Upgrade or say forget it and build....

By N1TEVZN1 · 28 replies
Oct 12, 2007
  1. First here's the problem...I have a 2001 Gateway E4600 ATXSTF (that was given to me)...Memory 256 MB, Intel Pent 4. 1300 MHz 100MHz external bus...BIOS is Default System or Intel Corp...Video ATI Rage Fury Pro Xpert 2000...Soundcard is completely smashed but I think it was a Legacy...had Windows NT then I upgraded to XP which took up all of the memory...yeah I know I should've checked the spec requirements first but....oh well.

    So I've been struggling with either upgrading this system or just building one. From what I've seen online at different sites, this particular module is not good for upgrading...especially by it being manufactured by Gateway. I know that I need atleast 2GB or more of memory and I want 500- 750 GB of Hard drive space. I'm a graphic designer and dib and dap with music production. The main programs I will be using is Adobe CS3, Fruity Loops (FL Studio), Reason, Acid Pro and Cool Edit Pro. Also I will need the ability to record from my DJ equipment and Keyboard (midi). All of the computers on the market now lack atleast one thing that I need. I'm not feeling having to work with Vista and would like to keep my XP SP2.

    The processors that I'm looking into getting are Intel Pentium Dual Core E2140 1.6GHz 800MHz 1MB S775 CPU or Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz 1066MHz 4MB Socket 775 CPU. I know I will need a 500 - 600 Watt PSU for either one. But I don't know what parts would be compatible. I've been looking on Geeks.com for items as far as Motherboards, Memory, Video and Sound cards.

    This will be my first build so any suggestions would be highly appreciated!
  2. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    The E6600 is an easy choice against the E2140. You wiil probably not need a 500-600 watt PSU unless you plan to have a huge video card that's capable of playing games on your machine or you need a graphics workstation video card.

    Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128067

    Memory http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148069

    Hard Drives http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136131

    Power Supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371006
  3. N1TEVZN1

    N1TEVZN1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    is the Gateway E6600 the same as the E4600? No I'm not using it for gaming, just to do my graphics and A/V production...mainly audio production

    I found a link that gives me the manual and it says that I can upgrade to at least 2GB, but as far as the processor compatibility I'm concerned. Will post the link (after my third post since I'm new)

  4. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    The Gateway is really to old to upgrade. It uses a slow socket 423 processor that is not made any more and rambus memory which is very expensive and slow when compared to DDR2 memory. Your best bet if you have the money would be to build a new computer around a socket 775 motherboard and the Intel E6600 processor.
  5. N1TEVZN1

    N1TEVZN1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    any suggestions on memory and hard drive choices or I can use what I want stated in my first post... can I use a Radeon Vid Card and for my audio recording what would be the best sound card? especially if I'm going to use a keyboard for MIDI and DJ equipment. thanks for all of your help!

    Also does the motherboard include Ethernet connections or is that a separate item?
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    What is your budget? Also, where are you located? Given that, I can whip up a nice build for you.
  7. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    The motherboard does include an Ethernet connection.

    If the video card is an AGP card it will not work on the new motherboard and if it's a PCI card I recommend something faster.

    This is a powerful video card at a fair price.

    This a a lesser but still powerful video card at a better price.

    If the video card came out of the brown slot from the Gateway it is an AGP card and you will not be able to use it. If it came out of a white slot in the Gateway it is a PCI card you can use it, but there are better cards for graphics rendering.
  8. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

  9. N1TEVZN1

    N1TEVZN1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm in the States...Indianapolis IN. I went on Geeks.com and with all of the parts it came up to $369. Then again, I'm learning about all of this as I go...knowing what's compatible with what you know. My budget isn't a issue, just getting the right parts. Where are you located?

    I'm a woman:blush: lol. thanks for your help again.

    what about the Soundblast or Diamond XtremeSound? If the motherboard comes with audio or video inputs I can still add another right?

    I take it that NewEgg.com is better than Geeks.com...Geeks prices are a bit lower though. Plus doing my search for parts that was the first site I checked out.
  10. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    Sorry! She has a budget that doesn't matter. :) I'm in Alvin, Texas. I just use Newegg because it's my favorite online store. You can of course buy the pieces from any online store you feel comfortable with.

    To complete the build you will need a new case, DVD burner and a floppy drive.

    The old Gateway case probably uses a proprietary connector to attach the power switch to the old motherboard, so you will not be able to reuse the case without cutting and crimping or soldering which is a very different job than just assembling a new computer.. And and unless the old case is at least a mid ATX Tower case it will not hold a full size ATX motherboard.

    One of these cases will do. They should all have two 120mm fans in them for decent case cooling. You may have to purchase the fans separately and the case fans will be needed. 120mm fans are good because they move a bunch of air quietly.


    I do like this case. It has two USB ports and a Firewire port on the front panel which your motherboard will support.


    And it will need two of these fans.


    This DVD burner will read/burn all types of optical disk media except Blu-Ray and HD-DVD quickly and cheaply.


    The floppy drive is a good brand at a fair price.


    Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128067

    Processor http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115003

    Memory http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148069

    Two Hard Drives http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136131

    Your computer will automatically backup everything on your hard drive incase of hard drive failure when you create a RAID 1 array. A RAID 1 array is simply two hard drives working in tandum to create two copies of the data that is on the master drive. If one of the two drives should fail your computer will be able to continue to operate as normal until you replace the failed drive. You only need a motherboard that supports RAID, two hard drives and a driver to create a RAID 1 array. Your motherboard does support RAID and the driver will come with the motherboard.

    Power Supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371006

    Video Card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102034

    This a a lesser but still powerful video card at a better price.

    Your choice of sound card.




    I assume that you are going to reuse your mouse, keyboard, monitor and operating system. If my idea of a recording studio computer doesn't suit you for any reason please let us know and we can make other plans. I tend to create expensive computers.
  11. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    I propose some changes:
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail - $194.99
    GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3P Rev 2.0 Core 2 Quad Socket 775 1333MHz PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066) ATX Motherboard Retail ***Free Shipping*** - $164.99
    COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP Black Aluminum & Mesh bezel / SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $39.99 after $10 rebate
    Pioneer DVR-212BK OEM DVD Burner - 18x DVD±R Burn, 16x DVD±R Read, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 10x DVD±R DL, 12x DVD-RAM, SATA with Software - $39.99
    CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W Active Power Supply Retail ***Free Shipping*** - $68.90 after $20 rebate
    MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC GeForce 8600 GTS Overclock 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express Video Card w/Dual DVI Retail ***Free Shipping*** - $138.98 after $20 rebate
    Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail - $80.99

    I chose that processor because not only is it cheaper than the E6600, it is also faster at the same time. In addition, the motherboard link gives a better deal than the one on Newegg. Also, I recommended that particular case because it comes with two 120mm fans, so you don't need buy them separately. It also features one Firewire, two audio and two USB ports in front. In addition, the burner may seem expensive but it's of superior quality to the LG burner and comes with software as well, which the LG lacks. Next, the PSU I recommended is of better build than the Antec Earthwatts and for the price, gives you a lot more power. Also, the video card is on par with an X1950PRO, which is the X1950GT's bigger brother, plus for an added bonus, it's DX10-compatible. Lastly, I chose that particular sound card because it's the cheapest X-Fi I could find.
    Cinders gave you a great deal on the memory and floppy drive. Good going bro.
    So N1TEVZN1, good luck and let us know how it goes. :)
  12. N1TEVZN1

    N1TEVZN1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks alot guys! I'm doing all of the science and math of it all now...so, i'll make my final decisions...post them and see. If this goes good, there's no telling what I'll do next. I'm thinking of going back to school for this just to have another career under my belt you know.

    but why pay another 4 yr tuition when I can get the same books at the store! ;)

    Ok final decision(s):


    Processor: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115029

    Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813127014R

    Memory: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820148069

    Hard Drive:http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=ST3750640AS-R&cat=HDD&cpc=HDDbsc









    Now if you see something that may not be compatible let me know. As for now, I believe I should be good to go.
  13. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Just a note, since it's your first build, I'd recommend avoiding open box (usually no accesories) or refurbished products. This new wd 750gb I'd recommend over a refurb drive(it does cost more though...) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136131
    The board rage suggested is a better option than the abit IMO.

    best wishes
  14. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    And to add what vnf4ultra said, that motherboard will not work with the Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz processor because it does not support its Front Side Bus speed. The ABIT AW9D motherboard will only support an FSB of up to 1066MHz and the front side bus speed on the Intel E6750 processor is 1333MHz. The Intel E6600 processor will work in that board, and after looking at the specs for a while I think I understand why you chose it.

    "ABIT AudioMAX HD 7.1 CH / Dolby Master Studio Certificated"

    Do buy a new motherboard not a refurbished one. The refurbished board will not come with the drive cables you will need, and may not include the sound card you want either.


    I think the above is new, but you better check with Mwave before you buy the thing.

    All of these processors will work with the Abit AW9D, but try to keep the processor speed 2GHz or above for good performance.


    In addition the Crucial memory is rated at 1066MHz while the Abit AW90 motherboard supports memory speeds up to 800MHz. The motherboard will operate memory faster than that, but you'd have to overclock the motherboard to reach those memory speeds. I'm fairly sure the memory would work in the board, and you could probably run the memory at tighter than its rated timings at 800MHz. I doubt you want to begin overclocking on your first computer build. Overclocking is usually a pain in the tush unless you really don't mind fiddling with your computer until you get everything perfect.

    This memory will probably also work with that board. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146565 and would save you some money.

    And so will most of this. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...Subcategory=147&description=&Ntk=&srchInDesc=

    The drive is an excellent drive but it is refurbished with a 180 day warranty. A retail copy of the same drive will have a five year warranty! And drives do break.

    The PSU NO! Bad Woman! NO! Rosewill is a lower tier company which sells cheap units that usually break just after the warranty period is over, and often do not supply their rated power. When power supplies break they often take other computer parts with them. Your power supply should be one of the last things you save money on. Try a better brand like Antec, FSP Group (Fortron Source), OCZ, PC Power & Cooling and many others. I suggested Antec because I have three Antec's, and none of them have ever given me any trouble. I'd only use a Rosewill PSU in an extremely limited budget build.

    The sound card. Yee Haw! I do live in Texas. :)

    The same for the video card.

    The Pioneer DVD burner is a good choice and so is the floppy drive.

    All of the rest of the stuff is really up to personal choice, and I have no experience with digital pens and tablets.

    If you want to continue this discussion then please do.
  15. N1TEVZN1

    N1TEVZN1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    "The PSU NO! Bad Woman! NO!":eek: :haha:
    Ok back to the lab then. You and vnf4ultra gave me good things to consider. When choosing those items, I was going off of the list of choices given earlier in this post thread. I wasn't too sure about the case, but I love those opposing colors together...and in a odd way it reminded me of the Nissan 350Z tricked.:cool:

    When reading the specs, I was also reading what other people opinions were that purchased them. I made another saved items list on newegg so....good thing I wrote my physical list in my notepad with a pencil! Well, let me dust myself off and try again.

    I will put it up either sometime tonight or tomorrow ok.

    Both you two mentioned refurbished products. So are you saying that some unlabled items may be refurbished? Some sites will let you know what's refurbished. I like the open cases because of the illumination of the lights within. Which can help me out sometimes when I'm up late making music in the dark...well not completely dark but you get my drift.

    That one in particular caught my attention when someone said that they like how quiet the fans were...while another said they bought another 120 fan. A case that came with 2 120 fans. While I'm going to find another choice if you come across one feel free.

    So stick to my first gut and get the E6600 but the E6750 is 2.66GHz...a bit faster. Any suggestions on other motherboards for that and w/ Crucial memoryhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146565? That will of course work the the E-Mu sound card and MSI video card. I like how the ABIT AW9D had the extra four USB ports and 6 audio in the rear panel. The WD HDD mentioned something about Vista so it can make my XP Pro S2P quicker.

    The items to think about from the original list are the Case, motherboard and/or processor and memory. The memory,motherboard and processor should be some what equal in MHz w FSB & pins right....
  16. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

    Yes, some products not specifically labeled as new will be refurbished. When I found the motherboard listed at mwave for about $40.00 less than its closest competitor, I thought it might be refurbished, but a slightly closer look at the site revealed that the board was not listed in its “refurbished” section, so it’s probably a “retail” version of the board and would have the odds and ends you’d need to complete the build.

    I fixed the link to most of the memory that would work with the Abit motherboard, but I will post it again here

    The E6750 is faster than the E6600. Not only is the operating speed faster (2.66MHz vs 2.4MHz) but the bus speed is also faster 1333MHz vs 1066MHz.

    The original motherboard I linked will work with both processors.
    But I have now looked closely at the board, and I can say I don’t like it that much anymore because of the 16 speed PCI-E slot placement on the board. The slot is to close to the PCI slots and a video card with a dual slot fan and heatsink like the GeForce 8600 GTS would cover one of the two slots.

    This ASUS board motherboard will also support both processors and will allow you to install a video card with a dual slot fan and heatsink if you really feel it’s necessary. A dual slot video card will still cover a PCI slot but you will have a total of three slots with two of them usable and free.

    ASUS P5K-E motherboard which has the right mix of speed and technology.

    Intel E6750 2.66GHz processor for its operating and FSB speed.

    Corsair DDR2 PC8500 1066MHz memory because of its speed and compatibility.

    But much of this should do

    TwoSeagate Barracuda ES ST3500630NS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s hard drives for their size/cost compromise and their five year warranty.

    Pioneer black IDE DVD burner

    NEC black floppy drive

    An appropriate DirectX 10 capable (Vista compatible) single slot video card.

    Corsair 550W power supply.

    bluegears b-Enspirer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI interface sound card for your listening pleasure!

    E-MU 0404 24-bit 192KHz PCI interface digital audio system for your recording needs.

    As I’ve said before, I like to have at least two 120mm fans in my case for good case cooling, but what I neglected to say was that I like one of the fans to draw air into the case and over the hard drives to cool them off. Actively cooled hard drives usually last longer than drives that aren’t actively cooled. The only reason I wouldn’t purchase the case you linked would be that it does not have a fan in the front of the case to cool the hard drives. I'm sure you'll find something here that will click.

    Mid size ATX Computer case

    But I do like this one

    Once you decide what you want to do, please fell free to search for the lowest price on the items, and please let us know what you think.
  17. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Multiple posts merged and thread title edited.
  18. N1TEVZN1

    N1TEVZN1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yeah because I was getting ready to say if I wanted it to say "forget it" I would've...but seeing that you were consolidating everything I forgive you:stickout: :cool:

    @ Cinders...The price of things isn't a problem but i'm not going to pay over $1000 yet on a computer. I also don't want to pay low prices and get crappy performaces out of things you know. I will check out your links and look around some more. It'll probably be sometime tomorrow that I will let you know my choices. Thanks guys!
  19. gex1991

    gex1991 TS Rookie Posts: 27

    im not sure about the deals on newegg but i know tigerdirect has an amazing deal right now on RAM and circuit city does to here in florida, also i bought a wonderful AGP 6200 i belvieve for 70$ im not sure and to lazzy to check, right now is the best time for deals so buy fast
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    For starters, the Corsair 2GB kit available here is dirt cheap after the $30 rebate. That and the parts I suggested before will give you a system below $1000 and excellent performance as well. The two case fans in the CoolerMaster case provide for excellent airflow and a quiet system as well.
  21. N1TEVZN1

    N1TEVZN1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well I'm still deciding on the case and will look into that memory that you linked. I really want a open case but none fit my needs right now as far as having the correct fans. So it looks like I will have to get a solid case.

    So far this is what I have:

    Motherboard:BIOSTAR TForce TP35D2-A7 LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813138075R I chose this over the ASUS because I noticed that alot of people are complaining about its sound drive going out with the mic and headphone jacks.
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6750 - Retail http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115029

    Memory (for now): Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT12864AA804 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820146565

    Floppy: NEC Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive - OEM http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16821152005

    HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    Tablet: Genius G-Pen 450 Tablet with Cordless Pen, 1024 Pressure Level Supports MSN Handwritting - Retail http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16823102005

    DVD+RW / CD-RW: Update Pioneer 18X DVD±R DVD Burner Black E-IDE/ATAPI Model DVR-112D - OEM http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827129007

    Soundcard:E-MU 0404 PCI Interface Digital Audio System - Retail http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16829110012 I love that it comes with the exact cables and connections I need to hook up audio equipment

    So all is left are the case, power supply and video card. With the HDD, I was thinking of just getting a 500GB because I already have a MyBook 160GB External. Now what problems may I run into once I put all of this together? I see alot of people talking about overclocking and settings tempuratures. I don't know anything about that. I did do some research about overclocking...The difference in memory speed and the actual manufactured timing clock speed. It's really crunch time for me because I'm a couple of months behind on my production for tshirts and skateboards...design wise. I won't be able to have everything as a whole until January...since I'm getting piece by piece. some items i can combine together and buy. The Radeon video card(s) should be ok right? or GeForce. My brother told me to just buy a pc from HP or Dell. Dell I'm not going to mess with, but HP did have one but it was more than what I wanted to spend. I will put the link to it here Building one, at least I'll have what I want and need. Let me know what you guys think. Thanks:D

    HP Specs:
    Operating system Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
    Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo processor E4500 (2.2GHz)
    Memory FREE UPGRADE to 2GB DDR2-667MHz dual channel SDRAM (2x1024) from 1GB
    Graphics Card 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT, DVI-I, TV-out, HDMI
    Networking 56Kbps USB Data/Fax external modem (this comes with the Ether connection right?)
    Hard Drive FREE UPGRADE to 500GB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s from 400GB hard drive
    Primary CD/DVD Drive LightScribe 16X max. DVD+/-R/RW SuperMulti drive
    Front Productivity Ports 15-in-1 memory card reader, 1394, 2 USB, audio
    TV & Entertainment Experience No TV Tuner w/remote control
    Sound Card Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio
    Security Software No additional security software (60-day Norton Internet Security trial)
    Productivity Software Microsoft(R) Works 8.0
    Keyboard and Mouse HP keyboard and HP scroller mouse
    Removable Storage 3.5 in. 1.44MB floppy drive

    The only issue I have is Vista with no office software...where as I would like to use my current XP settings....and the total price was 829.99 for the HP a6250t series. now relooking at it, it's less than what I thought.

  22. Cinders

    Cinders TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 872   +12

  23. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    BioStar motherboards are of poor quality and not really a good choice for a system like that. The ASUS P5K-E or the Abit IP35-E is a better choice. Also, the Corsair PSU is available cheaper on ZipZoomFly with free shipping, so get it from there instead.
  24. N1TEVZN1

    N1TEVZN1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok that's cool.

    I'm just concerned about the jack issue with ASUS...and Abit, will that be compatible with everything else?
  25. Nirkon

    Nirkon TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    Here's my ten cents,
    if you want to save some money you can get this ram instead, i'm using it right now, it has the same specifications as the ram you chose but its cheaper and its OCZ!!! :) (I just love them)


    (also don't rule out Gigabyte for motherboards! they are very good and one of the coolest (in terms of heat :p ))

    Enjoy your new computer :)
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