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Old 10-11-2004, 09:10   #1
Cinic
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Upgrade Advice

I'm thinking about upgrading my current box. It's getting a bit pokey on a couple of games I currently play.

The setup is as follows:
A7N8X Deluxe
Athlon XP 2200+
1 stick 512MB PC2700 Ram
Radeon 9600XT

The processor and RAM were a gift when I built this box about a year ago and I'd like to upgrade them. Looking at a processor with a 400 Mhz bus. The Athlon XP 3000+ for $139 is the processor I think I want and I'd like a Gig of PC3200 in 2 - 512MB sticks. The prices on those range greatly. I can go as low as $160 for Corsair ram (I want quality sticks), but it can also go up to as high as $250. Is it worth buying the ultra-high-performance ram or is that more for overclockers?

Cooling the new chip isn't an issue as I've got a nice setup.

Please offer any opinions on the CPU and especially on the RAM choices.

Thanks for your help.

_John
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Old 10-11-2004, 13:28   #2
NetNinja
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All this is dependant on whether or not your motherboard will accept the faster Athlon processor and the faster PC 400 DDR ram.

Go to Ausus's site and make sure.

Are you running Windows 2000? I had a problem in the past when I upgraded my memory, Win2K gave me the Blue Screen of Death.
Why? Who knows, typical Microshaft ****.

You may be able to sell your old processor to someone here.

So in the end it's up to you if you want to go to the faster ram. If it were me I would.

I found out when I upgraded to 1GB of memory that games now load faster and play smoother.
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Old 10-11-2004, 13:34   #3
fastvfr
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You don't need the pricier RAM unless you want to OC.

Make sure YOUR MOBO can use the full 400MHz memory; because if it can't, and 333MHz is the upper limit of your FSB, you'll be wasting money. Not fun to find out later that you could have just added another identical module to the mix and been money ahead...

Chances are your games are pokey because of your graphics card. The 9600XT isn't a bad one, but the settings need to be kept in the Medium range to get a decent framerate. If you crank 'em up to High or Very High, it'll crap out on you for sure, no matter how powerful a rig it is in.

I have seen platforms like yours do okay on Doom III and Far Cry-class games with a GeForce FX 5950 Ultra in them once they are set up properly, but then there is the driver optimization issue NVidia currently enjoys in these games... so if you are an ATI fan, I'd suggest looking at the 256-bit 9800Pro or even the X800 if your budget can handle it! Both of those games I mentioned are apparently best played with a GeForce. On a good note for you, Half Life II is optomized for Radeon cards--and some 9800 cards will come bundled with HL2!

Honestly, I'd take it one step at a time if I were you.

My first step would be to ensure that the current MOBO can indeed use PC3200 to its full extent, and if so pick up two 512MB PC3200 Corsairs (I recommend their TwinX packs). You can't leave the old module in there if you opt for the new 400MHz FSB processor, as that will slow the 400MHz memory down to 333MHz; but you sure can run all three if the 2200+ is still in residence.

That may give you enough of a boost to make you happy, but, if not, maybe you can sell that memory and your old CPU to a friend to help with the new proc.

Because if it still pokes along in games, you'll need to swap out the proc.

If it is still slow, your choices are limited to reducing the IQ settings or investing in a new graphics accelerator.

Good luck,

FastVFR
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Old 10-11-2004, 14:36   #4
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Yeah, the MOBO will accept the 400 Mhz components. I had the upgrade in mind when I built it but didn't have the capital to invest in the higher end compents a year ago.

The budget was also the reason for the lower end graphics card. If I'm not happy with this upgrade, I'll look into that next.

I generally don't like to build ultra-fast machines as I don't game that much. But the thing is acting slow while the wife is playing games like The Sims 2.

My main question was about the more expensive ram and if it was worth the money. From the research I've done so far, it appears that it's more for people who are really pushing their machines.

Thanks for the input guys.

_John
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Old 10-11-2004, 14:36   #5
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And BTW, I'm running XP Pro.
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Old 10-12-2004, 13:29   #6
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Cinic, I'm by no means a guru. I built my own rig and went on a lot of sites to see what problems folks were having with what. A biggy is cheap memory. A lot of boards seem to be picky and demand good memory. I opted for Crucial to stay away from those pit falls and I understand Corsair and Mushkin are also good. It's a good question you pose and my humble disclaimer is: Your Mileage May Vary.
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Old 10-12-2004, 21:36   #7
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FWIW, I have seen lots of gripes around about how resource-hungry Sims2 is....can't imagine HOW that could be, but lots of folks with lower-end PC's have lag and poor framerates in this title.

Here is a very helpful guide that will allow you to properly discipline your OS so that it won't be running a bunch of silly unused crap in the background, wasting your system's bandwidth and CPU cycles...

Try this first; you may find that it clears up all the problems you noted (there is usually a 10%-30% speedup.) And who knows...this might even allow you to build a far better PC part-by-part from scratch over the coming months, instead of spending money building this one up.

Good luck,

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