UPDATING A COMPUTER that was handed down to me

Feb 25, 2020 7:16PM PST


So my laptop is getting too slow to handle my editing projects and my mom is giving me a {emachines AMD Athlon processor} desktop and computer.

I plan to replace anything (within reason) needed to make this computer good/fast enough to handle video/photo editing, graphic design and 3D modeling, and sims playing.

-Is this current processor good or do I need a better (newer) one? In doing research some say anything AMD or intel are best.

-Updating the RAM, hard drive, graphics card, and cooling system are on my list but does anyone have any advice on if ALL of this is needed to be replaced as well as suggestions on which options would be best/cheapest.

I do want to make this computer to last, so I am willing to pay for quality. Howerver, if there is quality that is cheap and effective, I would prefer those suggestions.

What is on the box...
AMD Athlon 64 Processor
19"W LCD Display
1GB Memory
160GB Hard Drive
Reads/Writes CD/DVDs
Windows XP Home

I can send more info once I receive the computer in maybe about a week. Will be shipped tomorrow.

Please and Thank you!

Post was last edited on February 25, 2020 7:58 PM PST

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What can be saved?
Feb 25, 2020 9:57PM PST

I look at this list and you might save the case, display, keyboard, mouse and the DVDRW drive. The rest is so out of date that you essentially are looking at an entirely new PC.

Since the cost of all this can be beyond what a ready to use W10 (I guess you want to use Windows) refurb PC from say or other places plus you may not be ready to build your own I'm going with "Nope, you are not going to do this."

Another nope is that since we would have to replace all that, you may call that outside of reason which I agree.

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Scrap The Whole Rig Bro
Feb 25, 2020 10:41PM PST

Your PC is woefully outdated. I agree with R.Profit, that you can only salvage things like the keyboard and such. If you are investing in a good PC, change your motherboard to something more versatile. Upgrade the RAM, and Increase the storage only then - all of this would however be a waste, if you dont change your motherboard.

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Feb 26, 2020 9:57AM PST

Thanks! I'm going to continue doing research and seeing what my best option is.

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Feb 26, 2020 9:56AM PST

Thanks! I'll keep that in mind.

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Let's hear about your laptop.
Feb 26, 2020 10:07AM PST

One of the office's favorite upgrades to laptops is to replace the old HDD with new (?) technology SSD. The difference can be astounding to the owner.

What laptop? I'm betting it may be a lot better than the free desktop.

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Don't waste your time and money.....
Feb 27, 2020 3:49PM PST

....on trying to refurbish such an old computer when you can buy a new or refurbished computer from Amazon (from well known manufacturers) for under $200. Those won't be gaming computers but for the average user will be more than sufficient.

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Sorry, not practical
Feb 29, 2020 3:02AM PST

Since your mother is giiving you this machine, it presumably has some sentimental value. Sadly, that's about the only value it has. It really is end of life. Go for a refurb machine from Dell, Lenovo, Best Buy, Woot or whoever. You will get a moderm machine, with Windows 10 and a warranty.

On the old machine, you probably won't find a replacement processor that fits the motherboard socket, so that would need another motherboard. The RAM is probably DDR base or even earlier, finding an upgrade is unlikely but even if you find some, it will be very expensive or very secondhand. At 160 GB and that age, the HDD could very well by PATA and thise are rare as hen;s teeth these days. So I'd go with Bob's list of what might be recoverable and I'd have doubts about the case, which may not have suitable mount points for a modern motherboard. You won't even think about keeping Windows XP, will you? There are no free Windows upgrades to it so you'll be buying Windows 10 Home for around $100 or double that for Pro. Your only free option would be Linux but with all the rest of the stuff, I wouldn't recommend that straight off - if you do want to go that way and want something close-ish to Windows, try Mint. (I'm a Linux user, so not anti).

Price all this up and compare with a refurb and it's hard to see any value there, especially as you say you want the machine long term.

I love messing with old kit (as a hobby) but as a general use machine, I'd pass on this one. Sorry.

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A Couple of Suggestions
Feb 29, 2020 9:49AM PST

There are several levels of performance in a computer which can be as you described it " ... good/fast enough to handle video/photo editing, graphic design and 3D modeling, and sims playing. "
The central issue for you is finding a modern processor (cpu) which can get the work done without taking forever to accomplish it. Your budget will largely define how much performance you can expect. The choice is between an Intel Core series cpu (Core i3 / Core i5 / Core i7) and an AMD (Ryzen 3 / Ryzen 5 / Ryzen 7).
The sweet spot in terms of price-versus-performance is the recent Ryzen 5 3600 plus a separate graphics card such as an Nvidia GTX1650 or better.
An alternative is the Intel Core i5-9600K with built-in graphics and a feature called Quick-Sync to aid video editing.
If you must go less expensive the minimum standard would be Intel Core i3-9100 or AMD Ryzen 2400. These are capable of doing the work (and playing SIMS), but when you tell the system to do the big work like render a video clip with your edits and finish the job, that will be the time to go for coffee and give it time.
If you want to go higher performance then look to the Ryzen 7 3700X or Ryzen 9 3900X plus a separate graphics card. These provide a very significantly faster, more powerful experience when doing video and photo work, be it creation or editing.
With any of the above you'll want a minimum of 16GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM memory. More is better.
You can probably find a Lenovo, a Dell, an ACER, or an HP prebuilt model that will do the job. Otherwise, find a local computer store you trust and have them custom build one for you.
Almost forgot; you'll want a 1TB SSD to speed up the loading of video and photo files into memory. An Intel 660p or Crucial P1 will provide fast performance on a budget.

Post was last edited on February 29, 2020 9:59 AM PST

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OP, Update?
Mar 4, 2020 9:35PM PST

What did you finally end up doing OP? Did you refurbish the entire thing or got a brand new rig?

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Got the computer
Mar 20, 2020 5:47PM PDT

I got the computer, turned it on and everything. Its in good condition. I opened it up, looked around, and removed things to look at the motherboard clearly. I am currently continuing my research on the best motherboard update. Obviously I want something newer, but seeing what will be compatable with this case and ports.

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