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Upgrading from older P4 -- Celeron D, Pentium D, Athlon64??

I'm currently using a Sony Vaio Pentium 4 system and I'm finding that Photoshop & Illustrator CS2, Serif PagePlus 11 and MS Publisher 2003 are running rather slow. (You wouldn't believe how slow a page re-format gets with MS Publisher 2003 on a 300 page document!)

The system could only handle 1GB of RAM and I'm seriously considering upgrading in the next few weeks. I want a system that can handle 4GB of RAM but I'll settle for 2GB to start, but I've never really understood the difference between the Celeron, Pentium and AMD CPUs. Obviously, I'd like the best buy I can get, so I'm leaning towards a Pentium D system with a 300GB SATA drive and either a 19" or 20"(widescreen) LCD monitor, but could I save a few bucks and get the same performance using a Celeron D system?

I use this system for writing (novels), editing (digital photos up to 12 megapixels), creating (Photoshop and Illustrator images) and some programming (Borland Delphi) as well as cruising my favorite Photoshop and fiction forums.

Could someone give me a breakdown of what the differences are and why I should spend more? I've seen the local Fry's Electronics offering an HP a1530n Pentium D for $729 - sans monitor and only 1GB of RAM.


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wait a few weeks
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My video card is...

an Intel 82845. It came standard with the system, which is a Sony Vaio PCV RS-221. P4, 2.66GHz, 120GB HD, 512MB RAM - upgraded to 1GB, DVD-RW and CDRW drives - upgraded to Sony DRU-70A DVD+RW/DL and Phillips DV+RW. Oh, and it came with a Sony 17" LCD display.

Not a bad system, just getting a bit cramped for what I'm running.

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Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 - 2GB ram

First, if it is running that slow with that much ram and a P4 running those apps you should maybe try a clean install first.


If you can wait a few months I would strongly recommed the new Intel Conroe chips (the Core 2 Duo) Any computer with one of these chips in even the cheapest ones is adequate for almost any task, I am a strong AMD fan but these chips are amazing and very competitively priced, the Pentium brand is being phazed out so I would wait as these will replace them.

AMD Athlon64 chips come in a vartiety of flavours the newest is something called a socket AM2, older varieties use the socket 754 and socket 939 many off the shelf PC's may have these in and not the newer varieties.

Any Athlon64 with a number of 3800 or above will out perform or match even the most expensive Pentium D chips.

If you are running several applications at once then a Dual Core system is a good bet, AMD number these Amd Athlon 64 X2, Intel chips use the number 8?? and 9??, again AMD chips I feel outperform most of Intel's chips here, even entry level Athlon64 X2 chips (the Athlon 64 X2 3800) will outperform most of the PC's with Intel Pentium 820 and even higher and the quivalent 9?? series chips.

I think 2GB might be good to start with and I really doubt an off the shelf system will come with more than that, I use 1GB and an Athlon64 3800 and I am a 3D graphics developer with several applications running and I can do all that with the system performing as if its virtually idle (ie its very fast). So if you still have problems even with 12Mpixel images you need to look at what is causing your PC to run so slow, my partner uses an AthlonXP machine much inferior with Photoshop and a Canon EOS20D working on mutliple raw images with not even a hint of slowdown.

I will re-iterate Intel Core 2 Duo, even the lower numbers like E6300 (I think) they are as cheap as the mid range Pentiums, just look around as soon as the system builders get rid of their stock these will be available and the double the power of most Pentium D's for the same price.

Hope this makes some sense of it all.
1. Avoid the Celeron at all costs.

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805 Smithfield

Intel Pentium D 805 Smithfield. Neweeg's got 'em on sale for 115 clams.
I just installed one last nite. I quit counting after 10 consecutive apps. I piled everything that I could on top of it and it never lagged.
I'm using all used / salvaged pieces - except for the CPU and it rocks. (This is a test model). I'm going to start using them for customer builds.
Be sure that your chipset will support these. Unless you are gaming, you don't need four gigs. For your needs, a gig, good PSU, good graphix card, and this processor should fit the bill.
CNET has posts on processors - read them.

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I'd love to just upgrade the MB, but...

I've got a Sony Vaio (PCV RS-221) and that just isn't in the cards. Maybe I should just get a 'barebones' kit and assemble myself - which is what I 'believe' is what you all are suggesting. Now where do I get a copy of Win XP and how much is that going to run me?

FYI, for everyone who's been so kind as to give advice, I'm disabled and living on a FIXED (read Social Security Disability) income. So cheapest version with good horsepower is best.


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XP Home

I am assuming your in the US so I don't know the prices there but you should be able to get a OEM copy for around $80 at, I would imagine that you could find cheaper.

Also as someone else said since Intel have launched a new chip look out for price cuts, and especially avoid the first price cut (which is when vendors try to get rid of chips at a higher price due to a drop in distributer pricing about to happen), and look for the second price cut (which is when the distributers drop the price).

Since AMD cannot compete with Intel in performance they have to drop prices again to stay competitive, and they are going to again by 50% on some chips soon.

An example is that we needed a new server chip, and instead of buying a budget chip such as a Pentium D805 or a low end Athlon64 We waited for the retailers to drop distributer pricing and got an Athlon64 3800 for

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Review of Pentium D, Athlon64, and Core 2 Duo

So you can see exactly what youre buying

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