Upgrade Time! Need some help from the pro's! :D

By Amps7 · 69 replies
Feb 14, 2007
  1. Hey everyone, sorry for intruding here...just browsing google and thought this might be the best place (Tried another forum too, so I can get a good diverse opinion).

    I decided I wanted to renovate an old computer for use in my room, since im still a student ive not got the biggest budget...but a birthday coming up should do nicely

    My Current System Stats:

    Processor: AMD Athlon
    CPU clock: 999.2mhz
    Level1 Cache: 64+64kb (data+instr)
    Level 2 Cache: 256kb

    Motherboard :

    Asrock k7Upgrade-600


    2*256mb (PCI2100 + PCI2700)


    1*Floppy (1.44mb)
    1*HDD (Maxtor- 160gb)

    DVD drive *2

    The all important graphics card!

    Geeforce FX 5200 with 128mb

    Operating System is Win XP Home SP2 (Will get Vista after this upgrade )

    Heh, now that thats over with, I'll tell you some things that might help make things clearer:

    Im looking for a fast processor, definetely an Athlon and probably an Athlon 64 of some kind, as things are my Motherboard wont support Athlon 64's so im probably looking for a motherboard change too.

    So what im really looking for is a new Motherboard, a new Fast Processor, and some 512mb RAM.

    Thats initially, as i save up some more money I will gradually add a much better graphics card for my gaming (I love gaming) and another HDD.

    I can probably fit it myslef with help from some online tutorials (or..if ive not annoyed you guys too much...this forum ) so its really the correct components.

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    It is strictly a matter of money. How much is in your budget, and where you are willing to make compromises. Ten of the 86 motherboard manufacturers make excellent stuff.
    Read the reviews, particularly those at www.tomshardware.com and www.anandtech.com.
    Be wary of ASUS unless you are an experienced user, as their tech support has changed... but be wary of all, as there seem to be a lot of problems these days with any new board... Don't get something that is just out, but rather something that has been out six months or more and has good postings.
    Look at graphics cards posts here, as there is incredible knowledge on techspot for such info.
    There are also excellent magzines on the racks at supermarkets and book stores regarding building a PC... by CPU, MaximumPC, and others that are very helpful.
    Then come back here with your top three choices and let us pick on you.
  3. Amps7

    Amps7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hmm my budget is around £70-80 which is $137-147.

    I only need a Processor and Motherboard, I was hoping i could keep the rest until I get more money to upgrade :)
  4. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

  5. Amps7

    Amps7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks alot man :p

    Just one further question, are these new motherboard and processor compatible with my previous components?

    And where is a heatsink placed?
  6. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    Hmm... Looks like what F1N3ST suggested is all good except for the graphics card. Is it in PCI Express x16 or AGP format? Because the mobo he suggested is only for PCI Express x16. However, it has onboard graphics - which means that you can still use it through the onboard graphics. It's just that IGPs (integrated graphics processor I believe it stands for) generally suck for gaming. Not sure how the S3 IGP on that board compares to your FX5200.

    Heatsinks are placed on any processors. The central processing unit (aka "the processor" aka "CPU"), the chipset (northbridge/southbridge), GPU (graphics processing unit, on the graphics card)... The OEM CPU that F1N3ST suggested needs that you buy it a seperate heatsink as it doesn't come with one (only retail, boxed CPUs come with a heatsink). It's placed right on the processor.

    The only bad part about the above parts is that they are old now. Socket 939 is being phased out in favor of AM2, and DDR1 in favor of DDR2 (and to think I just got the "new" DDR2 a few months ago and now DDR3 is supposedly coming out soon). You *could* get an AM2 board and an AM2 processor, which would be more future proof, but then you can't reuse your old DDR1 ram. So then you would need to get DDR2 ram, which would be out of your budget.
  7. Amps7

    Amps7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for that post there agi_shi, very very clear and concise :D

    As for the graphics card, Im pretty sure its AGP.

    Are there any Motherboards which support Athlon 64 processors and are capable of keeping my same memory until I have enough money to buy DDR2?

    If not, I might consider getting DDR 2 aswell, its a stretch but i might be able to (Im a student you see :p).

    Do all Athlon 64's need heatsinks?

    Thanks again!
  8. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

    yes they do
  9. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    Just to clear that up, (use quotes man), yes all processor (including Athlon 64's) need a heatsink (that is made for their socket, not all fit universally).

    Bad news: Ok, so you won't be able to use your own graphics card. Yours it AGP and the motherboard has no AGP slots.
    Good news: The mother board he suggested has onboard video, so you'll still be able to use it... just will have big problems with gaming as it's seriously slow.

    Hmm.... Socket 939 processors use DDR1 and AM2 ones use DDR2... I'm pretty sure you can't get a S939 board that will accept both DDR1 and DDR2. There are some ASRock motherboards though that through some funky stuff seem to accept both S939 and AM2, if I'm not mistaken. I don't know much about them so you'll have to hear from someone else.
  10. Amps7

    Amps7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ah ok thats cleared things up nicely for me.

    So basically, if i get these two:

    Processor (AMD Athlon 64 3700+):


    Motherboard (ASUS A8V-VM SE Socket 939)


    I can use my old memory (which i think is fine, i wont bother with the motherboards which take DDR1 and 2) and just save up until I have enough to buy a good PCI Express x16 GPU.

    Say I bought a graphics card such as this:


    Will alll my system parts be compatible after that?

    If so, I will try and get that too!

    EDIT: What is the name of the heatsink I will need also?
  11. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Booster Posts: 575

    Actually, with the link you provided for the processor, that one does come with a HSF (Heatsink/Fan) for the cpu. So no worries about that.

    On the the graphics card. Yes, that card will work in your motherboard. BUT you will need to make sure that you have the power connector required to run it with your powersupply. They do make adapters that are pretty inxepensive. The other possible problem will be if your power supply has enough power to handle the new stuff. In my signature there is cfitzarl's video card guide. Take a look at it as its very helpful. Another guide that will be helpful in determining the power needs of your upgraded system is here:http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp

    Good luck!
  12. Amps7

    Amps7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for that info nick, I did the test and it seems to be fine.

    Guys, i think im planning to buy those listed products really soon but since im in the UK, almost everything is way more expensive and as far as I can see Newegg.com dont ship to the UK so got another query:

    Do you know any good US sites like newegg that ship to UK?

    If not, there is this UK online site Microdirect.co.uk and I think these are the same products on new egg except on this site but can someone double check incase I make a mistake?

    CPU: http://www.microdirect.co.uk/(9409)AMD-CPU-Athlon-64-3700-San-Diego-Core-64.aspx

    Motherboard: http://www.microdirect.co.uk/(14250)Asus-A8VVM-AMD-Skt939-VIA-K8M890-PCIE-x16.aspx

    So just to recap, its the questions in bold Im wondering :)

  13. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    There is Tiger Direct UK (Misco), although, that's all I really know. There are quite a few people here in the UK, so someone should know of a good website.
  14. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    I can be that someone else. I used to have an ASRock 939 Dual SATA-II motherboard. It fits a socket 939 CPU normally, but if you put in a certain add in card, you can put a AM2 CPU and DDR2 memory on said Add-in card, and then the CPU on that card becomes the system CPU.
  15. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    I wouldn't get the A8V-VM or the A8V-VM SE motherboards. Why? Cuz the one has S3 Unichrome Pro, I have S3 Unichrome and I can tell you it sucks. The other one has VIA DeltaChrome, which is Unichrome's brother.

    I'd get something like this board instead, with an Athlon 64 3700+ or 4000+ CPU (socket 939). And this board has PCI-e and AGP 8x.

    Regards :)
  16. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    Amen to that! The conmputer I had when I signed up here had Unichrome graphics, and it struggled through some of the 3DMark2001 tests :unch: !
  17. damienb

    damienb TS Rookie Posts: 55

    I think you really need to review your budget.

    In my opinion, you wont be able to get any truely decent equipment for £70.

    Dont forget that if your changing the mobo you must make sure the RAM you have is compatible with the new one, otherwise you will have to upgrade that aswell.

    You haven't mentioned which PSU you have?? You must be certain the one you have can handle the new mobo and CPU also. If not then a new PSU will be needed.

    Sure, £70 will probably get you a cheap bottom of the range AMD Sempron or Intel Celeron, and maybe a cheap mobo if your lucky and will work but wont be all that.

    If you could double your budget to £140, that would get you something much better and much more worth the hastle.

    In my opinion its Core 2 Duo all the way!!!!
  18. Amps7

    Amps7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Wow, that motherboard looks good actually...it can accept my old AGP until i get a PCI :)

    Ok, in light of what you've said i can probably double my budget to £140 :)

    So, with this change...would would you recommend?
  19. damienb

    damienb TS Rookie Posts: 55

    If your budget is £140 then I would assume you want to spend £70 on the mobo and £70 on the CPU.

    If you purchase from DABS.com you could get a respectable ASUS or Giga-Byte mobo for £70, and also pick up a decent CPU like a 3GHz Pentium D for £70.

    Or another goog idea is to go to any local computer fair. You can get some amazing deals at those places!! The one by me is held in the local sports centre on the second Sunday of each month. All the top brand names at really low prices!!

    Just remember to make sure your RAM and PSU are compatible!
  20. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    How about this board and this CPU? That'll put your right around your max price range, but it's kinda future-proof :)

    Besides, with that CPU, you can overclock it pretty well. I'm not sure if you can overclock with that board; I don't really know anything about overclocking.

    Regards :)
  21. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    Where's the cpu?
  22. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    I just edited that. It should work now.
  23. damienb

    damienb TS Rookie Posts: 55

    If you can stretch to afford that Core 2 Duo I would stronly recommend!!!
  24. kitty500cat

    kitty500cat TS Evangelist Posts: 2,154   +6

    I think that's about in his price range. Comes out to about £140.
  25. Amps7

    Amps7 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for that, the thing is that im probably going to have to add a PSU aswell so that means I need a PSU / CPU / Mobo .

    Is an Intel Core 2 Duo really worth that price? Is it better than an equal priced AMD?

    If the core 2 duo is worth it, then I will go for a combination such as that but a motherboard that can accept AGP for the time being as well as PCI x16 would be even better!

    EDIT: From looking at sites, PSU's prices are ok so it is basically the CPU and Motherboard.
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