Upgrading my old CPU (for another old one!)

This is a discussion on Upgrading my old CPU (for another old one!) within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; Please don't laugh. So here's the story. I'm running on a (quite) old machine, running a 667 Mhz (Coppermine) Pentium ...

  1. #1
    Chinese pâté foxman's Avatar
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    Upgrading my old CPU (for another old one!)

    Please don't laugh.

    So here's the story. I'm running on a (quite) old machine, running a 667 Mhz (Coppermine) Pentium 3 (133 Mhz FSB) CPU, and this is getting somehow too slow for me (indeed). I tought about buying a completely new system, but i don't feel like i really need it (i'll wait another 1 or 2 years before doing so, and i'll switch to Windows Vista (and maybe some Linux distro, i'll have to check this out) at the same time). So, i looked a bit around, and i'm now thinking about buying something like a 1000 Mhz (Coppermine) Pentium 3 (133 Mhz FSB) CPU, which is the fastest processor my (old) motherboard can support. I believe this would make some difference and believe this would be somehow a good "bang for the buck" upgrade (since i guess i could find one for something like 5$).

    I never did those kind of thing (upgrading a CPU). The only thing i did as to computer upgrades is adding memory (which is quite simple between you and me) and adding a HDD. I'm far from being a computer hardware expert. I read some stuff on the internet and i have to say upgrading CPU doesn't look really mean either. My biggest concerns are:

    • Should i buy a new fan for the 1000 Mhz CPU or the old one should be just fine ? And by fine i mean, may the new CPU run too hot (since the CPU package will be identical, it's not a fitting question) ? I currently don't have the number as how hot is running my CPU..
    • How careful do i have to be regarding of static electricity when installing the new CPU ?
    • Is there anything else i would need to know ?


    Here's my motherboard spec.
    Here's the P3 support page from intel.

    Any constructive comments will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    1) New fan? Depends on the old one. Was it a stock one coming with the CPU? Then perhaps you might want to get a better one. But actually, I'd just install the new CPU, and monitor it under heavy load, see if the fan can keep up.

    2) About as careful as with RAM. Don't wear stuff that charges strongly, decharge yourself before starting. That's all the precaution I've ever taken, and I've never yet seen anything ruined by static.

    3) Be sure to apply heat paste before installing the fan. Be careful with the CPU pins - they're by far the most fragile thing about the CPU, considerably more fragile than RAM sticks. If installing the CPU seems to take too much force, check that you're really doing it right. Early Athlons are the only CPUs I know that needed more force than I could apply with one finger.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

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    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CornedBee View Post
    3) Be sure to apply heat paste before installing the fan. Be careful with the CPU pins - they're by far the most fragile thing about the CPU, considerably more fragile than RAM sticks. If installing the CPU seems to take too much force, check that you're really doing it right. Early Athlons are the only CPUs I know that needed more force than I could apply with one finger.
    Except Athlons 64's nowadays require extreme force to press the fan into position

    Anyway, there's also anti-static accessories that you can use. If you're worried about static electricity, take a look on one of those.
    Otherwise, always discharge by touching a metal area before touching the CPU and all should be fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

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    Chinese pâté foxman's Avatar
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    Thanks for pointing out those things. I'll keep gathering information over the internet (it would have been great if i had know someone who already did those kind of manipulation, which is not the case), and i guess the operation will go smoothly. At least, i hope it will.

    Also, I think i'll keep the original fan. On CPU intensitive task, my current processor gets to about 40-41 °C max (30 °C at idle). Anyway, i'll try this out, if i see the new processor is running too hot, i'll underclock it (by the way, is there any danger of underclocking a CPU ?) and eventually buy a new heatsink/fan. I just checked on Intel website and the Thermal Design Power of the 1000 Mhz processor is 1.65 higher than my 667 Mhz (29 W vs 17.5 W).

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    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxman View Post
    T...by the way, is there any danger of underclocking a CPU ?...
    No, not really. All dual and quad core processors are typically underclocked to save wattage.
    This also makes them very nice overclockers, but they eat up much more power.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

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    This 1gHz pentium you are thinking of getting doesn't come with a stock cooler? Depending on how long it's been since you've changed the cooling pasta on your 667mHz (If you ever did that?) You might need to apply some new cooling pasta to the "new" processor/old cooler...

    But really, do you think it's worth the effort? I think you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between the 2 CPUs. If i was you, i would look into changing my software instead of hardware, there a many Linux distros out there which have been designed with low speed systems in mind (My old Thinkpad T30 runs just fine with Xubuntu, while Xp with firefox and Openoffice is a sloppy experience), without knowing which OS you are using now (XP? Windows 2000?) my guess is that installing something like this will be much more beneficial than getting a faster (but still ancient) CPU...
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

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    Chinese pâté foxman's Avatar
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    This 1gHz pentium you are thinking of getting doesn't come with a stock cooler?
    Nop, doesn't come with a stock cooler. It's some used processor i got on eBay for 7$. I also buyed thermal compound at a computer store (they only had silver-based one, which is not a bad thing, except for the price, which is a bit more than the CPU itself). I may receive the CPU tomorrow.

    And no, never changed the thermal compound on my old CPU (in fact, i never removed the dust from the heatsink/fan ). Needless to say, the CPU i'm running right now (667 MHz) doesn't emit lots of heat, so it's not as big a concern as someone with, i don't know, 3.x GHz Pentium 4 processor. Even if those had some "clock cycle throttling" to prevent excess heat from damaging the CPU...

    I currently have only Windows XP installed on this computer. It runs fine, there's a minimum of activity running in background (mostly a firewall). But yeah, i can't run the "new" stuff on it; example, even if i have a genuine copy of Visual Studio 2005 (which i got from the MSDN-AA think...), i'm still using VC++ 6.0 since it takes less ressource (CPU/memory).

    So basically, i'm doing this because i think it will be a great experience; if i break something (CPU/Motherboard or whatever), well, i won't care much, i'll just go buy a complete new system. First time i'll do something like this, and if it goes well, next time i'll want to upgrade something, i'll be more confident. And i'm curious to know the difference between those 2 CPU. And time is currently not a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foxman View Post
    So basically, i'm doing this because i think it will be a great experience; if i break something (CPU/Motherboard or whatever), well, i won't care much, i'll just go buy a complete new system. First time i'll do something like this, and if it goes well, next time i'll want to upgrade something, i'll be more confident. And i'm curious to know the difference between those 2 CPU. And time is currently not a problem.
    Well can't really argue against that Rather break an old P3 than a brand new system.

    But still, i really think you should consider changing to something other than Windows XP, with the limited ressources you have, why not spend as little on the OS as you can?
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    XP is really a more superior OS than Vista, particularly for an oler processor like the P3. You might also look at getting a copy of NT 4.0 Workstation, which is actually the OS that was concurent with that processor. BTW if you dont need DirectX stuff, NT 4.0 is actually superior to XP for crunching numbers in most cases.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    XP is really a more superior OS than Vista, particularly for an oler processor like the P3. You might also look at getting a copy of NT 4.0 Workstation, which is actually the OS that was concurent with that processor. BTW if you dont need DirectX stuff, NT 4.0 is actually superior to XP for crunching numbers in most cases.
    I don't think Foxman was planning on getting Vista before he gets a new system. In case i'm wrong, installing Vista on a P3 is absolutely ludicrous! The minimum requirement for Vista w/o Aero is 1 gHz CPU, but even if it was a P3 @ 1 gHz, i'm willing to be alot of money that it will run utterly slow, beyond the point where the computer is pretty much useless. That aside, the other minimum requirements are 512MB ram and DX9 compliant graphics card with Pixel Shader V2.0, who has a system with these things AND a Pentium 3?! Nobody!

    Most of the newer laptops i see with Vista on them has trouble coping when alot of multitasking is going on, imagine trying to start up memoryfox on hardware that was new 27 generations ago?
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

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    Chinese pâté foxman's Avatar
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    Great news. I just installed the 1 GHz CPU. It works fine; temperatures are roughly the same (must say, i removed all the dust from the heatsink and used better thermal compound). The installation went fine in overall, but i had some doubts when reinstalling the heatsink, if i did it correctly or not, but it looks like everything's OK (except for the floppy drive who isn't working correctly; i'll check this out later heh).

    As for the performance difference between the 2 CPU, it looks rather small at first. I ran 2 programs that i knew my old CPU had trouble with; with the 1 GHz processor, it runs smoother but it's still not perfect. Anyway, i was aware the difference wouldn't be quite impressive.

    And no, don't worry, i don't plan to ever run Vista on that old computer. And beside that, i didn't heard a lots of good about Vista.

    Thanks for all your comments.

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    CSharpener vart's Avatar
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    Check the Virtual memory usage - if its big - you may think about upgrading the memory as well
    The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time,
    the last 10% takes the other 90% of the time.

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    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo1 View Post
    That aside, the other minimum requirements are 512MB ram and DX9 compliant graphics card with Pixel Shader V2.0, who has a system with these things AND a Pentium 3?! Nobody!
    They make pixel shader 2.0 cards in AGP, and AGP has been around for a long time, since Pentium 2 days, maybe a bit before that.

    In fact im getting ready to buy a 1GHz embedded system with 16x PCI-Express and SATA. Don't assume that consumer desktops are the only market for video cards. I can get GeForce 8800's in AGP, so you could run one of those on that pentium 3 system.
    Until you can build a working general purpose reprogrammable computer out of basic components from radio shack, you are not fit to call yourself a programmer in my presence. This is cwhizard, signing off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by abachler View Post
    They make pixel shader 2.0 cards in AGP, and AGP has been around for a long time, since Pentium 2 days, maybe a bit before that.

    In fact im getting ready to buy a 1GHz embedded system with 16x PCI-Express and SATA. Don't assume that consumer desktops are the only market for video cards. I can get GeForce 8800's in AGP, so you could run one of those on that pentium 3 system.
    Of course they do, i have one of those myself. My point was, who in their right mind would upgrade an old P3 system with a top of the line AGP card like an X1950Pro for example? Nobody! Because all that GPU power would be wasted, you still wont be able to play Half Life 2 in 640x480, so why do it?

    I never said it was impossible did i? Besides, even with 512mb ram and a new graphics card, Vista will still suck on a P3, so your point is mute...
    How I need a drink, alcoholic in nature, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics.

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    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxman View Post
    The installation went fine in overall, but i had some doubts when reinstalling the heatsink, if i did it correctly or not, but it looks like everything's OK (except for the floppy drive who isn't working correctly; i'll check this out later heh).
    Who needs a floppy drive!?!
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.

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