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  1. #1
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    Computer update? (warning, ancient specs)

    Hi there,

    While I'm also looking to buy a new PC.... as soon as the SSD's drop some more in price, I am also considering to give my old, yet trusty, PC a final upgrade to still be able to use it to play, not too demanding games on a LAN. Since I'm not reallly familiar with upgrading hardware (the only thing I ever upgraded was my graphics card, which still performs pretty good), does anyone here got a clue to what I still can upgrade cheaply? Here's the specs:


    Operating System

    MS Windows XP Media Center Edition Professional 32-bit SP3
    CPU
    Intel Pentium D 820
    Intel Pentium D 820
    SmithField 90nm Technology
    RAM
    2.0GB Single-Channel DDR2 @ 266MHz (4-4-4-12)
    Motherboard
    ECS Asterope3 (CPU 1)
    Graphics
    Monitor: Philips 190X (1280x1024@60Hz)
    GPU: 512MB GeForce 8800 GT (XFX Pine Group)
    Hard Drives
    244GB SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SP2504C (SATA)
    Optical Drives
    HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH22LS50
    TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-H652L
    TE3093H RCD318F SCSI CdRom Device
    Audio
    Realtek High Definition Audio
    Power*
    Max 300 Watt (according to the sticker on the thing inside ;)
    Mijn Uitlaatklep - My (Dutch) blog about games, music and more

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Pentium D? whoah!

    Sorry man, can't see a cheap upgrade on that configuration. At least not one where you will see a return on your investment.

  3. #3
    Network Hub Kablooie's Avatar
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    Yeah. Agree++

    A Core2 would fit that socket, but then I'd be worried about the PSU - and if the mobo would even support it.

    Save your money for the new system.
    "Unix is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.

  4. #4
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    Thank you both

    :'(


    And yet this baby (well, grandpa) still runs things like M&B Warband, Dragon Age, The Witcher, Fallout 3/New Vegas and more. But when I recently tried ARMA II.... Ouch. Oh well, I'll save my precious cash for the new rig.
    Mijn Uitlaatklep - My (Dutch) blog about games, music and more

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus laneford's Avatar
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    I have a pentium D.

    :(

  6. #6
    Network Hub DarkNoghri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olero View Post
    Thank you both

    :'(


    And yet this baby (well, grandpa) still runs things like M&B Warband, Dragon Age, The Witcher, Fallout 3/New Vegas and more. But when I recently tried ARMA II.... Ouch. Oh well, I'll save my precious cash for the new rig.
    If it makes you feel any better, I have a much newer processor than you and Arma 2 is still barely playable.

  7. #7
    Network Hub Kablooie's Avatar
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    I like that avatar . . . . (DarkNoghri) . .
    "Unix is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.

  8. #8
    Network Hub DarkNoghri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kablooie View Post
    I like that avatar . . . . (DarkNoghri) . .
    Likewise. Yours is even better, since it sounds like your name refers to Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie.

    I'm not sure if he's on the forums, but Feet posts on the main page quite a bit, and usually uses the mini-tiger of the transmogrifier run.

  9. #9
    Network Hub Kablooie's Avatar
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    I throughly nicked yours for use on Bioshock:Infinite's forums, heh. If you've a presence there let me know and I'll change it.

    oops, thread kidnap, solly, Olero. ummm. yah. Save your dosh for new system, yep yep.
    "Unix is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.

  10. #10
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kablooie View Post
    I throughly nicked yours for use on Bioshock:Infinite's forums, heh. If you've a presence there let me know and I'll change it.

    oops, thread kidnap, solly, Olero. ummm. yah. Save your dosh for new system, yep yep.
    I forgive you, but you made my computer cry :(
    Mijn Uitlaatklep - My (Dutch) blog about games, music and more

  11. #11
    Network Hub Kablooie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkNoghri View Post
    Likewise. Yours is even better, since it sounds like your name refers to Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie.

    I'm not sure if he's on the forums, but Feet posts on the main page quite a bit, and usually uses the mini-tiger of the transmogrifier run.
    Actually it's from "Horrendous Space Kablooie", their comical reference to the Big Bang (and it was actually adopted by astronomers who were also fans of the strip).
    "Unix is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.

  12. #12
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    I also have a Pentium D! And a 70GB harddrive! Fortunately, I'm getting a brand new i7 rig soon though.

  13. #13
    Activated Node PoulWrist's Avatar
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    Well. You COULD look for a used Core2Duo or Quad CPU, and a used or new really cheapo 5-600 watt PSU, I know you can get some decent ones that are dirt cheap. At least here in Denmark there's a brand called "Energon" that has some really cheap PSUs with decent specs. They're not enthusiast class, at all, but they'll get the job done and so far I've used them in a lot of cheap office PCs for a couple of local businesses that come to me for all their hardware needs. Those are still rolling, even the ones that are used ostensibly for 3D rendering nodes where all that mattered was cheap hardware units to get more cores up and running on the rendernetwork...

    So, take a look at ebay, or your local equivalents, and look for Core2Duo CPUs, Quads are still kinda expensive, and compare them to new prices... you can make some pretty good deals there if you're lucky. That'd be my advice for the cheapo upgrade.

  14. #14
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    Somehow I missed your post PoulWrist, but thanks for the info! I think I'll do just that (both the CPU and PSU), along with some better memory (at the same "low" latency), depending on what my frontside bus allows (I think 533 Mhz). I might even add a second harddrive / 2 new ones (in RAID0 if possible? I'm not worried about dataloss and could use the speed)
    Mijn Uitlaatklep - My (Dutch) blog about games, music and more

  15. #15
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    Alright, for a total of 100,- Euro I've ordered some nice upgrades:

    - 2GB 533Mhz RAM kit
    - Core2duo CPU (ebay)
    - Similar 250 GB HDD
    - 530W PSU

    Sure, not that big of an improvement, but a nice final step for this PC I think. Now I'm wondering how RAID0 works. I know it combines the both HDD's and reads/writes on both at the same time, thus increasing speeds (with the higher risk of losing it all). What I don't understand yet, can I just add a second HDD, set them both to RAID0 and that's that? What about the data and OS I currently have on my HDD? Can I just keep that without issues?
    Mijn Uitlaatklep - My (Dutch) blog about games, music and more

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Don't even think about RAIDing non-matched drives, especially if they're not set up for use in RAID. You'll be rebuilding the array constantly.

  17. #17
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMaster View Post
    Don't even think about RAIDing non-matched drives, especially if they're not set up for use in RAID. You'll be rebuilding the array constantly.
    Hmm, they are pretty similar (same brand, size, RPM, connection etc), so I don't see any problem. RAID isn't a new option for HDD's as far as I know, so why should they not be able to be set up for use in RAID?
    Mijn Uitlaatklep - My (Dutch) blog about games, music and more

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olero View Post
    Hmm, they are pretty similar (same brand, size, RPM, connection etc), so I don't see any problem. RAID isn't a new option for HDD's as far as I know, so why should they not be able to be set up for use in RAID?
    Well for example my housemate bought a pair of matched HDDs for a RAID0 setup. However they weren't the "deisgned for RAID" model (which was near enough the same price to within 10, he just hadn't know what the difference in the letters was). This meant that when they were busy, they wouldn't prioritise a certain type of request over what they were already doing. Which in turn led to the array to collapse, and several hours of rebuilding rather than being able to use the PC. Each collapse has a risk of losing data too. Overall, running RAID0 dramatically increases your risk of losing data for a bunch of reasons.

    I also couldn't find any mention of an "Asterope3" on the ECS website, so I couldn't check if it even supports RAID or not. If it does, it will certainly be software-based, which is different to the kind of RAID you get in high end enterprise development. That said, if you want to push ahead and see if you can make it work, and expect to see a good enough performance benefit, go right ahead. I'm certain there's someone on these forums who knows a lot more about it than me and can help you through.

  19. #19
    Network Hub Olero's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation CMaster! I did check if the HDD's supported RAID and luckily, the ECS Asterope3 (which is a HP name, the real name is RC410-M/L) supports RAID 0/1. I don't know if I manage to get it all working, but I reckon if I backup everything and start with 2 formatted drives, it is worth trying. I'm using this old PC to practice PC-building skills a bit. I'm not worried if everything falls apart (well, don't want to burn down the house or electrocute myself ;) since I'll be buying a new PC within half a year anyway. But hardware sure is more complex then I thought (especially compatibility)
    Mijn Uitlaatklep - My (Dutch) blog about games, music and more

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olero View Post
    Thanks for the explanation CMaster! I did check if the HDD's supported RAID and luckily, the ECS Asterope3 (which is a HP name, the real name is RC410-M/L) supports RAID 0/1. I don't know if I manage to get it all working, but I reckon if I backup everything and start with 2 formatted drives, it is worth trying. I'm using this old PC to practice PC-building skills a bit. I'm not worried if everything falls apart (well, don't want to burn down the house or electrocute myself ;) since I'll be buying a new PC within half a year anyway. But hardware sure is more complex then I thought (especially compatibility)
    Good luck with it. Storage performance is often something of a bottlekneck for a lot of applications, so you should see a real performance improvement if it works.

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