Advice on upgrade or replacement

  hatrickj 20:13 11 Jan 2004

I bought my Gateway 500 system in 1999.

Now that Win 98 is becoming unsupported and also because the system seem unstable I am thinking of either upgrading to XP but as I have also acquired a digital camera going the whole way and buying a more up to date system. Apart from the digital camera and accompanying progs etc my main use is internet and office and excewl use. AS I have office and excel 2000 which seem adequate I would not think I need replace them. Any thoughts as to how I should proceed and what are resonable system requirement will be appreciated. Thank you

  howard60 20:20 11 Jan 2004

if it works ok and your hard drive is still large enough try upgrading the memory. but do not spend any real money on this machine £25 to £35 on memory would be worth it.

  961 17:25 12 Jan 2004

From the description of Gateway 500, I guess the processor runs at 500mhz. If this is so I rather feel that upgrading will be unproductive because you will need a new motherboard to run at a much higher speed and probably a new power supply unit.

For digital camera work you need at least 1300mhz but even these speeds are now obsolete and not worth doing.

Also can you actually upgrade your o/s or have you just got oem or recovery disk that will not allow an upgrade copy of me or xp to work?

Perhaps you would like to post the full spec of your existing machine and o/s so that someone can advise, but my initial reaction is to save for a completely new unit which will probably cost around £300 upwards plus monitor if needed to do what you want with your camera. This will be a much better solution to spending on this system which may well leave you less than happy

  hatrickj 21:59 13 Jan 2004

Re 961's suggestion here are details I hope I have not missed any essentials.Intel Pentium 3. 40 Gig IDE type 01 HD.
Floppy drive. Iomega 100 zip. Hitachi DVD Rom GD500. Matrox Millenium G400 (a freebie replacement when the original died). Creative soundblaster Audio PCI 128D. 56K voice modem.
2 usb ports. 2 parallel. 1 serial.
HP 690C printer. Canoscan N670U. 19" CRt monior (another freebie replacement when the original failed). Original keyboard and mouse.

  DieSse 22:20 13 Jan 2004

If you've just got a digital camera, your first upgrade, IMHO, should be the printer. The HP 690 was their cheapest printer at the time, and miles behind in terms of modern printers. It will do no justice to your pictures and lead to a big disappointment.

An HP 5150 will see you into the modern age of photgraphic quality prints, at very modest cost - and will still be fine when you decide you can upgrade your main system.

You might find more RAM useful in the tower, but you haven't said how much you have now, so it's dfficult to advise.

  Blitzer 23:49 13 Jan 2004

Having upgraded one of my own machines and having built my brother a new system for Xmas I would definately consider the upgrade route. Not only do you get to choose exactly (compatibility aside) what you want in your machine, it's also very rewarding when it all goes together and works as expected.

If you decided to take this path you will really be looking at a new motherboard, processor, memory, video card amd ideally new OS. How much this costs depends very much on two things - what you really want to get out of the machine and how much you are prepared to spend.

Motherboard £50
Processor £70
Memory £40 512mb
Video Card £150
XP Home OEM £70
Total £380

These are just very rough figures pulled out of the air for a rough estimate of price. Naturally you could pay a reasonable amount less or a whole pile of cash more! :)

The system I built for my brother cost very close on £400 (a tad over) and included - new case, motherboard, processor, 512mb memory, video card, XP Home, CDRW drive and floppy drive. No monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers or additional software. Went together just fine and worked first time flawlessly.

  Dragon Heart 00:07 14 Jan 2004

Your digital camera, what size resolution is it ? If it's only a small resolution and do not use it very often then upgrade the memory and download all the upgrades for Windows 98. If the camera has a medium sized resolution you could upgrade memory and install a USB 2 card but your system will have to be running Windows 98 SE. If it's a large resolution camera and your going to be using it often then your HD will soon fill up. A CD writer now costs 'only' about £30, with a DVD writer at £80 to 90 but your system is at the writers minimum spec.
A new printer as suggested would also be useful.
The value of any upgrade depends upon your patience with your PC whilst downloading, manipulation of the photo's and printing

  Dragon Heart 00:11 14 Jan 2004

If you go for a new PC this site may help click here

  hatrickj 09:04 14 Jan 2004

Sorry RAM is 128MB SDRAM

  hatrickj 09:08 14 Jan 2004

Camera is Olmpus C750 Ultra Zoom 4 mega pixels

  961 10:17 14 Jan 2004

With that camera you can make bonny pictures.

I agree about the need for a good photo printer. Read the reviews. I've got both Epson and HP. Epson can make pictures sing but the ink costs megabucks and the print head is in the printer and when it goes bottom side up you need another new printer. HP print head is in the ink cartridge. When it goes wrong, which it rarely does you just buy another cartridge

You'll need good photo software, but did some come with your camera? Photosuite IV platinum is good if you want it easy to operate and produce good results. An OEM disc can be bought for about £12-£15. Anything else is hard to learn. I use Photoshop elements 2 which can be bought at PCWorld at sale time for a little over £40. This thread will be filled with suggestions from others about which they prefer. Download the trial ones first before you splash out. Some are HARD to learn. I can't get my head round many of them.

You'll need to find out if the case of your existing computer will take modern motherboards and also what the power supply is. Many proprietray builds had fairly small power supply units and if yours is less than 350 watts I suggest you will need a new case, and at that stage I feel a new computer is the way to go.

You really don't need to spend the earth nor do you need all the bells and whistles. A basic low down the range job from one of the suppliers advertising in the magazines can cost as little as £400, comes with windows xp and the costs can be lowered even more if you elect not to have the monitor. On that basis spending £200 plus on upgrading makes little sense when you add the question of new guaranteed equipment into the equation quite apart from the "what happens if I muck up the installation or buy a wrong bit?"

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