PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM/RAM+CPU Upgrade Question


Hello Karl

Somebody gave me a desktop PC for free and, as it is a bit old, I want to upgrade it. Naturally I'd like to start with a new RAM memory and maybe even a faster processor but I am not sure what is compatible with the existing motherboard.

First, I run a scan about my existing RAM and this is what I have:

Currently Installed Memory: 1GB
Total Memory Slots: 4
Available Memory Slots: 2

The two existing slots are
DDR PC2100
DDR PC2700
512 MB each

What would the ideal upgrade be or the highest upgerade my motherboard supports?

Also, the current processor is the AMD Athlon at 1.4GH.
I really want to make my pc faster so do you think it would be a good idea to upgrade it and whats the most GH my motherboard supports?

Last, Id like to change my graphics card in order to install Windows 7. Is that possible?

Thanks in advance for your time and effort.


System Information
Time of this report: 12/12/2012, 12:06:56
      Machine name: Stel
  Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.120821-1629)
         Language: German (Regional Setting: German)
System Manufacturer: 761686
      System Model: AWRDACPI
         BIOS: Award Modular BIOS v6.00PG
         Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) XP 1600+,  MMX,  3DNow,~1.4GHz
         Memory: 1024MB RAM
         Page File: 844MB used, 850MB available
       Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
   DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
    DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.5512 32bit Unicode

Display Devices
       Card name: RADEON 7000 SERIES
    Manufacturer: ATI Technologies Inc.
       Chip type: RADEON 7000 Series AGP (0x5159)
        DAC type: Internal DAC(350MHz)
      Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_5159&SUBSYS_02021787&REV_00
  Display Memory: 64.0 MB
    Current Mode: 1152 x 864 (32 bit) (60Hz)
         Monitor: Plug und Play-Monitor
 Monitor Max Res: 1600,1200
     Driver Name: ati2dvag.dll
  Driver Version: 6.14.0010.6614 (English)
     DDI Version: 9 (or higher)
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Driver Date/Size: 5/3/2006 17:51:00, 258048 bytes
     WHQL Logo'd: Yes
 WHQL Date Stamp: n/a
         VDD: Nicht zutreffend
        Mini VDD: ati2mtag.sys
   Mini VDD Date: 5/3/2006 17:50:42, 1540608 bytes
Device Identifier: {D7B71EE2-1219-11CF-E16D-0822A1C2CB35}
       Vendor ID: 0x1002
       Device ID: 0x5159
       SubSys ID: 0x02021787
     Revision ID: 0x0000
     Revision ID: 0x0000
     Video Accel:
Deinterlace Caps: n/a
        Registry: OK
    DDraw Status: Enabled
      D3D Status: Enabled
      AGP Status: Not Available
DDraw Test Result: Not run
D3D7 Test Result: Not run
D3D8 Test Result: Not run
D3D9 Test Result: Not run

Sound Devices
         Description: VIA Audio (WAVE)
Default Sound Playback: Yes
Default Voice Playback: Yes
         Hardware ID: PCI\VEN_1106&DEV_3058&SUBSYS_45111106&REV_50
       Manufacturer ID: 1
         Product ID: 100
         Type: WDM
         Driver Name: ac97via.sys
        Driver Version: 5.10.0000.3622 (English)
     Driver Attributes: Final Retail
         WHQL Logo'd: Yes
         Date and Size: 8/28/2002 23:00:56, 84480 bytes
         Other Files:
       Driver Provider: Microsoft
        HW Accel Level: Full
         Cap Flags: 0xF5F
   Min/Max Sample Rate: 8000, 48000
Static/Strm HW Mix Bufs: 1, 0
Static/Strm HW 3D Bufs: 0, 0
         HW Memory: 0
      Voice Management: No
EAX(tm) 2.0 Listen/Src: No, No
  I3DL2(tm) Listen/Src: No, No
Sensaura(tm) ZoomFX(tm): No
         Registry: OK
     Sound Test Result: Not run

Hi Stel,

Not knowing the brand and model of your motherboard it is difficult to tell what size CPU it will take.  AMD has changed their processor socket size several times over the past few years and the CPU has to fit the motherboard socket.  Besides, I don'think you will gain a lot of improvement in performance with a more powerful CPU.

However, you should benefit from installing more RAM.  You can buy 1GB DDR boards for around $20 on Amazon and I am guessing your mbd can't handle more than 2GB.

Your ATI Radeom 7000 video board with 64MB of RAM should suffice for most applications and I think that Win XP is the best OS Microsoft has ever put out.

If you keep spending money on that old computer it might be smarter just to buy another PC.  3BTech has some very nice `off lease' refurbished Dell machines for $99 with free shipping. I have bought 3 of them and they work great.  

PC hardware--CPU & Motherboard & RAM

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Karl Zick


Can answer questions on most aspects of PC hardware and software. I build them, program them, fix them, upgrade them, etc. LAN and internet literate. Visit my free web site at www.kzconsulting.net.


Previous USAF Colonel and Aerospace engineer. Professional PC consultant for the past 8 years. Client database of over 70 businesses and individuals.
New web site address is www.kzconsulting.info.

BSEE, VMI. Associated Degree in Computer Systems, El Camino, CA

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