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Thread: Upgrade Considerations & Networks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    Post Upgrade Considerations & Networks

    Okay, let me lay a little ground work for the question.

    There's no right and wrong answers. The focus is on the quality of the answer. Actually, I broadly know the answer already, but need help clarifying it. Make sense?

    Current System: Early generation Pentium. I make this about 1994, DOS 6.21, Windows NT/3.11, 8-12MB RAM, HD = 850 MB. Exist in a business as stand alone with a consideration of networking the computers.

    Issue: What are the upgrade considerations?

    Not worth the upgrade, right; but what are the factors?

    Thanks!


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  2. #2
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    First consideration is can you locate a motherboard manual? That's an older board, and a manual is likely to be very difficult to find, if you don't already have one.

    Other things:
    • What CPU's the motherboard will support, and what speed it has now.(Need the manual)
    • Right type motherboard-AT/ATX.
    • More memory! It probably has 72 pin SIMMs, but might have a DIMM slot or two. Both are available, if you know where to look.
    • Hard drive- you're likely to have a drive size limitation of 8.6 GB. That size and smaller are still available, again if you know where to look, and should be sufficient for business use, you're not going to be downloading many 200MB games...
    • Applications you plan to use-for most business related software, a Pentium 200-266MHz with 64MB RAM is sufficient.
    • Component compatibility and availability-I would upgrade to Win 95 or 98 to get better component support. Don't overinstall, format the drive and start fresh. Then again, you'll be upgrading the hard drive so that's a moot point.
    • Available ISA/PCI slots-self explanatory.


    Your existing sound, video card, and modem should work fine, unless you have a slower modem and wish to get a 56K. Dont even think about a Winmodem. Or you can use Internet Connection Sharing, if you're networking.

    Send me the old hard drive!! OK, just kidding...but if you junk it, tell me where the dumpster is

    As to whether it's worth upgrading...if you can get a motherboard manual and go to a faster CPU, at least 66MHz faster, and upgrade to 23/64MB memory, it's worth upgrading.

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  3. #3
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    Post

    Thanks for the input! I'm a novice with these issues and trying to pull concepts together.

    Follow up questions...

    * Are there power supply issues with this sort of upgrade?

    * Chipset?

    * Bios?

    Where's where I'm lost. When it comes to setting up the network, are there any considerations or limitations?

    Again, much thanks!

    BEST

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  4. #4
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    Power Supply-the motherboard has to match the type of power supply in the case. AT power supplies have two plugs going to the motherboard 1" long each, and ATX power supplies have one long one, about 2" long. Memory slots on the ATX board will be perpendicular to the ISA/PCI slots, while memory on the AT board is parallel.

    Chipset-The Intel 430 series chipset (HX,TX,VX,FX) can only cache 64MB RAM, otherwise chipset probably won't make a great difference. Make sure you stay away from the Intel 430 series if you plan to use more than 64MB RAM.

    BIOS-I find Award BIOS easier to navigate and use, but Award and AMI are both good and have both been around for a long time. Don't know much about Phoenix, but it's pretty good too, have Phoenix on my Packard Bell win3.11 machine and it seems to be ok, haven't had any problems finding settings I want etc. Try to get a board that doesn't need a BIOS update from the start, flashing the BIOS can be hairy...

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    If you had everything...Where would you put it?

    Computer Information Links
    Why do I drive way out here to see the wildlife when all the animals live in town?

    Note: Please post your questions on the forums, not in my email. Otherwise I may sic my armed bear on you!

    My Photography

  5. #5
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    >> Paleo Pete <<

    Okay, trying to move to some closure on this issue. Been doing some more research and think I have gained some insight (?). As the novice I am, some feedback is welcomed, from the more experienced here. Thanks in advance...There's a few questions tucked in with some of the statements.

    - Okay, the classical Pentium system is a socket #7 (321 pins), right?

    - ZIF, voltage 2.5 to 3.5v (Question: Why the range difference?)

    - Supported upgrade processors are: Pentium 200MHz overdrive MMX, or the
    AMD K5, AMD k6, 6x86.

    - I find a reference to a Pentium P54C with a SPGA package. Not sure
    what this pin grid refers to? Does it make a difference since the
    Pentium60/66 is PGA?

    Given these upgrade options, one doesn't have to be concerned with change motherboards, right?

    The other upgrade considerations would be, in this order: Memory (Not sure what the upper memory capacity is?) and a HD. Now, are these last items based on BIOS and the chipset?

    PS - Pete, I'd be interested in chatting with you via email. If not, I understand.



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  6. #6
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    Okay, the classical Pentium system is a socket #7 (321 pins), right?

    Yep, I think 321 pins is correct, but it is socket 7.

    ZIF, voltage 2.5 to 3.5v (Question: Why the range difference?)

    Different CPU's use different voltages. Very important setting. Intel MMX CPU's run at 2.8v, I think it is, the classic at higher voltage, others I'm not sure about, but they can be looked up easily.

    I find a reference to a Pentium P54C with a SPGA package. Not sure
    what this pin grid refers to? Does it make a difference since the
    Pentium60/66 is PGA?


    Yes, it does seem to make a difference. The 60-66MHz Intel is socket 4 which accepts P-60/66/Pentium Overdrive ONLY, and the P 75-133 is either socket 5 or socket 7. Both smaller sockets, they won't fit the socket 4. I have a socket 4 in my Packard bell, it's about 1/2" longer per side than socket 5/7.
    CPU Guide has a good article, and a CPU chart that might help.

    Given these upgrade options, one doesn't have to be concerned with change motherboards, right?

    As long as you have a socket 7 motherboard, you can upgrade it, to about 200MHz. If it's socket 4, you'll need to get another board or an overdrive CPU. The overdrive will only run at 120 or 133 MHz, I have one, and can't use it on the Packard Bell P-60, because the board doesn't have the jumper to allow it, and I can't find a BIOS upgrade. No real problem, the P-60 runs Win3.11 just fine...would be nice to double it though...

    I prefer to reply here on the forum, so if I manage to come up with usable info it is available to anyone who might have a similar question. In addition to that, I'd never get finished with my email...



    ------------------
    If you had everything...Where would you put it?

    Computer Information Links
    Why do I drive way out here to see the wildlife when all the animals live in town?

    Note: Please post your questions on the forums, not in my email. Otherwise I may sic my armed bear on you!

    My Photography

  7. #7
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    >> CPU Guide has a good article...

    Yes,I came across this source while doing my second series of research. Very good information.

    >> I'd never get finished with my email...

    Hey, I fully understand!

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  8. #8
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    Post

    I pretty much agree with what Pete has been saying (no surprise there).
    The only thing I would say is this: upgrading a PC that old is usually only worthwhile if on a strict budget. For a few hundred you can get a modern system that will blow that one away in every respect. If you can afford it, using that as a secondary machine may make more sense.
    Otherwise, definitely start with the RAM...

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