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What shall I upgrade first?

By milespower
Jun 3, 2012
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  1. Greetings TechSpot guys and gals!

    I am looking forward to a Summer upgrade and, since I'm quite poor (and have saved a lot of money since January till now) I cannot buy a new computer or have great amounts of money spent on stuff like this. My computer as of now is this one (and yes I know it's quite old...I had a 2 yr old laptop but it broke down):

    • CPU: Intel Celeron D @ 3.06 Ghz (oc 3.33)
    • RAM: 1GB DDR400 (2x512MB)
    • HDD: 120GB Seagate IDE + 80GB Hitachi SATA
    • VGA: nVidia Geforce FX5500 256MB
    • MB : Asrock 775VM800 (775 1.1*)
    • SND: Creative SBLive! Gamer w/ kX drivers
    * 775 1.1 -> Celeron D, Pentium 4, Pentium D

    these are the core components that I want to upgrade for now: CPU, RAM and VGA. The thing is, and giving that I have a small monitor (compaq crt 17") I wanted some advice on what should I upgrade first:

    • CPU: Options are a Prescott P4, a Cedar Mill P4, or a Pentium D (9xx series, the 8xx series doesn't offer much performance compared to cedar mill P4's). Each one obviously cheaper than the next, I'm tempted at the Pentium D since it's a dual core and thanks to it's 4MB of cache and in this case 3.46 Ghz, almost 1.000 marks on Passmark CPU test. That's quite close to many C2D's out there...
    • RAM: The cheapest of all upgrades, I should probably get 2GB (which is the board's limit anyway) at the same DDR400.
    • VGA: I'm looking at AMD's offer since they supported AGP 'till mid-2008 which gives me DX10.1 AGP cards, in this case the 4650 1GB which has an impressive performance (comparable to a nVidia GF 9600GSO) or the 512MB "HD3650" and "HD2600XT/Pro". These latter ones are somewhat more powerful than the 3650.
    I want to get some games working, namely League of Legends at first, and then when the thing is ready, GTAIV and some others (and yes it's possible, a friend of mine has a 9600GSO coupled to a PD 3.6 and 2GB of DDR2 400 (which doesn't offer much performance upgrade vs. a DDR400) and SATA drives, with a "square" 17" LCD, and he can run any games he wants at least at medium settings (@ 1024x768 which is what I want anyway). In mind of this, and minding that even though I want to gradually upgrade the machine, I want to benefit from the first upgrade, the main question is: What should I upgrade first, giving the use I want to give to it?

    Cheers!
     
  2. milespower

    milespower TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    bump. I really could use some help here
     
  3. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Addict Posts: 1,126   +22

    Hi, If you could add another 1GB of RAM that would help with all programs.
    The 256 MB on your graphic card is also very limiting, if you could change to a card with 512MB or even 1GB on board, you would see a difference.
    Your spec is very similar to my 'other' Linux PC, and I know the DDR ram is the most expensive, it's odd that the latest DDR3 ram is 1/4 the price !!
     
  4. milespower

    milespower TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Hmmm....yes, I know that :D what I wanted to ask is What should I upgrade first: CPU, VGA or RAM.

    Quoting:
    • CPU: Options are a Prescott P4, a Cedar Mill P4, or a Pentium D (9xx series, the 8xx series doesn't offer much performance compared to cedar mill P4's). Each one obviously cheaper than the next, I'm tempted at the Pentium D since it's a dual core and thanks to it's 4MB of cache and in this case 3.46 Ghz, almost 1.000 marks on Passmark CPU test. That's quite close to many C2D's out there...
    • RAM: The cheapest of all upgrades, I should probably get 2GB (which is the board's limit anyway) at the same DDR400.
    • VGA: I'm looking at AMD's offer since they supported AGP 'till mid-2008 which gives me DX10.1 AGP cards, in this case the 4650 1GB which has an impressive performance (comparable to a nVidia GF 9600GSO) or the 512MB "HD3650" and "HD2600XT/Pro". These latter ones are somewhat more powerful than the 3650.
     
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 6,399   +1,591

    My advice would be to forget the upgrade and replace the computer you have.

    Your motherboard does not even support Core2 Duo much less Core2 Quad. Even if it did, you would be hard pressed to find a quad core at a reasonable price, compared to the performance of recent CPU's. A Core2 Quad would most likely cost you twice the price of a comparable performing LGA1155 CPU. DDR is way overpriced compared to DDR3 in comparable capacities. AGP is a dead graphical interface. Prices once again are outrageous for AGP cards compared to PCIe versions of the same card.

    Spend your money on a new machine and when you are done, you will have 20 times the performance for the same price of upgrading what you have. If you do take it slow (one component at a time), might I suggest components that are supported in recent motherboards (such as SATA drives, DDR3 memory, and PCIe graphics cards). I noticed you are concentrating on core components, thats good but don't let your current tech hold you back from purchasing recent tech.
     
    Matt12345170 and ikesmasher like this.
  6. milespower

    milespower TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    I understand that, but:

    first of all, the Pentium D "IS" a dual core, so it does support a dual core processor. And believe me, a friend of mine has that processor and it still performs great, coupled it with a nvidia 9600 GSO (g94 model) and plays all games at medium settings (@1024x768, granted, but my monitor is not much bigger and I feel comfortable with 1024x768 in most games).

    secondly, these are all coming second-hand (OLX, Ebay, whatever) so prices aren't really that outrageous. I was to spend about 40€ with each part.

    Thirdly I know I can get the Sandy Bridge Celeron (G530 I believe) for that price, a board at that price, and rams at 25€ for 4GB DDR3. But this is a workaround since I am watching a second-hand deal of a C2D board + C2D e6300 (quite good processor, 1800 Passmark marks) for 35€, leaving me to buy DDR2 rams for about the same price as DDR3.
     
  7. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    By the same argument you can get some very cheap deals for used Sandy Bridge CPU/mobo and a PCI-E graphics card, and you'll be way way happier than with a P4 + AGP card (shudder). Put it this way, if you did decide to upgrade what you have then you'll just end up upgrading again in a years time whereas a SB build will last you a good few years. Then when you have saved up a bit more you can get a better PCI-E GPU.
     
    Matt12345170 likes this.
  8. milespower

    milespower TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    EDIT: I mixed the PDC E6300 with the C2D E6300. This last one is about half of a G530 Celeron....
     
    Matt12345170 likes this.
  9. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 1,978   +390

    but...why would you want a second hand thing and DDR2 over a new and improved CPU and DDR3? im really confused.
    for 120 bucks (95ish euros?) you can get a board, a dual core G520 and 4GB DDR3. I really dont get why you really need to hold on to this build. Am I missing something?
    And plus, DDR2 ram is about twice the price as DDR3, at least on newegg. 4GB costs around 50 bucks. which im thinking is like 40 euros. the G530 gets over a 2200 passmark.
     
    Matt12345170 likes this.
  10. milespower

    milespower TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    look, first of all it's really 120 euros (not in the best country tbh) to get board, G530 (for some reason the 520 doesn't sell here) and DDR3. But I have limited amounts of money and wanted something to just "be better" than my current spec since this recession will end soon (at least for me) and maybe in Christmas 2012 I will (if I can) get that config. I need to see what kind of money will I be given next week and if I can spend 150 euros on this, I of course will get it. Else, the C2D is the obvious choice.

    Secondly, if I go to C2D it will only get 2GB since that's the board limit. I think the board is a S775 Biostar 945GZ Ver 6.x - 2GB of DDR2 667 cost about 30 bucks, so really 60 bucks. It's just a workaround really, I wanted to enjoy summer vacation with something capable (even if not very well, even though I'm optimist about the GMA 950) of playing some games, since the only games I can play in this are the likes of Worms 4 Mayhem and GTA San Andreas. Even the new Sonic Generations won't run, and that's a game I really want to try.

    Thirdly, by all means I will not get rid of my Foxconn TLM 022 case and the IDE CDRW/DVDRW DL drives. I don't see an improvement over SATA in this department. Even with the Celeron G530 I will keep these drives. I save some 40 euros in not upgrading these since I'm quite happy with 16X of DVDR speed. The harddrive is SATA1 and just temporary since it's laptop and "hanging" around the case.

    And I know for some of you these seem low amounts of money and I must be joking or crazy about saving 40 euros or 50 euros....but take this as comparison: minimum income here is 485 euros and mine is 550. I have bills to pay.
     
  11. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 1,978   +390

    Na man,
    I get were you are coming from. I had to update an old PC on a budget about as tight as that one, at the time I had no room for "costs a little more". so yea.

    So in response the original question, I would personally go graphics card, than CPU, than ram. Although now that things have changed a little, idk what else you need help with. just let us know.

    I said the G520 and I meant the G530, my bad. anyway, As long as you dont plan on living on that system for over a year, those upgrades seem solid enough, just make sure that you dont spend anymore than you have to, as they arent really worth as much as people might try selling them for now. Just watch some prices and see if you can come up with a deal.
     
     
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +99

    If you think you'll be able to afford something better come Christmas time I'd just wait. Anything you purchase now is just a waste of money, frankly. Given that times are hard it just makes no sense right now to spend the money. Not trying to come across as harsh, but I really do want to make the point that you'll effectively be pouring your hard earned money down the drain.

    I appreciate that means your going to struggle with your computer for the next six months, but your just spending money on something that's already legacy and dead in all intents and purposes.

    If you must spend now, I would look at getting a second-hand deal on a LGA 775 Intel Core2Quad Q6600 quad, or similar, like the newer Q8200 or Q8300 quads, with a motherboard. You might get lucky.
     
  13. Great1122

    Great1122 TS Enthusiast Posts: 152

    I say save up til 200 euros or just get the gpu first then maybe ram.
     
  14. milespower

    milespower TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    yes, I wouldn't live with this computer for more than 1 year, 1.5 yrs max. The C2D and it's board are at a respectable 35€ bundle (avg. for the current deals is 40€ just for the processor) and the rams are going at 10€ for 667 DDR2 (don't need more, that's the board limit). Besides, if I get board upgrades (either being Sandy Bridge or Core2), the replaced components (minus the VGA which will go at a YouTube machine that I have here) will be sold at a pawn shop and with the resulting money (plus some) I'm going to buy the GPU (great deals going on in the GPU department, like HD3850's and 9800GTX's for 30/40€...) so yea...

    oh and btw the budget is about 50€ original + what comes out of selling the old. probably 25 or 30€ so 75/80€ and a few change...
     


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