PC Upgrade - Any Help Appreciated

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin Gilmour, Feb 5, 2002.

  1. Kevin Gilmour

    Kevin Gilmour Auditioning

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    To get even more enjoyment out of MOH:AA (and I've only played the demo so far !!!), I've decided to upgrade my motherboard, processor and video card.

    My current set up is a PII 333Mhz, with Voodoo2 video card.

    I'm looking at the GeForce III video card but not sure which processor to go for - P4 or AMD Athlon ?

    Any help / pointers would be appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Brian Hepler

    Brian Hepler Stunt Coordinator

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    I would recommend the Athlon processors. Bang for the buck, they are hard to beat. At the clock speeds/performance levels that are commonly available today, you will have a computer that will last you many years.
    The Pentium 4 processor, while nifty when paired with RDRAM, is at a crossroads at the moment. They are planning on moving it to a new socket type in the next six months or so. This means that you will have no upgrade path except to replace your motherboard and your processor together. With a little luck, any Athlon combination you buy will let you upgrade later with just a processor change.
    The P4 responds really well with applications that are compiled specfically for its architecture. The problem is that this is a small number of programs right now. Eventually, this will improve, but who knows how much it will help you. A lot of this depends on what kind of application you are planning on running. Typical office suite and some games? Web surfing and chat rooms? Either one of these will do fine. MPEG encoding? That makes it a tougher choice, but not too much as both of these platforms will do admirably.
    I built an 800 MHz Athlon for my roommate last spring and the entire thing came in at about $500 with some scavenged parts. You'd be surprised what you can do with a screwdriver and some patience. [​IMG]
    Are you planning on building your own, or buying a package from a vendor?
     
  3. Kevin Gilmour

    Kevin Gilmour Auditioning

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    Thanks Brian[​IMG]
    I'm planning to do the work myself - many years ago I served an apprenticeship as a TV Engineer so I should be Ok.
    My current motherboard is made by EPoX so I'm planning to use EPoX again to make fitting as simple as possible.
    What speed AMD processor would you recommend ? I want my PC for graphic intensive games, internet access and MS Office applications. Games wise, if I use a decent graphics card, can I get away with a mid to high speed AMD chip rather than the top of the range version ? I'm also willing to splash out on 512Mb of RAM if need be.
    Kev
     
  4. Roy C.

    Roy C. Second Unit

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    I have an AMD 1.2MHz and it works like a charm. I used to OC stuff but don't need to anymore. I strongly recommend going with the AMD but want to advise you of the cooling issues you will be faced with. Make sure you buy the best CPU fan/cooler you can afford and also the best power supply (AMD apporved, of course) as well as case fans.

    I've always had good luck with EPoX MBs so you should be fine with that. Of course, if you have the $$$ you can go with ASUS or ABIT but not a must. I also agree with you in the fact that if you get a solid (1.0 to 1.2MHz) CPU you should do well with a great video card. I would definitely go with 512MB RAM, before it gets more expensive, and a good OS like 2000 or, dare I say it, XP.

    Anyway, these are only suggestions. Bottom line again is what you can afford and what you like.

    Later,

    Roy C.
     
  5. Kelley_B

    Kelley_B Cinematographer

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    All of the following comes from Newegg.com:

    AMD Athlon XP 1800+ - $152(OEM) $160(Retail)

    EPoX 8KHA+ - $98

    512MB PC2100 DDR - $79(256MB Stick) $170(512MB Stick)

    VisionTek GeFORCE 3 Ti200 - $165

    With the price of difference of the OEM and Retail Athlon XP, I'd just get the Retail one as it comes with an AMD approved heatsink and fan unit and has a 3yr. warranty. Also I'd recommend going to CompUSA and picking up the Antec SX830, SX840, SX1030, or SX1040 case and PSU as they are all AMD approved and have tons of air flow, and they are just really great cases and PSUs.
     
  6. Brian Hepler

    Brian Hepler Stunt Coordinator

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    Roy just posted some excellent advice. I have no personal experience with the Epox boards, but you two seem to have that wrapped up. Personally, I use Abit boards, but I do overclock and I really can use the features they build in. I can also recommend the MSI boards as being rock-steady, even if they don't have all the bells & whistles.

    As for processor speed, definitely go with over 1 GHz. My practice has usually been to get a couple steps down from the top of the line products. This is usually where the real performance/price ratios live and breathe. I don't think you need the super-duper processors, but if you can afford it, go for it. If you're feeling daring, go a couple steps down and overclock up. Manufacturing techniques are refined enough that you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you can push your processor.

    RAM is so cheap these days that I would recommend 256MB at a minimum for any type of performance system. 512 is better, but I saw a huge increase in UT performance when I went up from 128 MB.

    As for OS: Right now, you can probably pick up a surplus copy of Win2k for much cheaper than a new copy of XP. I would go that route. There are advantages to XP, but IMHO the overhead over Win2k isn't worth it.

    Graphics cards: Hoo boy. At this stage in the Games->Graphics->Processor path, the bottleneck honestly seems to be games. I'm not aware of any games that seriously tax a good system (say, 800+ MHz) with a good graphics card. Right now, the best graphics cards will put out performance in most games at just about any resolution you could want at playable speeds. Sure, there are differences between the cards, but your talking about the difference between 140 frames per second or 110 frames per second... considering that it is difficult to tell the difference of anything over 60... you see the problem.

    Okay, that rambled a bit. Yes, I think you could save a little money on the processor and get a significant increase in end performance by directing it towards a better graphics card. The GeForce3 cards should be dropping in price in about a week, maybe two when the GeForce4 cards are announced.

    Once again, Roy gave some excellent advice.
     
  7. Kevin Gilmour

    Kevin Gilmour Auditioning

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    Thanks everyone for some excellent advice. Really appreciated.

    I'm gonna aim for :

    AMD XP 1800

    EPoX Mboard

    GeForce 3 64Mb

    512Mb RAM

    All I need to do now is decide on where to buy - here in the UK or via the web from the US. It will be cheaper buying from the US but with the risk of import duty and the pain of returning any faulty items - tricky decision !

    Anyways, thanks again for your help

    Kev
     
  8. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    for some last minute considerations:

    Soyo Dragon + Motherboard...there are some issues with the 8KHA+ that just don't exist with the Soyo board. The soyo includes multichannel onboard sound card, and it works!! it also includes extra IDE connections so that you can have all of your devices on as masters and avoid any performaance hits.

    ECS 735 motherboard (not exact model, its the $60 one) this can be hard to configure for some people, but otherwise for $60 this thing is a major winner. Its majorly fast like the soyo, and the eopx, but this one does not use a VIA chipset. sort of a big advantage as history wil tell.

    you need to get at LEAST a 350W good quality Antec or Enermax power supply. 400W wouldn't be such a bad idea.

    The GF3 ti500 will/should be dropping in price here pretty quickly. Its at $300 now for the decent makes, wait a bit for a better price. That is what I'm doing. You should try and get a Gainward, Leadtek, or Visiontek.

    make sure you remember that once you get it all setup more costs may be desired, like better cooling, quiter components, stuff like that.

    the newer XP chips are a fine start towards being a little quiter, they produce a little less heat than the 1.4 tbirds, even the XP 2000+ probably puts out the same heat as the 1.4 Tbird does.

    oh, and I know alot about hardware, but I have no idea what the heck MOH-AA, or RTCW, or MGS2, or GTA3 or much of that stuff means.

    I've never been or lived in Europe, but I have heard that its a black hole for buying hardware. So you could check out some of the shops here, but the best thing to do is to ask a community with more of an international crowd. There are some here as well, so maybe someone will chime in.
     

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