advice needed!

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by moonstone-7, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. moonstone-7

    moonstone-7 Geek Trainee

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    :confused: Hi! I've been "lurking" for past couple of days reading many posts re upgrading present systems. I'm hoping to upgrade soon as am looking for some impartial and honest advice. I use my current system mainly for internet browsing, word processing and digital photo manipulation (for creating original cross-stitch designs/charts etc). I just want to bring things more up-to-date and, hopefully, speed up some processes. Here are my current specs (don't laugh) :eek: :

    AMD Athlon XP2100+; Lex BN790E Mobo with onboard AC97 audio; 512Mb Samsung PC2100 DDR; Maxtor 60GB 7200 rpm HDD; Nvidia Geforce2 MX 64MB with TV Out; 56k V92 voice/fax modem (PCI); DV Capture card & Firewire(IEEE1394); 400W PSU Mercury (?); Pioneer DVR-106D DVD-RW; ATAPI DVD-Rom 16x; Standard Floppy Drive. OS - Windows XP Home With SP1 & 2

    This is what I have in mind :
    ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe Mobo; AMD Athlon XP3000+ Barton; 512 MB PC3200 DDR (available ready assembled & tested for approx. £190 + VAT)
    + all existing hardware


    Basically I need to know whether this would be suitable and, if not, what suggestions (clean only please ... I'm a newbie here :eek: ) you could make.

    Thanks for your time .... looking forward to your advice ....
    Cheers! LJ
     
  2. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    Well, if you want honest and impartial, I'd tell you your existing system is even a bit overkill for what you are doing. It's really not worth the money for an upgrade for what you're doing, at least in my mind. The only thing that might benefit you would be a RAM upgrade to a gig, due to the photo editing. Even then, you might not notice too much of a difference. Why do you want to upgrade?

    -AT
     
  3. Addis

    Addis The King

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    A faster CPU and more ram would probably give you the best increase. But even that won't make much of a difference as image editing doesn't saturate the bus unlike heavy gaming. If really want to upgrade then get a faster CPU.
     
  4. moonstone-7

    moonstone-7 Geek Trainee

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    Thanks for your replies guys. Really appreciate the advice.
    Reason for upgrading - I think my mobo is failing ... system crashes for no reason ... sometimes will boot ok .. more often one long bleep & no response. Have checked that everything seated OK on board. Tested memory. Recently replaced PSU from 300W to 400W. All drivers checked & OK. Still get problem. When system does boot up OK I can work without any probs at all ??? :confused: Someone told me that they think my mobo could be at fault. If this is the case, I'd rather take the opportunity to upgrade now & have a system that'll keep me going for a few years (if poss). I don't use system for gaming - too much of an old fart for that these days as had to take early retirement due illness :( Now pretty much housebound so rely on my computer for access to the "outside world". Use an Epson A3 printer (1160) & Canon Scanner (N1240) - both on USB - quite frequently; edit digital videos & photos; main use is Internet access. Monitor is LG Flatron 915FT+ (19"). Have a budget of around £300 max. Hope this helps. Really appreciate your time - thanks. :good:
     
  5. Sniper

    Sniper Administrator Staff Member

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    I think you have good system for your main use! but getting a faster system will obviously speed up things when editing digital videos/images etc

    You suggested system is quite good
    maybe something like
    also have a look here, for the PCWCC discount!
     
  6. Big B

    Big B HWF Godfather

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    It sounds like a memory error from what I can tell. I love my A7N8X-E, but I'm with Anti-Trend on that the proposed upgrade is going to do very little for you, except drain your funds.

    As far as power supplies go, wattage doesn't mean much. I have an Antec 350W that's better than some 500W power supplies. The amperage on the 3.3V, 5V, and 12V rails is key. Higher amps=good, and thats what you should look at. If that's a little confusing, you want a heavy power supply, since these are using more components to give good, clean voltage. Personally, I use Antec and Sparkle power supplies, but there are some other good brands out there.

    But first, I'd look into replacing the RAM. Although you should be able to get a replacement stick from Samsung, this will probably leave you with a non-working computer for a few weeks. You could always get this: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-141-424&depa=1
     
  7. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    I'm with B about the RAM on this one. Although, I might test it out first with Memtest86 to make certain it is the RAM which is at fault.

    Also, I think Sniper pegged it dead-on as far as upgrades are concerned. If you do want to upgrade, which I personally don't feel is entirely necessary for you, Snipe's more conservative recommendations will offer great performance and will be substantially easier on your pocketbook.

    -AT
     
  8. moonstone-7

    moonstone-7 Geek Trainee

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    Thanks for all the advice guys. I'm going to run Memtest86 through the night to see whether I have faulty RAM. Will let you know results. Cheers!! :good:
     
  9. harrack52

    harrack52 Supreme Geek

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    You should run all the tests. For that, you will need to configure it as it only runs 7 out of the 11 tests by default.
     
  10. moonstone-7

    moonstone-7 Geek Trainee

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    Thanks everyone for great advice - much appreciated!!

    OK, ran Memtest86 (all 11 tests) on Tuesday/Wednesday
    No probs found with memory :good:
    Does this now indicate a mobo problem?
    Still experiencing intermitent/random boot up probs as described previously.
    If no damage being done to system I can "live with" this...

    Also, I'm considering a cheap uninterruptible power supply (ups) as live in village with frequent power fluctuations (not surges usually). System fully surge protected but still prone to repeated boot-ups when power drops (4 times in 3 hours last night).

    Any advice gratefully received - thanks.
     
  11. Big B

    Big B HWF Godfather

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    Yeah, that wouldn't be a bad investment in your case. Look into an APC unit. They have good stuff, and if there is a problem they are on the ball.
     
  12. moonstone-7

    moonstone-7 Geek Trainee

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    Thanks BigB ... actually been looking online at the APC CS 350 / 500
    Think I may invest in one of these in near future.
    Cheers! :good:
     
  13. ProcalX

    ProcalX all grown up

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    Pretty much everything has been covered that needs to be, however i'd like to suggest this:

    1.Your processor is a 2100+ which runs at 266mhz bus speed, i would keep your processor as its more than enough for what you do, if not more.

    2.Increase the amount of ram, if not buy faster ram, buying faster ram would enable you to freely upgrade your processor in the future without having to change the ram as well.

    3.The Asus motherboard you have suggested has a fantastic reputation as a great motherboard. - which it is.

    Personally if your into graphics / photo manipulation e.t.c, and under your circumstances i would suggest this (summary):

    1.Keep your: Processor / Hard Drive / Powersupply / Monitor / Graphics Card / Any Extra Peripherals.

    2. Look into purchasing the Asus motherboard and faster ram. (the highest your new motherboard supports which off the top of my head is PC3200 (400mhz Bus) (if possible purchase 512-1024mb) (2 sticks preferably).

    3. The APC range of UPS's are very good, i run and maintain 4 of them, 1 350mah, 1 500mah and 2 1000mah. The 350mah usually lasts (whilst in full use (running off battery) for around 10-15 minutes - if only one pc is using it).

    So including: Motherboard / Max 1GB PC3200 / 350mah UPS your looking at around £200-£300 i believe (off my head) if you have any money left over that you would like to invest in anything PC wise.. i would possibly think of getting a DirectX 9 compatible graphics card, as this would help you photo wise.. (espeically if anything 3D is going on / or large projects). (nothing major perhaps a ATI 9200SE 128mb (around £25 +p&p)

    sorry for long post, im getting rather renound for it now i believe lol, however check out: www.ebuyer.co.uk - very good guys and very good prices.

    :good:
     
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  14. moonstone-7

    moonstone-7 Geek Trainee

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    :good: Just wanted to thank everyone who replied - your advice has been brilliant!! Thanks. I'm just about to order the Asus Motherboard, 1GB PC3200 DDR Ram and 9200SE graphics card.
    Will keep you posted how I get on "assembling" etc .... no doubt will soon be pestering you again for further advice :eek:
    Cheers guys!
     
  15. moonstone-7

    moonstone-7 Geek Trainee

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    New build update : Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe Mobo with Xp3000 Barton & 1GB PC3200 RAM. All now assembled in case with new SATA HDD (Western Digital WD160JD). Initially had prob with NO POST but resolved after locating advice on forum. Now installing Windows XP Home SP1 after installing ASUS Silicon Image SII 3112 SATRAID Controller (pressed F6 etc during initial setup).
    Fingers crossed now that all goes well with driver installation etc.
    Thanks to all for their help .. you guys are BRILLIANT!!! I'd never have had the confidence to begin my first build without your support..... Watch out for yet more stupid questions from me in near future.
    Thanks again. Cheers!! :good:
     

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