View Full Version : Computer upgrade advice needed

04-10-2003, 03:20 PM

I have an AMD K6 II 500 MHz processor on a M5SAA motherboard. It has 64 MB RAM, 8.6 gig HDD, and on-board 8 MB video.

I would like to upgrade the computer so that my existing games work better, and I have more space for games and software.

I was considering the following upgrade: 256 MB RAM, 80 GB HDD, 32 or 64 MB PCI video card (not sure if TNT2 or GeForce2 MX or whatever would be best - no AGP slot), and a CD writer. (will cost $500-600 all up)

I would like some feedback please on whether any of these upgrades would not be worthwhile for the price involved. I am especially unsure about what HDD and video card my system will cope with.

Cheers for your help. :-)

04-10-2003, 03:33 PM

Lot of outlay and you will still end up with a dreadfully performing computer.

My advice(for what its worth :D)

Forget about the harddrive for the time being,and for 500 to 600 dollars you can get-

A brand new motherboard
an AMD xp2000+ cpu
a gforce4mx or ati 9200
256mb of ddr

Then sell your old motherboard/ram/cpu in trademe using the profit to buy your nice new harddrive.

A new case would probally be in order as well though.

04-10-2003, 03:57 PM
Hi, Welcome to PressF1 :-)

You know what, I'm going to agree with Metla, unless you want to cut it down to a very fine budget, or you're just keen to get your hands dirty with your hardware.

To be honest, your processor should be fine though with a 32MB Graphics card, provided you dont plan on running UT2003 or newer, as they will need a newer processor.

Take a look at Pricespy.co.nz for some good hardware deals :-)



04-10-2003, 05:59 PM
Buy a new PC and sel lor give away the old one for $600 you can get a decent one off trademe.co.nz

04-10-2003, 06:05 PM
AMD XP 1600+
256MB DDR ram
Gigabyte motherboard VIA chipset
20G harddrive
Geforce 2 MX400 64MB graphic card
10/100M Lan
onboard sound
19" monitor
XP pro installed can also provide some popular software
buy now at $750

04-10-2003, 06:15 PM
what the others seem to forget is you will need new case/power supply, keyboard, mayby even mouse.

firstly what games are you playing? solitare dosn't need much grunt ;-)

might be worth upgrading. the hardrive can be used later on in a new pc. ram upgrade will make a big improvement.

Rod ger
04-10-2003, 06:22 PM
Yes agreed, time to make the big step(over the technology gap that is).
Getting a replacement box may be a good solution, if your monitor is OK.

04-10-2003, 06:26 PM
A very good buy is below current bids in the $800 range
"This computer was BRAND NEW in January 2003. The CPU and harddisk have just been replaced and are BRAND NEW.

CPU: AMD Athlon XP2200+ with heat sink & fan (New + 3 year warranty)
Motherboard: ASUS A7N266-VM nVidia nForce220D AGP slot
Ram: 256MB DDR Ram
Case: Auriga CS-2168E Mini Tower - 300 watt P4 ready ATX power Supply
CD Writer: Asus RW4012A 40XCD-R 12XCD-RW 48XCD-ROM & Nero 5.5
Harddisk: Seagate 40 GB 7200 RPM (New + 1 year warrantee)
Modem: Pragmatic I56PSP/F30 PCTEL 56K Software modem V.90 v.92 Ready
Floppy Drive: 1.44MB Sony
Video: Integrated GeForce 2 graphics processor unit plus AGP 4X slot.
Audio: Integrated Audio Processor Unit with built-in Dolby Digital (AC-3) Encoder
Network: Integrated RealTek 8201L PHY
Case Cooling Fan x 1
Plus all internal cabling for the above"

04-10-2003, 07:15 PM

Thanks heaps to those who have replied so far.

I am fairly happy with the computer for most of what I do with it, so my choices are to keep it as it is for now, or do a few upgrades, trying to keep the cost to a mimimum. I am very reluctant to buy a second-hand computer - I don't feel I have the expertise to deal with any problems that may arise.

I have repriced the options I was considering, and can get the cost down to about $450. A new system would be 2-3 times this price.

The main concerns I had was that my system wouldn't cope with the upgrades, or that the upgrades wouldn't increase the performance enough to make it worth the cost.

I mostly play quite old games (eg Civ II, Crimson Skies, Close combat), most are not very graphics intensive, but I was hoping a new video card might increase the performance, as some of them crash sometimes. Perhaps increasing the system RAM would make more difference?

I would really appreciate some suggestions on what is worth upgrading, and what is not! In particular, are PCI graphics cards good enough to make much difference?

Cheers. :-)

04-10-2003, 08:33 PM
If u are spending about $450 why not spend about the same and get a new mobo, cpu, keep the old hdd, with onboard lan, onboard sound and graphics?? Add some ram.

U can keep ur mouse, monitor, keyb, and perhaps the case and PSU if it is ATX style. U don't need to go 2ghz, u can get slower ones off www.pricespy.co.nz and it would be sig better than having what u have now.

With your plan of a new video card and some more ram, u can get away with $200 or less. No need $450.

04-10-2003, 09:18 PM
>U can keep ur mouse, monitor, keyb, and perhaps the case and PSU if it is ATX style

err......no not really. most socket 7 mobos used at keyboards, a new pc will require ps2 or usb. no current cpu is going to run on the ~200 watt psu those early pc's come out with. in some cases new mobo's won't even fit in the cases and certainly will not have the cooling setup that a new pc will require.

ram would be the first upgrade. add another 128 and you will notice a decent improvement without spending much. if you have the $$$ a pci vid card will help a lot(should be worth the $$), just check you can disable the onboard vid first.

a cheap 20-30 gig hardrive will also help.

if you want to play any late model games i would suggest selling your pc and buying a whole new one.

08-10-2003, 11:34 AM

Thanks to those who have replied to my query.

I have decided to go ahead with the upgrade, but will aim to keep the cost as low as possible, as the advice I've been given suggests the system is not worth spending a lot of money on. I think if I went for a new system right now I would be unable to stop myself over-spending!

So I will start with the RAM upgrade, and add a larger hard drive. If the on-board graphics can be disable I will put in a video card. I think the CD writer will also be useful, and can always go into a new computer later.

Cheers again for all your help. :-)

08-10-2003, 12:26 PM
Do u really need a new hard drive?? If you do not I would save this money. Spending that much more does makes purchasing a new set up box that much more attracitve by comparison. As someone suggested u can get a set up box for $600 or less.

08-10-2003, 12:54 PM
Ya,get an upgrade box.

I could throw together a case,xp2200 cpu,g4mx and 256mb ddr together for ya for a fair bit less then 600 bucks.

08-10-2003, 01:19 PM
i agree with metla do the whole thing at $600 or bit less. U prob won't need a awesome video card for the games u are playing.

Or else just add some ram and a PCI/AGP entry card. If u are going to add a HDD its gonna be pretty close to the $600 figure then why not just do the set up box $600 instead?? In the future if u need a beefier video card u can disable onboard and get one down the road if u get more adv games.

09-10-2003, 03:51 PM
I had already bought some new RAM earlier in the week, so am now committed to the upgrade option for the time being. :|

The games I want to play might work better with the new RAM, so the video card might not be needed.

If I did get a new card it would have to be PCI - no AGP slot. How do I find out the best card my computer could handle?


09-10-2003, 05:08 PM
i would say get a GF MX series. I would not spend too much on the video card given the other parts in ur system. That is more than neccessary. There are people who use a GF MX card on a P4 system and are v happy with it ...

$129 odd www.pricespy.co.nz 64MB PCI.

Get the HDD later and only if u need it. U could clear some space out .. u know those temp files, and those unwanted downloads ..

14-10-2003, 10:45 AM
I've had a look at pricespy. I see the TNT2 and Geforce 2 cards are even cheaper. I guess I want to spend enough to make sure it does the job, but not too much. Would either of these options be OK? And is brand important?

Most of the (new) games I would want to play need 16 MB VRAM - I think if they need more than this my computer won't be able to run them. Many of these also need DirectX 8, and I'm not sure this will work on my computer. If I buy a video card I guess it would also need to be DirectX 8 compatible?

I will also need to find out if the on-board graphics can be disabled first.

I probably do need the hard drive, as I need to replace the one in my older but still used computer.

Thanks for your help. :)