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Another one of those upgrade threads.


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91 replies to this topic

#1
Gorgon

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Or perhaps not, seeing as how my old box is AGP, so the only thing I could possibly salvage is the case and the drives.

I have been reading up over at Tom's Hardware Guide to get current before I decide anything. So far what I have come up with is that I want a good value for money CPU that will deliver enough juice not to hamper the purchase of a a high end graphics card ready for SLI, I could then get the other card when I have the money.

I remember hearing that windows could not make use of more than 2 or was it 4 gigs of ram. Well, surely other programs can, no ?. I'm kinda toying with the idea of 8 gigs of system ram because I like to use art programs, and much of their smooth operation depends on keeping huge files open while you work on them.

I have no thoughts on boards, but everything other than CPU, Ram, PS and GFX Card is on a minimum budget. Don't care about sound cards or optical storage, a 500 gig standard HD is pretty cheap these days, and solid state drives aren't quite there yet.

If you had to build something like that yourself, what would be good value ?. I'm even open to pre-assembled rigs, friend of mine said certain companies are getting so competitive it might not even be worth the hassle putting it together yourself.

Edited by Gorgon, 13 July 2008 - 03:50 AM.


#2
tripleRRR

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32bit XP cannot use more than 3.98 gigs of RAM, vista has the same issue I think. I use XP 64 which is fairly stable and does not have any of Vista's many issues.

For graphics cards I am an nVidia fan so I would reccomend the 8800 GT. Great performance for it's price and it is SLI capable. For motherboards I would reccomend just surfing around newegg for something with the specs you want then looking the board up on a couple PC hardware review sites and see what they think.

I prefer to build my own PCs but if you want something prebuilt you can find something for about the same price. If you really don't want to hassle with things and want to have someone you can run to screaming for help then getting a prebuilt may help.

#3
Gorgon

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Man this is confusing. You really have to read the fine print when looking at prices. Nvidia's naming policy ensures only the specially initiated understrands anything from either letters or numbers.

Where are we with new releases with all this smoke and mirrors stuff, prices dropped massively after ATI put their stake back in the market, I wouldn't want to buy just before the price drops again, and at the same time I want something that isn't useless in a few years.


What about CPUs. Is quad core necessary ?. If I'm going with a high end card I can't be crippled with an insufficient processor. I understand It's Intel rather than AMD these days ?

#4
tripleRRR

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Yes Intel is leading the way in the processor market these days. And with the upcoming release of the Nehalem chips that gap will widen even further. And I highly reccomend getting a quad core, it will last longer than a dual and if you are into the whole graphics thing it will make life easier for you.

As for price drops I don't really know much, I have a friend who is absolutely obsessive about that sort of thing so I usually just ask him about it. I do know that Intel and nVidia are in a huge fight over nVidia's SLI technology. How that will affect things is anybody's guess.

#5
Spider

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The 8800 GT used to be the best buy up until about two weeks ago. Currently ATI is owning that segment. The 4850 has performance better than the 9800GTX and in some tests on par with the Nvidia 260. So that's probably where you're going to want to spend your money if bang for buck is what you're after.

Also, there's been a price drop on the 9800GTX, lowering them to 200. Not sure if it has hit yet though, but it will soon enough. And there will also be a modified 9800GTX+ out soon that'll retail at $219 or so. But I doubt that it'll be a better buy than the 4850.

I just recently upgraded and went with a 9800GTX, but only because I had already bought a Nvidia SLI-motherboard. If I had waited a week with the motherboard, I would have gone ATI for sure.

Intel owns the processor market, but I'm not sure it's worth getting a quad core processor. Maybe they'll last a little longer, but I don't think there will be much in the way of games or programs to take advantage of four cores anytime soon. They're hardly taking advantage of two as it is. It comes down to budget, I suppose. If you feel you can afford it, a quad processor is a better buy, but there is no real shame in getting a e8-series processor either. At least not until Nehalem comes out. I got an e8400 myself, but would have bought an e8200 if I hadn't found the stronger model at a lower peice than the weaker (the difference is marginal, especially if you intend to OC yourself).

As for the memory thing. More than 4 GB of memory will be a waste if you use any 32-bit version of Windows. Any 64-bit version and you'll be fine. I've also heard that Linux can handle more than 4 without 64-bit, but I'm not sure.

Also, I think Intel has just put out a new set of motherboard circuits. Probably worth looking at.

#6
Gorgon

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It would be nice to have ram that I had some assurance could go in a Nehalem board, thinking long term. Can't buy a board for one yet obviously, so maybe not much point in getting bells and whistles for one that will be chucked out down the line.

The e8400 is cheap. around 1000 DK. Totally acceptable if that last just a few years. It reads:

Core 2 Duo 3 GHz / Socket 775 / 1333 MHz / 6 MB L2 / 72.4 C / Intel. Forget socket for the moment as I haven't even looked at boards, but is it really this cheap or am I looking in the wrong category.


The core 2 quads aren't that much more money except the ones that approach 3 ghz. All have significantly lower clock speeds. Not that that means that much anymore, although for software that doesn't take advantage of all those cores, it might.


Then theres a listing for Core 2 'extreme' which are all very heftily priced, and something called Dual core Opterons and Xenons, those are high end server and workstation chips yes ?


For overclocking I value stability more than anything else so I usually don't bother. I software OCd my current system and it ran fine except for the odd bleep at post, sometimes it would auto revert, although I never had any freezes,but I just don't want to worry about my comp starting to hang while I'm working on something.

Edited by Gorgon, 13 July 2008 - 04:19 PM.


#7
Gorgon

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I am getting quite interested in the 4850 in crossfire configuration, but I have a few questions. The only local one I could find was 512 mb, is that enough. And is my CPU going to drag it down ?

Edited by Gorgon, 13 July 2008 - 05:20 PM.


#8
taks

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the extreme parts do have better performance, though i'm not sure how much you'll notice depending upon what you get for other equipment. if your primary use is for games, you'll probably end up graphics limited more than anything. opterons and xenons are server chips, yes. i've got two dual-core xenons in the dell server sitting next to me right now, actually. man the fan is noisy (it's a blade, with 1.5 TB of HDD space to boot).

quite frankly, i should have spent more on a quad or extreme part (for home) since, at least at one point, my primary use was for simulations, which were taking hours to run. that's all over now, however, but i still don't have anything more graphics hogging than NWN2, and i'm running an 8800 of some sort which is more than sufficient.

one thing to note, your drives may not all be usable with newer mobos. most are going SATA these days, with one master/slave IDE hookup, if there is any at all.

taks

#9
taks

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btw, out of curiosity i just took a gander at pricewatch and was amazed. i've been out of the shopping market for long enough that i'm now confused. how many freaking parts does intel need to adequately address the market? sheesh...

taks

#10
Gorgon

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The cheapest 'extreme' is 5 times as much as the deal I can get on the e8400. So I think my money is better off in the bank until Nehalem becomes price viable. The core 2 quads are all rather low on mhz. The highest I can find locally doesn't even hit 3 ghz, and with quad core support not that prevalent I think the right move is to hold out.

In this view I think it's worth getting a board I'm not going to be using for more than a year or two. The only gripe I have with the wonderfully cheap yet extremely effective crossfire 4850 is the noise and heat. I would love to see a version with proper cooling.

The 4870 should be out in a matter of days, maybe I should see what they sell it for before ordering anything. I would like to have more than 512mb of video ram too.

#11
Gorgon

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Any recommendations on a PS capable of lasting to a Nehalem upgrade and whatever sli/crossfire I decide on. It means the world for stability so its not worth cheapskating on a ps.

#12
Spider

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I'm going to get either the Zalman ZM850 or the Antec TruePower Quattro 850. In my eyes those seem to be among the best choices. The Zalman is most likely my choice due to lower noise levels.

The Antec one is available in 1000 watts as well if you prefer (not that much more expensive, but it's a tad overkill unless you're going triple crossfire/sli, and may not be needed even then)

Speaking of noise levels, I'm not sure I'd worry too much about the 4850 being nosiy. They reach the peak levels during load. So if you stress them out, yeah they'll be noisy (as in gaming). But when doing day-to-day activities, they're probably going to be fairly silent. I know my 9800GTX doesn't make much noise when not under load.

#13
Gorgon

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Silly question. 64 bit is processor dependent right, are the core 2 duos 64 bit ?

#14
Gorth

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Silly question. 64 bit is processor dependent right, are the core 2 duos 64 bit ?

Lets put it this way, my Vista 64bt didn't complain when I initially tried it out with a borrowed E8200 :(

#15
Gorgon

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Also, will any chipset that is on the crossfire ready list from ATI accept the cards. Is there some special feature or designation in PCI express that must be present. I ask because the Radeons are called PCI-E-A series and the Nvidia cards PCI-E-N series

- but I'm having trouble finding that differentiation when I'm looking at board they just list the number of PCI E and PCI 32 slots. Is the PCI E slot just where the graphics card goes ?

Edited by Gorgon, 14 July 2008 - 05:25 PM.


#16
samm

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A graphics card fits into any PCI-Express x16 slot. The other PCI-E slots are for soundcards and other cards using this interface. PCI slots are for older devices like modems or soundcards that still use that interface.

ATI and nVidia cards fit into any PCI-Express x16 slot. If you want to go SLI or Crossfire, you must make sure the board supports it. Only some up-coming Nehalem boards and existing skulltrail boards accept both. Never heard of PCI-E A series or N series... Maybe that's brand dependent suffix for e.g. ASUS motherboards or something. As it is right now, Intel chipset-based boards with 2 graphics card slots usually support Crossfire, while nVidia chipset-based boards with 2 graphics card slots support SLI.

Edited by samm, 14 July 2008 - 05:55 PM.


#17
taks

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Silly question. 64 bit is processor dependent right, are the core 2 duos 64 bit ?

yes. while you can find 32-bit jobs, none of the newer processors (last few years) are 32-bit anymore - intel or AMD. the OS department simply lags waaaaay behind processor development.

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#18
Gorgon

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Ok so I looked at this MSI, remember it's not expected to last through an upgrade so I might as well save where I can. Going with an x38 rather than a x48 chipset.

http://global.msi.eu...p;cat3_no=#menu

This is all the cpu info I have for the one i'm looking at : Core 2 Duo E8400 3 GHz / Socket 775 / 1333 MHz / 6 MB L2 / 72.4 C / Intel

MSI cpu support says :

Wolfdale E8400 (3GHz, C0, 65W) 1333 FSB 9 ratio SINCE 1.3

Wolfdale E8400 (3GHz, E0, 65W) sample 1333 FSB 9 ratio UNDER TESTING

:lol:

The devil is in the details... So now the great mystery is what C0, and E0 means.

Also recommendations on Crossfire boards please. This is the ATI chipset cpmpatibility chart
http://game.amd.com/...hart_July08.jpg

Edited by Gorgon, 15 July 2008 - 03:35 AM.


#19
Gorth

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It's a version tag?

http://en.wikipedia....ersion_numbers)

I suspect it is mostly important for geeks and overclockers :lol:

#20
Gorgon

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Yeah, but I don't want to buy a combo thats not verified to work.




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