How much difference would 3.4 Ghz make?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mitch Stevens, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    As I was talking about in a previous thread, my computer is extremely slow. What I currently have:

    Soyo Dragon 2 Plus motherboard
    2.6 Ghz Intel Processor
    2.0 GB DDR RAM
    ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 8X AGP Video Card
    120 GB Hard Drive (I don't know the speed).

    Anyway, my computer can *NOT* play the latest games like "DOOM 3" which I actually bought thinking my computer would be fast enough to run. It plays a few seconds of it, but it keeps "pausing" the game to refresh the screen, even at the lowest possible (worst quality) resolution settings. After a few minutes, the game completely shuts down.

    Also, It can *NOT* play WM9 HD Video. I tried playing T2 (as well as other WM9 HD videos) and it constantly keeps pausing the sound waiting for the video to catch up to it. It'll play about 3 seconds of video (at most) and pause for 5-10 seconds, then another 3 sconds of video followed by another pause.

    Needless to say, this computer isn't fast enough to do anything fun.

    I just found out from the SOYO site, that I can upgrade the CPU on this motherboard to a 3.4 Ghz Intel Processor.

    Keeping every single thing else the same, and changing only the CPU from 2.6 Ghz to 3.4 Ghz, what kind of difference in speed are we actually talking about. I mean, I know it's exactly 800mhz faster, but would I
    honestly see a vast improvement on the upgrade?

    Upgrading to the 3.4 Ghz processor is extremely expensive, and I don't want to do it unless I know for a fact that it's going to be worth all that money. On a scale from 1-10, how much difference would the new CPU make?
     
  2. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Quite frankly, no, it's not going to make that much of a difference. I suspect there's something not quite setup right with your PC if you can't play Doom 3 at the lowest settings on a 2.6HZ PC with 2Gig of ram. I'd get that sorted before throwing money at an upgrade.
     
  3. Craig Woodhall

    Craig Woodhall Supporting Actor

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    i second that.. my buddy can play doom on his 1.4ghz with the settings on low..
     
  4. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Yeah, something is definitely up with your setup. It is a P4, right? Not one of the new Celerons?

    Do you run spyware and virus checks on your computer frequently?

    I don't know anything about your motherboard, so maybe that could be the weak link (but maybe not).
     
  5. Jassen M. West

    Jassen M. West Supporting Actor

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    I would start the process with the usual adaware/spybot combo, followed by a virus scan with AVG or the free online scanner by trendmicro . Also Make sure you have the latest Direct X installed. Then shoot over to ATI and get the latest drivers.
    The PC you have should be plenty fast enough to run any game out right now.
     
  6. Ken Chui

    Ken Chui Supporting Actor

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    Shoulda went with AMD. [​IMG]

    All kidding aside, unless you want to run DOOM 3 on the highest settings, your PC has more-than-ample specs to run the game fluidly; the problem lies with your configuration somewhere.

    What type of RAM are you using, i.e. is it PC2700 or higher? With a capacity of 120GB, my guess is that the HD's rated at 7200rpm (not sure if it has a buffer, e.g. 8MB cache, which would improve access time).

    As for playing WM9 HD video, a 3GHz CPU is recommended for smooth playback (performance on the 2.6 may be choppy); video card and RAM are fine though.

    SOYO makes good motherboards, but I don't have any personal experience with them. My advice is to register with a PC forum (such as PC Perspective; I'm a regular there) and post your dilemma on the Intel Motherboards or Gaming forum.
     
  7. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    The RAM may NOT be fine. There's a lot of "iffy" RAM floating around. I use Kingston HyperX in my rig.
    His shutdown problems could be a symptom of bad memory chips.

    From my personal experience, Soyo has been one of the worst mobo companies. Cheap components (such as capacitors, etc). I build PCs on the side.

    My take: UPGRADE THE MOTHERBOARD.
    Without spending a lot of dough, I'd recommend an Asus or Abit solution. The IC7 series of Abit boards are excellent.

    Before I upgraded my current machine I was running a 2.53GHz P4 with 1GB of RDRAM and it ran WMV9-HD video smoothly.

    Also: completely wipe and reinstall (after backing up your important info to CD-R or DVD-R) Windows XP with SP2. A fresh start works wonders.
     
  8. Ken Chui

    Ken Chui Supporting Actor

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    SOYO is a decent (though not the best) performer with AMD CPUs; not sure what their track record is with Intel CPUs. I swear by MSI, but then again, I'm also a firm believer in AMD (from a build-your-own-PC perspective).

    I guess I should have qualified my 'video card and RAM' statement. The video card and amount of onboard RAM is fine; I did overlook the brand of the RAM, and whether it had been tested (a diagnostic program such as Memtest86 or Windows Memory Diagnostic should help in determining if potentially bad RAM is the root cause of his problems).
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    You're biggest advantage (seriously) is to ditch the video card and grab a 6800GT or similar, which has a much more significant impact then going to a 3400+.. ie, like double the impact.
     
  10. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    That would cost even more than upgrading to the Pentium 3.4 Ghz. I looked at one place that had the 6800GT for $450. The 3.4 Ghz CPU costs $300 on sale. And I already spent $200+ on the Radeon card, which I happen to love, because I could upscale regular DVDs to 1080i to my HDTV that does not have DVI inputs.

    I built the computer myself. Did I do something wrong here?
     
  11. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    There's your problem. The celeron chip isn't made to run games like that. You'd have to step up to a Pentium 4, but it doesn't need to be the 3.4 unless you just want it to be. As others have mentioned, you could run your games on a P4 running at 2.4GHz or maybe less.

    The biggest problem, though, is that this may require a motherboard change too. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't even know what socket celeron's use.
     
  12. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure I quite understand, Seth. Are you telling me that a 2.8 Celeron is much worse than a 2.4 Pentium? I don't understand how something faster could be worse than something slower. Hmmmmm.... Can anyone better explain this to me?

    We can definitely rule out faulty memory (RAM) though. As Ken suggested, I downloaded and burned "Windows Memory Diagnostic" and ran the standard tests. Everything checked out perfectly fine, so I ran the extended tests. It did multiple passes taking hours and hours of time, and found absolutely nothing wrong with the RAM.

    So, it's definitely the Celeron then? I was under the impression that the speed of a Celeron and the speed of the Pentium were the same, and the only difference was the fact that the Celeron ran much, much hotter, thus you'd need a better fan to cool it with, but other than that, everything else would be equal.

    And to answer Seth's questions, it's a Socket 478, and so was the 3.4 ghz Pentium 4 processor I was thinking about buying. According to the SOYO website, this motherboard can in fact handle that speed processor. I wouldn't need to upgrade the motherboard, unless of course, you all think it's best if I do that instead?
     
  13. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Clock speed is not really a reliable way to measure actual processor power. Within the same processor type, ie a Pentium 4, higher is obviously faster, but when comparing different CPU's the frequency doesn't really say much.

    The kind of speed problems you describe up there are hard to attribute to just it being a Celeron, though. Have you verified that your graphics card is running properly? A friend had problems getting his ATI card to use AGP 8x properly, it stuck at AGP 1x I think it was. Anyway, whatever the issue, he had horrific performance even though he was on an Athlon 64 rig.

    Are you sure your BIOS settings for AGP etc are correct?

    Have you tried downloading the very latest ATI drivers?

    What does it say in the graphics card settings about AGP mode?

    Tweak guide for 9x00 series cards: http://www.techspot.com/tweaks/radeon/index.shtml
     
  14. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Oh yeah, then forget everything else, if it is a Celeron, ditch it. [​IMG]
     
  15. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    My bios hardly has anything AGP related. All I see is the voltage, which was running at 1.47 I think, and also the apature (I don't know how to spell that) size, which I had changed to 128MB the minute I installed the video card.

    As per everyone's suggestions, I went to the ATI site, and downloaded the very latest drivers out there, along with the control panel. It showed that AGP was completely turned OFF (not 1x, 2x, 4x or 8x) but OFF! Also "Fast writes" was turned off. I tried turning 8x on, but every single time I did, it would tell me to restart the computer, and every time I came back to that window, it showed the AGP as being off again.

    Frustrated, I looked for information on how to turn it on, and I came across this very interesting forum where a guy who also had a Radeon ATI card was having the same exact problem as I was. He couldn't get 8X AGP to turn on either, but when he updated his chipset, it turned on. I checked, and I just so happened to have the same Intel chipset he was talking about, so I too, downloaded the installation utility he talked about, and it worked for me as well. Now my card shows up as AGP 8X.

    I haven't tried playing anything yet. I wonder if that is going to make a difference in DOOM 3 and/or HD material. I'll try it out, and let you guys now.

    Also, when my computer booted up just now (after installing that Intel software) my screen got all pixelated and purple. It took a long time to get into Windows, and after it did, it said that Windows had recovered from a very serious crash. I hope that doesn't happen again (the crash, I mean, not the recovery).
     
  16. Mitch Stevens

    Mitch Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Ok, now that I've played DOOM 3 for an hour, I can tell you all that it worked. It never once crashed or shut down the computer like it used to. Also, it rooms very soomthly in "medium" mode. "high" mode runs terrible though.

    As for HD video, it's exactly the same as before. T2 still plays "choppy" and so does everything else. I guess upgrading to the Pentium 3.4 Ghz chip, is my only solution at this point? Everything else seems to be running fine. I still don't know how much difference that Pentium chip would make over the Celeron that I have now. It's only 600 Mhz faster. I doubt it would make much difference, if any.
     
  17. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    The minimum accepted requirements for HD-DVD video (WMV9HD) is a Pentium IV 3.0G or a AMD64 2800+ as the low ends to make it work. Celeron is not at all supported in WMV9HD decoding.
     
  18. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Glad you got it sorted without resorting to buying an upgrade - your PC should definitely be able to play Doom3 at its lowest setting without breaking too much of a sweat.

    As Chris says, your Celeron just isn't beefy enough for the WMV9HD format - it requires pretty much a top of the line computer.
     
  19. Ken Chui

    Ken Chui Supporting Actor

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    Believe me, it will. [​IMG] As Kimmo stated in his reply, clock speed is an unreliable indicator of CPU performance. The lack of L2 cache (i.e. high speed memory within the CPU) on the Celeron affects floating point calculations; couple this with a slower frontside bus, and you have two reasons the Celeron CPU isn't suited for playing 3D games. 3D processing and rendering places a greater workload on the FPU (Floating Point Unit) of a CPU, rather than the GPU on a video card; the Celeron is weakest in this area.

    Bottom line: keep the video card and motherboard; upgrade the CPU to a full-fledged Pentium 4.
     
  20. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Except his mobo may not support a 3.4, especially if it's a Prescott (E) class.

    Which brings me to my initial point: upgrade the motherboard. Plus he will need to upgrade his RAM to PC-3200, since it matches the 800MHz bus of the 3.4 P4
     

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