advice with upgrading pc

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 i have a ''tiny'' pc which is 5 years old. it is a p4- 1.7ghz. 512mb ram,
80gb hd, 64mb graphics card, 5.1 card and speakers, etc...

I want to upgrade the ram, graphics card, hard drive, and install a network

i wanted to know how many ram slots are usually available on this kind of
mother board. will have to buy a 256 mb card, or a 512mb and take the other
256 out?

is there any advice any1 can give me? i think the graphics agp socket is a
'x4'. so will a x8 card work in it? e.g. gf6200. (256mb).

thank you


Re: advice with upgrading pc

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Try this: Go to find the Crucial Memory Advisor.

Follow the directions.  It will tell you how many slots you have, what is in
each of them, how much total memory you can install, and what memory modules
you need to buy.


Re: advice with upgrading pc

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See if there is a label on the motherboard, that identifies it.
If we know the brand and model number, then it is easier to give
advice on RAM. There are, like, 10000 motherboard models, and
playing "guess which motherboard I've got", is no fun at all.

To help yourself, visit and you can enter the
information yourself, and find out what RAM to use. The motherboard
could have three RAM slots, and taking the side off the computer
and looking, is a real quick way to tell. Alternatively, you can
use a utility of some sort, to get identifying information about
your machine.

If the Crucial site only shows, say, 256MB modules for the
motherboard, then you know there is a size restriction of some
sort on the board. In other words, if it'll fit, it would be
for sale on the Crucial web site. It is not like you'll find
a larger module for sale on another site. can give
similar information, but Crucial will go back a bit further
historically in support of older motherboards.

For advice on video card selection, this site discusses the capabilities
of the various motherboard chipsets, and what kinds of video cards
work with them. Generally speaking, the tables at the bottom of the
page are the most useful, if you just want an answer. So start
at the bottom and work up :-)

To get yourself a few utilities, try: (Everest home edition)

Another one is Sisoftware Sandra, but I haven't gone
looking for that one in quite some time.

Have a look with the utilities, and see what hardware you've
got. CPUZ can show you info about what is plugged into the RAM
slots. Everest has good all-round info, as would Sandra.

Disk upgrades can be a bit messy. You might be OK up to 137GB or
so in capacity, so a 120GB might work directly with your motherboard
interfaces. Disk transfer rates are backward compatible, so if
you bought an UltraATA 133 drive, it will still work with older
IDE interfaces. Since you are in an upgrading mood, a card like
this can also be used. It is a PCI add-in card, and is a disk
controller. You could add the card, then install a driver, then
move your system disk over to the controller. Or even do a fresh
Windows install on your new disk while it is connected to the
controller card. This card has two advantages - it supports
transfer rates all the way to the maximum allowed by the standards,
and it will also support drives larger than 137GB. The only
remaining limitation, is the PCI bus may limit transfer speed to
110MB/sec - 120MB/sec, but anything above 60MB/sec is gravy
anyway (don't worry about it).

PROMISE ULTRA133TX2 PCI IDE Controller Card - Retail  $45

Yes, you can also find SATA cards, but considering the age of
your machine, I think you'd be just as happy with another IDE
drive. SATA cables are fiddly and a nuisance. (I still don't have
any SATA drives in the house :-))


Re: advice with upgrading pc

David wrote:
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considering that you will have to open the cae to upgrade the machine...
you might as wellopen it now and have a look...
why guess?

Re: advice with upgrading pc

On Sat, 27 May 2006 17:36:24 GMT, "David"

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Frankly I would not do this.  The CPU and board are also
bottlenecks, you are better off starting from scratch at
this point.  Since you don't describe needing anything
exotic, something like a Dell might be a good value if you
find one with a promo and rebate.

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Open it and see.  You might also check the owner's manual to
find out what the max memory per slot is.

Often such boards have 2 slots, rarely 3 and far rarer 4.

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Why would you buy a GF6200/256MB?
It's pretty low end, often more modern integrated video is a
reasonable replacement since it's not suitable for modern

Yes an 8X card will work, providing the system power supply
has some reserve but it might not use much more power than
your present card.

If you have college nearby you might be able to sell that
system for $100 and put that into a newer one.

Re: advice with upgrading pc

David wrote:
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Given the numbpr and cost of the upgrades, my advice is to get a faster
computer if you need one. Though your machine is still a very nice
machine for most things. What is the reason for the upgrade? We may be
able to recommend a better option. IE, Photoshop, get more ram; latest
games, whole new system; watch DVDs, no need.

Adding a nic is cheap.

Re: advice with upgrading pc

i've used a program called AIDA, below is a spec of the motherboard.

Motherboard Properties
Motherboard ID 09/26/2001-i845-W627HF-6A69VM4GC-00
Motherboard Name MSI MS-6534

Front Side Bus Properties
Bus Type Intel NetBurst
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 100 MHz (QDR)
Effective Clock 400 MHz
Bandwidth 3200 MB/s

Memory Bus Properties
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 133 MHz
Effective Clock 133 MHz
Bandwidth 1067 MB/s

Chipset Bus Properties
Bus Type Intel Hub Interface
Bus Width 8-bit
Real Clock 67 MHz (QDR)
Effective Clock 267 MHz
Bandwidth 267 MB/s

Motherboard Physical Info
CPU Sockets/Slots 1
Expansion Slots 3 PCI, 1 AGP, 1 CNR
RAM Slots 2 DIMM
Integrated Devices Audio
Form Factor Micro ATX
Motherboard Size 220 mm x 240 mm
Motherboard Chipset i845



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Re: advice with upgrading pc

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AIDA is the same thing as Everest. It was called AIDA32, and when
the Lavalys company was formed, they changed the name to Everest, to
distinguish the old completely free version, from their commercial
venture. Everest Home Edition was still free, until they stopped
supporting it and went completely commercial. The cost of providing
free downloads must have been killing them.

The max size of a stick is 512MB according to this. The CL=2
is faster than the CL=3 (CAS Latency), and you get the extra
performance for free in this case. If you remove your current
RAM sticks, and install 2x512MB SDRAM, you get 1GB total.

Here, it says 2x1GB is possible. Is there such a thing as 1GB
SDRAM sticks ? I can only find incompatible registered 1GB SDRAM,
but no unbuffered 1GB SDRAM.

The Intel summary page says a vanilla 845 supports 1GB SDRAM sticks as well.
I've used 512MB SDRAM in my 845 based motherboard (PC133). At the time,
I think that is the largest I could find.

For your graphics card upgrade, the web page says
the 845 is "AGP 1.5V Motherboard". The "Practical Motherboard And
Card Compatibility" table says "AGP 1.5V Motherboard" works with

AGP 1.5V Card
Universal AGP Card
Universal 1.5V AGP 3.0 Card
Universal AGP 3.0 Card

and there are quite a few cards matching the description in the
second-from-the-bottom table on the web page.

This web page listed some of the basic stats of the video cards,
but the tables do not include the latest cards. I would think the
main benefit from some of these cards, is the hardware support would
allow more games to install. (Some games turn up their nose, when
the video card doesn't support the latest hardware features. Buying
a really top of the line card, may not do that much for you, with
a 1.7GHz processor. And if you get a powerful enough card, it might
be too much of a load for your power supply. )

There are 226 AGP 4X/8X video cards for sale here:

This card is pretty close to the top of the line for AGP, but seems
to be a bit of a porker ($299). I think this would be a rather
absurd choice for your upgrade, as a 1.7GHz processor will not be
able to feed it fast enough, to gain much benefit from it. Things
that are GPU bound, like say the antialiasing settings, might benefit
a bit. But overall, you might be disappointed in what the $299 buys
you with your current platform.

This card is a 6200 AGP, and according to the web
page, supports DirectX 9c in hardware. While the card is not
a barn-burner speedwise, it will help your computer pass the
"smell-test" when a game installs. It is only $40. I use a
similar approach on one of my machines, and used an FX5200 to
run the BF2 demo (all settings low-low-low :-))

For benchmarks, you can start here:

This page attempts to put many of the benchmarked cards on the
same chart, but you have to be real careful to make sure you
are dealing with PCI Express or AGP cards.

This article compares power consumption for many popular video
cards. A 6600GT for example, would draw about 4 amps from the
12V rail. The 6600GT AGP uses an HSI bridge chip - no one would
really care, except that if/when you want to fit an aftermarket
video card cooler (because the fan on that card is so loud), it
is hard to find a cooler that fits. I did see a product offered
recently to do the job, but they are still hard to locate.

Maybe your budget will set some realistic bounds on what video
card you end up buying. I wish I knew of a way to relate processor
speed, to the best matching video card. As the others in this
thread have pointed out, there is a point of diminishing
return, in sinking a lot of money into an older platform.
Ending up with a bunch of new components you cannot easily
reuse, is not the best place to be.


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Re: advice with upgrading pc

David wrote:
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Here's the CPU support list.

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