PC upgrade help needed!

By Uncle rico ยท 18 replies
Jun 8, 2006
  1. I am looking for some advice on what I can do to upgrade my current pc.

    Its a Gateway 500c I bought new back in 2001. After playing oblivion on a friends computer, mine feels like a freaking atari system.

    Anyhow here is what I am dealing with:

    Gateway 500c

    Intel P4 1.5 ghz processor

    Intel for gateway el paso motherboard (socket 478)
    Here's a link with more info:

    Nvidia Geforce2 MX400 AGP video card

    512mb PC133 memory

    According to the link the motherboard can handle P4 cpu's of 400 mhz fsb, up to 1.5 gigs of memory and a 4X video card.

    I would like to upgrade the cpu, video and memory capabilities.

    I was looking at these upgrades, 2.4 or 2.6 P4 400mhz fsb processor, PNY Geforce 6200 128mb DDR 4X AGP video card and add a 256mb module or even run 1.0 gig of memory. These upgrades run under $ 300 total.

    Would this be a decent way to go? Any advice would help.

    The rest of the computer is in good shape, drives etc.

    What about replacing the motherboard, cpu and vid card etc? A better way to go?

    Let me know what you think.

    Btw, the comp is used mostly for gaming and internet usage. I am not trying to build a super gaming pc, just upgrade some things for better performance.
  2. paranoid guy

    paranoid guy TS Rookie Posts: 420

    Yup, I think so. First things first though,
    can you tell us how much you're willing to spend?
    Do you want to play oblivion on the pc?
  3. Uncle rico

    Uncle rico TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I am getting more and more into pc gaming lately so thats definately where it will get the most use.

    I do want to play oblivion and games like it on my pc.

    As far as budget goes, I could spend anywhere from $ 300-500 now. Anything over that and I would most likely just get a whole new system.

    I would like to hold onto my current pc and upgrade it a little, as I learn more about the technology etc involved I will be more comfortable buying a high end pc 6 months to a year down the road.
  4. paranoid guy

    paranoid guy TS Rookie Posts: 420

    Ok, sounds good, I'm sure I or someone else will be able to recommend you some
    decent upgrades for that, and a few small upgrades is probably the way to go right now, what with DirectX10 cards and the new conroe/am3 processors just around the corner, and God knows what else. Gimme about 5 minutes, and have a look around newegg yourself (wish I could use that website...)
  5. paranoid guy

    paranoid guy TS Rookie Posts: 420

    That took longer than I thought... Anyway don't go solely on my advice please, someone else will (hopefully) agree or disagree with this.
    graphics card
    Another Edit: Can't seem to find a decent, cheap psu, hope someone else can.
    Ok, like I said, someone else will have to agree or disagree with those suggestions, I'm not the authority around here :blush: My calculations may be a little high too, tell me if they are.
    EDIT: the total there is $504 and I'm guessing you'll keep the case, keyboard, mouse, monitor etc.
  6. Uncle rico

    Uncle rico TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Cool thanks, I am going to check that stuff out.

    Heres another ?

    If the mobo can handle 400mhz fsb cpu's, what would happen if say I upgraded to a 2.4ghz 533mhz P4 cpu, or even a 2.6 800mhz fsb cpu?

    I read somewhere that a 2.4ghz 533mhz fsb cpu will function as a 1.8ghz 400mhz cpu on a mobo only capable of using 400mhz cpu's. Is this true?
  7. paranoid guy

    paranoid guy TS Rookie Posts: 420

    My guess is that it would have to lower the bus speed but to be honest I don't know. The reason I posted is 'cause I saw DonNaguel recommend this psu
    Looks good.
    And the RAM I linked earlier is gone :confused: Anyway here it is
    Corsair XMS 1gb
    I think your total comes in at just under $500 and you'll see a big difference from your old parts :grinthumb
  8. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    The motherboard listed previously in this thread is an atx motherboard, while the computer in question has a micro atx motherboard. In other words the suggested board won't fit in the case, unless you get another case as well.

    Here's another possible system upgrade.

    Motherboard ASUS AM2 MATX

    CPU AMD 3000+ AM2

    Video 7600GS Pci-e

    Memory 1GB OCZ DDR2 800

    Power Supply FSP 350W

    I got about $490 usd total.

    Or you could just upgrade and get these items.

    2.8Ghz P4 400FSB

    Ati x1600pro agp

    512mb pc133 ram

    350w power supply.

    I get a total of about $450 for the upgrades.

    The pc133 ram will limit performance though, pc133 is slow...

    If you would get a processor with a 533 or 800fsb, if it does boot, it should knock its fsb down to 400mhz. A 2.66 533fsb would become a 2ghz 400fsb cpu. A 800fsb 3ghz cpu would become a 1.5ghz 400fsb cpu. (so using a higher fsb is a bad idea). Also, any cpu with a "prescott" core, will likely not work at all on your board. You should look for "northwood" core pentium 4's.

  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    For a good video card, I'd recommend this
    I'd say go with the first set of specs posted by vnf4ultra
    You'll go a little overboard with the cash but in the end, the X850XT will be a better choice than the 7600GS, mainly due to the difference in the interface(256-bit X850 XT vs 128-bit 7600GS) and the clocks. It will last u quite some time until u upgrade. Otherwise, everything else vnfultra has recommended looks very good.
  10. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    The x850xt is a fast card, but it costs more than a 7600gs, and it also doesn't support shader model 3.0.

    For the same price as the x850xt, a person could get a 7600gt , which has shader model 3.0, only takes one slot, uses about 30 watts less power, and performs similarly(the x850xt might be a tad faster overall).

    Both are good cards, but the x800 series doesn't have all the "newest features."
  11. Uncle rico

    Uncle rico TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This is all good info so far.

    Another ? I have is, the mobo is spec'd to run a 4x agp vid card, what happens if you install an 8x vid card?
  12. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    An 8x card in a 4x slot will run at 4x speed, but that shouldn't be much of a problem. The problem is some 8x cards are 8x only, not 8x/4x. There isn't a very good way to tell without trying the card though, as 4x and 8x connectors are the same. The difference is the voltage that is used. 8x is 0.8v and 4x is 1.5v. If you're lucky a reviewer (like on newegg) will say that they used the card on a 4x motherboard w/o issue, which would be a good sign for the card working.

    For example, this leadtek 6600gt has a few reviews in which the reviewers state it's 4x compatible.
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    But vnf4ultra, doesn't the fact that the card description says 4X\8X mean it will run at both speed?
  14. Uncle rico

    Uncle rico TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I just downloaded the everest program and I am using it to get info on my pc's equipment.

    Anything in particular I should look for.

    It was mentioned to use a northwood cpu and that a prescott wouldn't work. According to this my pc has a willamatte cpu.
  15. Uncle rico

    Uncle rico TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK, I am learning alot on these forums etc. Bear with me.

    Looks like I have 2 options.

    Option 1 Stay cheap

    Pick up a 2.2-2.4ghz P4 478 400fsb cpu to replace the 1.5ghz cpu.

    Pick up a 128mb 4X vid card

    Boost my memory.

    All of those can be done for very little $.

    Option 2 Upgrade a bit

    Here are some of the parts I found, let me know if these seem like decent upgrades for the $.

    ASUS P4S8X-MX Socket 478 SIS 661GX Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $ 46.99
    Supports P4 800mhz fsb cpu's, up to 2gb of DDR 400 memory and an 8X AGP vid card.

    Kingston 1gb DDR 400 memory module $ 75.99

    Intel 3.0Eghz 800mhz fsb cpu $ 154.99

    eVGA Geforce FX5500 256MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Vid Card $ 54.00

    All found on newegg's site. Seems like decent upgrades over my current stuff and for around $ 325.00

    Assuming I replace my oe parts with these mentioned above, what will I run into with installing them? Any advice or links to pc modding would be great.
  16. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The 2nd option would be the better one IMO. An FX5500 wouldn't really cut it for Oblivion and the like. I would get at least a 6600GT like the one vnf4ultra posted.
    P.S. - I found this one but I don't know if its good or not. Looks good but I think we would need vnf4ultra's opinion on this one.
  17. fastco

    fastco TS Booster Posts: 1,123

    www.pricewatch.com is also a good palce for bargain prices.... If you decide to keep your current MB just put in the most memory it can handle and the best video card that will fit in you're puter. Make sure you download the latest drives for the video card and Direct X from Microsoft.
  18. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    A 6800xt is similar to a 6600gt. In some things it's faster, in other things it's slower. On the plus side, some 6800xt cards have "extra" pixel pipelines that can be re-enabled with riva tuner. If if can unlock, it is undoubtedly faster than a 6600gt.

  19. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    And this SIS661FX chipset is HORRIBLE. Stay away from it. I have one and I really hate it!
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