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Need Computer Help -- Trying to Decide if I Want to Upgrade CPU

Posted on 12/18/2002 8:05:36 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick

OK, I have a computer that's about 3 years old and I'm very attached to it. I've done lots of upgrades and improvements over the past year or so and instead of getting a new one, I'd like to do one more upgrade.

Having put in a Network Interface Card, doubled the RAM to 256K, installed a CD-RW drive and replaced the hard drive in my IBM Aptiva, I'm giving serious thought to updating the processor from a Pentium III 600 MHz to something like a P4 2G or something, and I have a few questions:

1) Do I need a new motherboard to do this?

2) How difficult is this to do? Will it become one of those "more trouble than its worth" things?

3) What issues and potential problems should I consider?

Here are some of the specs:

Pentium III 600
system board: V66M
system board chipset: Intel 82443ZX
system board form factor: micro-ATX
front-side bus speed: 100 MHz


TOPICS: Technical; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: cpu; imbpc; intel; motherboard; pentium; processor
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To: NYC GOP Chick
One word: Linux. For some reason, Windows still uses an easily corrupted registry to store operating system instructions and settings. One day you wake up and its gone and you can't get back to your desktop. Arrrrghhh!!! Linux is based on a stable kernel and very rarely crashes. Today its made in user friendly desktop distros like Lycoris, Lindows, Xandros, and Elx Linux. There's really no reason to stick with Bill Gates unless you need the tons of software written for the Windows market.
101 posted on 12/18/2002 11:04:17 PM PST by goldstategop
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To: John Lenin
Really? And just where would one get it from. :)
102 posted on 12/18/2002 11:04:52 PM PST by goldstategop
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To: gcruse
Will it run as fast as my TI-994A?

Ha! Thanks for the blast from the past! I used one of those dinosaurs for many years, from 1983 to 1997, until I finally broke down and bought a modern computer. Funny thing is, about a year later, I sold all my TI stuff for about $400 bucks (in about 20 lots) on eBay, so I had the last laugh there, too!

103 posted on 12/18/2002 11:05:10 PM PST by hunter112
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To: goldstategop
From a computer class ?
104 posted on 12/18/2002 11:06:26 PM PST by John Lenin
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To: NYC GOP Chick
57- "I use Windows 98SE, but would definitely consider 2K -- although I had that at work and it didn't seem all that more stable."

go to microsft windows update, and run their analysis and update programs for both 98 and 2000 - both improve dramatically.

105 posted on 12/18/2002 11:12:15 PM PST by XBob
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To: XBob
If you have an old computer and must have DOS stick with Windows 98. If its speed and stability you're looking for, go to Linux.
106 posted on 12/18/2002 11:14:27 PM PST by goldstategop
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To: NYC GOP Chick
If your drive is WD then they have a free program that you can download from there site.(Data lifeguard or some such thing) It will pretty much take you by the hand and ask you how many partitions you want and such. It is good to have one for your system. One for applications. One for games. At least that many. You can only have 4 real partitions. But this program really only divides one partition into several volumes. That is all you need do unless you are a real geek who is doing multibooting into multiple operating systems.

If you do buy a video card then make sure that it is and AGP card since your PC has a superior AGP slot. This AGP slot is still in use in the most modern boards. The older style was made for a PCI slot. Don't buy that.(Be careful)

I don't use XP. I here it is also more stable. My biggest problem is that I don't want to get permission from Microsoft everytime I change a few things in my computer. Without that permission then windows won't work I guess. I don't like being spyed on and XP does that. Someone who sells computer stuff to the public told me recently that XP stands for X-tra Problems. I am not sure just what he meant. Maybe others could tell you better than I could about that. I also seem to remember that it won't accept device drivers that are not licensed(for a fee) by Microsoft. That it deliberately distorts MP3 audio from non licensed players. A bunch of wierd stuff that I have no personal experience with. I don't even know how much of that stuff was implemented in the release. Just reading about it bugged me though.

107 posted on 12/18/2002 11:19:48 PM PST by Revel
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To: NYC GOP Chick
If your not a gamer, you will just be wasting your money. Your P3 600 will do anything you want.

You will hardly notice any difference.
108 posted on 12/18/2002 11:23:14 PM PST by philetus
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To: goldstategop
i'm pleased with win 2k, fast and stable (now) on my amd 2.1 athalon, with 512.

never tried Linux, but very happy it came out, it forced MS to fix it's crap.
109 posted on 12/18/2002 11:25:08 PM PST by XBob
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To: nutmeg
bump
110 posted on 12/18/2002 11:26:43 PM PST by nutmeg
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To: XBob
I have always heard that 2K is stable. But I have also heard that is not the way to go for gaming. Especially if you like to run some old dos bassed stuff for fun. What is your experience with that?
111 posted on 12/18/2002 11:32:49 PM PST by Revel
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To: Revel
I don't see much difference in capability, although they seem to rate SOYO higher for overclocking!
112 posted on 12/18/2002 11:35:24 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Got to hit the sack!

Work to do tomorrow!
113 posted on 12/18/2002 11:36:07 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Revel
Maybe others could tell you better than I could about that. I also seem to remember that it won't accept device drivers that are not licensed(for a fee) by Microsoft. That it deliberately distorts MP3 audio from non licensed players.

Not true, if your drivers are not authorized for XP it will tell you and install them if you say yes, if your hardware is name brand and not older than 3-4 ears old there is probably an XP driver out for it. The MP3 story is a myth.
114 posted on 12/18/2002 11:47:19 PM PST by John Lenin
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To: NYC GOP Chick

(oops, meant to post this, not FReepmail it ...)   

115 posted on 12/19/2002 5:24:50 AM PST by tomkat
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To: NYC GOP Chick
Check out barebones systems at pcinfinity.net. They have the LOWEST prices I have ever seen. You can get a barebones system...plug your drives, etc. into it, and you're done.
All just for a few hundred bucks. A MOBO and CPU will cost $200, or so, and you still need a hefty power supply, more fans, etc., etc.

Good luck and good FREEPING!
116 posted on 12/19/2002 6:18:55 AM PST by TheJollyRoger
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To: George from New England
i think she meant 256meg..lol lol
117 posted on 12/19/2002 6:35:19 AM PST by mdmathis6
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To: NYC GOP Chick
maxtors max blast sotware for formatting drives will also partition the drive for you as well in any flavor you choose. Besure to format to ntfs if you are installing winxp
118 posted on 12/19/2002 6:49:09 AM PST by mdmathis6
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To: NYC GOP Chick
I use Photoshop. Flash, Illustrator, etc., often and am looking to boost performance.

In general, most computer users would be better off using a Mac.

For the applications you're using, a Mac is especially recommended.

119 posted on 12/19/2002 7:28:51 AM PST by HAL9000
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To: mdmathis6
"i think she meant 256meg..lol lol"

FYI. I still have a running computer that only has 64K. It runs the house...at 2 MHz.

120 posted on 12/19/2002 8:09:08 AM PST by George from New England
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To: Revel
I don't play games, but windows just doesn't match the speed of DOS, no matter how fast your computer.

Personally, win 2k supports multiple operating systems, and I would get DOS 6.2, install both on your new fast computer, and run your old dos in old dos. if this works, I would think your old dos games would be faster than instantaneous - WARP 200 or so.

6.2 was the best of the old DOS, and 5.5, and 3.3.

6.0 is a machine killer, so is anything in the 4 series.
121 posted on 12/19/2002 9:35:23 AM PST by XBob
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To: NYC GOP Chick
sorry for the error in 76

"type exactly at the right arrow prompt DIR REGFIX /? I think this is the right file, and it is usually in the Windows directory or in the main directory. "

it should be :

scanreg /fix
rem this command should be done by booting machine in Dos -
start machine with F8 key down
rem enter formats:
rem - scanreg /? - info
rem - scanreg /backup - backup the registry and related configuration files
rem - scanreg /fix - repairs the registry
rem - scanreg /comment="" - adds comment to the CAB file while backing up

fixing the registry periodically will make your machine run faster and better, as will SCANDISK, AND OPTIMIZING your drive there are all kinds of little tricks to clean and fix your machine to make it run better, without getting a new machine. It's called maintaining your machine. And don't forget your anti-virus stuff too. steer clear of Macafee - it is a real pain in the bu__. note all these files come with Windows98

122 posted on 12/19/2002 10:04:30 AM PST by XBob
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To: George from New England
120
"FYI. I still have a running computer that only has 64K. It runs the house...at 2 MHz."

so sad, 20 years ago, with 64k, we ran the world.
123 posted on 12/19/2002 10:09:32 AM PST by XBob
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To: mdmathis6
Yes, that's what I meant! I can't *believe* the typos I make when I'm too sleepy. :)
124 posted on 12/19/2002 10:42:18 AM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: XBob
Thanks for the info!

By optimizing the drive, you mean partitioning it?

Also, aren't there some software programs that clean up the registry? Are they any good?

125 posted on 12/19/2002 10:43:34 AM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: NYC GOP Chick
One thing to consider: The new CPUs/motherboards require a new power supply. You can't skimp on this item.
126 posted on 12/19/2002 11:21:38 AM PST by Bush2000
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To: HAL9000
In general, most computer users would be better off using a Mac.

Unless, of course, those computer users want more software and hardware choices.
127 posted on 12/19/2002 11:26:17 AM PST by Bush2000
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To: Revel
My biggest problem is that I don't want to get permission from Microsoft everytime I change a few things in my computer.

... 'cause, God knows, you can't spare the 5 seconds it takes to activate while you're venting your spleen here.

I don't like being spyed on and XP does that.

The truth is out there, grassy knoll.

I also seem to remember that it won't accept device drivers that are not licensed(for a fee) by Microsoft. That it deliberately distorts MP3 audio from non licensed players. A bunch of wierd stuff that I have no personal experience with.

Do you always make a habit of spewing garbage which you know nothing about? That post is a load of unmitigated crap. None of it bears any resemblance to reality.
128 posted on 12/19/2002 11:32:51 AM PST by Bush2000
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To: Revel
My biggest problem is that I don't want to get permission from Microsoft everytime I change a few things in my computer.

... 'cause, God knows, you can't spare the 5 seconds it takes to activate while you're venting your spleen here.

I don't like being spyed on and XP does that.

The truth is out there, grassy knoll.

I also seem to remember that it won't accept device drivers that are not licensed(for a fee) by Microsoft. That it deliberately distorts MP3 audio from non licensed players. A bunch of wierd stuff that I have no personal experience with.

Do you always make a habit of spewing garbage which you know nothing about? That post is a load of unmitigated crap. None of it bears any resemblance to reality.
129 posted on 12/19/2002 11:32:58 AM PST by Bush2000
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To: George from New England
Don't try running unreal tourniment...the requirements of that game will suck up your computer, hard drive and everything about your computer and leave the disc just spinning on your desk...(got the image from the movie Arrival, picturesqe huh...lol)
130 posted on 12/19/2002 11:52:37 AM PST by mdmathis6
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To: Bush2000
If you bothered to read what I said...I said that I have heard these things and left it up to others to give the facts. Now the fact that you are so cocky that you can't understand what you read is not my problem. Personaly your responce to spying indicates that you either work for microsoft or else you will be one of the first in line to get your digital angle chip. Either way you are danger to everything that America stood for. I have no problem with the response from the gentleman (John Lenin) who spoke before you. But you are a foul person. I have seen it in the past from your previous posts. So please don't even bother to respond to me in the future.
131 posted on 12/19/2002 12:18:07 PM PST by Revel
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To: NYC GOP Chick
Here is a link to the data lifeguard software. WD I personaly don't think you will need to reformat unless you are going to upgrade to a new computer. You will see very little difference. My experience is limited to the windows 95/98 enviroment. In that I spent a lot of time. If your hoping to get more speed out of what you have then your best bet is to try a new video card. Beyond that you will have to do a major upgrade. IMHO. BTW someone made a good point earlier. You may have TSR's running in the background that are hogging your computer resources. For instance do you have that real player symbol showing up in your task bar in the lower right hand corner? Every thing you see there is a TSR. Turn off as many as you can. These are running to some degree all the time. Your CPU has to keep servicing there requests. Also there is a lot of software out there that installs spyware on your PC. Those are NASTY TSR's that can totaly suck the life out of your PC. The best solution to that is to run the free ADAWARE program which will check for them and delete them if you wish. Get it here Some free programs won't run after you delete them. But who wants a program that kills your PC all the time. As always- (This message will self destruct in 5 seconds. (gotta keep it from the Bush2000 types) Good luck
132 posted on 12/19/2002 12:42:41 PM PST by Revel
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To: CFC__VRWC
Hey. I just discovered something good from Asus. Check this out. ASUS A7N8X

They are using a new chipset which sounds like it may be a whole lot better than that Chinese Via chipset.

133 posted on 12/19/2002 12:51:58 PM PST by Revel
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To: Revel
Either way you are danger to everything that America stood for.

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Thanks for the laugh, pal. You're a scream. Do you do stand-up?
134 posted on 12/19/2002 12:54:58 PM PST by Bush2000
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To: NYC GOP Chick
Would the graphics card really make a significant difference?
It made a huge difference for me. It used to be that you would extend a computer's life and performance by adding RAM. You can now get the same and many times better performance increase from installing a hot, new graphics card. The best ones run around $400, but still it might be worth considering, assuming you have an AGP slot on your motherboard to put it into.

135 posted on 12/19/2002 1:07:32 PM PST by sixmil
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To: Revel
Thanks for the info again! :)

I've already gotten rid of just about all the TSRs -- especially that evil RealPlayer. ;)

I use Lavasoft Ad-aware every couple of weeks or so to dump spyware, etc.

At this point, thanks to the great advice of just about everyone here, I think that I'm going to go for a new video card and then see from there if that does the trick. :)

136 posted on 12/19/2002 1:16:46 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: sixmil
Yes, I have an AGP slot. Are they any limits as to how powerful or big I can go, in terms of MB, etc.?
137 posted on 12/19/2002 1:18:25 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: John Lenin
You seem like a really knowledgeable person. Check out the link in post #133. What do you think? These via chipsets do seem a bit flaky. But I love the features of the dragon. And I love that front drive mount USB,media reader pannel. Why no one else has incorporated that with there mother boards is a mystery to me.


138 posted on 12/19/2002 1:40:34 PM PST by Revel
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
oh be quiet. I can't afford to upgrade yet. ;-)

But what I have plays most of the good 3d combat sim games just fine. (Geforce 2MX 32MB)

When my frame rate gets too low I'll upgrade. heh.
139 posted on 12/19/2002 2:39:05 PM PST by Terriergal
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To: Revel
It seems to work fine for us. I would talk to Cyrano for more specifics, as he put it all together. I am not that adept yet!
140 posted on 12/19/2002 2:40:03 PM PST by Terriergal
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To: Revel
VIA is a good chipset. I'd stay away from SIS.
141 posted on 12/19/2002 5:42:08 PM PST by John Lenin
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To: NYC GOP Chick
yes. there are 1x - 4x AGP video cards. they should be backward compatible. there is also a physical difference that may prevent the card from being inserted.

have your motherboard tame and type on hand when you place your order. most places have a tech support person who can tell you if the new video card will work.

also be sure, if it doesn't work, you can return the part without a restocking fee.
142 posted on 12/19/2002 7:09:53 PM PST by krizzy
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To: John Lenin
Actually it was NvideaII
143 posted on 12/19/2002 8:41:04 PM PST by Revel
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To: krizzy
Thanks. I can't seem to find that much info, but this is what I did find:

Graphics Subsystems
l Graphics Chip Set Model & Mfr.: AGP
l Graphics Data Width: --
Graphics Type: Y
Default Memory Address:
Video RAM Std (MB): 8MB
Video RAM Max (MB): 8MB
Video RAM Type: SGRAM
Graphics Bus Interface:
Resolution Max (Video RAM Std), NI:
Resolution Max (Video RAM Max), NI:
Colors Max (Video RAM Std): 16777216
Colors Max (Video RAM Max):
l

Does this help me figure out anything? Thanks!

I have a local store that I usually go to for this kind of stuff -- J&R Computer and Music World -- and they're very good about stuff like this.

144 posted on 12/19/2002 8:50:14 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: NYC GOP Chick
WORTHWHILE SUGGESTIONS:

If you are on a tight budget, and your 256mb of RAM memory is in two 128mb modules, get the ECS K7S5A.

If you can afford it, buy two 256mb DDR RAM modules.

An AMD XP cpu of anywhere from 1600+ to 2000+ is a great bargain. You will need a new case.

And you will need to install several cooling fans in the case to keep the AMD processor, which run a little hotter than the Intel processors, cool enough to run efficiently and with stability.

Preferrably, get an aftermarket heat sink and fan that cool more effectively than the original factory heat sink and fan.

Go to Google.com and do a search on such topics as "best AMD XP motherboard," or whatever other subject you wish to research.

Get your components from Newegg.com. They have the best selection, the best prices, and the best customer service around. Read the reviews down at the bottom of each item's detailed description get as many opinions on your prospective hardware as you can.

Although Newegg has great prices, after you total up what you need, you might be as well off to simply buy a new system. Then sell your old one as a unit, or piece by piece on ebay, or locally, or use it as a second computer.

145 posted on 12/19/2002 10:10:27 PM PST by razorbak
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To: goldstategop
Actually, I didn't do anything. I installed XP on the laptop and called the MS activation number. I got the automated system, entered the activation key and that was it. I had read in a PC magazine that you could install one copy of XP on your desktop and one on your laptop.

Your question got me wondering so I did a little Googling and found a discussion thread on the XP activation process which I have included below.

PC Magazine Win XP Activation Forum

I just quickly skimmed a few posts because it's getting late and I'm getting up in a few hours to catch a plane to Baltimore. But I found out a few interesting things. For one thing, that magazine article was wrong - you can install Office XP on a laptop and a desktop, but can only install the XP OS on one machine. So I'm actually running an illegal copy on my laptop (but Microsoft activated it anyway!??).

I guess when I'm ready to put my computer back together, I'll deal with Microsoft as needed and see what happens. I really like the XP operating system - Win98 is junkware in comparison. But if Microsoft gets too nasty (or too greedy) with me, maybe I'll decide that it's time I learned Linux.

146 posted on 12/19/2002 10:17:35 PM PST by CFC__VRWC
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To: NYC GOP Chick
There are numbers of software (programs) and hardware (computer components) which will help speed up your 'throughput' (actual computer work processing/output). Many, many. Norton/Symantec has some good ones, Microsoft has many built in.

Think of a hard drive as a filing room, with many filing cabinets. Each partition (filing cabinet) has many drawers (directories) and folders (sub-directories) Which store information.

The FAT (File Allocation Table) is actually, a list of addresses of physical locations on the hard drive where the information is stored.

The hard drive storage in the computer works on a first come first serve basis, so when you store data, it pops it into the first place there is room for it. If there is enough room, it stores all your data in that place. If not, it stores as much as it can, then goes on, to store in the next space, etc etc etc. So think about working a file cabinet this way. You start with one drawer, then fill another drawer, and then another, etc etc etc. until they are full. And while you are doing this you start taking out and using or moving or throwing away some of the files, so like you have 'empty' spaces scattered through your drawers. So, as you have some space, the computer will store page 1 of your 10 page report, in drawer 1, page 2 and 3 in drawer 2, and the last 7 pages in drawer 5.

So, every time your computer accesses these reports it must go and gather up all the bits and pieces, and link them together. This takes extra time.

Optimizing (defragmenting) your hard drive, is like reorganizing your filing cabinet, and putting all the parts of your reports together, one page after another.

If you click on programs, accessories, system tools, then disk defragmenter. you will get a program which 'optimizes', or 'defragments' your files on your hard drive.

The older your hard drive gets, and the more you use it, the more 'fragmented' and slower it becomes. so it is wise to 'defragment' or optimize it about once a month, (depending on your workload, and your work.

Partitioning your hard drive is something you should do first, like when you buy your filing cabinets and first organize your filing room. Optimizing it is like recurring maintenance, like a good filing clerk would do.

You have a fine computer already, which is quite probably good for everything you need to do, but it is sort of like a 3 year old car, not the latest and greatest, and not a Corvette, but a good Ford Crown Victoria. You just need to give it a tune up, every now and then, as your family grows. But, after a while, you will find it hard to get the grand children in it too, and will need to go to a van, or if you have a mid-life crisis, a shiny red corvette -va-va=voom.

But, if time is money to you, you will win more races with the corvette than with the ford.

Oh, sorry, you are from NYC and probably don't drive.

147 posted on 12/20/2002 6:03:10 AM PST by XBob
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To: sixmil; NYC GOP Chick
New graphics cards are great, if your BIOS will handle them. I doubt NYC's IBM will handle the latest ones. A BIOS upgrade might work, if it is upgradeable and if IBM is still doing them, but as IBM is not noted as a graphics machine, I doubt many are available.

But, NYC, sixmil is right about the speed improvement being in graphics, if your computer will handle it.

Note - it is best to get a good 'clone', rather than a name brand, as clones are generally really upgradable compared to name brand machines. But some cheap ones can be a disaster. And name brands are made to sell by the millions and profit motive is there, not performance.

Computers are sort of like French wine - some are great, but some are garbage, and you need to know what you are doing. If you do, you can get some great buys.
148 posted on 12/20/2002 6:17:21 AM PST by XBob
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To: CFC__VRWC
I heard that MS started out with once computer one XP, period, registering each one, but then they got bombarded with complaints and changed their policy, and no longer have that limitation.

No proof on this, as I use 2k, which I bought specifically to avoid the problem.
149 posted on 12/20/2002 6:24:31 AM PST by XBob
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To: XBob
Thanks for all the info! I already do periodic (at least once or twice a month) defragmenting. And I'm going to do the partition thing once I do my periodic back-up of important stuff on CDRW.

It's going to be quite a while before I can buy a whole new computer, so any discussions of pros and cons about that don't mean much for me right now, but I will take into consideration for future reference. :)

I did a BIOS upgrade the other day, and this is the BIOS info I was able to get from some program that gets all that info:

Manufacturer: Acer OEM
Date: 3/3/00
ROM Size: 256K
Chip set: Intel 440BX/ZX rev3
Super I/O chip: SMC70x or 80x

Does this tell you anything about whether or not I can use a new graphics card? Thanks once again!

150 posted on 12/20/2002 8:06:56 AM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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