Forum Thread

Upgrade advice; Compaq Presario SR1720NX

MrVCU 1,352 289 November 26, 2011 at 01:49 PM
So, as the title would suggest I have an old Compaq Presario SR1720NX that I'd like to upgrade.

I know what you're thinking: it's probably not worth upgrading.

However, I got it for free and would like to try my hand at this before I go on to do a full ground-up build of my own. I know it probably doesn't make sense economically to do so, but I figure, "Why not?"

When I got it, it wouldn't boot into Windows so I put Ubuntu on it and its running fine now, but it is painfully, dreadfully slow. Even compared to a cell phone or tablet.

I'd just like to make it a bit snappier to do some basic computing. Web surfing, email, some light multi-media (just watching videos, music, no editing or gaming or anything too intense).

Here are the specs:

Hardware
Base processor
Sempron (P) 3500+ 2.0 GHz

1600 MT/s (mega transfers/second)
Socket 939

Chipset
ATI Radeon Xpress 200
Motherboard

Manufacturer: Asus
Motherboard Name: A8AE-LE
HP/Compaq motherboard name: AmberineM-GL6E

Memory
Component Attributes
Memory Installed 512 MB (2 x 256)
Maximum allowed 4 GB* (4 x 1 GB)


Speed supported PC3200 MB/sec
Type 184 pin, DDR SDRAM
DIMM slots Four
Open DIMM slots Two
Hard drive

160 GB
7200 rpm

16X DVD(+/-)R/RW (+/-)R DL LightScribe drive

Video Graphics
Integrated graphics
Sound/Audio

Controller: AC97 audio
Location: Integrated

Network (LAN)
Integrated 10/100 Base-T networking interface
Memory card reader

USB interface

Supports the following cards:
Compact Flash I
Compact Flash II
SmartMedia
Memory Stick
Memory Stick Pro
MultiMediaCard
Secure Digital (SD)
Micro Drive
XD Picture Card (xd = extreme digital)

Expansion slots (available)
Slot type Quantity
PCI Three (Two available)
PCI Express x16 One (One available)
DIMM Slots Four (Two available)
Drive bays (available)
Bay type Quantity
5.25" external Two (One available)
3.5" external Two (One available)
3.5" internal One (None available)




Just want to here some opinions on where I should start to get the most bang for my buck.

Looking at the specs I immediately noticed the 512MB of memory. Will bumping up to 2 or 4 (or, heck, even 1) GB show a noticeable increase in performance?

Thanks!

Any help at all will certainly be appreciated.

15 Comments

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#2
Probably your best bang for the money is going to be adding a dedicated video card and maxing out the ram ! nod
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#3
Bumping up the RAM will indeed make it perform a great deal better as long as you stick with that PC3200 RAM [newegg.com]. Ehhh bump it up to 4 GB, it's affordable.

That motherboard also supports up to an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ [ebay.com] so perhaps you could consider a processor upgrade.

I'm not going to recommend finding another newer motherboard since you do lightweight activities on the machine. A RAM and CPU update should do you fine.
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#4
CPU upgrade will make a big difference but for what you're using it for it might not be worth it. But then again after you upgrade the CPU you might have more uses for it also ! nod
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#5
The two most notable upgrades would be putting an SSD as your main drive and use the 160GB for additional data and increasing the RAM. Adding a video card wouldn't benefit your needs much.
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#6
Wow, you guys are fast. I'm a little surprised.

Thanks so much.
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#7
I've got a SR5250NX. Max RAM is 2GB and other specs are slightly above yours. I upgraded it to XP from, I think it was Vista. Compac doesn't list the drivers for that, but can be found on boards.

I tried upgrading the video card and ran into enough walls that I gave up. Between demands from the BIOS, the weak power supply and looking into what's what it soon became apparent it was futile. So unless you have high demands, suggest not bothering.

It's actually a pretty decent machine, a clunker that's done everything I've asked of it without burping too much.

It was an SD find from Staples, cost $125 and only had to add some cheap memory.
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#8
DDR + Socket 939 = waste of money.

Put it towards a new build.
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#9
If you have money to burn, bump the RAM to 1-2GB. You won't see much of a difference above 2GB if you're just running Ubuntu for basic computing.

An SSD is not a bad thing to consider, since at least that you can yank & put into a different machine. But other than those, I wouldn't put any more $$ into it.
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#10
1) ram
2) ssd (even some of the cheaper ssd's will be a huge improvement over the hdd you have now)
3) cpu (maybe)
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#11
if you can get a toledo dual core athlon for a decent price (under $50) and find some cheap memory for it, it should be decent-enough considering the price paid ($0) for the computer itself... dual core athlon and 3-4gb ram and it'll run win7 ok (1gb min for winxp or lightweight linux gui)

a lower-end video card (e.g. hd5450 or similar) would help with some video playback.. only spend money for that if needed.. and get something you'd use in your next desktop.. and doesn't require a psu upgrade for the current one.

and for ubuntu... try lubuntu instead, esp with the computer as it is now... also make sure you're using the actual ati/amd accelerated video driver (from restricted repo)
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Last edited by 2cheap4retail November 28, 2011 at 10:44 AM
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#12
Quote from 2cheap4retail View Post :
if you can get a toledo dual core athlon for a decent price (under $50) and find some cheap memory for it, it should be decent-enough considering the price paid ($0) for the computer itself... dual core athlon and 3-4gb ram and it'll run win7 ok (1gb min for winxp or lightweight linux gui)

a lower-end video card (e.g. hd5450 or similar) would help with some video playback.. only spend money for that if needed.. and get something you'd use in your next desktop.. and doesn't require a psu upgrade for the current one.

and for ubuntu... try lubuntu instead, esp with the computer as it is now... also make sure you're using the actual ati/amd accelerated video driver (from restricted repo)
Thanks!

How does something like this sound?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-Athlo...%26ps%3D54
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#13
Quote from richiejn View Post :
I know what you're thinking: it's probably not worth upgrading.

However, I got it for free and would like to try my hand at this before I go on to do a full ground-up build of my own. I know it probably doesn't make sense economically to do so, but I figure, "Why not?"

Thanks!

Any help at all will certainly be appreciated.
OP, I beg you to not put any $$$ into this thing unless you have scavenged (free) parts or just want to throw money out of the window.

Please consider just slapping Windows XP and Office on it and selling it on CL and at least making money from this thing.
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#14
Quote from Lilian View Post :
OP, I beg you to not put any $$$ into this thing unless you have scavenged (free) parts or just want to throw money out of the window.

Please consider just slapping Windows XP and Office on it and selling it on CL and at least making money from this thing.
To be honest, I've actually been thinking the same thing (still about 50/50) now that I have a bunch of Newegg credit to use.
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#15
Quote from richiejn View Post :
Thanks!

How does something like this sound?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AMD-Athlo...%26ps%3D54
that's pretty reasonable for one of those.. so for $30 to 50 (with some memory) you'd have a system capable of running your choice of operating system, including vista or win7. won't be a powerhouse but good enough for most people. before you put money into it, make sure it will load and run (however slow it might go) your chosen operating system.. run diagnostics, inspect motherboard for bulging caps, etc....

if it were me, was on a tight budget (which i'm guessing you are, since you're screwing around with the 'free' system in the first place) and didn't need more than that for the next year or two, that's the route i'd probably go. the dual athlon 3800 isn't that much slower than the am2 dual core systems we already have (one of which is running vista on 2gb memory just fine)

but if you have a budget ($300-400) for a decent lower-cost new one.. go that way.

Quote from Lilian View Post :
Please consider just slapping Windows XP and Office on it and selling it on CL and at least making money from this thing.
if you sold it as-is, you'd be lucky to get that much (the $30-50) for it, without the original OS and software (assuming since you loaded linux on it, the original windows restore partition is gone). i've got three systems with similar performance/specs here, but with windows on them that i can't get rid of. if it can't run win7 and isn't good enough to fling birds or play back streaming video fullscreen (e.g. hulu), an old pc isn't really worth anything anymore.

if you sell, just install a bare oem windows (same as COA), install drivers, update and and leave it at that (avoid the temptation of loading office or other pirate software on it to make it appear to actually be worth something when it really isn't). put it up on cl for $50 and entertain offers. note that this is the wrong time of year to sell used pc's; with new, faster ones blowing off store shelves for $200-300 or less.
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Last edited by 2cheap4retail November 29, 2011 at 08:41 AM
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