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Need a mobo upgrade for a Socket 478 Willamette 1.8

By greatman05 ยท 20 replies
Oct 9, 2011
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  1. Hello. I have a computer with a Via P4VM800 chipset and it BLOWS for doing anything remotely tasking. I wanted to upgrade the motherboard to another Socket 478 motherboard that would have a better chipset. I don't want to completely rebuild it because it is my grandmother's computer and we just rebuilt another one (Went from a Athlon64 3500+, Gigabyte K8NSC nForce3, FX5200 128MB, 1.5GB DDR RAM, Windows XP to i7-2600, Asus P8Z68-V LX Sandy Bridge, GTS 450 1GB, 4GB RAM, Windows 7 32-bit). I'm simply looking to improve the performance of that computer without changing everything in there or changing the operating system. You guys got any ideas?

    I guess I can take suggestions for a new motherboard/processor/memory combo that's not Socket 478, but I need IDE and AGP; I'm really not trying to upgrade the HD and I don't have money to get a new dedicated GPU or PSU. But then again, if something can be found for around $200 total and have an Intel processor preferred, I might listen.
  2. ihaveaname

    ihaveaname TS Enthusiast Posts: 105

    As I understand it, if you change the motherboard, you need to reinstall the OS anyway. If you're absolutely desperate not to do that then RAM and CPU upgrades are really the only way you can go, and even that'll be annoying, and probably cost more than investing in new hardware.
  3. greatman05

    greatman05 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 423

    I have a copy of Windows XP Professional on hand, so that's not a problem.
  4. ihaveaname

    ihaveaname TS Enthusiast Posts: 105

    In that case, you might as well go with a new mobo/CPU/RAM set. An Athlon II system (for instance) would run rings around the old system.
  5. greatman05

    greatman05 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 423

    Well, if you don't mind, could you give me a sample build with IDE? Also, do you know of any older motherboards I could go with in case I just wanted to replace the motherboard and keep the processor?
  6. ihaveaname

    ihaveaname TS Enthusiast Posts: 105

    Ah, I didn't think about the HDD. I'm not an expert on socket 478 motherboards; maybe others here could help? Also my mobo (Asus P5Q-PRO) has an IDE port; maybe you could have some luck finding a newer mobo with the connection (I know this isn't very helpful, sorry).
  7. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 471

    I can think of allot of new motherboards (AM3 or LGA1155) that still have IDE so that isn't a problem the question is how badly you need an AGP port since all newer board will have PCI-Express. What video card does the system currently have. Most video cards from the AGP era would be annihilated by the modern integrated graphics in most current motherboards/CPUs in which case there would be little value in reusing the old card.

    Here is a quick example:
    Motherboard: ASUS P8H67-V (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67
    CPU: Intel Pentium G620 Sandy Bridge
    RAM: Crucial 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

    That being said You could buy a 1TB SATA drive for less than the price difference between a SATA only and PATA/SATA supporting board.

    As for 478 board you would mostly be limited to used and NOS boards since the few 478 boards that still exist only support Prescott and Northwood Cores and not the old Willamette core.
  8. brasslad

    brasslad TS Member


    newegg has Biostar G31 m4 478 mATX motherboard $62 shipped, takes DDR2 memory, on board GMA 3100 Graphics only accepts 2gb RAM 10/100 ETHERNET.
    PCL-e x16 support.
    May be worth trying. May need a faster CPU. FSB 533/800

    Seriously, local craigslist might have better for the price.
  9. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 471

    That Biostar board won't work with his current CPU. It takes Prescott core CPUs only due to the G31 Chipset (an LGA775 chipset that has been adapted to work with a socket 478 CPU).
  10. greatman05

    greatman05 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 423

    Thanks for providing me a build; I decided that it was worthless to try to just replace the motherboard. I tried looking, but there aren't any good chipsets out there that work with my processor, and because of that, it's just better to build a new computer.

    I still would like to upgrade the older Willamette with a new P4/mobo combo if possible, but now I think I want to try my hand at an entry-level to midrange gaming system (I just built my grandmother a close to high-end level gaming system for her business; check it out in my system specs page under the second computer).

    I want to spend maybe $700 at the most ($500 or less for an entry level system including a ATX case (in case I want to upgrade the motherboard) and an ATX motherboard if possible), and that includes an OS. What do you guys suggest? I'm no longer up on current desktop technology, so I definitely need help in that; would it possible to get a build around that price and use at least an i3? I'll do AMD if needed as well. I'll also take suggestions for OEM systems that have dedicated graphics (Have a monitor, so that isn't necessary).

    I know I may not make logical sense, but I wanted to try my hand at upgrading older technology with older technology, but I guess I can't do that :(

    Or maybe I could; what if I bought a used P4 processor and P4 motherboard? Would that work?

    EDIT: I took a programming class (CSC 1100/1101 at Wayne State University) and got MSDN access to download necessary programs for my class, and I snagged two ISOs of Windows XP Professional and Windows 7 32-bit with serial keys. Would those be full operating systems I could use for a new build? That would greatly increase the quality of parts I could buy :D
  11. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 471

    Yes the MSDN ISOs/Keys are full versions. You can interchange the 32 and 64 bit keys and the system doesn't know the difference so if you want two 64 bit installs just use the 32 bit key with the 64 bit ISO.

    Here are a couple reccomendations:
    At the $700 price piont:
    CPU:Intel Core i5-2300 Sandy Bridge $180
    RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) $49
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 $150
    Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100338L Radeon HD 6770 $120
    HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB $80
    Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 335 $50
    PSU: Antec NEO ECO 520C $55
    ODD: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner $19
    Total: $703 before promo codes/ rebates
    If you go $50 over budget you can get an i5 2500K which is one of the best all around/ gaming CPUs around right now, although the 2300 listed above is nearly as powerful.

    At the $500 price point:
    CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge $125
    RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) $49
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P61-USB3-B3 $70
    Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100293L Radeon HD 5570 $60
    HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB $80
    Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 335 $50
    PSU: Antec NEO ECO 520C $55
    ODD: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner $19
    Total: $508 before promo codes/ rebates

    The $700 price point is about minimum for pre-built / OEM systems with dedicated graphics. This is what $700 will get you in a pre built system:
    DELL XPS 8300 (X8300-196NBK) Desktop PC Intel Core i5 2300(2.80GHz) 6GB DDR3 1TB HDD Capacity AMD Radeon HD 6450 1GB DDR3 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit = $680

    however the $700 component set I reccomended would be a far superior system.
    -Better motherboard with a better chipset, solid state caps and mSATA support for an onboard SSD if you wish to add one later
    -Better video card
    -More Ram
    -more expansion options full ATX vs. micro ATX, more bays, more slots, more SATA connectors

    As for a used P4 and board I wouldn't bother. If you want to go used there are plenty of used 1st gen core 2 duo / quad Motherboard, CPU, and RAM sets on ebay fore less than $100 and entire used Core 2 Duo systems can be had for less than $200 and since many of these 1st gen Core 2 Duo / Quad systems are now coming off business leases they are very prevalent on ebay, Dell Financial Services (the leasing / finance arm of dell) and on the refurbished section of Newegg and Tigerdirect..
  12. greatman05

    greatman05 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 423

    Wow...looking at that build, that's pretty amazing. Considering that I'm going to be buying a laptop from XoticPC for around $1200 total though (easier for college dorm move-in/move-out and having a fairly powerful machine with me on the go), I suspect that I'll probably not end up building it for about another 6 months :|

    Now, what could I get for about $1000? My grandmother's was close to that, but we re-used the SATA drives, the case, the sound card and the USB PCI card from the old build and got an OEM copy of Windows 7, so it ended up costing around $800 total.
  13. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 471

    $1000 will pretty much get you a top of the line system if you build it yourself.

    CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge $315
    Motherboard:GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 $150
    RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 16GB $100
    Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 $180 (If you want a more powerful video card you can get a 6950 or 6970 if you go with the i5 2500k instead of the i7 2600k it just depends what you are using the computer for, weather cpu or video is more important, The 6870 is a capable card for all but the highest settings in the newest games)
    HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB $80
    PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W $110
    Case: Antec Three Hundred $56 (cases always tend to be a matter of personal preference but this one is a good value and has great airflow)
    ODD: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner $19
    total before promo codes and rebates $1010

    Laptops are definitely nice for the portability although I always tend to spec mine midrange since I use my desktop for gaming/ graphically intensive tasks and the laptop is simply for non-graphically intensive tasks. This is my current laptop (although I doubled the ram from the stock config, not from Lenovo, $160 for an extra 4GB sick of ram yah right). it is not a graphics powerhouse but the i5-2410m has plenty of processing power and the sandy-bridge chips (especially i5 and i7) definitely have much better integrated graphics than older systems did. The Intel HD3000 graphics in the i5 and i7 are comparable to an entry level video card so they can handle photo / video editing and light gaming.
  14. greatman05

    greatman05 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 423

    Yep; that build sounds about right. It's similar to the one I built for my grandmother, but with a NVIDIA mid-range card, 25% of the RAM and Windows 7 32-bit

    I do agree; I would be doing everything on my laptop, so I definitely wanted a gaming one for the power and longevity. That's why I was going with XoticPC
  15. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,665   +416

  16. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 471

    If you want to stick with intel at the $500 price point which greatman05 stated, it is about your only option and there isn't much of an issue as long as you have a dedicated graphics card. The HD2000 graphics on the i3 aren't nearly as good as the HD3000 on the i5/i7. Processing wise the AMD chips only perform better in heavily threaded applications that take advantage of the extra cores. No matter what you do you are not going to get a top of the line system for $500 unless you buy used components. The AMD chips do offer slightly better bang for your buck CPU wise however the specs are deceiving and they don't perform nearly as well as you would expect with the extra cores and cache generally only slightly beating the i3 in processing although doing much better on graphically intensive tasks with the integrated graphics due to the radeon graphics core on the die. With dedicated cards the performance difference in miniscule.
  17. ViPeRMiMiS

    ViPeRMiMiS TS Booster Posts: 86

    In my opinion buy a AMD Phenom II -cheap- processor like Phenom II x4 840 and buy a -cheap- AM3 motherboard. Because you just want a "small" upgrade and not gaming, that setup is nice. Also buy 2 GB ram. Even 4GB are cheap, so consider a cheap 4Gb ram too. For PSU I will say no mroe than 430W. Corsair CX430 is great. HDD: 120GB is adequate for non-gaming pc. Even 500GB are cheap, so 120GB will be much cheaper. Hope I helped, comment if you don't agree with me or if I just said something stupid :D
    Good Luck :D :D
  18. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 471

    I'm not a huge fan of the Corsair Builder series especially the CX430. These are Channel Well built units and cheap ones at that. Don't get me wrong the CX430 is far from the worst PSU you can buy, for its price it isn't too bad but they have had some quality and reliability issues with them. Corsair's mid to high end PSUs are excellent but the builder series is average at best. I think the delta built Antec units at this price point (Earthwatts 430D, Neo ECO 400, and even the VP450 to a lesser extent) are better units at that price point. The FSP SAGA+ 400 and 450 are also good units but these are ancient so they might not be good if you need allot of SATA connectors and the amps on the 12V rails aren't as high as most modern PSUs in that price / wattage range.

    As for the AMD recommendation yes AMD definitely has more to offer in the budget arena. You could build a system with a Phenom II X4 830/840, 4GB ram, 500GB, HDD, Motherboard, Case, PSU, ODD for around $340 using all high quality/ brand name parts, add a low to mid range video card like the radeon 6570 and your still under $400.
  19. ViPeRMiMiS

    ViPeRMiMiS TS Booster Posts: 86

    I don't know many about PSUs. That's why I said a sample PSU, cause Corsair is a great brand, so I assumed that the CX430 would be the best bang for buck on the budget arena :D .
    Also you may not buy a separate graphics card as long this machine is not for 3D rendering (tough 3d rendering like games), cause some cpus have integrated GPU. The Phenom II x4 840 HAS an IGP (Integrated) so it would be the best value for money imo.
    Correct my if I am wrong, but the Phenom II x4 840 is great for such a cheap cpu!
    Good luck building the pc ;-) :D :D
  20. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,665   +416

    I apologise dmill89, seems in most tests the i3 2100 holds up nicely and actually does well against all AMD offerings at similar price point. Think I'm remembering the first generation i3 series processor performance. Although for $40 or so dollars more you get an i5. With more and more game and application releases supporting quad core I really don't see any reason (other than budget) to invest in a dual core processor.

  21. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 471

    Most current model CPUs have an IGP on the Chip. The 840 is a good deal although you can get a 945 for only around $10 more so it may be an even better deal. If you want to stay under $400 AMD is hard to beat since the competition from intel would primarily be the pentiun dual core however once you get to around $500 you can get an i3 (sandy bridge) that will match the phenom rather well and at $550+ you can get an i5 (sandy bridge) that will blow most AMD chips out of the water.

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