What upgrades will increase performance on my PC?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg_Y, Nov 3, 2002.

  1. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 1999
    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have a Dell desktop PC that isn't the quickest. I'd like to know if it's worth upgrading or if the money I spend will result only in small gains in performance. I do *alot* of CD burning. I'm not a hard-core gamer at all, but I do enjoy playing some games. Playing at the top resolution with the best refresh rate is not important to me. GTA3 runs pretty slow on my PC but I can still play it.

    Current specs:
    PIII 500 processor
    256 Megs of Ram
    13 Gig IBM Hard drive
    NVIDIA Riva TNT 32Mb Video Card
    Toshiba DVD SD-M1212 drive
    Lite-On 40x CD-RW drive
    OS is Win2K Pro.
    The other usual stuff: modem, decent network card, etc.

    I'm thinking that I need to update some combination of:
    1. the processor (if I can)
    2. the hard drive (will a 7200 make a difference?)
    3. more memory (if it makes sense.)

    Any ideas? I'd love to get a few more years out of this PC.
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Definately the processor, and you'll have to upgrade the RAM as well to take advantage of the extra horsepower

    If you're not a gamer or someone using hardcore disc bandwith applications (video, photo work), 7200RPM isn't critical
     
  3. Randy_T

    Randy_T Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As with most "name brand" computers, upgrading can be a nightmare. They don't want you to be able to upgrade too much...they want you to buy a new computer! A ram upgrade is easy. If the mainboard has an AGP slot, you could upgrade your video to a G-Force 3. I don't believe that you would gain much from upgrading the processor. It's probably limited by the BIOS. Short of buying a new computer, you could:

    1). Double your Ram to 512Mb

    2). Add a G-force 3Ti200 or Ti500 (128Mb)

    Be sure to check your "Startup" folder to see how many applications are running in the backround. You'd be suprised how many programs want to start with windows.
    Hope this helps!

    Randy T
     
  4. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    12,220
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Real Name:
    Parker
    Upgrading to a larger hard drive will make a difference too. Of all the things that I have gotten the most performance gain from is going from a smaller to larger hard drive. If you have 10G worth of data on a 13G drive it is going to run a lot slower than the same system with that 10G of a 40G drive.
    Also, if you get new RAM get it from some place like Crucial.com and not from Dell.
    Both RAM and HD are cheap now. I'd upgrade them both before looking into a new CPU.
    Parker
     
  5. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 1998
    Messages:
    8,332
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Neil Joseph
    This is the exact dilemma I am facing now too. My specs from memory are...

    IBM Netvista
    Intel PIII @ 933MHz
    NVidia 32Mb RIVA (like yours)
    256 Mb Ram (both slots occupied with 128's)
    Primary HDD is 45Gb
    Secondary HDD is 60Gb (backup)
    DVD drive (4x I think)
    CDRom (32x I think)
    Win XP.

    I am looking to replace the video card first with maybe an ATI Radeon 128, and see if there is a need for me to move to 512Mb RAM or not after that.
     
  6. AaronMg

    AaronMg Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Heres a simple list (approx. prices)
    Motherboard: Asus A7V333--------------$117
    Processor: Intel Pentium 4, 2.00--------$190
    Memory: 512MB DDR2700---------------$135
    Videocard: Visiontek Geforce 4 4200----$200
    ----------------------------------------------$642
    You can probably find much cheaper prices if you looked hard enough, or you could go with an AMD.
    Check Newegg for some decent prices.
     
  7. Steve_Ch

    Steve_Ch Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2001
    Messages:
    978
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Greg: I will go memory first, I think you have 3 slots in your XPS-T and can go up to 768MB, it's the cheapest and easiest. Next step, 100MHz bus PIII 1G is supposed to be available at googlewear.com for about $100, should be relatively straight forward. But I have been hearing bad things about googlewear lately, so beware.
    Neil: With a PIII 933MHz, you are pretty much looking at a P4 box for more juice.
    Aaron: With new MB and Processor, chances are more than fair that one will need new case and PS, one can go cheap, but to really do it right, another $100 add to your list.
     
  8. AaronMg

    AaronMg Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2002
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  9. Ian Wilson

    Ian Wilson Agent

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2000
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Be very careful when upgrading Dell computers. They don´t stick to ATX specs. Installing a new M/B can result in toasting your whole system as they use a non-standard power connector - it will fit your motherboard, but it wired differently (I wonder why).
    http://www.upgradingandrepairingpcs....ade3_01_01.asp
    Ian
     
  10. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Greg,
    Unfortunately you are in a chicken or the egg scenario. You need to upgrade your processor, video card, and RAM (all three in that order) to get much impovement. But your motherboard probably only supports up to a PIII and old AGP standard, so that needs to be replaced too. Then if Dell used a special ATX format, a normal motherboard won't work either. It's a real sticky wicket.
    Now don't sweat it too much, it's probably not quite that bad. First off, get the Dell documentation out or look on the website of the motherboard manufactor to find out the specs. Check out how much RAM and how fast a CPU that board will support. If the CPU is faster than PIII 500 MHz, then you can replace that to get more speed. If RAM is >256 MB (which I'm sure it is), you can replace that too. For the videocard, make sure it isn't an integrated video solution. If it is a separate AGP card, you could buy an older GeForce3 or Radeon 7200 that woukd give you some better performance.
    But for the cost of all that above, you are probably getting fairly close in cost to a new PC (without monitor, mouse, printer, etc.) Everything gets old, computers just do it in the fast lane [​IMG]
    What I would do:
    Ride your PC out another year or two. Get an Xbox or PS2 to play games, or just bag it altogether and start saving up for a new PC.
     

Share This Page