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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got my parents old computer. Basically I want to rebuild it, but am unsure what to get.

The computer has a pentium 166, 16mb of ram, 56k modem and is running Windows 95.it also has two hard drices, a 2gig anda 1gig. From looking at the mother board it looks as if it has 4 slots for ram, but I have not looked to see if the proccessor is integrated or not.

I am planning on replacing the mother board any way, but am unsure what to get.

Will I have to replace the power supply if I go to a Pentium 4? How big of a hard drive do I really need? All I plan on using it for is games and internet.
Any suggestions?
 

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First of all, it sounds like a fun project....boy how I miss doing that stuff ;)

If you want to upgrade to a newer processor you will probably run into some problems, and most likely you're building a complete new computer from single pieces:
The motherboard that you have right now should be an AT-format board, the newer computers use ATX (still? or is it already something new again?), which have slightly other dimensions, and you need a matching ATX housing for this.

The Power Supply changes as well, in most cases you can get a new tower housing w/ power supply in there.

As far as the harddrive goes: I wouldn't worry too much about this right now, since in a tower you have space enough to always add another.
Initially, depending if you want to go with a SCSI or IDE drive, I would look at around 10 or 20 GB. You mentioned games, and they eat usually a lot of space (few hundred megs). The SCSI are more expensive than IDE, but they're also faster.
For your use I would suggest IDE, it has one limiting factor:
unless you buy an additional IDE controller, the boards usually have 2 IDE controllers, good for up to 4 devices (2 per controller).
So, that makes:
CD ROM, Hard drive = 2 devices
if you want some additional drives, except for a 3.5" floppy, it cuts down on your future additions of harddrives.

You will need new RAM as well, since the old EDO-RAM won't work with the newer Pentiums.

I guess you could use the old graphic adapter and, Modem/NIC (network interface card), and if you want to keep the old 2 GB hard drive you should be able to do so.
All the other interior things are most likely useless to you for an upgrade.

Did I miss anything? Anyone?
 

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The funny thing about PC's is that, while the newest stuff is the most expensive, old stuff starts to cost a lot too. Old 1MB memory modules for a 486 today can run as much as $100 each, while 128MB for a P4 is about $30. Just don't spend too much trying to salvage the old parts. Those 1GB and 2GB drives will barely hold Windows, let alone games. Quake alone is about 500MB (or 0.5GB).

If you go to a P4 motherboard, you're existing case might not work very well. Most P4's have all of the I/O connectors in one small rectangle area, where as your old system probably only has a keyboard hole. If you buy a new case, it will come with a new power supply.

If not, check to see what power supply you're running right now. If it's 200 watts or less, chuck it. If it's 250 watts or more, you're fine, but make sure the fan is in good working order. You can change the fan for about $10.

I recommend avoiding Celerons, unless you can't help it. For the money, they're just not worth it. You don't have to buy the fastest P4 either; I think the best bang for your money right now is the 1.8GHZ - cheap and fast.

Keep in mind that if you change your mother board, lots of the components you have now may not be compatible anymore, i.e. video card, memory, etc. Be prepared to spend enough $ to replace the old hardware that doesn't work on the new system. Intel makes a killer motherboard that has video, audio, Ethernet, serial, parallel, USB, etc.; basically everything you need except for a modem, and it's pretty cheap, like $120-$150. Add a processor and memory, and you're set.
 
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I haven't done this kind of work in a long time. The reason is it isn't cost effective. You can buy a new computer for less money than it would cost to rebuild the old one. I just put a new one on layaway at Wal-mart for $568.00. It isn't the speediest one out there but faster than what I got now. It's all new components and a warranty. I just couldn't upgrade for that price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I've done some reaserch and got the owners manual for this computer.

The mother board according to the book has an ATX foot print, can handle up to 128MB of SDRAM, but 166 is the highest processor it can handle.

From what I've found, I could get a ATX motherboard w/ a Pentium 4 running at 1.3G for around $350, adding Ram would bring the total to around $425.

What I'm wonderinf is what else I would need to support this, is any of the stuff I've got now compatible?

Thanks for the help.

Kevin
 

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If your old motherboard is ATX form factor, then you should have no problem using the new one in that case.

Most new mother boards come with the IDE/floppy controllers built in, along with serial/parallel ports, USB, and even sometimes sound cards, Ethernet, blah, blah.

What you have to figure out is what you'll need from your old system. Most P1 systems had additional boards for the IDE/floppy, sounds, etc. If you're new mother board had a hard disk controller on-board, you can chuck your old mother board and disk controller board, etc. Man, now I'm getting way too wordy. :-\

If you want, you can take a picture of the system with the cover off and email it to me. I can tell you what to do with each cable and board.
 

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If you do want to make it a web-machine, I recommend at least adding a video card. making sure it is PCI or ISA depending on whats open. The web is a lot more graphical(for lack of a better word) than it was when that thing was top of the line. Just my 2 cents
 

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My advice is simular to Brew's, only changes I would make to his list is to go with a Asus A7n266 VM mother board, on sale now at newegg for 68 bucks. Includes Geforce 2 graphics, network adapter and sound. And personally I'd get the OEM processor and a good HSF, like a Glacialtech Igloo 2410 Pro. I just dont like using retail heatsinks with AMD chips... with this setup you dont need to spend the extra 60-80 on a video card. again, all this can be bought a www.newegg.com Great people to deal with.

I work at a small ISP/computer sales/repair shop. This is basically our bargin machine.

Good luck
 

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I suggest just starting from scratch with all new parts and case. If you try and upgrade to a P4 processor and use old case your power supply will be inadequate. I recently built two and decided that going new with a few exceptions was the best way to go. Good luck!
 

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If you really feel the need to upgrade this computer, I would recommend you check out: www.pricewatch.com before you run out and but any parts. You can find everything you will need and get the best prices.

my .02
 
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