I need advice on upgrading my sysytem, plz HELP!

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Hi everyone,
I've been lost for a while and have not been albe to keep up with
trends. My computer has been rebooting for no reason lately, I think
it's the m/b or Windows trying to con people into upgrading to Vista.
I"m considering just buying a NEW DELL for around $800, but I think
upgrading is a better use of that money.
I do mostly gaming, Warrock, Thief and similar, some photo editing and
movie watching, the rest is basic computer use.

This is what I have:
Maxtor Hard drive : 6L200R0
Maxtor Hard drive : 6L300R0
NVIDIA GeForce Ti 4200
Plextor CD-R PX-W8432T
Standard Floppy Drive
Logitech QuickCam
Standard USB Kybd
Logitech Cordless USB Opitcal mouse
MSI 865PE NEO2-V 478 m/b
Intel P4 CPU 2.20 GHz
SB Audigy sound card
CASE: I think it's an ANTEC- about 2-3 yrs old

Thanks for any input and advise you guys can offer.

Re: I need advice on upgrading my sysytem, plz HELP!

nospamplz@ibm.com wrote:
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GIGABYTE GA-G31M-S2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX  $67
Northbridge doesn't have a fan, so a downward blowing
CPU cooler would be a nice addition.


2x1GB RAM DDR2-800 CAS5 $45

Q6600 2.4GHz Quad (OC to 3GHz), OEM (needs cooler), Power ~ 119W,  $260
The retail one is a few dollars more, but the Intel cooler isn't
really that nice.

A cooler. There may be better ones around. This one doesn't
solve the Northbridge cooling issue, so you'd still need
an extra fan for the Northbridge.

ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink - Retail $45

EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 Video Card $250

67 + 45 + 260 + 45 + 250 = $667

You didn't post your existing power supply, and it may be
possible to reuse it. You don't absolutely need a 24 pin
supply. You can use a 20 pin supply in a 24 pin connector.
If you had an SLI motherboard and definite plans of doing
SLI, that is when you'd look for a proper 24 pin power

So, yes, $800 would cover it. Even with another power supply.
I could have shaved a few more dollars off. There is a
cheaper Asus video card, but one reviewer said the heatsink
was glued to the GPU. And that is a deal breaker, because
you may need to replace the whole cooler some day. Fans
don't last forever, no matter how high the quality.


Re: I need advice on upgrading my sysytem, plz HELP!


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Unless Windows was set to reboot on error, it would seem
likely the PSU is going bad (else the board), so in the
interim it might be good to check that so if it needs
replaced it would regain stability and greatly reduce
headaches in the new build.

Re: I need advice on upgrading my sysytem, plz HELP!

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    If OP goes with suggested hardware he will definately need a GOOD 550W
PSU (not $50 no-name). There is good chance that present PSU is failing.


Re: I need advice on upgrading my sysytem, plz HELP!


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The cheaper Asus card appears to have only 256MB memory,
which some would say disqualifies it in this performance

Beyond that, I wouldn't put much stock in some of the things
Newegg reviewers write, it is not likely to be glued on.
Perhaps it uses a TIM pad instead of grease so it seems
glued on, just needs taken off while the video card is hot
(might be as easy to point a hair-dryer at the 'sink and let
that heat it up instead).

Fans are definitely the weak link on most video cards though
on the Asus 'sink design it looks as though it wouldn't be
hard to mount a regular full framed fan after taking off the
black plastic shroud around it, though a framed fan might
not sit into the recessed area of the 'sink fins so it would
be a bit taller, maybe even tall enough to block another
card slot depending on the thickness of the replacement fan.
With a little bit of creativeness even this could be
overcome, if the fan were cut out of the square frame and
only the center support struts remained then those could be
nylon wire-tied to the adjacent 'sink fins.  <sigh> it seems
there's always something to hack at to get it to work long
term when it comes to video card fans.

Re: I need advice on upgrading my sysytem, plz HELP!

First, Thanks for the replied.

Paul: I'm assuming youo selected these items so they can be
over-clocked? That's cool, where will I get the needed info to do
the over-clock?

I need a recommendation on a replacement power supply.

Thanks again for the info!!!

Re: I need advice on upgrading my sysytem, plz HELP!

nospamplz@ibm.com wrote:
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If you get a G0 stepping processor, I understand some Q6600 G0
overclock to 3GHz at stock voltage. You might not even need to
bump up Vcore at all (and shouldn't unless it is necessary).
Prime95 can be used for stability testing.

Overclocking, involves turning up the input clock to the processor.
Say the input clock is 266MHz. You set it to 333MHz instead.
Since the chipset may also be clocking the memory using that same
clock as a source, you also should turn down the memory setting
a proportional amount. Say you own DDR2-800 memory. DDR2-640
would be lower by a factor of 1.25. DDR2-667 is the closest
equivalent in the BIOS menu. Then, when the CPU clock increase
is applied, the actual operating rate of the DDR2 memory will
be slightly above DDR2-800. (CPUZ, from cpuid.com, can be used
to verify the actual clock rates, but that is a Windows only

To increase the suspense, you overclock in small steps. For example,
you might start at stock 266Mhz first, and increase in 5MHz steps.
That way, you might detect errors, without crashing the machine.
Proceeding slowly, is used if you are worried about the side
effects of a system crash (i.e. overclocking while using
your Windows boot drive).

That is the basic recipe. There are plenty of references on the
web about overclocking. Some sites have forums dedicated to the

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums /

Overclocking can corrupt your Windows hard drive install. First,
make a clone of the drive. (Buy a new drive - copy the contents of the
old drive.) Then, we won't be seeing any sad stories in the newsgroups
here, about "how can I get my data back". You can find drives now
for $50, and it is well worth it. The hard drive manufacturer's
web site, will have a downloadable package for copying the old
hard drive to the new one. (I use my old copy of PartitionMagic
for that.)

To test my computers, I use a Knoppix (knopper.net) or Ubuntu
(ubuntu.com) Linux LiveCD to boot the computer. Then I
run Prime95 torture test (mersenne.org) from a terminal window.
The Linux LiveCDs don't need any hard drive to work, and no
software is installed. You just boot the CD and end up sitting in
a Linux desktop. (On Knoppix, the "toRAM" boot option, will actually
transfer the whole CD to system RAM, so you can have a computer
running with no rotating media at all. That allows the CD to be
ejected.) If there are no crashes in Linux, after some thorough
testing, then you can boot your Windows installer CD while your
Windows hard drive is connected, and do a repair install. The
repair install will give an opportunity to fix driver issues etc.

Also of note - when I give a list of components, it doesn't mean
I've double checked for all the compatibility etc. Note that the
motherboard I suggested, only has one IDE connector, suited for
two storage devices. It also has SATA ports, but you might not have
any SATA drives currently. I selected the motherboard because
it was cheap, and because a review said a Q6600 runs in it. The
motherboard makers web site will have a CPUSupport web page, with
an actual list of tested processor types on it. That is an example
of one of your homework assignments. You should also download the
user manual from the web site, and read the entire document. The
only features you can count on, are the features listed in the
manual. Never buy a motherboard, unless you know what you're
getting. I think that motherboard has two RAM slots, which should
be plenty for a basic gamer machine (2x1GB or 2x2GB sticks).

Understand the limitations of what you're buying, before going
further. Sure, there are $200 motherboards with every interface
under the sun on them, but that is more money. I selected a cheap
board, so there'd be more money for processor and graphics card.


Re: I need advice on upgrading my sysytem, plz HELP!

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I think you'd be best off trying to accurately diagnose what problem
it is that you're having before decoding on what to upgrade.  As
others have noted, the PSU is a likely candidate but there are
other possibilities.  I may be tempted to do a clean Windows install
to make sure it isn't a software problem - how straightforward that
is depends on how good your backups are.

I would probably try reducing the set up slightly temporarily as
well - disconnect the CD-R, soundcard, webcam and if possible one
of the hard drives - these won't have a massive effect on your
power requirements but if your PSU is marginal for the load it is
under they may improve things and thus give a better indication of
what is actually causing the problem.

Andrew Smallshaw

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