General discussion


Rebuilding computer

By KidContent ·
My sons have birthdays in early October, and I'd like to take the Gateway computer I'm no longer using, copy the files I need from the hard drive to another media, wipe the hard drive clean, possibly add more hard drive space, add a CD/DVD burner, upgrade to XP, etc., and give it to them for their bdays.

They will be 12 and 14, they chat with their friends online, etc., and I'm looking for any suggestions that might make this whole process easier on myself. Their bdays are in one to two weeks, so I need to move fast.

Any recommendations as to:

1. Components to consider
2. Which suppliers have the best deals
3. How easy/difficult it is to do this myself

... and so on?

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some info needed

by antuck In reply to Rebuilding computer

Hi KidContent,

We would need a little more information about the Gateway computer. How much RAM is installed now, how fast is the CPU, What size hard drive is installed and how big would you like to go, how many open bays are there (you can either open the case or look at the front and see how many spaces are available by the CD-ROM) what operating system is installed now. If you don't know the specs, you can go to Gatway's web site and with the serial number they should let you know what shipped with it.

This is mainly a time consuming project. As far as installing anything, it can be fairly easy depending on your knowledge of computers. Just make sure you have all drivers before starting any OS install. You can get them from Gateway's web site or if you have the recovery disks that came with the computer. If you plan on upgrading to XP, you'll need to go to Gateway's web site and depending on how old the system is, they should have drivers for XP.

My thoughts on installing XP are min CPU 1GHz, RAM 512MB. Others may feel differently on this, but I have found this to be good numbers for XP to run smothly.

Let us know what the specs are and we can give you a better idea.

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by KidContent In reply to some info needed

Thanks for your reply, andy@...

Here are the specs of my Gateway, which was purchased in Feb 2000:

Processor- Celeron 433 MHz
Memory- 64 MB RAM
Hard Drive- 10.2 GB EIDE
OS- Windows 98

I guess I may just need to wipe the hard drive clean because 10.2 GB should be enough, I would think.

There is currently a CD-ROM drive, and there appears to be a place for an additional drive above it. I would imagine that replacing the current CD-ROM drive with an up-to-date CD Burner would work?

I just want to start over with this computer (clean hard drive, ample memory, CD burner, XP OS, etc.) so my kids will have a good computer for their needs (homework, chatting with friends, surfing online, etc.).

Or do you think it would be cheaper to buy a brand new computer?

Thanks for your help!

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Maybe a time to upgrade

by antuck In reply to

For a Win 98 computer this isn't bad. I would increase the memory to 128MB. But you will need to find out how much memory the board will support and what type of memory. This can be easily done by going to Gatway's web site and there should be an upgrade selection somewhere. Choose memory and see what it brings up for your system. I wouldn't buy the memory from Gateway. I would go with Kingston or Crucial. You could also go to there web sites and plug in the model number and they should give you the information regarding the memory.

As far as a burner goes, you mentioned it appears there is an extra slot, you could install a new burner and have the CD-ROM installed at the same time. A couple of things to remember, make sure the jumpers on the CD drives are set right. Meaning master - slave or cable select (CS). I belive Gateways generally set everything to cable select. You'll be able to tell by looking at the back of the drive where the jumpers are at.

I wouldn't install XP on this computer. It would be very slow. Right now there is not enough memory to install. Being the board is older, it probably will only support maybe 512MB of RAM. ANd it may not even support that. There is a slight chance there is a BIOS upgrade to support more memory, but be very, very, very careful if you decide to upgrade BIOS. If done wrong or the wrong BIOS update is installed, the computer will no longer function.

The other thing to take into consideration, is Microsoft I belive is stopping support on Win 98 in December. Not many things will be supporting Win 98 after that.

It maybe be better to go with a new computer. It will have the up-to-date hardware and will support XP. It will generally cost you more to build your own, but I find the computer to be much better the the manufactured ones. If cost and time are a big consern, then you should go with a manufactured one. As far as who makes the best, it is hard for me to say, but I would stay away from Compaq, Emachine, HP and even Gateway.

As far as what to get with a newer one, don't worry much about CPU speed. Most of the systems are running over 2GHz. Memory I would make sure there is at least 512MB. I wouldn't put to much into which CPU is installed, AMD or Intel will work just fine for you. The rest of the system just make sure it will meet you needs like having a burner installed or a DVD player/burner.

Hope this helped you out and didn't create more confusion. If you have any other questions post them and I'll reply.

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my suggestion

by jck In reply to

If they're gonna be doing anything graphical, they're gonna need more than that motherboard, processor, memory and disk (cause of program size of XP and that 10GB drive is probably 10ms seek and ATA-66).

Get you a basic Dell (without the monitor, if yours is good) for like $450. You can add your own CD-RW/DVD drive for about $40 or so. You can add memory pretty cheap as well. You should get a 120GB drive in it, which is plenty.

My biggest concern if you are to "upgrade" this box is AT vs ATX case architecture, plus power supply requirements for any peripheral upgrades. Older machines used to come with standard 180-250W supplies, where machines now regularly come with 300-400W supplies.

If you need advice and want to be specific in your needs, contact me through TR and I'll give you links and help on what I know is good and works for your type of needs and that of your kids.

Yeah...I offered free help. I have a soft spot for kids.

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Problem with the low end dell

by jdclyde In reply to my suggestion

all the low end models have the on-board video card. You would have to make sure it has a AGP slot so you could add a REAL video card later on.

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I can confirm

by jck In reply to Problem with the low end ...

Dell GX280s have a AGP 8x/4x compatible slot and SATA and ATA133 drive connectors.

That's what we get for all our offices.

They're a bit pricier than $450, but they're P4-2.4Ghz with 512MB and 160GB drives.

jdclyde is right basic suggestion would be replace and use the old monitor is it's still in good shape

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confrim X2

by antuck In reply to I can confirm

I would aggree also with the AGP part or now the PCI -X or SLI video slots. I forgot to mention that in my earlier post. It will make a differemce in gaming.

Also the SATA is a great benifit as well.

Watch Dell's site as they give the flat panels away when they run a specials. maybe get the flat panel for yourself and give the CRT to the kids.

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by jdclyde In reply to

Look at a "BareBones" system. Find one WITHOUT and on-board video card!

That 433 is great, for a word processor. But if and when the kids want to load ANY games on it, they will be VERY disappointed with this computer.

Find out EXACTLY what they would do with the system. IF you want a GAMING system, your better off with an Xbox or PS2.

For a DECENT PC though, the barebones is the AFFORDABLE way to upgrade.

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Buy a new one

by Surflover In reply to

You can get a great computer for under $500 these days... My daughter just bought one for $399; 60GB HD, DVD/CD burner, 1GB Ram, XP installed. Google for PC deals and you'll be amazed...

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Again, won't run games for kids

by jdclyde In reply to Buy a new one

It hasn't been stated yet if this is really a factor, but if it is for the kids they WILL want to play.

The low end systems will ALL have on-board video, and on-board will NOT run the games.

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