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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

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To: NYC GOP Chick
Your computer (perhaps your bios) is now pretty old (nearly 3 years) for the latest graphics, which are changing several times a year.

Personally, I gave up on keeping up, as I am not a gamer, but work mostly with giant databases in the commodity options markets, so graphics are not so important as system and computing speed and power.

However, you quite probably could do a lot better than you are doing. If I were you, I would take your computer to the place you trust do, and pay them the $50 labor or so and discuss with them how best to speed up your computer, particularly with better/fastest/bestest graphics. You may not want to pay for the best graphics, because in all probability, by the time you get a new computer the boards will be out of date, and not transferable. But, for about $100 you should be able to get a very good card, which will bump the performance a lot. And they will guarantee that it works properly and guarantee the card.

While they are there, have them check your bios, as if you just upgraded and it is 3 years old, it seems like you got rooked, or there is no real upgrade available (which is most probable).

Looked at your pictures of NYC, and they reminded me of when I used to live there in the East 50's. What I miss most is the excellent pizza at those little windows on the street, and the excellent deli's.

But I am glad I now live in east Texas, fine friendly people, and warm weather, not much traffic, and great sausage, BBQ, and cajun food. And I live under trees and don't have to get on a crowded subway to go find one.
151 posted on 12/20/2002 3:22:15 PM PST by XBob
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To: XBob
When I said that I upgraded the BIOS, I meant that I downloaded the flash update or whatever they call it.

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

152 posted on 12/20/2002 4:22:20 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: NYC GOP Chick
Yes, I have an AGP slot. Are they any limits as to how powerful or big I can go, in terms of MB, etc.?
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!

153 posted on 12/20/2002 5:28:55 PM PST by sixmil
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To: savedbygrace
...you should build your own computer at least once.

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.

154 posted on 12/20/2002 5:46:24 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: razorbak
"...get the ECS K7S5A."

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.

155 posted on 12/20/2002 6:01:44 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: NYC GOP Chick
I use PhotoShop a lot and upgrading to a quicker processor will help, but memory is your best bet. New video cards will not help PS speed,as they are designed for 3D acceleration (totally different from 2D). You should install the largest amount of memory your motherboard will hold. 256 meg is not much for PS and Win98 really sucks at memory management. I ran 98SE and saw a big difference when I switched to 2000 (not really speed increase, but definite stability improvements) .

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. . .

156 posted on 12/20/2002 6:16:33 PM PST by antidisestablishment
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To: Senator Pardek
The box I just built is an Asus P4S533 with a P4-2.4GHz-533MHz Front Side Bus CPU, 1GB of PC2700 DDR RAM with about 200GB of 7200rpm hard drives, all in an Antec gun-metal gray full tower case cooled with five case fans. The mobo never seems to get warmer than 80 degrees F, and the CPU stays at 104.

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.

157 posted on 12/20/2002 6:41:15 PM PST by savedbygrace
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To: sixmil
Thanks for the info. I really appreciate the different perspectives and advice that can only come from FReepers! :)
158 posted on 12/20/2002 7:05:58 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: antidisestablishment
My machine is maxed out at 256 megs -- if it could take more, I would have gotten more. So you think Windoze 2K is worth it, in that it will make a noticeable difference? I really appreciate the insight from someone who uses Photoshop!
159 posted on 12/20/2002 7:09:22 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: antidisestablishment
I've been using a 22" Apple Cinema Display for several months. It's a real eye-catcher and it'll spoil you quick, that's for sure.
160 posted on 12/20/2002 8:01:03 PM PST by savedbygrace
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To: NYC GOP Chick
If 256 is your max memory, then I would seriously consider upgrading the motherboard and processor. With prices what they are, you simply cannot lose.

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...

161 posted on 12/23/2002 11:03:52 AM PST by antidisestablishment
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To: savedbygrace
I hate you!

In a nice conservatively compassionate manner of course. LOL

162 posted on 12/23/2002 11:05:55 AM PST by antidisestablishment
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To: NYC GOP Chick
I just upgraded my daughter's PC. Motherboard $130, Athlon 2000+ $106, 768 megs DDR memory $120 at CompUSA, Western Digital 80 gig drive $90 after rebates. Complete reinstall of Win2000 and all programs, priceless.

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.

163 posted on 12/23/2002 11:15:10 AM PST by js1138
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To: antidisestablishment
BTW, always buy the 3 year AppleCare with a new G4. They include one monitor purchased at the same time. It's a great warranty. If anything goes wrong that forces you to send either unit back to AppleCare, they pay for the FedEx Next Day Air shipments both ways.
164 posted on 12/23/2002 11:27:55 AM PST by savedbygrace
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To: js1138
CompUSA has a special going on the Western Digital 200GB drives. It ends tomorrow, but they give you a $100 Rebate, bringing the total down to $219. For a 200GB, 8MB cache, hard drive.
165 posted on 12/23/2002 11:29:56 AM PST by savedbygrace
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To: NYC GOP Chick
I say....buy a new iMac! once you get one of those, you'll forget your old computer and become even more attached to the lovable comp. ;)
166 posted on 12/23/2002 11:39:45 AM PST by dramagirl1341
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To: antidisestablishment
Thanks for the info! :)
167 posted on 12/23/2002 12:08:16 PM PST by NYC GOP Chick
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To: dramagirl1341
I'll admit that iMacs look cool, but I can build a faster PC for half the price, especially if I use a conventional monitor. Whatever turns you on.
168 posted on 12/23/2002 12:22:04 PM PST by js1138
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To: savedbygrace
I thought getting an 80 gig with 8mb cache for$90 was pretty cool. I'm not ready for a 200 gig drive yet.
169 posted on 12/23/2002 12:32:17 PM PST by js1138
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To: js1138
That's the same sort of thing I said when I bought my first 40MB drive back in 1989. I figured I'd never come close to filling that thing up.

But 80GB is still hard to grow out of, unless you use it for editing video clips.

170 posted on 12/23/2002 12:39:37 PM PST by savedbygrace
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To: savedbygrace
I've had a 60 gig drive for a year and a half. I have thousands of 1mb photos on it, taking no discernable space. I have ripped about a dozen CDs to WAV files for building mix CDs, and still haven't filled half of it.

Video is about the only thing that could fill it quickly.

171 posted on 12/23/2002 12:42:46 PM PST by js1138
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To: NYC GOP Chick
Definitely go with an an AMD CPU before going with an Intel P4. Much better product. You will need a new motherboard.
172 posted on 12/23/2002 12:46:23 PM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts
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