View Full Version : New computer vs. 3-year old computer

05-13-2005, 12:11 AM
OK, this may be a dumb question, but here goes...

We're getting a couple of interns, and my company's IT department wants to give my 3-year old 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 with 1 GB of RAM operating on Windows 2000 to one of the interns, and give me a brand new computer.

I don't know what the new computer is, but believe it's some type of Celeron with 512 MB of RAM and a 17" LCD monitor, operating on Windows XP.

I asked the IT guys if this switch is worth the trouble of reconfiguring, etc., and they said I might see a slight performance boost.

My question is: is any halfway decent new computer by definition better than a 3-year old computer? Pentium 4 computers still seem to be top of the heap, with Celerons a less capable, cheaper alternative.

I've really been satisfied with my computer (especially after getting a RAM upgrade last year), but don't want to foolishly give up on getting a new computer.

05-13-2005, 12:18 AM
It really depends on what you're doing. Most computers sold to consumers now are well over what is needed for simple tasks like browsing and using an office suite. As this is a work computer, you're not going to be running games or anything like that, though you might be running something like Photoshop or something else that can be a memory hog. If it helps at all, I've been running the same computer for four years with no changes to the CPU or RAM and it still works just fine for most everything except cutting-edge games. Frankly, depending on what the change would entail and not knowing what you use the computer for, I would probably keep the current one.

Happy Fun Ball
05-13-2005, 12:26 AM
What do you do with the computer?

Me, I'd say know. Typically all the things I do with my computer at work require lots of memory. To me, memory is much more important than processor speed. YMMV.

Happy Fun Ball
05-13-2005, 12:27 AM
Me, I'd say know.That would be me saying NO. :smack:

05-13-2005, 12:30 AM
In your position, i'd be tempted to keep the computer i've got. The Celeron's small L2 cache makes it a considerably slower and less powerful processor than the Pentium. I'm not sure of how a 1.5GHz P4 would stack up against, say, a 2.8GHz Celeron, but in reports i've read comparing the two processors the difference in cache size seems quite often to be more important than the nominal GHz difference. I'm sure someone who knows more about this stuff will be along soon to give more details.

One thing i'm curious about, given the current absurdly low prices of mid-range P4-based computers, is why your company would even bother with a Celeron processor in a desktop computer. At Dell right now, for example, you can get a P4 2.8GHz computer, 256Mb of memory, and an 80 gig hard drive for under $400. Beef up the memory a bit, and you've still got a perfectly decent Pentium system for under $500, and it will kick the ass of a Celeron.

Of course, what asterion says is completely true—for most basic apps a Celeron will be just fine. My wife has a Celeron-based laptop, and while it's not the fastest beast in the world, it does fine for what she needs to do, which includes web browsing, email, basic word processing stuff, and reading acrobat files. She can have Firefox, Word, Acrobat, and Thunderbird open all together, and the computer works just fine.

I, on the other hand, sometimes have all that stuff open, as well as some combination of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, various media players, and even video processing software like TMpegEnc. If i'm doing heavy processing work in Photoshop, or video encoding, even my P4 3.0GHz with 1Gb of RAM sometimes starts to struggle a bit, and there's no way i could do that stuff at any decent speed with a Celeron. So it does depend on what you'll be using the computer for.

05-13-2005, 08:54 AM
My question is: is any halfway decent new computer by definition better than a 3-year old computer? Pentium 4 computers still seem to be top of the heap, with Celerons a less capable, cheaper alternative.

Top of the heap would be a dual-core Athlon 64 box, but speed wise a 1.5ghz Pentium 4 should compare well against 2.4ghz Prescott core Celeron or 2.8ghz Northwood Celeron. And having twice as much RAM would be useful, if you have lots of stuff open at once.

Still, if it is a 2.8ghz or so Celeron D, then adding in another 512 MB of RAM should be pretty trivial for them, if you need it - they are down to $40 or so for a good brand stick of 512 MB.

05-13-2005, 09:23 AM
If you're just doing standard things -- e-mail, web, word processing, spreadsheets -- then the biggest difference you'll notice is the new LCD monitor. Because LCDs don't flicker, some people find them easier to look at for long periods. It'll also free up a little desk space and/or let you move around easier to find a comfortable spot.

If you're doing video editing, major complex page layout, serious weather-simulation calculations or other heavy things, then getting a new comp might make sense.
But for standard things, it's like deciding between a ferrari and a formula 1 racer, in order to drive through the parking lot.

05-13-2005, 10:43 AM
Just arrived.

Turns out that it's a HP d325 with some kind of AMD Athlon processor.

The most intensive thing I work with is AutoCAD drawings. Some of the files I work with are pretty big (15 MB) with multiple embedded images.

I hate the keyboard. I may keep my old one.

05-13-2005, 10:44 AM
Looks like the processor is an AMD 2800. It's got 512 MB of RAM.

05-13-2005, 12:36 PM
Is that an Athlon XP or an Athlon 64 (The Athlon 64 2800+ being somewhat faster than the Athlon XP 2800+)? Either way, the CPU there is much faster than the Pentium 4 you were using; too bad about having less RAM, but that should be a trivial upgrade if that is a problem.

05-13-2005, 04:46 PM
It's an Athlon XP 2800+.

Thanks for the replies!

05-14-2005, 01:31 AM
The XP 2800+ is a nice chip. I was running a machine with an Athlon XP 1700+ for 3 years, and it was great. Recently upgraded to an Athlon64 3000+ (Overclocked to about 3600+ speeds - 2.3GHz), which has been quite a boost. You'll have no problems whatsoever with that machine.

If only we had new computers at my job! One of my guys is using an HP Vectra with a Pentium II 400!