Upgrades - advice gratefully received

  NS42 16:30 24 Nov 2003

I have a Mesh Matrix PC I got in Feb 2001. It has a 1Ghz Athlon processor, 128mb SDRAM, nVidia Geforce2 32mb graphics card, and 30Gb hard drive. Operating system is ME.

It's used for surfing the net, doing the odd bit of correspondence, e.mail, some 'home publishing' using Microsoft works, and some game playing.

I am thinking of upgrading the RAM and the graphics card for the game playing - I'm into combat flight sims mostly, but hope to branch out!

I not a mad serious gamer, I just want to able to enjoy the Microsoft combat flight sim series, and other action or strategy games.

What sort of upgrade would be most cost effective?

Can my PC handle DDRAM, or must I stick to SDRAM?
Should I get 128, 256 or even 512? A local supplier was offering 256mb PC133 168pin SDRAM for £25, but told me that due to the age of my machine (motherboard?) that it wouldn't function - ???

I've seen that Dabs.com offers a 64mb Geforce card that it claims offers 20-25% better performance than a 32mb card for only £25. Is it worth spending any more?

Will I notice any difference with a 64mb card.

I figure that changing the processor is way too complicated for a DIY computer user like me, and I actually don't think that 1Ghz is a limiting factor. Am I right?

  Allan-263226 16:50 24 Nov 2003

What motherboard is it?

  plankton 17:11 24 Nov 2003

Go here click here and find out what memory you need.

1Ghz is fine.

Video card, maybe. Memory first I would suggest.

  Blitzer 17:17 24 Nov 2003


Do you have a budget to work to or a limit as to how much you are willing spend? Only both will naturally determine just how far you can or want to go with the upgrade.

For example if money is not really an issue (to a degree anyway!) you may decide to change...

* Motherboard
* Processor
* Memory
* Graphics Card
* and possibly even your OS

.. and again you could spend anywhere from £270 on this lot depending on just what you are prepared to go to.

Alternatively, I would suggest taking a good look at what you motherboard supports and then what is current and available to be used in it. ie. what processor speed you can go up to and if such processors are still available. Also what GFX cards your motherboard supports. ie. could you buy a card that could be retained later and used with a new motherboard should you decide to upgrade in steps rather than in one go.

Bear in mind that you can also pick up upgrade packages that may also be worth looking into if you are wary of the technical issues of installing processors etc. TBH, though it's not that difficult, just a case of taking the necesary anti-static precautions, reading instructions and making sure everything is done properly.

As it happens I've just built my brother a new machine for Xmas - all went 100% to plan. This cost around £400 and included...

* Asus A7V8X-X motherboard £43.85
* AMD XP2200 Processor £57.56
* 512Mb PC2700 DDR Crucial Memory £60.50
* Gainward 5200FX Powerpack GFX Card £53.91
* Seagate Barracuda 80 Gig HD £54.03
* Microsoft XP Home OEM SP1A £65.66
* LG 52x32x52x CDRW £25.50
* Panasonic Floppy drive £5.58
* ATX Midi case £31.43

...Now obviously you don't need/want all of this, I'm just hoping to give you some idea of cost. Bearing in mind the above is not really intended to be used for gaming so the GFX card may be a little weedy for something like playing flight sims.

Anyway, hope this is of some help. :)

  Stuartli 17:18 24 Nov 2003

One of the graphics cards reviews on tomshardware or similar once did a test of GeForce cards.

At the time they had Athlon CPUs ranging from 900 to 1.3 or 1.4MHz with which to test the graphics capabilities.

The review eventually emphasised that the better the graphics card, the less the speed of the CPU mattered; the differences between the slowest and fastest CPU with each graphics card was absolutely minimal.

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