I want to run something by people here to see if I'm on the right track or if I'm wasting my time.

I found my old desktop computer from almost 15 years ago. After some initial research, I get the impression that I can make this computer a productive machine with just a few upgrades. I want to use this machine for Zoom conferences, and use it to do light video editing of my video meetings and online seminar/lectures that I attend.

Here are the specifications that I was able to retrieve for my machine:

  • M4A77TD motherboard
  • AMD Athlon 2 ADX620WFK42GI, Quad Core 2.6 GHz / 2600 MHz: 667 MHz Memory
  • 4GB of Memory (2 sticks of PC3 10666 2GB memory: PN OCZ3P1333LV4GK)
  • GeForce 9400 GT: EN9400GT
  • 1 TB Hard Drive (not SSD)

Right now when I use the machine, the windows operating system might freeze randomly while I'm browsing the internet and watching youtube. I can reboot to get back to using the computer. But some time later, things can randomly freeze again. I tried replacing windows with Ubuntu 22.04 with a GUI, and similar freezing issue still occurred.

I wonder if my freezing issue is the result of insufficient memory? 4GB does seem too little.

Hence I was contemplating the following upgrades:

  • Increase memory to 16 GB
  • Apply some new CPU thermal paste between the heat sink and the CPU
  • Use a 256 GB SSD as my primary drive that the operating system boots from

Do you think these upgrades will allow me to use this computer for zoom conferences, editing online meetings/lectures that I've recorded, do some computer programming and database programming (sql server, mysql etc...) ?

3 Answers 3


As to the self-suggested upgrades:

You could try bumping the ram to 16gb, but DDR3 has a lot of compatibility issues across platforms, motherboards, speeds, etc. It's not like DDR4/5 where you get memory profiles that at least helps a lot.

Going from a spinning drive to an SSD could be a massive boost to say the least.

If you want to try it, go for it. I would set a strict budget for your upgrades to under $100USD, it really isn't worth spending any more than that in terms of trying. And even then, this is only if you're really budget constrained to begin with. You might be able to find a donor PC, or a much newer used option, depending on where you are at, on Facebook marketplace, ebay, craigslist or other options (buyer beware).

Getting over 8gb ram is really essential for running anything with a modern browser. You did mention trying Ubuntu, which itself is rather bloated and 4gb was never going to cut it there. You could try a less resource intensive UI distro such as KUbuntu or Linux Mint (Mate). The browser will still be your biggest bottleneck.

Unfortunately this may well still be insufficient for general use today. You might consider a 7000 series AMD laptop or mini pc that has RDNA3 level graphics, which are halfway decent for integrated and better than most lower cost GPUs from a few years ago or older.

You're honestly looking at about 8 cpu generations, the first half at 5-10% improvements generationally, and the latter closer to 25%. That doesn't include increased cores and clocks. It's really a massive difference.


For just a zoom meeting and attending classes it might be enough(16gb would be overkill for that though). but honestly a 15+ year old pc simply isn't fast enough anymore to do things like programming or video editing.

Dot try to update this system. It's not worth it.

Computer tech has made massive jumps in the last couple of years and at this point even a mid range smartphone is faster than that pc. Changing the ram and adding an ssd won't change that


Your biggest problem is it will be painfully slow. To even have a hope you would have to upgrade the GPU and use software that supported GPU acceleration such as CUDA or OpenCL.

Even then the parts of the video encoding that required the CPU would be painfully slow by comparison.

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