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upgrade or replace....?

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upgrade or replace....?

Hi, I'm currently using a PIII 866, 256Mb Ram, 20Gb HDD and toying with the idea of buying a bigger hard disk and more ram.

This is about the extent of my technical skills, but I'm sure I could replace other things on the pc to try and speed it up a bit, the problem is what is it worth doing? ie. How much is it worth upgrading before it is a better proposition to buy a new PC?

I've seen a 80Gb HDD for about £80, another 256Mb Ram for about £60. So far, I think I'll stick with current pc. If I wanted a newer processor, etc. does that mean I'd have to buy a load of other gubbins, and what sort of money would I be looking at?

The flip side is that looking through the pc mags, it seems I could get a reasonable spec new pc for the £500-600 mark, and maybe it is time to bite the bulletHuh

So, over to you. What would you recommend?

Richard
18 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

upgrade or replace....?

Firstly you can get the Hard Drive and memory much cheaper than the figures you quote.

I would though limit your "Upgrading" to just that. If you start trying to do more, say faster processor etc you will find that technology is moving so fast you will need to replace many other parts as well. Perhaps even the power supply as faster machines generally need more power than the older 350 watt ones can manage.

Probably cheaper in the long run to get a new one or even get the parts and build your own. Do check carefully the specification though of anything before you lash out and avoid machines with everything built on the motherboard, especialy the graphics card as this will be sharing the main memory and using your precious CPU cycles.
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upgrade or replace....?

Hmmm, sounds like it might be the expensive option is looming on the horizon, but if I can get HDD & RAM cheaper, where is a good place to try?

Richard
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

upgrade or replace....?

Your upgrade options are very limited with that PC:

- Processor upgrade is really limited to impossible - especially if you are using a slot1 motherboard and processor.

- Your OS/mobo may not be able to recognise an 80Gig disk or at least not be able to utilise it fully. Also 80Gig drives should be around £50 not £80 (I just bought one for £47.95) and 40Gigs (which may also have problems depending on your BIOS/OS) should be under £40. There are ways around the limits but it depends on whether you want that hassle or not.

- Memory upgrades would be possible although the prices you have quoted are excessive. You should be able to get 168pin 3.3v PC133 512Meg for around £50 and 256Meg for around £30 online/mail order. If your PC uses PC100 rather than PC133 speed memory then it should be cheaper still.

It also depends on what you use the system for as to whether it is worth the expense of buying a new PC. However, the newer PCs will be considerably faster than your current system and will be able to run a lot of the PC games that are around now which your current system will struggle with or not run at all. If your usage is not heavy then you should be able to get a good fully equiped PC (low end P4/Celeron or AMD XP based) with monitor etc for under £400 now.

To be honest, with the age of your PC I would maybe add an additional 256Megs of memory which will improve overall response and save up for a new PC. In the long run you could spend a lot of money to get a very small gain in performance with trying to upgrade your current system. Things have increased dramatically since your PC was 'leading edge' technology.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

upgrade or replace....?

There are many mail order / online places.

I have used

www.novatech.co.uk
www.overclockers.co.uk (more recent hardware, does not have PC100/PC133 ram).
www.dabs.co.uk

www.kelkoo.co.uk will search loads of websites for the best deals.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

upgrade or replace....?

Quote
but if I can get HDD & RAM cheaper, where is a good place to try?


Several places to look at on the net.
try http://www.scan.co.uk or http://www.microdirect.co.uk for starters.
You will hve to add postage if you are too far away to collect but the prices you quoted sound like PCWorld ones Cry

Also as mentioned by petrvaughan you could have problems with drives over 40gig so stick to that size and add it as a second drive which will give you a total of 60 gig.
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upgrade or replace....?

Thanks for the info - I tend to use the pc for web surfing, a little bit of word processing and running a small charity accounts package. Nothing particuarly intensive amongst that, its just that Win2K seem to take forever to boot and I seem to be filling the HDD with MP3's these days (I really can't be bothered to keep taking cd's in/out of the car...)

For the time being I'll see if I can add the bigger HDD & RAM (that will speed up win2k won't it?) and look at getting a new pc in the next few months

Many thanks for the replies,
Richard
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

upgrade or replace....?

The disk won't speed it up but the ram will although not by much so don't get your hopes up too much.

Also check your system can actually have more than 256Megs of memory fitted. As said above, check carefully before you buy, that what you buy is compatible with your PC. i.e. don't by DDR or DRAM, only ram labeled PC100 or PC133 (depending on what your system can take) will work in your system.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

upgrade or replace....?

If you do go through and upgrade your processor send me a PM if you intend on selling the old one.

Chris
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upgrade or replace....?

Hi

What everyone seems to have missed is what are hoping to do with your PC?

If it's just Internet surfing and using MS Office then your curent set up is fine, just upgrdae the HDD and memory.

If you're a game player then you will need to bite the bullet and buy a new PC.

I guess from your post that you're the former.

I'd go for a branded (Seagate, Quantum) 80GB HDD and leave your 20GB HDD in as the slave. Upgrade your memory to a maximum of 512MB (if the motherboard can support it).

Hope this helps

Chris
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

upgrade or replace....?

As I said earlier, 80gigs may be too big for the BIOS/OS to handle so don't go overboard - 40 gigs will be more than adequate if you have managed to only use a 20Gig disk so far.

uk100nx, the usage was explained in a previous post.

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I tend to use the pc for web surfing, a little bit of word processing and running a small charity accounts package. Nothing particuarly intensive amongst that...
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upgrade or replace....?

lo,si soft sandra is a useful little program which can determine upgrade possibilities for pc systems,you can get it free for home use http://download.com.com/3000-2086-10264518.html?tag=lst-0-1
if you are running windows98 you might have trouble running sandra,a few mates have not been able to use it.it will give you a pretty good idea of what you can and cannot do as regards upgrading when you run the performance tune up wizard.plenty of individual tests and benchmarking modules with it as well
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upgrade or replace....?

Once again, thanks everyone for the info.

Decided that more RAM and bigger HDD is the way to go for the time being (and put the computer money towards a new car!!!)

Richard
vic_newey
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Posts: 802
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Registered: 30-07-2007

upgrade or replace....?

Quote
I've seen a 80Gb HDD for about £80, another 256Mb Ram for about £60. So far, I think I'll stick with current pc. If I wanted a newer processor, etc. does that mean I'd have to buy a load of other gubbins, and what sort of money would I be looking at?

Try buying at computer fair, I got 80 gig drive for £48, 512 DDR 333 ram £60, Audigy2 soundcard £55

if you live in the Midlands try Motorcycle Museum computer fair every sat
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

upgrade or replace....?

Quote
Quote
Try buying at computer fair, I got 80 gig drive for £48, 512 DDR 333 ram £60, Audigy2 soundcard £55[ /quote]

You were robbed Wink

PC world currently do 512MB DDR400 for about £48, I got an 80Gig drive recently for £46 from mailorder and Audigy2 OEM should retail for about £50.