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Computer Processors...

Postby sox 06 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:58 pm

I know quite a bit about computers, but I've only been replacing/upgrading computer parts for the past year or so.

My question is, if you have a desktop motherboard that has a processor clocked at 2.4GHz, can you replace the processor with the exact same one that is clocked at a higher speed? How about overclocking the processor?

I'm wondering this because I've been converting a free desktop tower into a PVR. I've upgraded the power supply, video card, sound card, hard drive, maxed out the RAM and I've uninstalled practically everything that is not needed to run Windows XP and the PVR software, Internet Explorer, AVG and CCleaner. However, the computer still lags and the video quality is still lacking, its still watchable but it could be much better. The only thing that I haven't upgraded is the processor, so should it be next?
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby scottaa1 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:03 am

Well, it's not a simple answer. In short, you overclock a CPU by raising the bus speed higher than the default for the mobo. Not all boards even allow that option in the bios. What is the make/model of the mobo?

The CPU speed is the chip stepping times the bus speed. You say it's an older 2.4ghz chip, which sounds like a single core p4. That mobo probably cannot support much more than that. Consider a new mobo a well as a multi-core chip to see a real performance gain.

edited to fix the typos I made while posting this from my iPhone in bed this morning.
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby sox 06 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:41 am

Its an old Essex2 motherboard that's seven (or so) years old and is in a Gateway. The specs of the board say it can handle "Support for Intel® Pentium® 4 and Celeron™ processors 400/533-MHz System Data bus 478-pin ZIF socket" so I was wondering if I could get one of those processors, but just a faster one.

The other specs/upgrades include:
-Intel Celeron 2.4GHz processor (single core I'm assuming)
-160GB HDD
-2GB RAM
-Diamond Xtreme sound card (extremely cheap :-b )
-NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS video card
-350W power supply
-HP USB TV tuner
-Windows XP Home Edition

The other thing that I'm wondering about is say I do overclock/upgrade the processor, the new processor would need more power to run right? I'm worried about this because that graphics cards needs a minimum of a 350W power supply and my power supply is 350W. Would that be a problem?
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby scottaa1 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:58 am

sox 06 wrote:Its an old Essex2 motherboard that's seven (or so) years old and is in a Gateway. The specs of the board say it can handle "Support for Intel® Pentium® 4 and Celeron™ processors 400/533-MHz System Data bus 478-pin ZIF socket" so I was wondering if I could get one of those processors, but just a faster one.

The other specs/upgrades include:
-Intel Celeron 2.4GHz processor (single core I'm assuming)
-160GB HDD
-2GB RAM
-Diamond Xtreme sound card (extremely cheap :-b )
-NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS video card
-350W power supply
-HP USB TV tuner
-Windows XP Home Edition

The other thing that I'm wondering about is say I do overclock/upgrade the processor, the new processor would need more power to run right? I'm worried about this because that graphics cards needs a minimum of a 350W power supply and my power supply is 350W. Would that be a problem?


I'm not sure that you could even find one of those old chips to buy. That motherboard is ancient. AFA the overclocking, doesn't really take more power. If anything it requires more cooling, so it might need an extra fan or something in there. I doubt that motherboard will allow you to overclock anyway. If you go into the BIOS, there would be an item in there to adjsut the main bus speed. Most boards in pre-made boxes don't allow for that. You *might* see a bit of improvement going to a pentium chip from the celeron, but honestly, I recommend that you not put any more money into that box than you already have. You can probably find (as I did) a box for sale that is about two years old for dirt cheap and it will be a huge improvement. I replaced a Dell that had a 2.4Ghz chip in it that I bought in 2004 with a HP with an AMD chip that was made two years ago and it's night and day. Got the box + monitor + upgraded vid card for $200 off classifieds at work.

I'm considering donating the Dell box to a school or church or something, as it really has no use and is collecting dust. It's been suggested I turn it into a file server, or a video box like you're talking about, but my laptop and newish desktop have so much more storage and speed, I'd be better off using one of them in that role.

And if you do go the route of a used box with a 64-bit multi core chip, don't spend the money on extra ram beyond 4gigs or bother with a 64-bit OS unless you have a reason to go 64-bit. I've got Win7 Ultimate in 32- and 64-bit flavors, and run the 32-bit version on both my computers, because I run no 64-bit apps and the most memory either of them has is 3 gigs.
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby scottaa1 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:10 am

this is the list of chips I use as a guideline for how they rank performance-wise:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby sox 06 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:17 am

So something like this wouldn't work?

I understand not putting more money into this, but I'm not too concerned about the money. I've been upgrading this and trying to make the PVR work as a learning experience. I've already put about $220 into it and I've had plenty of people tell me to just go online or check the classifieds and buy a newer tower for cheap.I love this kind of stuff and if I could get this one to work like I want it to, that would be way more satisfying than going out and buying a newer and better tower.
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby scottaa1 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:34 am

sox 06 wrote:So something like this wouldn't work?.


I don't think so. Your mobo supports ZIF and that is apparently a socket 775 LGA http://www.cpu-world.com/Sockets/Socket%20775%20(LGA775).html

I understand your intent here, I've done the same kind of projects. What you need is to find an old Pentium 478-pin ZIF chip with as high a bus/core ratio (stepping) as possible.

You *should* be able to get a P4 at 3+gigahertz in that box, which would be an improvement over the celery chip.
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby sox 06 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:55 am

Thanks for all of the help scottaa1 ;-D

When you say bus speed, will this motherboard only take a 400/533 MHz bus speed as stated in the board's specs?

This should be the last "WIll this one work?" question !+)

But, will this one work?
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby scottaa1 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:45 pm

sox 06 wrote:Thanks for all of the help scottaa1 ;-D

When you say bus speed, will this motherboard only take a 400/533 MHz bus speed as stated in the board's specs?

This should be the last "WIll this one work?" question !+)

But, will this one work?


Based on the specs, that should work just fine. the two things to look at are the socket types, which you've identified, and the front side bus speed the board supports - it says it'll do 400/533mhz FSB, and that CPU is a 533mhz FSB chip - should work just fine. Should be a nice upgrade from the celeron chip... faster, and better instruction set. The only thing I'd wonder about is the voltage. But, I think you should be fine with that.

Let us know how it turns out.
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Re: Computer Processors...

Postby Metroid » Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:47 pm

Wow scott, I didn't know you spoke tech nerd fluently.
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