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Old March 14th, 2009, 11:15 AM   #1
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Old computer upgrade..

I am wanting to upgrade my old Dell 2350 model computer to something that has more disc space, RAM and a larger monitor. However, I am concerned that the motherboard won't accept my choice of RAM which is Corsair XMS3 2048MB Dual Channel PC10600 DDR3 1333MHz Memory (2 x 1024MB).

Currently I am running 512 (haha). I've had this computer for over 6 years and would simply like to make it preform alittle better. It is not a system I plan to edit video from, however I do plan on putting my finished projects on this computer for storage and viewing purposes. Therefore I have chosen a Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB Hard Drive ST31500341AS - 7200RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA-3G and a Samsung 22" Monitor.

The total is $350. My strategy is to be able to use these same parts for further upgrades of a mobo, processor in a larger tower with a bigger power supply in the future.

So my question is, Will my motherboard be able to handle 2048MB 1333MHz of RAM?

Thanks!
Terry.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #2
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No, DDR3 RAM and a six year old computer aren't compatible. If your only use for the computer is to store video files, I'd say just get a couple large capacity external drives with the $350. With two drives, you'll have redundancy in case one fails (keep them both up to date -- "mirrored" -- and one should stay off-site) and then sell or donate the old computer.

If you do have other purposes for the old computer for which it isn't quite doing the job, I'd still say most likely you're better not upgrading but just getting a new system. I'd wonder if the ol' system would even playback HD video smoothly?
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Old March 14th, 2009, 08:57 PM   #3
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Good grief! In today's world that computer is the equivalent of a wind up Victrola that plays 78s. (grin)

A quad core and max RAM is really the minimum for editing native HDV. Anything less will have you looking for a ball peen hammer to use on something.
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Old March 15th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #4
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HAHA! Well the thing is, this old computer works better than most computers I work on at my university so I never saw the need to get a new one. However recently I think its starting to get worn out. Its becoming slow to respond. The only thing I could do is just up the RAM.

An entirely new system is definately in the future but probably not for editing. I tried to build an edit system a couple times and it reached close to the $1500+ mark each time. Around $500 is what I'm willing to pay for an upgrade. Don't laugh but right now, I'm using a 15" monitor... I'm seriously thinking about buying an HD TV to slap on the wall so I can just hook my computer and cable box to it.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 10:36 AM   #5
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Consider a graphic card upgrade?

You did not specify what graphics card you have in your old PC.

An interesting tidbit that I found, when researching Non Linear Video Editors, was I learned that there may be advantages possible by offloading the decoding and post processing to the GPU (from the CPU). Specifically, the inexpensive nVidia 8400 GS cards (such as the Asus EN8400ES Silent/HTP/512M card with the G98 GPU) have better support for VC-1 and MPEG2 than the more expensive nVidia 9800GTX+ 512MB cards (which only have the G92/94 GPU). The nVidia 8400 GS cards requires a PCIe (PCI-enhanced) slot in one's older PC. Both cards (that I mentioned) have GPU's which provide the same support for H.264.

The nVidia 8400GS cards are relatively inexpensive, and if one gets one with Pure Video support, and then also uses NLE software that specifically takes advantage of Pure Video (and not all software does), then suddenly one's old PC becomes a viable platform for AVCHD Video Editing, where only significantly more powerful (and newer) PCs could do the job before.

Note that one does have to identify the right software package to use with the card/PC combination.

I'm a Linux user so I can't provide Windows recommendations, but since there is a Linux program with capabilities in this area, I suspect there must also be MS-Windows programs.

While I was trying to wrap my mind around why a less expensive card could be more capable than a much more expensive card from the same manufacturer, I note this is only for Pure Video HD support and that the newer nVidia cards (such as the 9800 GTX+ I mentioned above) are significantly superior in all other respects (especially superior wrt games). I think the faster clock speed of the 9800 GTX+ also means H.264 decoding would be quicker than the 8400GS. Its only in VT-1 (wmv codecs) and MPEG2 that the nVidia 8400 GS GPU has 3rd generation capaabilities that the 9800 GTX+ does not. I note this thread from a nVidia support site FAQ when trying to explain this difference: PureVideo HD FAQ
Quote:
Q. Do the GeForce 8800 series GPUs include the same video processing capabilities as the new GeForce 8400, GeForce 8500 and GeForce 8600 GPUs?
Quote:
No. The GeForce 8800 uses the previous generation of PureVideo HD. This is because the GeForce 8800 is usually paired with more powerful dual-core CPUs and our goal is to achieve balanced use of all the processing power in your machine. With the GeForce 8800, it makes sense to let these powerful CPU cores handle functions they do well. But with the lower-end GPUs, which are usually paired with less-powerful, single-core CPUs, it is better for the GPU to take on the entire video decoding and processing task and the new PureVideo HD engine has been enhanced with these chips in mind.
... I also wonder a bit as to how much of that is marketing, and how much technical fact? I have read that the GeForce 9600/9800 series are not changed much from the 8600/8800 series

Anyway ... I offer this suggestion to look at graphic cards as food for thought.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 01:35 PM   #6
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Leave it alone

You might be better off leaving it alone as it is... OK, maybe add another 512MB of RAM ($20), that would speed up the system a little. Other than that it's just not worth investing in that old clunker.

What might bring you significant speed increase is wiping the hard clean and installing the OS anew. It's amazing how much junk computers accumulate over the years, and there is no software that would clean it out properly.

Save the change for a new one.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 01:58 PM   #7
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I agree, reformat your hard drive, but I wouldn't put a single penny into your PC.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 07:17 PM   #8
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Hmm. So bring it up to 1GB?

I'll give it a shot. Can't hurt.

What do you think about hard drive space though? The hard drive in this thing is a whopping 30G..... and probably has a buffer memory of 2MB.

To be honest I think I have DDR2 in it now.. i'll have to check.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 08:08 PM   #9
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Terry,

Here is a link to the Corsair website that has a few specs on the Dell 2350 and their recommended memory. It also lists the memory type that came in that computer.

Dell Dimension 2350 Memory Upgrades - Guaranteed Compatible Memory for your Dell Dimension 2350 from Corsair

But, like those who posted ahead of me I wouldn't do anything more hardware wise than update the ram and if I were crazy enough to do that I would buy a set. (2 X 512) Who knows if what you purchased would match what you had in there.

Like the others before me stated, reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling windows 98 :) or whatever operating system that came on there would be the best bang for your buck.

If you spend any more money on that old thing we may have to have you committed! Anything that you could add to that machine you sure as heck wouldn't want on a new one.


Good Luck
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Old March 17th, 2009, 10:24 PM   #10
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HAHA! Its not that old c'mon! I actually have Windows XP on this thing. I've done some upgrades in the past. I had it reformated maybe 6 months ago so I'm good in that perspective.

I'm in the process of building a new computer, so I won't be in the stone age much longer!
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Old March 18th, 2009, 07:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
What do you think about hard drive space though? The hard drive in this thing is a whopping 30G.
That's fine for the OS and whatever other software you want on it (keep it at a minimum). Don't put anything else on that drive!

Standard definition video will play just fine from an external USB drive, if you want HD, get a $10 eSata card and an eSata external drive... but that will bring your oldie to the brinks... better keep it SD.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 11:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Standard definition video will play just fine from an external USB drive, if you want HD, get a $10 eSata card and an eSata external drive... but that will bring your oldie to the brinks... better keep it SD.
The hard drive for my new system will certainly atleast be Firewire-400. USB I hear is slow as Christmas. eSata would be my next choice but they seam to be on the more expensive side. BTW, Whats up with SolidState? I have no clue what that is but the hard drives are like 250GB for nearly $700..

For this old system, I just want to make it work a bit better so I can give it to someone who doesn't have a computer.

Thanks for the help.
Terry Lee
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Old March 20th, 2009, 12:54 PM   #13
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More thoughts on 8400GS

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Originally Posted by Lee Matheson View Post
The nVidia 8400GS cards are relatively inexpensive, and if one gets one with Pure Video support, and then also uses NLE software that specifically takes advantage of Pure Video (and not all software does), then suddenly one's old PC becomes a viable platform for AVCHD Video Editing, where only significantly more powerful (and newer) PCs could do the job before.
I looked a bit more into the nVidia 8400GS cards, and in addition to there being many of these cards for the PCI-e bus, there are also 8400GS cards provided by 4 different suppliers for the much older PCI bus (from PNY, BFG, eVGA, and Sparkle) where with the right nVidia driver, these cards provide Pure Video 2nd generation support (ie vdpau support for Linux). However as near as I can glean, those are only for the 64-bit PCI and not for the 32-bit PCI (my old computers are only 32-bit and hence this is not a solution for my old PCs). There are no 8400GS cards for the AGP slot as far as I know. There are some relative (to nVidia) advanced ATI cards for the AGP slot, but in Linux terms, I don't think the ATI cards have as much support for off loading the video decoding to the GPU.

In fact, I'm likely going to purchase a new PC (Intel core i7, possibly with a nVidia 9800 GFX+++ graphics card). As has been noted by others, ... there comes a point where if one's PC is too old, it does not make much sense in continuing to upgrade the PC.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 10:11 AM   #14
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512 megabytes of RAM is pretty minimal for running XP (not enough headroom for apps, without a whale of a lot of swap file usage - which is S-L-O-W.). Going to 1 gigabyte of RAM will almost assuredly boost performance significantly.

Also, from what I've gathered, the Seagate 1.5 terabyte drives are problematic (just look at feedback on Newegg). I'd stick with the 1 terabyte drives for now.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 03:14 PM   #15
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Correction re: PCI 8400GS card

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Originally Posted by Lee Matheson View Post
However as near as I can glean, those are only for the 64-bit PCI and not for the 32-bit PCI (my old computers are only 32-bit and hence this is not a solution for my old PCs).
Turns out I was wrong here. There are nVidia 8400GS cards for the 32-bit PCI on old PCs. They are not too expensive (albeit they cost more than the 8400GS for the PCI-e bus). I found 4 different GS8400 Cards, all of which have a 32-bit PCI card:I also found very detailed pix for the BFG, PNY, and eVGA, confirming that they all seem to be of the "universal 3.5 and 5.5 volt 32-bit PCI card" type.

I then compared those pix to these articles explaining a bit about PCI cards, with great pix/sketches:Again, the 8400 GS cards (depicted on the various web sites) shape matches that of the "universal 3.5 and 5.5 volt 32-bit PCI card" type depicted in the tutorials on PCI cards.

Since I found a web site where I could order the BFG nVidia 8400GS, I sent BFG support an email asking their assessment if the card would function in an old PC of mine (listing my motherboard, with pix) , and their prompt reply/assessment was there would be no problem. I also checked the power requirements to ensure the power supply in my old PC could handle the power requirements of the video card (card requires 300 watts).

In the end, I decided to go ahead, and I ordered one BFG nVidia 8400GS PCI graphic card. Its inexpensive, and I have 3 old PCs in which I can test it on, to see what its GPU does for offloading the H.264 encoding from AVCHD to the graphic card, and smoothly ( ? ) displaying it on my monitor. If it works on the oldest PC, I'll purchase more of the cards for the other old PCs in our flat.

Note that does not solve encoding issues. But I'm happy with Linux encoding of AVCHD, and thus far I've been able to encode (albeit slowly) samples of the highest resolution/encoding of the AVCHD formats from the camcorders that interest me.

A common thought I had (that has been expressed in countless threads) is that bandwidth is a MAJOR limitation when referring to the PCI bus in an old PC. ... But, there is also a differing school of thought that views the bandwidth limitation being less than the CPU limitation in an old PC, and that the PCI bus is large enough to offload the encoded H.264 to the GPU for decoding, where upon it can be displayed smoothly if the GPU has sufficient on-card memory.

So I anticipate, if nothing else, I'll have fun playing with that, until I finally purchase my new PC (Intel i7 Core based) in the next month or two.

As an aside, I note one Ubuntu user of a PC older than mine (600mHz PIII) , claim the inexpensive 8400 GS works well in playing High Definition Video: XBMC Community Forum - View Single Post - XBMC for Linux VDPAU support (ongoing development in an separate SVN branch) ... note this is likely playing back the video with software specifically designed to take advantage of VDPAU (the Linux nVidia Pure Video equivalent) and not just any piece of software.
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