|Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2001 - 8:51 am: |
I'm currently running a Gateway 2000 G6-300. It's a PII 300MHz w/ 384 MB PC66 RAM. The video card and sound card are soldered on to the motherboard, but I have already upgraded to a Voodoo3 2000 video card (I don't have a new sound card yet). I'm looking to upgrade to a P4 (somewhere around 1.5 GHz). I assume, along with the processor and motherboard, that I'd need to purchase new RAM, a CPU fan, and a new sound card. Is there anything else I'd need to get that might not still be compatible with a new motherboard (or something I won't have to buy)? Also, is it feasible to upgrade a Gateway motherboard, or have they made them "un-upgradeable" except from Gateway? Also, any suggestions on a type/brand of motherboard to buy (I'm trying to do this as inexpensively as possible)? Thanks in advance!
|Posted on Friday, November 16, 2001 - 4:06 pm: |
Most Gateway motherboards are standard ATX form factor. I can't guarantee that yours is though; only one way to find out...
I would also suggest that if you want to do any online gaming that you upgrade the video card as well. The Voodoo3 is still a pretty decent chipset, but yours is a PCI card, as opposed to an AGP type. Only an AGP card can deliver the full potential of modern applications. Geforce2 MX based cards are around $60 now. That's a lot of bang for the buck.
If money is a big isue, you might consider just upgrading your processor. If your current chipset is an LX, you might be able to drop in a Celeron 533 for $50 or so.
I'm a big fan of Asus and Giga-byte. They are a little more expensive, but they are reliable, well designed, and they have better service and support than most manufacturers. If you want to get the cheapest board you can, ECS seems to have the lowest prices. I would suggest getting a board with as few integrated devices as possible, especially video. At all costs, STAY AWAY FROM PCCHIPS. They are completely worthless.
One of the biggest factors when buying a motherboard these days is what type of memory it will support. The choices are RDRAM RIMMs, DDR DIMMs, and PC133 SDRAM DIMMs. RDRAM is the fastest type (400 Mhz), but it is also much more expensive than DDR or SDRAM. DDR runs at 266 MHz (currently), but it's new, and motherboards that support it AND Intel processors are still rare. The good news is that it's nearly as cheap as SDRAM now. SDRAM is ridiculously cheap these days, but it still runs at a clunky 133 Mhz. The bottom line is that you can save money by sacrificing performance.
Another thing to consider is the Athlon/XP family of processors. They give you more performance for less money than the equivalent Intel. And the motherboards support DDR memory now. My XP 1700 benchmarks very close to the Pentium4 2GHZ, and I only payed $160 for it.
When I'm looking for PC parts (pretty much every day), the first place I look is pricewatch.com You can search online retailers for the best prices based on a number of criteria. The only catch with online retailers is the "shipping" cost. Some of them offer super low prices and then tack on outrageous amounts of money to mail it to you. Buyer beware.