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System Builder Marathon: Day 4

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May 11, 2007 12:17:54 PM

We've built and tested them, now let's compare the results from the low-, mid- and high-cost PCs. How closely are price and performance related?
May 11, 2007 1:33:09 PM

I would have liked to also see how the budget system would have performed with the Video card from the Mid-priced system too. I think if I was going to 'upgrade' from the budget, that would be the way to go.
May 11, 2007 1:37:11 PM

I would have been interested to see the low budget with a GTS instead of the higher end card. Graphics cards being even how would it have compared?

Good series and an excellent idea to include the b-special at the end.

-JimiSlew
Related resources
May 11, 2007 1:50:53 PM

Quote:
I would have liked to also see how the budget system would have performed with the Video card from the Mid-priced system too.


Yeah, me too. But we were REALY pressed for time on this one, I had to work Shelton like a pack mule to get the 8800 GTX numers to me on time. (Thanks, Shelton).

But the 8800 GTX proved the point, that if you already own a low-end system, it might be very well worth it to upgrade to an 8800 GTX instead of upgrading the whole system... JUST FOR GAMING USE though.
May 11, 2007 1:50:56 PM

Hey guys, I think you mixed up the Gaming System Value and Total System Value graphs on page 9 :?
May 11, 2007 2:05:54 PM

I think you're right. I let the editor know.
May 11, 2007 2:06:37 PM

Crap, I wish they would've had an article like this before I built my rig recently.
May 11, 2007 2:09:00 PM

That's a damn nice rig, i wouldn't regret it. :twisted:
May 11, 2007 2:13:18 PM

Those benchmarks with the 8800 GTX on the budget PC really surprised me. I agree with everyone so far in that I would more than likely go with the 8800 GTS as the upgrade for the budget system. Don't get me wrong, I would love to build a high end system today but I needed a computer NOW. I ordered my system, which is near identical to the budget system, 2 days before the first article. The only real difference is that I went with a X1650 XT instead of the 7600GT. Even tho it falls pretty far from the mid-range system, I still stand by my decision. My old comp got a PCMark score of "1022", so even this is a huge jump for me.

So I guess my point is, even with the budget system, you get a decent, upgradeable platform for very little money. I do wish I could afford a "mid-ranged" rig now but it is just not possible. A lot of people don't understand that tution + low paying job + high rent + RC Heli's + Computers is not a good mix :) .

I am in a unique position to upgrade the low budget one also. My younger brother needs a new computer later this summer, by upgrading my budget system, he is getting free parts. CPU, GFX card and possably the RAM.
May 11, 2007 2:27:07 PM

So, for the high-end system, was the SLI really worth the price? I'd probably just get the GTX, if I were really into gaming at high resolutions.
May 11, 2007 2:38:51 PM

did anyone mentioned the different between "numerical/statistical significance" and practical significance?

The difference between framerate should no longer be distinguishable at anywhere higher than the monitor's refresh rate (unless you plug yourself to neural interfaces 8O instead of looking at the monitor while playing games), so you might want to do an update after some DX10 games comes out (or whatever taxing vid card/CPU so much that the framerate goes below the monitor refresh limit) or mention that before you put the framerate difference as a chart

speaking of which, why not watercool the whole set for the high-end system (I haven't post on the other 3 threads)?
Also power consumption/temperature readings would be nice (as additional cost of power and cooling)
May 11, 2007 2:44:27 PM

I think they should do an article titled "best gamers system for the money".

I have been going back and forth with my friend with this and we came up with what we think is the best bang for the buck for gamers.

core2 duo 4300
Gigabyte DS3
northbridge cooler
thermalright ultra 120
2 gigs of Gskill or Patriot memory (or some others)
1 - 8800 NVidia GTS (320 MB)
500-550 quality PSU (Antec trio or Corsair 520)
Just about any case
Just about any 7200 RPM drives (2 for raid)
Decent DVD writer

Then I would overclock the 4300 to 3.0 Ghz + and for $1,000 you have a screaming rig. Probably faster than the mid system. Since this is geared for best bang for the buck type of gamers we know that SLI or crossfire would never be be an issue since it is always better to wait till the better graphics card comes out unless you just have mad money.
May 11, 2007 2:46:01 PM

Quote:

speaking of which, why not watercool the whole set for the high-end system?


We didn't do any overclocking so air was fine. If you're an overclocker water's a good idea, obviously.


Quote:
Also power consumption/temperature readings would be nice (as additional cost of power and cooling)


True, once again we were under the gun for time. While this data have been nice, I don't think it would have changed any of our recommendations.
May 11, 2007 2:47:14 PM

Quote:
I think they should do an article titled "best gamers system for the money".

I have been going back and forth with my friend with this and we came up with what we think is the best bang for the buck for gamers.


Good idea, and if we did it'd probably end up looking alot like the system you came up with. Kudos! :) 
May 11, 2007 2:47:57 PM

dang these numbers looked kewl but i got to say i dont know how to read any one of those graphs... :cry:  -sigh- i cant teach myself everything... but wut i did see looked kewl..

P.s. if any one wants to pm me some links for some self tought sites ill be more then happy to read them thanks :) 

edit: i also have a question why was it a bad idea to put the 8800 in the budget system? i dont understand why thats bad?
May 11, 2007 3:04:20 PM

Very interesting comparison, thanks guys!

I do echo the sentiment though that it would be awesome to see the budget rig with the 8800gts - that's the kind of decision many people putting together a budget gaming oriented system vs a well balanced system will need to make.
May 11, 2007 3:13:22 PM

Quote:

edit: i also have a question why was it a bad idea to put the 8800 in the budget system? i dont understand why thats bad?


Alot of people are of the opinion that a low-end CPU will bottleneck an 8800 so badly that it's not worth putting them together. I think the data shows otherwise though.


If we'd had time I would've tested the 8800 GTS int he low end machine, but we didn't and I think the point is made. Would have been nice to see how close it came to the midrange system though, I suspect it would have been the same story: once the resolution passed 1600x1200, they would have been neck & neck.
May 11, 2007 3:21:19 PM

into a low end machine, As I guess many others did. But I feel like it was down to me ;) 

Some of the older comments here wanted to see the results of the low end + top GFX card vs the high end system. Good to see; but I think I think these results give us more.

It would be fair to say that these 3 machines give us a fair sample of cost in May 2007.

I would like to compare machines from 2006 – 1990 just to see how far we've come in the past few years.
The obvious draw back to this would be software versions and OS needs. But there must be some comparison available to us.

If anything these results are a good start to sample cost / performance in the market place moving forward.

If I bought the low-end machine now, over the months/years I would add the faster parts as and when they dropped in price.
A good mother board + cheap parts to get me started.
I need a games / HTPC / Lightwave render box. I have £150 and a few coat buttons. Looks I like I’m not getting my dream PC any time soon.

As for game res, well I hook up my old 32" CRT T.V. to my pc via s-video and play doom3 at 800x600. the picture is not very sharp "Free Anti aliasing" from an old old card. ;)  works great. Few beers later, it all looks hi-def to me.
May 11, 2007 3:27:27 PM

Quote:
Few beers later, it all looks hi-def to me.

Ditto brother, these high resolution types haven't discovered beer mode yet. 8)
May 11, 2007 3:30:39 PM

What type of monitor is used in benchmarks like this to attain so high of resolutions?

Also: I have a 21'' with 1680x1050 and a 8800 GTX, would it be worth buying the Dell 2407WFP with 1920 x 1200?
May 11, 2007 3:47:07 PM

get a projector and play the game on the wall 2meters/ 6feet +.
Never mind the res feel the width.

Dell seem to be knocking out good monitors for the price - not too sure what you can buy state side. Its all half price for you anyway.
May 11, 2007 3:55:19 PM

Quote:
Few beers later, it all looks hi-def to me.

Ditto brother, these high resolution types haven't discovered beer mode yet. 8)

I with ya'll on this one, for bout 6 bucks you see some crazy special effects comparible to that aegia thing lol. the best upgrade you can get for the beer mod is USB "Beverage" Cooler
May 11, 2007 4:02:17 PM

Quote:
edit: i also have a question why was it a bad idea to put the 8800 in the budget system? i dont understand why thats bad?


OK, I'll bite. Let's say you're planning on using the low-end machine as a music server or an HTPC. Throwing in an 8800 GTX won't make the machine any better for that purpose; in fact, the heat generated and power consumed will make it less desirable. And you will have just spent $300-400 more to achieve that.

It's all about the intended purpose. If you're gaming, then yes it's a good idea in terms of bang-for-the-buck. If you're transcoding (e.g. for music server to MP3 player), or picture / video editing (e.g. for slide shows and home videos), then you're better off spending your $ elsewhere such as RAM and CPU, or even a better HDD config.
May 11, 2007 4:09:21 PM

Quote:

It's all about the intended purpose. If you're gaming, then yes it's a good idea in terms of bang-for-the-buck. If you're transcoding (e.g. for music server to MP3 player), or picture / video editing (e.g. for slide shows and home videos), then you're better off spending your $ elsewhere such as RAM and CPU, or even a better HDD config.


Very well said. Until gpgpu applications are plentiful, only hardcore gamers really benefit from these xtreme graphics cards.
May 11, 2007 4:12:43 PM

Totally agreed.

The 8800 GTX/Low end test was to prove a point that it's a valid upgrade target for a hardcore GAMER with a low-end system.

But I can't imagine a casual gamer needing an 8800 GTX, nevermind all the people out there who never touch a game...
May 11, 2007 4:13:51 PM

That was very good conclusion. I just might get a 8800GTX now. Though i would say i don't run high resolutions on my screen for the mere factor that my monitor is actually a Dell 37" HDTV and anything beyond 1360x768 won't display on screen so i'm usually stuck playing games at a resolution of 1024x768.. And i was wondering would it be possibly a good idea to upgrade my CPU since the low end system you guys included was a low budget Dual core processor. My current processor is a Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice core. Should i upgrade, or would it be ok if i just slammed in a 8800GTX.. Or will my performance suffer. All in all i think i'm in a tough position since i do not own a true monitor to be able to get such great high resolutions.
May 11, 2007 4:24:11 PM

Quote:

It's all about the intended purpose. If you're gaming, then yes it's a good idea in terms of bang-for-the-buck. If you're transcoding (e.g. for music server to MP3 player), or picture / video editing (e.g. for slide shows and home videos), then you're better off spending your $ elsewhere such as RAM and CPU, or even a better HDD config.


Very well said. Until gpgpu applications are plentiful, only hardcore gamers really benefit from these xtreme graphics cards.

graphics card price has gone mental over the last few years. They cost more than a console. Which I don't want to own until they use a keyboard and mouse for games. So, if I had a old mid range which was good for mp3/films/ downloading pawn - yes I would go and spend money on a 3 month behind the curve gfx card to play games.
More ram and bigger disks to come later; which part to upgrade first - that’s the thinker! Or like me – My rig is too old and the path is closed unless agp and ide get better. but them I'm still in a time warp with old parts.
May 11, 2007 4:34:58 PM

Quote:
That was very good conclusion. I just might get a 8800GTX now. Though i would say i don't run high resolutions on my screen for the mere factor that my monitor is actually a Dell 37" HDTV and anything beyond 1360x768 won't display on screen so i'm usually stuck playing games at a resolution of 1024x768.. And i was wondering would it be possibly a good idea to upgrade my CPU since the low end system you guys included was a low budget Dual core processor. My current processor is a Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice core. Should i upgrade, or would it be ok if i just slammed in a 8800GTX.. Or will my performance suffer. All in all i think i'm in a tough position since i do not own a true monitor to be able to get such great high resolutions.
Since you can't run anything over 1024x768, it doesn't seem worth paying the money for a GTX. At those low of resolutions the games are more CPU bound. Money would be better spent in a better CPU (Core 2 Duo e6600 for example).
May 11, 2007 4:45:20 PM

Quote:
That was very good conclusion. I just might get a 8800GTX now. Though i would say i don't run high resolutions on my screen for the mere factor that my monitor is actually a Dell 37" HDTV and anything beyond 1360x768 won't display on screen so i'm usually stuck playing games at a resolution of 1024x768.. And i was wondering would it be possibly a good idea to upgrade my CPU since the low end system you guys included was a low budget Dual core processor. My current processor is a Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice core. Should i upgrade, or would it be ok if i just slammed in a 8800GTX.. Or will my performance suffer. All in all i think i'm in a tough position since i do not own a true monitor to be able to get such great high resolutions.
Since you can't run anything over 1024x768, it doesn't seem worth paying the money for a GTX. At those low of resolutions the games are more CPU bound. Money would be better spent in a better CPU (Core 2 Duo e6600 for example).

or perhaps a 8800 gts 320... or even a 1950xt/xtx...
May 11, 2007 4:48:24 PM

Good review, the budget gamer was most interesting.
I am still not convinced that pairing a low end cpu with a high end graphics card is feasible. I understand that the difference between 60 frame and 80 frames on my lcd is nil but I'd be more concerned with min. frames. When gaming it is those moments when a lot is happening on the screen that the cpu will be most taxed, especially with onboard audio. Is it possible that the lower clocked cpu would have more instances where the frames may have dipped but not long enough to show in the average so much?
May 11, 2007 4:52:08 PM

LOVED THE BONUS SETUP :!: Very, very good piece of information to throw in there. Why? It basically proved what most of us already knew and have been trying to tell people:

-Awesome CPU + Decent GPU = Decent gaming
-Average CPU + Awesome GPU = Awesome gaming

For the "low-mid" budget gaming rig, a bottom end AMD system with cheap components, a good PSU, and an 8800GTS 320mb is actually an awesome gaming setup!

For those that need more balance, a C2D 6600 setup will give more CPU power.

For those that need to game at ultra-high resolutions and/or need more power for other apps, then a QX6xxx and GTX SLI is da shiz.


Clearly, a more "affordable" CPU/mobo/RAM/HDD and a good graphics card is where the best price-performance is set.....it is also much more accessible to the mainstream gamer's budget as well.

Excellent review and analysis to all authors, well done!
May 11, 2007 4:52:39 PM

Quote:
I just might get a 8800GTX now. Though i would say i don't run high resolutions on my screen for the mere factor that my monitor is actually a Dell 37" HDTV and anything beyond 1360x768 won't display on screen so i'm usually stuck playing games at a resolution of 1024x768.


An 8800 GTX would be a total waste for you if you aren't using at least 1600x1200. At 1024x768, a $160 X1950 PRO is probably the best bet. For a little over $200, the X1950 XT is an awesome card and will go up to 1600x1200 in most things.

Quote:
And i was wondering would it be possibly a good idea to upgrade my CPU since the low end system you guys included was a low budget Dual core processor. My current processor is a Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice core. Should i upgrade, or would it be ok if i just slammed in a 8800GTX.. Or will my performance suffer. All in all i think i'm in a tough position since i do not own a true monitor to be able to get such great high resolutions.


Depends what you want to do. If all you want is gaming, your CPU is probably fine, invest in at least 2 GB of RAM if you don't have it already and get an X1950 PRO or XT.

If you do other stuff like video editing or CAD, a dual core socket 939 processor would be a good upgrade. Dual core will also halp in a handful of dual-core friendly games... but the only game I've seen so far that actually NEEDS a dual core is Supreme Commander.
May 11, 2007 5:05:58 PM

I think a good rule here is, no matter what your budget - or what end system you need to make. Be it linux, XP, Vista. - games - work - HTPC.

A stupid amount or RAM is always good to have. HDDS and gfx cards will come and go; but if you aint got enought RAM * 2. You'll never get the most out of the system.

Find out what the max the mother board can take and fill it up. If you are not going to over clock then you'll get away with cheap (not crap) stock.
May 11, 2007 5:12:23 PM

Quote:
That was very good conclusion. I just might get a 8800GTX now. Though i would say i don't run high resolutions on my screen for the mere factor that my monitor is actually a Dell 37" HDTV and anything beyond 1360x768 won't display on screen so i'm usually stuck playing games at a resolution of 1024x768.. And i was wondering would it be possibly a good idea to upgrade my CPU since the low end system you guys included was a low budget Dual core processor. My current processor is a Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice core. Should i upgrade, or would it be ok if i just slammed in a 8800GTX.. Or will my performance suffer. All in all i think i'm in a tough position since i do not own a true monitor to be able to get such great high resolutions.


Hi All!
First time posting and I'm becoming addicted to your site. I'm going to join the concensus that the builder marathon was a fantastic series. Most review sites only cater to the "extreme gamer" and assume that no one else plays games. I enjoy playing games and I love having games look great (it's part of the experience, after all). However, I also love having money and spending it on other things.

I'm in a similiar situation as to the quote I pulled. I built my own computer in the summer of '04 (that's almost three years for the mathematically challenged). For $3,000, it has served me very well. However, it's starting to strain and I'm feeling the need to upgrade. I have the same processor as stated above. since I use my computer for mainly gaming, the article says to me that just a good graphics card is the way to go. My big problem, however, is my AGP mobo. Any upgrade on my part will need to include a new mobo. I'm an engineering student and I might see myself doing more SolidWorks modeling in the future, but nothing too intense. I'm also waiting until fall for the upgrade. By then the prices should have dropped even more!

I've been thinking that as long as I'm upgrading the mobo, I might as well look into a new processor and potentially new RAM (to make sure that it works with my new CPU). I'll need to look into my monitor's capability. It's a Samsung 172X 17" LCD. I believe it's max resolution is 1600x1200 (which sounds like the mininum resolution needed to fully take advantage of the 8800GTX and any future mega cards). I'd like to hear any comments other might have.

Once again, magnificant site and wonder series. Would you possibily consider doing a re-do of this series in the fall? :wink:
May 11, 2007 5:32:31 PM

Quote:


I'm an engineering student and I might see myself doing more SolidWorks modeling in the future, but nothing too intense. I'm also waiting until fall for the upgrade. By then the prices should have dropped even more!


From my exp there is no good time to jump in. No sooner has the price dropped than there is some other next big thing on the horizon.

For CAD, I would say get a very hi-res 21/22” monitor. I use a CRT lacie22blueIV at work and it’s great, weighs 55 tons. You may even want to get 2 smaller screens. It’s great for work.

Not too sure if SolidWorks uses openGL or D3D to render things on screen.
Lots of stuff on slash dot about openGL and crap vista support in drivers. So check if you upgrade your OS. Games gfx cards and CAD cards are not the same – I wish they were. Any sort of 3D CAD work needs CPU house power.

MATROX used to be great for cad card – they don't get much coverage on toms
Expensive hobby CAD ;) 
May 11, 2007 6:25:41 PM

Very nice article its good to see full rig tests of different values instead of just seperate parts so we can actually see how its relates to real world situations (eg if a better gpu is better than a better cpu, a point which this article highlighted excellently)
There was a point where I thought stick a better gpu in the budget rig! then you did! you read my mind, although it wasnt the lower spec gpu it shows that the cpu isnt the most vital part for gaming.
Thanks one of the best articles I've read in a while thanks for all the hard work! :D 
May 11, 2007 6:31:55 PM

Quote:
I am still not convinced that pairing a low end cpu with a high end graphics card is feasible.


While I wouldnt suggest getting a low end cpu and a high gpu this article shows that your better off spending more of your money on a gpu than buying the best cpu.
So I would get a lesser gpu than the 8800GTX say the 8800 320mb
May 11, 2007 6:31:59 PM

Quote:
I'd be more concerned with min. frames. When gaming it is those moments when a lot is happening on the screen that the cpu will be most taxed, especially with onboard audio. Is it possible that the lower clocked cpu would have more instances where the frames may have dipped but not long enough to show in the average so much?


I agree min framerates would have been a good idea, and I'll be pitching for 'em in a future 'system builder marathon: gaming machines' article I hope we'll be able to do...
May 11, 2007 6:51:45 PM

That is a good comparison. Unlike some though I don't regret my build (I didn't have the same options that are around now.) I have to agree with the others here about testing the 8800 gtx in the Mid-budget system, and the 8800 gts 320mb in the Low-budget system, so we could have a better Idea, how much of a difference the other Hardware makes, and how large of a difference it was.
May 11, 2007 9:15:21 PM

This was a very good article. Here is an important note, your LCD monitors do not display more than 60Hz refresh rate and the human eyes cannot detect a difference above 60Hz or 60fps. So even if the gaming benchmark says 200fps on Doom 3, it does not matter. Even if it says your 3D Mark score is 10000 it is worthless. So as long as your video card can handle at least 60fps on a certain video setting, it would be sufficient to play that game at the right experience.
Common Resolution Gaming (up to 1280x1024):
Medium Computer ($1250)
High Resolution Gaming (at least 1600x1200):
Low end special w/ high end video card ($1000)
Note: This is very ironic, so you pay less to play games with better experience because of high resolution.

One more thing to consider and I think THG did not address this:
Another dimension to consider the computer worth:
Price vs. Performance vs. Time
Can I get a computer now that can last me up to 5 years, or being able to play games that are released in the next 5 years at refresh rate of at least 60fps?
I thought of several ways:
Consider this, top gaming video cards back in 2002 is tied between Radeon 9800XT and Geforce FX 5950 Ultra (~75fps on RTCW 1280x1024). Medium level video card back in 2002 is tied between Radeon 9600XT and Geforce 5700 Ultra (~61fps on RTCW 1280x1024). Clearly, you can see that the top video card cannot last 5 years, maybe max 2 years. So in 5 years time frame, you would have to buy 2 other video cards to upgrade your computer to achieve that goal. Let’s say a medium level video card cost $250. So in 5 years, using the medium level computer, you would have to spend $1250+$250+$250 = $1750.

Here are the scenarios to achieve the 5 yr plan:
1. Low end w/ top video card + one low end CPU upgrade($100) and one HIGH video card upgrade in 2.5 or 3 yrs ($500) = $1000+$100+$500=$1600
2. Medium computer + two medium video card upgrades ($250 each) = $1250+$500=$1750
3. High end computer w/ no upgrade = $3600
4. Buy another low end w/ top video card in 2.5 yrs = $2000
5. Buy another medium computer in 2.5 yrs = $2500
6. Med-High Level computer (e6600, 8800GTX) = $2000 (may need another upgrade)

These considerations did not take overclocking into account, but what if I buy super overclocking potential components and let it sit for 2.5 yrs and then overclock it to bump it up?
I would say my med-high level computer would be sufficient.

Here’s the spec, I’m about the buy it.
Core2Duo E6600 2.4Ghz ($227)
Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme Heatsink ($55)
Silverstone 110CFM FM121 120mm Fan ($15.99)
Asus P5W DH Deluxe 975X Chipset Motherboard ($209.99)
Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2GB PC2-8000 ($110 w/ $40 rebate)
Foxconn FV-N88XMAD2-ONOC GeForce 8800GTX 768MB ($549.99)
Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 8MB SATA3.0 (3qt. For 3x Raid 0) ($128.97, $42 per drive)
LG Black 18X 2MB Cache IDE Super-Multi DVD Burner - OEM ($28.99)
Ultra X-Infinity 600W ($65 w/ $65 rebate)
Antec Performance One P180B Black 0.8mm ($79.99 w/ $50 rebate)
Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000 C6W-00001 2-Tone 4 Buttons ($20)
Microsoft Wired ZG6-00006 Black 103 Normal Keys ($12)

Total $1521 w/ shipping
May 11, 2007 10:51:36 PM

Quote:
It's all about the intended purpose. If you're gaming, then yes it's a good idea in terms of bang-for-the-buck. If you're transcoding (e.g. for music server to MP3 player), or picture / video editing (e.g. for slide shows and home videos), then you're better off spending your $ elsewhere such as RAM and CPU, or even a better HDD config.


wait a minute, did you see that from low to mid to high, only gaming performance varied dramatically. in office applications and compression and other stuff there isn't a big gain. I could wait 30 more seconds to wait for my winrar to uncompress. Trust me your mp3 playing won't make your ears hear anything different. You don't see slide show any different may be the load time. Though if you multitask a lot, that's a whole different story.
May 11, 2007 10:55:00 PM

Quote:
This was a very good article. Here is an important note, your LCD monitors do not display more than 60Hz refresh rate and the human eyes cannot detect a difference above 60Hz or 60fps. So even if the gaming benchmark says 200fps on Doom 3, it does not matter. Even if it says your 3D Mark score is 10000 it is worthless.


I did not read the rest of your post, no time. I just thought I would get at this quickly. (others will jump in here with more detail I'm sure) Here goes:


You're Wrong.

There, I said it. To find out why, google up some info. Mainly on what the eye can detect, but the whole quote there is wrong on many levels. Search it up or wait for others to put up links if you want. Rock on.
May 11, 2007 11:07:32 PM

Quote:
This was a very good article. Here is an important note, your LCD monitors do not display more than 60Hz refresh rate and the human eyes cannot detect a difference above 60Hz or 60fps. So even if the gaming benchmark says 200fps on Doom 3, it does not matter. Even if it says your 3D Mark score is 10000 it is worthless.


I did not read the rest of your post, no time. I just thought I would get at this quickly. (others will jump in here with more detail I'm sure) Here goes:


You're Wrong.

There, I said it. To find out why, google up some info. Mainly on what the eye can detect, but the whole quote there is wrong on many levels. Search it up or wait for others to put up links if you want. Rock on.

Ok I think it says 60 to 120 Hz and 85Hz is the best or 100Hz even better. But I think 60Hz is an acceptable level. Please read the rest when you can. The eye detection wasn't my main point.
May 12, 2007 4:39:08 AM

Quote:
This was a very good article. Here is an important note, your LCD monitors do not display more than 60Hz refresh rate and the human eyes cannot detect a difference above 60Hz or 60fps. So even if the gaming benchmark says 200fps on Doom 3, it does not matter. Even if it says your 3D Mark score is 10000 it is worthless.


I see what you're trying to say, but it's worth clearing up a few things.

1. The human eye can percieve at least a couple hundred FPS. Individuals will very a bit, but 60 is far from the limit. 60 is a good target for smooth gaming though, especially since LCD monitors are limited to 60 Hz (which I did mention in the article).

But minimum framerates are also important, and a powerful videocard will prtobably have a higher minumum framerate that a midrange card that averages 60 fps...

2. a 3dmark score is merely an indication of performance, and it has no direct bearing on FPS. But if it takes a video card that can achieve 10000 3dmarks to deliver 40 fps in, say, Oblivion... then that's a useful measure.
May 12, 2007 5:17:29 AM

I'd like to argue....

Ah, crap, I'd just like to point out that the last time I looked at the article, I didn't see a direct link to this thread.
May 12, 2007 5:26:40 AM

Quote:
Ok I think it says 60 to 120 Hz and 85Hz is the best or 100Hz even better. But I think 60Hz is an acceptable level. Please read the rest when you can. The eye detection wasn't my main point.


K, I read it and I hear what you are saying. Cleeve answered it pretty well.

The only reason I jumped on you earlier was that I have seen this "you only need 60fps" argument before and it just does not hold water. The reason is that you and I are not the same. Our eyes are not the same, in total or at different times of day. This means that while there is a range of what we can physically perceive, my range may be greater or lesser than what you can see. If you do not notice any difference when a crt monitor is set to 60Hz or 85 Hz, that is fine. Just count on the fact that there are those out there who can see the diff.

Point is, on a crt 60Hz is not acceptable to all. In fact, 60Hz is downright painful for me... only above 75 are things tolerable and 85 is where I start seeing things "smooth". This means that because I like to have v-synch on for games, that is the framerate I need on most things I play. (non-action games like Oblivion are ok under that of course) Even on an lcd that is running +/- 70Hz I notice when fps is under that.
May 12, 2007 6:12:28 AM

Okay, I've got a question. Using the system from my sig, and 2 17" flat screen CRT's (Phillips 107P's), which can do 1024x768 @ 100hz, I get like a 'tearing' or something that looks like the middle of the monitor cannot keep up with the game or something. This occurs with Doom3, HL2, CS-Source etc. Could it have something to do with the refresh rate?
I thought I'd ask because you guys were talking about Refresh Rates and FPS. I benched CS-Source with fraps and I got ~30+ FPS and obviously way more with Doom. All games I run @ 1024x768 with details maxed (except source, which I really want to run smooth).
FYI NFSMW runs perfectly @ 1280x1024 Maxed Out.
Any ideas?
Thanks

BTW that was a great article, pity you couldn't see what difference a E6300 would have done to the budget build (with and without 8800gtx).
May 12, 2007 7:06:23 AM

Quote:
I just might get a 8800GTX now. Though i would say i don't run high resolutions on my screen for the mere factor that my monitor is actually a Dell 37" HDTV and anything beyond 1360x768 won't display on screen so i'm usually stuck playing games at a resolution of 1024x768.


An 8800 GTX would be a total waste for you if you aren't using at least 1600x1200. At 1024x768, a $160 X1950 PRO is probably the best bet. For a little over $200, the X1950 XT is an awesome card and will go up to 1600x1200 in most things.

Quote:
And i was wondering would it be possibly a good idea to upgrade my CPU since the low end system you guys included was a low budget Dual core processor. My current processor is a Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Venice core. Should i upgrade, or would it be ok if i just slammed in a 8800GTX.. Or will my performance suffer. All in all i think i'm in a tough position since i do not own a true monitor to be able to get such great high resolutions.


Depends what you want to do. If all you want is gaming, your CPU is probably fine, invest in at least 2 GB of RAM if you don't have it already and get an X1950 PRO or XT.

If you do other stuff like video editing or CAD, a dual core socket 939 processor would be a good upgrade. Dual core will also halp in a handful of dual-core friendly games... but the only game I've seen so far that actually NEEDS a dual core is Supreme Commander.


Is it possible to get better resolutions on a TV then that of 1024x768/1360x768.. My desktop is set at 1360x768. some games do support the wide screen and some don't. When i do try to get higher resolutions the screen is 2 small that the words begin to get fuzzy and small. My guess is a possible upgrade to a actual monitor will fix that. The only reason i wanted to go big on the GFX was because i am very hyped on the new game Crysis thats due to come out this fall in September unless its delayed. I actually do have 2GB's of corsair XMS Pro series RAM in my PC running DDR3200. I thought possibly if i got a better graphics card that i could maybe get better resolutions but i doubt it since its a TV. I wanted to possibly get the Dell 30" monitor but i'm not 2 sure if thats good? Should i upgrade my CPU or what? I'm sort in a tight position since i really don't want to upgrade since i'm unsure how long Intel is going to stick it out with there socket LGA775 and AMD's socket AM2.. Its a tough thing, my nxt upgrade is coming up and i really just want the best graphics.. Then again even if i got the 8800GTX i'd have to spend a load of money to get on Vista since there not porting a patch to XP's DX9, after all why i have a DX10 graphic card when XP is only capable of DX9. So all in all if i did get that GFX card i'd be spending a little over 2 grand.. but yea thanks for the suggestions i'll keep those in mind since my setup has been outdated since i bought the damn thing back in August of 05.
May 12, 2007 7:06:48 AM

on many games, particularly the id engines (like doom3) and source games (like hl2 and CS) frame tearing is very prevelant. Enable v-synch in the game options and that should remove your issue. It synchs the frame rate with the refresh rate. This will cap your performance (to whatever your monitor refresh is) but if you notice it (some don't) then the cap is worth the quality.
May 12, 2007 11:14:19 AM

Here is what I did.. I had a budget on £600, so for a month or so I followed the prices on hardware carefully, and here is what I finally bought:

AMD X2 3800+ Stepping F3 (Should be overclockable) £55
Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 pro £10
Asus GeForce 8600 GT 256 mb GDDR3 £90
Zalman VF900-CU £18
ABIT KN9 Ultra nForce 570 ultra £65
2 GB Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400 £90
320 GB Seagate 7200 rpm SATA2 16 mb £50
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1100 Tv tuner £40
Samsung DVD-DL SH-S182D £20
Gigabyte Triton ATX case £45

I had a 400 watt NorthQ power supply (£20) that I will be using. So all in all it adds up to (with powersupply):

£503

With delivery and all it was still less than:

£550

I'm pretty happy with what I got... However I have not received all parts yet, so how far I can overclock the system is still uncertain.
!