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Hello newbie here. What are your recommendations?

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by RD, Jan 25, 2007.

  1. RD New Member

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    Hello Ladies & Gentlemen,

    Firstly, may I take this opportunity to say what a great site this is and evidently a wealth of knowledge, however I’m sure you are already aware of that!!

    My name is Richard and I reside in England (UK).

    We have owned our family PC for 4 years and we now think its time to upgrade a few of its components.
    Recently we acquired another PC (as part of a package from our ISP) which has similar specification to our first PC.

    The upgrades I have in mind are for each PC: Hard Drive, Ram and Graphics Card.

    Listed below are both PC’s and their intended upgrades. I would appreciate any constructive ideas, experiences and recommendations.
    Please also bear in mind that although I’ve been using a PC for 4 years, I have never attempted any ‘open heart surgery’ on a PC before, however I have received information and instruction (PC World) on how to do it!! Whether the info is correct and reliable is another story.
    Lastly, please also consider that I intend to upgrade both PC’s so my budget is limited as it is divided between both PC’s. Unfortunately ‘top shelf’ components are out of my reach, but good quality and value for money are sought.

    Would the following upgrades work and are there any other alternatives that you could recommend, make / brand and model etc?

    Make: Advent
    Model: 3512

    SPECIFICATION

    Intel Pentium 4.
    3.06Ghz.
    HDD 120GB (Samsung SV1204H).
    DDR - 512MB (PC2-2100) crucial.com incorrectly state (PC2-2700).
    GF4 MX440 128MB.
    48 x CD-RW.
    16 x DVD.
    Fax / Modem.
    Windows XP Home Edition.
    Possibly Windows Vista in the future.

    UPGRADES

    Gigabyte GeForce 7600GS 256MB DDR2 AGP8x (Model: N76G256D-RH).

    HDD 300 / 320GB IDE/PATA - I’m undecided here. I don’t want a ‘Raid’ array, but its either Western Digital or Seagate. So far the WD is slightly favoured due to its better value, bigger size and good report by PC Pro.

    Western Digital WD3200JB Caviar SE 320GB 7200rpm ATA-100 8MB Cache.
    Seagate ST3300831A Barracuda 300GB 7200RPM ATA/100 8MB Cache - OEM


    DDR / Ram - Undecided here too. I’ve been advised by two guys from PC World, one suggests to add another 512MB RAM either PC2-2100 or PC2-2700, maybe Crucial, Corsair or Kingston and 512MB DDR2 to the other PC. The PC2-2700 will allegedly work at a slower rate, in line with the original above. He also advises NOT to increase the RAM due to the limitations of the Advent and its processor, suggesting it may crash if using 1GB together with the installed 512MB original.
    The other guy in PC World said adding 1GB Ram to the installed 512MB DDR / DDR2 in each PC would be ok.

    Interestingly, Crucial state the following for the above PC:

    'Maximum Memory: 2048MB USB Support: 1.x Compliant Standard Memory: 512MB removable Slots: 2 (2 banks of 1) Graphics Support: AGP4x'

    PC World have looked inside my PC and said the PC accepts AGP8x.
    Are Crucial correct or incorrect as they are with the RAM? Is this compatible with AGP4x? What is the difference and can I use the 7600GS?


    Our other PC is only branded externally by our ISP. Inside it has the following:

    SPECIFICATION

    Intel Pentium 4.
    3.06Ghz.
    Foxconn Motherboard - 945GZ7MC.
    HDD 160GB (Samsung SP1644N) 7200RPM /2M/PATA.

    The ribbon only has one PATA/IDE interface connector, which is attached to the above HDD, but the motherboard has the facility to four SATA2 type connectors. As a result I’m looking to add a SATA HDD.
    DDR2 - 512MB Dynet (DNHM5U512B6FE - A5 DDR2 533 (4) 512 MX8).
    I’m informed that the installed RAM is equivalent to 1GB due to the BUS speed?
    HEC - 300AR-PTE 300W Power Supply.
    DVD - Writer.
    MATX Case.
    Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005.

    Hopefully Windows Vista Upgrade very soon.

    Edited to add:

    UPGRADES for the above PC:

    Graphics Card: Inno3D Nvidia GeForce 7600GT 256MB PCI Express x16.

    HDD: Western Digital WD3200KS 320GB SATA2 16MB Cache 7200RPM

    DDR2 RAM: Crucial 1GB 240-PIN DIMM Unbuffered DDR2 PC5300 (667MHz). Model: CT12864AA667.



    Your help and thought are greatly appreciated - Thanks.

    Kind regards,

    Richard.

    P.S. Sorry for my long post and if I’ve posted in the wrong section.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2007
  2. infrared New Member

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    Hey there :)

    Definatly putting some more ram in each PC will help greatly.

    If you can afford it, scrap the pc-2700 512 stick, or keep it for another computer, and replace it with a matched pair of 512mb pc-3200's. (400mhz ddr). using a 1gb stick with the 512mb stick will work, but you will loose performance by doing it. With DDR memory it's best to keep the sticks the same.

    Also, for the other computer, just get a stick of AData pc2-4200 (533mhz ddr) 512mb.

    Definatly go for that graphics card, you won't have any regrets there! That Geforce 440MX is pretty gutless!

    Do you really need anymore hard drive space? I've never needed anymore than 160GB's myself.

    Regards,
    Simon
  3. bruins004 New Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    For hard drivers I usually go with Western Digital bc they are a reliable company.
    Seagate is a good company as well.
    So I guess just go for the one that offers the best price to space ratio (which seems to be the Western Digital to me).

    As for memory, I agree with infrared.
    Put the 512mb stick in the other computer and get pair of 2 x 512mb sticks of PC-3200 DDR Ram. Good brands to consider is Corsair, OCZ, Adata, Crucial, Kingston.

    The graphic card upgrade would be really good. When playing games or doing some video stuff you will notice a considerable difference.

    Just as an FYI...Windows Vista requires at least 1 GB of RAM. Just to let you know, if you run Vista on these machines, they will likely run a little slow since you will only have 1 GB of RAM (if you do this upgrade).

    Since you are relatively new to opening computers up, I guess you are new to buying computer components too.
    Here are some cheap and good sites that beat brick and mortar store prices.

    www.newegg.com
    www.zipzoomfly.com
    www.tigerdirect.com

    Enjoy.
  4. infrared New Member

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    Good advice bruins.

    but those links are for the US. We UK people can't use those lovely websites :(

    you could try:

    www.microdirect.com
    www.novatech.co.uk

    Microdirect are awsome! use them if you can ;)
  5. bruins004 New Member

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    Ahhh didnt see his location.
    My bad.

    Also, I forgot to ask what is the PSU that is currently in your machine.
    In most pre-built machines they use a power supply that can just handle the system that was put together.
    So you might need a new PSU if you get a different video card.
  6. RD New Member

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    Hi Simon,

    Thanks for your reply and suggestions - Cheers. :toast:

    I see I'm not the only one this side of the pond!

    Excuse my ignorance, just to clarify. You're recommending I remove the DDR-512MB PC-2100 (not PC-2700 as Crucial's website states) from the Advent and 'replace it with a matched pair of 512mb pc-3200's. (400mhz ddr).' ?

    One of the PC World fella's recommended I use two 512MB DDR memory, though he didn't suggest a speed and brand.

    Re: Our other PC, you suggest to leave the Dynet DDR2 533MHz 512MB in situ and add ' a stick of AData pc2-4200 (533mhz ddr) 512mb.' DDR2 ?

    The GeForce 440MX 128MB graphics card is gutless and it doesn't take much to push it to its limits.
    Would the Gigabyte GeForce 7600GS 256MB AGP8x fit considering Crucial state the Advent 3512 has AGP4x. ?
    I'm sure the AGP8x card above will fit but what is the difference and are they interchangeable?

    Re: HDD - My two sons will be using the Advent for gaming and school work plus my wife and I will occasionally use it and monitor what they're both doing, besides we have quite a lot stored on its current HDD.
  7. RD New Member

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    Hi Bruins004,

    Thanks for your welcome, response, advice and links. Its greatly appreciated. :toast:

    I think I'll probably go with Western Digital HDD for both PC's due to the reasons above.

    I cannot swap memory because the Advent has DDR and the other PC has DDR2. Though the advice you and Infrared gave makes sense, Re: PC-3200.

    Re: Vista, Thanks for the info, I read its requirements last week (1GB) and thought Vista would run slower than XP given the limitations of both PC's.

    Thanks again,
    Richard.
  8. RD New Member

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    :( :( :(

    :) :) :) Thanks for the info. :toast:
  9. RD New Member

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    Hi Bruins004,

    I don't know yet what PSU is inside the Advent, probably quite small.
    The other PC has a HEC-300AR-PTE 300w PSU, although new and unused this too may require up rating.

    An electronics / electrical expert friend recommended I upgrade the PSU at the same time. He said after 4 years use the components of the PSU will have degraded and the PSU is likely to cause electrical spikes and problems, he also said because I'm upgrading a few components the PSU will probably struggle with output.

    regards,
    Richard.
  10. bruins004 New Member

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    The longetivity of the PSU doesnt really matter in this case.

    It just matters if it is made of good parts (which I highly doubt it is) and has enough amps on the 12V rail (since this is what powers most of your components in your computer).

    You most likely will have to replace that as well.

    Concerning the RAM issue.
    If you have the money why not just upgrade both computer's RAM.
    512mb is not very useful anymore and will def. bottleneck your computer.

    I suggest either getting a 1GB module or 2x 512mb modules.
    I usually lean towards getting a 1GB module just in case you want to switch to 2 x 1GB modules.
    The reason for this is bc in older computers, the motherboards will actually make the memory run slower if all 4 DIMMs are filled with memory (for example 4 x 512mb).
    However, if only 2 DIMMS are filled (i.e. 2 x 1GB or 2 x 512mb) then the memory will run at the best speed.
  11. Grings

    Grings New Member

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    some more good u.k. sites to look at are

    www.scan.co.uk
    www.ebuyer.com
    www.aria.co.uk
    www.savastore.co.uk
    www.overclockers.co.uk
    www.komplett.co.uk
    and once used www.lowestonweb.com, though they rarely live up to their name nowadays

    i've used all these (and microdirect) in the past and never had any issues, it seems we dont have a definitively cheaper store here in the u.k., hence why i've used all these stores in the past, as they were the cheapest at the time

    also i'd recommend fsp power supplies, as theyre great value, i've built with seasonic before too, which are great, but slightly more expensive

    p.s. though it is claimed vista runs o.k with 1gig, i'd recommend 2gig if you want all the bells and whistles (i.e. aero interface)
  12. RD New Member

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    Bruins and Grings,

    Thanks for your advice.

    Re: Advent 3512.

    The motherboard only has two RAM slots and I'm considering using:

    Geil value 2GB PC3200 Dual channel DDR Kit (2x1GB) with Aluminium Heat Spreader. Mfr # GE2GB3200BDC.
    or
    Corsair 2GB DDR PC3200 Kit (2 x 1GB) Mfr # VS2GBKIT400C3
    or
    Crucial 2 x 1GB PC3200 DDR Mfr # CT2KIT12864Z40B

    2nd PC:

    OCZ Value Pro 2GB (2 X 1GB) DDR2 PC5400 Dual Channel Kit with Copper Heatspreader.
    or
    Corsair 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 PC5300. Mfr # VS2GBKIT667D2.

    Would these work ok on the above PC's and if so which memory would you buy?

    Lastly, I've thought about buying DabsValue NVIDIA GeForce 7900GS 256MB PCI-E x16 instead of Inno3D Nvidia GeForce 7600GT 256MB PCI Express x16.
    What are your opinions on this?

    Thanks again for your advice, its appreciated.

    Regards,
    Richard.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2007
  13. xman2007

    xman2007 New Member

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    looks good, the 2gb of ram might be overkill with your processors tbh, 1gb would suffice until your ready for a new pc, saying that you could always use that ram (maybe not the ddr1) if you buy a new pc anyway, also the 7900gs is a good card, post us a link of the one you have in mind, and i would think about upgrading the psu's
  14. cdawall where the hell are my stars

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    only prob with the vid cards is that you have agp vs pci-e and if you have the money the 7800gs (agp) and X1950PRO(agp) would be your best pics if you cant spend quite that much the X1650XT (agp) is also a good choice

    as for ram may i recommend ULTRA DDR3200 it is a good brand and the ram is relatively cheap ($50 for 1gb of it here in the US)
    in the second PC you should check out the higher end ram to see if it is cheaper ie.ddr2 6700 sometimes sales are run and the high end is sold for a much lower price
  15. RD New Member

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    Hi Xman2007,

    Thanks for your post.

    This graphics card:

    http://www.dabs.com/ProductView.asp...137,43990000,379790000&InMerch=1&v=1#infoarea

    Or for a few pounds (£££'s) extra one of these. What do you think?

    http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/prod...25z&product_uid=119692&spec_type=ZXh0ZW5kZWQ=

    http://www.dabs.com/ProductView.asp...137,43990000,397370000&InMerch=1&v=2#infoarea

    http://www.dabs.com/productview.asp...tionKey=11137,43990000,397370000&v=2#infoarea

    Re: RAM - I suppose I could use the memory (DDR2) in another PC. Do you think 2GB is too much for both PC's Intel Pentium 4 3.06Ghz processors and would / could the RAM cause any damage?

    Cheers,
    Richard.
  16. cdawall where the hell are my stars

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    ram cant cause damage but the cpu wouldnt use it to its full potential
  17. RD New Member

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    Hi cdawall,

    Thanks for your post and recommendations.

    I'll have a look at those graphics cards.

    As for the 2nd PC, I have thought about the DDR2 6700 but as a novice was unsure if it would operate in such pre historic PC. LOL.
    I've probably got mice on steroids running on a ferris wheel instead of a PSU, just gotta keep the mice well fed. :D

    regards,
    Richard.

    P.S. $50 for 1GB!! We get ripped off here in the UK, even the Ducati 1098S is cheaper in the USA and the bike is made in Italy / Europe!! :mad: Maybe we should migrate.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2007
  18. Grings

    Grings New Member

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  19. RD New Member

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    Hi Grings,

    Thanks for the links.

    Great cards there and the costs are pretty good.

    Mmmm......... decisions decisions!!

    The 7900GS has positive reviews and is about my limit considering expense on other components.
    I'm very tempted, but there is not much space in the case. Does that card take up two spaces, because I think the fax/modem card may be in the way?
    This maybe a stupid question but now we're about to go wireless/cordless, using a USB network dongle for broadband/DSL, is the fax/modem card still required :confused:

    Edited to add:

    My mistake guys, just realised that the 7900GS may fit as the fax/modem card is in the Advent 3512 not the 2nd PC which accepts PCI-E cards.

    I've been looking at these cards too, what do you think?

    http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?xfx-79gsxt&P=1

    http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Comp...SS 7900GS 256MB PCI-E?productId=24647&rqcRate

    http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Comp...it GeForce 7900GS 256MB PCI-E?productId=24789
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2007

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