TechSpot

Upgrading HP a1020n

By ckb1978
Apr 25, 2007
  1. Forgive me for I am a noob.

    About 2 years ago, my wife and I purchased a HP a1020n. I would like to make some upgrades to this PC so that it will run better on Vista. I would also like to eventually start using the Media Center functions such as the DVR since the Xbox 360 is such a great media center extender. Any suggestions? Please help, I also want to keep this fairly affordable.

    Here are the system specs:
    Base processor - Pentium4 519 (P) 3.06 GHz:533 MHz FSB, Socket LGA775

    Chipset - Intel 915GV

    Motherboard - Asus PTGD-LA

    Memory Installed - 1024 MB (2 x 256, 1x512)
    Speed supported - PC3200 MB/sec
    Type - 240 pin, DDR2 SDRAM
    DIMM slots - Four

    Hard drive - 200 GB SATA 7200 rpm

    motherboard specs (copied from HP site)
    Motherboard specifications table
    Part / Feature Specification / Support
    Motherboard description

    * Motherboard manufacturer's name: ASUS PTGD-LA
    * HP/Compaq name: Goldfish3-GL8E

    CPU/Processor

    * Socket: LGA775
    * Supports processor up to 3.4 GHz
    * Supports Intel Pentium 4 HT processors

    Front-side bus (FSB)

    * 800 MHz

    Chipset

    * Northbridge: Intel 915GV Graphics Memory and Controller Hub (MCH)
    * Southbridge: Intel ICH6

    BIOS features

    * 4Mb FWH EEPROM
    * HP BIOS with enhanced ACPI, DMI, Green, and PnP Features Plus

    Form factor

    * Micro-ATX form factor, 9.6 in x 9.6 in

    Memory

    * Dual-channel memory architecture
    * 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets support unbuffered non-ECC 4 GB 533/400 MHZ DDR2 memory modules
    * Maximum HP/Compaq approved memory is 4 GB*



    NOTE: *Actual available memory may be less
    Expansion slots

    * Three PCI
    * No AGP slot

    Video graphics

    * Integrated

    Serial ATA

    * 4 SATA connectors
    * Each connector supports 1 serial Ultra DMA 150 disk drive
    * Hot Swap function

    Onboard audio Realtek ALC880 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
    Onboard LAN

    * Realtek RTL8101L LAN PHY (Physical Layer Protocol)
    * 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet controller

    Back panel I/O

    * One PS/2 mouse port
    * One PS/2 keyboard port
    * One VGA (monitor)
    * One Parallel
    * Four USB (2.0)
    * One IEEE 1394
    * One RJ45 networking port
    * Six audio ports support 8-channel audio configuration
    * One S/PDIF in
    * One S/PDIF out

    Internal connectors

    * One ATX power connector
    * One ATX +12v power connector
    * One IDE connector
    * Four SATA connectors
    * One floppy drive connector
    * One CPU fan connector
    * One System fan connector (also known as duct or chassis fan)
    * One system indicator LEDs / power switch / reset button connector
    * One jumper to clear CMOS
    * One jumper to clear password
    * One optical drive audio input
    * One line level audio input
    * One front panel headphone and microphone connector
    * One front panel power and LED connectors
    * Two USB connectors supporting 4 additional USB 2.0 ports on front panel
    * One IEEE 1394a connector supporting one 1394a port
     
  2. frus

    frus TS Rookie Posts: 55

    Hi
    i got a similar computer an hp pavilion, and it really sucks .....
    well, the only thing i did to upgrade it was to buy 2, 1gb ram sticks at 533mhz and thats all...
    also i was considereing to buy apci card u can buy the radeon x1550 pci.
    Currently i have no money but a good choice for u would be to buy a new motherboard , one supporting a core duo processor, it will cost you 100 bucks, search on ebay, they are selling motheboards for pavilions and media center, then u can buy a better processor and a pci express card.
    Good Luck
     
  3. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    The big problem with this upgrade is that it has no VGA nor PCI-Express video graphics, so you ar stuck with either the onboard integrated graphics, or adding a PCI video graphics card.
    Be sure you have the latest uprade of the BIOS from the www.hp.com drivers and downloads site. Then download all the other drivers and updates for VISTA from the site.
    Memory is confused with the three low speed modules. I would remove what you have and sell it. Buy, instead four modules of DDR2 533 PC2-4300 in 1 GB modules... But they would cost you $400 at www.zipzoomfly... so you might want to start with 2 modules of 1 GB each.
    I would replace the CPU fan with a new Zalman or Cooler Master unit, then add a case fan... either 120 mm or at least 80 mm.
    That would fix all that can be fixed...
    Then carefully read all the material at www.hp.com for that model. HP has placed a section on all aspects of upgrading that model to Windows VISTA which includes, "Known Issues After Upgrading to Windows VISTA" because there are various features that are not compatible with Windows VISTA... These upgrades listed and discussed are vital to making it work well with VISTA
     
  4. Ressurrector

    Ressurrector TS Rookie Posts: 45

    a wise man once said "if it ain't broke don't fix it" Mmm Vista hadn't really cut my teeth on it yet but I HEAR its ram greedy and likes top of the line video cards.......... My rule of thumb.......if you can run battlefield 2 well you can run anything..............lol
     
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