anything else would max itself out and bring my computer to a crawl. I think I have pretty much decided to build a new machine. I am struggling to decide how much I am "really" going to use. I just can't see justify putting more money into a aging computer. Is it worth trying to upgrade my old PC, or build a new one for like 800 bucks with top of the line parts? Any opinions? I a, alos going to get a copy of win 2000 and see if it helps. Keep the suggestions flowing! Thanks again!
  21. I partially disagree, I certainly would go for DDR, but SDR is fine for most people it there is a reason to stay with it. Again I would go with DDR myself, but I have $$ to spend on whatever I need within reason. The biggest slowdown for most people under the conditions you wrote about is the hard disk system, which is why my machines run striped drive sets =)

    Jesus saves, but Mario scores!!!
  22. You can make it easy on yourself and put in the iP3/t. You probably have Win98SE? It's a little faster than Win2k, but does get bogged down after extended use, so you'd probably see a big gain simply by cleaning your drive and reloading it.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  23. I actually just added a 40gig Hard Drive and cleaned my old 6gig. I have my 6gig with only windows on it and the other with data,etc... I have over 5 gigs free. I don't image it can be that. Here's the million dollar question.... At what time do you stop upgrading and build new? How do you determine when?
  24. You determine by a couple things......

    1) Woudl it cost more to upgrade your current stuff to near top of the line or to build a new system....
    AND whether the upgrade path is worth it.....example...is it worth it to upgrade from a P3 850Mhz - P3 1000MHz?? no........its a dead end upgrade.....but to go from P3 850 - Athlon XP or Pentium 4....yes....

    make ne sense ?

    -MeTaL RoCkEr

    My <font color=red>Z28</font color=red> can take your <font color=blue>P4</font color=blue> off the line!
  25. Like I said, I cureently have a 500. I have 3 options..... 1 is to upgrade to a p3 850 for 150 bucks, 2 is upgrade to the PL-iP3/T for 170, and ugrade and build a new computer with a athlon 1700+ for around 800 bucks. Yes, I could through the PL-iP3/T in there and get 1.2ghz, but its still only got 100 FSB and 100mhz SDRAM.
  26. I would consider:
    1.) Dell cases are quiter than most other cases, I think it's worth the effort to save the case. Get a cheap empty case (no power supply) in ATX and put your old computer in that.
    2.) Get a 350-400W brand name power supply for your Dell case.
    4.) Get a great new board such as the Iwill XP333, a great value high end CPU such as the Athlon XP1800+, some DDR memory, and a new video card of your choice.
    5.) Use the larger drive in your Athlon system.
    6.) Sell the old system (in new case) for around $300.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  27. I decide on the ammount of parts I have to buy if it's worth to tinker with the old or better to invest more and get better. Most of your parts are re-usable after the first time you build a system, at least for a while. So when you have a system like a DELL/Compaq/whatever, and you need to change the mobo/cpu/ram/video/drive/psu/case to get anything decent... you know you're better off building one from scratch.

    Wait, that's how I ended up with too many computers, keeping old parts and then making an old beater just for fun. :lol:

    <font color=red>Handsome A7V133 looking for long term relationship with a XP CPU. Prefer non smoker.</font color=red>
  28. I do like my Dell case, but I was told that many of the new boards do not fit in there. Alos, I would think it would be more easy to sell in the dell case with one year remaining on the warranty.
  29. I don't know what boards wouldn't fit, I'm using an XPS case and have had several boards in it, from Epox, Shuttle, and Asus. I only had to replace the "backplate", the little rectangular plate that covers the hole over the ports.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
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