Every now and then, we get emails asking us which parts to buy. What should I upgrade? What can I get if I have a hundred dollars and a toothpick to my name? We try our best to answer these questions, but most of the time we simply don't have the time to research what the best course of action is for each particular reader.
So instead of telling you what to get, we'd rather tell you what we do when we upgrade. What our thoughts are when we choose components. We'd much rather teach how to add than tell each person what 2+2 is. What follows are pretty much my thoughts throughout my upgrade process.
It was a dark and stormy night, I was hammering away on my P3 600; it dawned on me that my computer was getting to be a bit on the slow side. Bob had been using his GHz box for some time now. Brandon was equally pleased with the performance of his rig. James was the only person I didn't have to worry about. His dual 550s were the only things keeping my computer from being the office paperweight. (James has since upgraded to a 1.1 GHz Tbird.) I was safe… for the time being. But even James was getting antsy about changing parts.
Then I cracked; I couldn't take it any more. It was like daggers in my stomach when I saw the frame rate counter drop well into the 30s while playing Counter-Strike. I experienced utter pain when everyone had already finished the pistol round, and I had yet to load the current map. Well maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but by golly something had to be done. Now was the time for action, the time to separate the men from the geeks.
The big question - what am I going to upgrade? The other question - what can I salvage? And how much am I willing to shell out for all the new equipment? What follows is a tale of one mans attempt to build a new computer, followed by requisite bouts of sheer desperation.
So lets take a quick assessment of what I do have.
128 MB PC100
GeForce2 GTS AGP
Adaptec 2940 U2W
SB Live Value
Random network card
IBM 18 GB 10K U2W SCSI drive
IBM 4.5 GB 7,200 RPM U2W SCSI drive
Plextor 40x UW SCSI
Plextor 12/4/32 SCSI