Mythbuntu Box Upgrade?

Mike Lovell mike at dev-zero.net
Sun Sep 21 22:16:28 MDT 2008


Michael Torrie wrote:
> RAM for older machines is quite expensive now, compared to cheap DDR2
> RAM.  Certainly giving your machine 1 GB would be better; maybe someone
> on this list has old ram SIMMs they can sell you cheap.
>   
RAM for really old machines is expensive (i.e. Old 72 Pin EDO or FP 
SIMMs). But I seriously doubt that those are in the machine considering 
that it has a P4. The only memory options for P4 chipsets were Rambus 
(which if this computer has, you are going to be pretty well out of 
luck), DDR and DDR2. DDR memory is a little bit more expensive since it 
is pretty well phased out, but a quick search of newegg.com showed some 
1GB DDR400 sticks for < $30. Doing another search for a 1GB DDR2-667 
showed some results < $20. You definitely need to check to see what 
chipset it has. If it has an 845 series chipset, you can only put up to 
a 512MB stick of memory in. If you have a 865/875 series, you can put a 
1GB stick in. I can't remember what chipset those Dells have though.

Considering the age of the system, that is probably about the best you 
could do upgrade wise. One possibility would be to upgrade the processor 
but your upgrade overhead depends a lot of the CPU socket in the system. 
My guess would be that it was an early Socket 478 system. There really 
isn't much worth it for upgrades if you have a socket 423 system. As for 
socket 478, your motherboard chipset will define what processors you can 
use. If it is an 845 series, you can probably get up to like a 2.8Ghz P4 
(assuming BIOS support) using a 533Mhz Front Side Bus processor. Those 
are getting harder to find. If you have an 865/875 series chipset, you 
should be able to put a P4 with an 800Mhz FSB in although top speed is 
going to depend on the motherboard. I think with the 865/875 series, you 
are going to be limited to a P4 with a 'northwood' core. Quick searches 
of Pricewatch.com and newegg.com show processors for < $100. I 
definitely would not spend more than that on an processor upgrade 
though. More than that and you might as well buy a new machine. But you 
might be able to find a good deal out there.

Other upgrade possibilities are the graphics. But that one is going to 
be hard since I can pretty much guarantee that you have an AGP graphics 
port and AGP cards are getting harder to come by. Plus, then you have 
the whole linux driver issue to deal with. (It all around sucks). Last 
thing is hard drive and I doubt that is affecting your online video 
playback speed very much.

So there are some thoughts on that.

> I'm in the market for a new machine (gotta keep up with X-Plane 9...
> dual core, 2 GB RAM, lots of video card required now).  I'm torn between
> a shuttle case (which is just the right physical size for me) and
> something a bit bigger and quieter.  Anyone have recommendations for the
> quietest small case/mb combo?
>   
I don't really have any experience with newer Shuttle systems but I used 
one when I built my Dad's last computer. Works fine and isn't too loud. 
(Worked great for him too since there was a carrying case available with 
it that he used to carry it to England on the plane with him. Long story 
there.) I can't vouch for the latest though but I'm sure there are good 
reviews out there. I would also consider just getting a MicroATX 
motherboard and a small MicroATX desktop or tower case. That is the 
route I would do myself cause I could pick from a larger selection of 
components. There are some video cards out there with just passive 
cooling if you are going to ultra quiet. ASUS and Gigabyte make a few. 
Just looking through the newegg video card section shows a few as well. 
If you must get a fan, usually the best bet for quiet though is getting 
big fans since they use a lower rpm to move the same amount of air.

There is another 2 cents.

Mike



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