Need help building a new system


Apr 18, 2009
Hi. You guys might've seen me on another s/n on Tom's Hardware forums asking about a video card. Here are my current specs:

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.0ghz)
Asus A7N8X-E (I believe)
1gig ram (DDR-333...I believe...but I'm not 100% sure at the moment, if it matters, I can find the exact.)
200gig harddrive (probably a Maxtor or something)
40gig harddrive (some Western Digital, probably)
DVD-RW Drive
HIS Radeon 2600XT AGP w/ IceQ Turbo
Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS Gamer Limited Edition
LC-B350ATX 350W power supply

Obviously, besides the video card, some upgrading could be in order. Still runs fine, but it would be nice if it could run HD video (you know, for instance, Youtube's HD video is quite choppy). That kind of HD video being choppy on this setup would be expected, right? Or is there something really slowing my computer down? I assume it's just because it's old (built back in December 2002, and, as you can tell, some parts have been upgraded since then.)

I'm having trouble figuring out whether I should get a desktop or a laptop. I'm thinking a laptop, but at this point, I'm not sure if I should put a lot of money into a laptop right now (since I want a really good one). The other alternative I've been thinking about would be if I built a cheaper desktop upgrade to "get by" with, until the time I get a laptop. (Which I'm not really sure when I should. So who knows if I'd maybe give it a year or so till then.)

The only upgrades I can really do with this motherboard would be to up my processor to an Athlon XP 3200+ (which I assume wouldn't make enough difference, for example, in running HD video, right?), and another gig or 2 of ram. I assume you guys would recommend that I get a new set up?

I had contemplated getting a new system that could still run my video card (since I got it not long ago), and found one on Newegg. I figure I could use my DVD drive, DVD-RW drive, my sound card, my video cards, and probably even my old harddrives in my new set-up. That would only leave a new case, new processor, new motherboard, and new RAM. Would you figure I would need a new PSU (more than 350W) as well? If so, then I'd need a new one of those too.

It's sounding like the general consensus is to stick with dual cores right now, and not jump up to quads yet. Core 2 Duo is better than just Pentium Dual-Core, correct?

Here's my ideas:

Motherboard: ASRock 4CoreDual-SATA2 LGA 775 VIA PT880 Pro/PT880 Ultra ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail


Processor: Intel Pentium E5400 Wolfdale 2.7GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail



Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 3MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail


RAM: I'm not sure exactly. Some DDR2 667 seems like the best the motherboard can take. Seems like it'll take 2gb dual channel ram, so maybe something of this nature?: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail


Case and power supply: Don't need something super flashy, just something that'll work. Here's my idea:

Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case with 450-Watt Power Supply


All in all, this all comes to, depending on what I choose, around $216.96 - $246.96. Not too bad for something that might have to go another year or 2. I don't have a budget persay, it's just that I wouldn't want to spend a whole lot building some huge thing when I might get a laptop in maybe 1-2 years.

Please let me know your ideas about those parts, alternate parts, things like that. Also, if you think I should even hold off until I decide to get that laptop. You figure my video card should still be good, right? I got it not too long ago, and I'm primarily a console gamer so I don't need some incredibly expensive video card. I typically have played older games, but I have thought of playing some more recent ones (but it's not like I'm wanting to play Crysis or anything). Please let me know what you guys think.
C2D and pentium dual core are identical except for the way intel sets them up . the pentiums are crippled , but you can unleash a fair bit of the lost performance by overclocking .

Rebuilding and using the same AGP card with be very limiting even on a basic e5200 rig . Technology has improved a lot .
The via chipset motherboard isnt known as a performer , and VIA dont make motherboard chipsets any more .
Staying with asrock because theyre a decent quality and good price

you could team a
ASRock G43Twins-FullHD LGA 775 Intel G43 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $75

with an e5200 $70
[ its not worth paying more for an e5400 when you can easily make this part run at the same speed or even faster if you want ]
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $45

as it stands thats $190

Keep the case you already have and use
PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS420X 420W ATX12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply $49

$235 .. and it will fly compared to your old system .

The motherboard has onboard gfx so you dont need a gfx card . I would expect it to playback video fine

But you can improve the gfx performance a lot by adding
ASUS EAH4670/DI/512M/A Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card $60


Apr 18, 2009
I haven't overclocked things before. How easy/safe is it nowadays? I know some things seem to have some more part-automated ways of overclocking (like they built in programs for it)

It's just I've only had this video card for maybe a year or less or something (can't remember at the moment), and it would be a shame if I didn't get more use out of it (and I'm not one to sell stuff.)

I've been looking at eBay too. Looks like I've found an ASRock motherboard that still does AGP for $30, a 3.0ghz pentium core 2 duo that's $30+shipping (that'll probably go up, but anyway...) so that even seems like a really good deal too.

Think I should just wait to upgrade to a totally new system, be it desktop or laptop?


Feb 9, 2009
stay away from pentium dual core's, they are about as hot as an i7 cpu and have extremely poor performance.

what you want are the e series 'pentium's', they are actually based on the core architecture though which improves performance per cycle dramatically.


Apr 18, 2009

Okay, thanks. It sounds like the Core 2 Duo's are a lot better. There is a price difference, but, now I know for sure which one is better.