Can my system be upgraded?

Discussion in 'CPU, Motherboards and Memory' started by KingOfHearts, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. KingOfHearts

    KingOfHearts Geek Trainee

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    I am seriously lost when it comes to hardware upgrades. My computer is just fine for everything that I use it for, but now I want to play Half Life2 and I realize my computer is too slow. I was told that I could upgrade my motherboard and my cpu and get a video card and I would be ok. Is this true? Here are some specs. Thanks for any help you can provide, this stuff confuses me bigtime. (I realize the specs are long, but I know you guys can decipher this stuff better than me and I wanted to give you as much info as possible.)


    --------[ Summary ]-----------------------------------------------

    Computer:
    Operating System Microsoft Windows XP
    OS Service Pack Service Pack 2

    Motherboard:
    CPU Type AMD Athlon XP, 1466 MHz (5.5 x 267) 1700+
    Motherboard Name PCChips M841LR (3 PCI, 1 AMR, 4 DIMM, Audio, Video, LAN, Modem)
    Motherboard Chipset SiS 740
    System Memory 992 MB (DDR SDRAM)
    BIOS Type AMI (12/19/01)

    Display:
    Video Adapter SiS 650_651_M650_M652_740 (32 MB)
    3D Accelerator SiS 315

    Multimedia:
    Audio Adapter C-Media CMI8738 Audio Chip
    Audio Adapter SiS 7012 Audio Device

    Storage:
    Disk Drive WDC WD1200JB-00DUA3
    Optical Drive DVD-ROM DVD-16X6S (16x/48x DVD-ROM)
    Optical Drive TDK DVDRW0404N

    Partitions:
    C: (NTFS) 38177 MB (26035 MB free)
    F: (NTFS) 114470 MB (49820 MB free)

    --------[ CPU ]--------------------------------------------------

    CPU Properties:
    CPU Type AMD Athlon XP, 1466 MHz (5.5 x 267) 1700+
    CPU Alias Palomino
    CPU Stepping A5
    L1 Code Cache 64 KB
    L1 Data Cache 64 KB
    L2 Cache 256 KB (On-Die, Full-Speed)
    CPU Physical Info:
    Package Type 453 Pin PGA
    Package Size 4.95 cm x 4.95 cm
    Transistors 37.5 million
    Process Technology 6Mi, 0.18 um, CMOS, Cu
    Die Size 128 mm2
    Core Voltage 1.75 V
    I/O Voltage 1.6 V
    Typical Power 41.3 - 64.3 W (depending on clock speed)
    Maximum Power 46.1 - 72 W (depending on clock speed)


    --------[ CPUID ]--------------------------------------

    CPUID Properties:
    CPUID Manufacturer AuthenticAMD
    CPUID CPU Name AMD Athlon(tm) XP 1700+
    CPUID Revision 0662h
    Extended CPUID Revision 0762h
    Platform ID CBh (Socket A)
    IA CPU Serial Number Unknown
    Instruction Set:
    AMD 3DNow! Supported
    AMD 3DNow! Professional Supported
    AMD Enhanced 3DNow! Supported
    AMD Extended MMX Supported
    AMD64 Not Supported
    Cyrix Extended MMX Not Supported
    IA-64 Not Supported
    IA MMX Supported
    IA SSE Supported
    IA SSE 2 Not Supported
    IA SSE 3 Not Supported
    CLFLUSH Instruction Not Supported
    CMPXCHG8B Instruction Supported
    Conditional Move Instruction Supported
    MONITOR / MWAIT Instruction Not Supported

    --------[ Motherboard ]-----------------------------

    Motherboard Properties:
    Motherboard ID 62-1219-001131-00101111-040201-SiS740$M841LRRelease 12/19/2001 S
    Motherboard Name PCChips M841LR

    Front Side Bus Properties:
    Bus Type DEC Alpha EV6
    Bus Width 64-bit
    Real Clock 133 MHz (DDR)
    Effective Clock 267 MHz
    Bandwidth 2132 MB/s

    Memory Bus Properties:
    Bus Type DDR SDRAM
    Bus Width 64-bit
    Real Clock 133 MHz (DDR)
    Effective Clock 267 MHz
    Bandwidth 2132 MB/s

    Chipset Bus Properties:
    Bus Type SiS MuTIOL
    Bus Width 16-bit

    Motherboard Physical Info:
    CPU Sockets/Slots 1
    Expansion Slots 3 PCI, 1 AMR
    RAM Slots 4 DIMM
    Integrated Devices Audio, Video, LAN, Modem
    Form Factor Micro ATX
    Motherboard Chipset SiS740

    Motherboard Manufacturer:
    Company Name PC Chips Group of Companies
    Product Information www.pcchips.com.tw/product.html
    BIOS Download www.pcchips.com.tw/BIOS.html

    -------[ SPD ]-----------------------------------
    [ 512 MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM ]

    Memory Module Properties:
    Serial Number None
    Module Size 512 MB (2 rows, 4 banks)
    Module Type Unbuffered
    Memory Type DDR SDRAM
    Memory Speed PC2700 (166 MHz)
    Module Width 64 bit
    Module Voltage SSTL 2.5
    Error Detection Method None
    Refresh Rate Reduced (7.8 us), Self-Refresh
    Highest CAS Latency 2.5 (6.0 ns @ 166 MHz)
    2nd Highest CAS Latency 2.0 (7.5 ns @ 133 MHz)


    Memory Slots:
    DRAM Slot #1 512 MB (DDR SDRAM)
    DRAM Slot #2 512 MB (DDR SDRAM)

    AGP Properties:
    AGP Version 2.00
    AGP Status Enabled
    AGP Aperture Size 64 MB
    Supported AGP Speeds 1x, 2x, 4x
    Current AGP Speed 4x
    Fast-Write Supported, Disabled
    Side Band Addressing Supported, Enabled
     
  2. Waffle

    Waffle Alpha Geek

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    You have plenty of RAM, the processor could benefit from an upgrade, perhaps an Athlon XP 2400+, or greater.

    Your Video card will need a upgrade.

    The 9800PRO is fantastic value for money, or the 9600XT provides good perfomance at about 1/2 the price. If you have cash to spare, then consider a 6800 Ultra GT, or at a slightly cheaper price, then X850XT, I believe, is a very, very good card at around £250.
     
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  3. Addis

    Addis The King

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    If i'm not mistaken isn't his mobo an AGP4x?
     
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  4. Waffle

    Waffle Alpha Geek

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    I didn't read all that, lol.

    Yes, if the mobo is AGP 4x, you won't be able to have the 6800Ultra GT, as it's only PCI-E at the mo I think.

    I'm not sure to be honest, someone else will be able to help better.
     
  5. KingOfHearts

    KingOfHearts Geek Trainee

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    Waffle and Addis,

    Thanks for the reply.

    So I guess what you are saying is that I need an AGP video card?
    Also, I can't just upgrade my processor without putting in a new motherboard can I?
     
  6. Addis

    Addis The King

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    You can upgrade your CPU without a new mobo but if you want a good graphics card then your going to have to get a new one.
     
  7. KingOfHearts

    KingOfHearts Geek Trainee

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    Addis,

    so this 9800 Pro video card isn't good enough you don't think? I ask only because you said if I want a good video card I will have to update my mobo. But I should be able to use the 9800 without updating my mobo.
     
  8. Waffle

    Waffle Alpha Geek

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    no, addis means if you want a good video card you will need a new motherboard, because your current one doesn't support AGP 8x, and the 9800PRO will not perform any where near as well at AGPx4. The card will run,however.
     
  9. KingOfHearts

    KingOfHearts Geek Trainee

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    Ok, well are they any video cards you can think of that I could run?

    I guess what I am asking is what should I look for when I go to Best Buy? Do they need to say 4xAGP?
     
  10. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    Oooh, I wouldn't recommend Best Buy unless you're

    A) Made of $$$
    and
    B) Allergic to variety

    There are much, much better places to buy hardware. We pimp Newegg a lot, because they've got some of the lowest prices & best service in the US.
     
  11. KingOfHearts

    KingOfHearts Geek Trainee

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    Ok, newegg.com sounds great. Can anyone make a recomendation as to what is the best video card that will actually fit in my computer? My specs are at the top of this post. Thanks.
     
  12. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    You'd do well to go with either an FX5700-5900, or a Radeon 9800. The FX series is better for OpenGL games (like Doom3) and have more stable drivers. The Radeon is better for DirectX games (like FarCry). Either will provide you with a good card that'll work well in your system.
     
  13. KingOfHearts

    KingOfHearts Geek Trainee

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    Cool, thanks for the help on deciding.
     
  14. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    No problem. BTW, there's a Newegg wherehouse in New Jersey, so you have a good chance of getting your gear pretty quickly.
     
  15. ProcalX

    ProcalX all grown up

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    I don't know if it's too late, but i would get another motherboard, that PCCHIPS motherboard you can pickup for around £17 here in the UK. less in US i suspect.

    The motherboard is a great motherboard if u want a pc for general use, but u will get a significant boost in performance if you get a good quality board, even a cheap gigabyte / asus.

    more than enough memory, CPU and graphics could do with upgrading, but thats about it.

    Personally i would get a new motherboard (they are retailing v.cheap atm K7 boards because of K8), and new cpu.

    If you want to play half-life 2, get your new motherboard and cpu, i have tested a ge-force 2 32mb, and it runs HL2 perfectly. if u get a good motherboard and cpu and get another grphx card later.

    Hope this helps (just from experience)
     
  16. KingOfHearts

    KingOfHearts Geek Trainee

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    ProcalX,

    Thanks for the help. I guess the only thing I am worried about is knowing if these new mobo's will work in my pc? Maybe that is a stupid question. Is there a website or something that list compatibility with mobo's, videocard, cpu's, etc, etc........or is that something that you just have to learn? I definitely willing to get a new mobo, cpu and video card, but I just want to make sure I buy the right ones and that they are compatible. Thanks again for the insight on this issue.
     
  17. Big B

    Big B HWF Godfather

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    First off, your motherboard does not have an AGP slot at all, so you will need to get a new one if you want any real power. It has an on-board AGP video card, but that's not going to do you any good.

    The second thing is that it's a Micro ATX (mATX) motherboard. If your case is an mATX only unit, you'll need to get an mATX motherboard, which may or may not be a bad thing, depending on what else you want to upgrade.

    Another thing to look at is the power supply. What you have now is probably okay, but if you're looking to upgrade the CPU and video card, it may not be enough anymore. With space constraints, you might even have a physically smaller unit besides the low wattage available.

    While you don't have to, you are better off resinstalling Windows when swapping motherboards...unless you swap it for a motherboard with the same chipset, and that really wouldn't be an upgrade, IMO...more like blowing cash for no good reason given what you're looking at.

    Right now, depending on how you go, you're looking at anywhere from $300-500 here, at least if you're going for something decent. Also, besides the wonderful Newegg, I've been finding ZipZoomFly is another awesome site to buy from. It's also very competitive with Newegg, so between the two you should be able to find the best prices.
     
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  18. ProcalX

    ProcalX all grown up

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    Ok, well if you get a: "Socket A" motherboard it will run:

    DDR Memory (of any speed - but only a certain amount - probably 3 or 4GB max)

    It will run all these "models" of AMD processors:
    Athlon
    Duron
    Barton
    Sempron

    Your best bet would be to go for a "AMD Barton 3200+" (fastest cpu) available for socket A (and its a good overclocker).

    Go for an Abit / Asus motherboard, as these have great reputations in the socket A motherboard range.

    Memory wise i would choose from:
    Corsair XMS PC3200 / Corsair Value Select PC3200 Range
    Kingston HyperX PC3200 / Kingston Value PC3200 Range
    Geil Golden Value Range

    I Recommend getting a minimum of 512MB, if you can afford it get 1GB (2 x 512MB = 1024MB = 1GB), and never mix the type of memory you have, try to stick to the same make and model, this way you are clear of problems. Some motherboards will use different makes / models fine, but can have serious issues with running different makes / models, so try and stick with the same.

    If you get 512MB get 1 Module of 512MB not 2 x 256MB, this will still leave you with room on your motherboard for more memory at a later date.
    IE: If you get 1GB (1024MB) you will either find it in 2 x 512MB packages, or 1 x 1GB packages, if you go for 512MB, you will either find 2 x 256mb packages or 1 x 512MB.

    The advantage of having 2 pieces of the same memory is that you can take advantage of something called Dual Channel, this will significantly speed up your system, but to take advantage of this you will need a motherboard that supports the technology.

    Graphics card wise, really i would go for either a 9700Pro 128mb or a 9800Pro 128mb, as long as your motherboard has an "AGP" slot (which it will do if you buy a SOCKET A motherboard) any AGP graphics card should work.

    If you post a budget for the whole lot, and a list of what you need we can provide you with a few examples of exact specs that would be good to get.

    Also try and provide what you are going to use it for, if you want a system that will play new games coming out without a problem then it may be best to make a decision to get a better graphics card. So state your situation and what you intend to use it for, be realistic as it maybe better for you to spend the extra $100 so your system will last you longer.

    Hope this helps. :good:
     
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  19. KingOfHearts

    KingOfHearts Geek Trainee

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    Procal and Big B, thanks for the headstart.

    I am basically looking to get my computer up to par so I can play Half Life 2.
    That is my main goal right now.

    Another question..............if I buy a new mobo, should I be concerned as to whether or not it will fit in my case? They may be a dumb question, but I know there are a lot of different size cases and I didn't know if these mobo sizes are pretty standard or what.
     
  20. Big B

    Big B HWF Godfather

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    Yes. Like I said, you have an mATX board. You have two options basically: stick to only mATX motherboards, or buy a new case (if necessary) to accomodate the larger ATX size.
     

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