Upgrade diary: Gateway G6-400

I recently had the displeasure of working on a Gateway G6-400. I’ll relate some of the experiences here, in case you ever have the same misfortune.
The G6-400 looks good on paper. This particular configuration had a P2-400 in it on an Intel mobo (BX chipset), a 16-meg 3dfx video card (hot for the time), and a DVD drive. The owner complained it was slow and unstable. The usual cure for that is to remove the extra crap Gateway installs on all their PCs.

Unfortunately, this one wouldn’t boot to let me do that. Not even in safe mode. Nice, eh?

Memory problem? I tried several known-good DIMMs. Same results.

Power supply? I tried a known-good, brand-name power supply. Same results.

At some point, the hard drive made an ominous noise. I replaced the hard drive and attempted a clean install of Win98SE. It bombed out at random points during installation. Just in case it was the DVD drive, I tried several different CD-ROM drives. (Hey, I was desperate.) Same result.

Out of curiosity, I put the suspect hard drive in another computer and tried to boot it in safe mode (I didn’t want Windows to mess up the configuration). It worked fine. Rats.

So by now I’d replaced everything in the box–everything important, at least–except the mobo and the processor. I spied an FIC P2 mobo with a BX chipset at Software and Stuff for 30 bucks. I bought it. I was playing the odds. Mobos go bad more often than CPUs do, especially when you’re not overclocking. And if I was wrong, I have other Slot 1 processors. The only other Slot 1 mobo I have is one of the really old LX-based boards that only has a 66 MHz bus.

Why pay $30 for an obsolete mobo when you can get a modern board for $50 or $60 and put a nice Duron or Athlon CPU on it? I doubted the power supply would handle it well. Spend $30 more on a mobo, and $30 more on a new CPU, then you have to replace the power supply as well. Suddenly $30 more has become $100.

The FIC is a much nicer board, even though the specs are very similar. It has one more DIMM slot than the Intel board had. It has no onboard sound, but it has one more available PCI slot. Expandability comes out a draw (you’ll use the extra PCI slot to hold a sound card), but you get your choice. You can put in something equivalent to the midrange Yamaha sound built into the Intel board. Or you can put in a high-end card. The board itself has a lot more configuration options, and even with the default options it boots a lot faster.

This G6-400 has a microATX power supply in it. At least it looks like a microATX power supply, and a lot of people who sell eMachines-compatible microATX boxes claim they’ll also fit a G6. Why Gateway put a small-form factor, low-power power supply in what was at the time of manufacture the second-fastest PC on the market, I have no idea. Unless the idea was to make lots of money selling replacement power supplies. The plus side is, at least it really is ATX, unlike Dell, who uses something that looks like ATX but isn’t. (You’ll blow up the mobo if you plug an ATX power supply into a Dell mobo or a Dell power supply into a standard ATX mobo.)

Fortunately, this case has screw holes in the standard ATX places as well. Unfortunately, the opening in the back isn’t big enough to accomodate any standard ATX power supply I’ve ever seen (the opening blocks the power plug). Someone willing to resort to violence with a hacksaw, Dremel (or similar tool), or tin snips could hack an opening big enough to accomodate a replacement box. More on that in a bit.

I pulled the Intel mobo and dropped in the FIC replacement. Unfortunately, the case used one big block for all the case switches. Since nobody’s ever standardized the header block for the and reset switches and lights, that’s a problem unless you’re replacing boards with a board from the same manufacturer (assuming manufacturers never change their header block pinouts, which isn’t exactly a safe assumption). But that wasn’t the only problem I ran into with this motherboard swap.

Remember that power supply I told you about? Turns out the power lead on it is just long enough to reach the power connector on the Intel mobo the machine came with, in front of the memory slots. FIC put its power connector on the other side of the CPU, and the cable is about half an inch too short to reach. Good luck finding an ATX power extender cable. Directron.com has one for $5, but the minimum order is $10 and that’s before shipping. A search on Pricewatch.com only listed a couple of places having them. Pricing was under $10, but then there’s shipping. I found one computer store in south St. Louis County that had ONE in stock. “They’re not cheap,” the salesperson warned me. I asked how much. $16.95. “You’re not kidding,” I said. That’s half the price of a new 300W power supply. Of course, by the time you pay $5 online and $10 to ship it, $16.95 looks a lot more reasonable, doesn’t it? And if your case won’t accomodate a standard ATX power supply, either buying one of these or buying a similarly overpriced microATX power supply may be your only choice.

To get things up and going, I just jerry-rigged it. I ran the power cables and found a place to rest the power supply where it wouldn’t short out anything. Then I shorted the power leads on the mobo with a screwdriver, and booted Windows 98 in safe mode. It booted up just fine, after insisting on running Scandisk. I booted into regular mode, which insisted on running Scandisk again. It worked beautifully. I did some very minor optimizations (Network server in filesystem settings, turning off Active Desktop, etc.) and rebooted a few times. No problems. No weirdness. Everything was smooth and fluid.

The chances of me ever buying a Gateway (new at least) already approached zero before this adventure. The few Gateways I dealt with in my years doing desktop support always had goofy problems that I usually had to reinstall the OS to resolve. Meanwhile, the Micron or Dell in the next cubicle over kept on chugging away, never needing anything more than basic maintenance.

This motherboard swap is easily the most painful swap I’ve ever done. It worked in the end, but the power supply was an annoyance and an unplanned expense. The header block was an annoyance.

So if you’re thinking about a motherboard swap in a Gateway, particularly a G6 series, don’t plan on it being a walk in the park.

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35 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  November 26, 2002

    I use a Gateway G6-450 as my everyday machine. I’ve had some annoyances with it, but mainly due to software. You need a software patch from Intel to make the thing behave somewhat well under NT4. I say “somewhat” because the machine would still lock fairly regularly after the patch. Upgrading to Win2K solved the issue.

    I’ve got the machine dual-booted for those rare occasions when I need Win98 (primarily to make a boot disk). Never had much problem under that OS, but then again, I rarely use it.

    Overall, I’ve been fairly happy with my Gateway, but I’ve also never run into any issues that require parts replacement (I’ve only added memory, and a SCSI card and burner). I do know – from looking at a relative’s computer’s specs last night – that Gateway seems to underpower their machines. Is a 90W PS really acceptable, even for a 400 MHz Celeron with just a hard drive and a CD-ROM? I still consider Compaq to be more evil when it comes to custom form factors, but I think I’m done with pre-packaged machines. Too many cut corners.

  2. Anonymous

     /  November 26, 2002

    While I agree that this particular Gateway box sounds perfectly awful, I’ve had a Gateway PIII-600 midtower for several years now and have been quite happy with it. Intel BX motherboard and std 250W ATX power supply. The case is great – nice solid steel, easy to get into & install expansion cards, swap out drives, etc… Never had a moment’s trouble with it. Also heard similar good comments on Micron gear.

    Now on the gripping hand, I’ve seen lots of cheap, fragile equip from Dell. And don’t get me started on Dell’s non-standard “standard” ATX power supplies… ;) I’ve had both desktop and laptop equip from Dell at work and would never spend my own money on such stuff.

  3. Anonymous

     /  November 26, 2002

    Steve said it best when he mentioned pre-packaged machines and too many cut cornes. Lets face it: Dell, Compaq, Gateway and the like don’t make machines that are supposed to be upgraded. They want you to scrap your machine and buy a new one instead once your machine is too old or needs to be upgraded.

    /Dave T.

  4. Anonymous

     /  November 26, 2002

    Yep. You can do it, but it’s not as easy as if you bought and assembled components in the first place.

    In defense of Compaq, it’s been several years since I’ve seen a PC from them in a proprietary form-factor. One of the churches I work with bought a bunch of Deskpros on my recommendation about two years ago, mostly because they were available and dirt cheap. It turned out they were run-of-the-mill microATX boxes with a Compaq case badge. They even had an Award BIOS. Compaq’s servers are still proprietary, but so are most companies’ servers. Any mission-critical server should be on a service contract anyway, so getting spare parts is Compaq’s problem, not yours.

    I worked out the header block problem by prying up the plastic tabs with a small screwdriver and yanking out the wires. I connected the individual wires up to the mobo, powered up to make sure I got them right (it took a few tries), then put the wires back in the header one by one. The keypin was a problem; I used the hot needle (actually a bent paper clip) trick to take care of that.

    I understand the reasoning behind that design–it makes swapping the motherboard with an identical board much faster and easier. It’s emphasis on field service over emphasis on upgradability.

    I solved the other problem with the $17 extension cable. Overpriced, but it’s up and running, today. I threw in a 3Com NIC and connected it up to my LAN to run Windows Update. It’s back together and running as I speak. The upside is that store is about 5 miles from where I live and the people who work there are tech-heads, not salespeople. Sincere, honest, and knowledgeable. They’ve been in business almost 20 years and I think I see why. Most of the computer stores in St. Louis are way north, so it’s nice to know there’s someplace close to get parts.

  5. Anonymous

     /  December 4, 2002

    “the hard drive made an ominous noise”
    At least I know I wasn’t hearing things in my head.
    I’m working on the G6-400 and I just heard that sound an hour ago. This is my first attempt at “fixing” a PC. I’m thinking the hard drive is dead since the IDE Auto Detection can only see the DVD Drive. If that turns out to be the problem then I’ll get learn how to install a new HD. If that’s what it’s even called “installing a HD”. I just hope I didn’t bite off more that I can chew. Dave’s story of endurance was encouraging. I’ll be praying for this motherboard tonight.

  6. Anonymous

     /  January 7, 2003

    am trying to upgrade my g6-450 and was wondering whether to cram a new motherboard into the case or buy a new case for the new motherboard. your stuff really helped make up my mind. thanks!

  7. Anonymous

     /  January 7, 2003

    I have a G6-400, purchase July 1998 at an astonding price of $3000 plus. I have had my share of problems, but no more than others I know and their brand of machine.
    I have maximized the ram (384), upgraded to 40 gig-7200 rpm drive, and installed a video editting card to this old beast (older Pinnicle). I have on the way a USB 2.0. card. I am lastly considering (actually waiting on money to fall into my lap) adding a Radeon 7000 PCI-64 and a SoundBlaster Audigy Audio w/ IEEE 1394 to spruce it up a bit. I am interested in putting video onto to CD’s, or if possible, DVD’s.

    Does anyone think, or know if, my machine would handle DVD recording?

    Any comments to my above computers life story?

    Thanks

    PS If you are having problems with a hard drive error: “Can’t write to drive c” -or- “serious error writing to drive c”, update the bios to the one ending in “-21″. I found this out after going through 3 hard drives, all of which were okay.

  8. Anonymous

     /  January 8, 2003

    I’d pick up a cheap Duron/Athlon XP system, but that’s just me. Much more bang for the buck. You can look at Dave’s video editing threads for more info.

    (looks at parts that have yet to be made into a PC and sighs)

  9. Anonymous

     /  August 13, 2003

    I’ve just got to say that having had the displeasure of working with old gateway computers for the last month, that they are all particuarly shocking. Currently reinstalling win98 on a GP6-400 with the original gateway restore disk – worked well apart from it didnt install all the drivers, which is the only reason i used the f*@£ing thing cause i dont know what the hell its integrated sound and graphics are….
    Everything is bad about this particuarly awful brand of computers. Glad they went bust in the UK all we’d probably have new ones, now that would be enough to turn me in my grave…

  10. Anonymous

     /  August 13, 2003

    Jared, I *think* the Belarc Advisor (free from Crucial) might be able to help you out with hardware determination. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of its reports, but it’s worth a shot.

  11. Anonymous

     /  August 21, 2003

    I acquired one of these ghastly machines these (a GP6-400) for free (with scrubbed HD) when work had a clear out.

    I have had RedHat8, RedHat9 and Win95 installed on it. RedHat8 really doesn’t like the on board graphics (Riva128) at all (recognises it, but can’t drive it); used a Matrox PCI video card instead. But RedHat9 has newer XFree (4.3.0?) and works great (1024x768x16bitx70Hz anyway).

    Win95 with drivers from NV website is good but running in 1024×768 has video quality problems (which don’t affect Redhat strangely) which can sometimes be fixed by wiggling the cable, sometimes not. May be the crappy monitor I’m using or the worn out wobbly VGA socket on the mobo, and/or trying to go too fast for the monitor (NVidia driver doesn’t actually let you set the screen refresh frequency explicitly: just to specify “optimal” or “default”). 800×600 is fine though.

    Haven’t tried to do anything with sound yet. One attempt to install an AWE64 in the ISA slot caused chaos (unbootable system). Annoyingly the BIOS doesn’t have options to explicitly disable onboard audio/video

    PCI NIC card (3com) works fine.

    Choice of PCI slot for video & NIC seems to be quite crucial though.

    This machine has consumed an amount of time out of all proportion to it’s performance. At the same time I managed to scavenge enough bits to cobble together an AMD XP1700+ with a TNT2 and SCSI drives, and that just worked with no messing about whatsoever.

  12. Anonymous

     /  August 22, 2003

    comment What do you think about Sony computers?
    Are they any good? I bought one and was told that it had 80 gigs. Now I learn that c drive has 13 and d drive has 55. Is that okay? What can be moved to d drive – just MY documents and work? Karkee
    Friday, August 22, 2003

    I really need some advise as to whether to keep this computer or take it back. It has an Intel Pentium 4 processor. I am a senior citizen and am disabled with
    a lot of spinal cord damage. I don’t need to be ripped off. I don’t seem to be getting very good answers from the Techs. at Sony.

  13. Anonymous

     /  September 1, 2003

    I have a g6-400 and am running windows xp professional and it seems to be just fine. I was wanting to upgrade to a p4 (from p2 400mhz) and found an adaptor for a slot 1 to socket 478 but it wasnt cheap. I was thinking it would just be better to buy a whole new case and start over and customize my pc as I go. The only problem I have is choosing which video card to choose. I’m running on a Radeon 7000 64mb card but was wondering which video card is the best for gaming?

  14. Anonymous

     /  September 17, 2003

    Help! I read Dave’s dilema with great empathy. I can definitely relate to this situation. I attempted to set up my kid’s Gateway G6-400 after about a year of it being unplugged. When I plugged it in I could hear the fan and a high pitched screeching sound. No other activity was apparent. Any insight to what might be the problem. I am willing replace whatever I need to for this machine to run again. Do you think it is a power supply or motherboard? Please help…

  15. Anonymous

     /  December 18, 2003

    Lights on, but not POST’ing is usually motherboard. First, disconnect everythin that isn’t neccessary (power and cables from hard drive, cdrom, etc), remove all cards except video, etc. If it still don’t work, its likely motherboard, as CPUs don’t go bad very often.

  16. Anonymous

     /  December 21, 2003

    I hadn’t even realized Dave wrote an article about this particular model of Gateway PC. I’m typing this on a G6-400 that has happily churned away since 1998. I have upgraded the system to 384 MB of RAM (maximum) from Crucial.com, a 1,000 MHz Intel Pentium III processor (Slot 1 / SECC2, 100 MHz FSB, SL4KL), and a 30 GB 7,200 RPM Maxtor hard disc drive. It is running Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1a, and I can’t remember the last time it produced any sort of error. This machine is rarely restarted.

    I’m considering adding a good Plextor DVD-ROM / CD-RW combination drive and possibly a USB 2.0 PCI card. This is actually my mother-in-law’s computer, but I upgrade it for her for free because my wife and I live with her for free.

    I’m a bit skeptical about the printer my wife bought her for Christmas. It’s a Canon BubbleJet i250. ZDNet and CNET gave it good reviews (though preferring the slightly more expensive i350), so I doubt I’ll have problems with the hardware or print quality. My only hope is that Canon has developed stable device drivers…

    As for the video card (STB Velocity 128 using the nVidia Riva 128ZX chipset), I think we’ll leave that in there for now. It’s 2D performance is acceptable, and there are no 3D games installed on this computer.

    My mother-in-law and I fully expect this PC to fulfill her computing needs for at least another three years.

    • Anonymous

       /  February 8, 2004

      Help I have a gateway g6-400 and want to upgrade it, but dont know what mother board will fit it or what processor. I have tried to upgrade the ram, but I only have two slots despite information that says i can upgrade to 384. Could you tell me more about what you did and what problems that you may have encountered?

      Thanx

  17. Anonymous

     /  December 26, 2003

    Well I have one of those ghastly g6-400 gateways and have only one problem with it………technology has left it in the dust. While i’m currently running win xp pro, using a great graphics card and 5.1 surrounds on the audiology sound card i want more ram than this baby can handle since i like to do graphics. Currently running 256 of ram and bought a 128 stick to slip in there, however, poor baby doesn’t want to recognize the new ram. Any suggestions? btw – my baby’s been a great computer and this from someone who has to deal with fixing the 3 dells the kids have, the 2 compaq’s that parent’s bought (silly them) and several sony’s……….grrrrrrrrr.

  18. Anonymous

     /  January 19, 2004

    I came across some information that might be relevant to this page (will cross-post to the Dell / Gateway upgrade caveats page).

    PC Power & Cooling sells the SFX (which I think stands for small form factor ATX) power supplies used by 1999+ Gateway PCs in 180W varieties for $45. I just ordered one for my wife’s computer that I’m upgrading. Her little 90W power supply may not provide enough wattage for the upgrades I’m adding. So it never hurts to be safe instead of sorry. Besides – it blows more air than the Gateway one, so it’ll probably stay cooler, too.

    PC Power & Cooling also makes the Dell ATX variety of power supplies. Nifty!

  19. Anonymous

     /  January 30, 2004

    unfortunately ive now got a G6-400 myself.

    i thought at first ‘what a nice compact little tower that is’. course when i opened it up i realised its mainly because they used a piddley 90watt power supply stuck half way down one side.

    re: dustin d cook
    ‘I’m typing this on a G6-400 that has happily churned away since 1998. I have upgraded the system to 384 MB of RAM (maximum) from Crucial.com, a 1,000 MHz Intel Pentium III processor (Slot 1 / SECC2, 100 MHz FSB, SL4KL)…..’

    dustin are you really using that CPU with the original board ? my board (gateway ref 4000431) says it will only go up to PII-450mhz. is this the same board as in yours ?

    thanks

    • Anonymous

       /  February 5, 2004

      This is the original motherboard.

      The only modifications I needed to make to support the processor was to add a 37.5 cfm fan in the back of the case. The hole where you should place it is probably covered up by a piece of metal on your case. At least, it was on mine.

      There were several models of the G6-400. As long as your motherboard has an Intel 440BX chipset then you can upgrade to a Pentium III provided it uses the SECC or SECC 2 packaging and operates on a 100 MHz front-side bus. I think you’ll be ever-so-slightly over-voltaging the processor, so you’ll need to have that extra fan in the case to regulate the temperature. Make it blow “in” as opposed to “out” because the fan in your power supply unit (just above the processor) is pretty strong and it blows “out”. You basically create a nice wind-tunnel effect for your processor – mine stays at around 37° C.

      P.S.: Dave, if you’re reading this, when I preview my comment in “HTML Formatted” mode (so my degree symbol works) my signature becomes one line.




      Dustin D. Cook, A+

      dcook32p@htcomp.net

      Universal System Emulation Framework

  20. Anonymous

     /  February 11, 2004

    On the back of your computer should be the full model number. Gateway is worse than Compaq about having the front of the PC say one thing and the back another…

    If you have two RAM slots, chances are that you can place a maximum of 512 MB PC-100 SDRAM in your computer. Make sure you purchase the proper densities – older motherboards can be finicky with newer (and higher) density chips. You should do fine with modules that use 64 Mbit chips.

    As for your processor, as long as you have a 440 BX chipset from Intel then you can put up to a 1,000 MHz Pentium III on a 100 MHz front-side bus that uses the SECC 2 packaging (the part number from Intel for that is SL4KL).

    If you want to upgrade to a new motherboard, may I recommend Microstar (MSI)? Their boards are rock solid and good performers, too. If you choose to upgrade your motherboard, you should get a standard ATX board or a Micro-ATX. You’ll probably have a hard time with Flex-ATX, and I know you can’t use an SFX board. The best bang-for-the-buck option will get you a decent performing AMD Athlon XP – probably a 2400+ or 2600+.

    Make sure you know what you’re doing before performing a motherboard swap. Know that your old processor and memory will not work in a new motherboard – Intel’s Slot 1 (SECC and SECC 2 packaging) processor interface has been dead for a long time, and only specialized motherboards are being produced that support 168-pin SDRAM (66 MHz, PC-100, and PC-133). You’ll wind up paying quite a bit.

    But no matter what you decide, you’ll pay quite a bit anyway. The SL4KL part mentioned earlier will run you between $150US and $200US – on eBay. The parts are nearly impossible to find new. As for the RAM – check with Crucial.com. If you input your exact model number then they will guarantee whatever they sell you will work in that system – for life!

    For what use is this computer? If it’s for 3D gaming then you should definitely purchase a new motherboard, CPU, and RAM. If you’re going that far then you should probably buy a new case and power supply unit, as well. Gateway cases aren’t the nicest ones with which to work. If you’ll just be running a few instances of your favorite browser (I highly recommend Mozilla), a word processor, and an instant messaging application then I would just upgrade your memory to the maximum (probably 512 MB) and get a 600 or 700 MHz Intel Pentium III processor to go with it.

    Go buy a copy of Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition if you don’t already own one. The stability alone will make it worth the upgrade from the G6-400’s default installation of Windows 98. If you go that route, make sure to back-up all of your data and format your hard disc drive. That will make sure you won’t transfer any of the errors you receive in Windows 98 and all of its clutter, as well.

    All-in-all, I’m really satisfied with this computer. We obviously have two different models (since mine has three RAM slots supporting a maximum of 384 MB), but if you keep it well maintained (clean it with canned air every six months, make sure it has good ventilation, etc.) this computer should stay alive until you get rid of it!



    Dustin D. Cook, A+
    dcook32p@htcomp.net
    Universal System Emulation Framework

  21. Anonymous

     /  February 11, 2004

    Thanks for all the info, but there must be somthing very different about our boards. Mine is an RC440BX, but I put a PIII 450Mhz Processor Slot 1 and while it did work, I experienced fuzzy shadows on all of my images. I decided that it wasnt worth the fuzziness for the speed increase. If you have any ideas on this it would be greatly appreciated. You sound like you know this very well. I really like my computer it has given me no problems except that it to date has been unupgradable! If I upgrade I cant even keep my case because the back doesnt come off and if the connectors do not line up correctly i’d have to cut a whole in it which is a total loss. I was hoping to upgrade to get by for a little longer, but I can see that change will have to come sooner. Still if there is anything you can do to help I would appreciate it.

    manny

  22. Anonymous

     /  February 12, 2004

    Running some quick checks shows that Intel claims the RC440BX will *officially* support up to a 600 MHz Pentium III. However, beginning with the 450 MHz Pentium III, your BIOS has to be updated to at least P06 (P14 is the latest).

    Try updating your BIOS to the latest version (first go through Gateway – their latest is P08) before installing a Pentium III processor.

    I was also horribly wrong about the amount of memory supported by the board. According to Intel’s specification sheet for the RC440BX, you can only insert a maximum of two 128 MB DIMMs for a total of 256 MB.

    Do you have the model that has the integrated video or not?



    Dustin D. Cook, A+
    dcook32p@htcomp.net
    Universal System Emulation Framework

    • Anonymous

       /  February 12, 2004

      Great News! I have successfully updated to a PIII 450Mhz Slot 1, following my bios upgrade to P14 from the intel website I still had blurriness in my icons. I went to the gateway website where they sort of tell you that the board will support a PII and up, not really mentioning how much up you can go. I also learned that there is a jumper on this board that consists of three pins in the lower right hand corner assuming you are looking at it in its original position. I had to shut down the computer with the cover off and insert the PIII. I had to take the jumper which is normally on Pins 1,2 and put it over Pins 2,3. Once this is done you restart the computer and it automatically detects your new processor, upon completion of this process it will instruct you to shut down your computer and put jumper back on pins 1,2. That was it! I bought the PII 450Mhz on Ebay as a test for about 30.00 CA. I will now buy the PIII 1KMhz slot 1, for about 150.00 CA and call it a success. I have searched for months on this subject and am happy to have closure. My computer will get me through the summer and I will buy a new one next year, or a new MOBO anyways. I do have the integrated video card and that sucks because I am stuck here. I have upgraded the driver to stb 128, but my graphics are limited to 8MB I believe? Let me know if you have any ideas on this. I ran direct X and I get some kind of message that direct show wont work and then it goes to system error and crashes, any suggestions?

      • Anonymous

         /  February 13, 2004

        Some of the G6s had integrated video? That’s completely different from the machine I worked on way back when.

        The selection of PCI video cards certainly isn’t as good as the selection of AGP cards, and it’s harder to find PCI cards at giveaway prices, but any fairly recent PCI video card will run DirectX, Direct Show, etc., and at better speed than your old integrated card and get you around that 8 meg barrier.

        In the meantime, you can try going into your BIOS setup (F2 at boot if I remember right), and there’s probably an option there to set the size of your video memory. 8 megs may be your max, but it’s worth a look to see if you can do 16.

        • Anonymous

           /  February 13, 2004

          If he has the 8 MB STB Velocity 128 then he has an AGP slot occupied by said card.

          Pick a decent AGP video card and run with it. I personally recommend finding a used Hercules 3D Prophet FDX 8500 LE for about $20US on eBay. It’s a solid card with 32 MB of DDR SDRAM on-board.



          Dustin D. Cook, A+
          dcook32p@htcomp.net
          Universal System Emulation Framework

  23. Anonymous

     /  February 19, 2004

    I dont have a slot to put a card in so I am maxed out at 8MB, at this point I am able to run flight simulator 2003, but im sure that next year I wont be so fortunate. I am going to upgrade to a PIII 1G though, since I was able to upgrade to the 450 slot 1. I dont notice and increase in speed on my computer with the PIII 450mhz but I just wanted to see if it would accept it before I spent more on the 1G processor.

    • Anonymous

       /  February 20, 2004

      If you don’t mind my asking (and you feel comfortable posting it online), what is your serial number? If you’d rather not post it here, you can e-mail me (direct link in my profile). I’ll tell you the maximum everything that you can have and give some recommendations.



      Dustin D. Cook, A+
      dcook32p@htcomp.net
      Universal System Emulation Framework

      • Anonymous

         /  February 28, 2004

        Ser 12679867 Gateway g6-400, what could anyone really do with my serial number anyways?

        Thanks
        Manny

  24. Anonymous

     /  March 4, 2004

    Hi Dustin:

    I would like to upgrade my nephews GP-6 400. Serial Number 0012796867. I have update the AGP to ATI Radeon and 384 ram. I would like to change the Slot 1 CPU? I will update Bios from Gateway P14. Can Gateway Power Supply handle the upgrade. Thanks in advance. Appreciate your excellent exchange.

    Richard Ferreira
    raf49er@yahoo.com

    • Anonymous

       /  March 4, 2004

      The default power supply unit (PSU) in your G6-400 will almost certainly provide enough power for your upgrades. I haven’t had to replace the one I’m using, but I did need to add a fan to the back of the unit. The 1,000 MHz processor was generating more heat than the default heatsink and PSU fan was providing. I recommend getting the retail version of the processor so it has an integrated heatsink and fan. Make the new fan blow inwards onto the processor. That air will pass over the processor and heat up, rising into the PSU’s fan. That air will then blow out of the computer and rise away from the lower fan. It works pretty good for me.

      If, for some reason, your PSU can’t handle the load, you can purchase a more powerful, better cooling, and more efficient one from PC Power & Cooling. You may be tempted by the prices of generic units, but the PC Power & Cooling unit is a far more solid piece of equipment.


      Dustin D. Cook, A+
      dcook32p@htcomp.net

  25. Anonymous

     /  March 4, 2004

    Your computer, as we had suspected earlier, does not support an add-on AGP graphics accelerator. Also, I have confirmed that your system can only hold a maximum of 256 MB of RAM.

    If you want to upgrade your video, I suggest purchasing an ATI Radeon 7000 PCI from a local retailer with a leniant return policy. It’s one of the best PCI video boards currently on the market, but Intel motherboards with integrated video are notorious for their difficulties in accepting PCI video boards.

    Also, visit Crucial.com to get this memory module that will put you up to the maximum of 256 MB.


    Dustin D. Cook, A+

    dcook32p@htcomp.net

    • Anonymous

       /  August 29, 2004

      Dustin

      I have now purchased an sl4kl processor and it will not work on my computer. I have upgraded the bios to the latest version available on gateway site. It tells me that I am attempting to install a processor that exceeds 800mhz and is now stopping the process. I have also upgraded my power supply to a 145watt from a 90watt for extra power. Is there something that I am missing or am I out of the 184.00 dollars this processor cost me. Surprisingly these slot 1 one processors, while obsolete; still cost alot of dough. Please help asap.

      Manny

  26. Anonymous

     /  March 8, 2004

    I had a great e-mail correspondence with one of your readers a few days ago. He gave me permission to post it here. His words are in bold.

    Changing Gateway from PII to PIII. Is it ok to use 133 bus speed cpu or is it important to stay with 100 bus such as PIII 850/256/100?

    All Gateway G6-400 series motherboards (with the possible exception of one G6-400 that uses a 400 MHz Celeron on a 66 MHz bus) require a bus speed of 100 MHz for proper operation. You can, in theory, overclock the chipset to 133 MHz, but you will probably experience problems with your video board and some PCI devices. Therefore, the fastest CPU your system will support is a 1,000 MHz Pentium III on a 100 MHz bus.

    The CPU mounting post on the motherboard is slightly different for PII ver PIII? Any problems with that?

    Various revisions of the Intel motherboards used in the Gateways were stocked with different retention mechanisms. The one in my particular computer used two non-retaining plastic posts, a cross bar, and two coarse threaded hexagonal screws. The cross bar would fit over the processor and the two posts. The screws were then used to attach the cross bar to said posts. This does a fairly good, if not at all elegant, job of retaining the processor. If your system uses a similar setup then you will most likely have no problem. However, if your system uses retaining posts then there is no guarantee an SECC 2 processor will fit into your system.


    Dustin D. Cook, A+

    dcook32p@htcomp.net