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Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

zoomclub
Grafter
Posts: 29
Registered: 28-10-2007

Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

Hi - Wanted to ask for some advice on upgrading a desktop PC on a budget - My basic aim is to get as fast a basic system as possible for around about £100 layout - using parts of the system I've already got as explained below!
Don't want to shell out any more £'s on desktop, as am planning to buy reasonable laptop in next year or so - not needed now.
Am currently running an antique system with mega-cheap components:-
ABIT BM6 Motherboard
Celeron 433 MHz CPU
512 Mb SDRAM
MAG XJ530 Monitor
SiS 6215 Graphics card
C-Media CMI8738/C3DX Audio card
Voyager 210 Router (Via USB)
HP 9100 CDRW
2 x IDE Drives.
Win 2K 5.00.2195 SP4
Would ideally like -
1)To keep main IDE Drive - only 8GB, & obviously not that fast Smiley but Ok for now.
2)Definitely keep MAG monitor - big & dated, but don't think there's any need to think about changing it - ?
2)Stay with Win2K, as I've found it pretty stable, and am not bothered about going to XP/Vista yet - Unless there's a real good reason!
3)Get a MBD with onboard graphics - Ok for "home use" - web browsing, Office 2000 etc - no gaming, or high end requirements. Maybe ideally board would have a PCI Express slot - which I believe I'd need for future upgrading of the graphics system.
Similarly would be Ok with onboard Sound - Only used for MP3 / CD listening etc - or even re-using the C-Media card I've got, if there's enough PCI slots on new MBD.
4)Onboard LAN - Have looked at the specs for a couple of cheapish boards & appears this is prob' standard now - Not sure? Just would mean I could use Ethernet connection on router, free up USB slot if req'd, and possibly get a slightly faster B/B connection.
Seen a couple of bundles for around £50 - Would be happy to go with an AMD board & Semperon CPU if there's room for later CPU and RAM upgrades - Am guessing that in addition to the MBD & CPU I'm going to need to buy:-
-  New PSU - read somewhere new boards need extra connection for the CPU(?)
- New, DDR or DDR2 RAM - believe new boards don't support SDRAM - I've no real idea of prices for this. from what I've seen I might be able to go to a board that'll support up to 4GB - if so, then am guessing that if 2 x RAM slots is standard I'd be best buying a 2 GB module (leaving room for later upgrade).
- New case?? - Not sure at all about form factor for the MBD - read that most new Mbd's are ATX - which as far as I'm aware is the size my current board and case are. Confusing thing is the 3 or 4 budget boards/bundles I've looked at so far have all been MicroATX - also , not sure if my case would accomdate a MicroATX - or is this nonsense 'cos of different size of PSU etc?!? - I need HELP!
Ok, head starting to ache - Any advice welcome (& you can stop laughing at Noah's PC now  Grin)
Cheers
Pete



9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,311
Thanks: 972
Fixes: 57
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

You could replace the motherboard with onboard sound and graphics and a new processor. (your present graphics card is AGP and very few motherboards support that)
Without knowing your power supply specs I don't know if you need to replace it.
If it is an ATX power supply it may have the extra power feed but the 12 volt rail will almost certainly be the problem.
The current DDR2 ram prices are so low 2 x 512MB for £20 http://www.komplett.co.uk/k/kl.aspx?bn=10524 that I would recommend you junk the memory and budget for the following
Power supply (or case with included power supply so that you can build your PC while keeping the other running)
Motherboard
CPU
Memory
Note that you will need a board with 2 IDE connectors - I suspect this will be the biggest problem
petermaughan
Grafter
Posts: 83
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

Hi Pete,
Computer hardware is so cheap these days that it isn't worth struggling on with something that is really old.  I was looking at the cheapest option for a friend only last evening and found the following at www.microdirect.co.uk :
Motherboard Foxconn K8M890M2MB-RS2H  £28.14
Processor AMD CPU AM2 Sempron 3000  £22.37
Memory  2 x 512 MB DDRII  £11.72
Hard disk 80GB  £26.32
Personally, I would worry about getting drivers for new hardware under Windows 2000 and would install Windows XP instead.  The OEM version is available from the same source for £51.69.
Excuse me for saying this but don't forget to back up your data before upgrading, in case of accidents.  If you do install a new hard disk you can use a program such as Acronis True Image to "clone" your old hard disk onto the new.  That way you will keep the old disk as a backup.
Regards,
Peter
N/A

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

I have a particular preference for Win2K too, but XP is getting better these days!
The only real good reason for changing to XP would be driver incompatibility, although I've only had occassional problems finding drivers for Win2Kpro over XPpro, and I've never been completely flumoxxed, although its taken a bit of searching on occasion.
Not sure about the comment about needing two IDE sockets - I was always under the impression that multiple HDDs can live on the same IDE controller, so long as one has the jumpers set to define it as 'Master' and all subsequent HDDs are defined as 'Slaves'
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,311
Thanks: 972
Fixes: 57
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

James
You are probably more up to date than me but as far as I know a standard IDE connector will only support a maximum of 2 drives (master and slave)  and the majority of new motherboards only have one IDE socket and many SATA sockets.
This means a maximum of 2 drives including the optical drive.
In the case of the OP he had a total of 2 IDE hard drives and an optical drive
N/A

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

I'd not counted the optical drive - I bow to your superior skills of counting Grin
So, ignore me, and get a mobo with 2 IDE connectors as suggested.
[me=James_H]walks away muttering something about Dell's stupid cabling in Optiplex GX60's.......[/me]
mar7t1n
Grafter
Posts: 84
Registered: 09-08-2007

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

You have hit the PC upgrade wall. The realisation that basically nothing apart from the floppy disk which nobody uses anyway is now compatable with what you can buy these days.
So you need new:
Motherboard - needed for new processor
Processor - needed new motherboard
Case - Unless you have spare fixing you won't get the new motherboard in.
Graphics Card - Changed to PCI
Powersupply - now needs to be 24 pin.
Disk - need to be SATA
O/S - It's all Vista these days.
Monitor - Grahpics cards use DVI connectors.

I guess you have to ask yourself, what can I afford, what do I need, where can I get it cheapest and will it last me long enough to be value for money. Doing it on the cheep isn't always the best option. You might be unhappy with it in 12 months.
N/A

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

Quote from: mar7t1n
O/S - It's all Vista these days.

Most businesses remain in the 'SP1' camp, many others are in the 'SP2' camp.
I won't even consider it for my company until at least SP1, many more will likely wait until SP2 before even considering it. (SP1 is often seen as a watershed moment from a business POV.)
Whilst ever we are being awkward about the OS we want on our machines, the big vendors will be too afraid of stopping supplying it. (Dell made the mistake briefly, and when sales plummetted and folks moved to alternatives who would provide XP Pro, they quickly backtracked and re-instated XP Pro as an option)
mar7t1n
Grafter
Posts: 84
Registered: 09-08-2007

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

I don't know why they insist on an O/S anyway. Gamers and IT geeks (i.e. me) simply want to install the O/S themselves the way they want. Companies want to do the same so they can install a standard build, and typically have a select or MSDN licence from Microsoft anyway.
N/A

Re: Advice on Upgrading - Best Bang for Buck!

You don't have to buy an OS from Dell - I've often bought 'hardware only' kit from them.