Upgradeing - where to start?

  jdsdad 21:06 PM 15 Aug 11
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I have a 5 year old computer running on XP with 80GB and 1GB RAM. There is no way I can afford a new computer, so I am looking to upgrade with more memory, extra RAM and possibly add a Graphics Card. Looking to spend as liitle as possible. That is the extent of my knowledge though. I do not know what power supply i have or what type of RAM (DDR, DDR2 or DDR3), or if a GC will even go in. It is a family computer, so basic word processing, web surfing and some very light gaming. Can anyone help me with where to start?? How can i find out what will work with my current "box"??

  Graphicool1 09:47 AM 16 Aug 11

Go here...CLICK HERE Let it scan your system and it will tell you all you need to know about the RAM on it and what you need.

  gengiscant 10:05 AM 16 Aug 11

First of all download and install this: SIW the free version is all you need. once it has scanned your PC then on the left of the page about halfway down you will see in bold Hardware. If you click on motherboard it will tell you what you have,likewise the CPU, RAM and graphics card. when you have this information post it here and we can look at what sort of upgrades you can do. Don't expect to much as 5 years is quite old in computer life. But I am sure we can suggest something.

  jdsdad 11:40 AM 16 Aug 11

Thank you VERY much for replies, here is what i found:

Motherboard: eSys P4M800/775 CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.66Ghz 64bit RAM: 1GB (Max 4GB) DDR currently with PC2100 512mb and PC2300 512mb No dedicated Graphics Card at the moment.

Hope this is sufficient. I have never done upgrades before, but have been reading a lot the last few days. I believe i should be able to get some basic bits for under £100. They may be "slow" by new standards, but way better than what i have. (Not sure i even need a GPU, will it help speed up things like BBC iplayer and YouTube?)

Thanks again, any help greatly appreciated

  gengiscant 12:35 PM 16 Aug 11

Would you say that this was your motherboard? Mobo

  jdsdad 12:42 PM 16 Aug 11

Silly thing to say, but it LOOKS the same. It is definately not Dual Core etc and it only has 2 DDR slots (age obviulsy). The values for Chipset etc match what the SIW scan showed.

  gengiscant 13:50 PM 16 Aug 11

How about this one? Second try

  wee eddie 14:30 PM 16 Aug 11

I have to assume that gengiscant was sending you to Crucial which will cover the RAM possibilities, but remember, you are running XP which is likely to be a 32bit System, so the Maximum amount of RAM that will be recognised is 3.5GB and really anything much over 2GB is going to be a waste.

Graphics Cards: Your MOBO is more likely to have a 4 pin connection than a 6 pin, and you may be lucky and have PCI Slots or possibly AGP Slots. £50, or so should get you a suitable Card that will play the older versions of todays Games. I doubt anything will allow you to play todays Games at a reasonable frame rate. £32 will get the Sapphire Card, that does my business, but I'm really not that demanding, just taking the pressure off the Processor

  jdsdad 12:13 PM 17 Aug 11

gengiscant: that's the one.

wee eddie: I am not looking to play anything "new off the shelf", just take the pressure as you put it.

Thought I would start with getting 2x1GB RAM chips to start with, that would make a big difference immediately I would think. Current HDD is now at 75GB and I cannot find anything else I can instantly remove (36GB of it is photos!!), so think new drive would make it run smoother pretty quickly also (500GB should be plenty).

The scan says I have 1 PCI and 1 AGP, and the board above (Second try) IS the what I have. No idea what PCI and AGP mean though sorry, I really am new to this upgrading lark!

THANK YOU for your replies and help!

  wee eddie 12:46 PM 17 Aug 11

If you keep your old RAM and add the 2GB of new you will maximise your systems ability. However the New RAM will work at the same speed as the Old, if you install both. Use Crucial's Advice Centre and buy from them. It may be marginally more expensive than eBay but their Guarantee is worth that extra.

I do not whether 3GB of Slower RAM is better than 2GB of Faster RAM, but I bought 2GB and installed it with my old stuff. Very happy with the 3GB result.

If your Hard Drive is less than Half Full, adding another HDD will not make any difference. Putting, rarely accessed, Files onto an External Drive is frequently a good move, if the old Drive is filling up.

  gengiscant 13:42 PM 17 Aug 11

'wee eddie'if you had clicked on my link to the mobo you would have seen that it will only support 2GB as 'jdsdad' already has 512MB of PC2300 and 512MB PC2300 adding another 2Gb is not an option.And no I will not be sending him to Crucial, its expensive and gets it wrong to often for my liking.It is a simple enough procedure to discover suitable ram.

Get yourself 2 x 1GB PC2700, PC3200 RAM. Your current HDD is tiny by today's standards so getting a 500GB will be a big leap. Now you can either copy the old drive called cloning which would mean that you could then swap the HDD's and then wipe the 75GB and keep it as a spare. Sounds tricky but its actually quite simple these days. Or you could install your operating system on the new drive, this requires a lot more work, but the plus is you have a PC that is uncluttered so will be that much faster.

As for graphics you have an AGP socket so can pick up a reasonable card for very little.

If you would like me to post links to where to buy various components just say.

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