Major Upgrade advice

  Mr Scone 23:24 11 Apr 2004

Hi guys, I've been asked to upgrade a friend's PC. It's an old Pentium 3 500mhz with 128mb RAM, 12gb HDD & basic graphics and sound cards.

I want to make it reasonably modern but keep price to an absolute minimum. Therefore I have selected a lot of low price 'budget' options. I would like to know what you all think about the components and if there are any better alternatives.

Here is what I have...
MB - £25
click here


Duron 1.8ghz - £28
click here


Athlon XP 2600 - £50
click here

click here


£45 – 256mb
click here


£38.50 – 256mb
click here


£76 – 512mb
click here

FX5200 128mb - £44
click here

HDD - £48 (80gb)
click here

Sound card
Creative SB live 5.1 - £26
click here

A few points I'm not sure about...Is it worth getting the Athlon XP or will the Duron do? Will the Dabs memory be ok or do I need the 'matched' version from Crucial? Is it worth paying the extra for 512mb? Is there anything else I haven't thought of? For example, will I need to upgrade the PSU?

As you can see, I am pretty much upgrading the entire system (building a new PC). This is afirst time thing so any additional advice would be appreciated.

Thanks a lot to all who take the time to help me


  AndySD 23:32 11 Apr 2004

The Mothetboard has 5.1 sound onboard. (save the money and use it elsewhere.

Get a 350w or higher PSU ( I am using the 550w click here)

Personally I would only use the Crucial RAM.

What operating system are you going to use?

  Mr Scone 23:46 11 Apr 2004

She has Win 98 SE currently. Upgrading to Win XP (HE) is a possibility (which may become a necessity) but initially I would prefer to avoid paying the extra £ to upgrade.

Thanks for the advice about soundcard and link. I'll have to budget in a 350w PSU.

One other point...would you recommend buying a new case or will the original one do?

Cheers again


  AndySD 23:57 11 Apr 2004

If you are going to budget for the psu have a look at a case with a psu click here just a little more than you save on the soundcard.

256 mb will be more than enough for 98.

You will also need a case fan for the front of the case.

  Mr Scone 00:07 12 Apr 2004

I hope I'll be able to re-use the fan from the original PC. If not, there are 2 recommended fans on the link you gave me. One says "Case fan", the other says "Case fan - ball". Not sure what the difference is. Which one would I need?

Thanks AndySD


  dfghjkl 00:19 12 Apr 2004

ball = ballbearings = more efficient and reliable,would choose "ball"type,ditch the sound card,get the 2600+ (or even a 2500+barton,if the 2600+ is not a barton)get the crucial memory and spend more on the graphics,at least £100 puts you in the 5600 range or a 9600,and another £50 would get you a realy good one.also go for xp pro if you can,good luck.peter.

  Mr Scone 00:28 12 Apr 2004

Thanks for the advice dfghjkl, remember though that I'm trying to cut as much off the price as possible. I don't think I'll spend more on the graphics card (less if possible) because the card I chose, although basic, will do everything my friend wants (play the odd DVD & other basic stuff - no intense games) so no need to get a better one. If anything I may not need a card this good.


  woody 01:46 12 Apr 2004

You would do well to also look at some of the cheaper end ready made .Yes more than your bits add up to but complete .

  harps1h 08:02 12 Apr 2004

if you intend to run xp,and run dvds i would recommend that you get 512mb of ram and definately get it from crucial. also change the fan as it may not cool the bigger chip sufficiantly. you could buy the retail version of the chip and you would get a fan with it, or if you buy oem get a better heatsink and fan. case fan refer to a fan that attatches the the actual case you need what i suggested above they are totally different

  Stowit 09:43 12 Apr 2004

Just my 2ps worth. If happy with his OS why fix what aint broke. There are lots of posts on here about memory hungry XP. What's the main use for the PC? It may be on board sound/video mobo would free up cash for more RAM that in my opinion gives the best value improvement to a Pcs perceived performance. I'd look at the MOBO specs & get a PSU to suit. You probably won't need an expensive 550w one, smaller are a lot cheaper, & if they'll do, why overspend here? I got a new case because it came with the correct PSU for the price of a PSU aloan. I think they make it feel better because you don't just shell out & get your beige box back, but a new puter. It depends on budget / availability. Shop around some places are good on HDD prices but poor on say MOBOS etc. The only thing is make sure you choose your critical componant (Usually MOBO) & ensure everything else is appropriate, as swapping due to compatibility may be hard if they're all from different sources.

  961 10:02 12 Apr 2004

click here will give a lot of useful advice

My own six penn'orth is...

buy a new atx case complete with power supply from Dabs or Novatech for around £25. The dabs one has a 420w psu and all the fans you need. In any case don't re-use old fans. They only cost a fiver

Reject the Duron idea. Athlon xp is cheap now and fast. The Barton 2500 is best, but 2400 or 2600 will do. Consider buying motherboard bundle from Novatech. Motherboard, processor, heatsink and fan, and memory. All assembled and tested for less than you can buy the components for.

Stick with on board sound. The graphics card is ok.Stick to Seagate hard drive

Ensure windows 98 is on disk and will install on new system otherwise you will need xp home edition oem or upgrade. You don't need xp pro

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

WPA2 Hack Latest News: How Secure is your Wi-Fi?

Photoshop CC 2018 released with new Curvature Pen and better brush tools

Best kids apps for iPhone & iPad

Comment utiliser Twitter ?