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Should you upgrade hardware made for XP?
Published on March 27, 2008 By BigDogBigFeet In Personal Computing

Thought I put this up for those interested to kick around.

Last year I began to feel somewhat hardware constrained.  My PC is an HP Media Center machine from mid 2005. 
I had added a low end graphics card ATI Hypermemory type to HP's standard configuration.  So, I had a 2.4Gz
AMD 3800 single core CPU, 200 GB's of HD storage, 1 Gb of Ram, and a starter graphics card. 

This was initialy adequate but, recently it was feeling sluggish and performance constrained, especially on some games. 
So, I began to wonder do I try and save up alot more for a whole new system or put in some money on upgrading what
is currently obsolete technology?

I went ahead and opted for upgrading my current system.  Here's what I added: Removed old RAM and installed 2
GB's of fast OCZ memory(PC 3200), a new power supply (Corsair 450W 80+ Cert.), a new graphics card (Full featured ATI
DirectX 9.0C 512MB card), and 300GB external HD(no spare internal slot).

So, am I happy with this decision?  Yes, it's worked out great.  The additional memory makes it possible to play
games without windows swapping out to the pagefile.  The games I play are more responsive now and with the full
featured graphics card newer games such as EE3 play well and everything can be run at higher graphics quality settings.
Moreover, since XP is still the largest installed base of home PC's, many new software titles will be made XP compatible
for awhile into the future.  I am thinking at least through all of next year.

So, I believe I can now wait until sometime next year to relook at a new system where I will get more bang for the
buck options to consider.  A super fast duo-core system will be cheaper next year as will entry level quad core
machines. 

So, what do think?  Are you sticking with your current technology?  As you may have noticed the decision for me
switched from an OS centric one, when do I need Vista?, to a hardware centric one, how to have adequate hardware
performance?  This was because I realized, for me, Vista isn't required --- yet. 


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 28, 2008
A very logical approach from where I sit.   

I suppose some folks may say "yea but you could of put that money towards a totally new system with Vista. We all make our choices based upon our immediate needs, or at least that's what we should be doing.   
on Mar 28, 2008
A very logical approach from where I sit.


Well, that's how I managed to resolve this one. On the one hand it's 1 generation back in Tech and not worth much new money, on the other hand it still worked fairly well and replacing it all was more money than I wanted to spend right now.

What finally pushed me to do something was performance. My system was showing signs of being memory constrained especially with some games and the graphics card I had was a wimp.
I also realised that it was possible by spending a bit now, I could afford a faster more capable PC in 2009 than if I tried to buy that level of PC today.

I was also wondering what are other people doing? Are they trying to boost the performance of their current hardware? Memory has gotten alot cheaper and so has storage. It certainly seems like a good time to upgrade XP based machines and wait another year to see what a good performing Vista PC looks like.
on Mar 28, 2008
I upgraded my two Dell Inspiron laptops with 2gb (max) ram, and Seagate 100gb, 7200rmp internal hdds. The fast internal hds really made a difference in application performance, speed and startup time, more so than the ram.

Also, I think Seabass put up a link some time ago in a post about updating drivers and doing a driver scan at Driver Agent. I always have my drivers for all my hw up to date, including bios. I primarily use Dell OEM rivers from their site.

Well, after driver agent said some of my chipset drivers were bad, I went to the Intel site and updated my chipset drivers (also includes hdd controler on inspirons) with the Intel chipset drivers, rather than the Dell OEM drivers I had been using.

Hallelujah! Even more speed now. BTW, I didn't buy driver agent. I just used their free scan as a tool to check my drivers, then went driver hunting on my own.
on Mar 28, 2008
It certainly seems like a good time to upgrade XP based machines and wait another year to see what a good performing Vista PC looks like.


Agreed.

Added an extra gb of ram to mine in december along with a new video card. The video card ended up not working correctly so after spending a couple days trying to get things straightened out I ended up returning it. But its basic purpose was to add a second monitor.
Looking now for a larger monitor instead and thinking about getting another backup hd.
on Mar 28, 2008
200 MB hard drive? How did you get Windows running?
on Mar 28, 2008
A good way to go and wise move BDBF   

My XP desktop was the same age and I've spent 300 bucks over the last six months upgrading the processor, ram, graphics card and dvd-rw drive plus a new keyboard and mouse. All courtesy of careful buying on eBay, Newegg.com and Bestbuy. Add in a couple of good utility progs like TuneUp and PerfectDisk and it's a 'flying machine'.

Faster than anything I've tried that has Vista on it with better hardware.   
on Mar 28, 2008
I'm sorry I ment it was a GD MB hard drive or shortened to GB's as more commonly used.lol  
on Mar 28, 2008
A GD MB hard drive? What's that?
on Mar 28, 2008
My XP desktop was the same age and I've spent 300 bucks over the last six months upgrading the processor, ram, graphics card and dvd-rw drive plus a new keyboard and mouse. All courtesy of careful buying on eBay, Newegg.com and Bestbuy. Add in a couple of good utility progs like TuneUp and PerfectDisk and it's a 'flying machine'.


I think you hit the nail on the head. Right now there's no overwhelming reason for a casual home type PC user to switch to Vista and with the cost of XP hardware being cheap it's a good time to upgrade and have a high performance XP machine for a few hundred dollars. Doing your homework and knowing your PC and applications is the key. For me it was graphics card and memory upgrades to improve performance and these required a new power supply since I only had a 250W PS. And, you're right my rig is a flying XP machine that runs the software I use better than ever.
on Mar 28, 2008
My XP desktop was the same age and I've spent 300 bucks over the last six months upgrading the processor, ram, graphics card and dvd-rw drive plus a new keyboard and mouse. All courtesy of careful buying on eBay, Newegg.com and Bestbuy. Add in a couple of good utility progs like TuneUp and PerfectDisk and it's a 'flying machine'.I think you hit the nail on the head. Right now there's no overwhelming reason for a casual home type PC user to switch to Vista and with the cost of XP hardware being cheap it's a good time to upgrade and have a high performance XP machine for a few hundred dollars. Doing your homework and knowing your PC and applications is the key. For me it was graphics card and memory upgrades to improve performance and these required a new power supply since I only had a 250W PS. And, you're right my rig is a flying XP machine that runs the software I use better than ever.


Spot on, plus if you shop around you can pick up some real bargains - I picked up a brand new HP DVD-RW with lightscribe and a 1GB of ram on newegg.com a couple of weeks ago for 70 bucks. That's crazy money   
on Mar 28, 2008
Leo, you're absolutely right. I got an LG DVD-RW for about $75 brand new. My nVidia 8500GT 512mb was bought on sale for $129.99, and I bought 2 1gb ram sticks for less than $100. My Pentium 4 3.4gHz processor I bought from the local PC store for $150 new (they were having a sale). 2 internal HDD and one external. And a 750w power supply for $100.

all told, I might have spent about $650 to upgrade my PC to MY standards, not some faceless company's......
on Mar 29, 2008
Oh, and as for Vista vs XP...Microsoft is continuing primary support for XP until next year. Secondary support until 2014. So XP will be good for awhile. I love XP (but I'm getting Vista Ultimate from MS for free...).
on Mar 29, 2008
My solution. Screw Vista.
on Mar 30, 2008
all told, I might have spent about $650 to upgrade my PC to MY standards, not some faceless company's......


Well I spent less than that in Oz dollars to upgrade my PC to MY standards & greater Vista compatibility with an AMD Athlon x2 6400 AM2 Black Edition @ 3.4ghz, a Gigabyte GA-MA770-DS3 mobo, 4gigs of Corsair DDR2 800 RAM, 2 SATA DVD RAM drives and a Galaxy GeForce 8600GT @ 256mb.

All up it cost me AU$579.00 (US$530.00) and Vista totally flies on it.... 52 seconds from button push to desktop usability, whereas XP Pro on the same rig (dual boot) takes 1 minute 16 seconds. However, so as hopefully not to start a Vista vs XP flame-fest here, I am not pro-Vista anti-XP. I use and enjoy both OSes....each plays an important part of my puter experience. Also, I am in the process of building a dedicated XP Home machine which I'll use as a backup and gaming rig.

I probably wouldn't have bothered upgrading, being my setup wasn't that old, but my 939 socket mobo developed a fault, meaning an upgrade of the CPU and RAM because 939 + DDR1 is no longer available in Oz.... and being I already had Vista, it made no sense to go half-measure with an under-powered machine.

Screw Vista.


I did.... screwed it into my rig and it ain't coming out!!!! Put super glue on the screws and filed the heads down.
on Mar 30, 2008
Starkers - Why the heck do you need 4 gigs of RAM?

By the way I got you beat. 35 to 40 seconds to boot. And the topper is that my machine has less hardware than yours.

Heck I could build 2 machines that would run Vista just fine with the price you paid for your upgrades.

I think you may have got ripped off.