Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Upgrade or Not?

Last response: in Systems
Share
February 27, 2008 7:40:41 PM

Got a new job! It pays very well, so I am looking to upgrade soon...

Christmas 2006 I built a computer with these basic specs:

AMD X2 4200+ (I think)
MSI Mobo (nice one ~ $100-150 then)
BFG 256MB (DDR3) 7600GT (SLI ready, need to ebay to buy another card, or sell this and get a new one)
Corsair 1GB (2x512MB) DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12)
Samsung 500GB HDD, SATA-2
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz
Antec P180 case
On XP-Pro SP2


Question is: Upgrade or Not (what's in bold)?

Vista: Is Vista still working out the kinks, is it not a vast improvement on XP? Also, I was looking at 2GB and 4GB of memory and maybe the sound card as the noticeable places for improvement.

Practicality: Where I would use the performance is on large holistic games (like Civ IV) and sports games. Moderate play of these games average no more than an hour a day.

Sound: Are sound cards nowadays worth the cost or does the Santa Cruz reputation of the early decade still hold?

Expectations: In terms of overall gaming I like to be behind the curve and swap up great games cheap (except the FIFA series) so I think my graphics card suffices.

Assumption: It looks like memory to me, 2GB or 4GB? I wasn't sure if 2GB was a lot of RAM for today's standard (and under my situation as well), but it looks like the route I want to take. Plus, I can get it for around $30-50 post-rebates, vs. $100 for 4GB.

NEED CLARITY ON: If I upgrade memory, should I leave the other 1GB in there and run 3GB, do the timings need to align, this I could use some help on as well. :) 

Thanks guys and gals,


Leftfield

More about : upgrade

a c 103 B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2008 7:54:35 PM

Your X2 is probably 4200+ at 2.2 Ghz which should still be good with a better GPU HD3850 or 8800gs or gt card for gaming. Vista is still with bugs so stay with XP and get another GB or 2 of ram XP only supports 3,5GB. The timings will run by the slowest ram you got.
February 27, 2008 8:24:33 PM

I agree with rolli59. The extra GB of RAM will speed things up a bit. If possible, try to get an exact match for you old stick of RAM. The 32bit version of XP will only show 2.8-3.5GB of RAM. If you decide to to go the Vista route, go for 4GB of RAM, as you'll want as much RAM as possible to speed things up.

Quote:
NEED CLARITY ON: If I upgrade memory, should I leave the other 1GB in there and run 3GB, do the timings need to align, this I could use some help on as well. :) 
This will likely work, but I'm not sure that you can dual-channel the RAM in this situation. It's best to go with matched pairs if possible.

For the GPU, I'd suggest the 8800GT (512MB), 9600GT, or the 3870. Any one of those would work well with your processor without being bottlenecked too much.

If you're up to the challenge, you can get a bit more performance from your right by purchasing an aftermarket cooler and overclocking your CPU a bit.
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
February 27, 2008 9:38:44 PM

Or get a new system, one of the 2. Bad part is, ddr2 is cheap right now, and I'm thinking you'll pay about the same for 1 gb of ddr1 as for 2gb of ddr2. Still cheaper for you though. If you want to keep the rig a little while, grab 1 gb memory, I run an Athlon 5200 x2 with 2 gb of memory, runs great, and pick up a better video card. Then I'd say your ok for a little while, then step up into a newer board and chip, memory etc later down the road.
February 29, 2008 12:26:52 PM

Quote:
New AM2+ (quad capable mobo), 2gb of ddr2-800, and a 8800GT will serve you good for another year. Then you can upgrade your cpu later on.
Memory alone will really speed up your system. Why not try to overclock your cpu to 2.4-2.5ghz.



Why would he buy a new motherboard if he's not upgrading his CPU? I swear half the stuff you post here makes absolutely no sense...


Your CPU will still be fine for you. Although you could gain some performance with a mild overclock on it as Mrsbytch mentioned.

Assuming your mobo has 4 DIMMs for memory. Pick up a 2GB kit of DDR2-800 memory with the same latency as the memory you already have. This will give you 3GB and you will see a good improvement in performance over 1GB. You could even save a few (and I mean a few) and just but a 1GB stick (Leaving you 1 DIMM for a future upgrade) and you will see a good improvement over 1GB.

As far as video card, depending on what you're looking to spend you have several options. The Radeon 3850 or 3870 are both good buys in the $150-$180 range. If you'd like to spend a few more dollars you would want to look at the 8800GT or the 9600GT in the $180-$220 range. Both very good cards. Closer to $260-$300 is the 8800GTS (G92) which offers approximately 10% performance over the 8800GT and has better cooling. Each one of the cards listed will offer better performance over a SLI setup of 7600GTs.

Basically spend $40 on memory and $200 on a card and you will see a significant improvement in performance that should last you over a year at optimal settings (excluding Crysis).
February 29, 2008 1:55:20 PM

ok.... is your 4200+ AM2 or 939??? if it is then you could be set... just swap in a 5000+ BE and you'll be rolling! if not, then tough cookies... I recoomend changing the card altogether... the 3850/9600GT will ive you WAY better performance than that 7600GT, even if you have 2 7600GTs...
February 29, 2008 11:44:36 PM

Hey, thanks for the replies so far!

It looks like I will do this piecewise, from what I gather I should definitely upgrade for 2 more GB of RAM with the same latency, after this upgrade I will see where I stand. I saw a pair of Crucial Ballistix for $65 - $30 mail-in at Newegg w/ free shipping.

If inadequate: It appears a new video card may be an added trick. It looks like I can sell my current card at a decent price where the upgrade margin is more justified.

Question: I also did a background check and it appears I have the AM2 processor. What does this mean in comparison to the 939? I am usually reluctant to upgrade my processor since the gains are marginal.

Let me re-clarify: I don't need a power rig, just a good solid gaming machine that can handle the current FIFA soccer game and the best in breed games of a few years past (a casual gamer).

Lastly: About the video card, I notice most of the cards you all recommend are PCI 2.0. Will this underperform under my PCI 1.0 mobo capacity by a lot or a little? I'm not sure if people test these sorts of things! If so, it looks like an 8600GT/8600GTS (OC) may work (now or a little down the road), it's only $100/$150, looks like a solid upgrade.

Thanks again!

Leftfield
March 1, 2008 1:08:32 AM

amd_fanboi said:
ok.... is your 4200+ AM2 or 939??? if it is then you could be set... just swap in a 5000+ BE and you'll be rolling! if not, then tough cookies... I recoomend changing the card altogether... the 3850/9600GT will ive you WAY better performance than that 7600GT, even if you have 2 7600GTs...


Its an AM2 system as his ram is ddr2.

OP,

I would recomend nothing but a nice gpu for yourself. Even that I would wait on tbh. A nice ATI will fit nicely in your rig and help your gaming out a good deal. Avoid Nvidia as they do not offer dx10.1 support and are far from future proof. Honestly if that rig is working well for you I would wait for the next batch of releases and price drops and build a brand new system salvaging what parts you can from your am2 platform.
March 1, 2008 2:19:38 AM

total noob here,

can he simply upgrade to any of those video cards without taking into account his current PSU? So, its most likely that a system running a 7600GT can also run these cards wothout having to buy a new PSU?

Radeon 3850
Radeon 3870
HD3850
8800gs
8800gt
9600GT
!