PDA

View Full Version : Computer: Upgrade the existing one or buy new?



Brian Palmer
10-13-2009, 10:18 AM
My home computer is a Dell with a Pentium 4 processor rated at 2.0 Ghz. The hard drive is at least 75 GB and is no more than 25% full. It is running Windows 2000 Pro, but seems to be bogging down lately. It is 7 or 8 years old.

It only has 256 RAM; that could easily be upgraded.

A couple years ago, I had a local guy upgrade the operating system and it was running great until recently. Maybe it is time to do that again.

A lot of folks seem to think that I should just get a new computer for $400 to $600, but they don't factor in the hassle of switching all the files over, and also buying new software (e.g., MS Office) for the new computer. Most of the cheaper computers also don't have Pentium chips and seem to use cheaper ones instead.

Any thoughts?

Brian

Keith Wilson
10-13-2009, 10:23 AM
More memory would help a lot, I think. I have a computer about the same age with XP and a gig of memory (all that will fit), and with the extra memory and an external hard drive it's working fine. I'll be damned if I'll buy a new one with Vista.

Mrleft8
10-13-2009, 10:31 AM
Both times I upgraded an existing system all that happened was the system crashed faster... Pull any info you want, put it on an external memory stick and get a new puter.

Chris Coose
10-13-2009, 10:49 AM
After the house -call tech guy had finished with a couple boxes he was leaving with an old Dell laptop under his arm which I had come to nearly throw out a couple times and he was shaking his head like a hospice guy. The shop guys would shake their heads on this one too.

He returns it a week later and the thing hums for $160.00. It also got a new fan so I am not getting 2nd degree burns on my thighs.

Gonzalo
10-13-2009, 10:54 AM
Brian, you said it was running fine until recently. What are the symptoms of it not running fine as it did before?

256 MB RAM isn't very much these days. I recently doubled the RAM of an old laptop I use around the house for convenience, and it made a very noticeable difference. If your computer will handle it, a couple of gig of RAM is only about $45. You can easily find out what RAM your machine will take and how to add or replace RAM by googling. The on-line memory sites usually have easy to use routines based on your machine's model number to tell you what to order and how to install.

willmarsh3
10-13-2009, 11:03 AM
I think the cheapest solution is to upgrade the memory. I did that for an Mac iBook and it gave it an additional year's new lease on life until its hard drive got flaky.

The second thing I would do is get a USB hard drive to back up the data. They are less than $100 at Walmart. A seven year old hard drive is living on borrowed time, IMHO.

NeoOffice is another Office clone like OpenOffice that I'm happy with.

But since any new software and OS tends to use more CPU horsepower than its predecessors it will soon be time to get a new machine.

I got an Acer Aspire for about $300 to run Windows XP.

George Roberts
10-13-2009, 11:06 AM
My home computer is a Dell with a Pentium 4 processor rated at 2.0 Ghz. The hard drive is at least 75 GB and is no more than 25% full. It is running Windows 2000 Pro, but seems to be bogging down lately. It is 7 or 8 years old.

It only has 256 RAM; that could easily be upgraded.

A couple years ago, I had a local guy upgrade the operating system and it was running great until recently. Maybe it is time to do that again.

A lot of folks seem to think that I should just get a new computer for $400 to $600, but they don't factor in the hassle of switching all the files over, and also buying new software (e.g., MS Office) for the new computer. Most of the cheaper computers also don't have Pentium chips and seem to use cheaper ones instead.

Any thoughts?

Brian

Your computer is too old to update..

Buy a new computer for $500. Almost any CPU will be faster than what you have now. Any hard drive will be faster. Any memory will be faster than what you could upgrade to.

htom
10-13-2009, 11:17 AM
More memory, good defrag to start.

The included Windows defragger isn't the best.

Diskeeper is good; there's a trial freeware version.
Norton Speed disk is good.
UltraDefrag is supposedly good, but I haven't used it yet.

"Windows 2000 Annoyances", one of the O'Rielly books, and the accompanying annoyances.org, can help, too, and inspires the following:

Second hard disk, larger than the one you have now. Use the new disk manufacturer's utility to completely move your system and data to this drive but without cloning the original drive -- you want to lose all of the fragmentation that's there. Reinstall the new drive as the main, boot, drive. (Windows sucks ....) Now the trick, the reason you got a second drive. You're sure everything is copied, right?

Really sure?

Format the old drive, marking out all of the bad sectors, etc. Now partition it, making at least one partition that's a bit more than four times the size of your maximum memory. Format this partition as NTFS. Go into the memory management part of my computer and assign that partition as your page (virtual memory) file. Now all of the crazy windows paging activity won't mess up the files and directory structures on your main drive; you can make another huge partition, move mountains of data to it, defrag your new main hard disk, then move (or copy) the data back, also magically defragged. (and backed up on a second disk, if you copied rather than moved it back.)

brad9798
10-13-2009, 02:05 PM
Certainly not too old to update ... I am typing on one that is AT LEAST that old!!! Desktop.

Macs and notebooks are MUCH newer ... but I prefer the old desktop.

Sure, there is a limit (slots) to how much you can add ... but it's not too old to update one last time for a couple of more years!

:)

Henning 4148
10-13-2009, 02:51 PM
Reason for buying new would be, if your computer was to slow for the applications that you run today. And yes, 256 MByte memory isn't a lot today. Probably the machine will take 1 GByte at least. More memory does do away with a lot of swapping memory to disk which takes a lot of time. You can tell by the hard drive being busy a lot.

If your PC is not to slow for you (especially with more RAM to get rid of excessive swapping) and you manage to fix the other issues that you have and you don't miss features that newer machines have, there is no real reason to buy new. Good backup is an issue on new and old machines ...

By the way, I did exactly what is said above in several posts - upgraded my XP running P4 from 256 MByte to 1 GByte and got an external hard drive for backing up. It has given my machine at least 2 more years of service. Only issues left are the slow USB connection to the external drive and the lack of speed when doing 3D modeling. No cure for that (laptop) apart from buying new.

htom
10-13-2009, 03:21 PM
PCMCIA card with USB2, or FireWire, or eSATA ports, depending on how fast you want?

Tom Galyen
10-13-2009, 03:27 PM
Yes, upgrade to a Mac!!!

MiddleAgesMan
10-13-2009, 05:13 PM
The fear of Vista is no longer founded IMO. My GF bought a Toshiba laptop ($600 at WalMart) running Vista several months ago. It has been 100% trouble free. It came with a coupon to upgrade to Windows 7 if she so choses. I've used the machine and it is FAST!

That said, if I knew my way around a 'puter I'd probably upgrade my old ones... but I don't. I'll probably take the easy way out and buy new when forced to do so.

brad9798
10-13-2009, 07:05 PM
Yes, upgrade to a Mac!!!

Nahh ... our two year-old imac was just relegated upstairs to the daugher's room ... it was really starting to make me mad with some of the silly things it had trouble with! :D

Gonzalo
10-13-2009, 07:28 PM
My daughter's MacBook is very impressive in many ways. If I were not unemployed I'd really consider buying one. OTOH, my PCs with Windows 2000 and XP have not been very troublesome, for less than 1/2 the price of a Mac.

I've never used Vista. I did read a review by a confirmed Mac user, linked on this forum a couple of years ago. He thought Vista was pretty good, but he eventually decided he like his Mac better.