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Upgrade or Save & Wait?

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June 20, 2006 3:25:47 PM

Here's the deal, about 3 yrs ago I bought a HP Pavilion a230n pc. (I was very computer illiterate at the time). Since then I've upgraded it to a gig. of RAM & put in a geforce 6600gt vid. card. My proc. is a 2.08 Ghz AMD.

This system works pretty well for most applications. I primarily play Dawn of War/Winter Assault (real time strategy game w/ great graphics). I can run the game @ low graphics w/ no lag, med. settings w/ just a little lag & high settings w/ moderate lag. With the way games are going, I definately want to upgrade. Most likely vid. card & proc. speed. I'd like to upgrade the vid. card to a 7800 or better... only problem is my comp. is AGP...

Question: Is it possilbe/feasible/desirable to get a new mobo. for my computer w/ a faster proc. & pci-express so can get a smokin vid. card? Or, should I just save up some $, sell my old computer & and get another one b/c it's easier/more cost effective/my comp. will be crap soon.

Any advice/comments/insults are welcome. :D  Thanks in advance.

Squad Walker

More about : upgrade save wait

June 20, 2006 3:38:19 PM

Hey guys,

I told Squad how awesome this site was and how good you all were at giving good advice..so please don't let me down! :) 

Anyhow, here are my 2 cents. Your current PC seems to be at the end of its useful upgrade life. Throwing any more money into it wont provide the returns IMO however if your budeget is limited there might be some routes!

If your talking about a new MOBO..then your really talking about a new PC and that opens up a whole realm of possibilities.

here are some addtional questions you may want to answer to get some good advice.

1) What's time time frame your looking to buy the pc equipment within? Next Month? By the end of the year? Next Year?

2) What's your budget?

3) How can you ensure the PC equipment you get will be Windows Vista compatable ( I am assuming most new equipment out these days will be )

Thanks all!
June 20, 2006 3:42:07 PM

tough call. You could get the ati x800gto. that might be the best agp option, sans getting one off ebay. I hope your current PSU is bigger than 350watts, but it's possible you could still be alright. I'm not sure there's a point unless you can't stand your 6600 performance. I'm not sure what the x800gto gains over that % wise, but you can check toms vga charts. If you must.. you must. But, IMHO.. i'd wait a month or two for a new build
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June 20, 2006 3:49:57 PM

Thanks Jimmy!

I think you could upgrade your Vid card more easily ( might require a power supply upgrade ) but I really think you CPU is going to become the limiting factor.

If you do upgrade your vid card..check with HP to see if that card will be compatable with your mobo! I have generally had better luck with nVidia in that dept than Radeon and since you have an NVidia card in now..might be a safer choice?
June 20, 2006 4:29:00 PM

Quote:
1) What's time time frame your looking to buy the pc equipment within? Next Month? By the end of the year? Next Year?


Will most likely be around the end of the yr., as I should have some money saved plus I usually get some extra cash from family for Christmas.

Quote:
2) What's your budget?


I'm hoping to build a great system for under $1,500 if that seems feasible. I've already got a great monitor, speakers, etc. Just need a kigass PC.

Quote:
3) How can you ensure the PC equipment you get will be Windows Vista compatable ( I am assuming most new equipment out these days will be )


That I'll have to ask the professionals as I doubt what I have now will run anything Vista.


Was thinking, it may be best just to go ahead & take any $ I would spend on a new AGP compatible card now & put it towards the new PC. What I have now gets the job done as far as gaming & it's not unbearable. I just see what my game looks like with the graphics cranked up & it blows me away how nice it looks....... except that it lags when the action gets heavy. I'd love for my system to run max graphics silky smooth... However it may be best to just wait.

I would like a system that's fully updated w/ Vista & any other new software that will be widely used in the next few yrs. Is Vista even being used much now? I really haven't heard much about it till recently. I'll do some more research on up & coming hardware/software & try to get some ideas on what I should be saving up for. Does $1,500 sound reasonable for a great gaming PC?

Thanks for all of the help.
June 20, 2006 5:03:32 PM

1.) You can update the video card to be X850 XT which is fast over flash a X800 GTO to the X850 speeds.

2.) Trying to put in a new motherboard in a HP is way out of the question. First out look at the connections on the back you'll have to find a board that fits you case not just a rocken board.

3.) If you can play all current games you may want to save you money and wait. I had the same idea as you in Dec. and didn't wait and just upgraded my Video. I now see limits with the CPU but the next step is out of AGP and I have a X850 with a AC silencer so I spent some bucks. WAIT if you can.
June 20, 2006 5:16:22 PM

Quote:
I would like a system that's fully updated w/ Vista & any other new software that will be widely used in the next few yrs. Is Vista even being used much now? I really haven't heard much about it till recently. I'll do some more research on up & coming hardware/software & try to get some ideas on what I should be saving up for. Does $1,500 sound reasonable for a great gaming PC?

Thanks for all of the help.


Windows Vista is not out yet. Wait 'til next February or even later. I'm sure it will be pretty buggy. I probably won't even upgrade to Vista until 2008 or 2009.

As always, waiting is your best bet if you can tolerate your current system for another 6 months or so. $1,500 will be plenty to build a new gaming rig since you already have a monitor, case, keyboard, etc. But you may need to upgrade your power supply depending on how much power it can provide.

You can upgrade your AGP card now to keep you going to the end of the year. But keep in mind that once you upgrade, that new AGP card will be useless because the motherboard of your new PC (either Conroe or Athlon 64 socket AM2) will only have PCI-e X16 slots. Only some motherboards for socket 939 Athlon 64 will have AGP, but by the end of the year S939 Athlons will no longer be produced by AMD. Also the fastest S939 Athlon 64 is the X2 4800+, and FX-60. Both have been out for a while.
June 20, 2006 6:46:21 PM

Seems like waiting is the best idea..

1,500 will get you a very decent system that will blow the doors off your current one!

I am surprised though that your current rig doesnt run DOW better?

Do you mean it lags in 1v1 games with settings other than the lowest?

I have an Amd athlon XP 3200 Barton ( 2.2 ghz ) with an nvidia geforce 6800 ( 12 pipelines 128 mb ram ) and I pretty much run with everything set to HIGH with no problems. Runs silky smooth.

I do turn the graphics waay down in 4v4 games but even then its still very playable and is only as laggy as most 4v4 games are.

are you sure you have the latest drivers for everyhing including direct x? Long shot I know but thought I would ask.

Try shutting down everything as well when playing as well. I am sure you do this but if not it could really help.
June 21, 2006 1:31:28 AM

You can build a fine gaming rig for $1500 today. If it has 2GB of ram vista will be no problem.
June 21, 2006 2:25:56 PM

Quote:


I am surprised though that your current rig doesnt run DOW better?

Do you mean it lags in 1v1 games with settings other than the lowest?



Actually is runs 1v1 w/ most of the setting on high fairly well. Not much noticible lag, but a little. When the action gets heavy it tends to start skipping a little. Turning persistent bodies completely off seems to help much. 4v4's seems to lag, but I'm not always sure that's my PC or someone else in the game's... probably the latter...

It actually does pretty well for most of the game settings.... but, I WANT IT ALL! :D  I want to be able to crank it all the way up & have it run like butter on any game setting. Guess I'm greedy like that. Heh.

Plus, I know I'll continue to keep playing RTS PC games & possibly a few RPG PC games in the future (Huxley looks RAW...), and they're definately getting more & more demanding.

Thanks for all of the help everyone. I believe I will try to bear w/ what I have now for a while till I've got the extra cash & I can't stands it no mo. Thanks again.
June 21, 2006 2:41:49 PM

I think DoW is just laggy period... I have tried running it on every setting I can think of, on 3 different operating systems and on any game with more then 2 people, especially ones with AI players, I lag at times... (I am scared to death about the Necrons in the next expansion... i hate those little buggers...)

But, if you are looking to upgrade by the end of the year, that would be the time to buy it, Conroe would have been out for a few months and AMD will hopefully have released their 2nd run of AM2 chips, 64nm, so then you can see which is the best choice. Out of what's available today, I would say stay away from single core at all costs, unless you go with like an FX-55 or FX-57, you will get better gaming results out of a dual core. Definitly go AM2 if you go AMD. I am not sure about conroe from Intel but I have not looked into it a lot so it could go either way with that.

Also, I wouldnt bother putting anything in that HP case. First, from my experience with HP cases, they dont ventilate nearly as well as some other ones do, not to mention 99% of HP cases are plastic with a basic metal frame, plastic breaks easy and does not move heat well. You can get a good case for 50-75 which could easily fit in the $1500 budget you are looking at.
June 21, 2006 2:49:28 PM

Sounds good..personally I am going to wait till Vistas comes out to build a new pc. I can't wait for that day because it should be a monster! and MS is claiming that Vistas will be the OS for gamers. They have a whole initiative going now called "Games for Windows" to take over the idea that console games are where its at and Vistas will be at the heart of that as well as a new ad campaign..check out the article in PC Gamer this month!
June 21, 2006 3:52:43 PM

Alot of the PC venders like HP and Dell use somewhat proprietary designs that can make it difficult to simply put in a new MB and proc and use everything else. The IO slots on the back panel won't line up, stuff like that.

Look at the case and see if it is designed just like a standard off the shelf case. If the configuration and layout is the same, then you may simply be able to get a new MB, Memory, Video Card and Processor.

Otherwise you may consider selling it or giving it to a relative and then building a new PC.
June 21, 2006 4:45:16 PM

Very true..those cases are mostly impossible to put something new in.

Thank you all for the good input..I knew the Toms Hardware folks wouldn't let me down!

I wouldnt build a pc myself without first checking the news and forums on toms hardware
June 22, 2006 4:58:56 PM

Thanks for all of the replies everyone. Lots of good info. Next time I've got a PC ? I'm coming here.

As I said, I believe I will just hold on to what I've got till next spring. Save up a little $ & presto chango, my new computer will control the world & other nearby planets! :D 
!