Motherboard/VGA upgrade advice required please.

  The Pretender 23:14 22 May 2003

My current system is a PC Chips M810 MoBo with a 1400 Athlon processor, 512MB SDRAM and a Maxtor 20GB HDD. I have Pipex 576 Kbps B/band and have recently upgraded to Windows XP. The system responds pretty well most of the time but ever since I've had XP, life's been a bit boring, no illegal operations, no crashes, no BSOD. So now I need a fresh challenge in my life and the plan is to upgrade the MOBO/CPU/HDD! If I'm going to spend a couple of hundred quid I want to future proof myself as much as poss. The spec I am looking at is something like an Asus A7N8X mobo supporting up to 400 FSB and with 512 MB DDR400 (PC3200)memory, with an Athlon 2600 "Barton" CPU and if funds permit a 7200RPM 80GB HDD. I don't really understand about RAID ( although I read a post by "flecc" saying it wasn't best suited for domestic use) or SATA. What I am truly confused by though is the fact that none of the high spec motherboards come with on board VGA. I don't do games or video editing or anything "heavy duty" I just need a good quality display. So the question is what mobo/VGA would best suit my requirements, Asus seem to be the best, but do I really need to fork out another £50-£60 for a VGA card, or could I manage with something much cheaper which wouldn't compromise the performance of the rest of the system. I would appreciate your views.

  The Pretender 06:14 23 May 2003


  AndySD 06:38 23 May 2003

You dont need RAID as said before....SATA serial ATA is the new standard for ATA devices instaed of EIDE it promises to be faster and its certainly simpler to use.

Almost any of the £20 -£30 cards click here will do. But I sugest you avoid the GeForce 4 MX440 as I have had a lot of problems with them.

  The Pretender 14:00 23 May 2003

Any further suggestions regarding proposed upgrade - mobos etc etc?

  kane_2002k 14:46 23 May 2003

2600 barton 333fsb, cpu then best stock performance (i.e. no overclocking) is gained by running pc2700 (DDR333) Ram and not pc3200. If you aren't planning o using the cpu for games or anything heavy duty, then a cheap £25 - £40 ATI radeon 7000 or geforce 4 mx should do the trick. Personnlly if you are just using the system for internet, word processing and music then perhaps your cpu and motherboard is overkill too.

  The Pretender 18:57 23 May 2003

This is exactly what I am trying to get a feel for, for my usage would I be better off just getting a better spec motherboard that would take DDR RAM and something like a standard Athlon 2400 which would give me a decent upgrade without costing me a fortune.

  kane_2002k 20:28 23 May 2003

I believe that you suggested that you wanted to upgrade your processor, motherboard, ram, graphics card and HDD. I suggest that something along the lines of the following should give you a good performance increase, without breaking the bank, or being wasteful (i.e. money spent on things you are never going to use or get any benefit from, in regards to your system usage).

asus A7v333 (can take up to a 2800xp) - ~£60

AMD 2200xp - ~£60

ATI radeon 7000 64MB AGP or geforce4 mx- ~£30

512 ddr333 pc2700 ram - ~£50 (suggest you should buy memory from crucial)

80gig seagate barracude 4 7200rpm - ~£70

This should be fine for everything barring gaming and video editing/playback. I would suggest that with the money saved you could spend more on things perhiphals, i.e. good keyboard and mouse, and for audiophiles quality speakers and a quality soundcard - make more of a difference to your music then the prcessor you are running and the ram.

  The Pretender 14:45 24 May 2003

Thanks for your wise words, I think that upgrading using the products you suggest (or similar) is likely to give me the increase in performance I am looking for, without spending a lot of money which I'm not going to see much of a benefit from. No point in buying a Ferrari if you only use it to go the supermarket!

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