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Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

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Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

I've got an Athlon 1400, about 3 years old, plus a cheapo nVidia graphics card (MX 440 I think). I mostly use the PC for 2D graphics processing (Photoshop), audio and video processing (wav->mp3 and avi joining, editing, dubbing etc). The PC has 512 MB of memory.

I would like to upgrade as it's starting to feel a little clunky, particularly for the audio and video stuff.

Should I go for:

a) A new motherboard plus AMD XP2800 plus 512 MB 400 MHz memory for about £125. Or
b) A new graphics card, perhaps GeForce FX5200 or FX5700 (seeing as most of my stuff is 2D, I doubt I need a fancy one) for about £60

I suspect a) will probably have most impact for the kind of stuff I do (i.e. no 3D games) but does anyone have any other recommendations?

Secondary query: the current CPU heats up massively (60°C+); do more modern AMD chips heat up less? At the moment, I can turn off all central heating in my room when the PC's on.
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

This is a difficult one to answer. The simple answer would be to replace both mobo/CPU & graphics card as both are getting old now and both will impact the speed your system deals with what you use it for. While the new graphics cards have faster 3D, this in turn means they also have faster 2D capabilities.

You did not say what your max budget was and without that it may be difficut to make any recommendatons. Also what OS are you using as XP can often doo things more effeciently than say 98SE/Me?

- What mobo were you thinking of? You can get mobos that support the latest CPUs for £20 - they are not state of the art and don't have all the bells and whistles but will do perfectly weel for your purposes. Try to stick with the leading brands like MSI, Asus, Gigabyte, Abit and go for an older model rather than the current top spec'd ones.

- The FX5200 is pretty much the bottom spec for Nvidia now, the FX5700 is probably a better buy but idealy it should be a pro or ultra version but that will take you over the 60.

- For video/music editing the processor speed will be your limiting factor and in some respects memory as well but 512Mb should be treated as a minimum and ideally 1GB may be better but it does depend on how big the files/pictures are you are editing.

The newer AMD processors (like the newer P4's) run hotter the faster they operate (the XP2800+ runs hotter than the XP1400+ you have( so you will need to invest in a good CPU heatsink/fan to get your temps down.You will not be able to use the heatsink/fan you have now on the XP2800+, you need one rated for at least XP3200+ and not the ones that cost <£10. Also the cooling capabilities of your case may be the limiting factor so you may need to fit additional case fans t push more air through - just make sure you suck in air at the front and blow out air at the back. For a good long life you should aim to get your CPU temps to 50C or less when at full load - this means nearer 40C when idle.


I have probably confused you more but upgrading is not a simple case of buying a few bits and putting then together now a days - there are so many variables to consider and way to many options.
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Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

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You did not say what your max budget was and without that it may be difficut to make any recommendatons.

£200 for a motherboard/CPU/heatsink/Memory combo
£60ish for a GFX card

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Also what OS are you using as XP can often doo things more effeciently than say 98SE/Me?

Windows 2000 professional

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What mobo were you thinking of?

ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe (part of a motherboard bundle from novatech.co.uk)

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You will not be able to use the heatsink/fan you have now on the XP2800+, you need one rated for at least XP3200+ and not the ones that cost <£10.

Heatsink is pre-fitted in the bundle - it's a Coolermaster Aero7+

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Also the cooling capabilities of your case may be the limiting factor so you may need to fit additional case fans t push more air through - just make sure you suck in air at the front and blow out air at the back.

I just added a second case fan to do exactly this.Smiley I think my current heat problems are due to a cheapo CPU fan.

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For a good long life you should aim to get your CPU temps to 50C or less when at full load - this means nearer 40C when idle.

The only way I can achieve <50°C is by using the MSI app Cooler XP, which occupies all idle CPU cycles in doing nothing and has quite a dramatic cooling effect. But it's a pain because I have to remember to launch it manually every time I boot into Windows.
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Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

Whats your budget. If you could stretch it i would go for the amd 64 range. I hope to do this next year
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Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

£200 (see above). But I'm not going to get any advantage from an AMD64 unless I use Linux or wait, then pay through the nose for, a 64-bit version of Windows.
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Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

With the new pci express coming out along with the new ram its a bad move to upgrade to anything that doesnt use this new system. Its fairly new so prices will fall very soon but if you dont go to the new system (which is a lot faster) then everything you get is out of date before you buy
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

I would not worry about PCI Express just yet. There will still be AGP cards around for three or four years anyway and after that time you will be changing your mobo again anyway. PCI Express is new technology but it is not yet mainstream with only half a dozen mobos and a couple of card manufacturers in the pot so far.
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Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

As far as I'm concerned, the only benefit to me of PCI Express is to lower the prices of AGP cards and motherboards. Smiley
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Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

For cheap parts go to www.ebuyer.co.uk
go for Aero cool 7 lite from cooler master will cool it to under 50c some good silver thermal paste a tiny amount, and use an MSI mobo for around 40 quid. a radeon 9200 se for under 29 quid you'll have a good system for what you want, if you have XP 512 ram is min it dont run to well with any thing less 1G is perfect!

The asus is crap i had it and returned it, i got MSI nForce 2
zpeterk
Grafter
Posts: 377
Registered: 14-04-2007

Anyone got any suggestions for an upgrade?

The ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe is a good value mobo, I have never had any problems and an XP25 overclocks to 32 for a performance boost with no probs appart from the heat