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View Full Version : Complete upgrade (CPU, RAM, MBoard etc.) question


Matt
January 2nd 08, 01:16 AM
Hey guys. I'm looking to do an almost complete upgrade on my current
system so I'm after some advice on what components to get. To keep my
spending reaonsable, I've given myself a budget of 500.

My current system is as follows (with a * by the items I intend to
replace):

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ CPU *
Gigabyte GA-7VAX Socket A motherboard *
1.25GB PC2700 RAM *
Gigabyte Radeon 9600 Pro 256MB DDR AGP *
Western Digital WD800JB 80GB 7200rpm 8MB cache hard drive *
Generic (branded "Color IT") 550W Power Supply *
A large ATX case with three 5.25" bays and two 3.5" bays *
Samsung SD-616 16X DVD-ROM
Philips 4x4x16x CD-RW drive
Creative SB Live! 5.1 Player soundcard
A USB front panel expansion (fits in the 3.5" bay)
An extra front and rear mounted fan

Now the first thing to realise is, as usual, what I will want the new
computer for. Basically I'm a student at the moment who is coming to
the end of his University course. In the short term, a computer that
can cope easily when multitasking with many web browser windows,
Excel, Word etc. The amount I need open for my current project (and my
current system's inability to cope) is what is driving this upgrade.
I'm also a light gamer and would appreciate being able to play games
like Dawn of War: Dark Crusade on something higher then 800x600.
However, I'm aware of the large chunk a new graphics card would take
out of my budget.

To make it easier to understand my needs, I've given a list of things
I need from this new system:

- Faster CPU
- More memory (2GB sounds like a good amount)
- A future-proof motherboard for a new graphics card (future-proofing
for a new CPU isn't necessary)
- Alot more hard drive storage then my current 80GB
- It to be quiet (my current system is very noisy due to my power
supply, reason enough not to buy a cheap one again!)

Now if we focus on the CPU for a moment, I understand that Intel's
Core 2 Duo's are considerabely outperforming their AMD counterparts. I
wouldn't mind hearing some more details about why Intel are the CPU of
choice at present though!

With my budget of 500 in mind; am I likely to get a new CPU,
motherboard, RAM, case, power supply and hard drive that meets my
requirememnts above?

Please feel free to give any recommendations on the whole hardware
set, or just one or two bits.

Kind Regards,

Matt

Fitz[_2_]
January 2nd 08, 09:19 AM
Matt wrote:

For considerably less than the approximate conversion of 500 British
pounds ($930) I rebuilt a couple of systems with the following
components. I'm an AMD fan however, so this may not be to your liking.

ASUS M3A motherboard (will accept the AM2/AM2+ processor) - upgradeable
to quad core.
AM2 BE-2350 processor (2.1GHz X 2)
2 GB Corsair XMS 6400C4
Corsair HX520W power supply (3 X 12V rails @ 18A per)
BFG 86256GTOC2FE (8600 series, 256MB RAM, Factory overclocked- lifetime
warranty, 24/7 tech support)
WD320 GB SATA3 7200RPM 16MB cache HD

Total was $638.00

Locally purchased Antec 900 case ($125)
New Lite On 20X DVD RW (SATA) ($60)

There were rebates on the memory and video card, which brings down the
total $100

Not the fastest processor made by either AMD or Intel, but more than
adequate for my needs (and it sounds like yours also). Playing World of
Warcraft, Microsoft Flight Sim. It's a 45W processor- supposed to be
energy efficient and produce less heat.

I've only been running one system for a couple of days, the other I'm
still loading software on. So far, I've absolutely no complaints. Good
quality components, modern and upgradeable system capable of running
latest software (including DirectX 10 games).

Good luck,
Fitz

--
Your body is a temple boy,
You ought to treat it well
But you trash the place and rent it out
Like it's some cheap motel - The Badlees

Sid Elbow
January 2nd 08, 03:50 PM
Fitz wrote:

> For considerably less than the approximate conversion of 500 British
> pounds ($930)

I live in Canada so I'm exposed to Canadian/US pricing but, being a DP,
I visit the UK quite often and my impression is that computer component
pricing is a fair bit higher there than on this side of the pond.

It would probably be safer to assume that his 500 equates to $500 with
respect to purchasing power.

Fitz[_2_]
January 2nd 08, 08:02 PM
Sid Elbow wrote:

> It would probably be safer to assume that his 500 equates to $500 with
> respect to purchasing power.

Ouch!


--
Your body is a temple boy,
You ought to treat it well
But you trash the place and rent it out
Like it's some cheap motel - The Badlees

Matt
January 3rd 08, 02:56 PM
> It would probably be safer to assume that his 500 equates to $500 with
> respect to purchasing power.

Thankfully that isn't true. Take for example an Intel Quad core Q6600,
the lowest prices I can find are:

- US price = $260 (TigerDirect.com)
- UK price = 163 (Dabs.com)

The $US price isn't quite double, but thankfully it's a reasonable
approximation to make :)

Kind Regards,

Matt

Sid Elbow
January 3rd 08, 04:13 PM
Matt wrote:
>> It would probably be safer to assume that his 500 equates to $500 with
>> respect to purchasing power.
>
> Thankfully that isn't true. Take for example an Intel Quad core Q6600,
> the lowest prices I can find are:
>
> - US price = $260 (TigerDirect.com)
> - UK price = 163 (Dabs.com)
>
> The $US price isn't quite double, but thankfully it's a reasonable
> approximation to make :)

I don't know dabs.com but if it's one of the most expensive places in
the UK (at which no intelligent shopper purchases) then your comparison
is good and I stand corrected :-)

My comments were based on a good general knowledge of price ranges over
here and what I've seen at a range of outlets in the UK ... although
it's likely I haven't seen the best (least expensive) sources during
short, vacation trips.

In any event, if UK prices really are that good, you can do even better
than Fitz suggested so you're away to the races.

Anssi Saari
January 5th 08, 07:52 PM
Matt > writes:

> Now the first thing to realise is, as usual, what I will want the new
> computer for. Basically I'm a student at the moment who is coming to
> the end of his University course.

In other words, not really a good time to do a complete computer
overhaul? CPU upgrade pretty much forces RAM, motherboard and
videocard to be upgraded as well. Your Windows installation may
survive that if you take precautions beforehand or it may not.

Then again, if you get all the parts you marked, you can keep the old
system in running condition and just move the optic drives and
soundcard to you new system and copy whatever files over there too.
And when you notice you forgot to copy some files, you can still go
back...

I suppose the parts should be less than 500 pounds. Entire systems go
for significantly less than that even here in expensive Finland, but
they don't include video that'll run many games. But even adding an
Nvidia 8800GT based card should still keep it well below 500 pounds.

> In the short term, a computer that can cope easily when multitasking
> with many web browser windows, Excel, Word etc. The amount I need
> open for my current project (and my current system's inability to
> cope) is what is driving this upgrade.

I'd assume the bottleneck in your current system is memory, Word at
least seems to suck huge gobs of it with larger documents. I'd just
upgrade to 2 GB and be done with it. You might be able to easily get
more performance with a newer hard disk too. If you run some virus
scanner that's known to drag anything down to its knees (F-Secure
comes to mind) you might consider getting something lighter or doing
without.

daniel m
January 7th 08, 03:29 PM
Im in Australia, for $800 I bought this about 3 months ago ($800AUD=$350GB
Pounds)

AMDx2-64bit 6000+
19inch widescreen lcd
1gig ram
onboard graphics
250gig sata
(its complete system, mouse,keyboard,speakers etc too)

For an extra $400 Australian I added an extra gig of RAM and a Leadtek
8800gts graphics card

Total Cost of system with 8800gts and 2 gig of ram = $1200 Australian ($530
british pounds all up/ $1050USD)