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Windows 7: Piecing together from several towers


09 Jul 2011   #1

windows 7 ultimate
 
 
Piecing together from several towers

My HP laptop just fried after only 2 years, so I got several cheap towers from someone to piece together the best computer I can.

They're all older towers:
1. Dell Dimension 2400 - 2.6 ghz, 2mb, 256mb pci graphics card, 250 psu. (no agp or pci-e)
2. Dell Dimension 4500 - 1.8 ghz, 2mb, 256mb pci-e graphics card, 250 psu (pci-e)
3. Not sure of brand name, maybe Gateway, and has se440bx2 motherboard
2.2 ghz with 300 psu. (agp slot)

Since I use my HDTV as my monitor, I want to get a graphics card with a hdmi port.

My question is, considering the specs of the towers, what kind of graphic card should I get - pci, agp, pci-e and which combination would give me the best performance?

I'm thinking of getting a 512mb graphics card with hdmi port...would the upgrade to 512mb from 256mb even make that much of a difference?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Jul 2011   #2
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hate to say it but how about none of the above. Specs for both Dells,

2400 - Documentation

4500 - Documentation

Neither has a PCI-E slot, and only the 4500 came with an AGP slot. In either case a video card with a HDMI port on it is worth more than both of those computers combined. You're looking at close to $100.00 for either a PCI or AGP card with HDMI. The best I can suggest would be to make do with the 2400 as it is slightly better than the 4500 until such a time as you can get a new desktop or laptop.

As for that one with the se440bx2 in it, if that number is correct then what is shown here (sorry direct download link),

http://download.intel.com/support/mo...2/72163201.pdf

Piecing together from several towers-440bx.png

then that thing is well beyond its best before date.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #3

Windows 7 64b Ultimate
 
 

Hello Fatbottoms,

That's not an easy question as we don't know what it is you want to do....
But from the info given I'd say the Dimension 2400 is the only one that you could consider if you use these at all. If I'm correct, it's the only one out of the three that can handle 2Gb of RAM, which in my opinion is the minimum you want for Windows 7.... Given that motherboard, the simplest PCI card with hdmi would do... I think... but havent'checked that yet as, again, we need to hear more from you
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Jul 2011   #4

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

According to Dell, A Dimension 4500 is an AGP/PCI system. (No PCI-E.) DDR memory. It supports a maximum of 1GB of RAM (two DIMM slots, max. 512 MB each).

The 2400 is similar, except that it has no AGP graphics slot. It goes to 2GB of RAM (2 slots, 1GB each).

The Intel se440bx2 (Seattle 2) is a Slot I system (Pentium II). It uses 168 pin SDRAM, as much as 384 MB of it. It's not a candidate for Windows 7 at all.

Not to be harsh, but are you quite sure that you wish to buy a Windows 7 license for any one of these?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #5

windows 7 ultimate
 
 

I guess I'm wrong about Dell 4500, but I thought a green slot on the motherboard indicated a pci-e slot...doesn't the color of the slots indicate type of graphic card - white=pci, brown=agp, green= pci-e?

As for the ram on the Dell 4500, it does support 2gb.

It came with 2gb of ram and the computer recognizes the 2gigs, and I've been running it for the past few days without any problems.

I've already installed Windows 7 Ultimate on both the Dell towers and they both seem to run fine without a problem...had some trouble with some drivers, but got it figured out.

I even ran the tower with se440bx2 with 2gb of ram I took out of one of the Dell's and the tower ran fine, although I didn't put Windows 7 on it... this motherboard has a brown agp slot.

As for the kind of use, I'm not a big gamer, although I'll play Halo 2 occasionally.

I just want something that'll stream and display HD without any problems, and also I do graphic design, so I need something that'll be able to handle graphic apps like Photoshop.

Also, I've found agp, pci, and pci-e cards (512mb) on Amazon for around 50 or less.

Although I paid 100 for all three towers, I think the 50 is worth the investment for the graphic card with the hdmi just for the HD display and audio also...the resolution is horrible with vga I'm using.

I realize these towers are relics archaeologists dug up, but these are basically going to be my back up computers until I get my laptop fixed or get another one.

I'm finding out from my computer repair guy that HP are notorious for running hot, and that the majority of repairs are all HP...even the plastic casing around my laptop started to warp.

Granted, I ran my laptop (HP G60-120US) like a desktop, keeping it on most of the day, but the laptop only lasted 2 years...700 down the drain.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #6

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by fatbottoms View Post
As for the ram on the Dell 4500, it does support 2gb.

(snip)

I even ran the tower with se440bx2 with 2gb of ram I took out of one of the Dell's and the tower ran fine, although I didn't put Windows 7 on it... this motherboard has a brown agp slot.
Officially, the 4500 only supports 512MB DIMMs. It has the same basic chipset as the 2400, so I can believe that 1GB sticks fit.

How'd you manage to get 184 pin DDR to run in an SE440BX-2, which supports 168 pin SDRAM? (I see that you can get 256MB sticks, but if memory serves, they have to be low density.)

If you're quite serious about the graphics card, you may find this worth a look:

Newegg.com - Computer Hardware, Video Cards & Video Devices, Desktop Graphics / Video Cards, AGP 4X/8X, PCI, 1 x HDMI
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2011   #7

Windows 7 64b Ultimate
 
 

Next time you run your LT as a DT... consider taking out the battery. It spares it (the battery and the LT) and helps in reducing temps...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2011   #8
Microsoft MVP

Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center 64 bit
 
 

I wouldn't go buy the colors, I've seen blue, green, brown, etc. Also an AGP slot can look very similar to a PCIe slot but one is not compatible with the other. You wouldn't get an AGP card in a PCIe slot or vise versa, not without a hammer anyway. One way to confirm what it is , is to take the video card that is in it and Google it. Sounds like it is AGP though, based on what the system specs say.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
 
 

This might be a perfect application for windows 7 ready boost feature by adding a 4-8gb usb stick of fast flash memory and letting it settle in for a few days.
But regarding the video card options would this work:
http://biz.tigerdirect.com/applicati...484&CatId=1603
http://biz.tigerdirect.com/applicati...375&CatId=3667
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jul 2011   #10

windows 7 ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphanumeric View Post
I wouldn't go buy the colors, I've seen blue, green, brown, etc. Also an AGP slot can look very similar to a PCIe slot but one is not compatible with the other. You wouldn't get an AGP card in a PCIe slot or vise versa, not without a hammer anyway. One way to confirm what it is , is to take the video card that is in it and Google it. Sounds like it is AGP though, based on what the system specs say.
Try hereHow to identify the type of PCI bus? | Excel.nl
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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