First post, by justin1985
I recently dug out a moderately old machine that has been sat in our garage for a year or two since my other half upgraded to a new small Dell desktop. This was originally an ASUS branded barebones system - which was simply a bundle of totally standard mATX motherboard, case, and generic PSU. I'm very much torn about what to do with it ...
The motherboard is an ASUS M4A78LT-M LE with an AMD 760G chipset. The CPU is an AMD Athlon II X3 (I think 440), which seems kind of exotic in itself! There's two sticks of DDR3 RAM (I think 4Gb total), and it has been running with a Samsung 1Tb 5400RPM spinning drive, a pair of IDE DVD -RW and -ROM drives, and only integrated graphics (+ a PCIe WiFi card).
Right now the case has been requisitioned to hold my main day-to-day Windows PC, while I wait for the worst couriers in the world (Evri) to eventually deliver my new Silverstone case ... so I can't easily boot it to double check the CPU exact model or amount of RAM.
I can't really decide what to do with it - because it feels at once too slow for 'modern' use or to sell locally to anyone who would actually use it as an everyday PC (although it is running Win10) - but also too modern for 'retro' - at least in terms of inspiring any nostalgia in me, or offering different OS compatibility compared to other machines I own. Part of me thinks I shouldn't dismiss it like this though - just think of all those now super collectable Socket7 machines that were junked - sooner or later it will have some retro appeal!
I've seen one or two AM3 builds on here, but it feels like the 760G chipset hobbles what could be done with this one ...
- Chipset driver support only for WinXP - Win 10
- No DOS support for onboard audio
- No Floppy controller
- Only one IDE header
On the flip side though, I guess that means it does have IDE for easier booting with old OSes, and PCI slots as well as PCIe, so older expansion cards are an option. It also looks like the onboard SATA controller has the option of IDE mode, as well as RAID and AHCI, so that would make installing XP easier?
I guess the other direction would be to upgrade it to make a more usable modern system? The manual says it accepts DIMMs up to 4Gb each, so that could be upgraded to 8Gb total. The PCIe x16 slot is apparently version 2.0,- I'm not sure what that would offer in terms of GPUs? According to the ASUS website CPU compatibility runs up to the very exotic sounding Phenom IIX6 1045T ( https://www.asus.com/uk/supportonly/m4a78lt-m … e/helpdesk_qvl/ ). Looking at a benchmark comparison, that might nearly double the CPUMark score relative to the Athlon II - but still be less than half the power of the i5 7500 that replaced it a few years ago (but is already too old to run Win11). The Phenom II CPUs seem to be available pretty damn cheaply, but would it cut it as a 'modern' system?
Interested to hear other thoughts and suggestions?