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Motherboard/CPU processor question

  1. Aug 29, 2005 #1
    I have an old Intel motherboard in my Dell Desktop which is running a P3 900MHz CPU. As new software comes out and requires more RAM, better sound and video cards, and faster processors, I have been updating my computer. It is nice to do myself, since I get to learn about my computer and as a physicist I have long relied on others to do so. Well Intel has cancelled support for my motherboards and I want to upgrade my Pentium 3 to a Pentium 4 CPU. But I have no idea what P4 is compatible with my motherboard. Anyone every have to deal with this? Any ideas on web resources? I already checked Intels site and they don't have anything about the P4s being compatible- only the P3s. Any help or wisdom would be great.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2005 #2


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    The P3 and P4 use completely different sockets (370 versus 478). You're going to have to get a new motherboard if you want to upgrade to a p4. I don't even recommend intel processors because you're paying extra for the brand and not getting anything extra that a similar and cheaper AMD chip would give you.

    If you give us a general ballpark budget we can give you an idea of the hardware you can get.
  4. Aug 29, 2005 #3
    Hmmm... not possible you say. That sucks, but I guessed that was going to be the way it is. So you recommend AMD in place of Intel. I don't know if I will be able to install a whole new motherboard, or is it really that hard. I can wait a month or two and save probably $300 or so. Would that be enough? Now I am wondering what is involved with replacing a motherboard. Thanks for the quick help dduardo.
  5. Aug 29, 2005 #4
    Would there be any issues with installing my old RAM into this new motherboard? Hmm... I think I will have lots of questions...
  6. Aug 29, 2005 #5


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    Yes, you would need to replace the RAM too and you'll probably want a faster hard drive and perhaps a DVD+-RW.

    Building a computer yourself it relatively easy.

    Here is something you could get on the cheap:
    BIOSTAR IDEQ 210VB AMD Socket A(462) Barebone - Retail - $165.00

    AMD Athlon XP 2600+ Barton 333MHz FSB Socket A Processor Model AXDA2600DKV4D - OEM - $74.99

    Kingston ValueRAM 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered System Memory Model KVR400X64C3A/512 - Retail - $43.12

    SAMSUNG SpinPoint P Series SP0411N 40GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA133 Hard Drive - OEM - $48.00

    SONY Black IDE DVD Burner Model DWQ28A - OEM - $38.99


    Total: $370.10

    You could actually reduce this price considerably if you opt for a regular old mid-tower, but micro-atx cases are so much nicer.

    I'm going to assume your not much of a gamer because you still use a 900 Mhz machine. If you want to play the lastest games you could get a NV geforceFX and a SB Audigy, but the motherboard that comes with the biostar barebones kit has built-in video and sound.
  7. Aug 29, 2005 #6
    Well I have a cdr and dvd player on my computer right now and I have a cdrw on my laptop. I actually do play games, but I wait a long time to buy them, (usually a year or so) cause my wife doesn't like it when I play them cause I get a little obsessed...
    Anyways, thanks for all the info. I really appreciate it.
    You mentioned it is not that hard to build your own computer. Does the case and motherboard come with a how to build a computer instruction?
    But you are definately right about the price difference between AMD and Intel- that is awesome.
    Thanks again. I will have to try and run this one past the wife. Maybe it will be christmas early.
  8. Aug 29, 2005 #7


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    If you get a barebones kit it will come with the motherboard/case/power supply prebuilt. All you have to do is put the cpu on the motherboard, connect a couple ide cables for the harddrive and dvd+-rw, and stick any cards (video, audio,memory,etc) in their proper slot. It isn't a big deal.

    Yes, the motherboard does come with instructions on connecting the the different components, but it is pretty self explanatory.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2005
  9. Aug 29, 2005 #8
    That is great! All things I already know how to do. I was a little nervous about the power supply, because I had heard that can be difficult. Once again, thanks for taking the time to help me out with this and answering my questions. Very cool of you.
  10. Sep 1, 2005 #9
    That isn't exactly true. Pentium 4 performs many things better than AMD and most P4's have a higher factory clock speed (3-4Ghz) compared to AMD (1.6-2.8Ghz)

    AMD is much MUCH better for 3D gaming because of the way it is built. P4 is pretty much better for normal everyday tasks such as watching video, listening to music, browsing the internet, etc. But AMD costs loads less most of the time, so its good for budget computers.

    It depends on what types of stuff you want to do, but if you are going to play pretty much any game made within the past 4-5 years you might want quite a lot better than 333Mhz Front Side Bus, even if it might cost a bit more. 512Mb of RAM wont really matter much with a FSB that low. It will be a pretty big bottleneck unless you don't want to play many newer games. think of getting 500-800 FSB, maybe an AMD Athlon 64 3000+. I got one on www.newegg.com in a motherboard/cpu bundle deal for a little less $175. And the motherboard was even made by Asus, a very very good company IMO. Maybe a bit much if you have $300 though, I guess.
  11. Sep 1, 2005 #10


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    Clock speed isn't everything. Performance wise the P4 and Athlon XP are almost identical and once you factor in the price it is a no brainer.

    As for the Athlon 64, what is the purpose of a home user getting it? Big deal if it supports a faster FSB, more memory, 64 bit instructions, etc. The internet is not going to load up faster. Video and music aren't going to play faster. Word processing isn't going to be faster. You might get marginally faster game play due to the clock speed. Your better off spending that money on getting a SCSI hard drive which will make a huge difference. The biggest bottleneck today isn't the processor or RAM, it's the hard drive. With a faster hard drive the operating system will boot faster, you'll wait less time loading between levels, applications will start up quicker the first time, etc.
  12. Sep 1, 2005 #11
    I reckon the general rule is AMD for activities like gaming and realtime 3d manipulation apps, and pentium 4s for things like audio editing, video editing, 3d RENDERING, and other digital media processing type activities. for joe-average type stuff like MSoffice, dvd playback, music playback....no difference really. if you are running a ton of simultaneous apps, maybe an athlon(64)/sempron for the lower power dissipation and stability (and price).

    if you want to understand how "the way they are built" affects their performance in the above apps, search for "Instruction pipelining" on wikipedia. the upshot is, with apps where circumstances are changing a lot and the user is using the PC in unpredictable manner, shorter pipeline (AMD)=good. for repetitive encoding type tasks, longer pipeline (pentium 4) = good. and btw, athlon 64 is mainly v good because of its onboard memory controller, not "64 bitness" or whatever.

    of course if i was doing digital media processing, i'd get a mac instead. if i had the dough
  13. Sep 2, 2005 #12


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    In reality the CPU makes very little difference, just get what you can afford. Start by picking your cpu, from there choose a compatable Mobo and memory.

    I would be concerned about trying to fit a recent generation motherboard and cpu into an old P3 case. It is very likely that you have a 250W or less powersupply, if it is a high quality supply you might be able run new hardware, but the damage that a dying power supply can do is simply not worth the risk. Undoubtly you need a new powersupply. Further I have found that cases designed in the P3 era simply do not allow sufficient air flow to dissipate the heat generated by new systems. You should then get a modern case with a good powersupply.
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