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A rickety-rack old computer with a big problem!

I'm completely and utterly stumped. I spent the last few days up and including new year at a friends, I come home and my mother is all like "OMG THE COMPUTER IS BROEKD".

She said that she shut it down normally, but then it froze after it went to the "logging off and saving settings" screen. So after 5minutes of it freezing she pushed the power button in for 8 seconds, but it would turn off.

Only way to do it was to shut it off at the wall.

I've opened up the box, removed all the components, blown off the dust, put them back, made sure the hard-drive hadnt been dislodged somehow... and had a fair chuckle when I saw the little ram it has (128mb).

Anyway, does anyone know what might be up with this crap bag of a pc, because I want it running when my dad buys his new one (about damn time).

I need something to play about with and have fun upgrading :]

Which brings me to my other question. Our family computer, which they other three members have been using for the past 4 or 5 years is quite old (luckily I have always purchased my own uptodate machines) with these specs:

800MHz AMD Athlon Thunderbird
128MB RAM (I'm not sure what type)
Soundcard? Onboard?

Would this be upgradeable, depending on age + components, to say:

Processor around 3GHz
1024MB RAM / 2048MB RAM
Brand new Radeon GFX?

Oh, thanks for the help :]
the first specs you showed
woudn't run it smoothly I woudn't think and after you have windows on you coudn' really have much at all on it.... with the hard drive
i would reccomend a smaller OS that takes less RAM and stuff
or with the ungrade
Processor around 3GHz
1024MB RAM / 2048MB RAM
Brand new Radeon GFX?

it should really run good...
and good luck[/quote]
Processor around 3GHz
1024MB RAM / 2048MB RAM
Brand new Radeon GFX?

No way, not five years old... unless you updated the motherboard also, so it would be just like building a computer from scratch. The max I would say is only:

2.0 GHz (if you're lucky)
512 RAM (A GIG? No way.)
And no clue on the GFX card.

About your dad's computer, rebuild it, lol. Unless you have some parts lying around and want to switch out the GFX card, Hard Drive, Processor, and RAM indivdually...

Unfortunately, probably that would be not possible.

Since you specified that the processor used was a Thunderbird, I would assume it's a Slot-A motherboard, which means your choice of upgrades would be pretty limited.

Here are the things that I think you could do.....

Make sure if it a slot or a socket motherboard.

If it is a slot, then you can either find a slot-1 processor (Which can be hard, as it's pretty old) or find a processor converter. (It's a device that allows a socket-A proccessor to be used on a Slot-A motherboard.)

Then look at your motherboard manual, and look at it's settings, and find the maximum speed it can run on. (my hunch is that the limit is somewhere around 1.6Ghz)

As for the RAM, my hunch (again) is probably it's an SDRAM slot, as it's starting to get obsolete, it will be harder to find, but not impossible, but it is possible to reach 1028MB. The problem is because the motherboard is old, it will not be able to use the RAM's full potential. As the SDRAMs today have faster speeds than the SDRAM's of yesterday.

Then the video card, if the motherboard uses an AGP slot, sure you can use the latest video card, the minor problem is that probably it will not have support for AGP 8X, which will make performance suffer a bit, but if your not a perfectionist, then the performance difference will not be that noticable. If it is PCI, then good luck, as PCI video cards are harder to find and are usually more expensive then it's AGP counterpart, not to mention it's slower also. -.-
i've had success runing winXP with usable speed (for mostly internet browsing) on a box with older specs then this. mainly boot time is affected by the slower box; once it is up and running, it was reasonbly fast for browsing the web, which was its primary purpose anyway.
You'll need to replace most of the major components of your system viz. the mobo, processor and RAM. I havent mentioned a graphics card because I dont know if whether you are a gamer or not. If you arent then an onboard graphics card should suffice.

An AMD Athlon 64 3000+ will cost you somewhere around 150 to 170 USD and a mobo like MSI RS480M2-IL will cost you 130 USD. Add to the amount 30 USD for a 256 MB RAM module. So you'll have to spend around 350 USD, give or take... This doesnt include a new hard disk nor any other hardware pheripherals...
Yes, I'm a gamer.

I'm hopefully looking to build something which will give me the same 50fps or above that this laptop gives on HL2 / CS: Source.

Strangely enough, I had a hunch it would need a replacement motherboard. I know enough about computers to upgrade every part of it, except the motherboard.

Any ideas where I can find a new motherboard which will support what I want (3+ GHz, 1GB+ RAM, 128MB GFX), and doesnt cost too much (I'm looking for a british supplier)

And to be specific on the part types, I want:

An AMD Processor, DDR (or DDR2) RAM and a Radeon GFX (AGP or PCI Express)

Thanks for the help so far :]
You need to specify a budget. There are just too many mobos and graphics cards available in the market. And whats the reason you want to buy an ATI card and not an Nvidia?
To be honest, a major upgrade like this is essentially a full system rebuild. Some new motherboards won't fit in your old case, and if you want to upgrade everything, there's very little you'll be able to keep. The power supply will probably not be powerful enough, and an old CD ROM drive isn't much use these days.

If you have contacts or know good, reputable suppliers, or even if you're looking for a project then it could be ok to rebuild the computer. However, most large PC manufacturers buy in such high volume, they get massive discounts on parts and it's not really any cheaper (in fact, it can be more expensive) to build your own PC rather than buy a new one.

The other thing to look at is that you get a warranty with a new PC - if you build your own, you take quite a high financial risk.

It would be a good idea to price all the components you want first, then try to configure a similar PC through the likes of Aries PC or Dell (both UK suppliers) to see what comparisons can be made between the costs.
Kyle Katarn
As the poster above me said, you really need a new system for what you are talking about. It's possible you could use the case, but everything else would probably have to go. With wanting to run those fairly high-end games, you would need a big graphics card, which means big power supply, normally. You'd probably need a new mainboard processor, but a Sempron should suffice. There are _tons_ of mainboards to choose from, and you would probably want at least a dvd-rom/cd-rw if not a dvd burner. That 10 gig wouldn't even hold HL2 and Windows, I don't believe. But you can get a 160/7200 HD pretty cheap these days. Hope you get it working!

PS: You can probably keep the mouse and keyboard, lol.
i had the same problem...ended up being spyware and a virus...

as for upgrades, you could probably get up to 1.5Ghz, 512mhz RAM, and its probably an IDE HDD so you can go as high as your hearts content on that probably.

for recomendations though, i say get atleast an 80GB HDD so you can have some decent storage first, then up the RAM, and the processor last, the processor is the least of your worries, 800mhz should be fine depending on the OS, if its windows 2000 its fine, otherwise if its XP...meh...
Anyway, does anyone know what might be up with this crap bag of a pc, because I want it running when my dad buys his new one (about damn time).

what, exactly is the computer doing?

1. Does air blow out of the fan in the back ( by the power cord) when you turn it on?

2. Does it start in safe mode?

3. Do any letters appear on the screen?
It turns on, all the components work, just all the lights (CD-RW, DVD-ROM, Busy, PowerON) stay lit.

And the monitor says "NO CONNECTION". It's connected, I'm sure of that seeings as I've had it in about 1000 pieces twice now.
OK, you took the computer apart completely?

Usually, "All of the drive lights stay on" means that the drives are configured improperly. On each drive cable there should only be one master and one slave. Any other configuration could make both the lights stay on and the computer might not boot.

I would start by hooking up the main hard drive ONLY first. Hook that up to the drive connector marked 0 (zero). Turn the system on and see what happens...When the system starts watch to see which connection are found.
Then hook up any other drives one by one to find out which one is the culprit.
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