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Tech Helproom

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Ancient PC; Small Upgrades


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Hi, I'm 15 years old with a sort of low-medium level of knowledge in the hardware are. My dad just gave our old computer, which is absolutely ancient, for my bedroom and said that I can do whatever I want with it and that also means that I am responsible for all finances into this machine.

What I want to do is economically and efficiently upgrade this PC. I've got about £100 to spare.

My Specs are below (PLEASE DON'T LAUGH LOL)

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+ (2.4GHz) WINFAST 6150 M2MA (Motherboard) Nvidia GeForce 6150 (Chipset or GPU?) 2GB DDR2 Memory Windows XP 32bit (which I'm completely fine with)

Could you guys lend me a hand in pointing me to the most cost effective upgrades, bearing in mind that I am child in year 11 and have a very tight budget.Could you also point me towards tutorials on how to go about making these upgrades. Although this is being very ambitious I might want to play some recent games to 30FPS on generally low-medium settings.

Thanks Before-hand. Please don't close the thread because I'm sort of a novice but I couldn't find anything specific enough for me when I searched

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Only thing you really need is a good fast Graphics card with what you already have you need to know what slot is on the motherboard for graphics also if there is a plug on the motherboard for extra power that the Graphics may need

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If you have an AGP slot then this looks good for your set-up, click here You can expand the image to make sure it fits the mobo's socket. Although it says a VGA connection you might need one of these depending on your monitor. Your ram seems ok but you could also visit Crucial and select system scanner to upgrade your ram to 4 GB. Unfortunately 32-bit will see about 3 GB tops but should improve the PCs performance a little bit.

Even after these upgrades I think you will still be disappointed on the machine's performance. I'd be inclined to save up for a better machine with a better CPU, RAM and GPU.

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No mention of PSU. Is it up to the task of a new graphics card?

Agree with radve13's last para.

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KRONOS the First

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Is this your motherboard?

I personally think it would be an excellent learning curve to upgrade one or two components as you will learn so much about the PC inner workings. Whether as rdave13 has pointed out you get any real benefit by is not really the point. Any upgrades can be done relatively cheaply and will go a long way to teaching you about various components and there compatibility with each other.

You might want to have a look to see if you have a GPU in the PCI-E slot if so what is it?

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Fruit Bat /\0/\

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As well as Hardware tweaks try playing with the software to help speed up the machine (always make a backup before adjusting anything).

Slow PC tips to help speed up

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes http://www.malwarebytes.org/ Superantispyware http://www.superantispyware.com/download.html

Free Antivirus software MicroSoft Security Essentials http://www.microsoft.com/security/products/mse.aspx Avast http://www.avast.com/en-gb/free-antivirus-download

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in Crap Cleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok. If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. http://www.blackviper.com/

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels: (Not required if you have SATA drives) Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO. Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the + ) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab - If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at http://forum.digital-digest.com/showthread.php?t=61905 to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 it's a good idea to convert your system drive to the NTFS file system if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage' From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.' Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information. Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd' To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs' So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Drivers Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory Your memory could be failing try memtest

Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. Crucial http://www.crucial.com/uk/ will guide you through the process of selecting the correct memory. http://support.gateway.com/s/Manuals/Desktops/8509270.pdf for a guide to fitting memory.

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wee eddie

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None of us are laughing. To many of us Fogies, what you have is as fgood as it gets!

On a machine of such a vintage you will be as well buying your bits "second hand" on eBay.

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Thanks for all your replies so far! I don't get much time to check this but i'll be back straight after school to read them in more detail.

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