Upgrading an old computer

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Calavera
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Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Tue May 23, 2017 5:13 pm

I've got this older computer that a family member of mine uses for their everyday computer. It has a Athlon 64 X2 @2.8ghz 5400+ Black Edition, 3GB of ram, a Radeon HD3870 GPU. The motherboard is a A780GXE/128M.

Now I know you are reading those specs and thinking "damn that thing is an antique". But honestly is does everything it needs to just fine, I even loaded up a couple of Wii games on Dolphin and it ran them at 100 percent. Now to be fair they were some of the less demanding titles but I was still impressed.

So it really doesn't need any upgrading for what it is used for, but if I could add some extra power to it for cheap then why not? :ocool:

The fastest CPU it will support is an Phenom II X6 @3.3ghz but those damn things are still selling for around $120! A Phenom II X6 @2.7ghz is around $50 but I'm still trying to go cheaper. I'm seeing Phenom II X4 @2.8ghz for about $25. Not too bad and I'd imagine it would be a pretty big improvement over the 5400+.

The current ram like I said is 3gb. It is 2gb of this https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... 6820231099 and 1GB of some random crap I threw in it years ago just to give it an extra gig. So the G.Skill is running in single-channel mode and not even at 800. I believe it is at 667 as that must have been what the random stick was. So one of my questions is, would I be better off removing that random 1gb stick and running the 2GB of G.Skill in dual-channel at 800? Looking on Ebay it seems I might be able to pick up another 2GB of DDR2 800 for around $5-$10. So ideally that is what I'd like to do.

So in the end what do you think? Is it worth around $35 to go from a 64 X2 2.8ghz to a Phenom II X4 2.8ghz and let's just leave out that random stick and say going from 2GB of DDR2 800 to 4GB of DDR2 800?

No saying just buy a whole new computer! Like I said it works fine as is, and the person using it is not going to drop the money for a whole new computer. But they may spend $35 to give it a boost.
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melancholy
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by melancholy » Tue May 23, 2017 8:03 pm

Getting the RAM upgrade is a good idea because 2GB gets filled pretty fast in Windows. The processor is probably only going to be worth it if they do stuff other than web browsing. The better upgrade depending on their use is to throw in a SSD.

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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by OrangeRibbon » Tue May 23, 2017 9:46 pm

Pretty much what Mel said, SSD. I just put a Sata 2 SSD in my brothers Vista laptop and it feels like a new machine.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Wed May 24, 2017 7:27 am

Yeah an SSD and a little more RAM would probably be the best option. The CPU really isn't holding it back, it was fine at 2.8ghz but it was easily overclockable to 3.2ghz so I'll leave it there cause why not? I checked that random RAM stick and it is actually DDR2 800 so that is good.

Anyways the computer hasn't been cleaned out in years, and I mean many many years. So today I figured I'll clean the heatsink off and re-apply the thermal paste. It wasn't running hot, but higher than it should with the cooler it has on it. I took some pictures of it, you could say it was just a bit dusty.

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Looks a bit different after being cleaned up. :olol:

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Wed May 24, 2017 9:25 am

After cleaning the heatsink out I figured I'd mess around with overclocking a bit more just for fun to see if it could go any farther. Back when I had this PC I ran it at 3.2ghz and remember not getting it to go much further. Well today I had it up to 3.42 stable :whoa: I did have to bump the vcore up a bit to reach that so I won't be leaving it at 3.4ghz but I was pretty impressed it could do it. That's a 600mhz increase from stock. I got a little crazy and had it all the way up to 3.52ghz and it would load into Windows fine but upon running prime95 it would hard lock.

Right now I've got it at 3.25ghz with the RAM at 807mhz and it is stable so I'll just leave it there. Again there was really no reason to do all this, I just find it fun. "thumbsup
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Big Boss Man » Wed May 24, 2017 5:23 pm

Interesting topic. The specs of the PC are actually not so bad and in comparison to an introductory type PC you can get here. I assume it's from about 2008/9 time?. I think a lot of programs work on the low end PCs. IIRC a N64 emulator run on a Windows ME PC on 64MB of Ram. It actually ran quite while too. I think if I tried to update it say to even a 1GB of Ram it might balk at it. Plus I tried to add a bigger HD and it basically reset Windows and ran like a security check or something similar so that would have been a great anti theft type feature.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Fri May 26, 2017 6:51 pm

Big Boss Man wrote:Interesting topic. The specs of the PC are actually not so bad and in comparison to an introductory type PC you can get here. I assume it's from about 2008/9 time?. I think a lot of programs work on the low end PCs. IIRC a N64 emulator run on a Windows ME PC on 64MB of Ram. It actually ran quite while too.
It is from 2007-2008 but close enough. I remember probably around 2000-2001 running an N64 emulator on a HP 500mhz with 128mb of ram and being impressed that it could actually do it.
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Big Boss Man » Sat May 27, 2017 4:12 am

Yea I was surprised that it ran on just 64MB Ram. I think if you ran it with texture packs etc on then you'd run into issues.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat May 27, 2017 12:12 pm

Here is another old computer. I picked this up from Goodwill for $20 back in December 2014.

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It was labeled as a "Sony PC" I never understood why they did that until today. The DVD drive says Sony on it. :rofl: So whoever tagged it had no idea about computers. For $20 I couldn't pass it up with that giant case and all those gauges and fans. There is more than $20 just in fans and the CPU cooler which just so happens to be the same Zalman as the dusty one I posted from the other PC. So anyways I've had it for almost 2 and a half years and had never plugged it in. It didn't have a HD and all the power plugs were unplugged inside so I just never got around to messing with it, until yesterday.

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It lights up like a Christmas tree! :olol: The specs are a P4 HT 3.4GHZ, 2GB DDR400, and a ATI X1650. I'm currently putting Windows 7 on it to see how it'll do. I think it should run ok. There is an antenna on the back of the case which I have no idea what it is for. Following the wires from it inside it seems to run into the top gauge bay, so as of now I haven't got a clue. I did discover a switch on the back by the antenna that when you press it changes the LED color on the third gauge bay. Here is a little video I took showing off the gauges.



The only thing I haven't tried out yet is the LCD on the side panel that you can see in the first pic. I didn't understand what the point of it could be, but now I see it has a cable running out the back from the LCD which plugs into the S-video out on the video card. So it would basically act as a second monitor. I still don't see the point of it though. :dontknow" After Windows installed I'll plug it in and try it out.

All in all it is a pretty cool system to mess around with for $20. When it was new though, probably not so much. I'd guess it was built around 2004-2005 and I'd say it easily cost at least $1000. Sure those gauges look kind of cool, but they are ultimately pretty useless. 3 Temp Gauges, a Voltage and VU gauge, Channel Left and Right Audio and an HD activity gauge. Then we have the LCD display on the front panel which tells things like fan speeds and other things including temperature. So that is basically 4 different temperature indicators.
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Dr. Zoidberg
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Dr. Zoidberg » Sat May 27, 2017 2:24 pm

That's a fancy case.

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melancholy
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by melancholy » Sat May 27, 2017 2:29 pm

I remember you posting pics of that back when you got it. I get this weird submarine vibe with all the gauges and the porthole-looking window on the side and the turbine-looking fans on top. Plus that LCD screen is sweet, I wish I had something like that on my PC.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sat May 27, 2017 3:10 pm

melancholy wrote:I remember you posting pics of that back when you got it. I get this weird submarine vibe with all the gauges and the porthole-looking window on the side and the turbine-looking fans on top. Plus that LCD screen is sweet, I wish I had something like that on my PC.
I think it might be cool to have some kind of system monitor on the LCD, but with all those gauges and the front LCD everything is pretty much monitored :olol: I'm surprised the previous owner got rid of it. Sure the board inside is outdated, but that is no reason to throw out the whole case! I imagine it cost some big bucks back in it day. I also forgot to mention it can be powered on remotely. It has a little keychain like remote that has a power and reset button. I haven't gotten it to work but I imagine that just the battery is dead in the remote. I had thoughts before of putting my current PC in it, but it is just so huge, I don't really need anything fancy like that.

I'll probably end up trying to sell it. It is a pretty cool case and all those gauges and stuff will still work if you put in a modern motherboard. I'm still amazed the previous owner would just throw it out like that!
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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Sun May 28, 2017 12:02 pm

Well the LCD works



It's not plugged into the computer, as all my extra HDs seem to be dead. But atleast I know it works
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by ian » Wed May 31, 2017 9:06 am

This is the best thread I have seen this year.
"thumbsup

I rescued a tonne of that era hardware recently, and was forced to give it up, It was the point I gave up on computers. My desktop shat itself a little while back, and I haven't even attempted to fix it, so props on messing around with older stuff. "thumbsup
The English language had deteriorated into a hybrid of hillbilly, valleygirl, inner-city slang and various grunts. Joe was able to understand them, but when he spoke in an ordinary voice he sounded pompous and faggy to them.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:05 am

ian wrote:This is the best thread I have seen this year.
"thumbsup

I rescued a tonne of that era hardware recently, and was forced to give it up, It was the point I gave up on computers. My desktop shat itself a little while back, and I haven't even attempted to fix it, so props on messing around with older stuff. "thumbsup
I'm glad you're enjoying it :osmile: I just like messing around with old computers I find, getting them run as best as they can. Even if I really have no use for the computer afterwards.

I've come across an odd problem with this one though. I had a failing HD in it since it was the only IDE drive I could find laying around. Only 1 time did I actually get into windows 7. Every other time the installer would fail copying files to the HD or I would get an error that Winload couldn't be found after installing.

So the other day I find a 20gb IDE in the backroom so I figure I'll give it a try. Windows 7 installed just fine with no errors, yet when I restart and try to load into windows I get the same error something like "Winload.exe not found, problem communicating with I/O device"
So I think maybe the IDE channel I've got it plugged into on the motherboard is causing so sort of problem. Unlikely but I'll try it. That is where this new problem comes up. When I plug the HD into either of the other 2 IDE ports nothing shows up in the BIOs hooked to IDE. The drive shows up under bootable devices as an SCSI drive. I have no idea why, but it can't be used like that as Windows doesn't even find the drive.

I've never had this problem before, I've messed about with settings in the BIOS but no change. Why would an IDE drive show up as SCSI?
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by ian » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:03 pm

gypsies! that's why.
The English language had deteriorated into a hybrid of hillbilly, valleygirl, inner-city slang and various grunts. Joe was able to understand them, but when he spoke in an ordinary voice he sounded pompous and faggy to them.

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Calavera
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by Calavera » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:15 pm

Here we are a year and a half later and I'm still thinking about putting a Phenom II X4 in that old computer. I'm thinking something like an X4 955 or 965. I have no idea why I want to do this, the person that uses the computer only uses it for youtube and web browsing so it isn't going to really improve anything. I did end up putting an SSD in it because the HD that was in it died. A Phenom II X4 would be a huge improvment from the 5400+, but if nothing is even maxing out the 5400+ then what is the point!

Where the Phenom II X6 CPUs popular back when they were new? I was looking around to see what the best upgrade would be and from what I've seen it looks like the X6s perform basically the same as an X4. Was there even a benefit to having an X6 over an X4 back then, or now? The highest this board can support is a X6 1100T. Looking on Ebay many have sold for $100+! I really can't imagine why somebody would spend that kind of money on such an old CPU. The Phenom II X4 goes for around $30 which when I think about it is still way too high. Those should be like $5-$10. You can get an i5 3570k for around $50 which is obviously going to blow away even the 1100T.


Here is a link to the CPU Support List for the motherboard I have if anybody feels like checking it out
https://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/A780GXE128M/index.asp#CPU
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ian
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Re: Upgrading an old computer

Post by ian » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:49 am

The Phenom 2 X6's weren't popular.. Only people who bought them were AMD fans too silly to go to intel.
The Phenom X4's were much more popular, as they had the right price/performance. But the smartest of the AMD fans went out and bought the right batch of the X3's.

If you were smart about it you'd buy a Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition.
You'd be paying half the price of the Phenom II X4 955 black edition, Then you would unlock the 4th core, and overclock it faster than the 955 anyway. better CPU for half the cost.
The 720BE was the last truly great CPU AMD had until last years Ryzen 7 1700...

Best bang for buck and future proof right now is a 4th gen i5.
Daily use, a 4 Gen i5 will be ample for a long time.

And the used intels are cheaper because there are a LOOOOOOT more of them around.
The English language had deteriorated into a hybrid of hillbilly, valleygirl, inner-city slang and various grunts. Joe was able to understand them, but when he spoke in an ordinary voice he sounded pompous and faggy to them.

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