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Recommendation on possible motherboard upgrade for obsolete PC

I work for a small non-profit organization, and our budget is real tight these days.  Someone recently donated three identical PCs to us.  They are fairly old.  Here are the specs:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-8SIMLH (socket 478), microATX form factor
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 (Northwood), 2.4 GHz
Chipset: SiS 651 rev. 01
RAM: 2 x 512 MB
Power supply: 300W

They all have DVD ROM drives, as well.

I'd like to upgrade the machines to something newer/faster that can comfortably run Windows 7.  What kind of motherboard / processor combo would people recommend?  I'm hoping for something under $200.  Or is it hopeless, and I should just scrap the machines?

Thanks in advance for any input.
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chernavsky
Asked:
chernavsky
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3 Solutions
 
scriven_jCommented:
I would upgrade the memory to 2GB and they should run Windows 7 comfortably.
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chernavskyAuthor Commented:
Scriven, OK, thanks.  If I did want to upgrade the motherboard to make the machine run faster, what would you recommend?
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kode99Commented:
These are not really worth the upgrade unless you had parts kicking around.  You can buy a more up to date used system with legitimate OS for less than your $200 budget.

Here's and example direct from the manufacturer for $135 (shipping included),

http://www-304.ibm.com/shop/americas/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/default/ProductDisplay?productId=4611686018426154665&storeId=124&langId=124&categoryId=2576395&dualCurrId=75&catalogId=-124

Only running XP but the system would run Win7 as is.  So you only have whatever the cost is to put a legit copy of Win7 on.

Anything beyond bumping up the memory in those old systems basically involves building nearly a whole new system less a case/power supply and maybe the hard drive.    

Ironically the reused parts are also the most likely to fail.

There are a number of fairly inexpensive boards with built on Atom or Celeron chips that can be had for under $100 plus the cost of memory.  Also Socket 775 boards and processors are fairly inexpensive and could do the job to eep hardware cost down (board $50-75, processor $50-100).  Of course I talking about new parts,  ebay would likely be much cheaper.

Here's some links to give you an idea of the kind of costs involved,

Boards with built in processors,
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=446&name=Motherboard-CPU-VGA-Combo

Socket 775 Motherboards,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007627%20600007879&IsNodeId=1&name=LGA%20775

Socket 775 Processors,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007671%20600005851&IsNodeId=1&name=LGA%20775
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chernavskyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the tips.
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