Hi there, everyone!

I have an old HP Pavilion 6635 that I got in 99 (I think). It's got a whopping 533mhz Celeron chip with 100mhz FSB. I've got 192MB RAM installed (it came with 64, I added 128), and a whopping 10.2GB hard drive (although it's more like 9.8 these days). To solve my hard drive problem, I have a DVD RW drive on the way (to replace the existing CD-ROM Drive) so that I can store pictures and MP3's on that instead of the hard drive. The only other things I use it for are playing some games (Starcraft, and the Final Fantasy series...well, 1-8, as well as ROMs) and playing around online. Needless to say, I've been spoiled by work computers that are far superior, and want to upgrade it as much as possible. I plan on getting a second 128mb RAM (it's max is 256), and want to add in a Sound Card and Graphics card. I also have a Network card on the way so I can stop using a USB port for my Internet connection (I'm going to swap out my modem for that).

So, I am wondering this:

Will a Video Card help make things run smoother, most notably FFVIII?

How much will another 62mb RAM really help?

can I even add in the Sound/Video Cards without screwing everything else up?

and the video specifications at HP say this:

Video Graphics
PCI Local Bus

Intel 810

Video Memory
11 MB shared system memory, integrated graphics; not upgradable

Feature Connector (game/joystick)


640 x 480

800 x 600

1024 x 768

1280 x 1024
16/256/32 K/64 K/16.7 M colors

16/256/32 K/64 K colors

16/256/32 K/64 K colors

256 colors

That 'not upgradeable', does that blatently tell me that a new video card is a waste of money?

and what would happen if I installed more RAM than the specs say is allowed?

I know I should just break down and buy a new computer, or buy the components and attempt to put one together myself, but I'm a cheap bastard, and don't need it for very much.

Thanks a ton!


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You need to determine if your motherboard has an AGP display card slot. you'll need to open up the case and have a look. check the picture I posted in this topic:


to help you identify the slot in question. If it only has PCI slots (the white ones) then I don't consider adding a display card is worthwhile.

Yeah, it only has PCI slots, no AGP...so are PCI video cards a waste of time?

While I'm not to be considered a computer expert by any means, I do know a little about value for the money. Your old computer is (your words) a 1999 model making it now over 5 years old, going on 6. Are you sure you want to sink a lot of money into it when there are a lot better PC's out there selling for about $500 to $800?

Pictures, music and game playing can be both memory intensive and demanding on the video. If your PC is limited to 256 MB RAM maximum, that is a big burden in handling games and video. Gamers (and video junkies) today need at least 512 MB just to get by, and 1 GB or more of RAM is highly recommended. Gamers today are using 128 MB Video cards and most are moving to 256 MB cards. I doubt that your mother board and operating system (and perhaps your current monitor) would support this. Hard drives today are really cheap, but again, sometimes the O/S, motherboard & BIOS may limit what your system can handle.

I'd seriously consider buying a new PC. You'll be much happier in the long run.

That looks to be thoughtful and sage advice to me, Rueful Rogue, and that's coming from a fella who makes a living masquerading as a 'computer expert'. I was planning to offer some advice about a modest upgrade of the PC using secondhand parts, should the budget be extremely restrictive, but the lack of even an AGP slot makes upgrading it rather a waste of time, in my view.

The monitor and keyboard/mouse, if still in good condition, can be retained. The 10Gb hard drive could also be recycled to use as a second drive for data storage or backup. The DVD burner is also a useful purchase.

mookie, you should investigate the purchase of purchasing a 'system upgrade unit', which is basically a replacement for the 'core' of your PC. They can be obtained quite inexpensively.

Alternatively, you could obtain an entry level new PC at relatively low cost, and even the most basic of PCs would be far better than the outdated system you have. You will need to factor in the cost of a new copy of Windows, but if an OEM edition is purchased along with the haedware that cost is quite low as well.

Well, I have found some comps at Tiger Direct that are super cheap with lots of goodies, but alas, they are all eMachines...but, for my limited amount of things I do, that'd be okay.

Yeah, my monitor is only a year old (my original one went green on me). I'll still probably keep this one for all my old video game system ROMS and emulators so I don't clutter up whatever new one I end up getting...*sigh*...now I just have to convince the wife...but then again, 350 for an emachines is just piss in the bucket in the long run...

thanks for your expertise!


This is a good setup for an upgrade computer
CASE: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=11-156-023&depa=1

CD/DVD: Keep current

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=19-103-381&depa=1

Hard drive: Keep old and http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=22-148-015&depa=1

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-145-026&depa=1

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=13-180-039&depa=1

Video Card: 9800 Pro, 9600XT, 9600 pro, your choice.

Comes to about 400 bucks for all but the vid card. Vid card will probably cost between 130-200, depending on the make and model. This will do fine for most things, it will even run the newest games of today! Only problem is that you will have to build it yourself.

You'd have to add an OEM Windows XP to the cost, rogue-monkey. The Windows installation on the old Pavilion isn't transferable.

Dang, it's not? I keep forgetting about it since I will be using linux, ah well.

why, thank you very much for that. There's also the power supply, and a graphics card seems to be able to wait with that system, so all in all, it definitely looks right around what I would like. The wife said I could build a computer instead of just buying one due to the long term payout, so to speak (I can buy as I can afford), and in the end I'm sure I'll be much happier.

Although, I will be keeping my other computer to play around with. I had to take off the side panel that has the motherboard on it to install the DVD-RW, and good lord is that thing dusty! Yet, it still runs...ahhh....such an affection I have for it...it is my first comp after all.

Either way, thanks again for the advice. I take it you would reccomend Newegg over TigerDirect?

best to you


Well I can't recommend one supplier over another, because I'm only familiar with my local suppliers here in Australia. But it seems to me that if you purchase the components from there, then this does not add too much to the purchase price:


I'd also change from an Athlon XP processor and motherboard. Athlon64 Socket 754 alternatives are not only cheaper, but they are also a better performance alternative.


The other suggested components would be compatible with those.

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