Upgrading an old PC

I remember the day I received my AMD Athlon 64 PC, I was ecstatic! Taking photos of it from the inside and outside. Man I was so proud of it.

It had an MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R motherboard, 512MB DDR RAM, GeForce Fx 5200 128MB and an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor.

I got it in the 2004 and it was top of the line. Now we are in the 2010 and it’s been almost 7 years.

My hope was to make it able to run Windows 7 and let me do my Development job smoothly and let my dear wife enjoy some games on it (The Sims 3 🙂 ).

Windows 7 min RAM requirements is around 1 GB. RAM Upgrade is a must. I wasn’t sure what type of RAM I should get, so I was glad to get help from Crucial System Scanner Tool to detect my motherboard model and suggest the correct memory upgrade. So I went ahead and got extra 2 GB RAM to have a total of 2.5 GB of RAM (Yummy!). Costed around $75.

I know my graphics card is probably old for Windows 7, but I wanted to try and see if it could work.

I inserted Windows 7 installation DVD and restarted the computer to boot from the DVD and do the installation. It gave me an error message saying “CDBOOT: Cannot boot from CD – Code: 5“. WHAT! WHY? I’ve just installed a fresh 2GB RAM for you man, don’t fail me! 🙁 After researching online about this issue it was clear that Windows 7 installation DVD had an issue to boot with my old MSI motherboard. Lucky me I found a workaround this issue by patching the installation DVD using the instructions found here which worked like a charm 🙂

The installation was a breeze. The system rebooted and everything was working. Sound, Graphics..etc. Yuppie! Wait a minute, the graphics doesn’t look clear and my external Wifi USB is not working too. Ugh. Windows 7 Aero effect isn’t working. Went to nVidia web site and downloaded the driver, also visited Linksys site to download the driver for the external WiFi USB WUSBF54g. I found a good advice on the net that I could just use WiFi driver files instead of installing Linksys application which wasn’t compatible with Windows 7.

After installing the drivers my WLAN was working and also Windows 7 Aero effect worked! Everything is working.

I installed the new Visual Studio 2010 and then the Windows Phone 7 development tools to see how things are working. The application was launched quickly, actually any application launches quickly, but moving the windows around is so annoying, slow and jumpy. So my RAM wasn’t enough? I checked the RAM and %20 only was used. It is now obvious that this is because of my graphic card.

My graphic card should be put to rest. Its fan was noisy anyway.

The hunt for a new graphic card started, and with it I remembered the exciting feeling I used to have looking for a good kind of RAM, graphic cards and other computer components.

The max my motherboard can handle is AGP 8x, so after researching I chose my new graphic card MSI NX6200AX 256MB DDR2 which can also run The Sims 3 😛 . Costed me around $37.

So now for around $100 I have revived my old machine and made it work pretty well 😀