Is it worth me upgrading my ancient computer?

  DIYgirl 19:58 15 Jan 04

I posted a query earlier called "MS Office 97/Word query" which has now been resolved.

However, one poster on that strand suggested that I upgrade my computer. Is this worth it? What sort of upgrade should I go for? How much would it cost me? Would I be better off shelling out for a new computer, bearing in mind the age and general decrepitude of the one I am using right now?

Here are all the details (in no particular order) that I can find about this clanking old machine.

Dell Dimension, bought in October 1999.
Running Windows 98. I use mostly MS Office 97.

XPS T500 440BX PIII (apparently!)
13.6GB HDD
128mb SDRAM memory (which I had upgraded a couple of years ago but I can't remember how much by)
Creative Labs SB Live Value Sound Card
16MD 3DFX Voodoo III AGP
US Robotics V90 Global PCI Modem

That is what I found on the receipt for it (not that I am obsessive about keeping bits of paper). There is more but it does not seem relevant--stuff aobut bundled software and the (lack of) speed of the DVD drive etc.

Let me know if my computer is going to be significantly better if I upgrade, and what I should consider. I am mostly interested in speeding things up because on the odd occasion that I have cranked it up to use Dragon Dictate the thing chugs along like Thomas the Tank engine, and I manage to process about 1,000 words in 90 minutes. Not good compared to my typing, which is fast if erratic.

  bremner 20:04 15 Jan 04

If a machine does what you require it to then there is no need for an upgrade.

However you have identified that it doesn't. IMHO an upgrade on a Dell machine of that age is not a cost effective solution when you consider what you can now buy for as little as £500.

For example click here and there are other similar offers around.

  kakellie 20:19 15 Jan 04

If your just uing it to run office 97 ther should be no problems try deleting old files and files you don't us and defragmenting your hard drive.

  DIYgirl 20:24 15 Jan 04

I delete stuff regularly and defrag every few weeks. It rarely gets to below 95% optimised. It runs Office 97 fine, the only problem comes when I try to use Dragon Dictate then it is just not up to the job. Despite all my housekeeping!

  Kitz E Kat 20:38 15 Jan 04

Dunno, sounds OK to me for what your doin, you could throw a bit more memory at it, it's so cheap, it's easy to do ....

Id have a go at that first and see how Dragon works...

Good luck

If you go into control panel and then system it might tell you how much RAM you have installed. You can then compare that with the Dragon system requirements or recommendations (if they are on the box).

Only thing about buying more memory is will you be able to use it in a new machine if it alone doesn't help to make Dragon work more effectively?

  Taran 21:20 15 Jan 04

I still have two old systems [AMD K6 3 @ 450 MHz, 128mb RAM, 16mb Voodoo 3000 graphics, 10 gig hard drive, etc] which, despite your use of the word "decrepitude" [I like that one by the way] serve admirably in their respective roles.

One of them is primarily used for programming Office 97 and 2000 applications and the other runs SuSE Linux like a little rocket and gets some daily hammering with PHP, MySQL and Apache web server tasks.

As others have suggested some additional memory may help, but voice dictation software is very resource hungry at the best of times and I've seen some pretty hefty systems stutter now and then while running it. It is perhaps the cheapest and easiest upgrade you could do though.

Upgrading is a minefield: your current system is more or less stuck as it up to a point. You could up the processor slightly but finding a suitable CPU and then paying for it is something else entirely. Last time I tried to source P2 and P3 chips it was cheaper to buy the latest kit than it was to mess around with the older hardware.

If your only glitch is the voice dictation software I'd stay as you are and save your money. It seems like false economy to upgrade a system so you can talk to it, unless you have serious problems typing [disability or infirmity] I just don't see the point.

If I had a pound for everyone who runs a 3 gig CPU computer and uses it to type letters, send emails and surf the web...


  y_not 21:29 15 Jan 04

when a Mini will get you there?

If it ain't broke why fix it?

A new PC is nice but tomorrow it will be out of date and, if your PC does what you want in a timescale thats acceptable to you, I see no good reason to change it.

Save the money for tomorrows latest, greatest PC!

  TBH1 22:40 15 Jan 04

just wop a little more memory in there - - - it ain't gonna hurt and it ain't gonna cost a lot; try a 256mb stick - -or maybe 512 - - you will notice the difference.

  plsndrs3 22:43 15 Jan 04

I tend to agree.

The only issue you seem to have with your PC is voice dictation and additional RAM is very unlikely to give you the improvement that you may be expecting.

The fact is that if this is the only reason you are looking to upgrade, then I would recommend the old-fashioned way of using a keyboard. However, if you are looking to 'future-proof' your PC [what a load of cobblers that statement is :o)] then you would do better, IMHO, to simply upgrade to a new PC at the current low prices.

I guess at the end of the day the question to ask yourself is: 'Do I really want to/need to spend hundreds of pounds at the moment on my PC when I will only benefit from th voice recognition program' - and only you can answer that.



  Sheila-214876 22:43 15 Jan 04

I agree with all the above. It seems your only problem is with the Dragon software, but you say your typing is pretty good. So why bother to dictate? My typing speed is 70wpm but I still talk to my computer (not very nice words sometimes) but it never takes any notice of me. If you really want to upgrade try this site for some good prices. click here and look at Systems and Bundles.

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