Need advice on hardware? Ask questions and share your opinions here.
#30247 by artmanvt2000
Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:12 pm
We have a spare tower here at work that I was thinking of upgrading, for use at home. My wife is due to have our first baby at the end of December and I will have need to work from home, at least for a little while. I was wondering what your thoughts and suggests where for updating an old tower. This is a break down of some of the comments in the tower.
Processor: Intel Pentium II @ 233 MHz C1
Hard Drive: 20 GB
Memory: 128 MB
Video Card: S3 ViRGE Ver. 5.1024
Disc Drives: Basic CDrom & Iomega 250 Zip.

I was wondering if you had any suggestions a new mother board and video card? Can I re-use the existing power supply? Any suggestions on new monitor, flat screen, to maximize desk space?

I am trying to do this as cost effective as possible. Thanks for the help.
#30253 by Neil Blanchard
Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:01 pm
Who-boy Arthur! A 233mHz PII, huh? I have my doubts:

Since you asked about a new motherboard, you would also need a new CPU and new RAM, and a new power supply -- because the types of required plugs have changed. And while you're at it, the case might have to be changed, for better cooling if not compatibility.

So, with the new video card, all you (might) be salvaging would be the hard drive, Zip drive, and the CD-ROM -- sorry. What about a $500 laptop or desktop?
Last edited by Neil Blanchard on Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
#30265 by Ted B
Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:40 pm
It never really hit me how "noisy" my PC equipment was until an errant, horny squirrel knocked-out our building's transformer. Even with the background ringing in my ears from my tinitus, it was shocking. That, added to the buzz of the fluorescents' and the hum of the halogen task-lighting power supplies added-up to a LOT of ambient white-noise in the background.

I'm holding-off upgrading to DC-12 until I can afford a new tower-unit and bigger flat screen. I suspect that my elderly 256Mb, 600-Mhz Athlon cpu and 32Mb video-card just aren't up to wrestling with DC-12. Hopefully there will be a few good sales on for the Holidays.
#30268 by Neil Blanchard
Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:53 pm

I've found some really quiet fans: the 9-blade Scythe "Slip Stream" fans are now available on NewEgg. Here's the 500RPM model:

And here's the 800RPM model:

They are also available from JabTech:

These are amazingly quiet, and they still blow plenty of air. Here's a thread on SPCR.
#30271 by artmanvt2000
Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:19 am
Thanks for the info. Do you happen to have any suggestions of where to look for a new computer? Perferrably one with a good sized flat screen monitor.
#30277 by Ben at TJB Architects
Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:10 pm
artmanvt2000 wrote:Do you happen to have any suggestions of where to look for a new computer? Perferrably one with a good sized flat screen monitor.

Newegg, brutha...
Here's a few items that I got to upgrade my Dad's computer.
Kept his old new power supply (need a 24-pin connector).
There's too many video cards to really suggest one because it depends on whether you run dual-monitors (or plan to) amongst others.
But, you can find bargains on 7 series nVidia cards these days.
If you run, or plan to, dual-monitors (LCD) get one with (2) DVI outputs.
Anyways, hope this gives you some help in the right direction.

ASUS M2N AM2 NVIDIA nForce 430 MCP ATX AMD Motherboard
In Stock
$72.99 $72.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane 2.3GHz Socket AM2 65W Processor Model ADO4400DDBOX
In Stock
$84.99 $84.99

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
In Stock
Mail-in Rebate
$71.00 $71.00

Subtotal: $228.98

As far as monitors go...I run two of these and freaking love them.
But there are lots to choose from...look long enough and in the right places you will find a good deal.

My two cents...
#30486 by Neil Blanchard
Tue Nov 27, 2007 11:32 pm

NewEgg is selling the Antec Solo for a mere $26 shipped (after $50 MIR):

This case is just about the best there is. Solid with dampened side panels, excellent air flow, unique hard drive suspension, great cable management, good looks (save the glossy black showing finger prints). If you plan on building a machine in the future (or even if you just want the case), this is the best price you'll find.
#35041 by Joe Krawiec
Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:03 am
It looks like a new computer may be in my near future and I always place great value on your hardware recommendations. In looking at this thread, it doesn’t seem that there has been an update to your 75% and 90% recommendations for awhile. I don’t know of any local computer people that I would trust to assemble a system. A friend recommended having it assembled by Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the energy and knowledge that you put into the forum. By the way, how in the world do you manage to get any work done???

Joe Krawiec
South Plainfield, NJ
#35043 by Neil Blanchard
Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:00 pm
Hello Joe,

I can add a few details, to update things: the current best CPU's are the Intel E8400 (3.0gHz dual core 6MB L2 cache) and the Q9450 (2.66gHz quad core 12MB L2 cache). These are both the new 0.45u process, so they are very efficient and they run pretty cool, especially in relation to how well they work.

Also, there are hard drives with 320GB on a single platter from Western Digital (and Samsung?) that are very quiet, cool running, and don't draw much power. They are quite fast as well:

Lastly, I'll mention a new heatsink that has excellent performance, but is less expensive, and lighter weight than the competition. The Xigmatek version is reviewed here:

You can by this heatsink for $44 shipped:

And you can buy the same heatsink from KingWin for $38 shipped (but they are out of stock now):
#38420 by bgttu
Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:29 am

I'm trying to revive a daughter's old PC & have purchased a wireless router. The wireless - G pci adapter would not work in that box because of the minimum requirements (500 MHz processor).

I plan to reuse the monitor (& video card if necessary), mouse, keyboard cd rom drive, floppy drive, HDD, & possibly the SDRAM.

I've wasted a lot of time on NewEgg trying to match up the following combination:

AMD processor
heat sink w/ fan
512 MB RAM (or I can reuse a 32 & 128 MB SDRAM = 128 MB)
cheap case: ATX mid tower

I'm trying to this this as reasonbly economical as possible.

I found this processor:

AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Venice 2.4 GHz socket 939 89w single core $ 29.99 ... 6819103571

combo w/ XIGMATEK HDT S963 92mm rifle CPU Cooler $ 44.98

Trying to match up ASUS notherboards, it looked like that socket type was only for servers. I got frustrated.

I think I can figure out the rest (case, fans, ram) if I can get the most economical cpu / motherboard combination.
#43743 by Neil Blanchard
Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:55 am

A couple of updates on the hardware front:

Nexus has a top notch power supply, call the the Value 430. It is exceptionally quiet and it should be fine in virtually any system.

The best value heatsinks right now are the Xigmatek HDT-S1283:

I would definitely get their back plate mount:

Another excellent heatsink is the Scythe Mugen 2:
It comes with a both-through mount, costs less, and the fan is quieter -- guess which one I'd get?

The newest Intel CPU's are lower power use and more efficient -- and faster performance than ever. Dual core is plenty for most of us, and unless you do a LOT of rendering or image processing, and then there is the ne "true" quad core called the Core i7.

Stay away from Vista. Get at least 2GB of RAM. If you are thinking of keeping the machine for a long time, then I'd get 4GB and upgrade to Win7 64bit when it is tested and proven.
#45201 by Neil Blanchard
Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:26 pm

I'm answering a PM here, in case others are also interested:

I am also considering a system upgrade where I would switch to Win 7. Have you posted a 95 percentile system for Win 7?

Win7 is actually part way back yo WinXP as far as requirements go. A "95%" system today would be an Intel i5 (true quad core) and 4GB of RAM with a 64bit version of Win7.

I have not been keeping up as much with Windows hardware, because I am running a Mac these days...

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