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Help me overhaul my computer.


Dimness
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Yeah, I finally got back on the computer gaming hunt. You're talking to a guy whose fondest memories of computer gaming involved X-Wing, Tie Fighter, and Warcraft II and III. :green:

 

As it stands, I have the following:

 

Pentium 4, 2.4 Ghz

Asus Motherboard (Intel 845PE chipset, DDR333)

512 MB Ram (not sure what kind)

450 W power supply

nVidia GeForce4 Ti 4200 AGP8X Bus with 128 MB Memory

Generic soundcard :P

 

Have fun overhauling my system. I'm sure you nerds will have fun. :D I'll post something similar at HTF.

 

I'm playing Doom 3 on medium settings, and I'm happy. But I'd like to know if the high end settings will make a world of a difference. That, and I'm looking at stuff like Half-Life 2 and Roller Coaster Tycoon 3.

 

And what's a good website for looking at terminology? I have no clue what worlds like overclocking, antialiasing, and OpenGL mean.

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Overclocking is the process of making your graphics or central processor perform at a higher rate than it was designed for. It has its risks but can be done safely to some degree.

 

Antialiasing is a graphics trick that smooths out the jagged edges. It drops your performance some but makes things look much nicer.

 

OpenGL is kind of a graphics protocol that your video card can use to process the graphical aspects of a program. DirectX is the other common set.

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My opinion on overclocking is its a waste of time. The only real benefits you will SEE are higher benchmark numbers. Yeah you may "feel" a difference in some apps, but the majority you won't unless you really clock it up high but then you have to worry more about cooling and voltages.

 

Which Asus motherboard do you have? P4PE, P4PE-X, P4PE-BP?

 

Probably only AGP 4x. You could go up to a 2.8Ghz P4 for $181, but its kind of expensive for only 400Mhz jump from what you have now. Could toss in 2 512MB PC2700 memory modules in there for $86 a piece.

 

Do you have serial ATA on that board? What kind of HD's do you have? If you don't have 7200 rpm 8MB cache hard drives buy one of those. Could also get a nvidia 6800 or 6800GT video card.

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Which Asus motherboard do you have?

I have P4PE.

 

Could toss in 2 512MB PC2700 memory modules in there for $86 a piece.

 

What does PC2700 mean? What kind of unit is that? According to my motherboard manual, it supports PC2700/PC2100/PC1600 DDR DIMMS.

 

I just went to Best Buy to browse, and I noticed GeForce 6800 Ultra has two fans. What's up with that? Remember, I don't know jack squat about hardware.

 

Do you have serial ATA on that board? What kind of HD's do you have?

 

I think I do, and I have a 200 GB harddrive (7200 rpm, 8MB cache).

 

For future reference, what kind of things should I look for in a video card?

 

Oh btw, thanks for some of the replies.

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How much are you willing to spend? Thats the most important question. The 2 areas I would dump your $ into are your video card and ram. I can't justify spending $400-500 on 1 video card so I wouldn't touch the GeForce 6800 Ultra until those become standard and prices come down. Games wont need those for a while anyway (unless you want to spend $500 to play Doom3 in ultra mode). I'd get one of the cheaper versions (6800 or 6800GT) or get an ATI x800 pro. If you get one of those and upgrade to at least 1 gig of ram you'll be sittin pretty for high detail settings for any game coming out in the next year or so. After those upgrades I'd look into getting a new cpu but since you already have a 2.4 going to a 2.8-3.2 isn't that much of a jump for the money. You'll just have to ask yourself if the games you are playing at the time are running good enough for you. If they are then dont worry about it.

 

 

(edit: Oops typos)

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What does PC2700 mean? What kind of unit is that? According to my motherboard manual, it supports PC2700/PC2100/PC1600 DDR DIMMS.

 

Its the speed of the memory. You would want to get the fastest your MB can handle. In this case PC2700. The price I gave you was from crucial.com. You could get 2 512MB modules and sell what memory you have now (or just leave it in the 3rd dimm slot for even more memory).

 

I'd say video card and memory also. Get a nvidia 6800 GT card and you'll be good to go for a while. I've got an Ultra and absolutely love it. Its quite amazing.

 

I'm assuming you are running XP?

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How much are you willing to spend?

 

I got the go ahead from my dad to spend a nice sum. :)

 

I'm looking at the ATI x800 Platinum Edition right now. And quite frankly, I'm a little intimidated by the GeForce 6800 with the huge ass fan and the two power thingies.

 

If anybody is curious, I got my computer from ABS in the first place. There are four fans running on it, and it's the most quiet computer I've ever had.

 

The funny thing, I've own three computers total in my lifetime. The first was one we built ourselves, a 486DX2 66 Mhz (sounds fancy, doesn't it :green: ). That lasted us from 1992 - 1998. Then I got a Pentium 2 Dell that lasted from 1998 to 2003.

 

This will be the first video card I've ever bought since building my first computer. In other words, whatever upgrades I make, it'll last me for a very very long time.

 

Like I said before, I've been out of it for a long time. So why exactly do these cards have their own fans? The GeForce 6800 scares me.

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Thanks for some of the replies. Sorry I didn't mention this before, but I'm happy with my CPU. Otherwise, I'm just looking at power supply upgrades, videocard, soundcard, and memory.

 

What do I need to look for in a power supply, and is Soundblaster still a good soundcard? I'm looking for a 5.1 upgrade although the logistics of where to put the rear speakers is baffling me somewhat.

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I have a CD burner, a DVD ROM, 3.5 drive, Zip Drive, one hard drive, 3 fans working, and I'm a little worried I might need more wattage.

 

It's quiet as a mouse though.

 

Is there a way to determine how much power is being used and if I need to see if I need more wattage?

 

Again, thanks a lot guys. It's forums like this that make me love the internet. Those gamefaqs guys are vicious.

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I have 2 SATA drives, a floppy, 4 case fans, 2 HDD coolers, a DVD burner & an ATI Radeon 9800 on a 480W power supply. This is also going to power my 6800 Ultra. If you've got a quality 450W PSU, you're gonna be ok.

 

I've never ran into anyone that's had power issues. Believe me, if you were having power issues, you'd have noticed them by now.

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  • 1 year later...

Dom, I have a 9800 Pro A-I-W, and I'm happy with it, but with four qualifications:

 

1. I like the video input capture because occasionally I work on stupid amateur films with friends. Possibly useless feature for others.

 

2. I use the TV feature, but only because I lack the desktop space for a TV. If I had more space I would definitely watch TV on a TV and not on my monitor.

 

3. The Guide Plus stuff is much improved but still kinda crappy.

 

If these matter to you, maybe you'll be happier with the non-AIW version.

 

-j

 

EDIT: WTF? The A-I-W version is $60 less? I must be sleepy. I'm sure I'm missing something.

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