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Is it worth upgrading from a pentium III - 450 mHz?

Posted on 2004-11-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I have a Gateway 450 which I bought several years ago.  It was top of the line at the time, and I have since upgraded it with an 80 GB hard drive.  I don't play games much, but recently got a present and was unable to try it because it required a 600 MHZ minimum and a video card with at least 32 MB.  I upgraded the video card, but thought the game would just run slow - no luck.

I don't need to play this particular game, but was wondering if I would notice other benefits from a faster CPU, e.g. is there a Pentium III - 1 Ghz? and how hard is it to upgrade?  

thx

Dave
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Question by:dsokal
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    by:Lee W, MVP
    In all likelihood, you cannot upgrade beyond 550 MHz - POSSIBLY 600.  There were PIII chips up to 1.4 GHz, but they changed the design of them and your board likely wouldn't support them.  The fastest "Katmai" core (particular design specs of the CPU you have) was I believe 550 MHz (possibly 600 MHz).  Some newer boards also supported "Coppermine" cores but they needed the right voltage regulator and it's not easy to tell if you have that or not and I doubt Gateway's support staff will know what you are talking about if you try to call and ask.

    There WAS an upgrade chip (slot 1 card) with, I believe, a modified voltage regulator and the capability to support a chip at roughly 1 GHz using a 100 MHz bus (what you have), but I haven't seen those in well over a year and they didn't seem to make a big dent in the market.
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    by:Lee W, MVP
    Check out this page - it details much of what I point out:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/motherboard/20000714/440bx-01.html

    (Now if your board isn't a BX chipset board, it might be a different story - but a LOT of PIII 450-550 MHz systems were BX based).
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    by:Lee W, MVP
    This might permanently answer the question and shut me up - plug your system details into here:
    http://www.powerleap.com/SystemSearch.html
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    Author Comment

    by:dsokal
    Thanks - the powerleap diagnostic site is very useful.

    Part 2 of question - am I likely to notice a difference when doing anything but games?  I have XP Home editior and 384 MB of ram.  Will searches of an overflowing mailbox go faster?

    I don't do much graphics, so my usual computer use is probably not too demanding.

    ds
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    by:dsokal
    PS - I do take digital photos, and do some editing of digital photos, but usually not much more than removing red-eye.

    ds
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    by:Lee W, MVP
    If you upped the CPU significantly, yes, you'd see faster searches, etc.  How much faster is difficult to say.  Hard disk fragmentation and performance specs would also play a factor in that answer.  You can always buy an ATA card and put another hard drive on it.  Modifying certain settings/system options would then help performance.  But if you're going to spend $100 on the CPU upgrade, $100 on a hard drive, $30 on a controller, you're halfway to the cost of a new computer that would be 6 times or more faster.  And have a warranty.  You'd mostly see differences in things that are CPU intensive.
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    by:dsokal
    PPS - According to the powerleap site "inspecs" program, my bios date is 2 / 4 / 1999, and they recommend a Slotwonder 1.4 GHz device.  Will I have to update my bios or do anything else, if I get this piece of hardware?
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    by:
    That I can't say - I would think not, but it's best to ask such questions of PowerLeap's support site - they know their products far better than I.
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    by:dsokal
    Thanks - I think you've answered my questions pretty much.  Fyi, I bought a new hard drive about a year ago, so I figure if I keep upgrading, I'll have kept this computer alive and useable for about $100 a year for a couple of years.

    ds
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    by:RyanCh
    In all honisty you may be better off buying a $3-400 new computer from e-machines or dell or whatever.  You can get usually over a 2GHZ processor, 256-512MB PC2100 or PC2700, and other basic stuff.  If you want to migrate your video card and hard drive over to that it'd work also.  Trying to keep upgrading a machine which you're talking about is usually more trouble (and more expensive) than it is worth.  Good luck whichever way you go.
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    by:dsokal
    Thanks for the advice.   I haven't done anything yet about getting a processor upgrade, because it seems that I might have to upgrade my BIOS?? and apparently if that's not done properly, you can get a permanently dead computer - or at least one that would take more expertise than I have to resuscitate.

    ds
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