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 Post subject: upgrade help...lots of it!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 9:26 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:18 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Hi All,

Oooh, didn't even know Maximum PC had a forum - sweet. Been a subscriber forever and had no idea. Thankfully I found it tonight though because I'm in some need of good advice for an upgrade!

Here's what I'm working with at the moment:

AthlonXP 2100+ 1.73GHz
Raidmax 350 PSU
512MB Crucial RAM
Biostar M7VIP (Ver 1.0) - Integrated Audio and Video
Nvidia TNT2 32MB 4X AGP
Western Digital 40GB HDD
Sony DRU-530A
Windows XP w/ SP2

A simple build. I've had this for over 2 years now and never had a single problem with it. I'm happy with the speed of it and everything else.

Thing is - I'm running out of hard drive space and I enjoy playing Sims 2 (and very few other games, far from an avid gamer). Sims 2 is nothing but choppy with my current video card so I popped in a XFX Nvidia GeForce 2 64MB and it sends my computer into tantrums...turns my BIOS into funny characters that looks like another language, freezing after XP loads, etc....I have to disable it in Device Manager to use my computer for everything else and enable it when I'm ready to play Sims 2. Too much crap for me to fuss with.

So, I figure...if I'm going to upgrade the hard drive and the video card...might as well upgrade whatever else would be wise to upgrade while I'm at it. I realize the Biostar mobo isn't that great (although never gave me any problems thus far)...could definitely use a faster CPU...and who doesn't always need more RAM?

I'm not really on a set budget but don't necessarily want to build a whole new computer either...I'd at least like to keep the case, hehe. ;-)

What are the suggestions and advice from all of you techies out there? Hit me with it, I'm ready!

Thanks in advance, guys!

Mr. Lace


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:03 pm 
Northwood
Northwood

Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 7:38 pm
Posts: 2583
Location: Room112
your videocard is a classic. man i remember when TNT2 was the shit back then. i use to play UT with the TNT and it was fun.

this one is kind of a hard call. i recommend a new build but since you dont want to do it, hmmmm. you can still use the WD 40gig as a backup drive as well as the sony for an optical drive. im assuming you are using PC2100 crucial ram and crucial does make awesome quality performance ram.

check out www.newegg.com www.mwave.com www.pricegrabber.com for the hottest deals. although you can upgrade your computer i recommend just investing that money on a new one. just keep that one as a regular workstation and network it with your new future machine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 4:30 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:18 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Thanks for the reply, Keymaker! Let's just assume for a moment that I would be willing to build a whole new box...what would be your hardware suggestions?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:22 pm 
Little Foot
Little Foot
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Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:20 am
Posts: 168
I looked up Biostar's mobo quick reference and found the M7VIP this is it
Image
however it made no mention of IGP - none of the KT333 boards seem to have it.
Maybe you have the M7VIQ (it is only one ascii char off lol) but does have integrated video.
Image
If you do have a mATX board like above, do you know if your case will support full-ATX like the former?
If not you can get a combo like this to upgrade

$66 - Chaintech MK8M800
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDe ... ode=241587

$219 - AMD Athlon 64 3400+
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDe ... de=80704-R

$63 - BUFFALO B-Line 184-Pin 512MB DDR PC-3200
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDe ... 619&depa=1

$136 - Maxtor 250GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive, Model 7Y250P0, OEM
http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDe ... 321&DEPA=0

$400 - BFG 6800 GT 256M AGP8x
http://store.yahoo.com/buyxg/vc129129.html

$45 - Thermaltake Silent PurePower, 420W ATX power supply
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDe ... 006&depa=1
(make sure your case can take full-size ATX power supply)

$930 so far. An extra stick of ram would not hurt. At this point, you may think forget about upgrading, just get a damn case - the cheap one at newegg is not so bad

$32 w/ shipping - Sky Hawk/Eagle Tech Silver ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDe ... 035&depa=1

Then lose the original mATX mobo above, get a full ATX mobo, nice to have some extra PCI slots
$60 - Chaintech SK8T800
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDe ... ode=241579

$955 not to shabby, will have great performance.

If you're thinking that is way to much, check out the A64-2800 is $120 at zipzoomfly, the original board + mem will be ~$250 you should be able to use your trusty XFX AGP v2.0 (4x card @ 1.5v) without any issues and with the hard drive still less than $400. If your current power supply is at least 300W should be ok.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 10:30 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:18 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Thanks Doolittle! All of your advice really has been helpful so thank you. However, it's left me with a few more questions - bear with me, I know what I'm doing but am far from an expert!

Perhaps it would be most wise to just stick with the minimum upgrades for now; that being a larger HDD, more RAM and a better video card. Here's what I came up with from ZipZoomFly...going by my current specs, how do these look to you guys?

Maxtor DiamondMax 120GB 8MB 7200: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDe ... e=100703-1

Asus Radeon 9550: http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDe ... ode=320595

And, of course, another stick of Crucial 512MB PC2700 RAM.

Specifically the video card, is that a good buy or what? I never used a Radeon card before...nor any Asus stuff either...so your input would be helpful here. My current mobo has a 4X AGP port, would I be in the shits with an 8X AGP card? I know it's downward compatible but will I notice a difference with an 8X?

As far as keeping my current 40GB hard drive as a boot drive...you might have to give me some more info on that. Maybe even some instructions on how to make that happen seeing as though I never used 2 HDD before.

Thank you muchly!

Mr. Lace


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:53 am 
Little Foot
Little Foot
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 7:20 am
Posts: 168
That 120Gb HDD is a pretty good deal.

The video card is ok, not a big fan of the 9550 series (although I did have a 9500 Pro that was awesome) but for $68 you're getting 250/400 core/mem speeds. However I came across this Rosewill vanilla 9600 from Chief Value <pricewatch vendor link> for $69 which clocks in at 325/400 so you are getting 75Mhz more core speed for an extra buck!

Also the memory, if you are going to get any at all, please get at least PC3200 (DDR400) so you can re-use it. The Buffalo should work great in conjuction with your current PC2700. Then when you upgrade, ditch the 2700 and re-use the 3200 in the new A64 rig when the time comes .

For the HDD install, Google is your friend... hope this helps!
http://www.pcmech.com/show/harddrive/43/


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