Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Unsure if I should upgrade my computer, please help!

Last response: in CPUs
Share
January 21, 2007 10:34:32 PM

ok, first my specs:
Sony Vaio w/ 3.6 ghz P4 w/HT (560J Prescott)
1 gig of 3200 DDR ram (400 mhz)
ASUSTeK motherboard model PTGD2-VX
XFX 7600 GT video card 256 GDDR2 MB PCIe (590 mhz core)
2 SATA 250 GB hd's @ 7200 RPM

I bought this PC about 2 years ago, but am now wondering if it's time I upgrade or if I should wait.. I currently use my PC for music composition and internet.. But intend to also start playing a new game coming out called "Supreme Commander".. After running 3DMark06, my PC only scored a 3350 on the overall tests..

If I do buy a new PC, I do want to see improvement in overall system performance, such as day to day stuff -- but also, in gaming as well.

I'm a little confused as to whats what these days, Intel has come out with several new CPU's since this one came out. The Core 2 Duo is a bit confusing as they advertise as 1.87, 2.13, and so on.. And if they are truely faster, I'm very uncertain how much faster.. Although, I do know my FSB is not as fast, nor is my memory speed, which is only 400 mhz and I believe the top is around 667 mhz at the moment..

I'm not looking to plunk down $5000 for a new system, so Alienware is out... would appreciate any suggestions you guys might have.

thanks
January 21, 2007 11:09:22 PM

well first, when talking about clockspeed (Ghz) between CPU familys (P4 vs Core 2) comparisons are meaningless. Higher clockspeed in P4 does not get higher performance vs a C2. Core2 is a new design, which is much more efficient than Intels previous processors, in terms of both energy usage and performance. for ex, using LAME MP3 encoder A C2D E6400 encodes a sample in 3:10. Your processor does the same in sample in 3:57

On the other hand, a higher clocked C2, the E6700 for ex, beats the E6400 in the same test by 38 seconds



You can compare many processors against your's or each other, here:

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...

For the RAM, 800 is the optimal at the moment, though C2D dosnt lose signifcant perfromance going with 667. If you choose to go with an AMD AM2 system, that changes as the AM2s are significantly impacted (up to 20% loss in some applications) by the slower RAM.

Regardless of which CPU you choose, I would recommend buiding the system yourself and avoiding OEMs, or go to a local shop and have them put it together for you. That way you get exactly what you want rather than a limited set of options
January 21, 2007 11:27:41 PM

You can easily build a computer that will destroy your current computer for under $1000.
Related resources
January 21, 2007 11:30:29 PM

If you're looking to get the most out of supreme commander and not have any issues in multi player than you definitely should upgrade. I think you're current system may have some issues running it, especially in multi player.

The maps are HUGE. Not to mention when things really get going you could have a few hundred units all on screen at once and executing commands.

That game is gonna be a beast, featuring full support for quad core processors and dx10, so there really isn't such a thing as overkill. It'll make use of every ounce of power you can throw at it.

You said you don't want to spend a ton, but Im still unsure what your price range is.

Ideally if you're willing/able to spend $2500 or so I would go for a qx6700 cpu. Its a top of the line quad core. You''l notice a huge difference compared to what youre using now, especially in that game. RTS's are pretty cpu intensive, and since SC is gonna be able to use all 4 cores, it'll make a huge difference in-game. As far as other things go you wont see as big of an improvement with other things like web browsing and such, and most other games coming out in the near future won't make full use of the quad core, but some will, and youll be able to take advantage of that whenever possible.

Get an 8800 gtx or gts for graphics. Again SC is gonna be running a dx10 version, and the only way youre gonna get to use that is with a dx10 card and at the moment those are the only 2 available. The dx10 version "should" run a little smoother than the dx9 version, and it will have alot of extra visual effects that the dx9 one wont, so if you want the game to look as good as possible go with one of those.

As for ram, get at least 2 gigs of decent ram. ddr2800 is great, but if you dont plan on overclocking much you could go for some slower/cheaper ddr2667 or even ddr2533. You really shouldnt need to overclock that cpu though. With that game being multithreaded, it will already be hands down the best perfroming cpu on that game.

Anyway a system built around those components will be a big jump up from what you're using now. You'll see an improvement in day to day tasks, but the difference in gaming, especially on that particular game will be massive. It should also last you a very long time. Those parts are all ultra high end, and will be able to play any games coming out in the next few years without any problems.
January 21, 2007 11:33:31 PM

Getting a quad core right now is a waste of lots of money... get an E6400 and OC it
January 22, 2007 12:25:34 AM

Quote:
Getting a quad core right now is a waste of lots of money... get an E6400 and OC it


He can overclock it all he wants, hed still be running with 2 less cores. :) 

I agree, quads are still very expensive, and for the most part they are complete overkill, but the game the op is looking to play is designed for multi-core systems and will make use of all 4 cores. Getting a dual core will certainly be alot cheaper but it wont offer the same level of performance the quad will offer for this game.

Its hard to base anything off the beta, since alot of tweaking was certainly done since then, but on the beta version a full map with 8 players was pretty much unplayable with anything less than a top of the line system. This is an RTS game and its performance is alot more cpu sensitive than most games. The Ai is a total system hog and will take all the power you can throw at it.

I've seen results of one test run on the beta between the qx6700 and the e6800, on a mock game with 8 AI players, and the quad was getting @20% better fps then the 6800 (57fps vs. 48fps.) Granted thats with the beta, and an immature build. Once the games out, and fully optimized, I wouldn't be surprised if the difference jumps to 30% or higher.

I agree that for most current tasks and games the quad is probably more than anyone really needs, but for this particular game it's a solid choice. Not to mention, more and more games are gonna be out in the near future that will make use of it.

Unless of course its out of the ops price range in which case Id say take Featherstones advice and just get a cheap dual core and push it as far as you can.
January 22, 2007 12:27:40 AM

That's Odd i find. THG hasn't properly updated the Charts. because FX-70 and these processors are missing. And when i choose FX-70 and change, it shows up on the chart otherwise most charts it didn't update the Quad-Core and 4X4 procs.
January 22, 2007 12:30:18 AM

30% increase fps, thats great... but that is for one game, and that is QUADRUPLE the cost ($200 E6400 copared to $800 Quad)

(and yes, that quadruple is capitalized, bolded, underlined, and italicized :D )
January 22, 2007 12:40:46 AM

Quote:
That's Odd i find. THG hasn't properly updated the Charts. because FX-70 and these processors are missing. And when i choose FX-70 and change, it shows up on the chart otherwise most charts it didn't update the Quad-Core and 4X4 procs.


Not to many sites have been "loaned" 4x4s for testing, and I dont think to many want to go out and spend the cash on them. I guess theyve all been bought up by the government, or are being horded by the oems. :roll:

THG still doesnt have the marks up for the E6300 which I find questionable as its been out for 6 months now.

In any event, moot points, this guy can afford more than the bargain basement, but less than the bleeding edge, so E6400~E6700 or X25000~X25600 are in his range
January 22, 2007 12:57:22 AM

Oh almost forgot. To the op, if your budget allows, you might want to also consider getting 2 monitors ( or getting 1 new one and keeping your old one.)

Supreme commander supports dual monitors, and its a pretty cool feature. Using 2 screens allows you to keep 1 screen zoomed out on the world view so you can get a good overview of the map while using the other for all your close-in buliding/micro managing.

The maps really are huge and having a full screen version of the world map on at all times is a big help on keeping an eye on whats happeneing.
January 22, 2007 1:33:15 AM

Grifter.. here are the min requirements I found on EB's site.. I have more than the recommended listed below... and since I now know this, it makes me wonder why a game delevoper would bother making game that hardly anyone could play unless they had a supercomputer. And so, I'm wondering if perhaps the reports of those who have not been able to play this game well is b/c the BETA they have is very unoptimized and the final release version will be optimized. What are your thoughts?

PS Grifter - no room for 2 monitors, I have my studio speakers sitting on my desk and some other things.. besides, really dont want to spend the extra money for that... If I need to upgrade my PC, fine, but dont want to go overboard..

http://www.ebgames.com/product.asp?product%5Fid=B646595...
Microsoft WIndows XP Service Pack 2, Vista
1.8 GHz processor
512 MB RAM
8GB available hard drive space
128MB video RAM or greater, with DirectX 9 Vertex Shader/Pixel Shader 2.0 support
Sound card, speakers or headphones
56.6 Kbps Internet connection required


Recommended

3.0 GHz Intel or equivalent AMD processor or better
1GB RAM or better
8GB available hard drive space
256 MB Video RAM, with DirectX 9 Vertex Shader/Pixel Shader 2.0 support (Nvidia 6800 or better)
Internet connection with Cable/DSL speeds
here they are straight from ebgames website
January 22, 2007 1:39:48 AM

Quote:
Oh almost forgot. To the op, if your budget allows, you might want to also consider getting 2 monitors ( or getting 1 new one and keeping your old one.)

Supreme commander supports dual monitors, and its a pretty cool feature. Using 2 screens allows you to keep 1 screen zoomed out on the world view so you can get a good overview of the map while using the other for all your close-in buliding/micro managing.

The maps really are huge and having a full screen version of the world map on at all times is a big help on keeping an eye on whats happeneing.


Who are you? wtf are u talking about? This guy comes in trying to figure out if he should upgrade in order to run a game and you tell him to go with a 900 dollar quad core and a dual display setup?

If you are going to build a new computer you can get a computer that will run that game great with no problems at all for under $1000 if you already have a display. Or you can listen to griffter and spend that much on just the CPU...
January 22, 2007 1:46:27 AM

TurnPit -- hey, thank you for the graphs and info, that is something that I just could not seem to find on the net.. not even on Intel's site.. nor on CNET...

Feather, no, definitely dont want to go the Quad route.. it's not that i dont think its fast and that Grifter is incorrect about it's speed.. But it's just not practical..

I was thinking of just selling my current system minus the monitor and just buy the CPU and hook it up.. The XFX 7600 GT card I have, is one I just bought and would put it in a new system... I've got a ATI Radeon X700 w/256, but its no match for this game -- so it would go back in..

Jumping Jack, you could be correct bout waiting... but if this game runs crap on my system, might not have a choice.. Audio and mixing software I use is very CPU and memory intense.. But thus far, my system runs just fine in that area of what I do on the PC.. I'm sure a monster PC would be better, but the word "overkill" comes to mind..
January 22, 2007 1:48:12 AM

i think you should detonate it. make sure you make a video and put it on youtube so everyone can have a laugh.
January 22, 2007 2:03:06 AM

I re-read your specs and the requirements, my guess is that it will run decently at those settings. But with my experience with Real time strategy games, when big battles get going with tons of units it can really be strenuous on your system.
January 22, 2007 2:37:23 AM

Quote:

Who are you? wtf are u talking about? This guy comes in trying to figure out if he should upgrade in order to run a game and you tell him to go with a 900 dollar quad core and a dual display setup?

If you are going to build a new computer you can get a computer that will run that game great with no problems at all for under $1000 if you already have a display. Or you can listen to griffter and spend that much on just the CPU...


:oops:  well he talked about buying a new pc, and his only mention of price was "not plunking down $5000 on a system" he could get everything I mentioned, including the quad for $2500 if he wanted to which is far less than $5000. If he had brought up being on a tight budget I never would have mentioned a quad.

Quote:
Microsoft WIndows XP Service Pack 2, Vista
1.8 GHz processor
512 MB RAM
8GB available hard drive space
128MB video RAM or greater, with DirectX 9 Vertex Shader/Pixel Shader 2.0 support
Sound card, speakers or headphones
56.6 Kbps Internet connection required


Yeah I saw those minimum specs, but after seeing the beta in action and watching it bring my buddy's Athalon 64 system to a crawl I don't really think the game is playable at all at that level. Minimum specs are rarely a good gauge of what you actually need to play.

For example, look at the minimum specs for oblivion: * Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows XP 64-bit
* 512MB System RAM
* 2 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
* 128MB Direct3D compatible video card
* and DirectX 9.0 compatible driver;
* 8x DVD-ROM drive
* 4.6 GB free hard disk space
* DirectX 9.0c (included)
* DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
* Keyboard, Mouse

I doubt you could play oblivion with those specs, especially the ram, at anything more than 10 fps. Im willing to bet the situation is similar with supreme commander.

I saw an article with one of the games developers recently, and I think it may be a more accurate idea of what to expect:
Quote:
SC is going to tax your CPU first, memory second and graphics third. ‘The computer is working a lot harder than in other games’ says Taylor, in what we consider an understatement.

‘Any new video card should be able to handle the split-screen,’ claims Taylor, who confirmed to us that a 7800 is the high end for SC. After that it’s all down to the CPU. Single core CPUs are recommended to be at least 3GHz.
SC is a game that will really fly with multi-core CPUs. The game is also optimised for specific CPU architectures, although Gas Powered Games wouldn’t give exact details about that for now.

‘This is going to be the quad-core game,’ says Taylor. ‘It’s pushing the limits of PC gaming.’ Exactly how SC will perform on slower dual core, or fast single core CPUs remains to be seen, but game tweaking options are promised to ensure most gamers with competent rigs can find their performance sweet spot.
Superior multi-core performance is achieved by splitting the rendering and game simulation systems between different threads. SC also features several ‘helper’ threads that do other types of processing, like sound.
To obtain such smooth zooming performance SC uses sophisticated Level of Detail programming. You wouldn’t know, though. It all just works. Up close, detail is quite good, but not on par with, say, a cutting edge FPS. That’s a trade-off though. In the later stages of a game, SC’s world is buzzing with possibly hundreds of units, all behaving to physics rules and potentially with multiple orders. This is why SC is a CPU game, not a graphics card game.
To get the most from SC you’ll want to move to DirectX 10. According to the developers, ‘DX10 has quite a few architectural features that improve the game’s visual components, but to be specific, some examples include better wreckage and unit shaders – the ability to show a unit’s damage visually, instead of just with a health bar, is an idea we are exploring right now – and the ability to render a lot more units and trees while using less of the CPU’s time.’


From This Article

The game will be out in a few weeks. My best advice is, pick it up, try it out see how it goes. If you're not happy with the way it performs work yourself out a budget and start looking for a new pc. This forum is usually a very good place for advice on what to buy in a given price range. Best of luck.
January 22, 2007 2:41:16 AM

My suggestion is add at least another 512mb of RAM (if you have the free slots) and get a new video card. That is all you would need to play that game rather well on your current system.
January 22, 2007 3:06:04 AM

hey Grifter.. thank you for all the info.. thats very informative..

by the way.. my video card has a 12 Pixel pipelines.. is that good?

ajfink -- I have 2 free slots.. do you think adding another gig would help on game play? Most people say beyond 1 gig of ram, a system really wont benefit unless your doing some really high end stuff like video editing and stuff.. didnt think games would be affected much by increase in RAM above 1 GB..

Other thing is, would adding more memory help my PC overall performance or would it be marginal?
January 22, 2007 3:50:48 AM

I wouldn't recommend going for the quad for gaming anytime soon. Its not necessary yet, and the price will drop in the future.
January 22, 2007 5:20:55 AM

Your system will be in the upper 25% playing the game. Until we can get our hot little mits on Dx10, and a real game that utilizes it, we can only offer "best guess". Until you have actually played the game, you wont know if you are satisfied. Wait till you have the game, then decide.
!