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Thread: computer upgrade

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    computer upgrade

    At home I have a 1998 vintage "Frankenstein" PC. I recently put in a usb card, memory card and a CDRW drive. I think the latter pushed it over the edge. I've been dabbling with the idea of replacing the motherboard, cpu and probably a new cpu fan and power supply. If my math is right, even with a trip to the PC doctor, the results will be cheaper and possibly better than buying a new box.
    Has anyone done this? Words of wisdom?
    WALSTIB

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Trail Nazi's avatar
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    I used to build all of my computers and myself and have decided that unless there is something specific that I want upgraded on my computer, it is a good idea to buy an already built one, as much as you can reasonably afford. With considering the age of your existing computer, I would buy all new.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Much like a car, there is only so much that you can do to upgrade a computer before you need to just get a new one. We have a few computers in the office that have the memory and processor maxed out, and they are still slower than the newer boxes.

    If you have a good, large tower case that you like, then I would get the parts to build a system in that case.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    I love building my own computer because I can select all the parts I want.

    It's really not too hard. However, if an upgrade hasn't happened in a while, it's probably best to get all new hardware...keep the stuff like the cdrw and hard drive for the new pc. Never hurts to have backups.

    1998 pc is probably a P-III 400 mghz? 500 mghz? 64mb ram maybe 128?

    It's time for an upgrade.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    frankie

    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    I love building my own computer because I can select all the parts I want.

    It's really not too hard. However, if an upgrade hasn't happened in a while, it's probably best to get all new hardware...keep the stuff like the cdrw and hard drive for the new pc. Never hurts to have backups.

    1998 pc is probably a P-III 400 mghz? 500 mghz? 64mb ram maybe 128?

    It's time for an upgrade.
    Its an AMD Athion 333 mghz. I added memory to total circa 134. Other than being a slug, a BIG problem with it is identifying the existing components and getting drivers etc.
    WALSTIB

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Disposable Computers

    Why not just buy a disposable computer ....you can get a decent one for about $500 now :-0 (with monitor and printer)....unless your single, with no kids and just happen to have all that time to put one together.....but then, if this is the case, you should be loaded with $$ and could buy a state of the art system complete with a terabyte of RAM and Googleplex of Hard drive space.... I've started doing this with the understanding that the thing can be replaced in a year....sad, but they really are getting to be like toasters and microwaves now, only less reliable over time....and antiquated after a year anyway....
    Skilled Adoxographer

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    It may be tough with a computer from 1998, only because there's a chance that it may still use an AT form factor motherboard. Almost all motherboards now are ATX form factor, and they won't fit into an AT case.

    All my computers are "Frankenstein" boxes, built and gradually upgraded through the years. They aren't what I could call bleeding edge boxes, but rather a generation or so behind; nice and fast, but not 1337.

    If you have an ATX box (if the mouse, keyboard, serial and parallel port are on a slot that is physically attached to the motherboard, rather than dangling from something that fits into a peripheral slot on the case), check out newegg.com for motherboard/CPU combo packages. You'll also need new memory; your old SDRAM memory won't work in a new motherboard, which usually uses DDR memory.

    With motherboards ... there used to be a rule-of-thumb that if you were a 1337 gamer 0v3rcl0ck|ng d00d, you should buy from a manufacturer that begins with the letter "A". Asus is pretty solid; Abit was known to have reliability and manufacturing defect issues. I like MSI and Gigabyte for price, quality and performance. Epox is also good, and DFI seems to have a growing fan base. Soyo can be a bit finicky.

    An AMD CPU and motherboard package offers better performance for the price than the Intel equivalent.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tom R
    Its an AMD Athion 333 mghz. I added memory to total circa 134. Other than being a slug, a BIG problem with it is identifying the existing components and getting drivers etc.
    The old Athlons run quite nice.. I had an Athlon 500 and then a Duron 600, now I have an Athlong 1500xp. I'm very happy with them.

    My recommendation is to buy a new pc, but not necessarily a top of the line computer. You'll get incredible performance from anything listed as a 1.2 Ghz to 2.0 Ghz. AMD's processors run at a clock speed lower than Intel, but deliver similar performance. for instance, my 1500xp runs at 1.2 Ghz and performs nearly the same as a pentium 4 - 1.5Ghz.

    Make sure that your mb has usb 2.0 and firewire capabilities. I like the Nvidia chipsets in the new motherboards if you decide to build your own. ATI makes a nice video card now and I would make sure to get at least 60GB in hard drive space.

    I haven't upgrades my motherboard, video card, or processor in 3 years and up until rencently I never noticed a performance problem. I've been doing video editing and that demands a ton of power.

    edit: Dan I ran Epox way back when and now am a Asus only user. Although Gigabyte did convert some of my friends.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    computers

    Quote Originally posted by Dan

    IWith motherboards ... there used to be a rule-of-thumb that if you were a 1337 gamer 0v3rcl0ck|ng d00d, you should buy from a manufacturer that begins with the letter "A". Asus is pretty solid; Abit was known to have reliability and manufacturing defect issues. I like MSI and Gigabyte for price, quality and performance. Epox is also good, and DFI seems to have a growing fan base. Soyo can be a bit finicky.

    An AMD CPU and motherboard package offers better performance for the price than the Intel equivalent.
    Any of these touch you where it tickles?

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...c.asp?CatId=14
    WALSTIB

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    We had a computer that we kept upgrading. Eventually, we figured out that we could have bought a newer, better computer for less than the zillion upgrades we put into it. When it came time to "upgrade" again, we bought new.

    My husband has built a couple of our computers (his and our oldest son's). I think my husband continues to tinker with his and his frequently has problems. I have enough trouble with things like "Simcity 4 is incompatible with my videodriver and won't run on my computer". I don't pretend to know enough to figure out which components are compatible with each other. If you don't know enough about it, it can be a real headache. However, if you want to learn how to build your own, and you view this as a "practice computer", you might be happy with this. But if you really want a reliable computer for less money, this might not be the way to go.

    I think my husband is getting good enough at it that he is no longer frustrated with the results he gets (and tinkering with his computer seems to be a fun hobby for him). But he drove the 45 minutes back to Fry's on many occasions to replace parts that failed, etc. Yes, you can have failures like that when you buy a computer too. But his computer took more of such trips than our other 3 computers combined.

  11. #11
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tom R
    Any of these touch you where it tickles?

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...c.asp?CatId=14
    STAY AWAY FROM TIGER DIRECT! Note the uppercase letters.

    See what the geeks say on boards like Ars Technica. Almost always, it'll be Newegg and Multiwave.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    brawch brawch brawch

    I think I have officially chickened out.
    WALSTIB

  13. #13
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    I'll echo Dan's message concerning Tiger Direct - they SUCK!!!

    I've finially given up tweaking and building my own PCs. Now, I'm trying to get the family to shed computers. Having 6 running PCs for 3 people is too many. I also just gave away to our local National Guard Unit a big box of all of my old Frankensteins. If fully assembled there was at least 1-386, 1-486, 4-P1, 3-P2, & 2-P3 in the box, complete with hard drives, cases, PS's, keyboards, mice, & even a few tape drives. I'm more in need of space in the house than junk I'll never use.

    I now have a guest computer. When we have people stay over I have a computer they can use to browse or check their email from. It got to be a pain in the ass to see some relatives playing solotaire on a pc I needed to get some work done. Plus, I don't have to worry about viruses and crap on my laptop.

  14. #14
    I am in the same boat as Dan, I kind of add stuff as needed or as money allows. I am running an Athlon XP1800 with 1 GB of DDR RAM and a 32 mb video card. I have 2 hard drives (120gb and 160gb). My next upgrades will likely be a new case, 128mb video card and maybe a new Athlon XP 3000 CPU. I cannot imagine that I would ever buy a complete system again. I have more fun assembling things as I need them. If you have the older AT form case instead of ATX, you could probably grab a barebones system with a motherboard, cpu, ATXcase, power supply, keyboard, mouse, floppy drive, and CD rom for under 200 bucks. Just add your other peripherals and you have a great system.

    I will chime in with my 2 cents regarding Tiger Direct, I think they are awesome. But I am basing this on my experience with them. I have ordered all but one of my motherboard/cpu combos and several peripherals from Tiger as well as my initial first Windows computer (I was a Macintosh user until 1997ish) from there as well. They have always shipped things in a timely fashion. I had to return one processor and they did what most places do, they ship a replacement out and credit your card when they get the defective one back. I have heard many people (friends included) that Tiger sucks but I have never experienced anything but satisfaction from them. Now if you want to talk about Dell….that is another story.

    With that being said I tend to lean towards NewEgg also. They usually have better prices and selection. Customer service is great.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

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