TechSpot

Looking for advice on pc overhaul

By Uncle rico
Jun 9, 2006
  1. I recieved alot of good info in my first thread on this board so I would like to get into more detail as I learn more.

    First off, what I have. It's a gateway 500c circa 2001, it has a P4 1.5ghz 400mhz fsb cpu, 512mb pc133 SDRAM and a Geforce2 MX400 4X AGP 64mb vid card.

    The mobo is a micro atx also.

    I use this pc for 2 things, internet usage and gaming, which I am fairly new to.

    In the last 2 years I upgraded the hard drive after the oe unit died, replaced the single cd-rom with a cd-rom/cd-rw drive and a dvd-rom drive and added 256mb pc133 memory.

    If I could afford a new gaming pc I would drop the cash, but since everything else is fairly new, I see no reason to ditch the whole system. So I am looking at replacing the following parts:

    Motherboard
    CPU
    Memory
    Vid card

    I can swing about a $ 500 budget.

    Here are my ?'s

    What combination of parts would you run?

    What is a good chipset to look for and what do I stay away from?

    Whats a good gaming cpu, intel or amd?

    How much memory do I need to run newer games smoothly?

    What vid card do I need in my budget to run current games smoothly, not at the highest settings, more or less with no lag etc on maybe medium settings.

    You can see the parts I am working with and its pretty old stuff so anything has got to perform better.

    I have installed drives and memory etc, what will I run into installing a mobo, cpu etc. Use a pad between the heatsink or thermal grease? Upgrade case fans or heatsink fans etc? Since I am not changing the hd will I have to re-install windows or will the comp boot up normally?

    I play different games, anything from neverwinter nights and rome total war, would like to play BF2, WOW and Oblivion also. Not to mention upcoming Medieval total war 2 and neverwinter nights 2 etc.

    Any help is appreciated.
     
  2. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    for gaming by far the most important thing is the video card.
    The CPU would be next and you can get a decent duel core set up.
    Then the motherboard. I favor MSI boards - they're pretty reliable.
    And of course you'll need ram. 2 x 512mb sticks of memory in dual channel mode will do nicely.

    everything else you can probably salvage or sell off.
     
  3. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    If you want your budget to stretch a little further, I'd suggest you switch to an Amd processor. You do get a bit more for your money than you do with intel.

    If you wish to do that, i have plenty of experience with 32bit and 64bit, and single core and dual core.
     
  4. KingCody

    KingCody TS Guru Posts: 1,568   +7

    Pentiums are Intels. I agree with Rik, AMD processors are better for gaming. however the soon-to-be-released Intel Conroe (core 2 duo) processor is supposed to be the best performer available and they will be cheaper than current high end AMDs. so if you need to build today thn go AMD, if you can wait a couple more months you may want to look into Intel conroe.

    if you buy AMD, then the NF4 is best, but the chipset isn't as important in AMDs because the memory controller is built into the CPU itself. If you buy Intel, then intel chipsets are supposed to be best, but they often have limited BIOS options such as overclocking, etc.

    1GB is enough, especially where you're on a tight budget. make sure you get memory in matched stick pairs not 1 single stick (two matched 512MB sticks)

    thermal grease/paste is better than a pad. arctic silver is known as the best, but if you have another kind it should work fine as well. if you're looking for the easiest seup, then just use the stock pad that comes with the heatsink (it will be included with your CPU unless you buy OEM)

    that's kind of a crap shoot. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. either way it is always recommended that you format and clean install everything for the new machine.
     
  5. Uncle rico

    Uncle rico TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have been doing some looking and have a few more ?'s

    Whats the difference between unbuffered, registered and buffered memory?

    When looking at vid cards, there are alot of designations. How do I know which one will perform better in my application over another. Example Geforce 7300LE vs. 7300GS.

    I guess what I am asking is, beyond chipset and memory etc, what specs would I look for in a gaming oriented card?

    Heres a list of some parts I put together for a seemingly budget minded price:

    MSI K8NGM2-L Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail CF13130041
    $61.99

    eVGA 256-P2-N436-LX Geforce 7300GS 256MB GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail CF14130270
    $69.99

    AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Processor Model ADA3500BPBOX - Retail CF19103533
    $115.49

    CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model VS1GBKIT400C3 - Retail CF20145480
    $85.99

    The mobo has 4 DDR slots for up to 4gb's memory. Would it be wise to get a second pair of 512mb modules or just start off with a pair of 1gb modules with 2 remaining slots open?
     
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