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PC as a games machine

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by paiger, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. paiger

    paiger
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    OK, I got a pretty good PC with a second hard drive fitted just for games. I used to have a S3 Savage 4 VGA card but it was junk and kept freezing in games so I have just bought an ABIT Siluro Geforce2 400 MX card with TV out. It's much better and I was enjoying a go on Colin Macrae 2 on the TV with Hi-fi sound when the whole lot froze and reset the PC. I have an Asus Motherboard, all top quality stuff and yet still have these problems.

    My point is that I bought the card in the knowledge that the money could go towards an Xbox. Is it really possible to have a PC as a games machine or are they just too variable? I'm running XP as well which I suppose could cause problems for older games.

    Starting to wish I had just gone for the more expensive Xbox route.

    Does anyone else use a PC as a games machine and if so, what kind of success do you have?

    Steve
     
  2. alanrob

    alanrob
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    Don't use WinXP for gaming as it sucks at it.
    Install Win98SE or WinME for your gaming. Even better is to get hold of a copy of 98lite ( www.98lite.net ) that you can use to uninstall IE/Media player etc.. to make the Win98/ME partition run even faster.

    This works a treat as a gaming machine as I have used it with my Geforce 2 MX card and have never had a problem (yet!)
     
  3. Guest

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    Consoles will never be able to keep up with the speed PC components develop at, the Xbox is crushed, killed and destroyed (graphically speaking) by the latest GeForce 4 Ti cards.

    But i think it depends on what type of games you like, PC and console games differ in genre and style, although many are ported for the opposite platform these are usually inferior to the original version.
     
  4. Shockabuku

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    I gotta say that I don't think it's quite as clear cut as that. Framerates will on average be lower in XP, that much is true. However, I don't regret upgrading from 98SE & ME to XP one little bit. Why? Stability. XP is vastly more stable than any of the 9x platforms, particularly Millenium which is a horrible OS. I found myself having to rebuild many of my PCs every few months due to crash/bug/driver nightmares. This has simply not been a problem with XP.

    If you have the hardware (CPU/mem/graphics) to deal with XP & make the lower framerates irrelevant, then I'd recommend it over any other OS for gaming. Driver support is also maturing so you shouldn't get problems in that area either.
     
  5. paiger

    paiger
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    Well, I have only really tried Colin Mcrae 2 on it which is supposed to run in Win2k so XP should not be a prob. I've just put the latest detonator drivers on so I'll see how that goes. I expect that all new games will be optimised for XP from now on any way. I'll be getting Max Payne off Ebay shortly so I hope that works fine.

    Other problems have been in 3D Mark 2000 which won't run the benchmark without crashing but I know there were problems with Win 2k at the time. I may download 3D mark 2001 tonight, see if that works.

    Keep on trying I guess.
     
  6. Doubledoom

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    The nvidia drivers that are automatically installed with winxp are cut down versions. There is no opengl support in these and are now very much out of date.

    The GF2 MX card is never going to give you excellent frame rates as it is really the absolute bottom mainstream graphics card nowadays (hence the £44 you can buy them for) but should be sufficient for CM 2 and a little bit longer.

    WinXP is excellent for games, with regards to stability. Win ME has to be the worst MS operating system and is by far considered the least stable. Win98 is fine if you have older games which are not compatible with win XP but if you dont have any older games, there is no reason why you shouldnt stick with XP
     
  7. paiger

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    I know the MX is a bit dated but it's a big step up from my Savage 4. It's the 400 64Mb version so it's about the best. My one problem with the better cards is fan noise and of course, the MX has no fan so no worries, my PC is in my living room and on all day every day. I also didn't want to spend £200 on a card and then find that my PC games machine suspicions were correct and I may as well have baught an Xbox. So far, they have proved to be so. I tried CMR2 earlier which resulted in a major lockup/reset which needed a system restore to get back up and running. I was using the latest drivers as well.

    My only suspicion is that I have several types of OEM memory to get 512k (2x128 and 1x256) and I'm wondering if this is causing problems. Everything else in my system is top quality (Asus,Abit,Creative,Plextor etc.). I think I'll just swap it out for a single 512 Dimm made by a quality manufacturer.

    I do hope I can get this working succesfully as you can get 3 month old PC games on Ebay for a few quid and then flog them again once you have played them.

    By the way, Svideo out looks great on my 29" Sony and I'll be hooking up some 5.1 sound to replace the 2 channel I have now.

    Anyway, off to the highlands for a week tomorrow so it will have to wait.

    S
     
  8. Lex

    Lex
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    Will OpenGL be available for XP anytime soon?

    Whilst we are talking about Graphics cards, has anyone got any advice for me? I am looking to buy a new one - I am pretty sure I want a GeForce rather than a Radeon, but will I be better off buying a higher spec Geforce3 or a lower spec Geforce 4?

    I am confused and overwhelmed by it all!! :rolleyes: :confused:
    Thanks in advance for any advice,

    Lex.
     
  9. Doubledoom

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    It was only the microsoft drivers that didnt include OpenGL. All the versions available from nvidea have opengl included.

    I have a GF2 GTS 64meg and i have run it on my older athlon 700 and now my current athlon Xp 2000+. I have also built 6 PCs this year with either XP1800 or XP2000 processors and a range of GF2 cards stuck in them. The main factor is still the processor. 3D games used to stutter at times with the Athlon 700, even with the top of the range GF2 card. Now that the XP2000 is in the machine, there is no stuttering.

    The last machine i built had an XP1800 on a KT266a motherboard with PC2100 memory with a GF2 MX200 32meg and that plays MS flight sim fine with only a small slow down on lots of detail.

    So, it depends on the processor. If you have a 1000mhz processor or less, dont waste your money on the top end graphics card as you wont be able to use it to its full potential.
     
  10. Lex

    Lex
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    Interesting. Thanks DD. So maybe I should spend more money on a processor, and less on a graphics card?

    If I was to get say an Athlon XP 1600 (aprx) and a Geforce 2 MX400 - would that in your opinion handle all games currently available?

    What really confuses me though is that for only £80 I could get a
    Geforce4 MX440 64Mb DDR. That combined with an Athlon XP should keep me going for a couple of years surely?

    Cheers,

    Lex.
     
  11. Doubledoom

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    Should do.

    You should note that you can pick up an XP1800 for £104 now which is only £5 more than an XP1600.

    That combined with the GF4 should do for 2 years at least.

    If you get a KT266a motherboard, such as the Epox 8KHA+ or a KT333 motherboard, such as the Asus A7V333, you should find that you can upgrade in 2 years time by just taking out the processor and heatsink and replacing those with an Athlon XP3000 or similar.

    Although the next generation of athlons are due out in the next month or two, they are still using the Socket A motherboard and it is expected that they will continue to do so until the XP3000.

    If you buy yourself a cheaper KT133/Kt133a or KT266 motherboard, you will find this more costly in the long run.
     
  12. Lex

    Lex
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  13. Shockabuku

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    Lex - regarding your graphics card question, you're probably better off going for a GeForce3 Ti200. Best price/performance ratio at the moment. The cheaper GeForce4 cards are actually a hybrid of older GeForce technology, and the 3Ti200 will knock the socks off them. Here's the one that I currently have on order from Ebuyer. Cost is about 130 quid. Also, my mate has already received his & apparently it comes with a copy of PowerDVD XP in the box! Bonus!

    To get any better, you have to spend a lot more for the "proper" GeForce4 4400/4600.
     
  14. Guest

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    Don't make the mistake of confusing the Geforce 4 Ti with the Geforce 4 MX.

    The MX are Nvidea's new budget line using the GF4 name, however they are little more than updated versions of the GF2 cards, which is evident by the low price tag and to be honest you'd probably bbe better off going for the earlier cards cos they are half the price.

    The Geforce 4 Ti are really fast ones with dual vertex shaders and range from £300-360
     
  15. mjn

    mjn
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    "Does anyone else use a PC as a games machine and if so, what kind of success do you have? "

    i'll think you'll find there are loads of people using PC's for games...more for games than any other reason, and deffo more than Home cinema by a long way..!!

    It's all about drivers and compatability......simple as that....as for OS, either use win98se or win2k...
     
  16. Doubledoom

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    The Soltek DR4 is a fine board. Should do the trick nicely.
     
  17. zoolap

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    I suppose if you were going for a new motherboard and you have dd 5.1 setup you could always go for an nForce motherboard.
     
  18. Lex

    Lex
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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I think I'll be going for the Soltek board, an Athlon XP1800, and a Geforce 3Ti200.

    Should be sweet enough for now!

    Lex.
     

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