Recommendation on possible motherboard upgrade for obsolete PC

Posted on 2011-02-11
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
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.
Question by:chernavsky
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scriven_j earned 100 total points
ID: 34872240
I would upgrade the memory to 2GB and they should run Windows 7 comfortably.

Author Comment

ID: 34872306
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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scriven_j earned 100 total points
ID: 34872756
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kode99 earned 150 total points
ID: 34874836
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),

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,

Socket 775 Motherboards,

Socket 775 Processors,

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34988568
Thanks for the tips.

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