Modern, Inexpensive Mainboard

Discussion in 'Asus' started by firebird-jmw, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. firebird-jmw

    firebird-jmw Guest

    One of my systems has gotten too slow to run antivirus and do anything
    else. Since the max memory on that board is 512K, and the CPU is 800
    MHz, I guess it's time to upgrade.

    I already have an Antec 900 case and a Thermaltake TR2 RX 500W ATX 2.2
    power supply which should be reusable. The current hard drives and
    monitor should be reusable.

    I am looking for an inexpensive mainboard, CPU, 4GB memory, video,
    sound. I don't need high performance as it is used mainly for word
    processing and Internet access. Does have to connect to 100MB LAN
    (hardwired) to get to other computers and printers, scanners, etc.

    Can I get this kind of setup for less than a mid-range laptop

    Any suggestions welcome - I have been out of touch with the low end
    and I can't afford the high end anymore.


    firebird-jmw, Aug 16, 2011
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  2. I'm impressed! It appears that you have managed to get almost a DECADE
    out of use out of an 800 mhz machine without a *major* upgrade. The case
    and power supply can be considered incrementals or even just replacing
    broken parts. I've done 3 "big steps" in that time frame, and I'm
    usually slow on that compared to most.

    Admit it, you do want it, even lust for it. It's time!

    Actually, the "low-end" goes a long way now, and the stuff gives good

    You basically need to spend time at the NewEgg candy store! Read the
    reviews and specs.

    Try for an AMD Athlon II or Phenom II CPU , along with a AMD-chipset &
    video motherboard with everything onboard. Those are typically your
    "best bang for the bucks" and the least hassles.

    ** POWER SUPPLY **:
    Yours probably is OK. Just make sure it has the extra connectors for 12
    volt CPU power and that you have the full 24-pin main connector.
    (IIRC, the TT TR2 has a "breakapart" 20/24 pin connector. You probably
    peeled off the extra 4 for your ancient 20-pin mobo. Just make sure you
    plug that other 4-pin section into the mobo)

    ** CASE **
    Just be aware that the ANTEC 900 had/has? issues with the front USB
    ports. Just ignore them, and add a "plug bay" w/USB etc instead.

    ** Hard Drive(s) **
    Yours are probably PATA, and now painfully slow. Drives are cheap, so
    consider moving to SATA for at least your system drive.
    If your optical drive(s) are

    I'd also consider moving from (guessing XP) to Win 7 as well. It's got
    warts, but it's not Vista!
    This will also help with driver issues. It's also future-proofing.
    Also (if moving to 7), consider going with 64-bit OS and 8 gigs of RAM.
    Memory's dirt cheap!

    A list I brought up on Newegg on mobos:

    Look around on those, I think that any one of those will fill your
    needs. There's a lot of decent choices for under $150, some as low as
    $60 (open box).

    My only thoughts on these (my prefs)
    Try for a full-size ATX board, you may want the extra slots later.
    Get all the USB ports you can. Some USB 3.0 ports would also be nice.
    Make sure you still have both floppy and PATA connectors, as those are
    being dropped on many newer motherboards.

    As for CPU, I wouldn't bother with any of the Semprons. Any AMD
    dual-core would probably do just fine, but if you find you need more
    oomph, go with at least a triple-core. The Phenom II's have a much
    larger L3 cache, that helps boost performance in some apps.

    Newegg's AMD CPU line:

    This would be my choice: $80
    AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition Heka 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3
    Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor HDZ720WFK3DGI - OEM

    The downside is OEM >> no factory fan/heatsink, so add $20
    ARCTIC COOLING ACALP64 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler
    FWIW, the AMD fan/heatsinks are too noisy for me, so I'd do this anyway.

    The Desktop stuff is fine. Just pay attention to what specs the
    motherboard you choose needs for RAM regarding type, voltage and
    timings. Kingston and Crucial have the best track records.

    SATA Harddrive(s)
    0.5 to 2 TB seems to be the sweet spot right now. Brand doesn't seem to
    matter, it's as bad as the Ford-Chevy wars as to who's better/best.

    If I were doing this, I'd get 2 (of same) ~$50 drives.
    Install one inside, and buy this as a home for the other one:
    Antec EASYSATA Easy SATA Hard Drive Enclosure $22 (actually a dock bay)
    Makes backups and such a breeze.
    Newegg's site doesn't have diddly, so see it at

    Windows 7:
    Your choice.... just make sure it's OEM, not an upgrade version
    Pro is better than Home, Ultimate's not worth the high price.

    Do some pick 'n choose here, you can probably get an impressive package
    for well under your $550 max target.

    "Shit this is it, all the pieces do fit.
    We're like that crazy old man jumping
    out of the alleyway with a baseball bat,
    saying, "Remember me motherfucker?"
    Jim “Dandy” Mangrum
    Nobody > (Revisited), Aug 17, 2011
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  3. Should be:
    If your optical drive(s) are at most DVD-RW at 8X, PATA's fine.

    "Shit this is it, all the pieces do fit.
    We're like that crazy old man jumping
    out of the alleyway with a baseball bat,
    saying, "Remember me motherfucker?"
    Jim “Dandy” Mangrum
    Nobody > (Revisited), Aug 17, 2011
  4. firebird-jmw

    Paul Guest

    The speedup compared to your 800MHz system, won't be a factor of 4 or
    higher. The issue will be, what OS options are available to you ?
    The OS is part of the expense of upgrading, so even if the hardware
    was free, the OS and any new software to replace old software, would
    also be an expense.

    It is possible to buy laptops with Windows 7, where the processor is
    underpowered. Everything appears fine at first, until you start
    loading software on it, and it slows down. On my single core Windows 7
    laptop, all it took was one webcam software package, leaving processes
    running all the time, to slow it down. So you can't really buy the
    cheapest laptop, and expect to be happy with it all the time.


    This quad core should leave one core for your AV software to crunch on.
    It comes with a heatsink/fan. If you think you can find an AM3 heatsink
    fan for less than $20, there is also an "OEM" 2.8GHz processor for $20
    less than this.

    AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core $110
    Desktop Processor HDX945WFGMBOX
    L2 Cache: 4 x 512KB
    L3 Cache: 6MB

    Cheap motherboard with no excessive features. PS/2 connectors for
    reuse of mouse and keyboard. VGA and DVI video connectors for
    built-in video (no need for separate video card). It only has
    two memory slots (and you'd stick a matched pair of memories
    in there).

    ASRock 880GM-LE AM3 AMD 880G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $55

    The 945 Deneb is in the supported CPU list. A BIOS revision
    of "All", means the CPU works when plugged in. The existence of
    125W processors in this list, means up to a 125W processor can
    be used. The 945 is 95W and under this limit.

    Always download the motherboard manual in advance. It'll tell you
    how many of the necessary cables are included, as well as any
    other things the adverts don't cover. Every company offers
    such a document now.

    For Windows 7, I'd buy 2x2GB of memory. For an older OS, you
    can use a lot less. Even 2x512MB of memory may be enough, with
    something like WinXP. With WinXP you'd have a license for all
    four cores. Win2K may only use two of the four cores. Win98
    would use one of the four processor cores. Vista or Windows 7
    would use all cores, as would WinXP.

    Memory is cheap, and some middle of the road DDR3-1333 costs $31.
    You may not save much, by "under populating" RAM.

    CORSAIR XMS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Ultra Stable
    Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1333C8 $31

    Total project cost so far $110+$55+$31 = $196

    But you still have to put an OS in it, either reusing an OS
    you've already got, or buying a new OS. (Once installed, this
    OEM version "belongs" to your new build.) The "Premium" part
    of this title is deceptive, as there is nothing premo about it.

    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM $95

    For better compatibility with older software (like perhaps some
    16 bit stuff), you can also use the 32 bit version for about the
    same price. Another minor difference, is driver signing might not
    be needed with 32 bit drivers. If you never go above 4GB
    installed RAM, this should be fine. And on a system like
    you're building, I don't expect you'll be buying and installing
    a 64 bit only version of Photoshop (although that day is coming,
    where some software is 64 bit only).

    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 32-bit - OEM $100

    My laptop has the 64 bit version of OS, and it hasn't been an issue
    yet. But I don't try and run old software on it, either.

    The motherboard has enough connectors, you should be able to
    reuse most of the hardware in your legacy box. So you can
    do this project for around $300 total. You use video provided
    by the chipset, meaning no expensive video card to buy. And
    no need to move the AGP video card from your existing computer.

    Since the motherboard has both VGA and DVI connectors, you can
    use an old CRT monitor with the VGA, or an LCD monitor via the
    DVI. You're well prepared there.

    Paul, Aug 17, 2011
  5. firebird-jmw

    Bob Willard Guest

    Alternatively, since your computational needs are rather light, you
    might want to check out second-hand PCs from a PC shop in your area.
    Since some shops do a lot of trade-in business, you could wind up with a
    cheap but viable used PC from some business that is replacing their
    gear. And, you'll likely get WinXP included. (I strongly dislike
    Vista, I prefer Win7; but WinXP runs quite well on most of my PCs.)

    If you go for new stuff and don't play heavy games, the video
    capabilities built into new CPU chipsets are pretty good. I have a
    Corei5, which was fine without a video card for office/mail and even
    Doom3; I only needed a video card to get Duke Nukem Forever to run.
    Likewise, built-in sound is probably good enough.
    Bob Willard, Aug 17, 2011
  6. firebird-jmw

    Quiet Man Guest

    Thank you. I will look into this.


    Quiet Man, Aug 18, 2011
  7. firebird-jmw

    Quiet Man Guest

    Thank you, especially for the links and specific suggestion. I will
    look into this over the next few days.

    Quiet Man, Aug 18, 2011
  8. firebird-jmw

    Quiet Man Guest

    Thank you. We don't seem to have much used stuff available here from
    anybody I would trust, but I will check again.

    Quiet Man, Aug 18, 2011
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