Over at PC Magazine there is an article in which the writer states that, for $125, you can upgrade a four-year-old system and have it running with the newer bad boys. The article shows how the replacing of the video card with a faster one, adding more RAM, upgrading to a DVD recorder, a wireless card & 1,000G network card will make your system fly off your desktop. But my questions is this: is it for real?

When I first read this article my first thought was how about the power supply? By adding this new stuff to an older system, is the old power supply going to be able to handle the load? The unfortunate thing is that most OEMs [in this article a Dell Dimension 8300 was used] normally install power supplies that are on the weak side. The system shown in this ad here came with 200 or 250 watt power supplies. Though they were enough to supply the unit when it came out of the factory, some have found when they added on equipment that the units could not handle the load or failed completely.

The writer also went to great lengths to find the most inexpensive pricing using no less than four vendors to buy five parts. No mention was made about the cost of shipping or applicable sales tax. Most of us are aware that even light parts such as RAM still require some type of shipping costs. So the $123 price quote may not be entirely accurate.

This statement also caught my attention:

A new fully equipped PC may cost as much as $2,000

The days of using the $2k benchmark have long past. This was used maybe 15 years ago when the starting price of a PC was in the $1500 to $2000 range. But when you can buy a brand new dual-core system minus monitor for $299, that will run circles around the older Dimension 8300 no matter how much you upgrade the unit, you decide what the best option is. Updating a older system for $125 [with shipping & sales tax the price could be closer to $150] or using that $150 to buy a new system.

Comments welcome.

PC World article is here.