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Help with Choosing CPU

By cfitzarl
Jul 13, 2006
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  1. I am trying to update my Celeron Processor, as it is too underpowered, and is not meant for gaming. What I am asking is what kind of processor should I get? I have a P4M800PRO Socket 478 Via Motherboard. I am not an expert with choosing the proper precessor, and am wondering what is compatible besides Pentium 4.
  2. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 883

    Can you give us the make and model of the board? P4M800PRO is the VIA Northbridge controller. ECS does also make a Mobo with this as the boards model number. So any more info would be helpful.

    It does appear that most of the mobo models that use this board can upgrade to a P4 and some can go to the Pentium D. You may want to upgrade your memory, too. It can handle DDR400 or DDR2 533.
  3. Charles

    Charles TS Rookie

    Well I'd have to say that at this point your RAM is bottlenecking your system far more than your processor is.

    EDIT: Here's a list, courtesy of Newegg.
  4. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    I am upgrading it to 768mb.
  5. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    I am wondering though, is my video card being bottlenecked by the processor in any way?
  6. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 883

    Yup. Celeron's are not meant for gaming. They are basically crippled P4's as they do not have nearly as much L2 memory. You would be much better off gaming with a P4, some more memory (possbily upgrade to 1 GB PC3200 $84 at Newwg for Corsair ValueSelect), and a stronger vid card. Does your board support PCI-e? I see that you have an AGP card right now, but some mobo models have both.
  7. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,198

    Hi cfitzarl,
    Is your system an ECS P4M800PRO-M478? We really can't offer much help until we know precisely what mainboard model you have. If you are unsure, google and download CPU-Z. Run this program and see if it reports what mainboard you have in the top tab listed as "Mainboard".

    If we assume it's the ECS, then we need to know:
    a) What you're trying to accomplish.. i.e. is there a specific game you want to improve performance with or are there games you wish you could play but cannot.
    b) What your budget is.

    You have a LOT of upgrade options available to you, but it will depend on what you want to do and how much you can spend.

    The ECS mainboard does NOT support dual-channel memory, but it does support both DDR and DDR2 memories. If you're planning on going P4, this does complicate the matter as you may be better off with a new motherboard if you want to boost CPU performance.
  8. Charles

    Charles TS Rookie

    Well if you're upgrading it to 768mb, obviously you're just adding a stick of 512mb. It's still going to run at PC2100 speeds, and thus your processor will still be bottlenecked. Really it all depends on your budget like Sharkfood asked, because if you could you'd want to upgrade the whole setup to actually get a lot of difference. If you can't do that I would recommend getting memory similiar to what nick mentioned because it's pretty cheap and will give you a good boost.
  9. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    I'm not near the mobo right now, but I don't think it is ecs. I am specifically trying to get a computer that is able to play Oblivion (addicted to 360 version). I want a computer that is fast, and almost up to date for cheap money. I am already looking at auctions on eBay for Pc2 4200 533mhz 512mb ram (ex. http://cgi.ebay.com/512MB-DDR2-PC2-...4QQihZ018QQcategoryZ74942QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem). I am planning of selling my current memory on eBay (I love eBay). Note the fact that I only have 3 pci2 slots, and 1 agp 8x slot on the motherboard. I have 2 ddr1 pc2100 slots, and 2 ddr2 pc4200 slots as well. I have room in the computer though. I bought my graphic card two weeks ago, so I don't want to rid of it right away. I want to get some use of it before I re-sell it on eBay. My budget right now is around 50 bucks for 1 upgrade. They list cheap p4 processors of 1.7-2.0 ghz for that price. I would rather drop speeds than be bottlenecked with a higher one.
  10. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 883

    If you want to play Oblivion, you will definitly need to perform some upgrades. I'm not terribly familiar with that game, but you will need at least 1GB of memory, a much faster video card and a P4 processor. With all of those upgrades you will probably also need to upgrade your power supply to handle the stuff. Also, depending on your Mobo, you may be stuck with your memory in single channel mode. That would be another bottleneck that could only be overcome with a new mobo.
  11. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    My power supply is 450 watts, will that be enough to get by for now? Although, it finally comes to what I should do: buy a new processor, memory, or mobo. I could always use help deciding. I know computers, and their parts, but not all of the detailed stuff {like l2 cache, or 64-bit memory(for my graphic card)}.
     
  12. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

  13. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 883

    The power supply may be powerful enough. Can you tell us how may amps it supplies on the 12V rail?

    For L2 cache, more is better. The new Intel Core2's have 2MB X 2 L2 cache! For your video card you would want at least 128 bit memory (in general more is better).

    If you decide how much you are willing to spend and exactly what upgrades you want to do, there are LOTS of folks who can offer advice. If you want to go with all new stuff, you should wait until after July 24th. Intel is releasing the Conroe processors and AMD will probably be droping their prices to help keep up (as if!)lol.
  14. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9


    AMD won't work in my computer, will it?
  15. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 883

    With your current setup, no. I was just putting AMD out there if you decided upgrade your Mobo and wanted to go AMD.
  16. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    How are the auction that I listed, any good? Remember, that I would rather a p4 1.7ghz than a 2.66 bottlenecked processor.
  17. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 883

    Of the 2 auctions you listed, the 1st chip is better. Slightly faster and has more L2 cache. That being said, a 1.8ghz P4 may still problems with Oblivion. From what I hear the game requires a pretty beefy system. But someone else will probably know more about that than me.
  18. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    Thanks for your help. Will reply back if I need any more help. I think I have an idea on what to buy now. High l2 cache size, obviously speed. More ram, and a better graphic card. ttyl
  19. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,605   +9

    Yes, your current Celeron (northwood I think) should be on par with the P4 you listed.
    How much can you afford for the CPU?

    This would be a great choice if you can afford it:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819116215

    It's a Northwood P4, better than Preshoot's. Also, require less power than a prescott CPU.
  20. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,198

    Again, without knowing what mainboard you have, guessing at which CPU to install is just a shot in the dark.

    You really cannot make any educated determinations until you know what fsb speeds, memory configuration and such your mainboard supports. Also, you don't even know WHAT cpu's your BIOS has support for, if any. Simply snapping in a P4 into an unknown motherboard is unwise and likely to have problems- or best case, crippled performance from a poor match.

    When you get near your PC, run CPU-Z and look at it's mainboard tab. From there, we can better help you with what kind/type memory and what inexpensive P4 core would be the best match for your system.
  21. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    I am now on my computer, and I was wrong, it is an ECS brand (P4MP800 PRO-M478 1.0) (CHIPSET P4M800CE)(SOUTHBRIDGE VT8237)(SENSOR ITE IT8705) It has American Megatrends Inc. BIOS Version 080012 Dated on 12/13/2005. Wow, that's a lot of info to take in! I think for now I am going to buy a 512 stick of ddr2 pc2 4200 533mhz ram to speed it up a little.
  22. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,198

    Okay. You cannot mix DDR with DDR2 memories. So you'll have to chuck the DDR stick you currently have to install a DDR2 memory.

    As this motherboard does not support dual-channel memory, this is a big problem as higher-end P4's require lots of bandwidth and lower latency. DDR2 (single-channel) will likely yield better bandwidth than single-channel DDR, but at the cost of higher latency. Either way, these aren't the ideal conditions for a P4 processor.

    If you're going to add a DDR2-533 stick (and keep that single-channel motherboard), I'd highly recommend the lowest latency possible, such as the OCZ CAS3 DDR2 stick here:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227040

    From there, I'd also recommend as a previous poster did to get a Northwood core P4 @ 533mhz FSB.. such as:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819116180

    You're still going to want to upgrade that videocard as the 6200 is a very, very slow 3d card. You can pretty much upgrade the videocard for $50-$400 US depending on your budget and/or power supply capabilities. If you're really strapped for cash, NewEgg often has 9600 Pro/XT series for around $50-$65 US.

    I'd also warn to keep a ceiling on budget as sometimes it just doesn't make sense to drop too much $$ into a Socket 478/AGP system these days given how cheap PCI-Express/AMD full-systems have become. If you start hitting the $250-$400 US range... you should instead consider dumping the whole system and upgrading to a new, future expandable new PC (building it yourself).

    Hope this helps!
  23. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 883

    Very well put, Sharkfood!
  24. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    I'm looking at a Samsung model that is listed in the recommendations in the motherboard manual.
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