Need guidance with new build configuration

By Odyssey
Jan 29, 2008
  1. It's well past time to replace my aging Dell 4600. My needs are simple: browsing, spreadsheet, word processing, music, no gaming, but I complicate the situation by keeping multiple instances of browser windows, each with multiple tabs, open all the time, so memory is important as well as whatever demands the multiple windows put on the graphics and other parts of the system. I will buy a mobo with CPU and build out around them, and will use XP, either Home or Pro, but unsure if Pro is important to me

    Considering my system use:

    I guess the first question is whether I should opt for a quad or duo core. So balancing cost and possible future developments, which of these do you recommend and why?

    Also what is important in terms of the various buses, memory types, and how many memory sockets, PCI-16, etc?

    What minimum power PSU?

    I have a Diamond Viper 512MB X1650Pro which I would like to use instead of buying a new graphics card. Is this adequate for my needs?

    I do not require state of the art, which by the time I get my system built and running the way I want it will not be state of the art anymore anyway. The extra cost of the latest and greatest would not be a good outlay for me as my needs are modest.

  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Why not just upgrade that wonderful old 4600... with DDR 400 PC3200 to the full 4096 MB, clean the cpu fan, upgrade your DVD burner, and put in a 250 GB Seagate or larger, keeping your old drive as a slave... maybe upgrade your power supply to a 400 to 500 watt unit.
    Then spend your money on some new software.

    You won't really gain that much with a new build, as long as you want to keep that old 8X AGP video graphics.
    You have a nice, cheap system. Fine tune it until you are really ready for a Dual Core or quad core with PCI-express video graphics.
  3. Odyssey

    Odyssey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    I am still considering upgrading the Dell 4600, but thinking that my needs will be better met with the duo core.

    My biggest problem is overload resulting from so many open windows, including windoze explorer, music player/s, Crazy Browser, Opera, and Firefox, usually all open and multiple instances of each with multiple tabs. Yes, I know that I could close a few and solve the problem, but there is a logical explanation for all the windows, and in any case that is the way I like to work.

    My 4600 (vintage 2004) has PCI slots but not, I believe, PCI Express (not sure when the latter came out, but I think after my computer was mfgrd.) The Diamond X1650Pro video card that I have is PCI Express and so I assume that it cannot be used in the 4600?

    So I am thinking that the video card might be a big help in dealing with window overload, but since this is a key component of the decision to build a new one or try to improve the 4600, your thoughts on this are sought.

    The 4600 already has 1.3 or 1.4GB of RAM and I take the point that 2GB is probably all that XP will efficiently handle, but the type and speed of the ram may also be a factor, and so this might be a reason to upgrade. I would not go to DDR3 as that is probably not cost effective.

    One reason I thought to build my own is that I have the video card, extra CD and DVD writers, ATA hard drives, an Antec 500 watt PSU and case, so the main ingredients needed are only mobo, cpu, and ram. One question here is whether SATA hdds would be helpful in dealing with my needs. (The 4600 does have SATA connectors on the mobo, BTW.)

    So there is some additional thoughts to stir in. Your further comments will be appreciated.
  4. Odyssey

    Odyssey TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 23

    Had bought all the bits, but got diverted with unavoidable issues requiring all my time since, but now getting back to it.

    Looking at the XP version comparison in the following link:

    I note the following:

    "Scalable processor support – up to two-way multi-processor support"

    Home is not enabled, but Pro is. Not sure I understand what "Scalable processor support" is but does this impact on the core duo 2 CPU I have purchased. I.e., does Pro take advantage of the dual core, and Home does not? Or does this refer to something else? I haven't bought the OS yet.

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