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Redeemed
03-13-10, 12:48 AM
So, for my sister's 18th birthday I'm throwing together a computer for her. Considering I sold my A64 FX-60 in the ASUS A8N32 SLi Dlx mobo, with 4GB DDR400 RAM and dual 640MB 8800GTSs to my parents so she could use it for gaming... they wanted this computer to be strictly a "homework" computer.

So, here are the specs to ensure it's used appropriately...

Slot A Athlon 850Mhz
FiC SD11 mobo
768MB PC-133 SDRAM
Addonics ADSA2 PCI SATA-150 RAID controller card
Seagate 250GB 16MB Cache 7200RPM SATA II HDD
Cirrus-Logic VGA

I've installed Vista Ultimate and it actually performs far faster than I expected it to. I stream-lined it as best I could to make it run faster... however I still need to put office 2k7 on here for her, a DVD playing program, internet security software, etc... just thinking this old rig might not be up to it. Just downloading Windows Updates has CPU usage pegged at 100%. :lol:

So, I might "upgrade" her rig to an old AXP 3200 and Gigabyte mobo I've got laying around. Could throw in 3GB of RAM for her and then even put 7 Pro on the rig for her.

However, I do not this rig to appear too snappy otherwise she might attempt to use it in a manner we never intended her to use it.

If I do go through with that upgrade for her, I might upgrade the video card to either a GF2 MX220 (AGP) I've got laying around, or get an after market cooler for a GF4 Ti 4x00 (can't recall whether it's a 4200, 4400, or 4600 :lol: ) and throw that in the rig for her. That'd allow her to use 7 with all the visual features enabled and playback DVD's without issue- while at the same time not offering her enough computational power to do any gaming or such. My parents want the rig they bought from me to be the primary multi-media system. So the less "capable" her computer is, the better... to an extent. :p

I'll post some pics of the build tomorrow when I get in from work, and will update as I progress. :) I thought I might have questions about booting from the add-in SATA card, but I set the BIOS to boot from SCSI and it's working just fine. :) I'm assuming I'd do this on the Socket A mobo if I go through with her "upgrade".

Also- just for craps and giggles, what impact on performance do you think an SSD drive would have on the computer as it's spec'd now? On the AXP 3200 rig? I'd not buy one, but I'm just curious as to how beneficial it'd be. I'd imagine that the SSD would continuously be waiting on this Slot A Athlon 850 to process data, while the 3200 *might* just be fast enough to keep up. What are you're thoughts and opinions on this? :D

Redeemed
03-13-10, 12:53 AM
Computer keeps crashing, and periodically BSOD'ing when I try to DL updates. :lol:

Thinking I might do that "upgrade" tomorrow when I get in from work. I'm gonna' let it run for now, and play some Crysis. :p

CaptNKILL
03-13-10, 01:02 AM
I don't think a geforce 4 will do any video or Windows Vista\7 features. They're only DirectX 8 cards with PS 1.3. It'll work, but you won't get any hardware acceleration in Windows or movie playback and it won't support Aero. Remember, a Geforce 4 Ti is an 8 year old card.

I would give her the 3200+, a gig or two of ram, a reasonably fast hard drive (a 320Gb WD Blue would be perfect) and a GF4 running Windows XP OR, put together a newer low end Windows 7 system with a dirt cheap dual core and intel video to prevent her from gaming on it. :p

It doesn't matter how fast it feels in windows, if it can't play games, it can't play games. Giving her a painfully slow computer will just make her want to throw it out the window once she starts doing a lot of school work on it. :lol:

I put together a very similar system for my mother to get online with (XP 2400+, 1Gb DDR, Ti 4200, XP Pro) and she's happy with it, but it could have used a faster, more up to date hard drive. Personally, I could barely stand using it because it feels so sluggish after using faster computers with newer operating systems for so many years.

Mr Bigman
03-13-10, 01:32 AM
Very cool redeemed, been doing these meself lately with certain pc's retoro and having some fun so hope you get it working rigfhyt.

Redeemed
03-13-10, 01:37 AM
I don't think a geforce 4 will do any video or Windows Vista\7 features. They're only DirectX 8 cards with PS 1.3. It'll work, but you won't get any hardware acceleration in Windows or movie playback and it won't support Aero. Remember, a Geforce 4 Ti is an 8 year old card.

I would give her the 3200+, a gig or two of ram, a reasonably fast hard drive (a 320Gb WD Blue would be perfect) and a GF4 running Windows XP OR, put together a newer low end Windows 7 system with a dirt cheap dual core and intel video to prevent her from gaming on it. :p

It doesn't matter how fast it feels in windows, if it can't play games, it can't play games. Giving her a painfully slow computer will just make her want to throw it out the window once she starts doing a lot of school work on it. :lol:

I put together a very similar system for my mother to get online with (XP 2400+, 1Gb DDR, Ti 4200, XP Pro) and she's happy with it, but it could have used a faster, more up to date hard drive. Personally, I could barely stand using it because it feels so sluggish after using faster computers with newer operating systems for so many years.

I've got the hard drive covered- it's one of these (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148309)
with this (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816318002&Tpk=Addonics) controller card. Should be more than sufficient for her needs.

My logic was this- I want the computer to feel *just* fast enough to handle browsing sites only designed for research (no myspace or anything excessively flashy or such, this means minimal YouTube usage as well), e-mail, using MS Office, and occassionally watching a movie in WMP11.

I want her to have the feeling that if she attempts anything outside of what we want her to use it for she'll regret it by the computer being too sluggish.

However, it may not work that way. :lol:

You don't think a GF4 would be able to playback DVDs? Would it all be the CPU then?

I'm not putting XP on here cause I loathe the OS. :lol: It's gone, it's the past- time to move forward. Furthermore, I would like to use 7 ultimately to take advantage of the "home groups". I'd like her to keep all of her music on my mom's rig, and just accessing on hers over the network.

However, I'm really thinking this 850Mhz Athlon just wont cut it. :lol: It will, however, make a great Linux rig. :)

Redeemed
03-13-10, 01:39 AM
Very cool redeemed, been doing these meself lately with certain pc's retoro and having some fun so hope you get it working rigfhyt.

Thanks buddy. I'm really having a lot of fun. I started out with stuff much older than this. My first "awesome" gaming rig was a slot A Athlon 750, can't remember the mobo, but had 256MB of RAM, Windows 98, and if I recall a Diamond Stealth III S540 PCI 3D-Accelerator with 32MB framebuffer. I loved it cause I could play Delta Force Land Warrior maxed, and it played Half Life rather well as well. :lol:

Ah- the memories of playing Half Life for the first time. I remember in the elevator at the beginning of Blue-Shift I nearly pissed my self cause I thought that scene was so incredibly awesome! :lol:

Mr Bigman
03-13-10, 03:46 PM
Thats the spirit.

I always look foward to haing fun wiht older boxes and doing stuff to them just to see the results and i do play older games too still.

Drolfrawd
03-13-10, 03:53 PM
Wish your sister a happy birthday from Drolfrawd :D

ragejg
03-13-10, 04:07 PM
Thats the spirit.

I always look foward to haing fun wiht older boxes and doing stuff to them just to see the results and i do play older games too still.

That's why I built the two almost-identical socket 939/agp rigs... they still kicked arse at EVERYTHING until America's Army and the Bad Company 2 beta smacked 'em around.

Redeemed, I guess you're disabling Aero? I guess if that's the case, you don't need a full SM3 vidcard (6600+)...

I'm excited to see what you finally end up putting together. I'm even more excited about your 939 AGP build :D.

nekrosoft13
03-13-10, 04:24 PM
with those specs, i think your sister will be upset at you ;)

Redeemed
03-13-10, 07:11 PM
Thats the spirit.

I always look foward to haing fun wiht older boxes and doing stuff to them just to see the results and i do play older games too still.

It's awesome. I've pretty much decided I'm gonna' give her that old AXP 3200+ and either a GF2 MX220, or the GF4 Ti-whateveritis. :lol: I'll just see which of the two cards gives the best performance. If indeed there's zero hardware acceleration cause of them being DX8 parts then it probably wont matter. In that case I'd giver her the GF2 MX220 and keep the GF4 for my self.

I'll keep this 850 Athlon and use it for a Linux box. :) It's old so if it dies I wont be out a lot of money, and it's gonna' be insanely fun to just dabble with Linux and start learning the distros. :)

Wish your sister a happy birthday from Drolfrawd :D

Will do. :lol:

That's why I built the two almost-identical socket 939/agp rigs... they still kicked arse at EVERYTHING until America's Army and the Bad Company 2 beta smacked 'em around.

Redeemed, I guess you're disabling Aero? I guess if that's the case, you don't need a full SM3 vidcard (6600+)...

I'm excited to see what you finally end up putting together. I'm even more excited about your 939 AGP build :D.

That's the build I'm probably looking forward to the most, to be honest. :D However, money is really tight right now- I'm freezing near *all* my spending and putting 100% of my financial efforts into getting out of debt. So this might have to wait a good month or two- but I *know* the wait will be worth it.

My goal for that 939 rig is to have a dedicated game server just for my self and friends, which includes ya'll here @ nvnews. :) I'd figure with it being dual core, oc it to 2.8Ghz, with 4GBs of good RAM it should be able to host multiple games at once. But that's probably a good 6+ months out before I can even consider hosting games. Gotta' build it first, and then learn the software for hosting each game. :p

with those specs, i think your sister will be upset at you ;)

Considering it's nothing out of her pocket, she's rather stoked to be honest. :D

But, if it'd make you feel better you could ship you AMD rig to me and I'll give that to her instead. :D

Mr Bigman
03-13-10, 07:20 PM
939 isn't that retro.

Really retro would be an 1200 Tbird ddr 2100 512 1 gig sweetspot, a 120 gig drive and a Gefoce 3 Ti 500 with glasses and your set.

Working on a retro now as we speak with an Intel based board from Gateway socket 360 and looking for flash to earse the gateway logo and update it and using a gspot for the cpu and an ati radeon 6300 pro and win2k for fun a my sock porn.

ragejg
03-13-10, 07:43 PM
That Geforce 2 will never do anything as fast as the 4ti.

Redeemed
03-13-10, 08:04 PM
That Geforce 2 will never do anything as fast as the 4ti.

Well if Windows 7 wont use it for any hardware acceleration of any kind, then that means everything has to be done in software, which is the CPU. As such, wouldn't the GF2 essentially perform identically to the GF4 in this case, under Windows 7?

Bearclaw
03-13-10, 08:09 PM
I would recommend usingthe 80GB HD I gave you but it died. :(

RIP.

:lol:

Redeemed
03-13-10, 09:03 PM
I would recommend usingthe 80GB HD I gave you but it died. :(

RIP.

:lol:

:lol:

Well, it got it's use before it kicked the bucket. :p

Redeemed
03-13-10, 10:47 PM
So I think I got a configuration I'll stick with:

AMD AthlonXP 2800+
ASUS A7V8X-X mobo
3x1 GB DDR333 RAM
ATi Radeon 9500 Pro 128MB
Addonics 2x SATA150 PCI controller card
Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATAII 7200 RPM 32MB Cache HDD

This actually runs Vista Ultimate incredible well, with Aero enabled. I'm dl'ing the latest catalysts for this card. Pretty impressed so far. Wondering how 7 Pro will run. :D

I was going to take some pics- but it seems the batteries for my camera are dead. They're rechargeable and I've had 'em for probable 3+ years. :lol: I'll try and pick some more up tomorrow while I'm at work. :)

ragejg
03-13-10, 11:06 PM
I thought aero wouldn't run with a non-SM3 video card. :confused:

Redeemed
03-13-10, 11:14 PM
I thought aero wouldn't run with a non-SM3 video card. :confused:

I think it only requires DX9- not SM3.0 specifically.

I'm really impressed with ATi drivers. Last time I used either my GF2 MX220, GF4 Ti, or GFFX 5950U nVidia's drivers only allowed 2D acceleration, no 3D. This 9500, being older than a 5950, has complete support by ATi still. Impressive, I think. :)

System's WEI score is 3.5- only held back by the processor. :p

Redeemed
03-31-10, 01:06 AM
Okay- time for an update:

Specs are pretty much the same, except I swapped the ASUS board for a Gigabyte K7 Triton board I had laying around and dropped her down to 2.5GB of RAM.

Reason for the swap in boards, is I plan on using the AXP 3200 chip in another low-end build for myself, and want to use my Thermaltake 112 Tower Pure Cu cooler on the 3200 for some mild oc'ing... but that cooler will *only* work on the ASUS board. So my little sister got the Gigabyte and another Thermaltake cooler that just clips onto the CPU socket. :)

The reason for dropping the RAM is that I want 3GB in my AXP 3200 build, but to do that had to take a 1GB stick out of hers and replace it with a 512MB.

So far, I've got Windows 7 Pro on here, Norton 360, and Office 2k7 Ultimate installed, all Windows updates and Office updates, and latest drivers across the board and this system is really impressing me for it's age. If I weren't such a gamer I'd have zero problems using such a rig as my main rig. :lol: :o I'm thinking most of the credit goes to this incredibly zippy HDD and excessive (for the rest of the specs) amount of RAM.

Anyhow, I plan to be going over to my parents' place this thursday to set it up for her. I'm pretty sure she'll be more than pleased. I'm also planning on, after my next paycheck (week from this Friday to be precise) placing an order for a new SATA Sony CD/DVD-Burner, and get her some proper case fans. Outside of that it's pretty much done. :)

Windows 7 WEI score, for kicks, is 3.4 because of the CPU; HDD gets 5.9, Gaming graphics is 3.9, Graphics is 4.1, memory is 4.1. :lol: Only thing remaining to do tonight is create a password-protected Admin account and convert her account to a standard one, with Parental Controls set to block any and all gaming... save for *maybe* solitare. :D :p :lol: