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I recently upgraded my trusty Athlon 3500 system with a new video card, 8800GTS 320MB, because my old 6600GT would not allow me to play F.E.A.R.

 

I saw a lot of improvement after I added the new card, but the game is still choppy and sometimes locks up and freezes. I'm playing at medium-to-low settings.

 

So.......it got me thinking that it was foolish to add the 8800GTS to my old system, because I think my CPU is probably just not fast enough.

 

Well, now I'm thinking that I probably need to upgrade and I'm considering building using the E8400, try to OC it to hopefully 4Ghz or better (on air, using the stock fan). I really didn't want to upgrade the whole thing until later this year or early next year, but it seems that I may have to because it's really a waste to have the 8800GTS teamed up with the Athlon.

 

I've got some questions:

Should I wait for the Q9450 instead of the E8400? (I don't really multi-task very much, except when WindowsXP starts up there are many programs that start and it really slows things down:

1. McAfee Security Center

2. Realtek Sound Manager

3. NVidia Control Panel

4. WinAmp Agent

5. Buffer Zone Security

6. PowerStrip

7. AVG Free Edition Control Center

8. AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5

9. Logitech Mouse software

10. ZoneAlarm

11. OpenOffice 2.4 Quickstarter

12. Steam

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

 

First question, will the dual cores speed up my startup, and would 4 cores start even better and faster?

 

Second question, what mobo? I don't need fire-wire or wireless, and only need a single slot for the video card (I don't think that I will be going SLI - I'd rather just buy a new single card in the future)

 

Third question, 4MB of RAM, or just 2? I hear that WindowsXP can only use 3MB, but it seems cheap enough to buy the 4 and "waste" 1.

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You do not need to upgrade any further, so save that money for something useful. If you're playing games like F.E.A.R or even any other modern games you should be fine with your setup to an extend when it comes to resolution and game settings though. The current applications that you have indicated on the post above really don't need multitasking, but a crazy fast hardrive or two in raid configuration would help. Now how is your system locking up? During load, IDLE, timing varies or is it always constant? Are you checking your temps on your components even on that new video card? Are you running any 3rd party software like RivaTuner for your video card? How is your fan settings on that 8800GTS? So you got that 3500+ @2.54GHz so far? Your power supply for your setup is GREAT. That video card comes with which clocks: core/shader/memory? What are you running on the background? Service Pack 2....3...for XP? hehe....answer immediately or else...j/k :)

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It only locks when playing F.E.A.R., just as the action gets fast it will stop and lock...

 

I'm not using RivaTuner as I heard it was not very good

 

How can I tell if I have service pack 2 or 3?

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Go to your START menu located on the left side of your taskbar at the bottom, than right click on My computer than left click on the properties located all the way down on the menu listing. Now under System at the top you should see the Service Pack that you're running. Anyhow, so you never had any problems running F.E.A.R on your previous video card? F.E.A.R has the current patches installed correct? Which forceware drivers are you running on your 8800?

 

Here is something that you could start reading about....if you're really serious about getting this issue takin care of and not spend money...

 

http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=31266

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it's sp2

 

as for the driver, I had tried forceware 169.21 but am now using 169.28 and it was an improvement. If there is a better driver for this card, I will try it.

 

Thanks for the link to that article.........I will read it carefully.

 

I am very appreciative of your help on this..........many thanks!!

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I wouldn't advise you to buy a new system for a game, but holy .!! does everything get better with these Intel rigs??? a huge YES!!!.

 

If you want to upgrade and its not going to put a financial strain on you then go for it.

 

If it really is just that one game then do what mack said and try lowering the resolution and/or settings this helps a great deal with the 88's that don't have large amounts of RAM.

 

The CPU and RAM you have were awesome components in their day but you have a Graphics card that they are probably holding back a little. As far as start up being faster.. no not really they still read stuff from the same speed of hard drives so thats the limiting factor there.

 

An E8400 would chew up anything you could possible run on your current rig and still be grinning wanting more. In fact even an inexpensive dual core AMD would be quite a jump in performance, you do have a lot of cheaper options than a whole platform change.

Either way your PSU and GPU with gladly fit into a top end system with ease.

 

For your start up options.

What I would do is completely get rid of McAfee Security Center cause its not really that good at Security and a bit of a system hog. In fact all you really need from that list is:

 

1. Realtek Sound Manager

2. NVidia Control Panel

3. AVG Free Edition Control Center

4. Logitech Mouse software

5. ZoneAlarm

 

All the rest you can start if and when you need them.

 

Plus,

Open your Run command and type services.msc put that page on your second monitor and then click this link http://www.blackviper.com/WinXP/Archive/servicecfg.htm on your primary monitor and go through the list of services and turn off what you don't need or never use and get your running processes in the low 20's this will greatly speed up your system. Stay away from "Speed up your PC" programs as these are mostly all a scam.

 

Another thing about the lockups, do you have the second monitor enabled when you start the game?? try disabling it completely before starting the game.

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I don't think there is anything wrong with your current setup as far as being able to play FEAR, I played FEAR on my 3200+ with 1GB of ram and 2 7800GT's in SLI and had no issues playing FEAR close to maxed out. Heck I was able to play FEAR just fine on my Barton 2500+ 1GB ram and 9600XT. I know this may sound like I am repeating myself but give your system a good defrag, with something other than Windows Defrag, its surprising how much a fragmented hard drive slows down your system.

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That is a good point Slick, I have had issues with COD4 getting the odd stutter and when I checked it via my defrag program the files where all over the place, a good defrag cleared the problem right up. Sometimes we are looking for the complicated answer and its the simple things we overlook.

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Try JKdefrag, its free and has more options for arranging files than the standard MS one - in fact it has options!

 

I'd recommend Comodo firewall over Zonealarm, depends on your tastes but myself and friends have given up on fighting zonealarm and comodo does pretty well in firewall test.

 

As to getting a dual core... I think you would see some improvement in gaming as there's a spare core for all those other processes like your firewall and AV esp' if you game online.

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i always recommend a hardware NAT router ($30 Linksys or Netgear) over software firewalls. They are better and use ZERO resources.

 

I have this rig:

 

E6600 Core2Duo

2x1GB DDR2-800 ($40!!!! just about everywhere!!!)

2x80GB SATA II Hitachi RAID-0

Creative Audigy 2ZS

Foxconn 8800GTS 320MB

 

Plays everything just fine (except Crysis which is a piece of crap that not even the best rig you can buy will play properly). No real reason to go into Quad-core unless you absolutely need it (gaming = does NOT need it...single/dual cores are optimum). If you do lots of tasking like photoshop, 3d Studio Max, Sony Vegas (or other video/audio editing software), etc, then a quad is for you.

 

For mostly gaming and doing everyday tasks, an 8400 Wolfdale + 2GB DDR2-800 + your 8800GTS 320MB = perfectly awesome.

 

Remember...gaming is almost purely about your video card now, not your cpu. A dual-core cpu, regardless of speed, is going to be perfectly fine for you for everyday tasks + gaming. Only go quad if you do intensive multitasking or use software that benefits from multiple cores (which games almost never do, not even the ones that claim they do).

 

to tune your Windows XP, simply go into the Tutorials section of the site and download my Windows XP Tweak Guide Tutorial Video (links in the sticky in that section). It will show you step-by-step how I tweak my XP each and every time I install it, whether for myself or for customers (with slight variations depending on the machine's needs...like if you have wireless network, you wouldn't disable wireless services, and if it was a rig that needed to have shared folder(s) that other rigs could access, you wouldn't disable the Server service, etc).

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For mostly gaming and doing everyday tasks, an 8400 Wolfdale + 2GB DDR2-800 + your 8800GTS 320MB = perfectly awesome.

 

QFT - That combo will tear through anything you throw at it.

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lot's of good suggestions..........I'll start trying these ideas.

 

What does the term intensive multitasking mean? I figured that when my startup programs are all starting that would qualify as intensive.......or do they all start in a serial manner, one starts after the previous finishes?

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