Updating Packard Bell Desktop PC

  TopBloke37 20:09 08 Jul 03

I have a Packard Bell iMedia6185 which is over 2 years old now. The processor (Athlon 1ghz) and 32mb Geforce graphics, 20gb hard drive, are obviously now pretty old hat. I have considered buying a brand new machine or whether to upgrade this. I upped my memory from 128 to 384 a year ago and am now considering the following :-
Western digital 80gb usb2 ext hard drive as extra capacity and a replacement Gainward GF4 MX440 128mg Graphics card. Firstly I want to make sure these components are completely compatible (excuse my ignorance) and secondly would I notice the £200 of difference. I have also considered upping the memory to its 512 threshold, would this be advisable for another £40?
All thoughts most welcome please.

  davidg_richmond 00:42 09 Jul 03

Do you play games? If so you will see the difference a better graphics card brings. Your motherboard supports 4x AGP maximum, which is what your current card is so don't go for an 8x specifically, but more graphics memory will be a huge benefit. I recently added just a 64Mb GeForce MX440 to a PIII 600Mhz that had a 32Mb TNT2, and the difference was quite great. The processor did keep the performance back a little though with recent games.

Why do you wish to go for an external hard disk? You could fit an internal one easily enough, saving you money for more RAM. An 80Gb ext is about £130, whereas an OEM internal about £70. You would need to upgrade to USB2 to use the external one properly too, costing even more (£25-30).

The components you are choosing *should* be compatible (as long as you get the USB2 card for an external disk).

If you want to go a little further with the upgrades, an Athlon 2000 would be about £45, motherboard £40-80, and new case (with bigger power supply needed and fits most motherboards) £40. Internal 80Gb 7200rpm ATA133 HDD about £70, Gainward graphics £55, 512Mb PC2100 £55. In all £305-345 for a much more up-to-date system.

  davidg_richmond 08:53 09 Jul 03

One thing - a full upgrade would require you to purchase a new copy of Windows as the OEM licence you currently have would not allow you to use it on a different setup. This would add to the cost of such an upgrade, but you wouldn't have to worry about that if you're changing just the HDD, gfx and RAM.

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