A 6+ year old system requires some upgrades

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It's time to have a small upgrade on my 6 year system; it served me very well and I rarely had any issues. I'm just looking forward to get most out of it, currently it has these components:

Motherboard : Albatron KX600
Processor : AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (1.8 MHz)
Videocard : GeForce FX 5200 (256 MB)
RAM : 2x 512MB
Power Supply : Antec SL400 400W

The MoBo has its integrated network adapter, and sound card, and I have no problem with either. Unfortunately, it does not support PCI-e cards.

I mainly use it to play games like WoW or Counter-strike with all the effects on lowest. Its main function over the time devolved into just playing games as I work and watch DVDs mainly on my laptop.

I've recently observed more problems in crowded instances when playing WoW, and also I'm looking forward to play a little more graphically advanced games (not the most high-end ones, though). I think, a system with a 2.4+ MHz CPU and 2 GB with a decent 2-3 year old GPU should do fine.

However, I'm very low on budget (100$-150$) and I don't need additional component upgrades/replacements such as a new soundcard and a network adapter, therefore I'm thinking perhaps I should keep my MoBo and CPU intact and just go for GPU and RAM upgrades.

1) Should I upgrade my GPU and RAM with a Radeon HD4650 1GB/128MB AGP (around 75$) and a 2x 1GB DDR 400 SDRAM (around 45$), how much of a bottleneck will my CPU cause especially when playing a CPU dependent game like WoW? How much would such an upgrade improve the current performance, if any? I just hope to play WoW at max.

2) Will my power supply be able to handle an Radeon HD4650 (which also requires 400W), I also have a DVD-ROM and a CD-ROM connected to my system - I can ditch out either or both when not using if it will help any? Will the GPU just not run at all, or will it work on a lower rate and not use its full capacity?

3) Given my budget limitations, what alternative upgrades would you recommend? Is there a better balanced MoBo/CPU/GPU/RAM/PSU combination you can think of that may cost around 150$-200$ if a better upgrade is absolutely necessary? I've considered to purchase and overclock an Athlon XP 3200+ to get around 2.4 MHz processing capability, but it seems like it may cost me another 75$ and I'm not sure if it's worth it.

4) Finally, my MoBo supports 3x 1GB, yet in its manual it recommends only 2 DDR 400 1GB RAMS at once, and not all three at the same time. Why is there such a limitation and what kind of performance issues would I have if I installed 3x 1GB? Would I get 3GB, a little less than 3GB or just 2GB? What kind of a setup should use if I want more than 2 GB from this MoBo?

Thanks for reading, and I appreciate any help.


Posts: 13,810   +3
Can I just say, I wouldn't be updating this old machine
I read all through your post and the dollar amounts, I was about to say get Ram, but thought ..no, you are better with a more modern machine with PCI-Express and Core 2 Duo at least.

Save up and sell your computer (completely) and get a new (or newer) computer


Posts: 5,123   +193
Hi Galaturc,
and welcome to Techspot :)
very nice post BTW, it provides alot of info for us to make recommendations.
your best option if you cant overhaul, and considering your budget is your option #1. that will give you the best bang for your buck.
what you have working against you is your PSU. while technically it has the wattage required for the 4650, if its 6 years old, those capacitors are tired and not what they were when new. if you can squeeze a few more dollars out of your budget, i would replace it as well, look at it as an investment. then when you can upgrade the MB and CPU etc, you can move it to the new build. the limitation on the ram is your memory controller, given your system you wont see any discernible difference in performance between 2GB and 3GB of ram so the additional 1Gb will suffice. finally if you can wait until another 200-250$ is available you can put together a machine that will run circles around what you have now. hope this was of help :)
Hi Galaturc,

Its good that you have the detail hardware configuration of your system. And that is much more than enough information for anyone to give you tips and tricks to twaek your system. However, when it comes to games, its becomes a different story altogether. And since you have an old system I should keep that for the time being and then maybe try to raise up the budget to atleast $250. And then think of what configuration I should go for, cos softwares have become so advanced that many people find it hard to decide what hardware should do the optimum job for optimum satisfaction. I hope you would take this like a piece of advice regarding your computer. :)
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  • #5
Thanks for all the responses; after a second thought and considering the advices, I'm planning to sell this system, chip in some more and set my self a new system. I'll also sell my tower case, two fans, CD-RW and a 80 GB WD hard-drive with the listed other items. How much would be a fair prize for such a system?


Posts: 13,810   +3
WooHoo, I was right. lol :D

Now the best place to get a costing is on comparative systems on eBay (in my view)
Things like Authentic Windows with key (and Setup CD) will help


Oh the other responses were better informed though
Prices Differ according to locations...

The price would depend upon the location market prices for refurbished PCs.

I mean I am in India and prices are different comparing to other Countries.
You will have to check the market prices...

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