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Help in upgrading

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by (GTV)Chris, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. (GTV)Chris

    (GTV)Chris
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    Hi,

    I would like to upgrade my PC to be much quicker playing games.
    The only recent addition to my system was an ATi 9800pro graphics card which I feel is pretty good.
    My mobo is a Gigabyte VAX7
    Athlon XP 2600
    1 gig of PC2300 ram

    So I would like info on

    1. New motherboard
    2. Fast memory
    3. New Processor

    Budget of £300 may stretch to a little more if I can.

    Just want it to be nice and quick :)

    Cheers

    Chris
     
  2. shaithis

    shaithis
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    The problem with upgrading your system is that you really need to upgrade most of it to make sure the money you spend isn't a lot for a little use....

    PCI-E is here and is replacing AGP....that means a new motherboard.

    Your CPU can be upgraded but if you do you won't be able to upgrade it again without buying a new motherboard.

    With that in mind, I would recomend replacing the lot.

    CPU: Athlon64 3000+ ~ £100

    Motherboard: Asus A8NE-FM ~ £50

    GFX Card: Gigabyte GF6600 Turbo 256MB ~ £80

    Thats £230 for a hefty performace gain and massive future-proofing. If your PC3200 RAM is fine in dual channel mode, then there isn't much reason to upgrade it.

    Of course if you do considering going this route you can upgrade the CPU and GFX card to fit your budget.
     
  3. (GTV)Chris

    (GTV)Chris
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    Thanks shaithis,

    Do you think the graphics card you mentioned will be quicker than the 9800pro..? I thought it was a belter, but perhaps its dated now.
    HL2 looked good but with everything turned up it ran like Pavaroti in treacle.

    I have seen these Gaming mobo's like the Fatal1ty, but these seem very expensive and I wondered how much better than a £60 it would be?
    What about the memory, DDR2?
    Cheers

    Chris
     
  4. shaithis

    shaithis
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    6600GT is about 20-30% faster then the 9800Pro.

    DDR2 is still rare and I don't think a DDR2 AMD board actually exists. The industry seems to be resisting DDR2 just like it did with RAMBUS.

    The Fatalities and such (i.e. the approx 100quid motherboards) normally have SLi (for 2 x gfx card), more overclocking features and more RAID features.
     
  5. InsertNameHere

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    OK, in summary I can’t see it happening. Sorry... :(

    To begin with, your graphics card has an AGP interface. At the moment the industry is moving over to PCI-E and AGP is slowly being phased out. Sure it's possible to buy an AGP motherboard but it wouldn't be very sensible IMO and wouldn't make your system very future proof. nVidia haven't produced any AGP graphics cards this time round for their 7x00 series (I don't know what ATi's plans are) but it might be hard to upgrade a year or two down the line if you choose to do so. So really along with the new processor, memory and motherboard you mentioned, you're looking at a new graphics card. However, you may also find that your existing power supply is not up to the job, so you may have to add that to the list too.

    Essentially, what I'm getting at is you won't be so much upgrading the system as building a new one.

    Therefore, I guess you have a couple of options here:

    1) Sell your old PC and use the money with your existing funds to build a new one.

    2) Keep your existing PC for a while longer (probably recommended). I have a 2.8Ghz processor (Northwood) with a Radeon 9800 Pro graphics card and it’s still coping… ;)

    If you're looking at building a new gaming system, you'll be spending around the £675 mark - not including a monitor, speakers, keyboard etc.

    To be honest though, if cost is a concern, you'll find that a pre-built system from the likes of Dell will be quite a bit cheaper - especially during one of their deals.


    To answer your question (post 2) – DDR2 is reserved for Intel based systems at the moment. AMD only use DDR but plan to use to DDR2 in the future.

    Hope that helps.

    Alex
     
  6. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    You can buy a motherboard which has both pci-e and agp so you could change motherboard and processor now which would give you a big change on cpu limited games and then upgrade to a better gfx card latter.

    My honest advice would be to stick with what you have until games start really chuggin along and upgrade then.

    An intermediate solution would be to buy a previous gen gpu like 6800GT or X800XL as these provide the best bang for the buck and will keep your pc running games on top and near top settings for a year more at least, and then another year or two at more moderate settings/resolutions.

    For the record the 6600Gt is on par with the 9800pro there really isn't that much difference, depending on the game i.e. Doom 4 Nvidia by a margin, HL2 ATI by a margin also, UT doesn't care it just wants your cpu.

    I have xp 2500 and a 9800pro and 1gig of ram and it plays everything fine, no problems, ofcause i can't run stuff in max settings in huge res but it works fine.

    Bear in mind that non of the current crop of motherboards are that future proof anyway, amd are gonna move on probably this time next year and intel will be introducing a new one around then too (although probably one innetween too if they can). Which means in a few years you' d be in a similar situation you are now where, you'd need to upgrade your cpu, motherboard and memory and as most games are most likey gonna be gpu limited another gfx card. There is no such thing as future proof, only now proof.
     
  7. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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  8. c4lln

    c4lln
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    i also need some help upgrading my graphics card. i currently have a geforce mx420 and would like to know if the Sapphire X800GT would a compatable upgrade. If not what would be my best bet.

    chris
     
  9. InsertNameHere

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    I'm not sure that would be worthwhile. With a £300 budget for a system upgrade and you're talking about getting a ~£200 AGP card as an intermediate solution seems a bit silly to me. If his motherboard could except PCI-E then I could understand although his CPU still wouldn't take full advantage of it.

    You're right, there is no such thing as future proof but it is possible to prolong the life of the system. What I was getting at is by buying an AGP motherboard you might not be able to upgrade your graphics card beyond a X850XT in the future. Also there are few 939 motherboards (if he took the AMD route) that incorporate AGP. By buying a PCI-E motherboard you can drop in a faster card (beyond the G70 line) and an X2 a year and half / two years down the line without changing anything else.
     
  10. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    All good points i only suggested getting a graphics card as it is what most games are bound by so a x800xl or 6800GT may give an extra year or so of top quality gaming and then another year of more moderate settings, similar to what modern gaming with a 9800pro give now.
    The best thing would probably be wait and buy an entirely new base unit as thats pretty much what is needed, an agp graphics card would have to be pretty much thrown away when the next upgrde happens, altohugh there are talks of an agp to pci-e bridge card, i guess it would fit under the agp one.
     
  11. (GTV)Chris

    (GTV)Chris
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    thanks peeps, all good stuff.
    I may stick a little while longer with the configuration I have.
    I quite like the idea of buying a ready made system..these are probably the same price as upgrading anyhow.
    I will give it some serious thought.

    Cheers

    Chris
     
  12. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    What is the rest of your computer? A x800GT would give a massive boost to games over the mx420, tell us what motherboard and processor your using and maybe memory too.
    Is it a socket a?, althon XP/64 or maybe a pentium 4 ( there are a few of both the latter motherboards)


    Again it may be a case of a whole system would be better but as the mx420 is not really in the same league as the 9800 that (GTv)Chris has, it may be a worthwhile upgrade.
     
  13. c4lln

    c4lln
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    hi i have a pentium 4 on a microstar 6533 motherboard. it has one agp slot and 2 pci. the agp is x4. what would be the best option on a graphics card?
     
  14. pragmatic

    pragmatic
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    To answer your X800GT question, it looks like it is a pci-express card so it would not be compatable, a recommended upgrade would be something like the 6600GT at about £100 although the performance will be not as much, read on for why it probably wouldn't matter.


    Ok your motherboard is a socket 478 but the agp x4 will be a bottleneck i think. http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/mainboard/mbd/pro_mbd_detail.php?UID=45

    You haven't said what processor your running, but if it is pretty fast it maybe worth buying something like the 6600GT which will give a massive boast to your games, it will be about 15-20 times better, I would say as the 420mx is build on budget geforce 2 tech if i'm not mistaken and as we are on 6 now and the speed increased considerbly with each generation.

    This card can be found for arround about £100 in various guises i.e. passivly cooled or pre-overclocked variety. Anything less than this probably wouldn't be much of an improvement sadly (anything thats lass than a 6600 series is very poor indeed).

    If the processor is slower then it would be more likey any great improment would be held back by it. Thus a new system would be the best option funds permitting, you should be able to get a very modern upto date sytem for about £300 without monitor and usualy without keyboard and mouse.

    You would need to be looking for either a Pentium 4 775 in this case (which in the current form is not as good as it used to be) avoid celeron like the plauge (unless things have sudenly changed back to the year 2000 when they were decent).
    On the Amd side you'll get budget sempron processors that give a fair performance but if your buying a new system you should try and go for the newest aritecture which is the 939 chip (venice and san deago). You will also be able to move your memory over with the amd unlike the intel which uses ddr2 now.

    The graphics card in a budget syetem will be lacking but the processor should more than make up for it at least being better than you have now.

    Also an ati x700 is a good chip and you may be able to find these for even cheaper with performace comparable to the 6600 from nvidia.
     
  15. c4lln

    c4lln
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    thanks gaz
     
  16. MikeKay1976

    MikeKay1976
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    2 options.....

    So again depending on what you have currently, what i did a month ago was to get an nforce2 version 2 board with a mobile athlonXP2500+ (should do a minimum of 3200+ speeds, possibly upto 3600+ speed) keep your 3200+ ram, & get yourself a 6800 agp graphics card & hope you can unlock the pipes on it.

    my setup is just that 1gb of ram) & it smokes F.E.A.R / Doom3 / HL2 etc. such a system should last you a good 18 months - 2yrs by which point i think the whole dual core & next gen of AMD chips will be on the market.


    the joy of this is that if you go 2nd hand it wont cost you a lot.

    Nforce v2 AN7 for £30
    geforce 6800 <£100 (i got mine for £75 but was an underpriced BIN
    Mobile 2500+ <£60

    --------------------------------------------
    *****
    OR if you do upgrade now why not go for the ASROCK 939 Dual-sata2

    this is AGP so can use your 9800pro (is this an R360 core if so can improve it significantly)
    PCI-e so is future proof

    & better still has a daughterboard so can support the future AMD M2 socket (this is £45 for techfever.co.uk

    & Athlon 64 3000+ for £100 from komplett (90nm core SSE3 etc)

    & more ram if you have only 512mb

    you can then upgrade your graphics card in 6 months or so to a pcie 6800GT
     

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