Hey there!! I'm currently running a PIII-450 processor with 128MB PC-100 SDRAM and a 64MB GF2 MX400. I'm thinking of upgrading my processor for the sole purpose of gaming. However, I am on a tight budget so I was considering buying a Duron 1.1Ghz processor and a motherboard to suit it. I'm not very technically sound .. so i was wondering if anyone out there could advise me on whether this would give me any reasonable performance increase or should i consider other options. I'm only planning on keeping my PC another year and a half you see thats why i'm not planning a total makeover. Plus, is there any other parts i should upgrade?? Thanks for your help!!
ASUS or MSI mobo with nForce 415-D Chipset (as you don't need integrated graphics, 415-D is the best bet for you, 220-D and 420-D comes with integrated graphics, you may buy 220-D if you can't get 415-D, and only when 415-D or 220-D are unavailable, go for 420-D)
256 MB DDR RAM from Micron / Crucial (DDR266 is sufficient for Duron/Athlon XP, DDR333 won't give noticeable performance boost)
(If you want to upgrade only for gaming) Without changing your graphics card, you will get similar gaming performance from 1.1 GHz Duron and Athlon XP 1700+ / 1800+. Athlon XP will boost performance in applications that need better CPU power only.
Some people say that nForce chipsets are more stable than VIA chipsets. Though I personally use MSI K7N 420 Pro (nForce 420-D Chipset), I don't think it is true. If you don't want to buy nForce chipset based mobo, buy MSI KT3 Ultra (KT333 chipset) without RAID. This mobo gives good performance from its price points.
GeForce2 MX400 would allow you to play all games till next year. But if you need better gaming experience for one year, buy a card based on GeForce3 Ti200 chip. It should be at least 3 to 4 times better than GeForce2 MX 400 ( See THG VGA Chart in Graphics Guide). If you are want to pay lesser than GeForce3 Ti200, buy a card based on GeForce4 MX 440 (should be better than GeForce2 MX 400 than 2 to 3 times)
You can know about current prices of the components in www.pricegrabber.com. This site is really cool for knowing price of pc components.
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Hi, you said you are running a PIII-450Mhz. If the mobo you are running that CPU has the BX440 chipset you can upgrate to a PIII-933Mhz or 1Ghz ~around that anyway. Check if your mobo supports 133Mhz FSB. If yes, then get yourself a "slotket", update your BIOS (if hadn't already done so) and that CPU. Of course check the budget between this solution and others, because i don't know if it's easy to find that CPU where you live.
I did exactly that, upgrated from a PIII-450 to a PIII-933Mhz and the system is working great (i get arround 3250 at 3DMark2001 with a Geforce2 Titanium and 320MB RAM which is pretty decent for todays gaming standards).
If you are interested for gaming i would advise you also to add more RAM and get a better Graphics card (depends on budget!).