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Upgrade or buy new desktop PC? Opinions needed out of loop for years...

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Upgrade or buy new desktop PC? Opinions needed out of loop for years...

For quite a while now my main computer has been a laptop and still is. I do have a desktop I built eons ago and have been updating through the years but is long in the tooth. For reference it's an AMD Phenom(tm) II X2 550 Processor 3.10 GHz with 8G of ram. It still serves it's purpose when needed but everything is taking a little longer than I have patience for. I've not paid attention to PC beyond checking the reviews for whatever laptop I was buying at the time so I am out of the loop as to what is decent or not.

So the question is, would slapping ram into this old trusty beast be worth it and would it improve responsiveness? I'm doubting it as nothing I do is very intense, usually it's web browsing, Spotify, and maybe doing something not very demanding on top of that so I don't think it's my ram making everything sluggish but the cpu? If it's the ram I'll gladly toss a couple of sticks in instead of buying another desktop.
I see a lot of listings for Dell XPs 8940 with their gpu's pulled around the $500 mark, are these good buys or overpriced? Anything to be leery about getting one?

Lastly my monitor is a Dell Ultrasharp 2005 FPW that is still working fine however it is also very old and has limited inputs ( DVI-D, VGA). Would I be screwed with a newer desktop not supporting these legacy connections?
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The bottle neck with your desktop is likely hard drive (non ssd) and CPU. Not worth investing as the speed of CPU is very slow. Depose of the desktop and invest in a more modern PC. If you buy a new laptop/desktop, it will likely come with a HDMI or displayport jack. You can buy adaptors to convert the signal/jack to VGA/DVI if you wish to not upgrade your monitor.
[OP]
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Jul 23, 2005
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Actually I upgraded the drive at some point, it's a Samsung SSD 840 EVO 120g.

Any thoughts on the Dell XPs 8940 in the $500 range? Now with the announcements of students to work from home it gets a bit more urgent.
Thanks
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hwshi wrote: Any thoughts on the Dell XPs 8940 in the $500 range? Now with the announcements of students to work from home it gets a bit more urgent.
The Dell are great deals at the 500$ mark

The bad part of the Dell is the proprietary nature of the computer.

- Power Supply
- Motherboard
- Case

All of the above cannot be replaced with generic parts

If you don’t tweak your computer, then get the Dell and use it till the power supply gives up the ghost. Hopefully that is going to be 5 or more years.
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Noted about the parts, i do have to say I've kept this machine going for many years by upgrading and changing out bad parts. But I don't know if I have it in me to research a build and get built for $500 including os.

Anything not ring right with this ad?
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-desktop-compute ... 1600498410
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hwshi wrote: Noted about the parts, i do have to say I've kept this machine going for many years by upgrading and changing out bad parts. But I don't know if I have it in me to research a build and get built for $500 including os.

Anything not ring right with this ad?
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-desktop-compute ... 1600498410
Easy, no video card. Seller salvages the card (3970/3060ti) charging for old cards. Smiling Face With Sunglasses

For that CPU, you need discrete card to work.
I hate to speculate. I hate to forecast. I am just proactive.
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Yeah I get that's what is going on. Am I winning with this situation and price or can I do better?

Sorry what do you mean by the discrete card needs to work? That the on board GPU works?
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hwshi wrote: Yeah I get that's what is going on. Am I winning with this situation and price or can I do better?

Sorry what do you mean by the discrete card needs to work? That the on board GPU works?
Likely not, you need to research onMB included.
I hate to speculate. I hate to forecast. I am just proactive.
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teoconca wrote: Likely not, you need to research onMB included.
according to the Intel site, that model CPU has a Intel® UHD Graphics 730 on board. Is that what you mean by your statement? To make sure it actually has on board graphics?
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I have a similar machine (but ASUS MB, 8GB RAM) that serves as my HTPC/media player and music server as of a few days ago. 1030 card for 4K TV (and to/through 7.2 AVR for FWIW). Had a Phenom II x3 which was noisy because it got hot so I swapped out to an Athlon II x4 610e (burns less than 1/2 the power) so it is much quieter.

Sevres me pretty well for its purpose. Maybe your SSD is getting full?
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hwshi wrote: according to the Intel site, that model CPU has a Intel® UHD Graphics 730 on board. Is that what you mean by your statement? To make sure it actually has on board graphics?
If mb does not support or no slot at back, then no.
I hate to speculate. I hate to forecast. I am just proactive.
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thriftshopper wrote: I have a similar machine (but ASUS MB, 8GB RAM) that serves as my HTPC/media player and music server as of a few days ago. 1030 card for 4K TV (and to/through 7.2 AVR for FWIW). Had a Phenom II x3 which was noisy because it got hot so I swapped out to an Athlon II x4 610e (burns less than 1/2 the power) so it is much quieter.

Sevres me pretty well for its purpose. Maybe your SSD is getting full?
Memory is only 46% full. The machine works, I guess I'm just used to most of my gadgets being fairly recent and of decent quality, which this machine was at some point... I just want it more snappy and responsive. I'd throw some ram at it but I don't think that's it, I think it's just long in the tooth.
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teoconca wrote: If mb does not support or no slot at back, then no.
I'm not sure how I would confirm this? I checked the Dell site and it doesn't mention if there are ports specifically for the MB?

There's a picture of the back on Dell's site that appears to show several display ports that aren't all in the same slot.
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hwshi wrote: I'm not sure how I would confirm this? I checked the Dell site and it doesn't mention if there are ports specifically for the MB?

There's a picture of the back on Dell's site that appears to show several display ports that aren't all in the same slot.
Contact the seller.

That is why people don’t like Dell. MB, case, PSU are hard to replace and upgrade.
Last edited by teoconca on Jan 3rd, 2022 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I hate to speculate. I hate to forecast. I am just proactive.
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Your old PC is sluggish because it's missing the hardware acceleration for modern video playback and the web has generally turned into bloated spaghetti garbage from offshoring all development.

The days of saving money by building a PC is over by like half a decade now. If your main is a laptop then you should just buy another laptop as even an entry level video card now costs $350.

Modern intel is dog shit btw, the only reason you would get it is to save money because it's hot and drinks electricity.
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You are correct that it is long in the tooth, that cpu dates back to the Core 2 Quad days. Yes still usable for basic tasks, but apart from having an SSD and at least 8GB ram there's not much that can help it go faster, even a faster/newer SSD may not help much as you'll be bottlenecked by SATA 1 or 2 speeds most likely.

Have you checked the cpu temps to ensure it is not thermal throttling? Thermal paste is always dried crusty by this point if you have not reseated the heatsink up till now. Should also check the heatsink for dust buildup.

If your SSD is full (win 10 install is usually 40GB right there by itself), or is nearing the end of its lifespan due to high writes (the 840 was an early TLC SSD with poor endurance, smaller SSDs had the poorest endurance) that will also be very detrimental to performance.

Honestly would not recommend one of those Dell units with scavenged GPUs, everything is proprietary and too many corners cut. I was tempted earlier this year as well, the specs are nice on paper but if you intend to keep it running long term it's a landfill build.

For more modern machines, perhaps look around the used market. These are bad times with inflated pricing, but generally anything i5 4th gen haswell and newer should be more than sufficient. It may actually be better to buy a cheap ryzen based laptop with decent specs and use it as a mini pc with external monitor etc, unless you have drives and expansion cards you want to use. I'm also a fan of those lenovo Tiny PCs that are basically laptop hardware without keyboard or screen, if you don't care for internal expansion they are great.
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hwshi wrote: I'm not sure how I would confirm this? I checked the Dell site and it doesn't mention if there are ports specifically for the MB?

There's a picture of the back on Dell's site that appears to show several display ports that aren't all in the same slot.
Never go by pics, those can be stock pics. Have to look at specs like a hawk, as there are several configurations often available.
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M1K3Z0R wrote: You are correct that it is long in the tooth, that cpu dates back to the Core 2 Quad days. Yes still usable for basic tasks, but apart from having an SSD and at least 8GB ram there's not much that can help it go faster, even a faster/newer SSD may not help much as you'll be bottlenecked by SATA 1 or 2 speeds most likely.

Have you checked the cpu temps to ensure it is not thermal throttling? Thermal paste is always dried crusty by this point if you have not reseated the heatsink up till now. Should also check the heatsink for dust buildup.

If your SSD is full (win 10 install is usually 40GB right there by itself), or is nearing the end of its lifespan due to high writes (the 840 was an early TLC SSD with poor endurance, smaller SSDs had the poorest endurance) that will also be very detrimental to performance.

Honestly would not recommend one of those Dell units with scavenged GPUs, everything is proprietary and too many corners cut. I was tempted earlier this year as well, the specs are nice on paper but if you intend to keep it running long term it's a landfill build.

For more modern machines, perhaps look around the used market. These are bad times with inflated pricing, but generally anything i5 4th gen haswell and newer should be more than sufficient. It may actually be better to buy a cheap ryzen based laptop with decent specs and use it as a mini pc with external monitor etc, unless you have drives and expansion cards you want to use. I'm also a fan of those lenovo Tiny PCs that are basically laptop hardware without keyboard or screen, if you don't care for internal expansion they are great.
Thanks for the detailed response! I'll check cpu temps. I haven't reseated the cpu since I installed it. So could be a possible issue. Speed is not do much an issue with websites but I'm how slow it boots up applications or just general jumping around computer menus.

The Dell's seem appealing as they seem to be decent specs and new for $500. I'd rather not get stuck with someone else's abused PC with no fall backs. I'll look into the Lenovo, a small footprint is appealing but not necessary and I imagine they are hard to work on too.
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Gee wrote: The Dell are great deals at the 500$ mark

The bad part of the Dell is the proprietary nature of the computer.

- Power Supply
- Motherboard
- Case

All of the above cannot be replaced with generic parts

If you don’t tweak your computer, then get the Dell and use it till the power supply gives up the ghost. Hopefully that is going to be 5 or more years.
The good thing with Dell is that the service code provides the original configuration and part numbers. In my experience most of the pieces are readily available - I once sourced a Dell laptop keyboard from Malaysia at a good price. I'm currently running two Dell desktop refurbs here.
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Ever thought of reformat and reinstall windows 10 from scratch? Since you're "this" close to getting a new system anyways, why not try it and see if that improves performance. Obviously back up important stuff first....

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