Skip to comments.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
I don't really have a place that I trust or know very well, and without a car (lower Manhattan), I can't really carry it very far. :)
I sometimes wonder if Windoze 98SE might be the cause of some of my problems. Do you think that upgrading to, say, 2000 might make a noticeable difference?
East Texas sounds like a wonderful place, but I don't have to get on the subway to find Cajun or barbecue places. :D
You can run the biggest, fattest graphics card you can find since AGP is backwards compatible. I think the newest cards are AGP 8X, and your motherboard is probably only 2X. Not a huge deal since your CPU will only be able to push so much data across it anyway. The important thing is that the newer graphics cards are like mini computers. Mine has 2 processors, 64MB of memory, and its own fan. So, once the data gets over to the graphics card, it gets processed really fast. You probably will not be using a hot card to its full capability, but just as an example, my computer can run Quake 3 1024x768 at 100 frames per second. My old card only managed 100 fps at 800x600. I also now have instantaneous response with anything I click on in Windows. I wish I knew a way to tell you which card would be a nice upgrade to your current system without paying for power that your current CPU will not be able to use. In my case I went from an 8MB card to a 64MB, and I have an Athlon 550. You can currently get 128MB cards, but I'm guessing that you will spend less money and get the same boost if you go with a 64MB card. I think they are now down to $200. Also check with XBob about what he said with respect to BIOS. I am not quite sure what he is referring to (didn't have any problems on my machine), but safe is better than sorry since they will probably not do returns on graphics cards once you open the box. If you do go the graphics card route, you will basically be choosing between ATI and NVIDIA. The general concensus it that NVIDIA is a little faster, and ATI is a little prettier. If you want to watch or record TV on your PC, then go for one of ATI's All-In-Wonder cards. Good luck!
Agreed. I built my own system a few months ago, keeping only the old HD and monitor, and it destroys any store-bought box I've ever owned - not to mention being cheaper.
I did that, bundled with an Athlon XP 1900. Unfortunately, I've been told that it won't handle the FSB at 133 mhz unless I upgrade to ddr ram, which I suppose is a good investment. Otherwise - the board is fantastic for the price.
Macs are nice, but talk about over-rated and overpriced! I am now running a dual PIII 933 with 1 Gig of RDRAM that I built last year for around $1200 (at the time a comparable G4 was around $5G). I would put it up against any G4, but I still salivate when I see that 23" flat screen display. . .
If I had a mind to, I could probably overclock this bad boy up to 3GHz. But I'm too conservative. ;-)
Add to that, I'm on DSL with a connection that typically runs 1.5Mb/sec and I'm a happy camper.
I could also tell you about my PowerMac Dual 1 GHz box with 1.75GB of PC2700 DDR RAM, and nearly a half-terrabyte of hard drive space.
The coolest thing about my Mac setup is the Granite Digital FireVue IDE/Firewire Hot Swap drive enclosure. When the removable drive tray is inserted and the lock is set with power on, there is a very cool blue neon light that runs across the front of the drive tray. Sexy, sexy, sexy.
As far as Win2K, it really depends on your 98 build. If your build is relatively stable, then no. However, if you find the blue screen of death coming more frequently, then it is definitely worthwhile. You will also see a slight performance boost--especially if Win98 is hogging your memory.
There are a couple of other tricks to getting PS to behave: If you have two drives, set your PS scratch disk to second drive.Reduce your image cache. Set it to 2-3 rather than 8. Also reduce your image size or color space if you can.
There are many more tips at Optimizing Performance in Photoshop for Windows . Good luck with you machine...
In a nice conservatively compassionate manner of course. LOL
Some of these items were at unusual sale prices, but anyone could come within $100 of this system price without even shopping.
This system loads MS Word in under half a second. The need for all the memory comes from heavy Photoshop use.
I seldom upgrade older computers, except to add memory. They can be sold or given to friends or relatives or schools.
The reason you need a new motherboard is to recognise all the new hardware, to get USB 2.0, to enable use of ATA100 drives, etc. You can get a great AMD motherboard, CPU and 512 megs memory for under $250.
But 80GB is still hard to grow out of, unless you use it for editing video clips.
Video is about the only thing that could fill it quickly.
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