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I want to upgrade my old computer, but I don't know what to do! Pls help!

By jiffypop
Jun 7, 2005
  1. My computer is pretty old and slow (but my computer repairer told me that it is fast for its age), but I can't afford to buy a new one. I mainly only need to use it for surfing the internet, watching movies and DVDs, and burning DVDs (I won't be playing any games - I'm trying to cut down :) ). I'd like to know how I can upgrade its components to make it faster and not freeze as often, but I don't know much about computer hardware... What I do know about my computer:

    - Its brand is "HP Vectra VE"
    - 4GB hard drive (I want to upgrade to a larger one of this too - not too big though, as I already an 80GB external hard drive for my downloads)
    - Windows XP
    - Intel Pentium MMX processor
    - 128MB RAM
    - 200 MHz (I've just bought a DVD burner which needs a minimum of 400MHz - I don't know what this is, but I need 2x as much more!)
    - 50x CD and 8x4x32 CDRW

    I plan to buy my components from eBay.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
     
  2. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,120

    Wow, that's a tuff one there jiffy. With a 200mhz CPU I would guess you have a Socket 7, possibly even a socket 5? This will determine what you can stick in there.

    Unfortunately, if it's a socket 7, you can only go as high as a 266mhz. Unless you have a Super Socket 7, which can go as high as 550mhz with an AMD K6-2. Sometimes they aren't marked so it's hard to tell what it can support.

    Then you will want a RAM upgrade as well, 128 is JUST enough for XP ALONE, not to mention trying to watch a DVD on top of that. Or a DVD burn no less. You will want at LEAST 256mb.
    And then you've got a small HDD on top of that.

    Just off hand I'd say it won't be worth it to upgrade. You can buy 3 parts for it and pay just as much as you would for a used PC from some shop somewhere. You could probably find a used PC (to put your own XP on) with specs at least TWICE as good as that, for maybe $200 or less if you look hard.

    Like check this out:
    http://www.surpluscomputers.com/store/main.aspx?p=ItemDetail&item=COM10569
    It's close to yours but better, for only $60! For pete's sake!

    Or even this:
    http://www.surpluscomputers.com/store/main.aspx?p=ItemDetail&item=COM10632
    Just load up your XP and DVD but you'd still want RAM for it.

    In other words, I would NOT upgrade that, just look for a used one that's better, you won't be spending that much more for it. If you plan on buying from ebay, search a PC, not parts. Just make sure they say it WORKS, and that you have a DOA return warranty.

    cheers
     
  3. GoAvalanche

    GoAvalanche TS Rookie Posts: 66

    I agree with Vigilante. I have worked on a friends computer that was in about the same shape. He didn't want to spend much money but insisted on upgrading. I told him to buy a used computer. He wouldn't listen and ended up spending more for less.
    live and learn.
    Good Luck
     
  4. danmps

    danmps TS Rookie

    Hi Jiffy; I couldn't agree any less with Vigilante and GoAvalache that buying a second hand complete set is much better than trying to upgrade with your existing "Basic sytem". The motherboard you have is can't take CPU at too high speed.

    Look for a 2nd hand pc in town ( is not hard to find ) that is Pentium 3 and speed of 667mhz and above is good enough. If you are lucky you can find a 700mhz, 800hz or even a 900mhz. You don't need to go for a pentium 4 if you really are tight with your cash.

    Good luck to you from singapore
     
  5. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,573   +9

    Well, here's some of my own personal rules: if its more than 7 years old: don't bother upgrading. more than 5: max the ram. more than 3: upgrade whats upgradeable. Anything less than 3 years old: I should bang my head against the wall for not buying a comp that'll last at least 3 years :p.

    Please don't take the last sentence literally. Can't help it that I can always find the cash to buy top end parts (part time jobs help alot. Also, try living with parents).

    Anyway, my rules will change, as CPU speeds aren't conforming to Moore's law anymore.

    But for your current computer, I'd be surprised if you can find any parts for it.

    Also, I used to have a pentium MMX (died and I've chucked it after salvaging what I could). I'm surprised if it could play DVDs without lagging. mine couldn't play any videos at a watchable frame rate, much less burn DVDs. You will need a much faster computer to burn those.

    If you don't mind not burning DVDs, buy yourself a DVDplayer that hooks to your TV. Probably be cheaper, and your current setup is more than able to surf the net (assuming there's not much flash in the sites your visiting).
     
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