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Thread: 300 to upgrade my system - any advice?

  1. #1

    Default 300 to upgrade my system - any advice?

    Hey everyone, could anyone please give me some help on upgrading my system? Basically for faster video-editing rendering time, standard video (not hd). I've currently got an ancient Dell Precision 370, here's the specs:

    Motherboard: Intel Alderwood i925X
    CPU: Pentium 4 3Ghz (530)
    Memory: 4GB (4 x 1GB DDR2-400 SDRAM)
    Video card: NVidia Quadro FX 3400 with dual-monitor output
    Hard Drives: 80gb & 2 x 500gb, all internal SATA-II 7200RPM.
    2 x 19" monitors.
    DVDROM, DVDRW, Floppy.
    Firewire card

    What I'm wanting to do is to spend 300 (give or take a few quid) on getting another 2nd hand / refurbished system - such as a Dell Precision 670 / 690 - and then putting as much as what I've already got into it as possible. I figured this was the best route since the Dell 370 can't really be upgraded that much more because of the motherboard.

    For instance, I've seen a Dell 670 with dual xeon 3Ghz with 2gb ram for 200, Dell 670 with dual xeon 3.6ghz with 2gb ram for 290, Dell 690 with dual core Xeon 5060 3.2ghz and 4gb RAM for 300.

    Basically, I just need some help in figuring out where's best to put my money. I've looked at refurbished dell's and the parts individually (to self-build) work out at twice the cost of the system! I don't really know much about HP workstations - has anyone any experience? Also, will I be able to put my 4GB ram with another system using different memory? I don't know what the 'rules' are regarding ram.

    Any help would be greatly, greatly appreciated! Thanks guys. Lee

  2. #2
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    The ' rules ' for editing PCs are the same regardless of format.

    CPU power matters above all else.

    Ram may be trasnferrable, or not.

    Use your old drives as the next most important thing is lots of drive space.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for your reply. That makes sense - I've heard that CPU is the most important factor. Could you (or anyone else) give any suggestions on what I should do regarding getting another system with a better CPU?

    Basically, if you was in my position (you had my spec of computer above and 300 to spend) what would you do?

  4. #4
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    Save up some more cash and buy something new.

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    I reckon the single core CPU is the bottleneck in that system. It's about 4-5 years old. Personally I'd find out what CPU that motherboard supports up to and spend it on upgrading that, rather than replacing the system and transferring bits over. You're obviously not gonna get a quad core one in there, but a nice high spec 2nd hand CPU should boost it quite a lot.

    Saying that, your RAM might be too slow to cope with whatever CPU you stick in it, so make sure you account for that if you need to.

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    I suggested new as I doubt there is far to upgrade from the system cited - but I may be wrong as I am on the edge of my comfort zone - not really a pc expert.

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    you can get a q6600 and an Asus P5Q SE/R Intel P45 motherboard from novatech for 263.97, you could use your exsisting ram aswell as your old hard drives although i do reccomend getting another bigger drive if you can afford it.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for everybody's replies. That CPU sounds good. The only problem is that the Dell 370 that I've got only supports a single, single-core processor, and the motherboard can't be updated. So I have to update my system. I've got the choice of either:

    a) buying a refurbished branded workstation such as Dell or HP (any others?) which comes with such-n-such CPU and such-n-such RAM - try and get a good, cheap deal. And then putting the stuff I've already got into it.

    or

    b) buying the case, motherboard, CPU separately (whether new or used) and building it up myself with the stuff I've already got.

    What would anyone recommend? As many specifics as possible would be fantastic and a great help. And yeah, I realize that ideally the solution to this problem would be to 'save up more cash' but money's tight at the moment and there's lots of other stuff which demands my money, so 300ish is what I'm setting aside for it.

    Thanks. Lee

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    go with option b and buy a q6600 if your going to overclock it, or a q8200 if not, an Asus P5Q SE/R Intel P45 motherboard from novatech for 263.97 and then any old case, it would probably fit in your old dell case, warning, card board boxes get hot a burn, but good for a temporary solution if it doesn't fit in your dell case.

    The q6600 should overclock to around 3.0+ ghz with that motherboard but depending on your ram you might only get to 3.0ghz.

    you can use your existing ram and graphics card and the hard drives also.

  10. #10
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    If it's a Dell - you may have trouble fitting a standard form factor motherboard in it.

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