How much of a compromsie is this PC for gaming: HP/AMD/nVidia

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Bob McElfresh, Sep 17, 2003.

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  1. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I need a new CPU and was hoping to get a unit that would not be totally rotten for games. But I've not kept up on reputations/issues.

    I am looking at a HP Pavilion for $830 with:

    AMD Athalon XP 2800+
    XP Home Edition
    nVidia GeForce4 MX graphics card with 64MB DDR video memory

    I usually go with custom computers so I can specify the video/HD/motherboards, but these seem to base-price about $1000-$1200. It's really, really hard to pass up this HP Pavilion Desktop for the price.

    Is there any part that is crippling?
     
  2. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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    The Geforce card will be a bottleneck. The MX line is very low end, and has nothing in common with the rest of the Geforce4 line. If you get this computer, I would seriously consider changing out the card. (Bumping the RAM to 1GB would be a big improvement as well).

    -Dave
     
  3. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    The Geforce MX card will really make it worthless for most newer games.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Ok, once the computer has proven to be stable, a new AGP video card.

    I'd like to stay about $100 for the card. There is a "better" nVidia GeForce card .. something like the 5600, or should I go for a Radion?
     
  5. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Can't beat the Radeon 9600 for $150 or less.
     
  6. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    Bob, what you have to consider when buying the branded machines is that if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Odds are that they're using a proprietary MB, along with really cheap sound, network, memory, etc. I know from trying to upgrade some of these boxes that it's sometimes easier said than done, especially when dell, HP, etc decides to install their own stuff on the hardware. I've always built my own PCs-while it may be a little more expensive, I know exactly what I'm getting.
     
  7. Peter Loan

    Peter Loan Second Unit

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    If you can still find a Radeon 9500 Pro 128MB, grab it. It's superior to the 9600 in every way, and cheaper...that's if you can find one.
     
  8. Bill Griffith

    Bill Griffith Supporting Actor

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    I built my own computer awhile back and its perfect for gaming. I priced out all the componets that I bought for it last week again to see how much everything had depreciated. I spent about $900 at the time when I built it. Now if I used the same components it would only cost about $500.

    Sound Balster Audigy
    128 MB Radeon Graphics card (the original 128 card they came out with, it was new at the time, paid over $230 for it, you can pick it up now for like $70)
    AMD 1800+XP
    512Mb DDR, Crucial(Now running 1.2Gig DDR paid $140 for the extra Crucial Sticks)
    2 x 40 Gig Western Digital 150ATA HD
    6 Slot Case with 450 Watt Power supply
    Optical Mouse
    New keyboard
    Ethernet/LAN card (Lynksys)

    Anyway I've play Unreal, BF1942, Planetside, C&C Generals, Simcity 4, IL2 Sturmovik, plus many others. Never had a problem with online frame rates, any game slowing down or skipping. My Operating system is Win2000 pro.

    Its not hard to build your own and it doesn't take long to do it. And once you do it your first time you'll want to do it again, and again. Not to mention its way cheaper than buying a brand name, if you search for the components and get the real good deals.
     
  9. John-Miles

    John-Miles Screenwriter

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    Bob, I have been thinking of upgrading my computer, and while i currently run an athlon 750 im seriously considering going to intel..... as much as i dont like intel they are running chips with an 800 mhz front side bus which is twice what AMD is doing. I acree with what as been said about buying those package deals, your likely getting the cheapest of everything, build your own its much more satisfying. plus you can likely strip your current computer for many of the parts, ie sound card hard drives monitor keyboard mouse, floppy drive and cd drives and the monitor. if you have all that stuff already you can upgrade nicely for cheap.

    I had speced out an upgrade that was an MSI mother board (dont remember what kind) a p4 2.4 Ghz 800 mhz Front side bus, a geforce4 5200 128 megs of ram, one gig of DDR400 ram. this came to about 900 canadian, so about 600-700 US not too bad if you ask me.
     
  10. Ken Chui

    Ken Chui Supporting Actor

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  11. Walt Williams

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    I just bought almost the same computer about 6 weeks ago, the HP Pavillion a230n. I think the only difference is that mine has the nVidia graphics built into the motherboard. It played Return to Castle Wolfenstein fine, but Unreal Tournament II was really choppy. As luck would have it someone at work was selling a new GeForce FX5200 Ultra cuz he couldn't make it work with his system (he ended up buying a really high-end card later anyways.) Now Unreal is smooth & tasty and on the plus side it freed up 64Mb of system RAM. I'll agree that some of the components are about as cheap as they can get away with, for example the 120GB HDD is only 5200rpm. That didn't bother me though - I already had a new 7200rpm 120GB in my old system so I just put it in the new computer and did a drive copy. The 5200rpm drive is now installed as the slave and is used for backups.
    I've really only messed with those 2 games so far, but they both play very smoothly. I personally can't think of any reason to avoid this computer is you think the price is right and don't mind a couple upgrades. It came with a DVD burner and CDROM, but the first thing I did when I got it home was to replace the CDROM with the DVDROM/CD burner from my old system (even before I ever turned it on).
    I've done a lot of simple Windows tweaks to make things work better and in the time that I've had it the OS has not crashed even once. I've had applications crash a few times but I've always been able to recover gracefully.
    Hope this helps.
     
  12. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I have gone to my custom houses and tried to specify similar features using name-brand components. On 3 different quotes, the prices are about $1000-$1200. Since I am still recovering from about a year of unemployment, a 25-45% savings is not trivial.

    (I did not know about the drive speed - oh well).

    I dont really want to salvage parts from my older machine as it still does duty for the wife/kids.

    I will look for Radeon 9500 Pro 128MB and adding an extra 512 megs of memory in about a week.

    Thanks for all the advice!
     

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