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New to Forum - Upgrade question


Brian Short
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Hey all... I just found this forum today and so far I really like what I see... I was referred here from Home Theater Forum. Everything here seems very professional :)

 

Anyway, I have a question about upgrading. My current system is an Athlon XP 1700+ system with 256 megs of ram and a 32 meg GeForce 2 GTS card. Once Doom 3 or HL2 come out (whichever is first), I plan to upgrade. At this point, I'd like to just be able to get by by upgrading the video to at least an Radeon 9600 Pro, but I've seen that the prices on the 9700 Pro are coming down, so I might consider that. I would also upgrade the video to at least 512 megs, but might consider going up to a gig. And I need a new HD... 20 gigs just wont cut it anymore apparently (considering UT2004 is supposed to take up 6 CDs, I had to think of what HL2 will take up if it's as large as the first game.

 

Do you think I'd be able to have a decent system by keeping the 1700+ processor? My motherboard will support up to the 2600+ Athlon XP, and I really don't want to upgrade the motherboard at this point. I have noticed that some new games like Painkiller are recommending around 2 gigs, and I think the 1700 is around 1.4. The demo for Painkiller mostly runs fine, though it takes awhile to load, it does pause once in awhile, and the boss level is pretty painful ;) I also just downloaded the Max Payne 2 demo, and I cranked the detail up to high, keeping the resolution at 1024x768, and that ran fine, though there really aren't any big outdoor areas in that.

 

Brian

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Lots of pauses signals lack of memory, not processor speed. You might want to look at the upgrade to the 2600+, as they are already pretty cheap, but I'd see how you get along with just more memory and enough hard drive space to start.

 

Actually, while you'd be missing a hell of a lot of bells and whistles, I suspect that you'll see at least something with the GeForce2; I hope so, as I'm not planning on upgrading my one in a hurry.

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Brian,

 

My advice (which sometimes I don't even follow) is to decide how much you want to/can afford to spend on upgrades and then get the most you can for that money. That will give you the longest life from your upgrades.

 

Remember that if you're bumping your processer up from a 1700+ to something over 2000+, you're probably going to need to do a motherboard upgrade as well. You didn't mention what OS you're running, but 512MB is almost the bare minimum anymore (especially for Windows 2000/XP).

 

A couple of good places to shop for parts are Newegg.com and Mwave.com. I've placed multiple orders with both, and have never been disappointed.

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Originally posted by iainl@Feb 18 2004, 12:30 PM

XP? Upgrade your memory right now, then. I notice the difference between 256 and 384Mb on my XP box enormously, and I'm only using an Athlon 900 to play nothing more advanced than Day Of Defeat with its Q3A engine.

The problem with living in Alaska is shipping costs... unless I can find a place with good prices and great USPS shipping prices, I'm just going to wait and buy everything at once. UPS shipping will run me around $24. Unless someone has a good source for Crucial RAM that will ship a 512 meg stick for $4.

 

Brian

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Well, the semi-good news is that your Mobo will take up to a 2400+. If you want higher than that, you'll have to get a new one. If you have a hard time determining what Mobo's can handle what CPU's, the Mwave Mobo & CPU Bundle section is great. You can choose a board, and they'll show you what CPU's work with it. You can also do it by choosing the CPU and have them display the motherboards that will take it.

 

 

What part of the Last Frontier are you in, Brian?

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I'd upgrade memory first to at least 512, followed by a new video card (9700 Pro is a good bet, or the 9800 Pro). A new, fast HD can greatly improve overall system performance as well (but not framerates in games).

 

When upgrading to improve game performance, it's a tough call on whether one should go with CPU or Video card. Some games prefer a faster video card, while others benefit from the CPU. I'd say in your case, the Geforce is a bigger bottle neck than the CPU.

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Originally posted by Whooter@Feb 18 2004, 01:01 PM

Well, the semi-good news is that your Mobo will take up to a 2400+. If you want higher than that, you'll have to get a new one. If you have a hard time determining what Mobo's can handle what CPU's, the Mwave Mobo & CPU Bundle section is great. You can choose a board, and they'll show you what CPU's work with it. You can also do it by choosing the CPU and have them display the motherboards that will take it.

 

 

What part of the Last Frontier are you in, Brian?

I'm in Ketchikan. I thought my mobo would go up to 2600+... I guess I'll double check that now.

 

Brian

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Originally posted by Brian Short+Feb 18 2004, 12:35 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Brian Short @ Feb 18 2004, 12:35 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-Whooter@Feb 18 2004, 01:01 PM

Well, the semi-good news is that your Mobo will take up to a 2400+. If you want higher than that, you'll have to get a new one. If you have a hard time determining what Mobo's can handle what CPU's, the Mwave Mobo & CPU Bundle section is great. You can choose a board, and they'll show you what CPU's work with it. You can also do it by choosing the CPU and have them display the motherboards that will take it.

 

 

What part of the Last Frontier are you in, Brian?

I'm in Ketchikan. I thought my mobo would go up to 2600+... I guess I'll double check that now.

 

Brian [/b]

Hmmm....you may be right, Brian. Mwave's Mobo/CPU doesn't seem to sync up with what the specs for the board are. First time I've seen that... :?

 

Ketchikan, cool. "Little Timmy" and I are originally from Adak.

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Originally posted by Whooter+Feb 18 2004, 02:43 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Whooter @ Feb 18 2004, 02:43 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
Originally posted by Brian Short@Feb 18 2004, 12:35 PM

<!--QuoteBegin-Whooter@Feb 18 2004, 01:01 PM

Well, the semi-good news is that your Mobo will take up to a 2400+. If you want higher than that, you'll have to get a new one. If you have a hard time determining what Mobo's can handle what CPU's, the Mwave Mobo & CPU Bundle section is great. You can choose a board, and they'll show you what CPU's work with it. You can also do it by choosing the CPU and have them display the motherboards that will take it.

 

 

What part of the Last Frontier are you in, Brian?

I'm in Ketchikan. I thought my mobo would go up to 2600+... I guess I'll double check that now.

 

Brian

Hmmm....you may be right, Brian. Mwave's Mobo/CPU doesn't seem to sync up with what the specs for the board are. First time I've seen that... :?

 

Ketchikan, cool. "Little Timmy" and I are originally from Adak. [/b]

I double checked at Newegg, where I bought it, and they say 2600+ so that is good. Of course, by the time the games I'm waiting for come out, things might be cheap enough I'll go for a new MB and something faster.

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Ok I've done a bit more research...

 

My board does support up to a 2600+ Athlon XP, but since the board is 266mhz, and the only 2600+ chips that newegg sells is the 333mhz Barton, that wont work, so the best I could do would be the 2400+... clock speed on my 1700+ is 1.4 ghz and the 2400 is 2.0 ghz... All else being equal, is this a significant enough upgrade for the $70 cost? Also, as far as video goes, I'm pretty much set on the 9800 Pro... Any advantage to getting a Powercooler board over a Sapphire board, and is there any advantage to getting the retail board over an OEM board (other than the fact the OEM board doesn't include Tomb Raider Cradle of Life, which may or may not be good, I have no idea ;) )

 

So what I'm thinking now is to just go ahead and upgrade the RAM and the video card for now, and keep the 1700+... if it turns out that Doom 3 or HL 2 doesnt run well enough with just the 1700+, I think I may, if I feel like spending the cash, upgrade to a decent but not expensive ASUS Intel board, and a 3.0 GHZ intel processor. I'm hoping though that the games I'm interested in use the graphics board more than the CPU.

 

Brian

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