View Full Version : Upgrade advice

2nd February 2001, 08:37
I'm wondering which element of my system to upgrade to improve performance. I have:

G400 16MB SH vanilla
500 Mhz Celeron @66
Epox LX Motherboard, 66MHz only
192 MB 66MHz SDRAM
SBLive running APSLive drivers
6 GIG IDE system drive

And a limited budget ! ( Say, 150 max )

The limitations I am seeing at the moment are in games like System Shock, Thief 2 and Deus Ex - all of which have dodgy engines, I know, but the symptoms seem likely to be related to my system. ( And a few more FPS in Q3 are always welcome, anyway ;-) However I also use my PC for music, so if I could get a general improvement in system performance while I'm at it...

So, given that I can't justify an entirely new setup, what should I change first ? A new motherboard would allow a faster FSB speed, but I'd have to buy new RAM to cope, hence going over-budget. I could get a 766 Celeron, but maybe the rest is holding me back too much for this to be worth it ? Plus a Duron would give me better bang for my quid. Reducing my RAM latency from 3 to 2 in the Bios gives a nice boost to performance, but I start getting instability, which doesn't go down well with the family, so maybe I should just buy 128MB of PC133 memory and solve that ? Maybe a new hard disc ? It'll make everything seem smoother, and the space would be nice, but probably won't help much with games performance.

Or... sharp intake of breath - should I get a GeForce 2 MX ? Nice for games but no improvement at all in the overall system performance.

Any opinions about which of these will be most satisfying for the outlay ?


2nd February 2001, 09:38
Phew with a budget of only 150 you haven't too many options. The G force card might get you a few more fps, but if I were you I would get in touch with technical help, say creative labs or guillemot who both do G force cards and make sure your Mobo can handle the load required before shelling out your hard earned. There are quite a few ageing mobos that cannot handle these cards.
The other option which is far cheaper, unless it goes pear shaped is to overclock the hell out of your processor, just make sure you have stacks of cooling. Lots of folks successfully o'clock celerons to quite high levels.
Do a search in google.com under overclocking, there is loads of stuff on the subject.
The other option is to save your pennies and go for a new system or just wait a while as there are bound to be faster systems than yours but slightly dated coming up for sale at various outlets.
This doesn't help really but here in the UK just for a new Mobo and say 850mhz cpu you gotta be looking at approaching 300.

Best of luck.


2nd February 2001, 09:48
Hmm, you could get a cheap FCPGA MB (with the option of running the memory at FSB-33 MHz for safety) and a Celeron II. And then clock it for what it's worth.


2nd February 2001, 11:14
How about nothing? If you're tight on cash, you probably are better off spending it on something other than better gaming. If gaming really is your priority, consider holding off until you have more funds available to upgrade MB/RAM/CPU, then graphics card.

2nd February 2001, 21:05

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">Do a search in google.com under overclocking, there is loads of stuff on the subject.</font>
or ask right here! http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif Many of us (myself included) know more about overclocking/cooling than virtually any/all hardware sites on earth! (not kidding)

2nd February 2001, 22:14
personally for performance i would say a faster and larger harddrive would do you the most good. prob is that mo'board probably only supports dma/33 so maybe a you might wanna find an add in card for raid 66 or 100 dma plus an inexpensive harddrive
... if you brought that 150.lbs http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif to canada you could get away with it http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif
what speed and make is the 6gig HD?

MSI K7TPro2 Duron 750@900
256Ram G400DH32mb
Pioneer SCSI 16xDVD

3rd February 2001, 00:09
I'm with xortam. There's not much he can do with that LX-based platform. I think mrtones should save his money and do absolutely nothing until his limited budget increases.

Then I think he should buy components similar to windigo's system: an MSI K7TPro2/Duron 750/PC133-based platform. Of course, if the KT133A chipset motherboards come down in price and fit into his budget, he should go for one of those.

These are US prices. I have no idea of the "VAT consequences":

MSI K7TPro2 - less than $120
Duron 750 MHz - less than $70
128 MB Crucial PC133 "7E" - ~$58 (Yippee!)
Taisol Heatsink w/Delta 30 CFM fan - ~$30

Total: Less than $280 or 191 (1= $0.68034) sans VAT and differences in pricing. My point is a "night and day" transformation can be accomplished with just a little more money.


3rd February 2001, 00:14
Geeeeez. I always forget something.

Antec 300W Power Supply - ~$50



3rd February 2001, 00:29
I don't know about the rest of the world, but in here Denmark the Soltek SL-75KAV KT133A board is cheaper than most other KT133 (not A) boards.
I'm very happy with mine, but have yet to check if it has the famous JP 17 (the jumper to set FSB/PCI ratio), running at 133 MHz FSB with AGP@89 and PCI@44 without any probs, and I can't be bothered to open my case until my new CDR arrives http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

5th February 2001, 09:35
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the ideas. Paul's answer got me interested, so I did some very quick hunting, and came up with ( inc.VAT ):

Abit KT7 108 ( or Asus A7V 122 ? )
Duron 750 59
Cube ( ? ) SDRAM PC133 128MB 44
Heatsink & Fan approx 30
300 W PSU approx 40

Total 281 - so the combination of VAT plus US prices makes the deal a little less attractive. It's less a question of the money not being there, btw, than - am I prepared to spend that much on upgrading at this stage ?

Anyhow, it suprised me how cheap RAM is, and got me thinking. How about if I got ( say ) a P2B mobo for around 100, 128MB of PC 133 RAM and overclocked my Celeron 500 ? Then I could get a faster PIII or Celeron at a later stage - yeah, less bang for my buck, but also I only have to spend 170 now ( including heatsink & fan ) ... is there any milleage there ? I've never done any overclocking, so how far might I expect to push a 500, and what's the difference between a Celeron I & II ?

Windigo, the hard drive is a Seagate, Barracuda I think, ie. 5200 rpm probably, ie. slooow. Would DMA33 negate the benefits of a faster HD ?

Thanks again for the suggestions,


6th February 2001, 17:04