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Upgrading Old PII for short term use.

By Finchy · 24 replies
Sep 22, 2005
  1. I've just recieved my brother's decrepid, old, old, incredibly old PII 350 which hasn't been opened since we got it (about 6 1/2 years ago) and i've decided to give it an upgrade, because it is a year until my brother goes to uni and the main PC comes to me :D. I like the idea of having a PC in my room for work etc, that I can use in privacy, for the main one has no privacy whatsoever.

    However, it is so old and clogged with stuff that I want to upgrade it, for ease and also because I want computer building experiance. As it's only for a year, I'm going to get parts cheaply off E-bay, and i've decide on...
    PIII 1ghz
    256mb RAM
    New Hd (off a proper retailer)
    Aceptable MB
    New PSU
    and maybe some other parts, I may even stretch to a low end P4, you never know on E-bay.

    However, I have seen a few Dual-CPU motherboards on there, and I quiet like the idea of putting 2 1ghz CPUs together, but I need to know if theres anything I should know about them or any other suggestions you may have.

    Edit-Does anyone know a UK site where I can get a cheap, fresh but small Hard drive. I'd rather not use E-BAy for hard drives unless I found one that was guaranteed new.
  2. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    I have decided on:

    P4 1.6-1.8ghz
    Suitable motherboard
    10gb/20gb HDD for Windows
    40gb HDD for other applications (mainly games)
    512mb PC2100/2700 RAM

    It all depend on what is available, but thats what I'm generally looking for. I know it would be better to have a CPU with a Northwood core, but I don't want something getting near to our 'game' PC (AthlonXP 2400+), i think it would annoy my dad a bit, plus it would be harder to secure a bargain for parts that are even now nearly mid-range. I also have an old Radeon 9000Pro in the loft, could I use that or would I be better getting a new one e.g 9600. Anything I should know about?

    P.S. I would usually go for an Athlon, but I'm unsure on the Pre 2ghz models. I would be very grateful for all advice. :)
  3. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 353

    I would rethink the use of low speed p4s. They are really dogs that my p3 1GHz system can beat easily, even with one p3 1GHz disabled (it's a dual p3 system).. P4s don't have any real performance untill you get to 2.4 GHz in core speed. I would do a duron or athlon system, say a 1800 or so. The rest of your bits seem to be ok, and it should be a half bad gamer.
    For more on duals: 2cpu.com
  4. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    Thank you for your help.
    I decided last night on a Athlon 1900+, but you confirmed my doubts on the P4. I do want it to play games, but nothing newer than about now, I mainly want it for word processing, but I want to give programing and basic game design a go. I'm quite sure on the part now, I only need to persuade my parents to let me get the parts on E-Bay, they think it's the creation of the devil.
    The case is an old Gateway desktop, and i want to buy a USB memory stick formy school work, but the motherboard is only USB, and most sticks are USB 2. I'm replacing the motherboard anyway, but will I need to upgrade my case as well.

    Thank again :angel:
  5. Blakhart

    Blakhart TS Rookie Posts: 353

    Good deal on all that. The AMDs have 3 floating point engines, compared to Intels 2. What this means is that for non sse/sse2 optimised code, the floating point abilities of AMD cpus is much more impressive. Ebay can be hit or miss but if you deal with someone who has a good rating you'll probably come out all right.
    Think the usb2 devices can speak usb1 so shouldn't be a problem either. Don't overlook cdrw disks, I use the same one over and over again to do game server development on. Bigger physicaly than the usb drives but cheap and reusable for a few hundred times.
    Load that box up with memory and and a decent vid card and it'll do for anything.
  6. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    Thanks yet again for your help
    I know CD-RW's are better for price and (mostly) size, but I'd rather have a little stick in my pocket than a huge disk, and I can my IT cousework from school on it in minutes.
    I tried my mums USB stick on it, but it didn't work, it might just be that Windows 98 is to old for it, and i'll need a new copy of windows as well.

    Thanks again :grinthumb
  7. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    Final Build:

    Athlon XP 1800
    Appropriate motherboard (I will research before I choose)
    1GB PC2700 (there are some good deals and I want to transfer it to the main PC later)
    Radeon 9600/9500/9700
    Geforce FX 5500/5700
    40GB HD
    New Optical mouse

    Sound Card
    Memory Stick
    New copy of Windows

    I do have one main concern, Mini Vacuums. I want to get to do some cleaning every few months and to clean the Gateway case before I put anything in it. I've tried to find battery ones but all I can find are USB ones. Should I get one but just plug it into my mum's laptop. I think I had a thread asking this but I couldn't find it.
    Is there anything else I should know about e.g. controller cards, compatibility.
    Also, my case is a desktop 40/40/13cm. Will this be big enough and will I need any more fans, I'm going to open it up tommorrow to see what fans it has.

    Thanks for any help.
  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +422

    You might be able to get USB flash drives to work as long as your Windows 98 is SE. One of my PCs is an old Dell P3 with 98SE and USB 1.1. I have two different brands of flash drive, a Dell and a couple of PNYs, and I downloaded 98se drivers from their respective sites and they work fine. Each brand needed its own driver. The PNYs came with drivers on a disk but I couldn't get them to work. However, I went to their site and their updated driver did work.

    Once you upgrade your system and install XP, you won't need drivers but until you do, this might work in the meantime.
  9. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    I have one final question (hopefully).

    I regards to graphisc cards, I have been looking around the 6200 as a graphics card. My budget is seriously low and I have a £50 absolute maximum for the card, the 6200 seems a good deal (I will only have AGP).
    I have also been sniffing around S3's range and I am tempted by their Deltachrome S8. I have seen some stats and it seems fairly decent, but which is better, the 6200 or the S8? Also, what price is the S8 and where could I find one?

  10. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

  11. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    If you consider seconhand it is worth a look at CEX.
  12. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    Very interesting
    CEX has everything I need (exept motherboards :mad: ), good stuff at better prices and variety than i'd get on E-bay, it'll be easier to convine my parents too. Thank a lot for that :grinthumb
    Now, which is better (the questions go on :D )
    4Ti 4200 128mb
    5700 256mb
    5800 128mb

    Radeon 9600 Pro

    A fairly wide selection but their the ones in my price range, which would I be better off buying?

    Also, power supplies, I am tempted by Q-tec because of their low price, but the cries of several thousand poor PSU victims echo. How do Q-tec weigh up. If the answer is not ver good, then can you recommend anything, you now the type of PC I will be building, and bear in mind I am on a very limited budget. I would also prefer a British supplier

    Thankyou for you time!!!
  13. swker98

    swker98 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,077

    hello flinchy my brother has the 9600 pro and is a good card the best out of the ones you have there and probibly the most expeceve
  14. Dantrag

    Dantrag TS Enthusiast Posts: 135

    the 5800 isnt bad either though noisy..I would go for the 9600 pro myself get some value ram (512 mb) a single 40gb drive an athlonxp 1700+ tbredB (if you can still get one...this overclock so nice..) or a duron/sempron. get a NF7s mobo from abit, it had great onboardsound and sint to expensive.
    but if it's only a year... you could use the PII.. buy some ram for it (my PII 233mhz fileserver has 384mb) and shove the old 9000 pro in it. then get civilizations II and you're hooked :angel:
    no, but seriously. You could just use what you have if it's just a year..and play your favorite gamen on the other pc. And just go looking around for some older games..they can be great ^^
  15. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,977   +15

    I'll sell you my AMD 1700+ for $40 shipped if you'd like.
  16. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    Thankyou for your advice, all very helpful. I will get a 1700XP. Thanks for the offer agissi, but I'm getting it from CEX for £28.
    As for overclocking, I will probably be trying that, I'm glad I know one now with lots of potential. I would like to know which brands I should try for a CPU cooler, as I don't want a 60 degC+ roarer, and how much should I be looking to spend on one?
    I have decided to buy a 9700PRO, because it's only another £5.
    I've decided on the Asus A7S8X-MX, for cost (on Overclockers.co.uk it's £15 cheaper than the Abit and I have a very limited budget)

    The copy of Windows (98) on the machine is 7 years old, never been reinstalled or anything, my brother tried to reinstall it but it wouldn't let him. It is trealcle slow at the moment. I also want to get a career in computers later in life, and this computer is sort of a little project for me.
    I was uncertain if it was worth it, but the other day I saw an ad in the local newsagents' window selling a 1ghz PIII machine with 128mb RAM for £130. When I get the main computer in my room (when my brother goes to uni in September) I will sell it and probably get most of my investment back.
    I still need info on PSU's, and what cooling do I need for I desktop case.

    Thankyou again for all your extremely helpful advice.
  17. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    PSU recomendations

    Have a look a Maplin here.

    and for info
  18. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    What should be the Minimum wattage I should go for?
  19. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    PSU calculator

    Try this Finchy.
  20. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    Thanks IronDuke, that cleared a lot up.
    On the calculator I got 259w so I'm going to aim for something at least 330w.
    I've had a look on Overclocker.co.uk (my favourite parts website) and I like the look of the Tagan TG380-U01 380W ATX2.0 Silent PSU . It has a 22A 12v Rail (I'm assuming that mean the +12 Rail)

    Will I need to find a Micro ATX power supply, because I have a desktop case and the dimensions are as follows
    Height- 13cm
    Width- 45cm
    Lenght- 40cm
  21. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    The easiest way to tell is measure the existing one. This is an old case you're using is it ATX and not AT?
  22. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    The motherboard (Intel RC440BX) is MicroATX, does that help? Also, if this means I need a Micro ATX power suppy, where ca I get one, the only one I can find on Overclockers.co.uk is a 285W Enermax, which is great but probably not prowerful enough.
  23. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    Get the ruler out and measure what you have already. If it is micro-ATX you possible won't find much bigger. Enermax are pretty good I use them in two of my machines. Maplin often have some, although there doesn't seem much on their website at the moment.

    HardForum will tell you what are the good makes and more especially the ones to avoid.
  24. Finchy

    Finchy TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 353

    I measured it, its' an Astec ATX 200W. The dimensions are...
    Length- 16cm
    Width- 7.5cm
    Height- 12cm

    I have a feeling it may have been on its' side though, but still, there it is.
  25. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    You only need an ATX PSU then.
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