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Kwarizmi

Recommended upgrade path for this rig?

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My video card recently gave up the ghost, so I'm looking around for a new one, plus any other upgrade that might be needed. I'd like some advice as to high bang-for-the-buck upgrades for my 2 year old machine.

 

Priorities:

  1. Gaming: I want to be able to play Oblivion, Company of Heroes, M:TW2 and FEAR at 1280x1024 with decent eye candy
  2. Vista and DX10: It's not "here" yet, but it's coming. Don't want to have to upgrade again when a game comes out that just demands DX10
  3. Value: I don't mind spending if the investment is good, but I'm not planning on buying and entirely new machine just yet. "Sweet spot" is the word. :)

Here are my specs:

  • DFI Lanparty NF4 Ultra-D Socket 939
  • Athlon XP 3200+ clocked at 2.01 GHz with a Zalman copper HSF.
  • 2 GB G.SKILL DDR400
  • (this is the card that died) Rosewill ATI Radeon X800XL 256Mb
  • OCX ModStream 450W PSU

 

With a limited budget, what would you buy to update this setup?

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What is your budget?

 

I would suggest an upgrade to a 8800GTS 320MB. These can be had for under 300 dollars and around 260 after rebate.

 

If you have more money then you might want to consider going dual core CPU. Perhaps an Opteron 165 or 170. I think newegg has open boxed Opteron 165's for 133 dollars right now.

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What is your budget?

 

I would suggest an upgrade to a 8800GTS 320MB. These can be had for under 300 dollars and around 260 after rebate.

 

If you have more money then you might want to consider going dual core CPU. Perhaps an Opteron 165 or 170. I think newegg has open boxed Opteron 165's for 133 dollars right now.

 

Careful, if he gets a new Graphics Card he's gonna need a new PSU.

Same may go for a new CPU though.

 

Kwarizmi:

If you do get a 8800 GTS you could be held back by your CPU.

I reckon save up for a bit longer, get a new PSU, 8800GTS 320mb, and an Opty 165 or something :)

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You already have decent RAM and MB, I would purchase exactly as these folks have said as well, dual core cpu and the 8800GTS, don't worry about DX10. This video card will put a big grin on your face, pair it with a dual core and you got game.:cool:

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G8's have pushed the limits again so the CPU is now a factor again. You're PSU is a tad on the low side but may run your system just fine.

 

On the other hand X1950 ain't too expensive and you can put your saved cash towards a new quad core (or whatever is available) system later on (even though you said DX10 was an issue - but do you really want a 1st or 2nd gen DX10 card when the drivers aren't really there and the number of games are on the low side?)

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A lot of money to spend on a fast DX9 card on the off chance that DX10 performance is good.

 

I'm not really an early adopter, doesn't fit into my risk pattern and free cash...

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A hearty thank-you to everyone who has replied. I'm doing my research and think I'm on the right track.

 

939 Opterons are definitely the way to go. Thanks for the heads-up.

 

I'm still conflicted on the video card tho. An 8800 will almost surely require a new PSU (thereby upping the initial investment even more).. X1950XTs are less power-hungry but not readily available (newegg has 8 makes and models available but most of them have a bunch of negative reviews).... and 8600s are just two weeks away.... :confused:

 

My budget for this upgrade is $500 and I'd like to have some of that left over for a bigger SATA drive.... but it's not essential.

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X1950XTs are less power-hungry but not readily available

 

I don't think so, my x1950xt ate plenty of power, I would not be surprised if it drew as much as an 8800gts.

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Your current power supply wont leave you with a comfortable buffer if you get any current high end psu. Your 2ghz single core cpu will also bottleneck just about anything faster than a 7950GT with a resolution of 1280x1024.

 

To get a nice balance, you'll need to upgrade your cpu along with your gfx card, and due to higher power requirements, you're psu too.

 

If you're going to be building a new computer in the near future it doesn't make sense to spend lots of money now, and in the near future. I wouldn't go all out for your temporary rig.

 

A 7600GS (one with GDDR3 ram) would run nicely like this one for $125 -$20 MIR http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16814145140 In reality its a 7600GT in disguise, with the help of a #2 pencil you'll be able to get it to run just as fast, if not faster than a slightly more expensive 7600GT. I bought a used MSI passively cooled 7600GS, threw on a low rpm fan, did a quick pencil volt mod, and its core is running at 650Mhz, and the memory is a moderate 458Mhz (mine has ddr2 memory unfortunately and doesn't have the oc headroom that the GDDR3 does.)

 

An opteron 165 would accompany a 7600GS or GT very well. its $150 on the egg http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16819103588 and has quite a bit of overclocking headroom. My main rig has on running at 2.7Ghz.

 

With the previously mentioned components a new psu isn't all that urgent, but it certainly couldn't hurt. Note that recomended psu wattage for the nf4 ultra-d is 480Watts as a minimum. I'm a fan of corsair, they've got great products and service to match. If you're willing to buy a new psu, you should go for the corsair hx520w. Quality psu's dont come cheap, its $130 with a $10 MIR. Psu's are the one component you shouldn't cheap out on, since it can have adverse effects on the rest of your components. Note that the corsair psu is modular (meaning that the cables attach to the psu as needed, which makes wire management a bit easier) and this is one of the quietest psu's on the market.

 

BTW, computers are never an investment in the usual sense. They only go down in value over time, like most cars. They also happen to be productivity killers, they're terribly distracting, enough that you'd be better off with a 10 year old type writer =P.

 

Good luck, and the best advice I can give is the figure out for yourself how much your time is worth. If you're a kid who gets $10 a week as allowance, it wouldn't be wise to spend $300+ to do a quick upgrade as you'll be getting a new computer in the near future. New stuff from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia will be released in the not so distant future, only you can determine if your time without those components is worth the wait and the extra cash on a temporary fix, but don't get sucked into the trap of waiting forever for the next best thing around the corner.

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