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Upgrading a very old system (10 years!)

Hello. I've been thinking about upgrading my very old system from 2006, with these specs:

Intel Core2 Quad Q9400
GTX 260
AMD Radeon HD 5450
Dell 0TP412 motherboard
Dell N525E-00 525w PSU
8 GB of RAM


I want to upgrade my system for general gaming + digital art, and I currently have $300 to spend. I'm thinking about replacing the GPU, CPU and motherboard. Any recommendations? Should I just build a new system? Many thanks!
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about upgrading system years
  1. my advice is to replace cpu and motherboard for 300$ and later on save some money and replace gpu too.
  2. You will also have to upgrade RAM. Your currrent pc case probably doesn't support ATX, so you may need to change case and PSU as well.
    If you only have $300 then you should probably spend ~$180 to buy used Dell Optiplex with i5-2400, 8GB RAM and buy GTX 1050 for $120. Just make sure the PC you buy is not SFF (small form factor), so the gpu can fit in and that PSU is at least 400W.
  3. A 10 years old system is not worth upgrading. i.e. The Mobo can't take modern faster rams. The CPU socket is not compatible with Modern CPU. You *may* be able to salvage PSU, cooler+fan, HD?, optical, key+mouse, and if that thing runs PCI, rather than PCIe, then all those PCI boards need to go.

    Today, if anybody is buying a new computer, I would tell him Core-Duo is obsolete.
  4. Dual core maybe obsolete. But not everyone can afford a quad,6, 8, or 16 core system
  5. Paul NZ said:
    Dual core maybe obsolete. But not everyone can afford a quad,6, 8, or 16 core system

    2nd job? :)

    My last box too was 10 years old, and until I upgraded, I hadn't realize how slow it was, I was wasting all that time for things to load! I didn't realize it because things degraded gradually.

    OK, can u run Linux? a more efficient OS that should require less horsepower to run at the cost of learning curve. Again ask how valuable is your time.
  6. Works fine here with dual core and 32 GB and an SSD
  7. Best answer
    JjustPassingBy said:
    Hello. I've been thinking about upgrading my very old system from 2006, with these specs:

    Intel Core2 Quad Q9400
    GTX 260
    AMD Radeon HD 5450
    Dell 0TP412 motherboard
    Dell N525E-00 525w PSU
    8 GB of RAM


    I want to upgrade my system for general gaming + digital art, and I currently have $300 to spend. I'm thinking about replacing the GPU, CPU and motherboard. Any recommendations? Should I just build a new system? Many thanks!


    JjustPassingBy,

    On Passmark, the best CPU performance on the Dell 0TP412 (Dell Precision T3400) motherboard is using the Intel Core2 Extreme X9650 (about $60-100) overclocked from 3GHz to 4.2GHz. The CPU score is 5107 and the Single Thread Mark is 1260. The best non O/C rating is for the Xeon X3370 3GHz at 4636 having a Single Thread Mark of 1288 (about $70-85) . The 1260 or 1288 single-thread mark means poor gaming perfomrnace as it would bottleneck a fast GPU.

    I'm a big fan of older systems and making a game of getting the best performance for the least investment, but for your $300, consider moving a generation or two:

    An example of the value of moving up in technological generations:

    Dell OptiPlex 990 Tower, Core i7 2600 @ 3.40GHz, 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Win 7 Pro 64 > sold for $169.50 (12.12.16)

    And that is i7-2600 is 4-core@ 3.4/ 3.8GHz. the top Passmark score for the Optiplex 990 with a i7-2600 is 8717 and that CPU has a Single Thread Mark of 1919.

    Add to that system a used GTX 760 for $60, a 120-126GB SSD for $70 and WD Blue 1TB for $50 and the total cost is about $370, but assume the current system would have a value of $70 and there you are. That would be a quite good gaming system and very good at 2D and 3D graphics applications. The time and effort is also less than changing a motherboard. Anyway, the Precision T3400 may not accommodate a non-Dell motherboard.

    Cheers,

    BambiBoom

    CAD / 3D Modeling / Graphic Design:

    HP z420 (2015) (Rev 3) > Xeon E5-1660 v2 (6-core @ 3.7 / 4.0GHz) / 32GB DDR3 -1866 ECC RAM / Quadro K4200 (4GB) / Samsung SM951 M.2 256GB AHCI + Intel 730 480GB (9SSDSC2BP480G4R5) + Western Digital Black WD1003FZEX 1TB> M-Audio 192 sound card > 600W PSU> > Windows 7 Professional 64-bit > Logitech z2300 speakers > 2X Dell Ultrasharp U2715H (2560 X 1440)
    [ Passmark Rating = 5581 > CPU= 14046 / 2D= 838 / 3D= 4694 / Mem= 2777 / Disk= 11559] [6.12.16]

    Analysis / Simulation / Rendering:

    HP z620 (2012) (Rev 3) 2X Xeon E5-2690 (8-core @ 2.9 / 3.8GHz) / 64GB DDR3-1600 ECC reg) / Quadro K2200 (4GB) + Tesla M2090 (6GB) / HP Z Turbo Drive (256GB) + Seagate Constellation ES.3 (1TB) / 800W > Windows 7 Professional 64-bit > HP 2711x (27" 1980 X 1080)
    [ Passmark System Rating= 5675 / CPU= 22625 / 2D= 815 / 3D = 3580 / Mem = 2522 / Disk = 12640 ] 9.25.16

    General Purpose

    Dell Precision T3500 (2011) (Rev 2) Xeon X5677 4-core @ 3.46 / 3.73GHz > 12GB (6X 2GB) DDR3-1333 ECC > Quadro 4000 (2GB) > PERC 6/i + Seagate 300GB 15K SAS ST3300657SS + WD Black 500GB > 525W PSU> Windows 7 Professional 64-bit > 2X Dell 19" LCD
    [Passmark system rating = 2751> CPU = 7236 / 2D= 658 / 3D=2020 / Mem= 1875 / Disk=1221]
  8. I'm one of the guys who overclocks old Dells. Bambiboom gives good advice. But I take a diiferent approach to this question.
    The X38 chipset has hidden support for 400fsb. If you BSEL pinmod, and VID pinmod your existing CPU , or a faster Q9550/9650 or X3380 Xeon.you can get a good clock speed. $100 unlocked CPU not needed. Cost to try it $0.
    My approach to PSU and GPU is to put your money there. They can move on to your next machine, and GPU is where the most performance is.
    A few words on "Bottlenecking". Bottlenecking is technically when the GPU has to wait for data from the CPU which results in screen freezes. I see it used a lot to nean the CPU is holding back the GPUs performance which is not the same thing. The Dell Dimension E520 inm my sig. scores 7000 in Firestrike with an R9-285 ITX., The O/C T3400 scores higher with 2x sli HD7850s. Benchmarks tend to favor multicore performance and I don't know how it would work in single thread games. I haven't had any screen freezes. Yes the GPU would score higher with a newer CPU.
    Memory- DDR2 800 is as fast as DDR3-1066. 8GB is enough. DDR2 -1066 will run at 800 with 400fsb.So if you have 8GB DDR2-800 your good to go. Cost $0. I would n't spend any money here, it can't move forward, and it's a minor factor with modern GPUs.

    There was an issue with AMD GPUs GCN version 3 not displaying the Dell VESA mode 103 the BIOS requires. Definitely on the T3400. I don't know if it's been fixed. Nvidia is a safer bet.

    There is no better MB swap for that BTX machine. You will need new case and MB to upgrade.
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